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World's Third E-Book—Published On the Web in 1997 For Digital Download

an Empire of Time SF novel

by John Argo

 Preface   Chapter 1    2    3    4    5    6    7    8    9   10   11   12   13   14   15   16   17   18   19   20   21   22   23   24   25   26   27   28   29   30   31   32   33   34   35   36   37   38   39   40   41   42 


41. New World—Year 3301

Paul was alone in a plain room half filled with sunlight, half with shadow. It did not matter where he was—Avamish, Aerie, Venice by a canal, alien city under alien sky—as he gazed lazily under the shade, through the window, at an odd assortment of walls outside, with vines growing in circles and softening harsh man-made lines. He felt whole and healthy again, cleansed of all bad memories. Dauli had healed his soul. The pain of Krings and Licia and Gregory and Nancy was only a dull knowledge now, truth, then a wink of sadness and acceptance and moving on.

A door opened and closed. He took his gaze from trying to puzzle the angles and vines outside, and looked toward the door. Auska stepped close, carrying a bucket and a sponge. "Alo, you," she said brightly. She pointed to a wooden stool in the middle of the room. "Sit, you."

He laughed, and she smiled at him. Pert, fearless, tender, loving.

He stripped his filthy jumpsuit off and sat bare-ass on the stool. He wore only his copper disk. She wrinkled her nose. "Moniam bilthy. Moniam bestibo." Humor twinkled around her eyes.

He groaned luxuriantly as she ran the hot sponge slowly and sensuously over his skin. He relaxed his elbows on his knees and stared down between his legs at the floor. A silvery puddle grew on the stone tiles. It didn't matter. The afternoon wore on as she hummed to herself, sponging him down. They stared into one another's eyes, and kept staring, evidently not able to see enough of each other.

He tried to recognize in her facial beauty somehow a composite of earth phenotypes, now that the thought made sense, and thought she might walk unnoticed somewhere in one of the ancient cities—either in the Orient, because of the almondness of her eyes, or among tall and slender Africans because of her dusky skin, or in northern Europe because of the squareness of her features and because of the short silvery hair that looked platinum blonde. He recalled the bizarre and life-threatening ritual of the pale-skinned Europeans, before people had known better, to stew in deadly sunlight for days at a time to activate their melanin and make their skin as dark as possible.

She finished bathing him and peeled off her clothes. Her skirt dropped to the floor, and her sling top. She was slender and lovely, with smooth skin the color of plums. Paul noted details—the innie belly button, the flax-white hair in the Y of her pudenda, the glistening blue nipples with their swollen aureoles—as he drank her in with his eyes. Her gaze was were full of hunger for him.

She sat on the stool and he knelt beside her. In slow motions, savoring every second, he alternately dunked the sponge in the warm water and then ran it down her sides. He stared as the water gleamed on her young skin, then ran down in a trickle into her fine waist and over her bottom. She raised her arms as he reached around to sponge her belly, her breasts, from behind, and embraced her. She turned, taking him into her arms. Together, still wet, they fell upon the bed and made passionate love. They were one and the same people, separated by fifty thousand years, the same amount of genetic drift—people on Earth had come from somewhere, from the stars, perhaps from a crashed ship as on N60A. They were faster, smarter, better, maybe meaner and more ruthless than Neanderthal. They spread out quickly over the planet during a 100,000 year period. They began to mutate due to genetic drift. Then came the age of exploration, of empire, when quick travel and instant communication fused them back together in a final amalgam.

He was now a great medicus of her people. No more spousing here. They would be husband and wife. By her ardor, she showed how desirable he was. He, in turn, had been hungry for a long time and now he had found a wonderful food. They rocked together, slapped against each other, shook the old wooden bed until it creaked in rhythm with his thrusting, her long legs sprawled over his shoulders as his body became a machine and slammed rapidly and repeatedly against her, and she writhed, she held her arms behind her head and closed her eyes and moaned in ecstasy.

He remembered a dream he'd had, of a girl riding by on a horse. It was Auska. How could he have known back then? Oh, but he had secretly wanted her all along. The girl rode through the forest without saying a word. Birds could be heard twittering brightly in all of their mating calls. Paul followed the girl and the horse. For a moment he lost sight of them around a bend. He hurried and came to a river. The horse was riderless, slowly walking away on the other side of the river. The girl's cloak lay on this side, half in the mud, half in water. He knelt by the water and looked inside. There she was, spreading her arms and legs for him. Sunlight ran around her features in sparkles. He thrust himself head-first into the water and embraced her. She closed her eyes, rolled her eyes up, smiled in ecstasy as he claimed her for himself. River water streamed over her features as her smile merged with the brightness of the reflected sun. They breathed under the water, which was one of the many invincible strengths of their love. He planted his legs apart to steady himself in the stream. She let herself float as he pulled her to him. Her ankles, her calves, slid around his waist. She bent her legs to pin herself to him with her knees around his hips. He pulled her close to him, felt the satisfaction as his hardness slipped into her soft place, and they made love, again and again. Like the twin moons over Avamish, they had found each other, and for all eternity they would never let each other go.


Copyright © 1990-1996-2014 by John Argo, Clocktower Books. All Rights Reserved.