Friday, May 22, 2009

Moon Over Sedna


This story is in the process of being rewritten ... very slowly, in fact.  Not worth reading as yet.


Cast


Annunaki

Helene Lempriere
Joel
Raymond
Justin

Fraternal groups

Dean Freeman
Chas Collins
Masha van Duyne
Don Kennedy
Morgan Astor
Toy Haines

Crew

Rory Adamson
Louise Evesham
Randall Stoppard

Press

Joel Parris, AP
Susan Hobbes, Reuters
Maxim Schemkoff, Pravda

Others

Mike Brown, CIT, Pasadena



I

‘Joel Parris, Associated Press. Mr. Brown, your team discovered the tenth planet, Sedna, in March, 2004. What went wrong?’

‘Mike Brown, CIT, Pasadena. Well, Joel, we came up against one tiny little glitch. Thirty-five Hubble Space Telescope images taken in mid-March said there was no moon. No moon – no planet.’

‘You must have thought there was a moon, to call Sedna a planet in the first place.’

‘That’s correct. We were sure it had a moon - slow speed of rotation, at least twenty earth days, instead of a few hours like most other asteroids. A moon and its tidal forces are the usual factor to slow down an object's rotation. It appears that though our calculations were correct – there just weren’t no moon.’

There was a general murmur around the hall.

‘Susan Hobbes, Reuters. Mr. Brown, what can you tell us about Sedna that most astronomers are actually agreed on?’

‘Thanks for your question, Susan. We calculate Sedna to be about 1,770km in diameter, slightly smaller than Pluto and about three times further away. We don’t know a heck of a lot more, except that it’s cold, red-coloured and a slow-moving place: a year on Sedna is equivalent to about 10,500 Earth years. Sorry we can’t give you more at this time.’

‘Maxim Shemkoff, Pravda -’

II

Dean Freeman turned to the five and explained, ‘Mike Brown then apologized and left the press conference. That was twelve years ago and there’s been no movement in astronomical circles since that time.’

‘But you say Sedna does have a moon, called Anunnak, it’s one tenth the size of Sedna and it’s in another dimension?’

‘The name doesn’t much matter. It was the pattern of pulses which put us onto it first, all those years ago, some of the boys and girls thought they’d go a bit biblical on this thing and wildly speculated that earth was being controlled from that moon.’

‘Mr. Freeman,’ began Morgan Astor, ‘you’re saying it was known all along that Sedna did have two moons -’

‘One.’

‘I thought there were two.’

‘There were. We blew up the second.’

‘With all due respect, Mr. Freeman,’ drawled Chas Collins, ‘we don’t possess the technology to get that close, even the stuff we keep closeted and we sure as hell haven’t had time to transport a weapon of that devastating firepower that far.’

‘Nor would it have been much use if we had. Annunaki possess it though. We just relayed the message.’

‘Whoa, I can’t see you for dust. You ‘relayed’ them? But you’re still talking over 250 years just to get the message there.’

‘That’s incorrect.’

‘Incorrect?’

‘Incorrect, sir. My attention wasn’t to mislead the meeting. When I say we relayed it, we relayed it to their people on earth and let them get on with it.’

Collins chuckled. ‘Let’s put this thing in perspective … er … Dean. The sheeple believe the Royal Society, who’ve stated that the natural laws apply in time and space, reinforced by our people – Newton, Galileo and the whole education system, we ourselves happen to know the existence of Portal Tao and the secret of kingmaking, so we’re halfway there in the belief stakes. Now this comes along – that there are folks other than us running around, a rival firm if you like and you say you have some sort of contact with these beings?’

‘There’s one of them in this room now. They’re not all giants and their agenda’s also ours. Think of them as irregular forces, an advisory body so to speak, with us as the front line, the interface with the sheeple.’

Toy Haines put in, ‘It is us who train the president, isn’t it? I mean, I always thought we were in the driving seat -’

‘And we are but we can’t do it alone. It takes resources and expertise. We picked up some sort of interference which our colleagues don’t seem to have monitored themselves, something within us -’

‘Some human quality?’ asked Lempriere.

‘Well, something we could do and they couldn’t, we warned them, they dealt with it.’

‘Dealt with it? Blowing up a moon?’

‘Hardly a moon, at least not of the solid rock variety. It was a station.’

‘And the … um … Anunnaki … er … they couldn’t detect this station?’

‘Well, for a start, it was in the same orbit, only diametrically on the other side to them. There was an EM field they used to cloak themselves. The Annunaki used our coordinates from here and that was that.’

‘Why,’ asked Masha van Duyne, ‘couldn’t this have been detected from Sedna?’

Collins laughed. ‘Have you been to Sedna lately? It’s a red desert, nothing’s lived there since their holocaust at the end of the 3rd era. They do have some equipment still functioning below the surface but the radiation levels are prohibitive. Besides, they never even suspected something like that was going on until we brought their attention to it.’

‘So, we appear to be of some value to these, er, people in implementing their vision?’

‘For the moment,’ replied Lempriere.

‘What I’d like to know,’ puzzled Don Kennedy, ‘is how Mr. Freeman here seems to know these things but we seem to have been left in the dark so far?’

‘Need to know principle,’ answered Freeman. ‘Come on, Don, you understand the way it works, even in Political. Dupont knows some in Sciences, I know some too, more than you but less than others. Ours is a hierarchical organization, that’s our strength.’

‘We need a party to go to Anunnak,’ stated Lempriere.

II

This side of the portal, physics was going to be the essential problem. Three bodies, at that speed, even allowing for an exponential curve in the acceleration was going to stress the bodily functions beyond endurance.

For the Anunnaki, it was no big deal, able to exist as constituent atoms for the 4 milliseconds required but the humans had to be dehumidified to their limit and cryogenically sealed. At the portal, someone would have to take these humans over the bridge and this was going to involve a brief docking and transference to a Sednan pod.

They could only try it.

Lempriere explained that Sednans always travelled in threes, considered the most natural grouping - one of each gender – and they’d be more at ease if the humans followed suit. The male and female were fine but the sticking point was the third member of the party. They eventually settled for Commander Rory Adamson, Flight Lieutenant Louise Evesham and Randall Stoppard, the cadet, as androgenous a human as they could find for the role.

The building was unimportant, it didn’t need to be a NASA facility, launchpad or a bunker in the desert; after all, they were using Sednan technology so Lempriere suggested they use the women’s bathroom.

Once through the door, they were advised to look away, Lempriere outlined the circle on the white tiled floor, the flames erupted from the thirteen knots in the ring, the three were invited inside, the words were spoken and that was it – they’d gone.

The flames died out, Lempriere uncircumscribed the circle, which now vanished, she turned on her stiletto heel and went across the street to Ray’s Bar and Grill, famished, fancying a piece of meat.

III

In the 1.29 human seconds it took them to reach the rendezvous, the three Anunnaki had positioned themselves, the cryopods arrived, the beamers were EM attached to the disc extrusion, the words were chanted and chanted and chanted, the portal opened in the space-time fabric, the three humans passed through and the portal closed behind them with a ‘zup’.

Time slowed, all felt themselves reconstituting, still tightly bound in the cocoons which had spun around each of them, conscious again, they bit the capsules, the carbo-protein-fat mix slid down their throats and they settled down for the realtime journey to Anunnak, unable to utter a sound.

Rory might have been conscious for some time but sentience was only returning now in dribs and drabs. He was sure that half the nitro-oxygen mix had almost been used and there was the question of the return journey … but surely they’d factored that in.

He tried to move and of course couldn’t and so time passed.

And passed.

And passed.

They all felt the bump and the fabric of the cocoon torn away, what felt like a syringe was plunged into their necks and they were breathing again as normal but for how long? Eyes now focussed and what they saw was half expected and yet it was peculiarly alien, all the same.

For a start, it looked like a 50s earth conception of what a space station might look like – the gunmetal greys and cobalt blues of the shiny metal domed roof which stretched like the heavens above the floor, not unlike an oversized planetarium but without the projector and yet, on that opaque roof, the stars were shining and yet not shining. Also, it didn’t look like any night sky they were familiar with.

Eyes of wonder gazed upwards and all round until Louise backed into Rory, both jumped and in so doing, floated into space above the deck, slowly spinning round to face one another, grinning and Louise asked, ‘How do we get down again?’

‘Swim?’

Randall suggested they think themselves down so they did and what do you know, they slowly alighted once more on the deck. Each looked at the other and tried to avoid staring at those needles with the pouches on the end, sticking from the others’ necks - grotesque but they were in no position to argue.

‘Welcome to Anunnak,’ jested Louise.

‘So, what now?’ asked Randall.

They took in the whole landing area now. It was maybe a football field in diameter, perfectly round as far as they could see, the floor jet black except for geometric lines criss-crossing it and Randall immediately tumbled to the design. ‘Star of David, crew. Inside a circle. I’m not sure if I like this. And we’re in the centre.’

They all shuffled outside of the central hexagon, as if that was going to offer them some comfort but something else was occupying all now – the strange feeling of reconstitution going on in their organisms and the feeling that the nitro-oxygen feed was becoming insufferable; in fact they were all feeling the first effects of nausea when the needles and sacs suddenly fell out and clattered to the floor.

‘Er, people,’ Rory stated the obvious, ‘how are we … um … breathing at this moment?’

‘We’re not,’ said Louise. ‘I still feel alive though.’

‘Well, let’s not question it too much just yet but I’d sure like to know if it’s my nervousness or are you also feeling a trifle chilly?’

‘I’m cold.’

‘Me too,’ chorused Randall.

Rory was looking for the doorway but they seemed to be in a sealed unit. ‘The atmosphere’s chilly, they don’t breathe air but we seem to be fine.’

‘I think, Rory, that it might come down to our constitution. We all have the Anunnaki inside us, don’t we? I mean, in history, you know. Interbreeding, our family line and all those things. I wouldn’t mind betting that we’re more Anunnaki at the moment than human.’

‘My spirit feels human, my emotions. I wish something would happen.’

A sudden swirling in his mind had him spinning and then ebbed. ‘Did you feel that?’ he asked.

‘What?’

‘Giddiness and then it died away.’

‘Nope.’

‘I have a feeling about this. Let’s all to join hands and then I’ll say we want to see someone important. We could try anyway, couldn’t we?’

They decided to stand in the middle of the hexagon again, joined hands, Rory spoke the words, ‘We wish to meet someone important,’ and suddenly they found themselves on top of some sort of gigantic heliport in the dark and it was raining or to be more precise, it was teeming down and to their shock, they were barely affected beyond the easing of the stuffiness they’d begun to feel in the landing area.

The whole heliport, maybe two hundred metres across, was glistening black, the rain was violently bouncing off the surface and visibility was poor. They could make out a sort of dome in the distance which occasionally became visible as the rain momentarily eased but then it would start up again and they had not a clue what to do next.

‘Welcome,’ a voice seemed to mock them from closeby and yet they could see no one. ‘I trust your journey was pleasant.’

They spun round this way and that and could still see no one. Rory had an idea and took the hands of the other two again. ‘Show yourself,’ he commanded.

Suddenly, through the stream of rain, they saw him or her or it. He towered over them by a good fourteen inches, was wearing nothing much at all but his hide was coarse and it was only when the eyes dropped to his nether regions that the grossness hit them.

The rest of the body, vaguely human, seemed to fit well with the neck and head, the swarthy face was not ugly by any means but when their eyes dropped to the nether regions, it was not unlike those monkeys that were nakedly raw and white and what made it worse was the schlong hanging down, swinging about with the movement of the creature. Even worse than that, it wasn’t even vaguely cylindrical but was bent in places like the small branch of a tree.

Louise gazed at it in horror, the creature’s eyes gleamed, the mouth set in a sardonic grin and his broad hoofs, if that was the best description, took a step closer towards her. Rory instinctively stepped between them, the creature put out one gnarled but powerful hand and Rory found himself catapulted along the helipad, not coming to rest until he’d reached the side railing.

In a microsecond, he was back again where he’d been standing, the creature bowed, rumbled, ‘My guests, welcome again,’ and suddenly they were in a large room, unclothed and with a beige coloured, padded platform in the middle.

Louise crouched down on her haunches and covered up as best she could and the truth was that it was the first time they’d really acknowledged what the others looked like, the arrival at the office on earth from where they’d been transported only occurring a few minutes before they’d actually stepped into that ring.

Louise had to acknowledge that Rory, although not in the physical league of the creature, was enough for a human, being maybe 178 cm tall, in proportion, having obviously trained in the gym but not to the exclusion of litheness. He might have been approaching forty years of age, perhaps he was closer to thirty – with that type it was hard to tell. His face was pleasant rather than handsome and the smile was not unkind. She adjudged him a quick thinker and an even quicker mover.

She looked over at Randall and liked what she saw. With none of the physique but with a hard body which those in their early twenties still possessed, around 180 cm tall, ‘boffin’ described him to a tee. In fact he was very much a boffin, intimacy coming a long last after technology, adventure and coin-collecting and yet Louise saw something in him which really did appeal. Maybe it was the cheekiness.

The men had been cheated of a halfway good scrutiny of the goods with Louise. Beyond the fact that she was probably late thirties or early forties, with that slight heaviness to the form which age brings to a woman, she was in shape, maybe 165 cm, with brunette hair cropped short, not an overly-developed bust as far as they could see but definitely shapely.

So, here they were, their clothes neatly hanging over there in the alcove wardrobes, they were near this platform which they were beginning to suspect was a bed, there were three ornate silver goblets sitting on a white stone block and a carafe, equally ornate, beside that.

Rory was the one to break the ice, he asked Louise if he should bring her clothes across, she hesitated, saw that the two men were not overly concerned and decided to take the chance. Standing up, she walked across to where Rory was, he handed her a goblet, Randall came over and took one, they toasted good luck and tentatively sipped the liquid, it didn’t seem half bad, they sipped some more, felt more relaxed about everything and wondered what was next.

Randall was the one who remarked that the liquid seemed something more than just wine – it seemed almost like a meal in itself, which it might well have been. Either way, it was satisfying and they began to feel inhibitions slip away.

‘Is this our bed for the night?’ asked Louise.

‘Seems that way,’ said Rory. ‘Where are the bedclothes?’

‘In a cupboard?’

‘Stop for one moment. You remember when we asked for something earlier, like standing on the landing floor again or meeting someone important, it happened. It seems to me that we need to formulate our questions properly and if we ask, we’ll be given. That could be a double-edged sword, of course. What if we fell out with each other and one called for harm to the other?’

‘I don’t think it would hurt, Rory, to ask for bedding. I have no qualms standing like this with you two nor sleeping naked with you but I would like some sort of bedclothing over me. It is a trifle chilly in here.’

‘So let’s ask.’

They did but nothing happened.

They asked again. Again nothing happened. Self-consciously, they made a move to climb onto the padded platform, bumped into one another and laughed. ‘Ladies first,’ invited Rory.

She climbed up and lay down the centre, they went to one side each and all lay on their backs. ‘Well well,’ observed Louise, ‘isn’t this friendly? What just appeared in front of our eyes?’

Three metal cylinders had appeared, hovering above their chests and they reached for them. Randall pushed the button on his first and the other two watched as his part of the bed started to virtually massage in small waves, an electro-field appeared over him, he smiled and dropped off to sleep.

‘Well, I never,’ said Louise who did likewise, the same thing occurred and she dropped off.

Not wanting to miss out, Rory pressed his button.

IV

The morning brought with it a strange feeling. All had had dreams and the dreams had not been not nice. It was almost as if they’d been brain-scanned, their innermost fears discovered, examined, noted and allowed to slip back into the unconscious.

They all agreed that that is what had happened. Against this, their nakedness now was of absolutely no concern to them and any need to dress seemed to have slipped away. They felt neither hungry nor tired but what they did feel was a falling away of will.

The first sign of it was when Randall committed the ultimate offence before a lady – he made a noise from his nether regions, seemingly quite untroubled about it and Louise found herself slapping his face and hard too.

She stepped back in horror. ‘Randall, I’m … really sorry.’

He felt his cheek and looked at her ruefully. Yet she felt no remorse and the apology had been a mere courtesy on her part.

Rory, not bothering to wait for the circle of hands this time, simply asked, ‘We want to know what you need from us.’

The next moment, they were in yet another domed, circular room, this time about thirty metres across, with a black and white checked marble floor, glistening wet white walls and one round desk, behind which sat another of the creatures, a different one from last night but no less repugnant. At least, Louise thought to herself, his thing wasn’t as grotesque.

‘No, it’s not,’ agreed Rory, out loud and both stared at each other. Their sudden fear was confirmed – the creature had ‘heard’ Louise’s thought and he/she/it was grinning from ear to ear. He came round from behind the desk, straight up to Louise and pressed his unwelcome attentions on her. This time, Rory made no move to step in, he ‘heard’ Louise say no, the creature growled and returned to his position behind the desk, white stone stools suddenly appeared and they sat down.

A guttural voice shattered the calm of the room. ‘You have the secret of the spirit locked inside you. On your planet, there is too much interference, too much …’

‘Protection?’ thought Rory, aloud and the creature grumbled.

‘Too much altogether. We brought you here because, in your more natural environment, we think you might be able to release the secret of the spirit. Think of this as a holiday for some time -’

‘For how long?’ thought Louise.

‘For as long as you desire,’ thought back the creature, ‘or as long as you are desired.’

A sudden feeling of intrusion between her legs gripped her and just as quickly, it faded and she knew she didn’t like any of this one little bit. She felt pressure to conform but to what? The other two also felt the same thing and it was a desire for Louise which required gratification and gratification now.

Rory didn’t want to convey his thoughts; he resisted and resisted until the thought died away and then faced the creature again. ‘What do they call you?’

‘Joel.’

That came as a shock to them all – a normal, everyday, common, garden variety biblical name.

‘Joel,’ asked Louise, ‘are we ever going to get out of here alive?’

‘Do you think you’re alive now?’ was the gruff rejoinder and the creature chuckled. ‘Go and enjoy yourselves. Ask and you shall receive.’

Randall was the first to latch onto the possibilities. ‘Do you two want to go swimming?’ They nodded and he asked, ‘Give us a swimming pool and bar.’

There they were.

The space was circular, the dome sky blue, foliage abounded and a kidney shaped pool with glistening, clear water occupied about half the area. A thatched roof covered the poolside bar, the barman asked, by thought, what they’d like to drink, each put in his or her order and received, not what they’d ordered, but more of the same nectar as on the previous evening.

Still, it wasn’t unpleasant and they felt they’d not tire of that … nectar. Louise was first into the water, followed by Randall while Rory sat on the edge, sipping his drink. Louise swam up and knocked his drink from his hand, grinned and swam away again. Rory’s eyes narrowed but he said nothing. A thought was forming in his mind though and that was ‘escape’.

Those two were so readily accepting all of this as a normal way to operate but so far, he’d seen precious little he’d have called normal. He’d keep his own counsel for now though and neither speak nor think out loud about it. Even while he looked over at the other two, Randall waded over to where Louise was leaning back against the pool’s edge with her hands and in a second, he was inside her and thrusting hard.

Far from shrieking, tearing herself away or pushing him away, she didn’t move from her position and just as suddenly as it had started, it stopped and Randall waded over towards Rory, climbed the stone steps and went to the bar for another drink, as if nothing whatever had occurred. Louise now lifted herself from the pool, walked around the edge to the bar, ordered a drink and came across to Rory.

He kept a poker face but was marvelling at two things. Firstly, how nonchalant she was about it all, especially about what had just occurred at the other side of the pool with Randall and secondly, her lack of manners in ignoring Rory’s empty goblet and getting herself a drink. It was no big deal but still – Rory would have expected at least a look over and a gesture towards his goblet, at which he would have gone up to the bar and ordered two and that was another thing – how could they tell, with an opaque goblet, that it was either full or empty and yet they could instinctively tell that. He knew it.

There were too many elements of the bizarre going on now; it was almost as if they were being asked to accept too much at face value.

In a rush of blood to his head, he suddenly wished for her to come over and love him.

Nothing.

All right, he wished her to come over and have sex with him.

Suddenly they were conjoined and she was actually surprised that he wasn’t getting into his role in any significant way. He pulled out and went over to the poolside, sitting down and sipping on his nectar. She made no move to come over and ask what was wrong, made no move to even converse with Randall but stepped down into the water, waded to the middle of the pool and sipped her drink there.

Randall, meanwhile, was looking away from them, facing the dome. It was like modern art.

Rory tried conversation with Louise. ‘Louise, come over here a moment.’ She instantly turned and came to the steps, climbed them and walked the few steps to him.

‘Yes?’ No emotion, no warmth.

‘Kiss me.’ She did and it was devoid of any feeling whatsoever. As he said nothing further nor thought it out loud, she looked at him and then drifted back to the pool.

What a life these creatures live, he thought to himself. He had to speak with Louise and Randall, had to get them to see what was happening but more than this, he had to work out why he wasn’t succumbing and they were. Maybe they were the ones in the right though, adjusting to life on this planet and he was the fish out of water. And why did thoughts of escape flit through his mind more and more often?

He had an idea. Out loud, he thought, ‘Let’s have some company here at the pool.’

The pool had six or seven ‘people’ in it, of male and female persuasion and a smattering of another type – slender, like the female and yet without genitalia beyond some sort of narrow, linear, vertical, closed orifice. He didn’t know if he wanted to know about that – the prospect of being touched by one of those did not appeal.

He looked over the females and saw that they were in various stages of thick hide. Some looked not unlike Louise, with far more hair and the beginnings of a rhino hide but some were far more swarthy, not unlike the two creatures they’d already met.

Now, around him, were a few of these people – let’s give them their due, he thought and call them that – and one of the males, again with a considerable thing, was approaching him to converse.

‘I’m Raymond.’ Rory couldn’t believe he was actually hearing this. ‘You’re Rory, I know. Do you want to go shooting?’ At the other’s reticence, he seemed to understand and offered, ‘You want trakh instead?’

Rory had not a clue what the man was on about but in another rush of blood, said yes, at which the ‘person’ put down his drink, went behind and tried to penetrate him. Rory spun round and punched Raymond full in the face, at which the man, nursing his jaw, stepped down into the water, took one of the females by the arm, she took one of the androgenous ones and the most bizarre three way activity now began, with no finesse whatever; it was like shark feeding time in Rory’s eyes, they’d now grabbed Louise and Randall and suddenly Rory called out, ‘The three of us want to be alone,’ at which all the other creatures disappeared and the three of them were left staring at each other.

Louise and Randall came over to the pool edge and Rory sat nearby to talk to them.

‘Why did you send our friends away?’ charged Louise.

‘Were you really happy to do that … with them?’

Something within her now seemed to collapse and she looked sheepish. ‘What’s happening, Rory?’

‘I think we’d better discuss it tonight. Are you thirsty?’

‘Not really.’

‘Randall?’

‘No, I’m not thirsty either.’

‘Good. I’m going to ask you both not to drink the nectar until tonight; I have a feeling it has something to do with our changes.’

‘Changes?’

‘Look at your hips, Louise and the outside of your thighs. You too, Randall. I’ve already looked at mine.’

They did and were horrified. The skin was solidifying and soft down had begun to grow from the affected areas.

‘O-o-o-o-o-o-o-h, n-o-o-o-o-o-o-o,’ Louise felt nauseous.

‘Are you aware you had sex with both Randall and me?’

‘I … I am but I’m not too. It just seemed the thing to do at the time. Rory, I can’t believe I just said that. Me. What shall we do?’

‘Certainly not think about it here and now. Let’s leave that until tonight. think of pleasant things about our hosts in the meantime.’

IV

Once more on the ‘waterbed’, as Rory referred to it, he took Louise’s arm and inscribed letters with his index finger, in fact laboriously writing her a message, with Randall looking on.

‘Ask for pomada, lipstick, of all varieties, also any other cosmetics you can think of. Ask for plenty of eyeliner. It will accord with what they hope.’

She did that and a sidetable appeared with the required items. Rory wrote on her arm again, ‘You’ll need to actually go and make yourself up. I’m sure we’re being observed.’

Louise climbed off the bed and went over to the dresser, looked in a mirror for the first time since they’d left earth and was horrified by what she saw. Where once had been the pleasant face of a not unpleasant woman who’d passed the first bloom of youth, now there was a harder quality to the face, the eyes narrower, the cursed hardening of the skin and the fur extending over her body – mostly on her back, she spun round and noted that, including some around her genitalia, which is where she did not wish to see it.

Nevertheless, she sat down and took time to make herself up, tumbling to Rory’s plan and finally bringing some stick pomada across to the bed to use as pencils, plus some remover. She handed each a stick. The conversation began, using her arms as the slate, the writing removed after each paragraph.

‘What do you understand about our antecedents,’ Rory asked the boffin.

‘Abraham, was the son of an idol manufacturer in the Sumerian city of Ur and knew about the Anunnaki - they who from heaven came. The Old Testament confuses them with the Nephilim but the Sumerians, 6000 years ago, say they were aliens who came from another planet and created humankind as a slave race to serve them. Anu was the king of the Anunnaki, and Ea (or Enki), who is the serpent, the one who gave the knowledge to man in the Garden of Eden, and created the Brotherhood of the Snake – he was also there.’

The arm was wiped clean and Randall began again.

‘The Anunnaki are said to have come to earth to exploit the resources of the Earth; especially gold, as this was something they were lacking on their planet, and they urgently needed it as an important ingredient in their atmosphere. Thus Ea, who was a brilliant scientist, created homo sapiens as a hybrid between a primitive earth life-form and the alien race.’

The arm was wiped clean again.

‘At first, homo sapiens was only meant for slave labor and couldn't breed. Later on, this was changed. Ea didn't like how his created race was treated by his people, and wanted to enlighten them by teaching them who they were and where they came from. He also wanted to tell them the well hidden truth that each individual is a spirit inhabiting a body and that after bodily death the spirit lives on and reincarnates on Earth.’

The arm was wiped clean and Rory took over.

‘Except that Ea did not create Man but someone else did, Ea was jealous as hell and that’s been the story of the world ever since. According to the Jews, the Anunnaki in fact were the Giants that walked the Earth, which the Bible is talking about. Those Giants were the nephilim, who rebelled against God and were cast down to Earth from Heaven, together with their master. That’s where all the shape-shifting and so on comes from.’

‘Which is right?’ asked Louise.

‘You’ll have to decide that yourself. I only know I don’t like what I’ve seen so far.’

The arm was wiped, she was sore and changed arms. She wrote:

‘We’re part of the Anunnaki on the earth, we’ve been involved in secret projects and have knowledge the average earth mortal does not possess. We are the chosen ones, chosen to visit Anunnak and share our knowledge, our prime directive. It’s a bit late to have second thoughts, Rory.’

Randall reached for her arm, wiped it clean and wrote:

‘There’s control going on here, big time. I agree with Rory - there’s one too many illusions. I think we’re being treated as special until they get the knowledge they want and I’m not sure I’m going to like how they’ll extract it, if we make it difficult for them. You seem susceptible to them, Louise.’

Arm wiped.

‘Maybe that’s because I’m purer, more pure-bred, I mean, in their terms and Rory maybe a later generation. Are you willing to try something, you two? I want to ask to see our brothers and sisters. It should be interesting.’

Randall nodded and Rory, hesitant at first, now nodded. Louise spoke the words and the scene instantly changed.

They were in a vast hall, a cave it looked like, dark, dank and it smelt but not only of natural stuffiness. There was another more overpowering and it seemed a mix of a very familiar smell and a stench they couldn’t quite place. They were on top of a ledge, a rope ladder would take them down into the cave proper and Rory couldn’t help but think that they’d been treated with kid gloves so far – they might have appeared right in the middle of what was going on below.

Around the walls of the cave were blazing torches and at intervals, young anunnaki seated, beating on half muted drums, the effect though - a low, dull thud which went right through the body and set it into a rhythm. There’d have to have been a hundred and fifty, maybe two hundred down there and they were alternately drinking from goblets, eating grapes and in different stages of coition in a variety of orifices. It was a bacchinalian festival of epic proportions, no one seemingly too fussed about who was with whom; they’d get up and roam about for new partners all the while.

What there were also though and no amount of attempts on their part to shut it out could do that, were cadavers – some old and near skeletal and some seemingly fresh, together with body parts strewn haphazardly around the floor, even a still bleeding leg which had landed on a chaisse longue where three people were going at it hammer and tongs, oblivious of the murder that had taken place.

Murder? It didn’t seem that it had been execution, it didn’t seem to have been ritual. It did seem that someone hadn’t liked something and that had been that. Now they, all three, witnessed one of these.

One woman – they were all of indeterminate age, except for the very old – had left two men and one of that other type and had gone to four others and two other women. One of the original men took exception to this – maybe there still were feelings of love but it seemed more like possessiveness than anything – he now took up his scimitar, strode over to the others and slaughtered them – the woman, the two other women, the four men and the androgynous one. Heads and limbs fell to the floor, the blood spurted everywhere, the soggy mess of meat was left where it fell, the scimitar point was dug into one of the pieces of body and the murderer went over to another part of the hall and joined in there.

Rory looked at Louise with a look which asked, ‘And you want to go down and join your pure brothers and sisters?’

She shuddered and Randall’s face was blanched. He asked, ‘We want to go back to our room,’ and there they were, back on the bed.

Rory took Louise’s arm and a cosmetic stick and wrote, ‘We’re in serious trouble. Are you in any doubt that that’s how we’re going to end up?’

Both the others shook their heads. Louise wrote, ‘Imagine the diseases down there.’

Randall was a bit more practical. ‘We haven’t drunk the nectar and we’re getting hungry. What are we going to eat? I suspect if we ask for food, it’ll also be drugged.’

‘Maybe it’s not drugged,’ said Louise, ‘but that’s how it comes from their soil, such as it is on this moon. I can’t think they’d be very good horticulturalists.’

Rory stroked his chin, then wrote on her arm: ‘Well, we’ll have to ask for food, as we have no choice. I think they’ll set up a situation where we see a hope of escape, of survival, they’ll hunt us down and then they’ll try to excise our souls from us. This is what they’re really after, it seems to me – harnessing this power.’

Louise wrote: ‘I think they’ll coerce us first, send someone to entice each of us, drawn from our own image of a person we’re susceptible to, maybe an amalgam of past lovers. I do think they’ll try that. Possibly tomorrow. And now look how we’re feeling. I’m sure you’ve just had the same urge in the last minute and I want to ask you, Rory, are you going to do that to me? Randall?’

Randall spoke simply. ‘I want you.’ It had been spoken out loud. Rory agreed. ‘Yes, I want you too and its getting stronger. I looked at you earlier – well, you’re a pretty woman, Louise – but now I can’t keep my hands off you.’

She wrote on her arm. ‘We’re being coerced. I’m not averse to making love to one of you tonight and the other tomorrow, if it’s done kindly but I don’t want what they’re suggesting. I think we should try to resist this all we can.’

‘Then let’s all go to sleep,’ wrote Rory but Randall reminded them they were hungry and asked for food.

A table appeared, laden with meats, greens, fruits and all they’d have conceptualized as good food and behind the table were three attendants. One was a young man of good proportions, with chisel jaw and large hands, about 185 cm tall and of dark complexion. Rory had a very good idea whom he’d be attending.

The one in the middle, partially obscured but still visible enough, was a demure girl in her early thirties, about five centimetres or so shorter than Rory and with the most fabulous curves to her slender body.

Both he and Louise guffawed about the third before they could stop themselves. It was a young man of a similar type to Randall, equally boffinish and Rory didn’t want to even think the implications of that one through. All knew that if they succumbed, they were most likely in trouble and Rory half hoped Randall’s boffin would attend him and make it easier.

No such luck.

The attendants brought platters to their bed, exactly as they’d suspected would happen, the girl to Rory, the Adonis to Louise and Randall’s friend to him. Both Rory’s and Louise’s attendants fed them grapes from above and in stretching over them, the naked bodies were very close for the taking. What killed it though was Randall talking technology to Justin, as he was apparently called. It completely killed the erotic atmosphere and both Rory and Louise gave silent thanks for that.

After maybe forty minutes, having eaten and drunk much and with no sexual moves having been made on anyone’s part, the table and the attendants suddenly disappeared and the three of them lay back and took in what had just happened. They were well aware that the same drug was inside them, however it had taken the appearance of food and now the question was how well they could resist its effects.

Rory took Louise’s arm quite roughly and wrote, in a jagged manner, ‘It kills the inhibitions, this drug. The slightest thing annoys me, I want Louise and if there’s any resistance, say from you, Randall, I’ll kill you. At least, I won’t but you know what I mean.’

‘I know,’ wrote Louise. ‘The inhibitions are gone but the tolerance level has also. I want both of you and if I don’t get you, I’m going to come over and take you. I think that’s how they have us, that’s where the control comes from – if we can’t resist our own urges. That’s why the younger they get us, the better chance they’ve got. And the longer it goes on for, the worse it gets. I’m feeling immense pressure inside right now.’

‘Who’s doing this?’ wrote Randall.

‘Maybe it’s the moon itself, maybe ethereal presences we can’t detect.’

On an impulse, Rory said out loud, ‘Show yourself.’

Suddenly, they looked over and a woman bearing an uncanny resemblance to earth’s concept of Lilith was astride Randall and there was little doubt from his angle what was going on. She looked across and though the face bore traces of beauty, the shape of the jaw, the lips, it was also an old face, weary and satiated, an appalling yet sensuous face. Her breasts were like something from a boy’s computer game, impossibly perfect and the overall shape was an hourglass, with not a trace of fat but a lot of meat, all the same.

She obviously caught Rory’s desire and now sprang off Randall and onto him before he could even register a protest. Now, another appeared, one of the male types and there was zero doubt where he was going to end up. Louise suddenly said, ‘Go away, all of you,’ and they disappeared into thin air.

She was shaking, Rory held her, she took a stick and wrote on her arm, ‘Would that it were always so easy to get rid of them.’ He nodded, sure that this power was going to erode, probably in proportion to the excesses they allowed themselves, the extent to which they’d give way. It became clearer in his head that it wasn’t a question of morality on this moon – it was a question of survival. Their ability to get out of this was going to depend on the power they still retained at the end.

Now, in a worrying development, two of the attendants reappeared and they knew how that had happened. Randall saw it too, was miffed and his attendant now reappeared. They looked at one another and knew the lie of the land; they also knew that it was getting quite impossible. Out loud, Rory apologized to Randall, pulled Louise to him and they were conjoined in seconds.

All three attendants turned their attention to Randall who told the two he didn’t want, ‘Go away,’ and they half did, appearing again on the other side of the room, waiting. This was more than worrying because they’d disobeyed for the first time. Randall knew his order had stemmed from wanting the first, Justin. The boffin in him overcame any desire he had and he told all three of them, ‘Go.’

The attendants disappeared.

As it was a bit gross for poor old Randall to have to endure the humping going on beside him, they disengaged and all lay back again on the bed, only this time, there were feelings between Rory and Louise. She looked over and touched his arm, then wrote: ‘First sign of love since we’ve been here.’

He nodded and looked over at her. That had been nice, no doubt of it. She didn’t know how to tell Rory she’d have preferred Randall or the Adonis and he didn’t have the nerve to tell her he’d have preferred the nubile attendant. What they both knew was that if they did stick with each other, the feelings could be controlled. If they let themselves go with the objects of their desires, then nothing was going to stop them.

V

They awoke in a garden, a grove and again, it was uncannily like the artist’s conception of the Garden of Eden.

Their bed was a fern strewn palliasse, the birds sang in the trees, fruit weighed down boughs, a table was set to one side of the clearing they were in and on it was all manner of foodstuffs.

By now, they knew how to accept an illusion as an illusion, that hadn’t altered but what had altered was that Randall had his companion with him. Rory half suspected that if it was an emotional attachment between the two and given the nature of Eden and right and wrong, two words which had not cropped up on this moon until this moment, then they might be in for the first separation from a colleague.

The two young men were obviously getting on well, chatting about this and that, so Rory wrote on Louise’s arm with his index finger, ‘What do you understand about Eden?’

She wrote, ‘Yes, I saw it as Eden too. They ate an apple and knew right from wrong.’ She hadn’t even tried to justify the parallel between the original inhabitants and the two of them – it was as clear as day.

He inscribed the words on her arm, ‘It always puzzled me how, before they ate the apple, they could make love and do everything in a state of innocence. The serpent urged them to eat it. Now why? Because the moment they did, they knew right from wrong and adopted a set of values. But surely it was in the interests of the serpent for them not to have any values and to just do as they wished.’

She thought about that, then wrote on his arm, ‘Maybe that was amoral or in that state of innocence, not a question of morality at all. But the serpent wanted them to know right from wrong and then do what had been stipulated as wrong. Immorality.’

‘Could be. Why?’ He felt Louise might be closer to the truth with her feminine take on things.

‘Because it diminished the human’s power and gave the serpent power instead. You know those SF creatures who feed off brainwaves or radiation or something.’

‘But how did they know right from wrong in the first place? No one had given them a lecture.’

‘Maybe it was programmed in but hadn’t been activated.’

‘Why would the serpent have wanted it activated though? Did the knowledge of right and wrong give the humans power or did not knowing it give them power?’

She wrote, ‘I don’t know, Rory.’

Well anyway, here they were.

They looked about, got up and went for a wander through the trees. Rory wrote, ‘If we make love in here, is it right or wrong?’

‘Good point. We’re not married.’

‘Is there marriage in Eden?’

‘If the only couple are us, it’s maybe not needed but if there were more people, it might be necessary as a sort of statement. It would prevent the sort of thing we saw in that cave.’

‘Will you marry me?’

‘Why?’

‘To stop you making love to Randall or the Adonis.’

‘No, I won’t marry you for that reason.’

He thought about it. ‘Will you marry me because you have feelings for me?’

‘If I was going to, that would be why. I do have feelings, by the way; to what degree I’m not sure yet.’

‘Why don’t I want you to make love to Randall?’

‘Why don’t I want you to make love to that attendant?’

‘Something happens, doesn’t it? There’s some sort of bond comes out of relations but if you follow the rules and you don’t do it before you’re married, then where’s the bond come from?’

‘Maybe there are other bonds as well. Maybe these bonds make them say yes to each other and then, when they do marry, the lovemaking is the icing on the cake. A bit late for us though.’

‘You used the word ‘us’.’

‘Yes I did, didn’t I? Curious. Do you think it’s this garden?’

They’d stopped by a leafy tree, he looked up, hoping no apple would be there for the picking and it wasn’t, mainly because it was an oak and not an apple tree. She pointed to the ground and he saw it instantly – dried blood. The illusion had been well done but they hadn’t been able to disguise this. A feeling of horror now crept over both of them that this might well be the hall where those things had happened.

They looked at one another and he took her arm. ‘I feel confused,’ he wrote, ‘and I think you do too. Look, Louise, let’s marry and then make love. I do want you in the future. Do you have anyone back home?’

‘I did have. All right, Rory. When we go back, if we go back, we’re going to be so unusual that I can see a situation where we’d be forced into each other’s arms anyway. I can’t see any reason why not.’

‘I can. We might get back there, all the rules change, you or I meet a fabulous person we fall in love with and really want to marry. We then resent it because we can’t escape each other.’

‘That seems the product of this moon,’ she wrote, ‘everything’s on its head. You know what I think? I think that if we were to marry in this grove, we’re actually thumbing our noses at the sacred feminin, we’re pairing off and agreeing to follow rules. We’re surrendering the freedom to choose.’

‘But the thing is – we’re the ones giving it away. It’s not being taken from us. The hall with that orgy was a nice allegory – that’s what total abandonment leads you to. What do we have to fear from marrying?’

‘Getting sick of each other. Wanting others,’ she wrote.

‘If we knew that, if we were well aware of it, we could work to stop that happening. You know what I think the anunnaki fear most? The chemistry between a man and a woman.’

‘Let’s do it, Rory. Let’s marry – we’ll get Randall to do it and the other one can help if he wants.’

They returned to where Randall had been but he wasn’t there. The good thing on this moon was that it just took Louise to call, ‘Randall, come here,’ and he was there with his friend. It was clear that things had moved on with the two of them. Once Louise had explained, Randall was all for it but curiously, his companion was not.

In fact, Justin was raising all sorts of objections and one was that he didn’t want to lose Randall now he’d found him. It turned out he wasn’t a long time Anunnaki but like them, had been beamed here, had fallen, had regretted it and had then found himself in limbo. He’d been tortured or at least, that’s how he described all attempts, medical and otherwise, to excise his spirit from his body. He’d been asked to sign a contract, been offered riches beyond imagining but it had been the vehemence of the request and the pressure which had been brought to bear which had determined him not to give it away. Human perverseness, even in a part Anunnak.

Rory explained that if the young man went along with their wedding, then whatever happened would happen to all parties to the marriage, meaning Justin too. The young man saw the force of that. Not only that but he knew a super place to conduct it.

He led the way.

They came out, over by a sheer cliff of many colours, with a large stone, maybe a metre square, sitting about two metres from the cliff and it was clear what this had been used for. The oaks either side of this stone provided a canopy and the whole was in a little clearing. In an even more perverse gesture, Rory now took some of the long grass while the others watched and he plaited it into a more solid length. Louise saw this and she too plaited one. The other two also plaited lengths of grass, why no one but Rory knew.

‘Good,’ said Rory aloud. ‘You’re now all guilty.’ He instantly formed a cross with two strands and bound the arm and upright with the other strands, then placed it on the stone. ‘I’m ready. Are you ready, Louise? Any second thoughts?’

She shook her head and joined him, facing the stone. The other two stood either side of the stone and there was silence for the space of maybe half a minute. Randall broke it by asking, ‘What now?’

Louise spoke. ‘I think you’re meant to ask, ‘Do you take this woman for your wife and that sort of thing.’

‘Oh, right.’ He began but Justin said, ‘Hold on, no ring.’ Searching about, he found any number of them mostly buried in the soil. This seemed to have been the final act of those who’d paid the ultimate price here. Digging one up with a stick, he cleaned it up a bit, smiled at Randall and the ceremony went on.

‘It would have been nice to have had a dress to wear,’ said Louise and one suddenly appeared on the stone; she was past being shocked, she took it and slipped it on. ‘Give Rory a suit,’ she added and a jacket and trousers appeared. He put them on and then both came to the same conclusion – it was tampering with history. ‘Take them away,’ ordered Louise and the clothes disappeared off their bodies. ‘Let’s do it maybe as it was meant to happen at the beginning.’

Rory grinned. ‘I quite like this. Do you realize we’re being perverts, deviants?’

She knew exactly. Here, on Anunnak, to do as they were doing must have been nauseating, disgusting to the Anunnaki. ‘Good,’ she said defiantly. ‘let’s continue.’

The ceremony was close to the end, meaning that Randall had run out of things to say, they both said, ‘I do,’ and the scenario no one had wanted eventuated. In a flash, Eden disappeared and with it, Randall and Justin and what there was in its place was mortifying.

They found themselves still by the cliff, still by the stone but now the rock was dark and clammy, they were on a hillside and out in the valley – well, it was like the aftermath of a holocaust. Depressing did not even begin to describe the view.

For a start, the air was acrid and thick and yet the visibility was not all that bad and they could see a fair way down. With virtually no sunlight, only the presumably molten core of the moon, making it more like a planet than a moon, provided some sort of warmth and now they regretted sending the clothes back. Of life, there was no sign. Leafless trees, blighted and gnarled stumps, dead black soil, no grass – these were the things they could see and this was their punishment for having transgressed.

On spec, they both tried calling for food; they both thought that calling for their attendants might have a better chance.

Nothing. They were alone and had been left to their own devices. Both knew that there was no atmosphere here, that they were still dependent on the good offices of the Anunnaki to allow them to remain alive, they didn’t try to revert to their fully human form, not that they ever had been, really and now they began making their way down the hill, one naked man, one naked woman, holding each other’s hand for support, stumbling, being picked up, stumbling again.

‘The joke’s going to be on us,’ said Rory, ‘if we can’t procreate.’

‘The joke’s going to be on us if we can’t eat today.’

They reached the foot of the hill, Rory stooped and dug his fingers into the ground. It yielded but it would need digging over, a pain in the butt but there it was. Plus, that wasn’t going to help them today.

‘Louise, why don’t you gather some wood for a fire, at least we have plenty of that and I’ll try to build our hut.’

‘Put it over there, Rory and make the entrance face that way.’

They must have put in about two hours work, much of his time spent making cord from grass and finding wood which was not rotten to form the girders. She’d done a grand job gathering different sized wood from kindling up to logs and it was set in a fireplace she’d circled with stones. The essential problem now was food.

They saw a couple of bushes less weathered than the others and they were carrying berries. Well, poisonous or not, these were going to comprise their first food. The question was, of course, whether or not their metabolisms had altered sufficiently from that of the human that they could only stand to ingest the nectar.

She took a berry, nibbled half of it, nodded and put the other half into his mouth. Yes, the berries seemed possible to eat and now something else was becoming clear to them or rather confirmed. There was an atmosphere of sorts. The dust particles in space suggested air, the berries suggested water and those two were going to keep them alive.

They fell into each other’s arms with relief and Rory said, ‘We’ll keep the hut for storage after tonight but we’d best find a cave to live in tomorrow.’ She nodded on his shoulder. ‘I sincerely hope we do find ourselves in danger of being savaged by wild beasts.’

She agreed and added, ‘Come, let me help you with the hut and then we’ll work together on the fire. I wish to work with you just now.’

The hut was good – set in the three-way fork of a tree which had lost the rest of its branches in the holocaust, there was room for them to sleep and for supplies to be stored and the canopy was made of small branches and a sort of thatch made of grass and leaves. It would do.

Curiously, neither had made the least attempt to get back to the garden.

Now they set to work on the fire, he lay down on the cool ground and worked hard with the lump of wood and the stick he twirled to produce that first spark and it was damned hard going. She nudged him, took over the stick and he felt her hands over his as she took it over, felt them and felt good inside, she made a spark but it didn’t catch, he took over now and rubbed like crazy until one spark, two, more came and the first grass ignited and died, she replaced it with other grass and still he rubbed like crazy, it caught, she fed it with more, which also caught. Little twigs were added, both brought the other kindling closer and within fifteen minutes, they had a fire.

They leapt about with joy and hugged each other like there was no tomorrow, the feel of the other’s skin a nice counterpoint to the heat of the fire.

They didn’t need to be told, both had read their history books, both had read Robinson Crusoe and Swiss Family Robinson; it wasn’t as if they were making these discoveries all over again. They’d even construct the wheel when the time came.

They now spent the next three hours gathering wood. Even though there seemed to be no meat about, they still thought it somehow the most important thing to keep alight, almost a symbol of themselves and what they had sacrificed everything for.

They climbed into their ‘bower’, made love copiously and with more tenderness than had been to this point, then fell asleep in each other’s arms.

VI

The next morning wasn’t a morning and so they’d learnt a lesson. It was certainly approaching a morning and was a bit lighter than had been the case … well … yesterday, to still utilize that term, he remembered that the Sednan rotation was twenty earth days but they’d have to wait to discover what it was on Anunnak.

Time to eat a few berries and then to explore the area.

The fire was stoked in such a way that they thought it might buy them two hours and off they went up the hill and along a ledge which had obviously been carved out long ago. Surely this would bring them luck.

It did. Not only did they find a cave but it was one which had been selected by someone in the past because they found remnants of clothing and tools, rough tools, which had been made with care but without much technology to assist. That’s when they saw two eyes appear in the gloom at the back of the cave and disappear just as quickly.

Far from being fearful, they were overjoyed and embraced again. Good, there was meat.

‘Let’s explore further along, Louise and choose the best of the bunch.’

She eventually hit on one cave which seemed to suit them best although it was furthest from their hut and now it was time to return. Looking back from the ledge they were on, they saw four Anunnaki down at the fire, two had kicked dirt in on it and a third now kicked the wood, dirt and ashes about, obliterating their work. Louise placed her hand on his forearm and looked into his eyes. ‘No, Rory. We’ll build it again.’

He fumed but knew she was right in this. The vandals wrecked the hut before moving on and now it was a question of either going back down to collect what they could or doing it all over again in a new place.

‘You know,’ he said, ‘we were tied to this area by the fire but we have no restrictions on us now. We can find anywhere we like. Let’s go.’

He looked over at her walking beside him, neither was what they could have described as clean with this black soil but in a nuggety way, she looked magnificent in his eyes and now went red, well aware of his thinking process and flattered by it. She didn’t think him half bad either by this time.

He stopped and turned her, then made love to her standing up. ‘Rory, she puffed, ‘they were so keen for us to lose ourselves in their paradise, to follow our instincts and that’s just what we’ve done now and it’s better, don’t you think?’

His kiss answered that.
The good thing was that there was no nightfall and it did appear that in the next few days, it would be continuous, if dull light; they knew that night would follow that for some days too and so everything which needed to be prepared had to be done now. Neither was afraid of hard work, both were relieved that they had this start and who knew what the pressures back on earth would have done to them?

By the time the weariness really set in, they’d gone a good two kilometres around the hill, had found a super cave which could only be reached by climbing, they’d made a rope with knots to drop down from there in future, the fire was inside the cave and lit, hours had been spent getting fuel in there to feed it, there was not bad soil further down the hill, they’d made a comfortable palliasse and both were now working on a woven grass blanket to put over themselves. Rory wanted it about king-sized so that they’d not fight over that at night.

Piles of berries and some other fruits they’d found were in one corner and now came the distasteful part. They knew that in one of the caves, some creatures were living. Both felt a repugnance at having to do what they were going to do, when construction had been the whole name of their game. They were willing enough to do without meat if they could have found a protein substitute but where would they find soy or something like it?

Unfortunately, it had to be so.

They climbed down from the cave and went to where they knew the creatures were. Sadly, the creatures, some form of rodents, were completely naïve and even curious. Rory had to overcome his squeamishness over this, he took his spear, slowly approached one of them which backed away to the wrong corner and did it. Louise swiftly closed in and finished the creature off between the eyes before the pain had gripped it.

First blood and it had not been good, not at all.

What made it worse was that with the straps they’d plaited, Rory now lifted the still bleeding body onto his back and the two of them slowly made their way back to their own cave. They’d taken some of the rudimentary tools from the cave near their original hut and now came the job of gutting and slicing this creature.

Louise set to the cooking and Rory took the entrails away, using the skin as a bag, a repugnant task and yet it had to be done. This raised the question of where their garbage was going to be put and he saw a place some distance away which might do. They’d need to sort out something more permanent later.

Now they were in this cave, the question of personal hygiene arose – not to put too fine a point on it, ablution. He was in no way averse to her bodily functions and had even watched her doing it, she’d obviously not been fazed by it and had admitted to herself that she’d felt strange inside with his eyes on her most personal functions, strange but excited; yet it seemed to both that they had to begin to aspire to higher things, rather than living as lower order animals.

On the way back, he mocked up the boundaries of a possible latrine but he also wanted another area where she could preen herself. He’d think on it.

Back in the cave, the meat had been cooked and placed on two little mats she’d woven and now she led him to the rear of the cave. Pointing to the discolouration on the rock floor, all the way to the entrance, she retraced her path to the back wall and then where the cave curved round to the left. He heard it before he saw it –the trickle, trickle.

He kissed her there and then, held her close and ran his hands over her. ‘You’re a prize, Louise, I’d fight to the death over you now. I mean that.’

‘I think you might have done that anyway,’ she laughed. ‘You strike me as the type.’

This was excellent. Food, water, possible crops, some form of safety up here, with the rope ladder pulled up and a fire.

And they themselves. ‘Any regrets so far?’ he asked.

‘Not so far. Let’s stay focused on each other, let’s continue to improve our state. Do you agree?’

‘I was going to ask you that. You know the Anunnaki will come back again. Then we’ll have to fight.’

‘Yes.’

‘If three or four come, we’ll have to kill them and hide the bodies.’

Ah, this one she didn’t like so much although she knew the dark logic of it. ‘They’ll send out a search party.’

‘Which is why our prime task is to find a more permanent home with good natural protection, somewhere far away.’

‘Do you not want to return to earth?’

‘I don’t mind. I do like the idea of us here though.’

‘So do I but there might come a day when we get homesick. What will we do then?’ Knowing there was no answer to that one, she moved to the next. ‘Listen Rory, if they could create a Garden of Eden and shift us quickly from place to place, then they can find us and destroy us too.’

‘And yet, on earth, if they could have destroye us all, don’t you think they would have done by now?’

‘It’s not too good on earth, is it?’

‘Why’s that? Because they only have power over those who give way to their instincts, their wants. Why haven’t they flashed us back to the torture chairs yet? I don’t think they actually can. Not without some sort of input from us. I think the first time we’re angry with each other, they might be able to.’

‘Gee, that’s a tall order, isn’t it?’

‘It’s no bed of roses, love. We chose this way.’

‘You called me ‘love’.’

‘Why not? I love you.’

She ran it past her lips a few times, did not dislike it and said, ‘I love you too. Rory, look at my body. Do you notice anything?’

‘You’re losing that hair.’

She looked down and smiled. ‘No, I mean apart from that.’

He suddenly grinned and went quiet. ‘Do you mean …?’

‘I think so.’

They looked at one another and took that in, in all its implications and it just began another bout of lovemaking, of no possible interest to anyone but themselves.

BACK TO STORY 2: LIFT

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