HARD

CHAPTER 4

Drying off after being drenched in each others’ sweat, their bodies having repeatedly enjoyed each other, their senses were now numb, exhausted, spent, and satisfied. Karin laid comfortably on her back as Rayna gently massaged her toes for her. The soothing nature of which she did it could put anyone to sleep but Karin’s head was instead pounding and pounding hard. She couldn’t decipher why but she had a wild guess. She took one good look at the beautiful specimen before her, that in her mind was nature’s best mistake. Her skin eminating a flushed afterglow slowly dissipating, while the sweat drips gave her a holy glisten. Was Karin falling in love with her whore, someone she paid for to do exactly what she asked and more?

‘Did you enjoy that? Karin broke the long ambient silence.

‘Of course I did,’

‘I mean really,’ she pulled back, sitting up and looked at her straight in the eye, removing her distracting feet away from Rayna, demanding seriousness. ‘The truth. I won’t take offense,’

‘Well,’ Rayna hesitated. The last time she was honest, she was severely punished but she figured her customer wasn’t the type of person that would just let this go. ‘Not many people usually serve me back. The things you did to me, for me…’ she paused mid sentence recanting their night. It made her obviously flush again, like a camouflaging lizard, but her skin was ever smooth and supple. ‘The things you did, well, I have never felt like that in a long time. Thank you.’

‘No problem, they’re just things I learnt on the road,’

Rayna was already intrigued as soon as she saw the stoic, broad chested female in shabby clothing and a fake leg walk through the door but even after unfolding her to her naked center, a small part of Rayna wished she could prod even more, especially since Karin’s one leg was pulled back and the other was just resting still, cold, inanimate but still part of a living being, ever tempting her to touch it.

‘You’re wondering?’ asked Karin, smiling as if to an inquisitive child. She sensed she was shy, and that only made her more attracted to her. ‘Go ahead, ask,’

‘You got this from your travels?’

‘A lover,’

‘She gave you a leg?’

‘More like HE took it. He lost a bet,’

‘And YOU lost…’

‘Not just this leg,’ Karin interjected smiling. ‘I’ve been trying to find that son of a gun for years now. But he hides well.’

‘Son of a gun?’

‘You never heard of that before?’ Karin acted surprised.

She gently shook her head and pouted her lips. Karin saw those beautiful eyes lit up. It struck every nerve inside of her, dried her throat and made her aware of her chest beats. It might be a temporary trance, a hold this witch had on her. It might be gone as soon as she left out that door, but she wanted to convince herself otherwise, that this was somehow different. Maybe it was love or maybe it wasn’t. But she needed affirmation. She needed to test it out.

‘I could show you many things, out there,’

Rayna stopped her. She was feeling a familiar rhetoric, something her customers always used to say to her after they had sex, as though rehearsed. She didn’t want this from Karin. For some reason, hearing those words from her made her want to tear. She got up immediately, and picked up her clothes to fasten it back on.

‘Was it something I said?’ Karin noticed that she had offended the young female.

‘I don’t know why I am feeling like this or why this matters so much to me, but I just remembered, that you paid for this. Funny isn’t it, that i would forget? Could forget even.’

‘Well, this can be the last time someone pays you for something you don’t want to do. Come with me,’ Karin insisted on her invitation.

‘STOP!’ Rayna exclaimed reaffirming her decline. ‘And what? You gonna go out there and show me the world? You gonna rescue me? What’s the plan? I wait for you at dawn at the train station or something? And you will leave now, with promises, promises, promises, and I am supposed to feel like all this is over. As soon you leave that door, your confused body will know itself again, and then I won’t be a muse, a vixen or even a lover anymore.’ She starts tearing. ‘Just a paid fuck. And you will come back again indefinitely, paying whatever else you have, giving up everything for just another 20 minutes of what YOU have told yourself is heaven.’

‘Rayna,’

‘And all those promises? What about them? Just poor whores at the train station patiently waiting, holding on their dear lives, praying not to get caught. Maybe he will come? He has to come, he just has to. Right? But nobody sticks to the plan. You have had your white meat and life moves on for you. But us? We just get hauled back in here, lashes, whips, and of course free service. And you know what free service means. Nobody is prepared for that. Because all holes are open for business…’

‘STOP! Please stop!’ Karin felt overwhelmed. She too was client, and she too paid for everything her heart desired because that was the deal but the things Rayna was describing were all too palpable. The episode Karin had with her might not be the same for her next one, nor the next, nor the one after and it was a shame hearing the obvious come out of the young girl’s mouth, something that everyone knew but refused to acknowledge so as to not ruin their own fantasy, their unique experience. But why was this to much for her to handle? What had made this girl hold such a special place in her that even visualizing her in constant defilement, the nature of her lifelihood suddenly become completely unacceptable?

‘I meant it,’ Karin was ever resilient, only becoming more sure of herself.

‘Sure you did. You wanna go out and come back in, see you still feel the same?’

Karin got up. She picked up her clothes from the floor and started to dress herself. She thought hard and long about what she going to do. Rayna sensed her dilemma, but after the amazing night she had had partially thanks to the generosity of her customer, her guilt coerced her to realize she probably went a little too far. She felt obliged to put her customer’s mind at ease. ‘Look, I’m sorry. Maybe come back next week and I’ll see if they can reduce the price for you, or at least give a longer session, I shouldn’t have said what I said. I am really stupid.’

‘I’m not sorry Rayna,’

‘But you ARE feeling sorry FOR me. I don’t want that. I don’t need you to feel that for me.’

‘I am thinking of a plan. The train station was never a good one. In fact I could feel the insincerity of it as soon as you mentioned it. I would never go that route, not if I was serious. I am sorry if you had to go through all that.’

‘So what will your’s be like?’ Rayna smiled, puzzled at Karin’s proposition, intrigued to know.

‘Call her in, your manager or pimp or whoever the other lady was.’

Rayna immediately reached for the wall next to the door and rang the bell, not one second later, the lady from earlier came in. This time with a shotgun.

‘Don’t think I wasn’t listening,’ she cocked the gun and aimed at Karin.

‘BANG’ a bullet went right through her before she could pull the trigger. Rayna leaped back, her face horror stricken as she watched blood ooze out from her matron’s chest, dirtying her clothes, pooling over the floor boards underneath her slippers. The lady dropped her gun that never fired, grew instantly pale and fell to her immediate demise.

Rayna holding her tunic to her mouth, passed her wide confused gaze toward Karin, now in a partial kneeling stance holding a pistol with smoke billowing from it’s mouth. Karin just got even more interesting and it was stirring upq emotions inside of her.

Karin stood straight, sighed aloud and turned towards Rayna. ‘That’s more like what I would do.’

***

The sirens blared, and the hibernating pods flashed open. Kira was still in a daze. She eyed her surroundings for hoping for some clarity. ‘Oh yes, we are traveling,’ she mumbled. There was imminent panic and one of the engineers were busy below floor level, past the one access hatch. ‘What’s going on?’ she shouted from above.

‘Ma’am, please brace for an emergency.’ ushered the soldier now standing in front of her, checking her pupils and feeling her pulse. ‘There was an incident, and we’re doing our utmost to take care of it. Best if you strap yourself up.’

‘Your utmost? I’m the one trying to fix it,’ shouted the engineer from below.

‘How long has it been?’ She asked. ‘It has been about 4 months ma’am,’ the man in uniform graciously replied.

Kira pushed him aside and made way toward Steve, the engineer hard at work. With him, Dr. Brooks, her Botanist under the hatch that separated the levels. ‘Good morning,’ he smiled.

‘What?’ she demanded.

Steve began to explain, ‘we must have hit something or fried some circuits, fuel tank isn’t responding. Some of the connections got severed. I’m still trying to figure out what. The Voyager is a good machine, but she has aged, and not gracefully,’

A loud screeching hijacked the airwaves. Kira headed for the cock-pit, ignoring the soldier’s orders. ‘Dennis, what’s going on?’

‘Sorry ma’am, we are caught by the gravitational field of the planet.

‘And how is that bad?’

‘Well, we need enough exhaust fuel to push back against gravity to ensure safe landing. If we can’t do that then we can at least glide slowly mid atmosphere until we find some kinda runway but there was something the scanners didn’t pick up. You take a look,’

Past the windscreen, she could see it, the looming hemisphere of a blood red mass, the planet they were looking for but even more obvious, a sizeable whether temperament that looked like a cyclone of continental proportions literally, consuming the sky and the clouds. The problem was that even they were getting pulled in. It made her heart sink as if looking into nature’s wrath, upset that they came here. ‘Dear God,’ she exclaimed. ‘Ma’am?’ another soldier placed his hands over her shoulder. She turned a fierce stern before he pulled back. ‘I’m sorry ma’am, we have to make sure everyone is safe.’

‘And you do that.’

‘Go, Kira, I’ll handle this. I’m the captain for this mission.’ Dennis nodded respectfully, hinting at her to obey. She moved back reluctantly and fastened herself to a chair as per protocol.

The jet trembled and started to shake vioently. The metal innards vibrated and started to fall apart. Everyone onboard could feel the pressure rise and the vessel heat up at an alarming rate. The deafening sirens kept blarring and the vessel was on full security lockdown mode. ‘God damn it,’ she heard Steve curse from below. ‘Steve?’ she called out to see if he needed help.

A loud bang, and then horrific screams to follow before being silenced into the distance. The entire lower portion exploded before they could turn to look. The vacuum sucked out everything through the breach including the spec-ops officer who wanted to ensure Kira was fastened but hadn’t yet secured himself in time. An emergency door sealed off the hatch but it was too late for the souls lost. ‘What the fuck?’ WHAT THE FUCK?’ Kira screamed in hysteria.

‘We’re in the cyclone,’ Dennis clenching his teeth, holding on the the yoke. He tried to override automatic flight controls. The Voyager 200 was designed to be both flight and space shuttle, to deploy wings and ailerons once striking atmosphere and to be a full blown rocket in space. But as soon as the wings deployed, it broke off, leaving them looking like a huge pencil shaped junk floating about aimlessly in the mercy of the wind, lightning and rubble.

‘This is bad,’ mumbled Kira. Dr. Kiran, the biologist next her to chair reach his hand for hers. He starred at her with a dreary look. ‘I’m sorry Kira,’ he said. ‘I really am.’ She starred back at him in horror. ‘No, Kiran, I am,’ she regretted bringing him, ‘your kids will learn of everything you did for me, and for the cause.’

Another loud thud and all them felt like they were being hurled by an unseen force. Dennis gave up on his first plan to land safely. Now he had to just make sure of his passengers’ survival. He shouted over the radio. ‘Get to your escape pods. NOW!…over’

‘There are only the hibernation ones, the escape pods are in space, along with the auxillary engines and 3 good men…over’ replied a sombre Pvt. Cameron over the walkie. Yet she immediately picked herself up braced herself and got out of her seat. She wobbled around till she fell before Kira.’That means you, ma’am,’

‘No!’

‘It’s only protocol. Civilians first,’

Kira gulped but shook her head in agreement. It was the drill, and she understood. She unfastened herself and climbed back in her hibernation pod. It closed shut. Claustrophobic, helpless and scared, her eyes wondered everywhere. She wanted to be sure Kiran was safely in his. They smiled at each other, through the glass and she nodded at the 2 officers will much respect to their servitude and their sacrifice.

BOOM! The pod launched. Kira felt like she was taking the greatest fall of her life only to then start spinning, taking her own course riding the cyclone. Lightning sparks were heavy and soon enough she could feel she was running out of air. The internal system short circuited and then it was just continuous beeping. She was gasping for air while she banged on the glass repeatedly and hard. She was sucking in nothing and she could feel lungs internally collapsing filling up with her own lung fluids forced out. The Voyager now getting ever distant escaped the pull of the cyclone and was off at a tangent, swung off like a Greek God doing a hammer throw and so was she in the opposite direction. She saw the twister ahead of her, magnanimous, shrinking fast in the distance, then just clear sky, and for a glimpse of a second she caught what remained of The Voyager 200 exploding far in the distance, plummeting to its end. She teared for her men and also for herself. Rapidly being pulled downward by a strong gravitational force, head first, eyes up, she was completely blind as to when she would hit the ground, and whether or not this pod would take the fall. She closed her eyes still tearing as her face started slowly sinking in due to the vacuum. All she thought of was her family and the time they might have had. She envisioned her daughter growing up and her husband remarrying and smiling together by the beach somewhere. And suddenly, a loud thud, a thunderous clap in her ears and all went blank.

**

Kira woke up all of a sudden as if breathed back to life, still lying in her pod. The glass was cracked, and the first thing she noticed was that she was breathing again. The air was coarse, thick and it made her lungs wet even more but there was probably some oxygen in the air she was inhaling. She coughed and expectorated heavily while she tried to mobilize her arms and legs. Enduring the pain she understood that she had to make it out of this dead vessel in order to survive. Once her arms were back to obeying her, she gave a solid push and the door broke open. She was bombarded with a gush of heavy winds and sand. She toppled and fell face down, though her legs were still weak, she was grateful to feel ground. She kept on coughing and spitting out phlegm as she tried to get up and observe her surroundings. She took out her pad device from her pocket only to realize it was also dead. ‘Great!’.

After much grunting and moaning, Kira finally found herself on her feet. Gravity pulled strong here, and she noted her first few steps to be a bit awkward, as you would for the first time trying to walk on a new planet surface. She started to pace more steadily, and soon regained her balance and so kept on for quite a bit to search for shelter or help of anykind. The sun was scorching and drying her up even more. Tired, injured and in pain, she was motivated by telling herself she had a second chance and yet pushed forward aimlessly. She soon found no energy to keep going and inevitably fell to her knees. ‘Maybe this IS it,’ she said in remorse, anger and defeat. ‘Sorry sweetie, mommy loves you,’ she mumbled as her cognition started to loose her.

A thunderous roar blared from the north, like an old engine and immediately Kira snapped right back. She peered hard into the distance. A black object was coming toward fast and then just sped past her. On the back of the vehicle was a woman in worn-out clothing and bandaged hands. ‘Hey!, Hey!,’ Kira screamed at her, flailing her arms, suddenly fuelled by a burst of residual energy. A chance of hope came at her doorstep, or so she thought. ‘Hey!’ she squealed in desperation but the woman in the vehicle paid no heed, and just drove off of sight.

‘Oh I know the bitch heard me,’ she kept running in that same direction unaware that there was another truck right behind her, and before she could turn to notice, a large hand grabbed her by the torso and lifted her up to the chest. ‘Shit!’ frightened by the large monster of man gripping her. She struggled to get off. Desperately shaking herself rapidly. ‘STOP that you bitch,’ he yelled back. She shook her head continuously till she knocked his forehead, once, twice, thrice until he started to get drowsy and immediately let her loose. She fell hard and started tumbling down the dunes. Sand got in her hair, her eyes and her mouth. In the knick of time, resilient, not quitting on herself, she forcefully dug her hands and knees into the sand to force a stop not a few feet away. She got up and dusted herself off, spitting out residual sand glued with her own inner chest secretions.

There was a horrible sting in her neck when she forced it to turn back – a cracking noise even. Kira squeeled through her teeth. She heard a long continuous horn and carefully moved her head and torso up tracing the incline until she could view the top. The vehicle was stopped, the man’s head was pressed against the steering and the horn, decorating it with his dripping blood from the forehead. ‘Oh God, did I kill him?’

She limped up the incline toward the vehicle and inspected him. His veins were engorged, his arteries still pumped. ‘He’s ok!’ she told herself. She grabbed hold of his shoulders, careful not to awaken him, and pulled him off the seat with all the might she had. His unconscious body tumbled down and kept on tumbling all the way far from sight. ‘Fuck!’ she paused to catch her breath and clear her throat for a good solid minute, and then hopped on to the driver’s seat. ‘OK! What am I working with here?’ Press this?’ and the ignition started. She looked ahead and back. Either way would lead her to some sort of civilization, or so she figured. ‘Forward,’ she told herself, ‘always forward,’ and made her course.

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