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The door closed behind the big brooding male, but the sound of his voice, the impact of his words, remained. Shanti rubbed her hands up and down her arms. Her finger pads tripped over the goosebumps that rose. Her skin felt warm. A bead of sweat trickled down her back. She tried to press her thighs together, but the moist skin between her legs didn’t allow her any traction.
He -Hsing- had said that he was her eternal partner. He’d said his life was hers. Shanti’s heart pounded, but it wasn’t fear in her blood.
Chen had said something similar. Chen had called her his one and only love. Her heart rate had went double time at those words as well.
Shanti had never dreamed of marriage. It was an outdated concept for a modern feminist. Marriage was a contract between men for the piece of chattel known as daughter, woman, wife.
Her parents had always approached each other as equals. Traditional roles didn’t exist in her upbringing. Her father, the first of five siblings, had fantastic childrearing skills, and a mean hand when it came to needle and thread. Her mother was handy with a hammer and nail and built many of the temporary homes they lived in and the furnishings within.
Shanti was neither maternal nor handy. She was an activist, emphasis on action. All her life she’d been on her own, independent, self-sufficient. She’d been perfectly content to have a revolving door of lovers. Certain she didn’t need any of them to stay longer than the time it took to safely remove the condom. Though she did enjoy a few minutes of post-coital spooning. And breakfast every once in awhile was nice.
If she were honest with herself, she did want companionship. A long term monogamous relationship would be nice -if the mood were right. And he wasn’t clingy. Or a leech who wanted to lay on the couch and play video games while she went out and worked. Plus he had to know how to cook because she wasn’t Suzy Homemaker. And it would be best if he were a vegetarian, non-smoker, spiritual but not religious man in his late-twenties or early thirties, who worked out and was well-read. Then, sure, a long term, monogamous relationship might be cool for a little while.
But eternal partner? One and only? Forever.
Shanti banged on the solid door. It didn’t budge. It wasn’t metal. She couldn’t determine the material.
She looked down. There was no handle. How did they get in and out? Was it voice command?
“Open?” Shanti tried. “Open sesame?”
Hsing had said no door was locked. Obviously another lie. They were going to keep her and… And what? Lock her in a room and give her the greatest sex any human being had ever known?
Shanti stepped back from the door. She looked around the room. It was dominated by that large, plush bed. Immediately images of Chen plunged deep inside her came to mind. Then her dream of Hsing and
Chen on either side of her came to mind. She felt her breathing, her pulse, quicken.
If she had come into this situation of her own free will it would be a different story. What woman didn’t have a fantasy of being desired by not just one but two virile, drop dead gorgeous men. It was a repeated fantasy in Shanti’s spank bank, especially since she hadn’t had any spanking in months. And now she had two males in pursuit of her.
But no, not in pursuit. They’d taken her. Taken her under false pretense. Chen had come down to Earth looking for any woman. She just happened to be the first one he saw out alone at the water’s edge. She could’ve been anybody. She hadn’t been anyone special. The words he’d said to her had all been a ploy to get her to come willingly.
Shanti was appalled at her enslavement. But there was a part of it that didn’t feel like ownership. Their words made it seem that she owned them.
But no. Their actions told a different story. She had to get out of here.
Shanti placed her hand on the door and imagined it open. And just like that, it opened.
The hall was the same glowing white as the walls of the room. It stretched endlessly in both directions. Shanti Eeny-Meeny-Miney-Moe’d and went left.
She placed her hands on the walls. Just as with the doors, it didn’t feel like metal. It reminded Shanti of the texture of a tree limb, but a limb that was stripped of its bark. She felt it pulse with life beneath her hand. Shanti stopped for a moment and leaned against the wall. A feeling of safety, of security, of home ran through her veins.
She pulled her hand from the wall, or whatever it was, and kept going forward. Down the hall she heard voices. It was that same lyrical language she’d heard Chen speak when they were back on Earth. She couldn’t understand the words.
She looked left and right, but there was no where to hide. She couldn’t make it back to the room. She held her position, ready to fight.
The owners of the voices came into view. Shanti recognized one of them. It was the purple man she’d seen when she was first beamed up to this ship. When he saw her he frowned.
Beside him, another male whose skin was a lighter shade of purple, turned and saw Shanti. When he saw her his face lit up in a smile that reminded her of Chen.
Both men stopped walking and bowed their heads to her. When they straightened, the dark purple male still frowned while the lighter one smiled peacefully at her. Without a word, they continued on past her.
Shanti stood still for a moment, heart still pounding with adrenalin from the encounter. She turned and looked over her shoulder. They males continued on down the hall, still chatting. Not paying her any mind. Not alarmed that she was no longer in her cage.
Shanti continued on. She spied a door on the right. She placed her hand on it, imagined it open, and it obeyed her command. Inside the room Shanti saw the darker of the brown twins, Nse, beside a dark green adult male. They were doing a series of martial arts moves, but slowly. It looked like Tai Chi, but the moves, a series of kicks and punches, looked far more advanced than anything she’d ever practiced out in the parks or on a Gaiam DVD.
Something urged Shanti to peer further into the room. Moving alongside the other two males, with his broad, blue, muscled chest exposed, was Hsing.
The males performed a turning move and Shanti saw Hsing’s back. She watched the muscles ripple as he punched the sky. She saw his ass tighten as he delivered a slow roundhouse kick. She saw his head turn slowly, saw his eyes gleam, saw his cruel mouth tilt up in a smile.
“Not now, little one. I’m busy.”
Hsing continued to move, but he stared right at her. His voice had sounded in her head. Realizing, he’d seen each and every one of her thoughts, Shanti straightened her spine. She allowed the disgust to roll back into her body and show on her face. She backed out of the room.
Hsing didn’t follow. In fact, she felt an amused rumble of laughter sound her head.
Shanti marched down the white hallway in the opposite direction. She’d never been attracted to arrogant men. Not only did this man participate in abducting her, now he assumed that she would drop her panties for him. Well, hell-to-the-no! She was getting off this ship.
At the end of the hall she spied a staircase leading down. Down was closer to the Earth. Perhaps she’d find the beam of light transport thing that brought her here.
But that was not what she found at the bottom of the stair case.
Shanti spied him through an arched entryway. Gone was the peaceful smile that dominated his face. His mouth was a straight line of concentration. His large eyes were narrowed on the work before him. Shanti wasn’t sure how long she watched Chen work. His arms moved in the same circular motions she’d seen his brother performing only moments ago. Chen’s torso was also uncovered. The planes of his chest were just as muscular, only Shanti knew they were a soft place to fall, a warm and welcome place to burrow into.
Chen stood before a large pool of yellow…well it wasn’t liquid exactly. It looked like a transparent yellow cloud. She could see clear through the other side of the wisps of yellow. There was something murky in its depths. As Chen moved his arms and torso in a whip-like fashion, the yellow became clearer and clearer.
Chen’s arms rose and the murky bits followed suite. The dark and murky clouds rose to the top of the yellow mist and, with a wave of his hands, evaporated. But no sooner than the murky darkness clear did another pool of darkness rise into the bottom of the pool.
It brought Shanti back to her days at the Chesapeake Bay. The once crystal blue waters were now brown, filled with pollution, death, and decay. The animal life there dwindling down to leave only scavengers. The plant life receding further back to the shoreline and away from the polluted waters. She’d spent the lasts years of her life trying to save those waters, until the very people who relied on the bay all turned against her and ran her out of town.
“It is not water.”
Shanti jerked out of her memories at the sound of Chen’s melodic voice in her ears. When she looked at him, his focus was still on the yellow mist. His body still moved to raise the murky darkness up and out of the mist.
“It is energy,” he said. “On Earth, water is the basis of life. In the Heavens, the necessity for life to thrive is energy.”
Shanti watched Chen’s lips move in time to the words he spoke. It was clearly English, not a bad movie dub.
“Now that we are a part of each other, I understand you completely.” Chen’s eyes flashed to Shanti’s.
For a moment, Shanti was caught both by the light orbs and his words. But then she shook away the lie. “You don’t know anything about me.”
Chen bowed his head over his work. Shanti saw the perspiration on his brown. She noticed the shake in his muscles as he strained to bring more of the murky substance to the surface.
“If you knew anything about me,” she continued, “then you’d know that I have no desire to be caught or owned. My people have a bad history with slavery.”
Chen’s arms paused in the movement and the darkness fell. “You are not my slave, Shanti.”
“No? Then let me go.”
They stared at each other. A door opened. A male, a pale shade of red, nearly pink entered. He bowed his head to Chen. Chen returned the greeting. The pink man turned and bowed his head to Shanti. Then he took Chen’s place before the pool of energy and began the same series of movements.
Chen moved towards Shanti. “Will you come with me, my only?” He held out his hand.
Shanti crossed her arms over her chest, then tucked her hands under her armpits. “I fell for that once already.”
Chen’s face fell. Shanti resisted the urge to place her hand on his cheek to sooth the discomfort. His eyes caught hers. He’d obviously heard that. She narrowed her eyes at him and tilted her chin up in defiance of her emotions.
Chen stepped in front of her and opened the door. He turned and stood aside, waiting for her to proceed him out. After a moment, Shanti went through the door.
“I am sorry that you feel deceived, Shanti.”
It bristled that he called her Shanti instead of the endearment, my only. But Shanti quickly pushed those feelings aside.
“I thought you wanted me,” Chen continued. “I would not have taken you with me otherwise.”
“That’s not what your brother said. He said you were supposed to take the first woman you saw.”
“True, that was Hsing’s edict.”
Shanti felt another pang in her chest at the confirmation that she was not his one and only choice.
“But I did not follow it,” Chen said. “I was determined to find a woman willing, and one that I wanted. I went all through the town and felt neither inclination. Before I met you by the waters, I had been preparing to return with empty hands.”
Shanti stopped walking, but she refused to turn around to him. She felt Chen behind her. The robes covering the lower half of his body brushed the hairs on her wrist. His breath tickled the hairs at the nape of her neck.
“I felt a connection to you the moment I touched you,” Chen whispered.
Shanti turned to face him. “I thought I was dead when you were touching me. You may have saved my life. But this isn’t the life I want. Out in space, fighting ships filled with your crazy family members. Trapped on a space ship filled with…” Shanti paused. She’d only seen men at each turn she’d made. “Are there any other women on this ship?”
“No,” Chen shook his head.
Shanti’s hands went to her exposed midriff. “Am I expected to service all of these men?”
Shanti breathed a sigh of relief.
“Just myself and my brother.”
Shanti fumed at the casual statement. “You made me feel like I was special.” She shook her head. Those weren’t the words she’d meant to say, but they were what she felt.
“You are special, precious to me.”
“But you’re gonna pass me back and forth with your brother.”
“That is the way of our kind. We are born in pairs and we take one mate. One mate whom we will worship for all of eternity.”
“Your brother doesn’t even like me.”
“Hsing is Yin. He expresses himself differently. Trust me, when he bonds with you, he will be your slave, just as I am.”
“I don’t want to be worshiped. I want to be free.”
Chen’s eyes turned sad, guilty even. He bypassed Shanti heading down the hall. Shanti followed. Soon they arrived at the pad where they had first come in.
Shanti saw the beam of light that she’d stepped out of. “You said you’re my slave. So if I asked you to, you’d let me go?”
“I brought you here to show you why I cannot let you go.” Chen pointed to a window bay.
Outside the window was darkness, but it wasn’t the night’s sky. Shanti peered deeper into the void and she saw a globular shape. And then she realized why Chen couldn’t let her get on the beaming down machine. There was no going back down to Earth.
Looking out the window the planet she saw wasn’t the blue planet that she’d come from. It wasn’t its red neighbor Mars. Looking out the window, Shanti saw that they were passing the red and white planet Jupiter, and it didn’t look like they were not slowing down.