Tuesday is ready to go with another beautiful blog battle. I have to admit this week's word has given me inspiration for two stories verses the one. Nevertheless I begin with what is below. For more entries by other players, please visit the blog of Rachael Ritchey. You can also find rules for participation as all are welcome! This week's word: Musk. To read parts 1 through 3 of the Sickle click Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.
“Beta Aleem?” Clovis readjusted the Sickle in his grasp. He had no desire to cut the woman again, but he didn’t want to lose hold of the Sickle. The vibrating tick that had jolted it to life at the first taste of her blood was still resonating within it. The adrenaline that had forced him into fight had trickled from his veins, like the moisture upon the slick rock faces around him.
The sickness of nausea, fed by the concussion was making him week again, his vision wavering.
“How, how do you know my name?” Beta eased even closer. She bit down into her lip, the pain from the Sickle’s cutting burn evident on her ashen face.
There was very little light down below, but there was enough for Clovis to see he had frightened her.
He extended his hand only to withdraw it as she tensed. Fight flickered in her eyes. He had caught her off guard with the thrust from the Sickle. He would not do so again. Her stance made that clear.
Clovis swallowed and felt his throat stick and pull from dryness. He needed a drink but he also needed answers. He coughed and then sheathed the Sickle locking it back in place at his hip, making himself appear as neutral as possible. “So you are her. Doctor Beta Aleem. We, Empire, thought you were dead when all this time…”
Beta scowled, pure disgust stitched its way across her face in ugly threads. “Empire hoped I was dead. Obviously.” She stepped away from him and pulled off the dark suit she had been wearing, her eyes never leaving Clovis’ face.
Blushing at the sudden sight of her nakedness, thrown back by the musty odor of her flesh masked by the synthetic fabrics of her cloak, Clovis stepped back.
In his periphery he saw her smile and size him up before speaking again. “Clearly that was their plan for you as well, to be dead. They got what they wanted. So they are no longer in need of their pawns. What is your name?”
Clovis straightened clenching his jaw. Being left on Hydra, alone with XX’s for all this time, must have made Beta all but feral. She had no care for prudence. Why would she? Prudence had little place when survival was king. “Clovis, Clovis Rantoring. I was sent to-”
“I know why you were sent. Heads up, Clovis.” Clovis’ hands fumbled as he tried to catch the water sack that had been chucked at him.
He let out a breathless thank you, and without considering its purity, he greedily devoured every, sweet drop. He allowed himself to sit down again, back pressed against a mossy rock, mind settling into a less tense pace, one where he could reason. He figured, prayed, he had at least a few hours to catch his breath.
Beta kept her head down but her body turned towards him. Carefully she soaked up the blood from her wound before setting the cloth to blaze. Not a drop on the ground. Clovis thought. Good. Then she began to stitch herself closed, slowly, methodically.
“Sorry about that,” He whispered, his eyes on her, his body too tired to care about seeing so much of her.
Beta paused, curiously meeting his gaze. “You almost made a very bad problem much worse, you know?” She finished her stitching and pulled another jumper over her head.
“Not going to wash that wound?” He really meant the rest of her. The fabrics they wore had been woven to mask the scent of skin, the spilling of body fluids. It kept the wearer neutral while observing colonies. For that Clovis was grateful. Beta’s odor still lingered even after she had dressed again.
She smiled catching his meaning. “Its only been eight days. I bathe on the tenth. Water is precious. Besides, it keeps the XX’s away. They don’t like my smell. Its offensive to them.” She pointed upwards. “My funk will have this mountain clear of XX’s before the next hour.”
Clovis nodded with relief. “Then we have some time here,” His expression turned grave. “Thank for what you did up there, saving my life.”
This time Beta laughed, pointing to her stomach. “Yeah, well now you owe me double.”
Clovis shook his head. He needed to fight sleep but it was such a hard fall. He touched the back of his head. “I think my concussion makes us even. Nevertheless, if you still feel like I am in your debt, we can work out the payment once you tell me how you ended up here.”
Beta pressed her eyes. “Where to begin?” She spoke the words to herself, still Clovis responded.
“Right. Genesis. Before we go there, thought, why don’t you tell me about that beast that is on your heels?”
* * *
Gagging and growling, packs of XX’s pulled themselves away from the mountain. The scent of the woman burned at their noses, her pheromones sending them into aggressive frenzies and brawls.
Another growl, fiercer, deeper than theirs, drew them into still silence. He, who had caused them to multiply, and made himself their ruler, lifted his nose to the air and caught the distinct feminine musk in his nostrils, the scent stirring him with the hunger for chase.
THE END OF PART 4