“You see now why I need you,” Larson explained. “None of my previous subjects returned. “I can only suppose that they did not survive the journey. That is why I need a superheroine.”
“You sent five women to their deaths?” Kara asked, her voice trembling with rage and disbelief.
“It was in the interest of science,” Larson replied calmly, “And who knows, they might very well be alive. Once they enter the portal they are beyond my control. I only know that they were not at the portal when I attempted to recall them. I also know that according to my analysis the place where they were sent had an atmosphere almost identical to that of Earth, so they should not have died.”
Kara was dumbfounded. Larson was clearly mad. As mad as Lex Luthor and every bit as ruthless although lacking Luthor’s sadistic streak. He had constructed a device capable of breaking down the barriers of time and space and sending people through it. So far he had sent five “subjects” as he called them to god-knows-where and now he intended to send her.
“You are insane. You might have sent those poor women anywhere. How do you know they didn’t materialize over water, or in the middle of a bunch of wild beasts?”
“The portal is tuned to avoid large bodies of water. I covered every eventuality. All of the women were well equipped to make the trip. They had food, water, and weapons. They should have made it.”
“But they didn’t make it,” Kara replied. “Something went wrong. People are not subjects like some lab animals. You killed them.”
“I am tired of this conversation,” Larson said. “Perhaps when you return we can continue it. For now you are going. I will remove the collar once you are in the chamber. “That should enable you to be transported with your superpowers intact.”
There was no point in arguing with Larson. It was clear that for all his brilliance he was several cards short of a full deck morally. He had spent more than an hour proudly explaining his project. At first Kara had been most impressed with the genius Larson displayed, but that had quickly been overshadowed by his admission that he had sent five young women, including his own daughter into oblivion. Now it was Kara’s turn.
During the entire time she had been under Larson’s control there had been no opportunity to escape. The collar she wore kept her at half normal strength and she was sure that she had been constantly watched during her stay even though she had seen nothing she could identify as a camera. Now scarface hovered nearby as Larson took her arm and escorted her to the special chamber where she would be transported to limbo.
The chamber was about as innocuous in appearance as was possible, resembling an ordinary glass-sided bathroom shower. Larson opened the door and helped her in. Then he closed it and went to an elaborate bank of controls. He pushed a few buttons and a green light infused the chamber. “You may take off the collar now, Supergirl,” Larson said. The kryptonite radiation will keep you from escaping, but once you are transported out of the chamber you will regain you powers.”
Obediently, Kara removed the collar and placed it at her feet. Her heartbeat accelerated. This was really happening to her. She was now the subject of a mad scientist’s experiment and she was helpless to prevent it.
Larson pushed a few more buttons and turned a number of knobs, intently studying a number of gauges as he did so. The green glow in the chamber began to change, taking on a bluish tint. At the same time, Kara felt her skin prickle as if each tiny hair on her body was standing on end. Then the hair on her head began to stand out as if she was touching a Van de Graaff generator.
Larson looked toward her. “Goodbye, Supergirl, and good luck.” He pulled a large lever.
“Aaaggghh!” Blinding pain shot through her and suddenly the laboratory disappeared. As a matter of fact everything disappeared. She was in total blackness and racked by pan so intense she would have fainted if she had had a body. But that seemed to be gone as well. And then, as suddenly as it had begun the pain ended, the blackness faded, and she found herself standing in the middle of a grassy plain.
“Damn!” Her first word after being transported reflected the fact that although she seemed to have come through the portal safely, none of her clothing had. She was alone and naked in a strange new world. There was one compensating factor, however. She would now have her powers back. They should enable her to find something to wear until she could reunite with her costume. She tried to levitate, but nothing happened. What was wrong? The collar was gone and she was no longer in Larson’s lab. She should be back to normal.
Slowly she turned to look at the sun. Shading her eyes with her hand she saw that unlike the Earth’s yellow sun, this one had a reddish tinge. A red sun. That would mean her superpowers were inoperative. Great. She was stranded on some strange planet without clothing or any special abilities. All she could do was wait for Larson to bring her back. Fortunately she was not dead. Somehow she had survived the trip to the strange planet whereas the other girls had not.
One day. She had to wait one day until the planet realigned with the place Larson’s portal had dropped her. That place would be exactly where she was standing. It seemed stupid, however, to remain where she was for an entire day, especially if a day on this world was not the same as a day on Earth. Larson had said something about that but she had not understood it very well. Somehow he would know when she returned to the appropriate spot.
Well, if she was going to do a bit of exploring it would be wise to mark the spot where she would be picked up. She began to trample down the grass in the shape of an X so that she could locate it. Then she went in search of a better marker. Scattered about the place where she was she found a number of boulders. Picking them up she built a small cairn, glad of the fact that even though she did not have her superheroine powers she was still fit enough to carry all but the largest rocks fairly easily.
An hour’s work produced a four foot cairn of stones. Satisfied with her effort, and a bit thirsty she decided to go for a bit of a walk. On the horizon she could make out a low range of hills. That looked promising. She headed toward it.
She soon found that walking barefoot was harder on the feet that she had thought it would be. Although for the most part she was walking on grass, there were still a number of woody plants and broken stems that cut into her feet. Within half a mile of setting out her feet already had several small cuts.
“This won’t do,” she thought. “At this rate my feet will be cut to ribbons in less than an hour.” Sitting down she thought things over.
It took her a few minutes to figure out that if grass was tough enough to damage her feet then it might also protect them. But once she got the idea she went to work. In a few minutes she had woven together an extremely crude, but serviceable pair of grass shoes. Who would have guessed that the elementary school art class where she had learned basket weaving would come in so handy.
Better equipped, she struck out again. An hour later she was climbing up a wooded slope toward the sound of water. A small spring gushed out of the side of the rocky hill and splashed into a sky-blue pool before overflowing and flowing off through the trees. Pleased with herself, Kara drank deeply. So far so good. She had made a pair of shoes and found water. Now what should she do?
One thing bothered her. Suppose she came upon other people? How would they react to her nudity? And did she want them to see her like that? Also what if they were not friendly? There was a possibility that the other five girls Larson had sent through the portal had all made it safely only to run into something dangerous on this mysterious new worlds.
First things first. There were a number of tall reedy plants growing near the pool. She had woven shoes. How about weaving clothing? She made her way down to the pool and began to gather reeds. This was a bit tiresome. How much more convenient it would have been had she arrived with her clothing and superpowers intact.
“Eeeeaagghh!” The scream almost made Kara wet herself. Jerking upright she looked in the direction of the terrible sound. What she saw chilled her to the core.
About three hundred yards away a black-haired girl was running toward her. Behind her were a number of the most bestial humanoids she had ever seen. There were about a dozen of them, each about the height of a man, but there the resemblance ended. Their faces resembled the faces of gorillas without having the charming appearance that all gorillas had. Two massive white fangs jutted up from their lower jaws and their eyes were so deeply recessed under massive bony brows that they could barely be seen. Black uncombed hair spilled over their naked shoulders. Each of then had arms that reached well below their knees and their shoulders, arms, and torsos were massively muscled. Their loins were covered by a crude loincloth that fell between their legs both in front and behind. They wore no shoes, but were armed with a variety of weapons including spears and clubs.
The girl was wide–eyed with terror. He long dark hair streaming out behind her as she ran. She seemed unrelated to the beasts that chased her, as her body was a sleek and supple as a panther. She ran with a smooth grace that emphasized the beauty of her face and body. Like her pursuers, she was barefoot and she was similarly dressed, her breasts being covered with a crude bikini top and her loins concealed by the same sort of garment as her pursuers. More to the point, she was running straight at Kara almost as if she thought the blonde heroine might be able to save her.
Knee deep in water, Kara look desperately for a weapon. A few yards away was a stand of bushes resembling willows. Moving as fast as she could, Kara splashed toward the bushes. She gained them with the beast men and the girl only a hundred yards away and found what she was looking for. It would have been better if it had been properly seasoned, but the piece of deadwood she came up with would have to do. Swinging it experimentally she turned to face the onrushing beast men.
She had learned quite a bit about self defence while with Diana on Paradise Island. Unlike Kara, the Amazon had trained extensively in the martial arts and she was able to pass on a few tips to the blonde heroine. One of the things she had taught her was how to use the bo or quarter-staff.
The pool slowed the attackers somewhat. The girl splashed right in and swam across to the other side, but the beast men swerved around it and splashed through the shallows. The girl reached Kara’s side only seconds before her pursuers did. Exhausted she sank down, unable to run any longer. Standing ready, Kara awaited the arrival of the beast men.
Strangely the beast men halted, seemingly surprised to find themselves being challenged by a slender blonde female armed only with a stick. But they quickly overcame their caution.
Two of them came at her simultaneously. The first Kara gave a sharp rap across the skull. With a howl of pain the beast man went to his knees. Kara pulled her staff back and using it like a spear struck the second attacker between the eyes. The beast man went down as if he had been shot.
“Perfect,” Kara thought, congratulating herself. “Just like Diana showed me.”
The fate of the first two assailants brought the rest of the beast men to a halt. Milling about they shook their spears and clubs at Kara, but for several seconds none of them made any attempt to attack her. Then gathering their courage several of them came at her in a rush.
It was the marshy ground that saved her. With her back to the bushes, Kara was standing on relatively firm ground while the beast men were sloshing through water. It gave her the time to take out each one of them in the same way she had taken out the first two. Breathing heavily, Kara watched as the beast men retreated. There were only five of them now. The other seven were still alive, but they all were nursing an assortment of minor injuries. Cautious, but triumphant, Kara watched as the beast men circled her. None of them now dared to come to close to her. She wondered for a second why they did not try to throw their spears or clubs at her. The spears must have some use, but the beast men seemed totally untrained in hand to hand combat.
The girl beside her had now gotten to her feet. Noting Kara’s success, she had now acquired her own crude staff. Whether or not she knew how to use it was another matter, but at least she was now participating in her own defence.
For half an hour it was a stand off. Kara could not retreat without exposing herself to a fight on ground more favourable to the beast men and the beast men would not attack until their numbers were greater. However, after half an hour the seven beast men Kara had disabled had recovered enough that they were a full dozen again. Although some of them were nursing minor injuries they were still a formidable bunch. Kara doubted she would be able to handle them if they all came at her at once.
Fortunately, the beast men seemed incapable of any military thought. Instead of making a concerted rush they came at her in small groups again. The result was the same until the inevitable happened.
Three of them came at her at once. Kara stepped forward, feinted an overhand strike then neatly reversed her staff and hammered the nearest beast man between the eyes. It was perfectly executed except for one thing. The improvised staff, which was really nothing more that a crude stick of appropriate length chose to inconveniently snap off just a foot short of her grip, leaving her with nothing more than a three foot club with which to deal with the other two attackers.
She managed to bring her shortened staff around in time to strike the nearest beast man, but her caught it on his forearm and then barreled into her, engulfing her in his ape-like arms. Beside her the dark-hared girl flailed away with her stick but the third beast man shrugged off the poorly delivered blows and caught her up in his arms.
Kara and the girl went down in a tangle of arms and legs. Disarmed, Kara kept her head and fought as Diana had shown her, driving her knee between the legs of the beast man that held her and then kicking him away when he dropped her with a howl of pain. But the damage was done. Nine more beast men charged toward her. She was just able to regain her footing before she went down in a wave of bodies.
Surprisingly, the beast men did not strike her, instead attempting to seize her arms and legs. There were so many of them, however, that several could not fail to catch hold. Kara kicked and punched furiously. Now she fought out of pure desperation, attempting to make contact with any thing she could reach. But it was a one-side contest. She felt each of limbs seized and then she was lifted from the ground, all the while kicking, biting, and screaming with rage and fear.
She was held by four of the beast men. Two held her ankles and two more held her wrists. Heaving her body she bounced up and down in their grip, until a fifth beast man seized her around the waist. Even then she kept on struggling until gasping from exhaustions she could hardly move.
Out of the corner of her eye she could see that the dark-haired girl was also fighting to escape. But Kara knew that it was hopeless. Five beast men held her also while another readied a length of rope preparatory to tying her. Then Kara felt herself being flipped over and placed on the ground. Too weak to resist, she almost wept in frustration as her arms were drawn behind her and her wrists were lashed tightly together.
“No,” she screamed. “Not this time!”
“Aaah!” she gasped as her bound wrists were wrenched high up to the middle of her back. It was very painful as the cords cut into her wrists, but it soon got worse. A length of cord was run from her wrists over her right shoulder and then between her breasts, under her left breast, and then wrapped twice around her torso. It was then run under her right breast and upward crossing over the first cord that ran between her breasts and finishing by being taken over her left shoulder and tied to her wrists. It left her wrists pulled painfully high in the middle of her back, causing her to arch her body, thrusting her full breasts forward. To finish the bondage, her ankles were tightly bound.
Kara saw that the dark-haired girl had been bound in the same way. Helpless she could only despair when she was picked up and tossed over the brawny shoulder of one of the beat men.
They started off at once, taking turns carrying the women. The beast men seemed almost tireless, moving at a trot first through the forest, and then across the grassy plains. Bounced along like a sack of potatoes, Kara could only endure as they moved farther and farther away from the place where she and the girl had been captured.
Only once did they stop. Without warning the beast men suddenly veered into a dry creek bed and crouched down. Kara at first was confused by this action and then realized that the beast men were hiding from something they feared. Before she could react a filthy hand was clamped over her mouth. The sound of human voices drifted to her ears along with a strange bird-like call. Unable to make a sound she could only listen as the sounds and voices came closer and closer and then slowly faded away.
After that a strip of hide was stuffed into her mouth and tied in place with a piece of cord. To make matters worse a strip of leather was placed across her eyes blinding her. A sudden thought struck her. How was she going to be able to find her way back to the cairn in time for Larson to transport her back to her own world? She had only a vague idea where it was already. What would happen if she could not even see where she was going?
Gagged and blinded Kara could only listen to the movement of the beast men as they carried her and the girl mile after mile across the plain. With nothing better to do she tired to figure out what might be happening to her. Who were the beast men and why had they been chasing the dark-haired girl? Where were she and the girl being taken? What was going to happen to them? So far other than taking them prisoner the beast men had done nothing to them, but they must want them for something. Kara tried hard not to think of what it might be. She had suffered too much of that sort of thing.
The end of the seemingly endless trek came at last. Kara felt herself lowered to the ground. Her blindfold and gag were removed. By now she was in considerable pain and discomfort. Her painful bondage had cut off the circulation to her hands, and the awkward position of her arms was causing excruciating pain in her shoulders and chest. She also desperately had to answer a call of nature and was both hungry and thirsty. She made no complaint, however, if the dark-haired girl could tolerate the situation then so could she.
She looked around her. It was night and the first thing that caught her eye was the second moon in the sky. She was definitely not on earth. If she had any doubts this completely removed them. One of the best men approached her. He was carrying a crude stone knife which he used to cut through the cords binding her ankles. He did the same for the dark-haired girl and then dragged them both to their feet. A few feet away a campfire burned and several of the beast men were cooking something on it. The smell of roasting meat came to Kara’s nostrils. He mouth watered. Perhaps she might at least get a bite to eat.
Partially supporting her and the girl, the beast man pushed them to the edge of the campsite. A foul smell assailed her senses and Kara knew why she had been brought there. The beast man waited while she and the girl relieved themselves and then grabbing each of them by the hair, brought them back to the camp. Kara felt degraded. Even though she did not regard the beast man as human, being forced to perform private bodily functions in front of an audience was humiliating.
Pushing them through to the fire the beast man forced them into a sitting position and held up what looked like a water skin. Holding it to her mouth he let her and the girl drink. Then carving a chunk of meat from what was roasting over the fire he used his knife to feed it to them one piece at a time.
As Kara chewed the meat she began to become more and more fearful. Up until they had camped none of the beast men had paid the slightest attention to either her or the girl, except to make sure they were bound and gagged, but now every eye was upon them. Whenever she looked at one of the beast men his gaze was fixed on her with a fascination she found most unsettling. She had seen that look on the faces of men when she had been captured. They were devouring her body as if she were some tasty dessert morsel.
“Please let me be wrong,” she thought. “They haven’t done anything to me yet. Perhaps it is just my imagination.” But the beast men had to have some motive for capturing her. She looked at the girl and was suddenly very afraid. The girl, who up until now had shown little or not emotion, was now shaking in fear, her face unable to hide the terror she felt.
“Oh please no,” Kara thought. “Why must it always be like this? Why can’t they just leave us alone?”
The beast men took the girl first. They waited until she had finished her primitive meal and then five of them came for her. There was no doubt in the girl’s mind what they intended to do. She screamed horribly as they picked her up and carried her to the edge of the firelight.
Two of the beast men held the girl down. Two others took her ankles and pried her legs apart. The fifth removed his loincloth revealing a phallus that would have made a horse proud. Kara could not understand what the girl was saying, but her screams of fear were more than adequate.
The beast man knelt between the girl’s legs and reaching out removed her loincloth and then moving closer and gripping her hips to steady her he plunged his immense organ into his shrieking, struggling victim.
The scream as the girl was taken was ear-splitting. It was almost as if the girl was being murdered. Grunting like an animal the beast man thrust into her, burying his shaft to almost impossible depths in the girl’s writhing body. Kara watched in fascinated horror. How could it be that the girl was still alive? Surely such a monstrous instrument would tear her apart. But the girl did not die although Kara thought it might have been better if she did. The beast man ravished her mercilessly until with a brutish grunt he released his seed into her. But the girl’s ordeal was just beginning. No sooner had her assailant finished with her than one of the beast men holding her ankles took his place. The girl screamed again, although not as loud this time. Kara turned away, unable to watch. She felt sickened by what she had seen. It was one of the second most horrible moment of her life. The first most horrible moment occurred a few minutes later.
Seven beast men took Kara. As the cries of the girl faded into the background they formed a semicircle around her and removed their loincloths exposing their heavy phalluses. Most of them were well on their way to a full erection. Surrounded by a nightmare, Kara almost wet herself. Her terror was absolute. How could she survive a gang rape by such monsters?
Fighting to pull herself together, Kara took a deep breath. She tried not to show her fear. She was a heroine. She would not scream like a little girl.
All the same, it took all of her self-control not to scream in fear as her legs were forced apart and the largest of the beast men moved between her thighs. Up close he was even more immense than she had thought. It seemed impossible that so huge an organ could possibly fit inside her. It would be like having sex with a post.
The beast man stank of sweat and the generally repulsive odor of the unwashed, but Kara hardly noticed his smell. Her attention was fully focused on the immense phallus that threatened to split her in two. The beast man moved between her thighs, spreading her even wider. Then placing his hands on her tight backside he drew her toward him.
It took a good deal of strength to penetrate her. Even tied and held by four of the beast men, Kara struggled like a wildcat, twisting and turning her body in a frenzied effort to avoid being impaled. But finally he held her still long enough for the glans of his penis to slip into the sweet clamshell of her vulva. To her credit, Kara only grunted in pain as he entered her. But seconds later she moaned in agony as she was taken more brutally than anything she had ever experienced. As she had feared the huge staff split her like kindling. The pain was unbelievable and it did not stop. Second by second it mounted until it became more than she could bear. Then she screamed and kept on screaming, her cries mixing with those of the dark-haired girl.
The brutal ordeal went on all night, not stopping until the light of day lit the east. Kara wasn’t sure how many times she had been raped, she was close to passing out from the pain. It was as if she had been forced to give birth. It was hard to believe that the region between her thighs would ever be normal again.
They untied her and the girl after that. Apparently they thought that two women who could hardly make it to the edge of the camp to relieve themselves would be very unlikely to run away. But they were wrong.
Left to themselves for a bit, Kara crawled to the dark-haired girl. The effort it cost her was incredible. She felt as if her insides had been scraped raw, as they probably had been. But she knew that neither she nor the girl could tolerate many more nights like that. They had to escape, and now was the best time, while the beast men thought them too weak to bother watching.
There were only about four of the hairy brutes in the camp. The others had departed, probably to go hunting as there seemed to be a shortage of food. Kara noted that the beast men had finished off the meat they had cooked last night and had offered nothing to her or the girl. Not even water, but no one stopped them when they limped down to the stream to get it themselves.
Sitting by the streambed, Kara pointed to her chest. “Kara,” she said.
The girl caught on immediately. “Jhetta,” she replied. She did not smile. She was obviously in too much pain to do that.
Kara held up one finger. “Kara,” repeated. Then she held up another. “Jhetta.” She then moved her fingers in a walking motion and pointed away from the camp. The girl nodded.
Kara looked toward the remaining beast men. They seemed to be sleeping. No doubt tired out from their night of ravishing her and Jhetta. Noiselessly she slipped into the water and began to move along the bank, making her way from the camp. Jhetta looked a little alarmed and Kara wondered if the girl was afraid of the water, but after a moment’s hesitation she slipped into the stream and followed.
The cool water felt good as it swirled about her loins. Kara was still in considerable pain and the water seemed to help not only due to its lower temperature, but also due to the fact that it took some of the weight off her legs. Both Kara and Jhetta were having a great deal of trouble walking and floating down the river enabled them to put distance between themselves and the camp of the beast men without placing too much strain on their bodies.
Kara and Jhetta stayed in the water for a good hour before leaving it. With any luck the beast men would have a great deal of difficulty following them. Climbing out they let the sun dry them as they made their way through the woods and toward the grasslands.
Kara had lost her makeshift shoes when she had been captured. Already weakened by her ordeal, she was soon limping badly as her feet were bruised and cut by rocks and sharp edged grasses. Jhetta was not in much better shape, but her feet seemed naturally tough. Still, after a couple of hours of walking they were barely placing one foot in front of the other. It was then they heard the cries of pursuit.
“Bermaghi!” said Jhetta, looking back toward the shouting horde that was running toward them. Kara didn’t know if Bermaghi referred to the beast men or whether it was some sort of curse word, but she knew they were in trouble. There was nowhere to hide. The grasslands stretched in every direction except the one they had come from, and that was cut off by the dozen or so beast man that ran toward them. They were still about a half mile off, but there was no chance of outrunning them. Kara and Jhetta had reached the end of their tether. It was only a matter of time until they were recaptured.
Still, they could not just give up. Both women broke into a stumbling run. Perhaps somehow by the purest luck they might find a way to escape.
It was a vain hope. Slowly but surely their pursuers closed the gap until they were no more than fifty yards behind them. The beast men pursued them in a leisurely fashion, confident that their prey would soon be theirs again. And then Kara heard an unusual sound.
She had heard it before on the day she and Jhetta had been captured. A strange bird-like call. Turning her head toward the sound she beheld a most incredible sight. Cresting a slight rise a hundred yards away were a half dozen gigantic birds. They looked for all the world like ostriches on steroids, except that they were about ten feet tall and had massive beaks lined with sharp teeth. Even more fantastic, each of them was ridden by a man in bronze armor carrying a fifteen foot lance.
The riders saw the beast men and the two women about the same time they saw the riders. With cries of fear and dismay the beast men came to a confused halt, and then turning fled in a disorganized mob, running over one another in a desperate attempt to escape.
Not one of them did. The bird riders caught them within a few seconds, the huge birds moving at incredible speed across the grasslands. With deadly efficiency they overtook and skewered each of the fleeing beast men. Kara would have almost felt sorry for them if not for the way they had treated her and Jhetta.
Hardly able to believe their luck, and mentally and physically exhausted Kara and Jhetta sank to their knees and watched the slaughter. It was all over in a few minutes then the bird riders turned and came toward them. It was only when they were but a few yards away that Kara became conscious of her nakedness. All of the riders were men, and all of them were clothed. Suddenly she felt very vulnerable. Colouring, she attempted with very little success to cover her breasts and lower region.
One of the riders, a man who sported a tall white crest on his helmet, drew rein next to her. Without a word he took off his white cloak and offered it to her. He said something to one of the other men who similarly offered Jhetta his cloak. Then dismounting he took off his helmet and came toward her.
Kara was instantly smitten. She had never seen a man she considered so handsome. He was broad shouldered, stood well over six feet tall, and had jet black hair and piercing blue eyes. He said something to her, but she merely shook her head. It was Jhetta who then spoke up, beginning a conversation that lasted almost ten minutes. Kara could tell from the girl’s gestures that she was describing the battle that had taken place when Kara had tried to rescue her from the beast men. As the tale progressed the tall man looked more and more at Kara, his eyes reflecting a growing respect.
Finally finished, Jhetta fell silent. The man nodded, said something to the other riders and then took Kara by the hand. Leading her to his mount, he helped her into the stirrups, and then with a leap, jumped easily into the saddle behind her. Another of the riders did the same thing for Jhetta and then with another command all of the riders moved off, their mounts covering the grasslands at an impressive speed.
It was a ride that Kara would remember to the end of her days. The man rode with one hand on the reins and the other around her waist ensuring that she did not fall. His body pressed against hers and she could feel the heat radiating from him even through his armour. Reacting finally, to her terrible ordeal, Kara nestled against him. For the first time in her life she was being held by a man and felt perfectly secure. Men had raped and beaten her, but this was one man she felt she could trust, with her life, her body, and her emotions. It was a strange sensation for a heroine, but one that at the moment she would not have exchanged for anything else. After a lifetime of loneliness she had found her man.