Chapter Two: Hunger
An hour later, I am with father, and he is displeased that the surviving prey is a Psi-Corps telepath.
"She is also telekinetic," I inform him. I am dirty and still hot from the hunt. I wanted to speak to him right away, eager to explain the value of my claimed prey. I can see from the knit of his brow that he finds this information very intriguing.
"She is still a Psi-Corps member," his deep Russian voice rumbles. "Their familial loyalty is very strong--perhaps as strong as our Kin."
"She proved worthy prey," I interject. "She fought us honorably. A telepath of her strength can be a great asset to the House."
I am right on that point; the One House was leery of utilizing Psi-Corps commercial telepaths in our business negotiations, not wishing to inadvertantly reveal our true heritage to an outsider human. We have made use of the telepaths of other sentient races, but a human telepath loyal to the Kin would prove extremely valuable.
Father put a hand to his well trimmed beard, staring pensively out upon our estate.
"She could also teach you," he thinks aloud, and I am momentarily stunned by this observation. Since mother's death, father had never wanted to refer to the latent telepathic talent I had inherited from her. Despite this aversion, it was one of the practical reasons why he chose me over Ganya to see to House business. Even untrained, I could sense deceit.
"If she surrenders easily, I question her sincerity," he finally states.
"As would I," I agree. I try to hide my eagerness, but my bright eyes betray me. I want to return to my claimed prey right away and begin the process of...coaxing her to our side.
"Once she submits, bring her before the House," father eventually orders, dismissing me with a wave of his ringed hand. "We will determine her loyalty--and her fate, then."
I thank father quickly and head immediately for the forest. I am energized-- excitement lends wings to my step as I make the run for the crater. I savor a challenge. My prey will be hard to tame.
When I arrive at the crater, my clan mates are loading a truck with the goods taken from the shuttle. The last that they carry are the remains of the slain prey. My claimed female watches discreetly behind her shuttle's entrance. Even in those shadows, I can see the deep sadness in her reflective form. She slowly retreats into the black interior at the sight of me.
"Did you take everything?" I ask one Were mate, referring to the stripping that had been done before my prey regained her vessel.
"All accounted, except for one hidden PPG," she grins back knowingly. I snort.
"No food, no water, no other weapons, no med kit," she continues, boarding the truck. "The prey is all yours."
As the last of my Were mates drive away, I turn back to the dead ship.
I place a med kit out of sight of the door, tucking it conveniently underneath the craft. I then approach the entrance, and slowly, deliberately place a canteen at its edge.
I step away.
She tolerates my gift for only three seconds. The canteen shoots off the entrance stoop to tumble water upon the dry cracked earth. I have to smile at such an angry gesture. I jog away to a spot where I am certain she cannot sense my presence, and wait.
Night falls, and we are enveloped in a total darkness lit only dimly by the vast canopy of stars. The emergency supplies were all taken. She has not even a light for comfort.
My ears pick up the subtle sounds of her shivering.
Not once did my prey leave her ship to retrieve the med kit.
That meant she had not tried to scan me, else she would have known of its existence.
That also meant she had guessed about the drugged water.
When the sun reaches the treetops, I pay my prey a second visit.
I know she can hear my approach, I do not attempt to conceal it. I seat myself casually on the entrance's steps so that I can regard her openly. She leans as I had seen her before, heavily upon the back wall as her gun trails warily upon me. There is sweat on her smooth brow. The breath that comes from her mouth is shallow. My prey is ill; her wound is infected, and the night had not been kind to her.
I show her a new canteen. I unscrew the cap and tip it back to take a long drink, the water gurgling within the container. I recap it and place it reverently upon the entrance floor. As I wipe my mouth I see her tongue flick hesitantly to moisten her lips.
She has a beautiful face; elegantly formed, with high cheekbones, eyes traced by light-haired eyebrows, and a mouth sensually delineated. Her hair is straight, shoulder-length, and fine. She is as fair as I am dark, my brunette mane long and thick compared to her delicate strands. Her blue gray eyes, when not alert, have a dreamy quality, whereas my thickly lashed blues are intensified by the sharp arches of dark eyebrows. Her skin is so pale. I want my chance to touch that skin.
I get up slowly, watching her all the while, and leave the craft.
As I take my waiting position once again, I hear the scrape of the canteen as it skids upon the shuttle floor. I see no hand.
I pass the time thinking on what it would be like to take a telekinetic to bed.
At sunset, I bring bread.
She is seated now, though the hand that holds the gun still menaces with determination. She does not bother to hold her head up, it rests against the metal wall and takes comfort from its coolness. She is feverish. I watch her nostrils flare as she inhales the warm, succulent odor of fresh baked bread.
I kneel on the steps and rest my arms easily upon the entrance deck to regard her in the warm glow of last sunlight. I give the bread a push in her direction.
I do not attempt to leave. She does not bother to wait.
The bread slides swiftly upon the floor with fascinating self-propulsion. It thrills me to think that she does this merely with her mind. A trembling, gloved hand reaches for the bread. As she does so she exposes her wounded side. I smell the metallic tang of fresh blood as the cut bleeds anew.
She eats the bread ravenously, watching me all the while. Even in her desperation to eat, she has the presence of mind to keep her gun pointed at me.
I wonder why she does not attempt to scan me; even now, I am thinking openly and deliberately on how I have drugged the bread.
She grows uneasy at my presence, as well she should. She squeezes the trigger.
My hands go up in mock surrender. Slowly I back away, the last of the sunset's glow fading from the craft interior to leave her face in darkness once more.
I wait an hour.
Pitch black greets my night vision, which traces my prey's soft outline upon the shuttle floor. She breathes fitfully in sleep...shivering slightly. I reinstate the ship's back up battery and activate it. The shuttle's emergency lights flicker to life, dimly illuminating the ship interior once more. I step to where the female lies and gently pry away the PPG still clutched in her leather gloved hand.
Sickness does not mask the light, musky scent of her. It is distinct and pleasing. Despite myself, my nose seeks it out and I sniff her.
I take pleasure in being this close to my prey at last. Her fitful breaths tickle my cheek as I enjoy her scent. I smooth the damp tendrils of her fair hair from her fevered brow and assess her temperature. I pull out my knife and slit her dark green front open.
I had intended to pull her clothes away to see to her wound, but I am pleasantly surprised by her inner garments. The other Kin find me an aggressive and strong female but that does not mean I do not appreciate the more feminine, softer aspects of being a woman. I watch the rise and fall of her breasts against the silky fabric of a soft chemise, its satin elegance a startling contrast to the harsh, conservative cut of the Psi-Corps uniform. This close to her skin, her intoxicating scent is even more palpable.
It is tasty.
Reluctantly, I slit the thin, fine garment open. The sight of her full breasts, cupped by the delicate fabric of her bra, easily distracts me from the task at hand. She is a beautiful female.
Her eyes flutter open.
Grayed blue momentarily stills me. An astonishing force hits me next, sweeping me straight up to the shuttle ceiling where my breath is knocked out of my chest. She stares up and batters me repeatedly against the unyielding metal. My teeth rattle--
Finally I careen across that ceiling surface to fall abruptly to the deck. I push myself up.
She is up on an elbow, staring at me wildly. Her cut clothes have slipped off one slender, white shoulder. My knife is in her hand. It springs from her grasp to hang in the air, launching--
Even as I avoid my own blade, I see her buckle on her elbow, clutching her hurt side. Her eyes are wide--she is having trouble focusing. She is fighting the sedative.
Objects start flying wildly and impacting about the room.
I become one of the objects seized by her fevered mind. Again like a child's doll I feel my body sail through the air of its own accord to slam into the entry frame with a bone jarring bang--my momentum takes care of the rest.
As I tumble down the steps and strike the hard earth, I realize that I won't be carrying my claimed prey home anytime soon....
Her delirium is violent.
I watch patiently from the entrance way as her fevered body overcomes my drug and plagues my prey with delusions and nightmares. She suffers.
"No no no," she pleads to invisible assailants--masters, tormentors, whoever it is that has her cower upon the floor. The mad, telekinetic thrashing of the shuttle is her helpless protest against powers she cannot affect. A cockpit's chair is ripped from its hinges, the metal screaming its grievous outcry to some apparition's iron fisted will over her.
I wonder what she has gone through, to have such demons. She is a human whose true nature I have only sensed, yet what I know of her already, seems contrary to the purpose of her uniform.
"Please, please," she begs the unseen. "I'll obey--"
She collapses--the third time this hour--defeated once again by her ghosts.
Swiftly I enter the craft and slide across the floor, grabbing her firmly, my body cupping hers. Her fight with her ghosts has weakened her at last. She struggles feebly as my legs pin her securely from behind. I tie a cloth over her eyes.
Objects fly and bang at random, but none affect me. I use my belt to strap her wrists together.
"Rrrr---hrrrrr!" she growls through clenched teeth, her hands weakly fighting their confinement. Now she is angry--does she know it is me?
"Kitten," I murmur into her ear as I twist the cap off a flask. I doubt she knows her surroundings, but instinctively, she must know at some level that I am here with her now. Her invisible tormentors flee her finally--I can sense the sad, defeatist fear in her body change to that of anger, frustration--
I frown, and try to put the flask to her still clenched teeth.
She will not drink. The liquid is an herbal mixture. The Were favor the effectiveness of natural medicines over that of manufactured 'cures'. Once I get my prey to drink the medicine, her fever should break by morning, and the infection of her wound should clear.
I take a swig from the flask and put my mouth to hers. I coax her mouth open and she accepts the liquid, coughing abruptly when she swallows it. As she raggedly takes a breath I take another mouthful and put my lips to hers once again.
I do this until I'm certain she understands to drink. I make her drink until the flask is empty, the liquid running down her chin as she gasps for air.
"Good girl," I murmur.
A deep sigh leaves her chest as the medicine takes its drowsy effect. Whether still in a state of delirium or not, her body finally relaxes, and I notice that the room is also, finally still.
Her head falls back as she drifts into sleep and I remove the blindfold and release her wrists from my belt.
I lay her gently down and set to work on her wound.
"Delta leader to delta wing, show's over. Let's collect the stragglers and return to base." ( Signs and Portents )