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She lay there for hours unable to sleep, afraid if she did, the dreams would begin again. She missed her husband so desperately! She knew if she slept, the horror of the past few months would override the remembrance of the joy of his homecoming. In her mind she was there at that moment when their eyes locked again and then fell into his arms. The carcass of the deer fell to the ground unnoticed and untouched for the moment. When they finally broke apart, silent tears slid from her eyes that showed so much love.

“I didn’t think you would return. I was afraid I’d lost you!” Her words tumbled from her trembling lips, and her voice full of emotion. “If I lost you, I had no more will to live!”

She looked up into his eyes and froze his heart, for her eyes spoke the same words and they frightened him. He realized just how much he almost lost and reached again for her embrace.

“I will never leave you my beloved, even if miles separate us, I will be with you! You will always know I am near by and alive! If anything should happen to me, you will know that also, because we are one and we will always be together in this life and the next!”

His words comforted her and for the first time, she felt as loved as she loved herself. They stayed in that embrace until her sobs subsided, then for the first time she saw the carcass lying on the ground. She reluctantly broke from him and collected her thoughts for this was something she needed to do. She sat down on the ground and reached for the stone knife with its edge so sharp that it cut like a razor. She skinned the carcass and talked while her fingers deftly worked the sharp instrument. She’d done this so many times she didn’t need to look down, she could do it by feel. She used this time to talk about everything she’d held inside for so long!

She told her husband of the rape and how this rape also stirred emotions within her that caused her shame. She told him how the stranger found her alone and unsupervised and how he got her from the village undetected.

“I felt his hands clamp over my mouth and I tried to scream! I started struggling and I tried to kick him but he was so strong! I almost succeeded but he held my throat with his hand and shut off my breath and then there was darkness. When I again saw anything he was on top of me and tore off his clothes! I was naked and again tried to scream but something in my mouth prevented me making sounds! I struggled so hard but my hands were tied and so were my legs, they were tied in such a way that my womanhood was exposed! I knew what he was doing was wrong! Why did he let me live? Then I felt him trying to enter me! It was like a bad dream! He laid his whole weight on me and shoved his way inside! Oh God, why? Then I felt him spill his seed within me, and he collapsed. He started to kiss me. I tried to turn away but his lips were on fire. He kissed my breasts and did things that made my body react with pleasure. Before I knew it, my body betrayed me, and God help me, I started enjoying it.”

Tears fell from her eyes and splashed on the carcass and diluted the blood covering the raw meat. He wanted to take her in his arms and tell her it didn’t matter, but instinctually, he knew she had to talk this out to help erase the memories. Fighting every message his body was sending, he listened to her calmly while a rage burned deep within his body.

“I found my body reaching up to meet his thrusts and a fire burned deep within and I was lost! When it ended, he was crying. He quickly dressed and let me free and left me with words I didn’t understand. Once he was gone, I went to the river and then I heard the search. I tried to wash his seed from me but I didn’t succeed! I carried his child within me! I should never have married you! I should have rejected your longings but I loved you! I didn’t know how much until I thought you were gone! I knew you will never forgive me, and I will understand if you want to leave, but please, please remember, I love you more then I could ever love anyone else!”

With that, the skinning was finished and so was her tale. She kept looking at the ground afraid to see what was in his face. She was sure she would see disgust and loathing. He gently cupped her tear-stained face and gently raised it to meet his eyes.

“My beautiful wife, you are the only one I will ever love! What he did to your body was evil, but it will never change the feelings I have for you! This has only made me realize just how much I would miss you and how much we are one! Don’t ever think of this again, you and our baby are the best thing to ever happen to either of us and don’t you forget my words!”

She looked deep within his eyes and saw the tears of truth. She saw the love he felt for her and her body relaxed its stress. She knew they were one and would always be one. The Creator picked the right one for her and she was thankful.

He was walked fast; he could smell the ocean once more. He was almost to safety almost home free. The memories of the child-woman haunted him; the curve of her body and the smell of her would haunt him for a long time to come. Why hadn’t he brought her with him? Why did he walk away? He cursed himself for not doing what he wanted but he was also afraid to return because he knew her people would kill him! His ship was nearby floating in the harbor with the men under him ready to leave this land forever. But did he want to leave?

His mind wandered back to that time with her, this beautiful stranger who captured his imagination. He’d taken women before, why did this time bother him so much? Her people meant nothing to him, they were just another people to conquer and possess. It was his right as a man to have any woman he desired! So why was her face haunting his dreams? She was beautiful yes, but so were the other women, what made this one so special? His head tried to justify what happened but his heart whispered the truth. All he could see was her eyes so full of fear and hatred and then finally, desire. He remembered the taste of her kisses and the arching of her back when she finally responded to his touch. His heart traced the path down her body while the memory stirred his loins. He tried to shake off the feelings, he needed to concentrate on finding the one cove out of many that held his ship, and so he walked forward and hoped he’d forget her soon.

Once he was aboard his ship and once again in charge, the memories would leave him and he could continue with the life before that one woman. He would return to his home and his women who would cast this memory out of his head forever. He just had to walk harder to get the thoughts out of his head and out of his memory.

He looked around to get his bearings, he was close to the ocean for he saw the seabirds and could almost taste the saltiness in the air. The trees looked bent and stooped from a lifetime of winds rushing from the sea inland to create the rains. They were stunted in their growth because of the winds but they still towered over him casting long shadows in the waning daylight. He figured he had one or perhaps two more days of travel before he made it to the cove and then the journey home. He decided to make his camp here for the night and then get an early start the next day.

When he decided to leave the ship and go exploring he was counseled not to go into the interior by himself. He knew there were hostiles in this country, he knew the dangers that could befall him, but he also knew that a man traveling by himself could protect himself better then a few men traveling together. It wasn’t until he found the cliff dwellings and the strange people that he came in contact with anyone else on his journey. He took his courage in hand and climbed boldly into this unknown village. He made a formidable scene with his armor and weapons; he also stood taller then most of the villagers and that is why they allowed him to stay.

As he made a bed of branches and leaves, and a small campfire without smoke, he remembered the first time he saw the cliff houses. His journey started with a river. This river was large enough to hold his ship but where did the river end? He started walking along its winding and twisting bed following it until he finally saw the bright colors of the cliffs. He’d never seen anything like this before and curiosity overcame him and he wanted to see them closer.

The air was warm here, almost hot and the walking was slower because of his thirst. But the river seemed to take him closer to the cliffs instead of away from them. There wasn’t much to hide him away from the river so he hugged the bank so not to alert any hostiles around this place. The closer he came to the cliffs, the more signs of hostiles he found. Knowing he was by himself, he slowed his walking to better hide. He caught fish in the river for sustenance; afraid to build a fire he ate them raw. It wasn’t the first time he’d done this but that didn’t make it easier. He camped at this place for a couple of days before traveling further. Then he saw her.

She was bathing in the river with the other maidens, they were guarded by older women so no man could see them, but he did. Somehow they didn’t feel his presence and he sure didn’t want them to sound an alarm. He looked over the maidens and his body reacted to their nakedness. His eyes followed the girls until he spotted her. She was laughing and her laughter sounded throaty and sensual, the water glistened on her body showing her body with sunshine sparkles. He breath caught in his throat with her beauty. Her hair hung down to her waist, and her dark eyes framed by beautifully arched brows. She wandered nearer to him; almost close enough to touch when she was called back to the others. She ran in the water back to the main body and reached for some sort of root and washed her hair. The others were doing the same but he only saw her. It was then he decided he wanted her.

To Be Continued in Part IX

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Reviewed by Donni De-Ville 11/22/2003
...I have only read your children's stories, Claywoman, but now I have just read this and can not find any more of it!!!Where is the rest kept?? I know you know about true emotions, for it conjured up a lot of mine! You won't know why, but I don't feel the guilt I have been carrying. Thank you. Apart from that it was as if you were speaking the story out to me! I was enraptured! Why you are not a famous author, I do not know! If you can write one story like that I can just imagine the other's too!
Reviewed by Mr. Ed 9/16/2003
I've read every installment posted here at AD by Claywoman, and I must say that I was intriqued and interested in every one of them from beginning to end. A captivating tale. When do we get to read more?
Reviewed by Carmen Ruggero 9/14/2003
Well, Claywoman, I told you I'd be reading your writing. I picked this one at random, and now I'll have to find all of it. This story is haunting. Thank you.

Reviewed by Judith Bailey 6/17/2003
I just hope you have it all finished???
Reviewed by m j hollingshead 6/16/2003
well done
Reviewed by Birdie Houston 3/9/2003
Excellent story great read .......
Reviewed by Elizabeth Taylor 1/14/2003
I've been following this. Well done.
Reviewed by Sandi Layne 12/12/2002
Wow! I've read all 8 parts in one sitting, Claywoman, and have enjoyed the richness of the culture you've shared with us. I'm glad the Blue Eyed man came back into the picture...I was beginning to think he was a Deus Ex Machina... <smile> More, more! :)
Reviewed by Peter Adotey Addo 9/28/2002
A great story ....can't wait for the next instalment.....
Reviewed by Roger Nelson 8/5/2002
Bravo Claywoman. Another great episode.
Keep them coming.
Reviewed by James Samdavid1 8/4/2002
It was a good write and a good read. There was one mistake that jumped out at me when she was skinning the deer hide> She while she? Otherwise it was as usual, an outstanding story. Thank you for sending an e-mail to alert me to its write. May the Spirits keep you save.A pal. James D. (Samdavid1)..
Reviewed by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado 8/3/2002
keep it up, claywoman!! i *LOVE* this series!! great work, hun!! luv, karen lynn in texas. (((HUGS))) to you, my friend!!
Reviewed by Amor Sabor 8/1/2002
Wow! Loved this part...the imagery was leaped out and I saw much. I was surprised at the Strangers return in the story and hearing his side of it in his mind. Very well done!!! Impressive!!!
Reviewed by Marjorie Coogle 7/31/2002
sorry i forgot to rate it first time. i can see it all... the rape, the cleaning of the deer, the surprise response to the rape, the explanation, the bathing, the rapist, so many sides to one story. great.
Reviewed by Nickolaus Pacione 7/31/2002
This one is going strong -- this is a strong burnt offering. I am going to go back and re-read the others to get caught up -- I had been busy writing my own material as well that I will have to come back around. But I thought this one is a strong one. Very haunting.
Reviewed by Lawrance Lux 7/31/2002
Still going good, CW. I find I have to re-read all parts to provide good critique. lgl

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