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Authors: Berengaria Brown

Earth (5 page)

BOOK: Earth
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Finally it was time to move. “Get dressed. It’s time to go back to the
ship.”

It didn’t take her long to put on her few pieces of clothing, and her
sandals, and tie her pack across her back. He picked up the bag that contained
the half empty water bottle and wrapping from the food they’d eaten and led the
way back down the hill. He knew she was following him because he sensed her
presence. He went through the village and on down to the seashore.

Terah
stood and watched him as Andreas took off his clothing. “Get
undressed,” he said.

He walked a little way into the water and waved for her to join him.

“Sit here and let the water soothe you. The salt in it will heal you
faster than ordinary water.”

She smiled at him. “We noticed that when we first reached the ocean.
But you can’t drink it. You need to tell me where the river is so I can fill up
your water container.”

“Chad and Duncan will take care of fetching water. There’s a well in
the village.”

She frowned at his words.

“What’s the problem?”

“I’ve heard the word well before but I can’t picture one. Usually we
get our water from rivers or springs. Flowing water is much healthier than
still water in lakes and ponds, although any water is better than none. But I
can’t picture a well.”

“A well is a deep hole in the ground. People send a bucket down on a
rope to draw the water. Some wells have wheels to turn to bring the water up
for the people.”

He watched as she stayed still and quiet, sitting in the ocean where he’d
told her to be, and then she smiled. “I remember. It’s a very long time since I
saw one.”

“Your village is near a river then?”

“We don’t have a village. We move from place to place so the food never
runs out. We must always move on to find more food.”

“Why don’t you grow crops?”

“A tree takes many hands and feet of years to grow. What does the
community eat while it grows? What does the community eat in winter when there’s
no fruit?”

“A farmer doesn’t just grow one tree. He plants many trees to give
fruit at different times of the year, grains to harvest, and vegetables that
crop throughout the year.”

“But how can one community look after so many plants?”

“That’s what you’re about to learn. We’re going to bring back this land
to productivity. We’ll grow fruits and vegetables, grains, seeds, and keep
animals. Faster than you can imagine there’ll be enough food for everyone so we
can enlarge the community and make everything we need.”

“It’ll be a lot of work,” she said hesitantly.

“Yes, but we have the knowledge of how to do it. Originally people had
to find things out for themselves. All that learning is available to us now and
we know what each crop needs to thrive. Also we’ve cheated by bringing some of
the technology we need with us from Mu
Arae
7.”

“Mu
Arae
7? This place is your home?”

“No. Earth is our home now. We’ve been tasked with restoring the planet
to productivity and health. But Mu
Arae
7 is where we
came from.”

She nodded seriously. “You said you came on a ship. Where is it?”

He laughed as she looked at the ocean. “Mu
Arae
7 is a different planet in a different solar system far from Earth. We came on
a spaceship. You might have walked sixty days to get here but we crossed space
from thirty light years away.”

It was clear she didn’t understand many of his words even though he was
speaking English not Mu
Araen
. “I’ll show you the
ship and teach you to count. As soon as your power is unleashed we can begin
growing the plants.”

“What power? What must I do?”

 

Chapter Five

 

Terah
offered her towel to Andreas to dry himself first, but he waited until
she was dry before using it. Then they walked up the cliff path, a narrow
winding dirt track barely wide enough for such a big man to fit his feet on, up
into the village. Seen this close, the green plants covering the buildings were
astounding.
Terah
tipped her head back to look at old
houses almost completely covered by the foliage.

The buildings were made of weathered grayish-cream stone and some of
them even had roofs made of stones laid in long lines. The reason the roofs had
fallen in was because the stones were placed on a framework of wooden lattice
which had rotted away.

“It would be easy to put a new roof on. All we’d need to do is weave a
new wooden lattice and then pick up the rocks and lay them in place again.”

“That might leak.”

“The people who lived here once must have had a solution. We need to
look on the floor and see what it was.”

Terah
looked up at him. He was in charge of her now. She must always do his
bidding. But right now he was treating her as an equal, as a person who might
be able to help him work out a solution. He was smiling so she asked, “May I go
inside one of the buildings and look.”

“Certainly.” He led the way into a building that looked big enough for
a whole community to sleep in. In fact, most of the buildings would have fit in
her community on the ground level with space for a second community upstairs.
Terah
couldn’t imagine how many hands and feet of people
must have lived here so long ago.

She crouched on the ground and looked at the rubble there, carefully
setting aside the rounded rocks which must once have formed the roof, the long
narrow sticks, many rotted now, which would have been the frame, and the vines
that grew over the entire building—over the entire village.

Almost as if someone had whispered the answer in her ear she knew what
it was.

“It’s the plants. The buildings are covered with the plants because
they were the original roof coverings. Where the roofs have fallen in the
plants have gone as well, but they’re still on the walls. Look here. The plants
are growing down from the roof to the ground, not up from the ground.”

Andreas crouched down inspecting the plants and then smiled at her.
“You’re right. We’ll only renovate one house first though, to ensure we do it
right before we renovate anymore.”

“We’ll need more houses than just one? How many people are there?”

“Eight of us and you four women.”

The words were strange to her but she knew how many four was. Four was
Skye,
Raine
, Flame, and herself. Her fingers but not
her thumb.

“How many is eight? It must be a very large number to need more than
one house. More than your hands and feet and my hands and feet.”

He pulled her to sit on the floor with him. It wasn’t dirt, but it was
cold and hard, like rocks only smooth.
Concrete.
She remembered the word now. She’d seen concrete paths and concrete floors in
other places their community had stayed at times.

“I’m tired of all this hands and feet nonsense. Watch. I already told
you this once up on the hillside. My first hand is five. Add my other hand to
make ten. Adding in one foot is fifteen, and my other foot makes twenty.”

As he said the words she remembered them and understood his method of
counting. Looking at her own hands and feet she slowly held up, “Five, ten,
fiveteen
, twenty.”

“Fifteen not
fiveteen
.”

She nodded and repeated what he’d said.

Then he held up his fingers one at a time. “One, two, three, four,
five. Six, seven, eight, nine, ten.”

“That is eight? Only that many? So your people plus
us
is ten plus two. We don’t even need half of this room.”

“Every man needs his own room. Your three friends may share a room. You
will be with me.”

Terah
understood that he’d want his slave nearby to fetch him whatever he
needed, but the thought of everyone having a room alone was very strange to
her. These men were very big. Much taller, wider, heavier all over than her
people, but not so big they needed the space of two people’s hands and feet.
“What is the word for two people’s hands and feet?”

“Forty. Why did you want to know that number?” he asked.

She was a little bit embarrassed. “That’s how many people were in my
community. A shelter this size was all we needed, but we didn’t have separate
rooms. We all stayed together.”

“We need to head back. It’ll soon be time to eat.”

She almost repeated the word
eat
out loud, just managing to remain silent at the last moment. Of course he’d
want to eat. He was huge. But how she’d find enough food to feed him was a huge
worry. The sooner they started planting these crops the better.

Silently she walked behind him toward the center of the village. When
they were almost there she stopped and frowned. A roof had been erected over a
large—thing. It wasn’t like anything she’d ever seen before and was a hazy
misty gray-white color that made looking at it quite difficult.

“That’s a ship?” she asked.

“Our spaceship, yes.”

Now she knew why the plants in the center of the village hadn’t looked
right from up on the hillside. She was seeing the roof over the ship, not what
was really there.

He pulled the black thing out of his garment and a section of the ship
slid away leaving a doorway. Cautiously
Terah
followed him inside and he took her to a staircase that wound up to a higher
level. It was so narrow his shoulders brushed the walls on either side, but
there was more than enough space for her to follow him. Once again he used his
black thing to open a door. This room was small. There was a bed, a table with
a chair, a closet which, when he opened it, she saw was filled with things, and
another door that led to an even smaller room.

“I don’t suppose your village had bathrooms?” he asked.

“If that is a bathroom, then no. But we moved around. We didn’t stay in
one place.”

“I’m sorry. You told me that already. I should have remembered. This is
a shower. This is how to turn the water on, and then you wash yourself.”

She watched as he flipped a metal lever up and then down. Water fell from
a thing in the ceiling when the lever was raised.

“This is a toilet.” He explained how to use it, and then showed her the
sink. The water came out of a metal thing just like it did with the shower when
the metal thing was turned.

“I have work to do. I’ll come and get you when it’s time to eat,” he
said and then was gone.

Terah
put her pack down in the corner of the room by the door. She looked
some more at all the items in the bathroom, but was careful not to touch
anything. She looked at his bed and thought how soft and warm it looked, and
then she sat on the floor, crossed her legs, and thought about all the experiences
that had taken place in one short day. More had happened to her today than in
the previous hand of years of her life. No, not hand. The previous five years
of her life.

So far, being a slave didn’t seem too bad. Andreas wasn’t cruel to her.
Even when he’d fucked her and it had hurt, he’d made sure she had a climax each
time.
Terah
didn’t know much but she knew all men
were not so considerate. Another thing was that he hadn’t hit her at all. He’d
hardly even complained about her lack of understanding of his language and
ways. Her ass was still a little bit sore, but soaking in the ocean had
definitely helped her feel better.

No, her big worry was going to be finding enough food for him. It
seemed he ate more than once a day. She hadn’t allowed for that problem until
he mentioned eating when they’d already eaten a full meal just a few hours
before. Her first task would be to make some fishing nets. Catching fish might
be the fastest way to feed him until she knew where all the various plants grew
around here.

She also worried about Flame, Skye, and
Raine
.
Andreas had said they would share a room, so they must be here and safe. Maybe
they would help her scavenge food. Or perhaps they already had tasks to do. But
Andreas hadn’t said they’d been given to other men, so they should be safe and
well. That made her feel better.

****

For the first time ever Andreas found his mind filling with images of
his bride when he ought to have been concentrating on work. Finally he gave up.
“Herman, you remain in charge. All I can think of is my new bride.”

“That might be part of the power. Because you have to release the power
hidden inside her, it makes sense to focus all your thoughts and time on her
for a few days at least,” said Herman.

“I hope you find your bride soon,” he said, feeling a little guilty,
although they’d always known his bride would be found because he was born first
and was their leader.

“There are no other heat signatures for other people near here, but
some of the men have wondered if these extra women are more than just
companions for your bride. Perhaps one of them or even all of them, might be brides
as well.

Andreas stood very still and thought.

“That’s possible, but they come from a very small community, of only
forty people. How likely is it that four brides would be found in such a tiny
group?”

“I guess not so very likely. But that’s okay. We’re monitoring all the
area within fifty kilometers of here looking for heat signatures of people.

“Thirty miles,” he grunted, already thinking about his bride and his
bed.

“Thirty miles then. Dinner will be ready in ten minutes.”

“Okay. I’ll get
Terah
. Likely she’ll want to
talk to her friends.”

“The men and I certainly want to talk to her friends, just in case they’re
really brides.”

“You can’t all paw them. I know you need to touch a woman to be sure
she’s a bride but I won’t have all seven of you groping these women throughout
the meal.”

“No, sir. I’ll tell them.”

“Tell them to stand a few inches away. Sniff the air, feel the
vibrations, get a sense for each woman. No one is to touch one unless they’re
sure she’s their bride.”

“Yes, sir.”

Andreas didn’t care if he sounded rude. The last thing he needed was
the women having their bodies mauled in the hope that they’d be a bride. He
didn’t need a pack of hysterical women crying and screaming on his ship.

He’d known
Terah
belonged to him before he
touched her. He knew which woman to claim. If one of them was a bride the man
would know.

He went back to his room, expecting to see
Terah
showered and dressed in the clothes he’d brought for her, maybe with her hair
done in some special way. He’d spent hours choosing dresses for his bride, luxurious
lace and satin lingerie for her, and soft shoes for her to wear inside, as well
as serviceable outer garments for working in. He was well aware that Earth
women were much smaller than women from Mu
Arae
7 and
everything he’d brought with him was in the smallest size so it should fit her.
There was a lovely dress in green velvet that would look perfect with her eyes.
Perhaps she would have chosen that one.

His cock was hard as he typed in his code for the door to open. Sitting
on the floor, dressed exactly as when he’d left her, was his bride.

“Why aren’t you showered, dressed, and ready for dinner?”

“I’m ready now if you need me to go anywhere or do anything.”

“No, you’re not. You’re still in your traveling clothes. Did you even
shower?”

“No, sir. I soaked in the ocean, remember and you didn’t tell me to use
your shower.”

“I expected you to get ready. To shower, to shampoo your hair, to put
on the clothing I bought you, to look like my bride not a scruffy half-starved Earthling.”

Her gaze dropped to the floor. “I didn’t know. I’m sorry, sir.”

Andreas drew rein on his anger and disappointment. There was no rush,
they would be together for many years. “I opened the closet so you could see
the clothing I bought you. I showed you how to use the bathroom. I expected you
to do that,”

“I’m sorry sir. I can do it now. I’ll be quick.”

“Being quick defeats the purpose. I wanted you to look beautiful for
the men to see my lovely bride.”

****

Terah
understood that in some strange way she’d let him down and wounded his
pride. But she still had no idea how she was supposed to know that she was to
shower when she’d already bathed in the ocean, and to touch the things in the
closet. Never in her wildest dreams had she imagined that anything in the
closet was for her. She hadn’t even looked closely at what was there. It was
his closet so she assumed everything in it was his.

BOOK: Earth
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