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The Dark Edge

Taken by Force

Hidden from View





LASSINDA LUSK --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The next ten minutes were a game of deadly hide-and-seek. The Curs wandered about in twos and threes, searching all around in the living quarters. But their loud cursings and stamping feet always gave plenty of warning.

The woman followed Vail unquestioningly. If Vail ran forward, she ran forward; if Vail halted, she halted. She moved like an automaton, as if in a state of shock.

Vail got a surprise the first time she saw her under the lights. The woman was an exotic, a Si-genotype from one of the outer Q-sector planets. Skin the colour of fresh apricots, moist dark lips, violet eyes with a concentric double iris. Surrounded by a flaring mane of golden hair, the effect was spectacular. Si-genotype women were generally regarded as the most beautiful in the Galaxy.

No less spectacular was her body, with voluptuous curves but not an ounce of spare flesh. Both plump and taut, she seemed almost bursting out of her skin. With every movement, her hips swayed and her breasts bobbed and quivered. She ran awkwardly, as if stepping on eggshells, holding her hands protectively over her sex.

They passed through rooms and passages in an erratic route, zigzagging to avoid the searching Curs. But Vail headed consistently in one overall direction. She was looking for the indoor stream that ran in a channel through the living quarters.

She had already decided their ultimate goal. It was too risky to venture out into the main valley. But she remembered the tributary valley on the other side of the living quarters and in that valley, the small alcove where she herself had once slept overnight. There could be no better hiding-place.

After countless halts and detours, they came finally upon the stream, flowing through the middle of a musty-smelling junk-room.

'Good!' Vail turned to the woman. 'We'll be right now.'

The woman stared back with wide violet eyes. Her beautiful face was clenched and rigid. Vail had the impression that she was on the verge of a hysterical collapse.

'Hold on now, hold on. Do you want to cover yourself?'Vail offered the bundled-up cloth she still carried in her hands.

The woman nodded, like an acquiescent child. Vail helped wind the cloth under her armpits, over her breasts. The woman clung to the ends of the material as if her life depended on it.



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Richard Harland.