Sci-fi sex

Above, light whiffs of thin clouds here and there punctuated the
deep balmy blue of the spring sky. All around, the unfurling
bright green freshness of emerging leaves and blossoms.

"I am the cool breeze across the battlefield," whispered a quiet
voice in my mind's ear. As the crowd stood tensely riveted to the
adjacent crashing noise, my concentration drifted to memories of
all the seasons I had witnessed in this amphitheatre.

The year before, an itinerant company of players had put on an
exhaustingly complete musical rendition of the entire
Maha-Bharata, and I had found myself in attendance for the entire
5-night series. The pyrotechnics alone were spectacular -- even I
learned a few tricks.

In a few short moments, the dramatic summary of the Vedic ages
flashed across my mind, the braided cycles of the yugas, while
somewhere in my senses I could hear the mysterious crashing
continue. Feet stood on the rough-hewn precambrian stone slabs of
the stage, feet clad in sandals, army boots, dressy fine pumps,
or simply bare, met the sturdy surface of hoary chunks of rock,
on tiptoes, necks craning.

Something was distorting my sense of time.

For another brief instant my concentration slipped, and I could
see the dias stones in all of their different ages, the layers
peeling away like the thin filo-dough in baklava, the stones in
all their ages and seasons providing support for dramatic
productions in generations past and future, the long-ago days
when they were first quarried and brought to this place, to back
when the molten liquid of the Earth surface first heaved them
forth to cool and solidify.

Looking over to where Elwrong crouched, head down, I could sense
the emanation of terrible darkness, her reaching for the lost
connection through the complex labyrinth of space and time.

"They're back!" someone cried joyfully.

Snapping out of my reverie, I looked up to see King Hieronymus
and Queen Megan riding over the crest of the hill on horseback.

"Mom! Dad!" shouted Sylvia.

"What the devil is going on here?" roared the king.

A chorus of cheers was rising from our followers on the other
side of the hill.

"And," he demanded, riding brusquely down through the hastily
parting crowd to where we stood, "What in blazes does this filthy
maggot think he's doing, wearing my crown?"

"Well, I um," stuttered George, "You were gone, y'see, and the
people needed a strong leader, some who could guide them through
these times of darkness. . ."

"I remember you," said King Hieronymus. "You're the imposter who
was claiming to be some relative of mine. Faked up forgeries of
documents and all. And what's this piece of trash?"

He lifted a corner of the ridiculous mockery George had made of
the Sangrelysian banner.

"The new flag," beamed George proudly. "I made a few
improvements. You like it?"

Hieronymus examined it for a moment, then reaching out a
powerful, gloved hand to hold the flagpole, tore it slowly from
its post. Then he began stretching it from the edges, until it
split down the middle with a huge ripping sound.

He held up the two pieces and lit a match beneath them, waiting
until they were engulfed in flame to let them fall to the ground,
where George's obsequious followers were forced to stamp out the
flame so it wouldn't spread.

"Now, that was fun. Any more questions?" asked the King politely.

"Daddy, where have you been?" wailed Sylvia.

"Just out riding in the woods, sweet. We weren't gone but a few
hours. . ."

"But Daddy, it's been a year now!"

Hieronymus met my gaze with inquiring eyes. "Supernatural

Chagrin clutched at my heart. "Yes. Looks like you were caught in
some sort of spell, which I failed to prevent. We've got some
catching up to do."

As usual, he read my emotions with unerring accuracy. "Stop
feeling guilty," he growled purringly. "Everyone makes mistakes."

A spiraling tendril of a shadow curved outward from where Elwrong
crouched in anguished dread of her past deeds, of the horrors of
war she had designed. Briefly, a savage grin of triumph flashed
across her face.

"She's getting away!" shouted Sylvia, "Opening another portal!
Stop her!"

"No," said Clarissa calmly, sadly, "She's not."

"Stop!" I shouted, "Before it's too late! We can help you!"

Elwrong's leering grin turned to an expression of sheer terror,
as the spiral of darkness came slashing inward like a propeller
spinning up for takeoff.

"No!" she yelped, simply, before the vortex of shadows closed in
around her, and gradually she shrunk into the paradoxical
infinite distance of perpetual everpresent tenebrosity, whisked
away by the lurking gloom always concealed beneath the luminosity
of the visible world, growing smaller and smaller, farther and
farther away as the web of grim occlusion funneled in like a
liquid going down a drain, in four or five dimensions right there
before us.

Until only a tiny pinpoint remained, like the inverted final
period of an old-fashioned switched-off TV set or oscilloscope.
But a point of blackness so intense that, as I looked into it I
felt as if I were on the edge of the world, peering over the rim
into a fathomless chaos of eternal night, into the unfashioned
realms of darkness.

Then like a soap bubble, it popped, leaving behind only the
ordinary flagstone surface of the stage, well-weathered and worn
by countless thespian escapades.

"What just happened?" asked the King.

"Caught in a temporal undertow," I said. "She was trying to

"Is she still alive?"

I shrugged helplessly. "Nobody can say for certain. It's like
vanishing beyond the event horizon of a black hole. Nobody has
ever worked out the math well enough to satisfactorily explain
what's going on."

"And nobody has ever returned to tell us about it," concluded
Clarissa quietly.

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