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Slave Girl of Gor
The Gorean Saga: Book 11
By John Norman
OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIACopyright © 1977 John Norman
All rights reserved.
I lay in the warm grass. I could feel it, the warm, individual green blades, separate, gentle, on my left cheek; I could feel them on my body, my stomach and thighs. I stretched my body, my toes. I was sleepy. I did not wish to awaken. The sun was warm on my back, even hot, almost uncomfortable. I snuggled deeper into the grass. My left hand was extended. My fingers touched the warm dirt between the grass blades. My eyes were closed. I resisted the coming of consciousness. I did not wish to emerge from bed. Consciousness seemed to come slowly, dimly. I did not wish to emerge from bed. I wished to prolong the warmth, the pleasantness. I moved my head, slightly. My neck seemed to wear a weight; I heard the soft clink, a tiny stirring, of heavy links of metal.
I did not understand this.
I moved my head again, sleepily, eyes closed, to its original position. Again I felt the weight, circular, heavy, on my neck; again I heard the small sound, the stirring, simple and matter of fact, of heavy metal links.
I opened my eyes, part way, keeping them half shut against the light. I saw the grass, green and close, each blade seeming wide, blurred in its nearness. My fingers dug into the warm earth. I closed my eyes. I began to sweat. I must emerge from bed. I must snatch breakfast, hurry to class. It must be late. I must hurry.
I remembered the cloth slipped over my mouth and nose, the fumes, the strength of the man who had held me. I had squirmed, but had been held in his grip, helpless. I was terrified. I had tried not to breathe. I had struggled, but futilely. I was terrified. I had not known a man could be so strong. He was patient, unhurried, waiting for me to breathe. I tried not to breathe. Then, lungs gasping, helpless, had at last inhaled, deeply, desperately, taking the sharp, strangling fumes deep into my body. In an instant, choking in the horrid, obdurate fumes, unable to expel them, unable to evade them, sickened, I had lost consciousness.
I lay in the warm grass. I could feel it on my body. I must emerge from bed. I must snatch breakfast, and hurry to class. Surely it must be late. I must hurry.
I opened my eyes, seeing the grass blades not inches from my face, wide, blurred. I opened my mouth, delicately, and felt the grass brush my lips. I bit into a blade and felt the juice of the grass, on my tongue.
I closed my eyes. I must awaken. I remembered the cloth, the strength of the man, the fumes.
My fingers dug deeply into the dirt. I clawed at it. I felt the dirt beneath my fingernails. I lifted my head, and rolled screaming, awakening, tangled in the chain, in the grass. I sat bolt upright. I realized to my astonishment and horror that I was nude, literally, totally nude, stark naked. My neck wore its encircling weight; the heavy chain, attached to the collar, dropped between my breasts and over my left thigh.
"No! No!" I cried. "No!"
I leaped to my feet screaming. The chain's weight depended from the collar, heavily, gracefully. I felt the collar pulled down, against my collarbone. The chain passed now between my legs, behind the left calf, then lifting. I jerked wildly at it. I tried to thrust the collar up, over my head. I turned it, again tried to thrust it up, over my head. I scraped my throat, hurting it. My chin was forced up; I saw the bright sky, blue with its startlingly white clouds. But I could not slip the collar. It fitted me closely. Only my small finger could I thrust between its weight and my neck. I moaned. The collar could not be slipped. It had not been made to be slipped. Irrationally, madly, nothing in my consciousness but my fear and the chain, I turned to flee, and fell, hurting my legs, tangled in the chain. I, on my knees, seized the chain, pulled at it, weeping. I tried to back away, on my knees; my head was pulled cruelly forward. I held the chain. It was some ten feet long. It extended to a heavy ring and plate fastened in a great granite rock, irregular, but some twelve feet in width and depth, some ten feet in height. The plate, with its ring, was attached near the center of the rock, low, about a foot above the grass. The rock had apparently been drilled and the plate fastened with four linear bolts. They may have passed through the entire width of the rock and been clinched on the other side. I did not know. On my knees I pulled at the chain. I wept. I cried out. I pulled again at the chain. I hurt my hands; it moved not a quarter of an inch. I was fastened to the rock.
I rose moaning to my feet, my hands on the chain. I looked about myself. The rock was prominent. There was none like it in view. I stood on a rolling plain, grassy and gentle, widely sweeping, trackless. I saw nothing but the grass, it moving in the soft, unhurried wind, the distant horizon, the unusually white clouds and blue sky. I was alone. The sun was warm. Behind me was the rock. I felt the wind on my body, but not directly, as the plate in the stone was on the sheltered side of the rock. I wondered if the wind was a prevailing one. I wondered if the plate and chain were so situated in order that the chain's prisoner, such as I found myself to be, be protected from the wind. I shuddered.
I stood alone. I was naked. I, small, white, was chained by the neck to that great rock on the seemingly endless plain.
I breathed deeply. Never in my life had I breathed such air. Though my head was chained I threw it back. I closed my eyes. I drank the atmosphere into my lungs. Those who have never breathed such air cannot know the sensations which I then felt. In so simple a thing as the air I breathed I rejoiced. It was clean and clear; it was fresh, almost alive, almost sparkling with the exhilaration of swift, abundant, pristine oxygen. It was like the air of a new world, one yet innocent of the toxins of man's majority, the unquestioned gifts, ambiguous, poisoned, of civilization and technology. My body became vital and alive. So simply did a proper oxygenation of my system work its almost immediate effect in my feeling and awareness. Those who have never breathed the air of a clean world cannot understand my words. And perhaps those who have breathed only such an atmosphere may, too, tragically, fail to comprehend. Until one has breathed such air can one know the glory of being alive?
But I was lonely, and frightened.
It was a strange world on which I stood, wide and unfamiliar, open, bright and clean. I looked out upon the vast fields of grass. I had never smelled grass before. It was so fresh, so beautiful. My senses were alive. In this atmosphere, my blood charged with oxygen, I found that I could detect odors which had eluded me before; it was as though an entire new dimension of experience had suddenly opened to me; yet I suppose it was only that here, in this place, my body did not have reason to fight its world, shutting it out, forcing it from consciousness in order not to be distracted or sickened; here there was an atmosphere which was unsoiled, undefiled, one in which the human could be a part of nature, not a rampart raised against her, not a defensive sojourner treading at night, stepping softly, scarcely daring to breathe, through the country of enemies. My vision, too, in this pure air, was keener. I could see farther and with greater detail than had been possible before in the clouded, contaminated atmosphere in which I had been raised. How far away now seemed the familiar pollutions of the gray world I remembered. On certain days there I had thought the air clean, and had delighted in its freshness. How little I had known. How foolish I had been. It had been only less murky, less dismal, only a sign of what a world might be. My hearing, too, seemed acute. The wind brushed the grass, moving in it, stirring the gleaming leaves. Colors, too, seemed richer, deeper, more vivid. The grass was richly green, alive, vast; the sky was blue, deeply blue, far deeper than I had known a sky could be; the clouds were sharp and white, protean and billowing, transforming themselves in the pressures of their heights and the winds which sped them; they moved at different heights at different speeds; they were like great white birds, stately and majestic, turning, floating in the rivers of wind. I felt the breezes of the field on my exposed body; I trembled; every bit of me seemed alive.
I was frightened.
I looked at the sun. I looked away, down, then across the fields.
I was aware now, as I had not been before, or so clearly, of the difference in the feel of my body and its movements. There seemed a subtle difference in my body weight, my movements. I thrust this comprehension from my mind. I could not admit it. I literally forced it from consciousness. But it returned, persistent. It could not be denied. "No!" I cried. But I knew it was true. I tried to thrust from my mind what must be, what had to be, the explanation of this unusual phenomenon. "No!" I cried. "It cannot be! No! No!"
Numbly I lifted the chain which hung from the collar fastened on my neck. I looked at it, disbelievingly. The links were close-set, heavy, of some primitive, simple black iron. It did not seem an attractive chain, or an expensive one. But I was held by it. I felt the collar with my fingers. I could not see it, but it seemed formed, too, of heavy iron; it seemed simple, practical, not ostentatious; it gripped my throat rather closely; I supposed it was black in color, matching the chain; it had a heavy hinge on one side; the chain, by a link, opened and closed, was fastened to a loop; the loop was fastened about a staple, which, it seemed, was a part of the collar itself; the hinge was under my right ear; the chain hung from its loop and staple under my chin; on the left, under my left ear, as I could tell by feeling it with my finger, there was a large lock, with its opening for the insertion of a heavy key. The collar, then, fastened with a lock; it had not been hammered about my neck. I wondered who held the key to that collar.
I turned about and looked at the great rock, the granite, streaked with feldspar.
I must try to awaken, I told myself. I must awaken. I laughed bitterly. I must be dreaming I told myself.
Again the difference in the feeling of my body, its weight, its movements, intruded itself into my consciousness. "No!" I cried. Then I went to the granite, and looked at the heavy plate and ring bolted into the stone. A link of my chain had been opened, and then closed, about that ring. The chain was some ten feet in length. I idly coiled it at the foot of the ring. "No!" I cried. I must awaken, I told myself. Surely it must be nearly time to arouse myself, to hurry to breakfast, to hurry to class. There is no other explanation, I told myself. I am dreaming. Then I feared I might be insane. No, I told myself. I am dreaming. It is such a strange dream, so real. But it is a dream. It must be. It must be. It is a dream. All a dream!
Then to my misery I remembered the man, being seized from behind, not able even to see him, my struggles, being held so helplessly, the cloth over my mouth and nose, his waiting for me to breathe, at last my gasping helplessly for breath, the terrible fumes, nothing else to breathe, nothing else, which could not be tolerated by consciousness, nothing else to breathe, and then my loss of consciousness. That, I knew, had been no dream.
I struck my fists until they bled on the granite rock streaked with feldspar.
Then I turned and walked from the rock, some five feet, and looked out over the vast grassy fields.
"Oh, no," I wept.
The full consciousness of my waking state, and my awareness of truth, welled up within me. It flooded my consciousness, overwhelmingly, irrefutably.
I knew then what must be the explanation for the difference in the feelings in my body, the explanation for the sense of subtle kinesthetic differences in my movements. I stood not on Earth. The gravity was not that of Earth. It was on another world I stood, an unknown world. It was a bright, beautiful world, but it was not Earth. It was not the world I knew. It was not my home. I had been brought here; no one had consulted my will; I had been brought here; my will had been nothing.
I stood alone there, naked, defenseless, before the great rock, looking over the fields.
I was lonely, and frightened, and I wore a chain on my neck.
Suddenly I cried out with misery and put my face in my hands. Then it seemed the earth spun beneath me and darkness swept about me, rushing in upon me and I lost consciousness.CHAPTER 2
I felt myself being rolled roughly on my back. "Veck, Kajira," said a voice, harshly. "Veck, Kajira." It was not a patient voice. I looked up, startled, frightened. I cried out with pain. A metal point jabbed into my body, at the juncture between my left hip and lower abdomen. The point lifted, and the shaft of the spear turned; he struck me on the right thigh, hard, with the butt of the spear. My hand went before my mouth; his foot, in a high, strapped sandal, heavy, almost an open boot, kicked my hand away. He was bearded. I lay between his legs. I looked up at him in terror.
He was not alone. There was another man a bit behind him. Both wore tunics, red; each, at his left hip, had slung a blade and scabbard; each, at his belt, carried an ornamented knife; the man behind him who stood over me had slung over his back a shield, of layers of leather and brass, and carried a spear, beneath the blade of which was slung a helmet with a plume of dark, swirling hair; he wore a cord of teeth, from some carnivore, about his neck. The man who stood over me had put his helmet and shield to one side; the helmets of both would cover the entire head and most of the face; the helmets were cut and opened in such a way as to suggest a "Y." The hair of both men was long; the hair of the man behind was tied back with a narrow piece of folded cloth.
I slipped from between the feet of the man who loomed above me, moving back. I had never seen such men. I felt so vulnerable. They were mighty, and like animals. I crouched, backing away. The chain hung from my collar, heavy. I stopped. I turned, and tried to hide myself, as I could, with my hands. I dared not even speak.
One of the men barked a command at me. He moved his hand, angrily. I removed my hands from my body. I turned, still crouching. I understood that they would look upon me.
How dared they!
I was angry!
But I dared not cover myself. It was not permitted.
Then I was afraid, not angry, but afraid, very afraid.
Could I, here, in this place, I wondered, be such that men might so look upon me?
I gathered that I might indeed, here, in this place, be such that I might be so looked upon.
The bearded man approached me. I dared not meet his eyes. I could not understand such men. My world had not prepared me to believe that such men could exist. He stood closer to me than would have a man of my world. Each in my world, it seemed, carried about with him a bubble of space, a perimeter, a wall, an invisible shield, an unconsciously acculturated, socially sanctioned remoteness, a barrier decreed by convention and conditioning. Behind this invisible wall, within this personal, privately owned space, we lived. It separated us from others; it kept us persons. In my particular Earth culture, this circle of inviolate, privately owned space had a radius of some two to three feet. Closer than this we did not, commonly, in my culture, approach one another. But this man stood close to me. He stood within my space. Suddenly I realized that my space did not exist on this world. I began to tremble with terror. So small a thing it seems, perhaps, that this convention should on this world not be acknowledged or respected, indeed, that, at least in my case, it did not exist, but it is not, truly, a small thing; no, to me the crumbling of this artifice, this protective device, this convention, was catastrophic; it is difficult to convey my sense of loss, of helplessness; on this world my space did not exist.
I saw the black leather strap, wide, shiny, across his body, from which depended the blade slung at his left hip. Behind it I saw the coarsely woven, thick red fibers at his tunic. I knew that were he to seize me in his arms and crush me to his chest, with what strength must be his, that the mark of the strap, the coarse fibers, would be imprinted on my breasts.
Excerpted from Slave Girl of Gor by John Norman. Copyright © 1977 John Norman. Excerpted by permission of OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA.
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