Read chapter Two from 5 Beds to Mecca

Chapter TWO

Digitally transcribed for the Gardner Francis Fox Adventure Library

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The moon made silver of the cobblestones in the Medina alley. It touched the arched doorways of the native quarter, it made the hanging rugs and jute baggings gleam with radiance, it seemed to hold the wail of a derbouka in its spell, as we walked along.

The moonlight also touched the barrel of a gun poking at us from around the corner of a building. I blinked, thinking I was hallucinating. The sun ran red at its muzzle and Major Hartley gave a little sigh. Men in white jellabas and with tarbooshes on their heads came spring out of the shadows, straight for me.

“Major Hartley! Major, is this part of your operational procedure? I think—”

The major was leaning against a whitewashed wall, a hand to his middle. There was a blackish ooze running over his fingers. Blood looks black by moonlight.

“Not—our crowd,” he whispered, sliding down the wall. I turned from the major, I dodged a fist that swung for me, I reached out to catch that wrist and forearm, I slammed my other hand into the neck of my foremost assailant. I kicked my right leg between his calves and rammed my high heel into his ankle. His cry of pain sounded in my ear, but I was bending, applying pressure for the inner thigh throw, the unchi mata.

The man went over sideways on his back. As he was falling I kicked him in the throat with the pointed toe of a shoe. I dropped with him, hitting a second attacker in a body block like a Big Ten fullback. My hand went out, found the gun my first attacker had dropped.

The gun came up and spat hot lead into the belly of a third man. I swiveled and fired at at fourth, a fifth. The man I’d thrown the body block at was spitting curses in Arabic as he came for me. I guess he thought he was in a nightmare. No woman could be doing this to half a dozen of Allah’s chosen!

A woman was doing it. And enjoying it. I shot number three between the eyes. He screeched and stiffened in muscular reflex, then fell face-down on the cobblestones. I was still on my knees with a couple of dead bodies half hiding my gams as I crouched low. I told myself I made too good a target, perched as I was on my dimpled knees. I slid forward like a snake, gun in hand and my eyes moving here and there.

Five men were dead. Good enough, as far as it went. But were there any more of them? The street was oddly silent. I suppose A.L.L.A.H. had declared a curfew for this section of the Medina. And everybody who was a sane, sensible man was observing it with almost religious fanaticism.

I waited for maybe three minutes.

I eased myself upward into the moonlight, but I was looking like crazy for any more of these medina musclemen. Nobody. I breathed a sigh of relief and ran toward Major Hartley.

His eyes opened as I touched him.

“No use. I’ve had it,” he breathed. His lips quirked in a little grin. “I guess maybe the Yanks knew what they were doing when they sent you over here. You’re a blooming bomb going off when you fight. Crikey!”

I tried to stem the flow of blood from his lips with my handkerchief but he only smiled and shook his head. “Better get out of here, Miss Drum. There’ll be another bunch of those Allah-boys around to make another try for you if you don’t.”

He drew a deep breath, grimaced with pain, then whispered, “Took me before I was really expecting trouble. Thought our bunch would have been along before now. Something must have held them up. You’d better—go—fifty-seven twelve rue Semmarine. And hurry, Yank. The. . .”

The major shuddered. His head went back and his body arched. Then he rolled over and lay on his side, staring blindly at a cockroach running across a cobblestone. I reached out, gently closed his eyes.

I rose to my feet. I was on my own again, as I so often was, working for L.U.S.T. Well, I liked it that way. I only had to worry about my own skin, nobody else’s. I bent and lifted another gun from a fallen A.L.L.A.H. agent. I wondered where David Anderjanian had gone. Probably back to the hotel, the louse.

The two Belgian Browning automatics balanced me. I began to move swiftly alongside the building walls, guns stuck out before me. If I saw so much as a shadow, I would bang away. Chills were racing up and down my spine on icy feet. I was marooned in the native quarter of a North African city, up to my smooth little neck in danger, and I had no more idea of where the Rue Semmarine might be located that I had of what the dark-side of the Moon looked like.

I started searching for street signs. Ha! Might as well look for a squad of American marines. I saw a man up ahead of me shuffling along with his head bent. He was no tourist guide, but he might know something.

“Hey!” I shouted. “Que est le Rue Semmarine?

He turned, saw me trotting toward him with my hand filled with blue-metaled automatics in my fists, and started to run.

“The hell with you, too,” I snarled.

I ran after him, having nothing else to do. “Arretez! Damn your hide—stop!”

I sent a leaden bullet ahead of him. It chipped white brickwork of a wall, slapping some of the chips in his face.

He slid to a halt, turning and lifting his arms high.

“No shoot! No shoot!” he screeched.

He spoke English of sorts, then. I felt I was halfway home. I trotted up to him, repeating my question.

“Rue Semmarine? There! There!”

His arm pointed toward an intersecting street about fifty feet away. I looked at him, asking, “Vraiment? Are you sure?”

His head bobbed. “Oui, oui? Sure! Sure!”

I gestured him off, and he ran. Then I walked the fifty feet to the Rue Semmarine. It looked like any other street in the Medina. The smell of fruits and cooked lamb hung oppressively in the air. I could see, in an upper story window, the faint radiance of a lamp.

There were doorways set into the walls, dark recesses that blended with the shadows and the blacknesses which were the bottom story windows. I drew a deep breath and edged forward. I passed three doors. There were no numbers on any of them. I began to feel sorry for Marrakesh mail men, if there were any such people.

I was moving past the fourth door when it opened.

Something thick and fuzzy fell over my head. Something strong and solid went around my hips and my upper torso. I identified each as a Moroccan blanket and arms like steel bands. I kicked out. I heard an indrawn breath, I heard a curse. Then more and more of my unseen attackers—under the Moroccan hanbel, everything was dark around me—rammed into my girlish body. Lean men, they were; they felt as if they were made of bone and whipcord. My elbow slashed into a hard belly, I brought my knee up into a crotch and heard a thick scream; but there were too many of them.

I went backward, landing on and skidding along the cobblestones. The breath was half gone from my lungs but I bucked and arched as savagely as I could. My hands and arms, my teeth, were hampered by the shrouding blanket that strong arms held over my head and shoulders and which extended to my hips. I had no chance to use my gold dart-ring. And I most certainly wasn’t going to blow myself up by yanking loose one of my gold dangles.

Somebody reached between my thighs, caught hold of my tender flesh and twisted. I screamed in agony, my legs flailed out. Other hands caught my legs, yanking them wide. Now another hand came to join the first until I wanted to die from the agony they were causing me.

I no longer fought them. I had all I could do to keep from passing out. I was weeping and sobbing when they lifted me to my feet. My entire body was shaking like I had a fit. I could scarcely stand, I was so weak from pain and exhaustion. Something cuffed my head, again and again. I stumbled and fell, skinning my knees on the stones. I went on crying.

Then a voice cursed in Arabic and I was hoisted up onto a shoulder. Whoever held me began to run at a dog-trot through the Medina alleyways. I felt my arms and legs flapping behind and before the man who carried me. I felt like a chunk of prime beef on its way to market.

In a sense, that’s just what I was. Woman meat. Female flesh to be sold to the highest bidder. Only I didn’t know it then.

A door opened. Through the thick stuff of the blanket around me, I grew aware of light, and voices, and from somewhere the thin, shrill music of a reed flute. My skirt was pushed up. I felt a needle thrust into my behind. I fell asleep.

I woke to the flickering flame of an oil lamp. The flute was wailing from somewhere below me. I lay on a low cot in a room with whitewashed walls, roomy and airy enough, with a latticework stone grille letting in a soft breeze of the Haouz plain, scented with flowering lemon trees and the delicate odors of an orange grove.

I was naked. The moonlight shining through the lattice made black shadows on my breasts and belly. I moved my leg, watched the tracery move along it until it became lost in the golden puff at my groin. I should have risen to my feet, made some attempt at escape, but there was a languor in my blood. I began to think I had been doped.

A door opened, a yellow trail of light ran across the floor to the edge of my cot. A fat man came into the room. When he saw my eyes were open, he moved closer, smiling down at me.

“Ah, my pretty one! All slept out, huh?”

He put his big paw on my thigh and ran it all the way up. I squirmed slowly, too lazy to evade his rough palm and fingers. His eyes stared down at what his hand was doing.

“Real golden hair. Ah, you’ll fetch a fortune, you will, my wuseefeh! Old Selim will make money out of you.” He chuckled thickly. “The fifty dinhars you cost me will be repaid a thousand times before I’m done with you.”

I writhed to the touch of his hand. I was aware that I was a lady from L.U.S.T., I knew that I had been abducted by white slavers. I just didn’t care. Whatever drug had been shot into my veins by that needle in my buttock had wrecked my will.

I giggled. Selim laughed, “You like it, don’t you—the sihhaq, I mean. Yes, yes. You are a born aulimeh, the female well-versed in the art of pleasure. Are you also a helaubeh? A kabbazah? I will find out, soon enough.”

He moved away, belly swaying under his jellaba, toward a small table fitted with a tray that held a number of bottles filled with liquid. He lifted a hypodermic needle, placed a bit of cotton in a bowl and cleansed the hypo needle. Then he inserted the thin steel needle through a rubber covering and into a clear liquid in a squat flask.

I saw him turn, come back to me.

Through half closed eyes, I watched the needle dart toward my hip. It went in and fat Selim depressed the plunger. Then he drew out the needle and patted my right buttock, making the flesh shake.

“Sleep now, pet. When you wake, I will send in Tamar.”

I closed my eyes. Brilliant streaks of color had been painted inside my eyelids, splashes of red and green and yellow that merged and slid apart like the crystals of an old-fashioned kaleidoscope. I wondered vaguely who had been able to tint my inner lids in such a manner—

My eyelids turned to mist. Red mist, through which I saw a naked youth running along a beach to meet a girl painted like a rainbow. Her nipples were green, her thighs were red and yellow, her belly was splotched in purple, white and black. I thought her the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. She had long yellow hair that hung down to her buttocks. Only after a long time did I realize that I was looking at myself.

I was running, faster and faster, yet getting nowhere. I could feel sand beneath my feet, I smelled the salt sea, I heard the cries of the handsome youth racing toward me. I loved the young man, though I did not know his name. I ran faster.

Then out of the sea the creatures came, ugly and bent and monstrous. They caught my lover before I could reach him and they pulled him apart, clawed and webbed hands on his arms and legs, lifting him high into the air so I could see his pale body arching helplessly in agony as first one arm then the other was ripped from its socket. I screamed and screamed, but the sea-beings went on tearing off his legs, leaving him only a limbless trunk, bleeding to death on the sands at my feet.

The blood flowed and tinted the sand, and from the bloody grains came a sweet red perfume that curled up around my nakedness, teasing and titillating my flesh. I writhed and fought that perfume, but it was alive. Alive! It caressed, it sucked at me, it bit me gently. I shuddered in ecstasy.

I cried out in my pleasure.

A voice whispered, “She is alive in all her body, this one. Do you see, Selim, how well she is equipped for pleasure. A regular kehbeh!

“A whore? Not this one! She’s a lady traveler.”

“I don’t care what she is. It’s her instincts I’m speaking about. Look—watch as I…”

The red perfume was twining about my quivering thighs as I stood spraddle-legged on the shore. It kissed me, it nibbled, it drove me wild with desire. I lifted my face to the blue sky, I wailed out my flesh-love. My hips failed the air as the red perfume invaded me and drove me absolutely mad.

The sky came down and kissed me. The sands reached up grainy palms and stroked my buttocks. All the while the red perfume drove and thrust and my mouth shrieked out my slavery to this eerie lover.

I dropped to the sand, I rolled over on my back.

My thighs were wide apart.

But the red perfume was gone and I lay alone in erotic emptiness. I whimpered. I clawed the sand. I saw a cloud come down to brush against me, singing sweet lullabies to Eros. The cloud did not please me as the red perfume had done, so I lashed out at it, clawed it, kicked it with my feet.

The cloud grew angry. It nipped me with its toothy edges. The cloud hurt me. I began to cry, and my tears stung like fire.

A man came walking along the beach, naked but painted in thousands of tiny red and blue and green dots so that he looked like a Seurat painting. He was a big, strong man, and he was erotically aroused. He saw me, he changed his angle of walk to stand over me a moment, staring down at my naked readiness.

He hurled himself on me, taking me.

His maleness stung like wasps, all along my inner self. I screamed. I tried to fight him, but I was curiously weak.

He went on and on, and I kept on shrieking in my agony that seemed without an ending….

I woke drenched in sweat, in a room lighted by a brass oil lamp, with the coverlets twisted about my unclad body. My flesh still ached, but the sharpness of my agony was gone as if my dream man had left me. I lay there and stared at the stone grille-work, seeing pale daylight beyond it.

The lethargy in me was gone, also. The effects of the drug Selim had needled into me had worn off. I was Eve Drum again, the lady from L.U.S.T. My muscles were exhausted, as if I had been taken by a succession of lovers. I wondered if my drugged dreams had mirrored a reality which had taken place on the cot while I was off somewhere in never-never land.

I ran wet palms down my sweating belly and between my tired thighs. I found that I was sore, bruised, extremely sensitive to the slightest touch. I whimpered and squeezed my legs together.

Well, I knew one thing. I had not fallen into the hands of the good guys, the white slavers who were working hand in glove with Interpol and British Intelligence. I wondered if I could fight my way out of this bind.

The more I thought about it, the more hopeless I felt. David Anderjanian was on his way to the States in a big Pan Am jet, Alexander Hartley lay dead in a Marrakesh gutter, and yours truly was naked on a cot, being trained to be an Arab harlot by real pros. From what fat Selim had hinted, I would be worth a lot of dirhams to the Marrakesh mob, so I wouldn’t be able to bribe myself to freedom.

I rolled over and lifting my legs in the air, put my feet on the woven straw mat that covered half the floor. I tried to stand up, and sat down again. My legs hurt, too. I drew a deep breath, forced myself to stand. I walked around the room a dozen times until I began to feel more like my old self.

Peering through the stone latticework, I could see a long stretch of sand reaching off into the distance. The air was fresh and cool with early morning. My belly felt numb with emptiness. I realized it had been a long time since I had eaten.

The white slavers were not going to let me starve. My body was too valuable. So I perched on the edge of the cot and tried to think out my situation while waiting for breakfast. It was over two hours before my captors decided that maybe I might like to exercise my choppers.

A wooden door opened and a woman came in. She halted at sight of me sitting on the edge of the bed. She was Moroccan, with a dusky skin and long black hair falling untended about her shoulders. Her eyelids were blued, and there was lipstick on her generous mouth. She was wearing the traditional serwal, those female trousers which are loose and baggy but transparent enough so you can see the shape of the legs beneath them when the wearer stands before a strong light. I could make out her flesh tints under her thin camyss, a linen blouse decorated with blue stitching. It was an informal dress; most Moroccan women also wear a kaftan—a loose robe buttoning down the front and extending from throat to ankles—over the blouse and serwal.

She tensed, apparently thinking I was going to come at her like a hurricane in season. I smiled and waved an arm.

“Hi! What’s on the menu?” When I saw her puzzlement, I asked, “Donnez—moi la carte, s’il vous plait.”

She was still suspicious, but she told me in broken French, that there would be boiled eggs and kesrah, a sort of sweet bread, together with hot chocolate or coffee, whichever I preferred. She turned to walk out the door, but swung to stare hard at me.

“You’re very calm,” she muttered, almost to herself. “If you think you’re going to get away, think again. The house is very well guarded.”

I shrugged, making my breasts bounce. The woman looked at them, and the tip of her tongue flicked across her lips. “I came here looking for some fun,” I grinned at her. “I think I’ve found it.”

“Fun? You call white slavery fun?” She was still suspicious, so I spread my thighs, attracting her glance, and leaned back on my elbows.

“I’ve just come from boredsville, honey. At least you’re offering something new and different.”

The woman shook her head dazedly. Twice she opened her mouth to speak, then shrugged her shoulders and almost ran out the door. The door slammed behind her. I heard a bolt being drawn.

She would spread the word about the American kook up in room 210, or whatever number it was. Maybe if they thought I was kinky, I might flake out of here one of these nights.

When she came back with the boiled eggs and kesrah, I patted the rumpled cot covers. “Come on, sit down,” I invited, reaching for a wooden spoon, “I won’t bite. Besides, I’d like a little girl-talk.”

She put her rump on the mattress as far from me as she could get. I could see the dark circles of her nipples through the sheer stuff of her blouse, and watched the way her breasts swung as she moved her body. She was eyeing my knockers, so I figured turnabout was fair play.

“What are they going to do with me?” I asked.

“Sell you, of course. You will fetch a great price, being both blonde and beautiful. We don’t often get anybody like you.”

“Where’s the marketplace? Here in Morocco?”

“Oh, no. Beirut, in Lebanon.”

I ate my eggs like a good little slavey. But I was thinking hard with every mouthful. We secret agents have to change plans in a hurry, lots of times. I was going to change mine, or maybe I was having them changed for me.

The good guy white slavers had intended to sell me in Beirut, too. So what was the difference who sold me? I would play along with these body merchants until I got to Beirut. I was hoping that somewhere along the way, an opportunity might come knocking once or twice.

I drank the black Turkish coffee. It was bitter, but I would have plenty of time for good old American java, once I got out of this bind. I set myself to get out of it.

I stood naked in front of the woman, stretching. My nipples pointed right at her, and my belly was a white bowl moving in and down with my breathing two feet from her eyes. Her gaze went up and down from my throat to my knees, pausing here and there to drink in the sights.

“What’s your name? Votre nom?

“Tamar. Et tu?

“Eve. Like from the garden of Eden, you know?” She smiled slightly and glanced beyond me at the closed door. She was nervous; fearing discovery, I assumed. Maybe she wasn’t supposed to fraternize with the slaves.

I said softly, “Go ahead, honey.”

Her eyes lifted to lock with mine. They were a brilliant black, with fire smoldering behind their pupils. The blued eyelids, the dusky skin, the full mouth, were signs that Tamar was as feverish of nature as the hot simoon that swept the wastes of her native Moroccan deserts.

To encourage her, I bent and made my breasts sway back and forth, inches from those eyes. She drew a deep breath and let her tongue-tip protrude between her lips.

“There isn’t time,” she whispered.

“Fat Selim’s coming, isn’t he?” I breathed.

She nodded. I knelt down and leaned forward with my forearms braced on her thighs. My hands were free so I moved my fingernails lightly across her belly. Tamar moaned and her blue eyelids fell.

“He’s going to stick another needle in me, isn’t he?” I saw her nod. I leaned still further and touched the nipple of her left breast with my lips, drawing it between them, blouse and all. I asked softly. “Then what?”

“You will sleep and dream.”

“And?”

My teeth bit down, gently. Her nipple was thick and hard as rubber. Tamar groaned and writhed her body forward to the very edge of the mattress. I lifted my forearms off her thighs, and reached between them to caress her. She gasped, she made a whimpering sound deep in her throat. Her head went back and forth, making her glossy black hair swing like ebon whips across her shoulders. “Nothing. Just the drug, day after day,” she panted, hips quivering uncontrollably.

“Until I won’t care what anybody does to me? Until I’ll live only for the needle?”

She bit her lower lip, nodding her head. Her eyes were still closed. She said, “The drug builds a heat in your ‘anah which will only be satisfied by much dok.”

“In other words, you’re going to turn me into a lover girl. An aulimeh.” I hesitated a moment, then added, “You don’t have to use the drug, you know. I’m clued in to fun.”

“Selim administers the drug.”

“And Selim is a eunuch, isn’t he?”

Her head went up and down. Her white teeth were sunk deep in her lower lip, and her hips were going around and around, lazily, on the edge of the cot. I congratulated myself on picking Tamar and not Selim for what I had in mind.

I took away my hands. Her eyes opened and those black irises pleaded with me. I smiled and jerked a head at the table with the vials and the hypo needle on it.

“Suppose Selim doesn’t inject the drug in me? Suppose it’s only water he jabs me with?”

She held her breath, turning her eyes toward the inlaid table of pearl and ebony. “You would not sleep, you would not dream.”

My hands moved up and down her inner thighs, scraping the sheer stuff of her serwal against her skin. She shivered and stared at me with wide eyes.

“I would be awake when you returned to me,” I murmured.

Tamar shook her head. “No. I wouldn’t dare. I would suffer the red death—el maut ahmar—in which a person is flayed alive. I saw a man flayed once, when I was a little girl. I shall never forget his screams. No, no. I wouldn’t dare.”

I laughed softly. “And who’s to know?”

She stared at me, breathing harshly from the heat that bit in her. Under the blouse her breasts were big and hard. “Wha—what do you mean?”

“I’m not going to tell. Neither are you. If anybody should walk in on us—I would pretend to be dreaming and struggling. You merely heard my cries and rushed in to subdue me.”

I put my hands on her breasts and fondled them. Her nipples were very large and erect. I felt her shiver through may palms. “If your clothes are disarranged, you simply tore them wrestling with me, trying to calm me down.”

Slyness grew in her black eyes. At last she nodded, breathing, “It might work. Nobody ever comes here but Selim, really. And Selim might be made to understand—in case he got suspicious.” Her head moved toward the pearl and table. “It will be simple enough to fool him, I will replace the imsak in the vial with water.”

“What’s this imsak?” I wondered. “It’s made from bhang—hasish—which is supposed to make one so eager to engage in dok it almost drives one mad. Some say there are no aphrodisiacal qualities to hashish, other than the erotic dreams it brings. So to make sure, we add a little cantharides—your Spanish fly.”

Tamar ran her fingers gently over my breasts. “The result of this imsak is kayf, ecstasy. A man may deflower eighty virgins, he may sustain his excitement for days on end. As with a man, so with a woman. She is in continual rut, she is always moist, ready for her lover.

“And with her lust, there is the delicate languor that is like the waking-up from pleasant sleep. One does not want to move, one is content to lie there and let her body enjoy the caresses and the kisses. She is in the state of shogeh, in which she is no more than an animal.”

I remembered my dreams in which the red perfume and the cloud had made love to me. I nodded slowly.

She reached out, caught hold of me, drew me between her thighs. Her red fruit of a mouth opened and engulfed my lips. The kiss was heady, she was an expert with her mouth, and her tongue was a wet lash goading my flesh to desire as it thrust and withdrew between my lips.

Her hands slid down my naked back, and then her fingers were sinking into my buttocks and she urged me closer to her belly, I felt a hardness against me as her breathing increased while her arms tightened about me.

“My zemboor, she pleaded. “Touch it!”

I put my hands to her middle and did as she asked, listening to her erotic cries as her hips went back and forth in a kind of belly dance, Arab women are quite often circumcised as are their men, for the Arabs believe that to cut of the clitoris is to make the woman more lustful for the male member, In a form of compensation for the loss of her organ, The Arab woman quite often develops nymphomania. One man is rarely enough to satisfy her flesh hungers. This surgical operation is carried out by the older women of the tribe, and is called el tebzeer. In Egypt, these dahireh wander the streets, shouting out their profession quite openly in the hope of attracting customers.

Nobody had taken a razor to Tamar. She was quite uncircumcised, and proud of the fact. Mouth open, blued eyelids squeezed shut, she panted like a bellows as she made her moist offering to Eblis, thighs squeezing me between them.

After a time she opened her eyes and smiled.

“I will make the change now, since Selim will come soon to inject you.” She patted my cheek, “Then I will come back and you and I shall play at Lisaun-fee-gubb the rest of the day and into the night.” She sighed, “I did not realize how much I have missed. We will make up for it, you and I.”

She rose gracefully to her feet and moved toward the little table. Her hips swung with the characteristic jounce which the Arabs call gheajei, in which the buttocks and the haunches serve as magnets to the eyes. She turned her head and looked back over her shoulder at me, and her teeth flashed between her large red lips.

Her hand closed around the bottle of imsak. Still smiling, she carried it to a ceramic basin and emptied its contents, Lifting a water bottle, she refilled it to the level marked by her forefinger. Then she put it back on the table.

“I will go now,” she told me. “Lie down on the bed, pretend to be still sleepy. Most girls are, after their initial dose of bhang. You have unusual powers of recovery.”

Her soft palm touched my buttocks, patting them. Then she moved past me to the door, stepped out into the hall. I went to the bed and lay down. If I was supposed to be sleepy when fat Selim came in to drug me, I would.

Selim grinned at me when he came in. I let my eyelids droop, I faked sleepiness. He suspected nothing. He filled his hypodermic with water and squirted it into me. I lay flabby and senseless before him, sprawled out with complete disregard for modesty.

Selim chuckled and I fet the cot sag under his weight. His thick hands went up my thigh and sideways. I squirmed to his finger-play, whimpering as if to an exciting dream. I remembered how Tamar had assured me Selim was a eunuch, but I also remembered reading how eunuchs sometimes served the harem women of the Arab countries.

I waited, eyes closed, for the fat man to make a move. But I guess the red death scared him as much as it did Tamar. He sighed and his weight went away from the cot. In a moment I heard the door close softly.

I lay there, waiting for Tamar. The finger-play had excited my flesh, just as the drug Selim was to have injected would have done. I wriggled a little, trying to get comfortable. I told myself I was on a L.U.S.T. mission, that nobody on my side knew where I was, or even if I was alive. I would be written off as one more casualty in the cold war.

I felt pretty much alive for a casualty. My thighs stirred, they closed tightly, squeezing, then opened wide. “Tamar,” I breathed. “Where the hell are you, honey?”

I turned on my side, feeling the drag of my breasts as they slid toward the covers. My nipples were huge brown cones, rigid with desire.

The door opened.

Two men came into the room. They were dark of skin, they were Berber tribesmen. They were clad only in ghendurehs, white linen undershirts, and they were excited.

They walked toward me where I lay naked on the cot.

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