Saturday, 23 December 2017

NEW! Glad Tidings of Comfort and Joy part one (of three)

A 36,000 word novella set on Christmas Eve in 2023. Six years ago Rachel Evans woke up in a field on Earth, naked and alone after the events depicted in 'Panther Girl of Gor'. This is her story.

Boston USA - December 24th 2023, lunch time

“Eyes right because I think we have a pair of militant dykes causing trouble tonight,” said Adam Coulter as he clipped the end of his cigar before lighting it. That was another thing that had changed recently – no more smoking bans in public spaces. Who would have thought it? Mind you, the smoking ban had been just one of a number of surprising developments I hadn’t expected when I found myself waking up on the grass in a meadow in the New Forest six years ago. So much had changed in western society since I’d been at university in the mid seventies.

“They’re in for a shock if they think anyone’s going to put up with their arrogant behaviour tonight,” said Robert Winston. Both men wore well tailored dark suits with colourful silk ties and they looked like men who scented change in the wind and approved of it 100%.

The women in question were probably heterosexual, but like any women these days who didn’t confirm to the rigid definitions of the 'New Feminism’ movement, they were routinely referred to as 'dykes' by the growing tide of moral crusaders who seemed to be rolling back decades of civil rights.

The first of the women had short dark hair with a side fringe. She wore glasses and an untucked white shirt, over which she wore a grey v-neck sweater. With this she wore grey canvas sneakers and pale blue jeans that if not skinny fit exactly, were reasonably figure hugging. The other woman had blonde hair cut into a square bob, a bit like a motorcycle helmet in shape. She wore pink leggings, cherry red Doctor Martin boots, a long black shirt with the sleeves rolled up, and a waist coat. They were about as far removed from the 'New Feminism Movement for Family Morality' as you were likely to see these days. Ironically they stood close to a framed ‘motivational’ poster depicting a proud looking 1950s housewife in a tea dress and apron with her hands touching the shoulders of two well scrubbed and smartly dressed rosy cheeked looking children. The usual slogan, ‘This is Meekness, not Weakness’ stood out prominently for all to see.

“I’ve got every right to be in here,” said the woman with the glasses, in a raised voice obviously meant to attract all of our attention. The various diners at the tables (smartly dressed men in sporting jackets and ties, and women in 1950s style cocktail dresses and sheath dresses in the main) either tutted disapprovingly over their menus or, for the most part, pretended not to notice.

“We reserve the right to decline service to women who are inappropriately dressed,” said the maitre de with the look of a man who was all too happy to enforce the rules here.

“You have got to be kidding! What the fuck do you mean by that? I want to see the manager!” said the other woman.

“The manager does not wish to see you. My word is final, and by the way your language is foul and not befitting a woman. I suggest you find some back street cafĂ© bar where your kind may be welcome.”

“The fuck?” said the first woman. “My kind? You are going to be in so much trouble. I’m going to tell everybody on Trip Advisor about this.”

“You can do what you wish. It’ll probably enhance our reputation.” The man took hold of the woman’s elbow as if to guide her from the dining area, and as soon as he did so, she shook his hand away.

“Don’t you fucking dare touch me!”

“Women like that, if you can call them women,” said Adam Coulter, as the security men at the door now took hold of the protesting women and quite forcibly ushered them out of the building, “they’re like the dinosaurs who didn’t see the ice age coming. It’s sad really. They have no idea.”

“They’re still clinging on to all those perverted ideas from the permissive society that lied to them,” said Winston as he lit his cigar and drew some of the smoke into his mouth. “They’ll soon find that society has a way of dealing with its cancerous elements. Nature is at last correcting itself. We have our special friends to thank for opening our eyes to it all.” Now he leaned back in his chair and regarded me as I sat demurely in my pale blue sheath dress with its modest neckline, cap sleeves and high waist. I wore tasteful make up and my hair was cut into the fashionable permanent wave look that ‘feminist’ women favoured these days. “Rachel? Let’s hear a woman’s opinion?”

“I feel sorry for them of course, Mr Coulter, Mr Winston,” I said as I reached for my powder blue clutch bag and searched inside for a compact mirror. “Perhaps they want to be men?”

“You may have something there. Lord knows enough men used to want to be women. Some still do. We're dealing with them as well. They disgust me. A man should be a man and a woman should be a woman. It's simple enough to understand.”

I was, I suppose, the picture of elegance according to the 'New Feminism' that dictated women's fashions now. I wore a sheath dress of dove blue material with short capped sleeves just below the shoulders – it was a fashionable narrow waisted garment with an enhanced bust and fabric that gently sloped over my hips, creating an hour glass shape. The length of the dress was a modest just below the knee style which these days was the preference for 'gentle' women who embraced their femininity. Only sluts or harlots would dare to wear something above the knees, and if they did, they would no doubt be refused entry to the more popular bars, clubs and restaurants in Boston. Only four months ago I had been refused entry to a department store in New York for wearing an old style dress with a hemline cut several inches above my knees. Go home and change into something decent, I had been told. The man had whispered 'slut' under his breath as I had been forced to turn around and walk away, much to the approval of some of the more conservatively dressed customers who embraced the standards of 'New Feminism'.    

The skirt length of my sheath dress was of the pencil style which offered a snug fit without being tight. It would be impossible for me to run in such a garment, and the hobbling effect meant I could hope for nothing more than a brisk walk if circumstances dictated it. Delicate white wrist length gloves were almost compulsory now, as was the small clutch purse in a rectangular envelope style that was just slightly too small for me to conceal a .22 caliber pistol without it bulging suspiciously. My purse contained a little makeup, a handkerchief, a compact and some loose change. 

Funnily enough I felt naked without a .22 caliber pistol in my clutch bag.

I wore nude back seamed stockings with a decorative heel design, held up by garters. There had been a backlash against women wearing all in one tights, and although you could still buy them, men tended to think of them as a cheap and tacky option, suggesting the woman in question cared little for her appearance and was therefore 'common'. I had combined the stockings with classic black pumps with a tall polished stiletto heel.

Beneath the dress I wore a longline bra with uplifting cups and boned support down to the middle waist to enhance my bust, the aforementioned garter and suspender belt, and of course an old fashioned waspie style corset that compressed my figure even further into the hourglass shape that men seemed to love nowadays. Eight inches wide, it pulled in just the waist and was combined with discrete hip padding as was the fashion now. My panties were ridiculous to my mind – high waisted briefs with an elasticated waist and leg bands.

And then there was the girdle. 1950s style girdles were now a required undergarment for most dresses, for without it the slim fitting sheath dress (aka wiggle dress) that I wore would expose every bump and roll of a woman's body, not to mention the layers of undergarments with their rigid boning, if it were not for the slimming effect of the mini skirt shaped girdle. The skirt of the girdle came down to my mid thigh under the sheath dress, enabling me some degree of sitting comfortably.

And to think, just as recently as 2021 I was walking around Boston wearing comfortable leggings and floppy layered tops. How much can change thanks to the Alt-Right taking power.

I am not well placed to really comment on when things began to drastically change in America, because the world I returned to at the beginning of 2017 was alien enough compared to the world I had left in the mid seventies. I am still assimilating I guess, and I’m not sure I will ever be able to think of Earth as my home again for too much time has passed and I am too acclimatised to the cultures and social customs on Gor. I don’t understand modern technology and that leaves me feeling alienated from a culture that seems to have embraced computers in place of human contact.

Alan tells me that the Trump election result in 2016 opened the door to a resurgence in what he calls the Alt-Right, not only in America but other parts of the world. Alan is quite political at times and he viewed this polarisation in political opinion as being a reflex reaction to decades of political correctness and civil rights and equality legislation. He points to things like the male backlash to the hash-tag MeToo movement as the point at which the Alt-Right became emboldened and grew in popularity in America – the moment that a certain type of men said 'enough is enough'.

What Alan doesn’t take into account are the sinister forces who move in the shadows behind movements such as the Alt-Right, who use it to advance their own ends. I am speaking of the age old Game of Worlds – the great Kaissa of space between our so called shepherds, the Priest Kings of Gor, and the Kur monsters who orbit the asteroid belt and around the rings of Saturn in their Steel Worlds.

Gor is the counter earth and it orbits the sun in a position where it is permanently concealed from our view. It is a splendid living world free from pollution and neglect, where the Priest Kings guide humanity, preventing and suppressing the growth of technology that in turn prevents humanity from destroying itself or its world. The Priest Kings also in theory protect Earth, but in the late sixties I understand they fought a savage and bloody nest war in the Sardar mountains that weakened them in much the same way that Rome’s constant civil wars ruined their ancient empire and left them exposed to barbarian invasions from the north and east. Now the Priest Kings are over extended and unable to protect Earth the way they still protect Gor. They have had to make choices, painful choices, and decide which planet can be protected with their dwindling resources.

The planet they chose to protect above all else was not Earth.

And so the Kur moved in, cautious at first, but then bolder, and they have wormed their way into the most important aspects of our society – the government, the military, the judiciary, big business, law enforcement, like some illuminati conspiracy wrote real. They are there now behind the scenes, building, fortifying, corrupting, controlling, manipulating, with the intention of turning Earth into a military beach head, a stepping stone towards an ultimate attack on Gor.

Once they moved cautiously. Now I believe they have a much freer rein amongst the cities of Earth than they ever did.

They were strong in influence behind the scenes in 2020 when the United States elected their president again. Trump chose not to stand. He cited various reasons, none of which meant much to me for he had obviously been pushed aside by the Kur forces who now had their own puppet candidate ready to step into the office he had reshaped over the last four years. No doubt the Kur had information that could ruin him if made public. Like so many other men he did what he was told by creatures that could kill him without hesitation. They have ways that would appear an accident or natural causes. Trump had pandered to a rising demographic who were sick of equal rights, of foreigners, of 'scroungers', of 'queers', of men who dressed as women, of women who dressed as men, of political correctness and health and safety and ecology movements and anything that stood in the way of America First and a forceful old fashioned patriarchal society that wished to resurrect a lifestyle prevalent in the 1940s and 1950s.

When George Claiborne picked up the mantle of what Trump had tried to do, and when he seemed that he had the power to actually do those kind of things, the electorate swept him to power. Trump had achieved very little. Claiborne would be very different, for he had the power, the wealth and the temptations of the Kurii to bestow on those who might do his bidding.

And how they did. For the Kurii have great gifts to bestow on the willing and faithful – on those who will bend the knee and obey. I am not simply talking about wealth and power, though they have those in abundance, but also the gift of the stabilisation serums of Gor – advanced medicine that can halt the ageing process, and in some cases, roll back the ageing process. If you happened to be a powerful man in your sixties, the Kur could give you two hundred more years of life and indeed could roll back your ageing to your mid forties (or even further back if you wished) and maintain that age indefinitely. Health and longevity were their ultimate prizes. As bribery goes, that is a powerful offer that few can refuse.   

Liberal agendas were swiftly rolled back. We were all shocked when President Claiborne declared that the supposed equality between men and women was a lie and an affront against nature. With the backing of a senate that rose to do his bidding, for the Kur had been generous with their temptations, the President repealed all the equality laws relating to women. We could now be discriminated against. Oh, of course he didn’t word it like that. He simply said that Free Market forces would now apply and that women would be treated like anyone else in accordance to what they could offer society. But we all knew this was a sugar coated lie.

By 2022 the Guardian newspaper in the United Kingdom was reporting the worrying statistics coming out of America – of male dominated businesses reducing its female workforce in place of restoring men in jobs and positions of authority that had traditionally been considered male orientated in the past. Men were regaining control of their world and we in turn were being offered new jobs as waitresses, cleaners, textile workers and so on.

There were protests but now the male dominated media was marking us as agitators and trouble makers.

And then came New Feminism. Possibly Claiborne's greatest idea. One of the most effective things you can do is use an enemy's language against him. We had always had Feminism - our rallying cry since the 1960s, but Claiborne and the Kur factions took that word and changed its meaning. Feminism now meant being feminine. Being a woman. Not being a man, or even attempting to equal a man. Feminism was now the honour and the privilege of being a woman who cooked and cleaned and raised children and welcomed her husband home after work with a dry martini and a hot dinner in the oven. Suddenly New Feminism was everywhere and it was being rebranded as some sort of 1950s Stepford Wives nightmare. Those who embraced it found they had a privileged part to play in this new America, and so they did. Those who refused found themselves ostracised, out in the cold, refused entry to the inner workings of American society.

Soon employers would turn you away if you weren’t the new breed of feminist. Did you dress correctly, appropriately for your sex? Did you smile? Did you remember your place? Did you promote the new morality and denounce those closet lesbians and anarchist women who didn’t? Then you were welcome.

I remember seeing the tide turning against us in the fall of 2022 and it sent a shiver down my spine.

“It’ll all blow over,” Alan had said, but I recognised the hand of the Kurii and their Gorean men behind the drawn curtain and I understood that they were seizing power everywhere behind the scenes and that the men they had brought with them from Gor, those men wanted to change our society so that women no longer challenged the natural order.

I had escaped Gor but now Earth was becoming Gor.

And I began to know fear again.

But there is something you need to know. I am not just any woman. I am Rachel Evans of Oakhampton, and I have endured more horror and despair than you can possibly comprehend. I have done terrible things that I can never describe to the people I love, for fear of what they might think of me. Truly awful things – things I regret deeply, but they are things I did to survive and remain free on the planet Gor for over forty years. I am a survivor and I will never stop fighting.

I am Rachel Evans of Oakhampton.

“I must say you look very pretty today, Rachel,” said Adam Coulter as he finished his cigar. “Very pretty indeed.”

“That is so lovely of you to say so, Mr Coulter. I try my best.” I picked out the compact mirror from my handbag and made a show of powdering my nose lightly. The men seemed to like seeing that in a woman. One of them laughed.

“You're all so vain,” said Robert Winston. “It's charming. You must be so much happier now, Rachel, now that you only have to worry about looking pretty and caring for your hair and nails.”

“Oh yes, Mr Winston. I have so much to thank Feminism for.”

“See,” said Coulter, “it's just 'Feminism' now. The 'new' part of the term will soon be redundant. All that pathetic bra burning and protesting will be a thing of the past. It'll only be thought of as a mad aberration.” He tapped the last of his ash into the ashtray. “And about time too.”     

“I honestly feel so liberated now,” I said with a coquettish smile. “It's an amazing feeling to know that men will take care of me and deal with all the complicated things I used to have to worry about. Oh, I must tell you - I've just joined an evening class that teaches baking!” I tried to look excited, as if this was the most wonderful discovery I could possibly make. “Please let me make you some cup cakes to take home? I've been shown the most wonderful recipe and I love to cook.”

“That would be lovely, Rachel. I'm sure you're a talented cook.” Coulter turned to his friend and added, “see what I mean, Robert? Isn't she perfect? I was thinking, red silk perhaps...”

Winston nodded. “You could be right. You've certainly earned it, and Harschmort is about ready to honour you tonight. Christmas Eve is after all our time to bestow tributes on the worthy. And you, Adam, are definitely worthy. You've worked very hard this year. We pretty much all agree it's time you were elevated.”

My ears pricked up at that, for I had been trying to get into Harschmort House now for many months.  

“The serum?” said Coulter hopefully.

“One thing at a time,” said Winston with a smile. “But you're on the fast track. All the right people agree. We like you. But yes, silks, definitely. You've earned them.” He glanced at me and smiled. “Good things may be coming your way very soon now, Rachel. Adam is right. You're something of a treasure, and I think there is a place for you in high society.” He paused and his eyes lingered on my shape-wear enhanced figure. “I'm actually a little jealous. Adam is a lucky man.”

“Oh, boys...” I said, flushing a little for dramatic effect. “Behave!” I laughed softly.

“Rachel...” Coulter seemed to have made his mind up. I waited with bated breath, hoping I had played these last couple of weeks correctly. “There's a Christmas Eve party tonight at Harschmort House. It's a large estate just outside Boston and the guests there will be a who's who of the rich and important. I'd like you to be my plus one for the night. Unless you have other plans? I hope you don't have other plans?”

“Oh, Mr Coulter, I would love to! And no, I was going to spend Christmas Eve alone this year. I... don't have a special person at the moment.” I gazed at him with the look of a girl who was hopeful that he might eventually let me be his special person.

“Wonderful. That's settled then. I'll have a car come to pick you up at, say, eight tonight?”

I nodded and smiled warmly as I held my little feminine clutch bag in my lap.

“You won't regret this night, Rachel. It may just turn out to be your best Christmas ever.”

“Oh, I hope so, Mr Coulter. I have such a good feeling now...” I smiled again and made a mental note to buy a bigger clutch bag on the way home today – one that had room for a .22 Beretta pistol. As I smiled sweetly I imagined putting a bullet right between his eyes.      

Boston USA - December 24th 2023, mid-afternoon

“Hey,” I said as Alan Anderson glanced up as I came in through the door. I had found him sitting in the living room of our apartment with bits of a pistol lying disassembled on a towel laid over the coffee table when I returned. Military man that he was, Alan was servicing and cleaning his weapon. I placed my clutch purse on the TV stand and kicked off my high heels one at a time.  

“Hey you,” he said back to me. “I'm going to do your gun next. Very important with automatics.”

“Thank you. Have we got a bottle open?”

“It's three in the afternoon, Rache.”

“And it's Christmas Eve. Let's open some wine.” I crossed the room to where we had a small wine rack. I selected a bottle of merlot and unscrewed the cap as Alan frowned. “What?” I selected two large wine glasses and began to fill each one.

“It's just getting to be a habit again, that's all.”

“I like wine. It's one of the few liberties women have left at the moment. God knows how long before the New Feminism starts rolling out disapproving tracts about women who drink more than a glass of white wine in an evening.” I put the glass of wine to my lips and tasted it.

“Fine. It's not a problem,” said Alan as he put his tools down and rose from the chair. “I've been worried though. I wish you'd let me watch out for you, from the other side of the street or something. When we started this we said we'd be there for each other.”

“And we are.” I smiled as I handed him the second glass. “It was just a lunch time date with Adam Coulter. He likes me I think.” I smiled. “He likes me a lot in fact. I'm his perfect domesticated woman. A poster girl for New Feminism. He's invited me to Harschmort House as his date, so we're on now. The big event is tonight.”

“And you won't let me be there either.” Alan frowned as he approached me. “It's like you don't trust me any more.”

“Of course I do, but I can hardly bring a man with me when I turn up on a date with Adam Coulter.” I brushed back the curtains and gazed down at the street. It had snowed over night and the street now looked very Christmassy indeed. “Anyway you'll be close by in a car. I'll have my iphone with me, and you can use that track a friend thing you insisted I have on it, to know where I am. If things get out of hand I'll beep you.”

“Beep me?”

“Whatever you call it with the phone.”   

“I don't like you going out alone, especially not without a gun.” He glanced at the small pistol that lay on the coffee table – my pistol – the one he preferred I took with me when I did anything that might be construed as dangerous.

“You're sweet,” I said as I kissed him on the cheek. “And I'm planning on carrying a gun tonight. I just didn't have a big enough clutch purse for it earlier. I bought a new one on the way home.” Alan felt bristly as he hadn't shaved today. Thirty six hours worth of stubble. I don't like it. It reminds me of the men of Gor. I ran my hand over his chin and said, “someone is getting lazy with the razor.”

“Rache...” he was looking into my eyes and I could guess why. Perhaps there was a reason why he hadn't shaved first thing this morning. I slowly undid two of his shirt buttons and slid my fingers over his chest. The skin was hairless and baby smooth to my touch. I smiled, knowing what this meant.

“Someone’s sending me signals,” I said as I teased one of his nipples. I felt Alan place his hands on my hips and draw me close.

“I guess I am. I’ve really missed you, Rache. Really missed you.”

“Uh-uh.” I kissed him again and felt the bulge of his penis inside his jeans. “Down boy,” I half joked, giving him a little push away from me.

“Rache, please, can we...”

I placed a finger on his lips to shush him. He had that look of desperation like men do when they haven't had sex for a while. It's not a look you ever really see on the faces of Gorean men, for they can simply walk into a paga tavern and use one of the collared girls there for the price of a pint of premium ale. But men on Earth are somewhat more considerate for a woman's feelings on the matter. They will wait patiently if they have to, even though it is a source of discomfort. Alan is a good man. And he is Emma's brother. He deserves better than me. Better than my fucked up mental state. 

“You can masturbate, you know,” I suggested. “I don't mind. If that helps.”

“I don't want that. Rache, please...”

The men of Earth beg for sex. They beg women when they need it. They come to us with flowers and gifts of perfume and beautifully wrapped boxes of expensive silk underwear in the hope that we might wear it for them in their presence. Men of Earth are sweet like that.

“I've missed you. I've missed being with you,” said Alan.

“I can see that. And who has missed me exactly?”

He shifted his feet slightly and looked a bit embarrassed. “Ellen has missed you, Rache.” Alan was feeling aroused by the press of my body against his.

“Then why don’t you go and have a close shave and then slip into the bedroom and see if you can find Ellen for me, hmm? Don’t be long.” I gave him a playful spank on his ass as he grinned and turned towards the door.

I had lived on Gor for forty years before I returned to Earth, so when I did come home I suffered from a degree of culture shock. It wasn’t only the things that had changed that were the problem, but after forty years living on a pre-technological planet I had forgotten for example how to work a washing machine. The biggest change to my mind was computers. Even the science fiction of the early 1970s hadn’t predicted what computing would be like by 2017. I still marvel at the processing power of a small phone and the almost magic like Internet that you all have. I confess I still don’t understand it in the slightest. And Facebook? Twitter? Snapchat? They make me feel old.

Not that I will ever look old. The Gorean stabilisation serum I received in the mid 1970s keeps me young in appearance, even though I was born in 1957 and am now in my mid-sixties. I’m an old woman who will live out her life in the body of a young girl.

And David Bowie was dead. Emma never told me that. By my reckoning he must have died shortly before she was abducted. I had missed so much during my years away from Earth.

I spent months trying to assimilate the culture but it was all too much. It just reminded me how much of my life I had lost when Kurgus took me to Gor. All those missing years. In our early dates Alan would take me to the cinema whenever an old film from my Gorean days was playing. He’d sit there with me afterwards and explain the cultural significance of the film and what was occurring in the world at the time it was released. I had contacted him partly out of a sense of necessity, for I had arrived on Earth in a secluded part of the New Forest, naked, branded, collared, with a small bag of cut diamonds tied to my wrist. As far as everyone knew, the young Rachel Evans of Oakhampton had vanished forty years ago, and in any event I couldn’t possibly be the same Rachel Evans, for I looked to be the age she was then when she had vanished.

The police picked me up when I was seen wandering down a highway, still naked and collared. I was miserable, confused, and cold. The newspapers had a field day with the case of the mystery girl with amnesia who had woken up alone and naked in a field. There were many questions and I feared them, for my case if heavily publicised would no doubt be seen by Gorean slavers who operated on Earth. I begged the police not to mention to reporters anything about my slave collar or brand. I told them I was traumatised, and that something terrible had obviously happened but I needed time to deal with it and allow the memories to resurface. I feared that if my collar and brand became public knowledge there would be men on Earth who would make the connection with Gor.

I was obviously British, even if I couldn’t prove my identity. I told them I knew I was called Rachel and I was eventually made a ward of state. I kept the cut diamonds hidden of course. I had done the sensible thing of swallowing two of them and I hid the others close to a road sign that I knew I could find again eventually. After the police doctors examined me thoroughly (and commented on the whip marks on my back from Brinn’s hand) and after I was given second hand clothing, a hot meal and a bed to sleep in, I excreted the two diamonds and hid them in the lining of my donated skirt.

The first chance I had I sold them separately to two jewellers who took my word for it that they were family heirlooms. I received in the region of £23,000 for them – far below their true market value, but needs must.

I had new papers identifying me as a ward of state. They had to give me something. I told them I didn’t know my surname and they suggested I should pick one. In the end I chose my real one. I wanted to be Rachel Evans again, the girl who screamed herself hoarse at a Spiders From Mars gig all those years ago.

I searched for some trace of my immediate family, though I didn’t know what I would do if I found them. Could I walk up to my parents and tell them that the 23 year old girl standing in front of them was somehow magically their daughter who had vanished in the mid seventies? My mother and father might still be alive, though very old by now. I went to our little house in Oakhampton and found it now the home of a middle class insurance broker and his family. They had bought the place in 1985 and knew nothing of the family who had lived there before. I gazed up from the street at the window which had been my bedroom where as a young teenager I had lain on my single bed listening to Get It On by T-Rex on my Dansette record player. I remembered painting my face with heavy eyeshadow and glitter before going out to gigs and I remember the warm smell of baking bread when I ran home from school with my satchel over my shoulder to an equally warm hug from my mum.

I couldn’t find them, for I didn’t know how to search using the modern computing technology that seemed like witchcraft to me. Sometime later Alan was able to help me and he discovered that my father had died in 2001 and my mother in 2015. I had missed her by just a couple of years.

I felt I did not belong on this world any more. I did not know any of the celebrities, nor did I appreciate the constant barrage of artificial noise after living so long on Gor which is a more peaceful world. There was cacophonous amplified noise everywhere – noise and advertising, and I began to feel nauseous when I went outside for any length of time. And the air seemed filthy. I was used to the clean fresh air of Gor. Even in the countryside of England I could smell the pollution and taste the bitterness that Earth men are simply accustomed to. And I felt weak. Earth gravity is heavier than Gorean gravity, and after living so long on Gor my muscles felt sore from simply walking. I had little energy and blinding headaches, no doubt from the pollution. I felt sick from the food I ate and the water I drank that tasted of chemicals.

In time my body grew accustomed to the gravity here and my muscles began to adapt.

I owed it to Emma to contact her family and tell them the truth about their son. But Emma’s mother had suffered a nervous breakdown because one year after Emma had been abducted, the daughter, Bea, had also gone missing. The police suspected foul play because taking into account the disappearance of Eric Michael Anderson they felt that Bea’s disappearance couldn’t just be coincidence. There were suggestions in the papers that there must be some sort of criminal vendetta against the Anderson family. Curious stories were reported about their father, Marc Anderson, and his strange life, disappearing for long periods of time – suggestions of criminal involvement perhaps that may have made enemies somewhere. The mother was in no state for a rational explanation, but I visited her in hospital and sat with her as she stared out of a window in her dressing gown, her hair uncombed. She was a beautiful mature woman, the sort of woman who you could imagine Marcellus of Gor taking as his Free Companion in the sixties, but the loss of two children had damaged her severely. I told her I had known Eric, that I had been his girlfriend once. I wanted to tell her that he was alive and on a planet called Gor but as I sat with her I realised she was in no state to take it in.

I found Alan instead. He didn’t believe me, and I can’t say I blame him. The story sounds fantastic, ridiculous even with its tale of slaves abducted to a savage sword and sandal world. But I was able to tell him enough about his brother’s past life – the things Emma had told me herself – that he knew I at least had known his brother. I wanted to convince Alan of the truth. I needed someone from Emma’s family to believe the truth so that they might have closure. It is always better to know than to live in despair.

I was lonely. I felt like a stranger in a strange land. Whatever he thought of my story, Alan knew I was damaged goods, and he could see that something traumatic had happened to me. I told him in a restaurant in Soho that I was branded by the slavers of Gor. He asked whether he could see the brand.

I went back to his flat in Southwark and pulled my jeans down just enough to expose my hip and thigh. There was the brand – the kef symbol that proclaimed me a slave. It was the first time since being examined by the police doctors that I had shown the brand to anyone.

“Can I touch it?” Alan had asked.

“No,” I had said as I was suddenly gripped by a panic attack. I quickly drew my jeans back up my legs and zipped them in place. “Men did that to me,” I said. “I fear you all now.”

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