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impression that it was dawn; then he realized that the sunlight had a
reddish cast to it. He blinked at the bedroom clock, amazed to find that
he had slept until late afternoon.
My God, he thought groggily.
His headache was nearly gone, he noticed as he threw off the covers and
swung his long legs to the floor. The soreness was still there, thumping
dully in his stiff muscles, but sleep had been deep and brought no fresh
nightmares to worry about. He cleaned himself up in the bathroom and got
a pair of slacks and a shirt from the closet, still feeling somewhat
like a stranger. While he dressed himself, he thought of the woman he
was married to.
Despite the feeling of being a stranger in a strange world, and of being
caught up in a strange set of circumstances, he found himself feeling
delightful tremors when he thought of Beth. Even now, there was a tight,
fluttering sensation in his insides when he thought of the talcumed
satin of her skin, the warm lift of her brightly nippled breasts and the
strong response of her rounded thighs. She was a beautiful woman. She
was sex all rolled up in a frame of gentle curves and soft flesh, and he
could see that to love a woman like her would not only be easy, it would
be a privilege.
He buckled the belt about his waist, trying to dispel the thoughts of
the woman, and went downstairs to the kitchen. Hunger gnawed at him
The coffee was cold. He turned the gas on under it and the note on the
table caught his eye. He picked it up to scan it briefly.
HAD TO RUSH OFF TO WORK. KISSED YOU GOOD-BY AND YOU SAID "GLUMPTH".
BE HOME SOON. LOVE YOU TERRIBLY.
He grinned at the note, balled it into his fist and threw it into the
paper can. When the coffee was hot, he poured himself a cup and fixed a
couple of sandwiches with what was left of the package of cold meat. As
he was finishing the last couple of bites of the sandwich, he heard the
thud of the evening paper against the front door. For a moment, it
startled him, then, when he had realized what it was, he was half out of
the chair... He paused there momentarily, then sank back into his seat.
He _couldn't_ go out there and get the paper - if the neighbors saw him
picking it up ... He sat there, waiting for Beth to come home, the
suspense digging into his guts with ragged teeth. Had they found the
plane? Were they onto him? Who were those two men? How did they know
where to find him? Why were they looking for him?
He drank damned near the whole pot of coffee and watched the hands of
the electric clock move with agonizing slowness. Finally, at five forty,
Beth drove up to the house and came through the door. Nick leaped from
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