Copyright© 2000 by Al Steiner
Sci-Fi/Post-Apocalyptic Story: Chapter 12 - When Comet Fenwell crashes into the Pacific Ocean one October day, it spells the end for most of humanity. Those that survive find themselves in a greatly changed world filled with different morals and the same old urges.
Caution: This Sci-Fi/Post-Apocalyptic Story contains strong sexual content, including Ma/Fa Ma/ft Fa/ft Consensual Reluctant BiSexual Science Fiction Post Apocalypse Group Sex Sex Toys Violent comet crashes into earth story, end of civilization story
"Don't let anyone try to fault you, Bracken," Barnes said as he puffed on a cigar. "You did the right thing by aborting the mission. It may not be glorious to turn away from a fight, but you stayed within our doctrine and brought everyone home."
"Yes, sir," Bracken said, sipping from a bottle of beer and taking a puff of his own stogy. "Some of the other men wanted to push ahead anyway, but I figured a forty percent casualty rate was a conservative estimate for that kind of operation. That's just way too high."
"I would've skinned you alive if you would've got half your people killed," Barnes assured him. "If any of those men give you any shit about it, you have them come talk to me. I'll straighten them out."
They were in Bracken's modest house, just down the hill from the high school. It was the first evening since the return of the company from their broken mission. Though he had already been given an official debriefing that afternoon, Barnes had invited himself over for dinner so he could get a more informal view on the Garden Hill situation. Though most of the town ate community meals at pre-set times in the high school cafeteria, those in Barnes' inner circle, which Bracken certainly was, were privileged with a certain amount of personal groceries from the stock each week. Utilizing these groceries, Jean and Anna, two of his wives, had prepared a stroganoff dish out of dry noodles and canned beef. The remains of it were now littering the dinner table where the two men sat.
"I must say," Barnes told his newest official captain (that news had been the first offered that evening) as he patted his stomach, "your bitches surely did a good job on dinner."
"Thank you, sir," Bracken replied, pleased with the praise. Though both Anna and Jean were hovering nearby, one clearing plates away, the other delivering fresh bottles of beer, it did not occur to either man to extend that thanks to them.
"Maybe I'll send two of my bitches down here to take some cooking lessons from them," Barnes said reflectively. "God knows they could use them."
"Anytime, sir," Bracken assured him. "Anytime."
Bracken's other two "bitches", as the term went in Auburn, were sitting on the couch just outside the dining area. Kelly, the blonde, was spooning pureed meat into Sharon's mouth. Barnes looked at this sadly for a moment. "Still no improvement with her huh?" he asked.
"No," Bracken replied. "I think the comet has driven her completely insane. I've been hoping she'll snap out of it but so far she just keeps getting worse. I'm afraid I might have to... you know... put her out of her misery."
Barnes nodded understandingly. "Whenever you think the time is right, I'll sign the order for you," he said. "We can't keep feeding people that aren't able to function as productive members of the society."
"Maybe we'll do that in the morning," he said. "It's a pity. She really was a fine bitch when I first got her. She had one of the tightest cunts I've ever felt."
"Well go ahead and give her one last ride before you bring her in," Barnes grinned. "It should still be tight, shouldn't it?"
While they laughed about that Jean and Anna, their faces completely expressionless, made a trip to the kitchen with their dishes. By the time they returned a minute later to finish clearing, the subject of Sharon had been tossed aside in favor of Garden Hill.
"So what do you think it will take to counter the forces at Garden Hill painlessly?" Barnes wanted to know.
"Well," Bracken replied, "taking into account their air superiority and their bunkers, I'd say that four hundred to five hundred men would be required just to make them consider giving up without a fight."
"And suppose they demand a fight? Would that many men be sufficient to win?"
"We would have won with the men we had," Bracken said confidently. "The question is not of winning or losing but of what casualty rate we take and what sort of damage we inflict upon the spoils that we're after. I'm sure we could take them with little more than a hundred men, but in order to minimize casualties to an acceptable level, we'll need at least five hundred."
"We don't have five hundred men," Barnes reminded him. "The last class from Grass Valley has been through the training now and that brings us up to a grand total of four hundred and fifty troops, a lot more than we had in the beginning, but not nearly enough to attack in the strength you are suggesting and still maintain enough of a force here for security and self-defense. What if I gave you three hundred troops? What kind of casualty rate would you expect from that?"
Bracken thought about that for a minute. "High," he said. "But I could minimize it by attacking from two different directions at once."
"Use a diversionary force?"
"No." Bracken shook his head. "The chopper they have rules out that tactic. With three hundred men I would have two full-blown attack forces hitting them simultaneously from two different directions. Overwhelm their defenses all at once and basically use speed to get inside that wall before too many of us get chopped up. It's not pretty but its sound."
"The D-day technique," Barnes agreed. "That would do it."
"But losses would still be rather high. Maybe as high as thirty percent if we were unlucky."
"Ordinarily that would be an unacceptable loss," Barnes told him. "But in light of the need to either capture or destroy that helicopter, it becomes acceptable. We have to get our hands on that machine and its pilot, no matter what the cost."
"I understand that, sir," Bracken replied. "And I agree with your reasoning. However, if we could take that town painlessly or force a surrender, wouldn't that still be the more acceptable option?"
"Of course it would. What are you suggesting?"
"If you could give me four hundred men," Bracken told him, "I think that just might be enough to convince them to give up the fight. I could hit them from three different directions at once - three companies of one hundred and twenty men apiece and one reserve platoon of forty that could be moved to wherever it's needed. I think we'd have a decent chance of forcing surrender very early in the battle if we did this. And if not, the sheer numbers alone will make it a very short fight. I would project no more than ten percent losses at worst and we might very well be able to overwhelm them before the helicopter can even leave the ground. After all, it takes a few minutes for it to spin up and lift off. You don't just jump in it like a car and start driving."
Barnes clearly didn't like this idea too much. "That would only leave forty-five troops inside the town," he said. "What if we're attacked? That is stretching our defense way too thinly."
"Who's going to attack us?" Bracken asked him. "We've already cleaned out every other town within a thirty mile radius."
"Somebody from beyond that thirty mile radius," Barnes returned. "We don't have the luxury of that helicopter like Garden Hill does. We don't know what is out there except for the places we've physically walked to on the ground. If a major attack comes two days after you take four hundred troops out of here, we're fucked."
"What if we left you some of the most experienced men and most of the automatic weapons?" Bracken countered. "That would make your forty-five men more like ninety. And I wouldn't need either the experience or the rapid-fire capability as much. Just give me some squad leaders and some officers who know what they're doing and the sheer numbers will do the rest."
They discussed this back and forth for a few minutes as Jean and Anna finished clearing and cleaning the table. Barnes, though clearly reluctant to commit so many of his troops, eventually decided to go with the plan.
"I'll need to reorganize them in to different units and exercise them for a bit first," Bracken said.
"Of course," Barnes agreed. "When can you have them trained up?"
"Give me three weeks and they'll be ready to march," he said.
"Three weeks," Barnes said.
Jean and Anna said nothing to each other as they went about cleaning up the kitchen. Though they had much they wanted to discuss with each other - the day had been rife with rumors and stories from the returning attack force - neither dared talk inside the house. There was too much danger of Bracken or Kelly overhearing their words. It was best to pretend they knew nothing, heard nothing, saw nothing. So they washed dishes in the large tub of cold water and dried them with a towel. They put them neatly away in the oak cabinets over the useless sink. They did not even share a meaningful glance at each other.
And then it came time to take out the garbage. They each grabbed an end of the large plastic tub that they stored disposable matter in and lifted. After informing Bracken that they were going to dump refuse - it was required that a woman check with her man before leaving the house unexpectedly - they went out the back door and began walking slowly down the darkened, rainy street. A Ford F-250 was parked at the intersection, discreetly hidden in the closed garage of an empty house. This was the street's garbage collection point. Whenever it got full a work-crew of men (it used to be women until Marla's escape - it was suspected that she hid in the garbage to get out and that the other women covered for her) drove it two miles outside of town to a dumping area that had been established.
"Garden Hill is still there," Anna whispered excitedly. "They couldn't attack it!"
"It doesn't sound like Marla made it there though," Jean said. "I heard Asshole tell the head asshole that that woman they picked up said she never made it."
"Oh, fuck Marla," Anna said. "We knew she was probably dead all the time. Think about us for a moment."
"Us," Anna confirmed, slowing her pace a little more so they'd have more time to talk. "If we can get out of here, there's someplace for us to go now! Someplace where the women aren't slaves."
"Anna," Jean said carefully, "they're in there right now planning on how they're going to attack that place. What good would it do for us to go there if Asshole is just going to destroy it next month?"
"Maybe if we warn them," Anna suggested, "they won't be able to take it. If nothing else, maybe they can evacuate everyone to someplace else."
"Or maybe they'll still take the place and hang us once they do."
"It's a chance, Jean," she said. "We might die, but if there's any hope of getting out of this life, I'm going to take it. I'm going to go. You can stay here if you want."
"I'll go if you go," she said with a nervous sigh. "You know that."
"I know," she said, giving her an unseen smile.
"But how do we get out?" Jean wanted to know. "How do we escape and get far enough away so they can't catch us? And then there's the fact that it's almost a ten-day walk to Garden Hill. What will we eat?"
They reached the house where the garbage truck was parked. They set down their tub and lifted up on the garage door, which was kept unlocked. They picked the tub back up and then, with a coordinated heave, they dumped the contents into the back amid the rest of the garbage.
"We need to start stashing food," Anna said thoughtfully. "We need a place to hide it where we can recover it later."
"How will we do that?"
Anna looked at the mounds of debris in the back of the truck and had an idea. "We'll throw it away," she said.
Anna explained what she meant. Soon Jean was smiling as well. "Brilliant," she said. "Is that what they teach you in college."
"Yes," Anna said seriously. "It was a two semester class."
They shared a small laugh as they closed down the garage. They picked up their tub and began heading back home.
"How are we going to actually get out though?" Jean asked. "If we can't do that, then it doesn't do much good to solve the food problem."
"I'll have to work on that one," Anna said. "Give me a little time."
"A little time is all we have," Jean reminded her.
Not too far away, unseen and unheard by anyone in the town of Auburn, a small black and white helicopter was hovering in the darkness. It was at an altitude of three thousand feet above the north side of the town, about half a mile from the closest habitation or manned position. Brett, behind the controls, was sweating nervously, his eyes ignoring the blackness outside the windshield and concentrating on the instruments in front of him. He was experiencing a strong sensation of vertigo, common among pilots under instrument conditions. His mind, with no visual inputs to counter the notion, was telling him that he was slowly descending and drifting to the right. His instincts cried at him to correct for this. Only the radar altimeter and the artificial horizon, which told him he was holding steady, kept him from actually doing this.
"Let's do this quick," he said to Jason, who was peering at the FLIR display just as intently. "I don't like just sitting here like this. It's disorienting in the dark."
"Copy," Jason said, using the controls to move the pod back and forth. He was seeing a black and white view of the nearest guard bunkers, the four guards manning them clearly visible as light figures on the darker background. "I've got the bunkers, I'm gonna pan over the residential area now." He moved the controls, seeing rows of houses, some of them brighter on the display than others. He saw a few people on the streets, a few of them obviously women, most men carrying guns. The men seemed to be some sort of interior guard force.
"How's it look?" Brett asked him, not wanting to take his eyes off the instrument panel.
Jason told him what he saw in fairly good detail.
"The houses that show up lighter on the display," Brett told him. "Those are the occupied ones, or at least the ones that have some sort of heat source inside of them."
"Got it," Jason replied. "There's not too many of them in this section, most are dark. It must be the outskirts of town. Spin around about twenty degrees left, I'm at the end of the panning range."
"Spinning," Brett said, slowly manipulating the anti-torque pedals so the tail swung to the right. Again, the vertigo gave him conflicting signals. It felt to his body that he was not rotating at all. Only the compass told him that he was in fact changing his orientation. It moved slowly from 180 degrees to 170 to 160, where he stopped it.
"Okay," Jason said, "I'm getting some good shots now. I have a whole cluster of houses just below the hill by the bridge. Almost all of them are brighter on the display than the others. There's a few more women walking around, mostly in pairs. A lot of them seem to be carrying tubs of some sort. There's also a big building on the top of the hill. It's glowing a lot brighter than anything else and there are some guards posted out in front of it."
"I can see it on visual," Brett said, daring to look away from his instruments for a second. Sure enough, there was a glow that could only be caused by electric lights showing plainly before him. "They've got power in that building. Probably from a portable generator or something. It's got to be their headquarters."
"I got it on tape," Jason said, referring to the video recorder that was included in the FLIR processor.
"Can you get shots of the other bunkers from here?" Brett asked, putting his eyes back on the instrument panel.
"I should be able to get all but the bridge bunker," he answered. "You'll have to rotate back and forth for me though."
"I'm yours to command," Brett told him, wanting to wipe the sweat from his brow but not daring to take his hands from the controls.
For the next five minutes Jason had him rotate left and right while he filmed the defensive arrangements and staffing levels in infrared. He then took a few more shots of the sparse activity on the darkened streets. He was able to figure out that there were two distinct sets of interior guards and that the women on the streets seemed to be in the process of dumping garbage into the garages of houses. He articulated all of this to Brett as it occurred.
"Good job," Brett told him. "Now let's go get some shots of the bridge and the bunker over there."
"How are you going to get over there?"
"We're gonna go west until we're clear of the town and then cut south over the canyon. We'll creep up the other side until we're in sight of our target. We'll use the canyon itself as a reference point. So keep that FLIR pointed at it and tell me if I start to drift too far away."
"Copy," Jason agreed a little nervously.
It took them the better part of twenty minutes, with several lapses of communication that had Brett turning or moving the wrong direction, but finally they were hovering a half-mile southwest of the bridge bunker on the far side of the canyon. Jason, once Brett's positioning was stable, locked the FLIR onto it and started recording. He saw that the two men in the bunker were standing, looking off towards the town instead of towards the approaches.
"They seem kind of antsy about something," Jason said as he watched them shifting back and forth. "And they're both smoking. I can see a bright flare in front of their faces when they take a drag."
"Smoking cigarettes?" Brett asked, hoping that they were undisciplined enough to be using marijuana on duty.
"I think so," Jason said. "They each have one and they're not passing it back and forth." A brighter flare on the edge of his view caught his attention. "What's that?" he said, panning the FLIR towards the bridge itself.
"What's what?" Brett asked. Like any pilot, he did not particularly care for hearing those two words spoken while in flight. About the only worse phrase to hear was "oh shit".
"There's a truck coming across the bridge," Jason said, seeing it's bright headlights on his display. "Looks like two men in it."
"What time is it?" Brett asked.
Jason looked at his watch, pushing the light button to get a reading. "I got 6:50," he said.
"Must be crew change time," Brett said.
It was. They hovered and filmed the changing of the bridge guard. Jason narrated as the two men in the truck parked at the bottom of the hill, got out, and then, with the help of flashlights, started climbing up one of the narrower sections. It took them about five minutes to reach the top. Once up there the two off-going guards exchanged a few pleasantries with their relief, handed over weapons and radios, and then started down the hill. While the new crew settled into the bunker for their shift, the old crew jumped in the truck and drove it back to town.
"I think we got enough," Brett said once the truck disappeared over the bridge. "Why don't we get out of this place."
"Sounds good," Jason agreed. "You gonna skirt around to the north again to pick up the Interstate?" Following the Interstate with the FLIR was how they had navigated to Auburn in the first place.
"Well actually," Brett said slowly, "I was thinking we could make a little side trip."
Jason looked over at his mentor's silhouette. "A side trip?" he asked carefully.
While Paul was in the community center office with Chrissie, anxiously awaiting the return of Brett and Jason from their nighttime recon mission, Janet and Sherrie were at Janet's nearby house, getting Sherrie settled in. It was her first day free of the traction splint that had been on her for so long, her first night out of the community center bed and on her own two feet. Paul had constructed her a rigid, removable cast out of sanded plywood and bungee cords. It was a crude, bulky device but it allowed her to walk with crutches and kept her from putting pressure on the mending but still weak femur. It had been decided that she would stay with her two caregivers, Paul and Janet, until such time as she was able to walk on her own. There were still quite a few tasks that she needed assistance with.
"Oh my God, Janet," she sighed blissfully. "You can't imagine how good this feels." Sherrie was currently reclining in the master bathroom's oversized tub, her injured leg free of the cast for the moment and stretched out before her. Bath bubbles frothed around the edge of the tub and small tendrils of steam rose into the air around her. Though the community bathing center was the easiest place to take a hot bath since it had a constant supply of heated water, it was still possible to take a hot bath in the privacy of your own home as long as you didn't mind expending a little effort. Cold water could be supplied from the rain gutter system and hot water could be heated three gallons at a time in a large cooking pot in the fireplace.
Janet smiled at her. It had been a lot of work to fill the tub up but seeing Sherrie's contented face made it worthwhile. "Here," she said, handing her a glass of warm chardonnay from a bottle she had pilfered from the supply room. "Have a little wine with it."
"Wine?" she said delighted. "I haven't had any wine in... well... you know."
"I know," Janet said, taking a sip from a glass of her own.
They talked of inconsequential things for a while, each of them finishing two glasses and starting to feel the beginnings of a good alcohol buzz.
"I used to drink far too much wine before the comet," Sherrie said as Janet poured each of them a third glass.
"Yeah?" Janet asked.
"Yeah," she said a little sadly. "I think it was an escape mechanism for the marriage I was in. I mean, I was the wife of a doctor and that was real important to me then, and I had a nice house in Garden Hill and I was a part of the upper crust and all that, but I didn't really like my husband all that much."
"No," she sighed, shaking her head a little at her former self. "I married him because he was a doctor. That was all I was interested in. That was all that my mother had taught me to be interested in. I loved him for the lifestyle he was able to give me but I wasn't attracted to him in any way. I didn't enjoy looking at him, I didn't enjoy talking to him, and I certainly didn't enjoy having sex with him. He was a climb on, rut a few times, and fire off kind of guy. If I could get five minutes out of him it was a good night."
"It seems there was a lot of that in this town," Janet said with a wine-induced giggle. "I don't know how many women have told me that exact same thing."
"Sad but true," she sighed. "Being a trophy wife does have its disadvantages. Funny how my mother never mentioned any of that to me. And so I would spend my afternoons while he was at the office sipping wine from a box in the refrigerator. I would never get bombed and pass out or anything, but I would go through each day with a strong buzz and have to take a nap before Josh got home from the office."
"You weren't the only one I'm sure," Janet said. "Why do you think we have so much wine, so much booze, so much pot and crank and cocaine and Prozac and Xanax in the supply room? They're all symptoms of the trophy wife syndrome. That's what happens when you marry for status or money instead of for love, you end up needing a crutch to get you through the days and the weeks. I wasn't all that different."
"You weren't?" she asked, surprised.
"Nope," she said. "I wasn't quite in the same class as the women in this town before the comet, but I married for pretty much the same reason. I grew up poor in South Sacramento. My mother supported my half-sister and I with child support payments and alimony from two different husbands. I was taught that the thing to do was find yourself a well-off man, marry him, and then divorce him once you put in "enough time" - as my mother put it - to get yourself a good settlement. My mom always taught me to do better than she had in that department. She had only found herself a construction worker and a car salesman, both of whom were abusive and rarely employed." She gave a cynical smile. "I did do a little better for myself. I went to college on a freakin' cheerleading scholarship and got myself a bachelor's degree in education. I became a kindergarten teacher because I really loved kids but I must admit that in the back of my mind, I was hoping to meet me a nice divorced father to take me away from it all and set me up. That's why I turned down job offers from the Sac Unified system and waited until Placer Hills Unified offered."
"So did you meet the nice, divorced father?" Sherrie asked, taking a large sip of her wine and smoothing some bubbles over her chest.
"No," she said, "not quite. Instead, I found the principal of the first school that I worked at down in Newcastle. His marriage was teetering on the brink when I started working there. I pushed it over the edge by seducing him into an affair. He divorced his wife and married me once it was final. They had to transfer me up here to Garden Hill when we became an item. He probably died when the water came in."
"Just like everyone else's husband," Sherrie said sadly.
"Just like it," Janet agreed with a sigh and a large sip. "I never really loved him. I was just putting in my time like my mom taught me. I really didn't know what love was like until I met Paul after the comet. Its kind of funny that it takes the end of the world for me to find out what's really important in life, isn't it?"
Sherrie grunted a little. "At least you figured it out then," she said. "I had to get shot and almost die to figure it out."
"But you've learned?"
"Yeah," she said. "A little too late, but I've learned."
Janet held up her glass for a toast. "To the important things in life," she said.
"To the important things," Sherrie agreed. They clinked their glasses together and had a drink.
"There are people there!" Jason yelled excitedly as he peered at the FLIR display. "There are people, Brett! You were right!"
They were hovering 3500 feet above the ground a half-mile west of the remains of El Dorado Hills. It had been a rather harrowing twenty-five minute flight from Auburn, with Brett creeping along at forty knots over the shoreline between the Sacramento Valley/Sea and the foothills, Jason guiding his turns with the FLIR. They had done this until they'd found Highway 50 rising out of the black water and then they'd turned east, using the Highway as their reference point to guide them in.
Now, Jason could see that what he'd assumed was a dangerously mad mission had been worthwhile after all. On the screen before him, as he panned the FLIR back and forth, he could clearly see nearly sixty houses that were lit up with the white glow that betrayed a heat source within them. In addition, he could plainly see the white figures of twenty to thirty people walking here and there on the streets.
"What do you see?" asked Brett, who, when he dared to avert his eyes from the instruments, could see nothing but the faintest of glows before him.
Jason gave him a quick summary of the overview and then began to go into more detail. "There's a group of buildings that looks like an elementary school near the south side," he said. "That's where most of the activity seems to be. Most of the occupied houses are surrounding it. I have brightness coming from the biggest building in the school."
"The cafeteria?" Brett asked.
"I think so," he agreed. "And there's also a glow coming from the smaller building next to it. There are two guards standing in front of that building. They both have rifles - looks like assault weapons of some sort."
"What's the sex of the guards?" Brett asked. "Can you tell?"
"One male and one female it looks like," he said. "They're talking to each other but they seem to be paying fairly good attention to what they're doing."
"Coed guard teams," Brett said with a smile. For some reason this idea comforted him. "Any other people with guns about?"
"Not that I can see," Jason said, panning back and forth. He directed Brett to turn to the left so he could get a better view of the north side of town. He took shots of all there was to see there and then began looking at the hills surrounding the town for guard positions. It took a while but eventually he found two different sets. "I got two people in the treeline near the top the hill on the east side of town," he said when he spotted the first one. "I can only get a glimpse of them between two of the trees, and only from the shoulders up. It looks like they're pretty well hidden in there."
"They must've seen us coming the other day when we did the first fly-by," Brett said reflectively. "They probably have radio communications in place down there and warned everyone in town to take cover somehow. That must be their defense; to hide and pretend they're an abandoned town if an unknown force probes them."
Brett hovered for the next ten minutes, turning this way and that and allowing Jason to film a complete infrared view of El Dorado Hills.
"All right," Brett said when they were done. "Let's get ourselves home. They're probably worried about us." He increased the lift of the rotor blades, bringing them up to an altitude of 6200 feet above sea level, a height that put them well above any peaks between the valley and Garden Hill. It was also high enough that the El Dorado Hills residents would not be able to hear their engine as they passed over.
"Are we gonna go back to Auburn and backtrack?" Jason asked.
"Negative," Brett replied. "Keep the FLIR on Highway 50 and we'll follow along it until we get to Cameron Park. Once we get to the airport I literally can fly us blind back home. Those sixteen flights I did back and forth from there let me lock in the exact course."
"The exact course?"
"From the airport, if I fly straight on a heading of 54 degrees, I will pass right over the Garden Hill bridge. Of course the wind would have to be factored into the equation if there was any, but we seem to be a little short on that lately." Since about impact+45 days, there had been almost a complete cessation of air movement in the atmosphere as temperatures became relatively equalized around the globe under the thick cloud cover. Strangely enough, Maggie, Chrissie's newest friend, had provided this information to Brett and the others. Maggie had minored in meteorology back in college while she had been waiting to meet her Prince Charming.
"I see," Jason said, filing this fact away in his rapidly growing lexicon of aircraft knowledge.
Once they were underway, Brett asked him if he had been studying the materials he had prepared for him.
"Yep," Jason assured him. "I've got them memorized. Coming up on a curve, bank five degrees left."
"Banking," Brett answered, making the turn. "How we looking?"
"A little too much," he said. "Go back right about a degree. There you go. On course."
"So tell me about the collective," Brett said.
"The collective?" Jason asked.
"That's right. What does the collective control on this aircraft do? If you've memorized the materials, you should know this."
Jason smiled confidently. "The collective," he said. "It is..."
"Do you want to put a nightgown on?" Janet asked as she and Sherrie entered the spare bedroom where she would be staying.
Sherrie had a towel wrapped around her body and one wrapped up in her wet hair. She was leaning heavily against Janet to avoid putting weight upon her injured leg, which was still free of the improvised cast and would remain so for the duration of the sleeping hours. The process of movement from one room to the other was made more difficult by the fact that both women had consumed four glasses of wine in the past hour. "No," Sherrie replied. "I'm gonna sleep naked tonight in honor of my new freedom. I've had those damn nightgowns on for too long."
Janet giggled. "You're the boss," she said, guiding her over to the side of the neatly made twin bed "But don't be surprised if Paul finds some reason to come in here and check on you half a dozen times tonight."
This made Sherrie blush in embarrassment. She had of course noticed Paul's recent attention to her body whenever he examined her. His eyes always seemed to be focused on her braless breasts or between her legs. Truth be told, she actually encouraged his eyeball explorations, finding them exciting in their forbiddeness. She often kept her gown just a little higher than necessary and her legs just a little wider than necessary during such times. She had not been aware that Janet had noticed this as well. At least not until now. She went with her instincts in response, which was to deny. "I don't think Paul would do anything like that," she said with a tone of dismissiveness that didn't come across very well. "Besides, who would want to look at this broke up body anyway."
Janet smiled knowingly. "Give me a little credit, Sherrie," she said. "He's been looking at your pussy every chance he gets. And do you really think he needs to feel up your leg twice a day?"
Sherrie honestly didn't know what to say. In the olden days such words would have meant a war was being declared and would have been spoken in a threatening tone. That was not the case here though. Janet was speaking lightly of these things, as if they were cutely amusing traits.
"Here, let me pull the covers back for you," Janet said, bending down and doing so. "In with you now."
Slowly Sherrie was lowered to the bed, keeping her injured leg as straight as possible. Janet then reached down and lifted up on her feet, helping her swing them up onto the mattress. This served to open her crotch up almost obscenely for a moment, giving Janet a premium view right up under her towel. She did not avert her eyes as a woman typically would under such circumstances. Instead, she took a good hard look at what was revealed.
"I can see why Paul likes to look at it," she said with a smile. "You really do have a nice little slit there."
"Uhhh... well... thanks. I mean... uh..." Sherrie stammered, unsure just how to handle such a situation. Janet had seen her vagina a hundred times when she'd bathed her and helped her with the bedpan. Why was she making comment on it now? And why was she talking about it in such a decadent manner?
"Here," Janet said, reaching down and tugging on the towel. "Give me that thing so I can put it in with the laundry for tomorrow."
Sherrie raised up a bit to let the towel come free of her, leaving her completely naked atop the sheet. She quickly reached down and grabbed the covers, concealing herself. Janet did not try to stop her, although she feared that she might.
"I got a lot of your personal stuff out of your house, just like you asked," Janet told her, sitting on the edge of the bed.
"I got your make-up supplies, your razor, your deodorant, some of your clothes and underwear." She paused, giving a wicked look. "I also got your toy out of your nightstand and brought it over."
"My... toy?" she said slowly, hoping that Janet wasn't referring to what she thought she was.
It was a hope that turned out to be a vain one. "Your toy," she said, reaching over and opening up a drawer on the nightstand. She reached in and pulled out a nine inch vibrating dildo. "It's a nice one. Top of the line."
Sherrie was familiar with this particular dildo since she had purchased it herself at an adult store in Citrus Heights about a year before the comet. It was the only thing that had given her any orgasms throughout her married life. "Oh my God," she said, appalled at seeing her most personal possession in Janet's hand.
Janet smiled. "Nothing to be embarrassed about," she said lightly, making no move to put it away. "These things are the staple of trophy wife syndrome, aren't they? Remember when we went through the empty houses looking for supplies? We found dildos of various shapes, sizes, and colors in almost every master bedroom. And in those houses that we didn't find them, it was probably only because they'd hidden them too well. Hell, I got one myself."
"You... you do?"
"Of course I do," she said. "I was a trophy wife of sorts wasn't I? I used to bust that thing out whenever Frank went to sleep before me and fire it up. I went through at least a set of batteries a week. How else is a girl gonna get a good come?"
Sherrie started laughing. She was still acutely embarrassed and more than a little uncomfortable with the direction the conversation was going, but she couldn't help herself. "I thought I was a pervert," she giggled. "I used to hide that thing in the bottom of my sewing cart so my husband wouldn't find it. I would've died if I'd thought the other women knew I had one. I mean, we used to joke about it sometimes, but no one ever admitted to having one."
"The suburban housewife's best friend," Janet said, still holding the object in question in her hand. "Mine's just a standard ten dollar model. This one looks like it must've run you fifty bucks at least."
"Sixty-five," Sherrie said, making both of them laugh. "That's genuine lamb skin it's lined with. It even has a warmer in it to make it... you know... warm."
"Oooh," Janet said, giving it a few strokes with her hand. "I thought it felt awfully nice. You must've missed it during your convalescent period, huh?"
"Well..." she said, her face flushing brightly again.
"You should've asked for it. I would've got it for you. I mean, the hand is okay in a pinch, but nothing beats the old latex friend when it comes to relieving the pressure. Or at least nothing but a good, real one that's attached to someone that knows how to use it."
"I wouldn't know," Sherrie said. "I've never come from the real thing before."
She shook her head. "Never," she said. "I've only slept with four guys in my life and none of them were all that good at it."
"That's a shame," Janet said sympathetically.
"Isn't it though? And you're right. I really did miss my friend while I was in the community center. It seems that this last week I've really been wanting him."
"So I did good bringing it over," she said brightly. She let her hand drop down to Sherrie's leg and began rubbing the head of the dildo back and forth across it over the covers. "I bet you want to use him now, don't you? After the bath and the wine and all. I always found that that's when I was the horniest."
Sherrie looked at her friend's hand nervously, watching as the lambskin dildo pushed against her thigh. What was going on here? Surely Janet wasn't coming on to her, was she? "Well..." she said carefully, "maybe a little later."