Reality Skimming
1Mar/13Off

Meet the Relatives – Post 5

Meet The Relatives by Lynda Williams, is the touching story of very Demish Dela's adventures in Red Reach. Illustrations are by Richard Bartrop.

Dela and the Vrellish Woman

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Dela's stomach dipped at the mention of Vras' twin sister.

It was rare, Dela had been told, for Vrellish mothers to have children by the same sire, let alone twins. Most of their children were ha'sibs, from the ancient English "half sibling" - although the Vrellish could hardly be expected to know the word's origins! It was Amel who had told her as much.

But if Sert and Vras shared an abnormally close relationship, it didn't endear Sert to Dela at all. The Vrellish woman thought of Dela as a bad habit Vras had picked up. Or a harmful addiction, perhaps.

Dela quailed, grateful for the firm grip of Vras' hand.

She was about to ask if Sert was chairing proceedings for the business they had come to settle - however hard she found it to imagine Sert doing that - when a throaty murmur made her look back.

The barechested woman in their train of six nobleborns had stopped, facing one of her male peers. The throaty sound came from the man, and while whatever had caused it was screened from Dela by the woman's back, the tone was upsettingly sexual. Another woman slapped the man on the buttocks and rapped the woman's head with the heel of her hand, breaking them up. They responded with a noise that sounded more like animal growls than anything human, but conceded the point made, and broke up to walk along separately once more.

"Dela shrank against Vras, her eyes closed, trying not to understand the small, eloquent sounds reaching her ears."

Vras yanked her arm.

She was going to apologize, or cry, or tell him she should never have come, but he looked too grim and focused, so she settled for just holding his hand, resolved to kept her eyes forward from now on.

The Vrellish space station was more intimidating than her debut as a teenager at the Golden Emperor's Ball, but not, like then, because she was the plumpest, most ungainly princess of the High Demora Court. Compared to Vrellish women she was glorious! And she'd had ample proof that whatever she was suited Vras. It was the place itself!

Everything looked bare and stark.

They marched along the gangway that connected separate pocket docks, leather clothing creaking, soft boots making no sound. A stairway without rails took them down to a staging floor. Here, the first color relieved grays and browns in the form of bright tarps thrown over cargo containers. Metal was cheap and easy to find for a people who plied space as readily as fish swam Demoran's oceans. But the tarps were cloth, which like leather, was valuable. Its main purpose seemed to be decorative.

Vras held her against him as they waited, all together, in a second airlock. The barechested woman took up where she'd left off - with a different man! Dela shrank against Vras, her eyes closed, trying not to understand the small, eloquent sounds reaching her ears. She was afraid they would mate in the airlock, like animals. She thought about asking Vras to make them stop, but when she looked at him she forgot about the couple's lewd behavior. He hardly seemed the same, mercurial Vras. He looked hard. His crisp features somehow more viscous. More like the Vrellish of nightmare.

Meeting the Relatives Post 5 - Richard Bartrop

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