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         Chess turned back to Sariel in time to see her use her knife to dig a chunk of ice cream out of the bucket. And, after popping it into her mouth, she leaned her head back against the wall of the freezer, her throat barely moving as she let the ice cream slide down.
         Chess shook his head and chuckled. With the wind from the freezer blowers ruffling her hair, Sariel looked as though she was relaxing in front of an air conditioning vent, back in civ somewhere, and not sitting on the frozen metal floor of a walk-in freezer.
         Finally, Chess spoke. “You can’t stay in here. Come on.” Avoiding the hand holding the knife, he grabbed her other arm and pulled upward. “You can bring that,” he said. “We’ll find you a spoon.”
         Once outside, Sariel set down the container and slid to the floor. Tugging off her shirt, she leaned back against the cold metal door of the freezer, which Chess had just closed. “Paradise,” she groaned, reaching for the ice cream again.
         Chess, relieved to be away from the cold blast, said, “I didn’t realize you hated the heat so much. You never said anything.” He walked a few meters away and retrieved a spoon for her.
         Sariel took the spoon with a smile. “Heat is constant. Even in winter, there is so little snow.” She shrugged. “Why discuss it?” She scooped up some ice cream and sighed. “This will soon melt.”
         Chess left her alone to eat while he explored the rest of the area. He was surprised to discover a small office, with a desktop computer still running. And, in a bottom drawer… He drew in a sharp breath and grabbed the objects there. One was a rogue link-phone, like the ones that Razor’s men carried, and the one Ileana carried with her: a device made to tap into the mainstream network of cell phone and internet signals. And this was a phone they could use, because next to it was a solar charger.
         Chess came rushing back out, carrying his finds as if they were trophies, and feeling gleeful.

         Sariel was just as he had left her, but she had set the tub of ice cream aside, and now a small pool was growing around the bottom of the container. Chess figured the ice cream must be melting steadily. After all, he reasoned, the container had been clutched between her thighs for some minutes.
         He sank down onto the floor next to her, and leaned back against the freezer door.
         “It is better if you take your shirt off,” Sariel told him, and then, grabbing the ragged hem of his t-shirt, she tugged upward until he allowed her to pull it over his head. Then she put a hand on his chest and pushed him back against the icy metal. “Better,” she pronounced.
         Shivering, he watched her scoop up some ice cream. She offered it to him and then, dropping the sweet bit of coldness onto his tongue, she smirked, “Not too much now. You don’t want to get fat.”
         Some of the melting ice cream dripped down the corner of his mouth and he brought his fingers to his lips as he gazed at her. She looked unusually mirthful. He realized that she was probably repeating words that had been said to her in the past, and he felt a rush of sympathy toward her.
         He was not angry with her. She was right: Gryff was not her fault. And, although it surprised him to learn that she feared losing him, he remembered a time when she had seemed jealous of Ileana. “I don’t understand you,” he murmured, accepting another spoonful of ice cream, “but that’s okay.”
         In answer, Sariel grinned and climbed onto him, until she was kneeling over his sprawled legs.
         “More?” She brought several heaping spoonfuls to his lips, and, each time, the ice cream was already dissolving into foamy white liquid and dripping down onto his chest before he could take it in.
         His heartbeat sped up as he watched her trail her fingers down his chest, smearing them with melted ice cream, and then bring her hand up to his mouth. Her eyes were intent on him as he ran his tongue along her sweet-tasting skin. And when he reached for her, she looked deliciously breathless.

         When Ileana finally returned, she found the two of them lying together in a sticky mess. “Steaks are ready,” she laughed. “Shall I put them on plates… or will you just eat them off each other?”
         With a lazy smile, Sariel held out her arms, but Ileana shook her head. “Dinner,” she said firmly.

Continued next page...


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It’s not the Heat, It’s the Humidity

Sunlight Grrrll: We saw the news. You and the Losers called it a day.
Deadly Girl: We?
Sunlight Grrrll: The Femme Five. I'm here to ask you to join.
Deadly Girl: Well then you'd be the Femme Six.
Sunlight Grrrll: There are already eight of us. Traditional counting is an oppressive patriarchal tool.
- The Specials (2000)

         The story of the Garden of Eden, which is central to our western-world culture and to other cultures, as well, seems to suggest that gaining knowledge is a bad thing. But this is not an unusual idea, because there is much evidence in mythology that the gods who do bring knowledge -- the trickster gods and folk heroes who help man -- are usually rebelling against the established gods. These mythologies seem to indicate that wisdom is the domain of the gods, not of man. With the necessary knowledge, humans might have been able to succeed in scaling Mount Olympus and bringing down the gods, as Zeus feared, whereas mere physical strength failed.
         So the question is: is the serpent a trickster god? Apparently, there is some evidence of serpents representing actual gods in earlier mythologies. And is he good or bad? Is the theft of knowledge really a terrible, world-changing event or is the Lord merely annoyed or fearful like Zeus? The Lord also punishes the snake as if he was Prometheus, condemning him to an eternity of slithering around on his belly. There appears to be a ton of mythic history and imagery just under the commonly-accepted surface message of this story. Many scholars over the years have studied and debated it. But, especially with emotions often running high on the subject of religion, no consensus has ever been reached and we are left to make our own interpretations. I think this is probably a good thing. When people point to a story, document, action or event and insist that only one interpretation can be made from it, that often leads to something not so good. As I mentioned in my early blogs, like around blogs 9, 10, and 11: what’s true for someone is not necessarily true for everyone.



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