Her brain posed a lot of questions, but not enough to distract her from what lay ahead. Too soon, the men stopped her before a door. It opened, and they ushered her through to their private quarters.
It was a space much larger than her cell in the convent, but it didn’t allow much room for three men. A desk with a computer sat in the corner. A few shelves with small objects, probably personal mementos, ranged across the walls. Katherine couldn’t take in the details however. Not when she saw the huge bed that filled most of the space.
All the terror of her captivity crashed down on her at that moment. This was where she would be made to breed with the aliens. Where she would accept their sinful flesh inside her own. Where they would lay her down naked and hurt her as they sought to breathe new life into their dying empire.
Katherine stood and stared at the billowing cloud of linens on the humongous stretch of bed. It looked soft and welcoming, as if to lure her gladly into its horrid trap. She didn’t dare breathe or move. She thought if she did, the world around her would disintegrate.
Simdow waved towards the end of the massive bed. “Sit, my Matara.”
The Kalquorian who wasn’t much taller than herself asked, “Do you need something to eat or drink? Water? Perhaps a juice?”
Katherine looked at them. How could they look so open and friendly when they had such terrible things in store for her? How could they behave as if this was natural and good?
A passage from the earliest stories of the bible came to her: When you go to war against your enemies and God sees fit to deliver them into your hands as captives and you see a woman you wish to make your wife, bring her home to your house. Go in unto her, be her husband, and she shall be your wife.
Her own religion’s teachings made her the property of the Kalquorians. In the occasional uprisings that occurred on Earth every few decades, soldiers sometimes made use of that passage to bring home foreign wives, women stolen as war prizes from their traitorous fathers and husbands. Katherine had disagreed silently with the practice, but it was often upheld in the courts. The Church condoned it as just punishment for betrayal.
Apparently, Kalquorians held the same beliefs about the women of their enemies. She knew she was theirs, that she had no choice in the matter, but it didn’t make anything better. Her stomach lurched.
Terror reduced Katherine to the tears of a child as she looked at the men who held her fate in their warrior hands. Her legs gave out beneath her as she burst into sobs.
“Don’t hurt me. Please don’t hurt me.”
Miv caught her from behind, his muscled arm a band of iron that kept her from falling. At the same time, Simdow fell to his knees before her, grabbing her hands in his. Vadef frantically stroked her hair, petting her as his face twisted with upset.
Simdow kissed her tiny fists enveloped in his much larger paws. “No, Matara. We will not hurt you.” As she continued to sob violently, he raised his voice so she could hear him. “I swear it. Katherine, you have nothing to fear from us. Hush, my beauty. Sit down.”
They moved her to that fearsome bed and made her sit on its edge. Simdow and Vadef settled on either side of her, and Miv knelt at her feet. They patted and petted her, making soft exclamations of reassurance all the while.
The harsh and scarred features of Miv were gentled by the anguish on his expression. “Don’t be afraid of us, please. We are your protectors, caregivers, and guides. We cannot hurt you or allow anyone else to do so.”
Katherine blinked tears back, startled by the overt concern on the man’s face. He looked tormented by her fears, nakedly pained by her terror. Could he really be sincere about not harming her? Did he understand that having to lie in sin with him and his clanmates would destroy her very soul?
Vadef’s quiet voice sounded choked as he said, “We only wish to get to know you. Talk to us, Katherine. Tell us about your work at the convent.”
She turned to the sweet-faced Imdiko, shocked even more by his invitation to speak. They weren’t going to rape her right away? To claim the spoils of their conquest?
Then why was she here in their bedroom?
She swallowed, hardly believing they weren’t taking their rightful prize. “You want to know – about my faith?”