Nik of Time

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					                  Nik of Time




"Not in strength are we inferior to men; the same our
eyes, our limbs the same; one common light we see,
one air we breathe; nor different is the food we eat.
What then denied to us hath heaven on man
bestowed."
                      Queen Penthesilea of the Amazons




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Katherine E. Standell and Cora Leigh Hampton




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Nik of Time




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Katherine E. Standell and Cora Leigh Hampton




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                       Nik of Time
Prologue

         The sound of marching feet thundered in the early
morning air. Nik glanced behind her and watched as her sisters
melted into the mist of the forest. She looked to her right, then
left, and nodded to the two women on either side. Ira, on her
right, was standing with most of her weight on her uninjured leg,
grinning up at her; she nodded back. Destra, the oldest of the
three women, stood at her left frowning ahead and nodded
without turning, both her arthritic hands tightly wrapped around
the hilt of a blade as battle scarred as her angry face. They would
make the good fight here. Nik, the leader of the trio, had also
volunteered to remain behind and hold the bridge for as long as
she could, while her sisters retreated to the village to gather the
old, the sick and the children; the last sad remnants of the still
proud Amazon Nation. They would leave their homes and move
far to the west, across the wide waters and off the edge of the
world. Better the unknown and possibility of death than the
assurance of slavery beneath the Roman heel.
         As the sound of marching grew louder, Nik could feel the
vibrations in her feet. Ahead of her a long column of Rome’s
elite guard approached. The Centurion in command was a
familiar face; she had battled this man before. She recognized the
missing eye and the long red scar along the man’s jaw. Her blade
had taken that eye and left behind the dark red scar; it had been a
strike of retribution and redemption. A strike she had given him
years ago in gladiatorial combat, something she knew as the law
of the blood and blade.

        She remembered back to their first meeting, when the
traitorous Centurion had made an offering of peace between her
people and the Roman outpost. She had been a part of the peace
congregation that had left the security of their forest to attend the
meeting. They had arrived unarmed, except for their eating
daggers and shields of rank; seemingly in a show of good faith,
but they had not trusted the Romans. An Amazon with or without

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      Katherine E. Standell and Cora Leigh Hampton
weapons was still a formidable warrior, something the Romans
chose to ignore. These women were something unheard of: they
were highly trained and well educated, each a skilled fighter and
most spoke Latin, Greek and Aramaic.
          The Centurion claimed that he had come to discuss a
new treaty, The Paix Romana he had called it, but the Roman had
lied. While the Amazons appeared to have let down their guard
during the peaceful dinner, the Centurion signaled an attack.
        The Amazons were ready when they began their assault
on the congregation; they fought well but against overwhelming
odds. In the middle of the battle Nik saw a vicious attack on the
Queen’s consort. She could have intervened and prevented the
warrior’s death but she had been tasked with a different mission:
to save a single small Amazon, a messenger. She was successful.
The messenger had been Ira, the fastest runner in the nation; she
was to return to the tribe, if the Romans proved false, to warn
them of the deception.
        Nik had also survived; she had been taken to Rome, caged
like some exotic wild animal, taken to fight in the arena for the
pleasure of the Emperor. She had not wanted to fight but had
been forced over and over again to defend herself – even to the
point of killing to survive. Each fight was a life and death
struggle, a fight to the death, and Nik did what she had to do but
this battlefield lacked honor as far as she was concerned. The fact
that, ultimately, these deaths were being staged and played out
solely for the entertainment and pleasure of the Emperor
disgusted and sickened her. Certainly the Romans had not
expected her to last long and with each fight they had searched
for stronger, tougher, more ruthless opponents to face her in the
arena. For long months the fighting continued and still she
remained undefeated. Perhaps most surprising of all to the
Romans was the fact that, in her battles, she fought with honor
and courage, always offering her attacker an honorable death if
they chose to take it. Unlike their Emperor, she found that most
of her opponents, chose honor.
        Finally, this tall, beautiful and fiercely honorable warrior
woman won the heart of the people and was offered her freedom
in one last fight. It was to be a challenge fight by order of the

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                       Nik of Time
Emperor himself; one final, ultimate battle - between herself and
her captor and ‘Master’, this same man she now watched
approach.
        For the first time, she looked forward to the fight; she was
eager to face him and had trained hard to prepare for the battle
but he had presented no challenge at all. The match was one
sided and she had quickly disarmed the man. Nik had been
disgusted with him as he cried in pain and begged for his life at
her feet. She had spared the Centurion, taking only a small
tribute for her fallen friends, leaving him with one eye and a scar
to remind him of his betrayal.


        Now, it seemed the man had a faulty memory to go with
his lack of battle skills. After all, it had been he who had thrown
his pride at her feet by begging for his life in the arena. Why
would he wish to face her again? Surely he must know she would
not spare him again. If he didn’t, he soon would. Dressed in the
bronze breast plate, gauntlets, knee and shin guards that she had
been given by the people of Rome. They were gifts which she
knew in her heart represented a genuine tribute for her defeat of
the Centurion. She stood between the two Amazons, the tip of her
long, long heavy battle sword in the dirt, its pommel resting
under her hand. As she saw the men approaching, she too
tightened her grip around her sword, raising it to the ready and
grinned at the approaching battle.
        The Centurion had long since been stripped of his title
and rank, but to her he would always be the Centurion.
        Abandoned by his Emperor, the military, and even his
family, the Centurion had hired a mercenary army to accompany
him on the quest to redeem his non-existent honor. Now, as he
imagined he was on the brink of accomplishing that mission, he
smiled a lopsided smile, one half of his face frozen in a painful
grimace. He had finally run the whore to ground and now he
would kill her, a slow bloody death for this one. She stood on the
far side of the ravine. He had only to cross the bridge to take her
and once he had her, his army would find the remaining women
and take them all back to face execution for defying Rome. He

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      Katherine E. Standell and Cora Leigh Hampton
would once again find honor in the eye of the Emperor. But this
woman would not be making the trip. This one would die here;
perhaps, he allowed himself to imagine, he would take her head
back as a trophy to his emperor or maybe he would just put it on
a pike at the head of his army. He sneered, signaling his men
forward.
         The bridge swayed gently in the morning breeze as if
getting ready for the day’s events, the movement changing to a
steady vibration, flakes of dirt and bits of grass and tree bark
sprang from the bridge as if alive, reacting to the thunder of
marching feet. He reached the bridge first, his horse was
anxious, its eyes rolling at the sight of the narrow wooden
structure; it reared refusing to move any closer.
         The Centurion punched his mount in the neck to stop its
antics, pulling up sharply on the reins causing the spooked animal
to rear. Ignoring the beast, he surveyed the bridge. It was narrow
and he could only send two or three men across at a time, but that
should be enough considering that they faced only three women,
two of which seemed to be in no shape to fight. He pulled on his
horse’s reins again, smiling when the animal reared, signaling his
second, he gave his orders.
         The second in command was a young and eager
Lieutenant. This was his first campaign and he wanted so badly
to impress the commander. He rode back to the Sergeant,
ordering him to select three men from the unit for the honor of
clearing the bridge. The three grinned in anticipation and with a
loud roaring scream they charged the women. Their screams
died abruptly, still sounding within their chests, as they fell, dead,
from the bridge and down into the deep ravine on either side.
         The three women remained, the swords in their hands
quickly wiped of blood as they stood waiting for the next charge.
         Nik smiled at the Centurion and raised her hand to wave
him forward. Yes, today would be a good day of fighting.



       Deep in the forest, the tribe moved quickly on silent feet,
even the youngest Amazon knew how to move silently through

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                       Nik of Time
the forest. The Queen had left four older warriors behind to
guard the rear and to see to the three on the bridge. She had
quietly commanded, with a determined sadness, that they would
not meet the fate of the other Amazons who had died at the hands
of the traitorous Romans. They would be gathered back into the
arms of Athena. Never again. While there was no time for a
pyre, it was decided they would be buried deep within the
Amazon forest with the honor due them as warriors. The four
would see it done, if humanly possible, and then rejoin the tribe
for their march towards the west and the open seas.

        The day had been a long one and this last assault had been
the worse, the men having grown more cautious. Nik felt her
arms weakening; she knew that she had lost much of her strength
with the blood which already caused her sandaled feet to slip. Ira
and Desta had fallen earlier and Nik had taken the time afforded
when the mercenaries had pulled back, long enough to take water
for themselves and their mounts, to push their bodies over the
edge and into the ravine. No Roman swine would desecrate their
remains. Artemis’s wolves and birds would take her sisters to
Athena.
        She swayed on unsteady feet as she fought the soldiers
knowing that if she could buy a few more minutes it could mean
life to her tribe. She straightened again and raised her tired
bloody sword once more, smiling at the men approaching,
watching them pause in fear. The smile faded from her lips as
she screamed out her warrior cry and struck.


        They found her body next to that of the very dead Roman
Centurion, half of her once beautiful sword had been broken off
in his neck. She had been trampled into the dirt beside the bridge,
her dark hair was filled with blood and urine; her beautiful face
battered almost beyond recognition by the feet of hundreds of
bitter soldiers. Her arms and legs broken and twisted at odd
angles, the broken remainder of her heavy sword still clenched in
her powerful hand. Strange that the Romans had left the
Centurion here as well, trampled beneath the feet of the soldiers

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      Katherine E. Standell and Cora Leigh Hampton
he had commanded, left unburied. They pulled her into the brush
and away from the battle site following a hidden trail down the
edge of the ravine to the river that twisted its way through the
valley.
        They had already buried Ira and Destra deep in the hills.
They had been grateful to find the bodies of the two warriors
undamaged by the filth of feet and human waste. They knew that
Nik had been responsible for that last tender gift.
         It had been easy to bury them, they were small women
and the four older warriors had been able to lift their bodies from
the river’s edge and carry them into the forest. Nik was very
different, she was no small warrior; she had always been very
tall, dark and extremely deadly. So different from the other
women of the tribe who, though dark skinned from the sun, were
blond and slender women.

        Nik had been a foundling discovered by the Arms
Mistress long summers ago on the planes of their winter route
south and adopted by the entire tribe. The golden skinned baby
girl had screamed at them for attention and had only grown quiet
when she had been wrapped in a soft wolf hide and placed in a
carry shield on the back of the Arms mistresses’ horse. A
foundling, alone in such a wild place, must be a gift from Athena;
they had all known she would be a mighty warrior but they had
no idea how powerful she would be until later. As a youngster
Nik had grown taller and stronger than any of the other children
her age. Faster than most grown warriors, she had learned the art
of war quickly and had gained a position in the Warrior class as a
leader. Well known for her quick mind and even quicker sword,
many young beautiful Amazons had vied for her attention. Even
the most beautiful among them could not hold the warrior’s
attention for long and none ever held her heart.
        The Tribe Shamaness was said to have once counseled
Nik about her seeming inability to give her heart. The older
woman had sadly explained to Nik that sometimes life was cruel
and the one to whom we could give our heart was taken before
we could meet. She was said to have assured Nik that she had
spoken with Artemis about this and the goddess had promised her

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that it was an injustice she would find a way to right one day and
that in the meantime she had given Nik special abilities to
compensate for the loss of her soulmate in this lifetime. Nik
seemed to accept the explanation and spoke of it only to her
closest friends. Many in the tribe encouraged her to find joy
where she could and she always listened politely, knowing they
spoke from loving hearts. Still, though she was never lonely, Nik
had never taken a life mate.

        This warrior had been the best of the tribe and her loss
would be felt for a long, long time. The women had stripped her
and gently washed the badly broken body, straightening the
twisted arms and legs, cleaning the bronzed armor that she had
brought back from her battles in the arena, and carefully
redressed the dead warrior. That done, they began building an
earthen dam to push back the water of the river. They quickly
dug a deep pit in the thick black mud and lay the warrior inside,
over her face they placed her battered shield and beside her hand
they lay both halves of her broken sword. With a quick prayer to
Artemis, they filled in the hole and released the earthen dam,
covering the body of the great warrior for all time.
        Sadly the women left, without a backwards glance. No
need to think of the lush forest or the warm days they had spent
in their wild homes raising their families, growing strong and
making love slowly to the sounds of the night creatures. Those
days were over, it was a time of change and sadly, it seemed that
change would not include the Amazons.




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Katherine E. Standell and Cora Leigh Hampton




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Chapter 1

       The South Carolina State Museum is a beautiful building,
a former pre World War II warehouse restored and combined
with the beauty of Southern charm and modern construction.
Designed to complement the original old citadel, hand made deep
red Carolina clay brick, the museum towers high from its
precarious perch overlooking the Broad River. The narrow
Gervais Street Bridge, with its historical light poles, roll past the
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      Katherine E. Standell and Cora Leigh Hampton
museum into old West Columbia, past the life sized iron
silhouettes of Sherman and his scouts surveying their route into
the capitol of the Old South State. Wide gentle stairs lead from
the large front parking lot, past a beautiful glass overhang that
covers the welcoming entrance into the building. Behind the
main structure, past the employee parking lot and deep into the
bowels of the old building lays the catacombs. Storage halls like
cells of a bee hive, tiny cubicles that have been used for
safeguarding and categorizing the historical artifacts for
generations.
        This is where the historian thrived; the fact finders, the
educators and the researchers shared residence. Everything that
was on display to the public in the bright cheerful cases of brass
and glass were once here in the dusty dark walls of the
catacombs, in the searching and protective hands of the
historians. It was here truth was separated from lies, errors and
even well intentioned exaggeration; fact was sifted from fiction
and sometimes the story behind the myth made itself known to
the most persistent of seekers. This was where most researchers
considered the true heart of the museum beat. This is where Dani
worked.

        But today was different, today she was a woman with a
mission. A very special shipment had arrived while she was on
the phone and for once her office was not small enough. “I still
feel like the troll in the hole.” The voice of a young woman
echoed through the dark halls.
        Danielle Patterson drummed her fingers impatiently on
the desk top, where she had been sitting for what seemed like
hours. A quick glance at her watch verified that she had only
been on hold for five minutes, but five minutes was still too long.
She glanced around the cramped area designated as her office
space, her eyes lovingly roving over dust covered crates that
waited patiently to be opened and cataloged. As her frustration
rose her eyes wandered again over the stenciled writing on the
newest addition to her crate collection.
        The UPS man who had brought it in had grinned at her;
his name was Ruben and she had known him for years. He knew

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how she was with new packages and he also knew how she hated
phones. He had placed the boxes as close to her as space
permitted and with a toothy grin had left her to figure out how to
reach the crates and not lose her connection.
          “Ruben I will remember this! I can find out where you
live!” she yelled after the laughing delivery man.
         Cursing, she edged her chair as close to the packages as
she could, telephone cord permitting, but she was still out of
reach. She took off her shoe and tried to reach the nearest crate
with no luck. “Arrrgh!!” She began to picture the contents that
would be revealed when she opened these boxes. She drummed
her fingers again, her eyes measuring the distance from her desk
to the stack, her mind quickly estimating her chances of leaving
the phone for a minute to open just one of the smaller crates.
         She picked up a crowbar and rolled her chair closer to the
stack, one hand gently unwinding the long dingy phone cord
attached to the hand set of the phone. Slowly she inched closer,
her toes touching the floor, gently pushing her along, her head
tilted side ways to hold the phone close to her ear, her shoulder
raised to support it.
         “Ruben, I am going to kill you.” She muttered softly to
herself. She could almost touch it when she ran out of phone
cord, dragging the lower half of the phone off the desk and
slamming it to the floor.
         Cursing she rolled back to her desk to retrieve the object
of her disgust.
         “Damn, why won’t the museum just break down and buy
newer phones? I know this damn piece of crap cord isn’t long
enough to reach but Hell I just gotta…” Just as she decided to
give up and began to rise out of her seat the phone clicked,
alerting her to a person opening the line on the other end.
         “Hello? Hello? Miss Patterson are you still there?” A
woman’s voice asked.
         “Yes, I’m still here. Who am I speaking too?” Dani
answered quickly, scooting back to her desk and picking up a
pencil to copy down the name.
         “This is Officer Beverly Sylvester. I got your information
from the nine-one-one operator. What can I do for you Miss

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Patterson?” Asked the very business like, crisply professional
voice.
        “Well, I think I had a visit from my father, my stepfather
actually. He and I really aren’t related in any way, thank the
Gods. Anyway, we aren’t on very good terms and I was advised
by my attorney that I may need to file a restraining order against
him.” Dani said, remembering the late night visit from her
stepfather last night, her mind now totally concentrated on the
matter at hand.
        “Do you feel threatened Miss Patterson? Has your
stepfather behaved in a manner that makes you
feel…uncomfortable?” The policewoman asked, her voice still
reflecting the business quality.
        Dani wasn’t nine anymore and she had learned a lot since
then, but she was small, only just reaching five feet two inches.
She thought of her stepfather and how he had towered over her,
her mind slipped back to an image of her mother standing
between her and her stepfather, trying to protect her from his
vicious blows.
        ‘I’m small but I’m wiry.’ she thought, glancing over at her
reflection in one of the many glass cabinets in the office. Her
hair was an unusual shade of chestnut with deep auburn
highlights mostly from the hours she had spent during the
summer outside on archeological digs. Large, stormy, pale grey
eyes were framed with thick dark lashes and graceful winged
brows on a natural peaches and cream complexion.
        ‘Okay, so I look like a “girly-girl” but looks can be
deceiving. Well, maybe not that deceiving.’
        Still angry, Dani closed her eyes, remembering the
expression on her stepfather’s face. The hatred was familiar,
almost tangible, and reminded her of her childhood. A slight
tremor shivered down her spine, as the fear passed through her.
        “Yes, yes he makes me extremely uncomfortable. To tell
you the truth, he scares the crap out of me.” Dani said honestly.
        “Well then Miss, um, Patterson did you say?” She
continued without pausing. “I would recommend that if he
affects you that strongly you might want to consider a restraining
order. That should keep him away.”

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         “But what about now, what do I do now?” Dani asked,
her irritation beginning to ease out.
         “Well, what do you want us to do Miss Patterson?” The
officer asked.
         “I want you to go talk to him, rough him up, do whatever
it is you cops do.” Dani said in frustration.
         “First of all Miss Patterson, we cops obey the law. That
means we don’t go around roughing up suspects. Now, if he is
breaking the law by, oh lets say, violating a restraining order
well, then we can legally step in and assist you.”
         For the first time Dani heard a change in the officer’s
voice. She sounded like she might enjoy the prospect of
providing assistance in the enforcement of the restraining order.
         “But until then, our hands are tied. Perhaps you can take
some self defense classes. I am sure your local fitness center
offers some sort of instruction for women.” The officer
suggested politely.
         “Well Hell, what exactly do I have to do to get one of
those restraining orders?” Dani asked, writing quickly. The
officer explained the requirements and Dani promised to file the
order in the morning. Reading over her notes again she crossed
her t’s and dotted the ‘i’s’ then placed the notes in her Day-timer
and put the whole thing into her backpack to take home that
evening. Thanking the woman, she hung up the phone, a bit
relieved that she had taken some sort of action and now felt guilt
free to do what her hands had been itching to do since she arrived
that morning.
         ‘Finally’, she thought. Standing, Dani reached for the
crowbar and headed towards the nearest crate. She had been
waiting weeks for the arrival of these boxes and her curiosity had
reached the exploding point.
         These crates were part of an excavation from The Center
for the Study of the Eurasian Nomads in Russia, which provided
information on the excavations of Sauromatian and Sarmatian
Women. Inside one of these crates could be the answer that had
been bantered around for years: were there ever truly Amazons?
Not the infrequent woman warrior, the Annie Oakley or Mulan -
that rare creature who was the one rebel in the sea of “well

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adjusted” women of their times. But were there ever organized
tribes of women warriors? Women who dared to live a life of
freedom in a time when women were chattel, the property of
men, the keeper of the hearth and bearer of children - not the
bearer of swords. Were there really women with that type of
freedom in that time of history? Dani was certain of it and the
remains and artifacts inside these crates may verify the existence
of these women.
        Putting on her leather gloves, she picked up her crow bar
and moved to the crates; reading each one, she selected a large
rather flat crate to start. Her hands trembled as she forced the
crowbar between the yellowed slats of wood. The nails creaked
in protest as she pried the planks loose. Ignoring the nails and
splinters of wood, she pulled the planks free and brushed away
the packing straw that protected and hid the ancient artifact.
        Her heart pounded with excitement as she stared down at
the stained bronze and fragile leather breast plate of ancient
armor. Rushing back to her desk, she yanked off the leather
gloves and retrieved her latex gloves and her reading glasses.
Slipping her hands into the gloves with a snap she placed the
glasses on her nose, ignoring the fact that the heavy frames
slipped to the tip of her nose as she absentmindedly pushed them
back up only to have them slip again. She lifted the heavy breast
plate, the stray bits of straw slipped from the green tinted metal.
She walked back to her desk pulling the plate closer as she
noticed the intricate raised pattern that decorated the front collar
of the armor peeking through the heavy patina.
         “Hmm, Roman armor, what is Roman armor doing with a
Greek Amazon? Could be, she isn’t what we think.” Dani
mumbled sadly, disappointment evident in her voice.
        Carefully laying the plate down, she pulled her
magnifying lamp over the plate and picked up her sable brush.
Gently she brushed the soft green dust away from the collar
revealing Greek writing.
        “Okay this is really confusing. Roman armor and Greek
writing.       Nikomachos, Nikomachos?          Her name was
Nikomachos. That means ‘victory army’.             Hmm, army of
victory.” Dani muttered aloud. “Damn now I am really confused,

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                       Nik of Time
Roman armor and Greek writing - a mystery wrapped in a riddle,
this is going to be fun.” Dani brushed more of the green dust
away, exposing more of the intricate decoration, all glorifying the
prowess of a great and mighty warrior.
         “Boy, talk about your overblown ego.” Dani grinned,
imagining the warrior who had worn the armor. “She must have
been a big girl for her time. I don’t think I have ever seen armor
this large from the time frame this is supposed to be from.” Dani
mumbled aloud, sitting down and pulling the desk light closer to
the bronze plate.
         The dusty green powder trickled down from Dani’s hands
onto her desk. She gently lay the front plate down and returned to
the box, retrieving the back plate. She stood the two pieced
together, impressed with the breadth of the warriors’ chest. For
the period, the owner of the armor was a large woman.
         “WOW, this was some warrior. I wonder if these really
are her bones.” Dani continued to mumble to herself, a habit she
had retained since childhood. “The femur will give me an idea of
how tall she was.”
         Retrieving her leather gloves, she cracked open the
remaining crates, tilting the lids against each crate to help her
remember what was supposed to be inside each. With all the
crates open, she was able to organize the bones and the artifacts
so that it would be easier to collect the data needed to determine
the truth of the Amazon.
          Dani walked back to the crates and searched for labels,
hmming softly as she walked from crate to crate, diving into each
one in her efforts to uncover all the treasures. Straw flew in all
directions as she threw the packing material out. Finally stopping
at one relatively small, light colored crate marked with a red label
signifying that this particular crate contained biological artifacts;
she grinned as she reached one more time for her crowbar.
         “Musta missed this one.” She smiled, hmming as she
pulled the box out into the last remaining uncluttered space on
her office floor. Here she could open it without interference and
scatter the packing guts to her heart’s content.
         Prying back the lid of the modest sized box she excitedly
threw the straw aside. Her hmming stopped when she stared

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      Katherine E. Standell and Cora Leigh Hampton
down into the crate. What she saw there choked her throat. She
had been sure that she would find skeletal remains in the crake
but what she found here, poking through the straw, were many
bones, many ancient broken bones. The sight of these bones
brought to existence the fact that this was, at one time, a real
flesh and blood person, possibly a real warrior. Dani felt a knot
grow in her throat as she reached out and touched one of the
packaged bones.
        Digging deeper, Dani brushed back the straw and exposed
a large, round, tightly wrapped package. A skull. Lifting it from
the packaging, she removed the bindings and stared at the
smooth, tinted bones.
        “Hello warrior.” She said softly. “You are a long way
from home.” For some reason she found it suddenly difficult to
speak. “Yes, a long, long way and a longer time. But don’t
worry, we plan on taking very good care of you. We...I, have
been waiting so very long for you to show up.”
        Turning, she made her way slowly back to her chair,
sitting back down she raised the brittle orb. Her eyes now level
with those of the ancient skull, she stared into the hollow sockets.
        “Welcome, welcome to America Nik.” Dani whispered.




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                       Nik of Time




Chapter 2

       Her office was perfect for what she was attempting to do.
There was wonderful overhead lighting that was adjustable and
did not produce a glare. There was indirect air circulation that
would not blow away even the smallest bit particle as they may
turn out to be important. But the best thing in her office, as far as
she was concerned, was something the museum had purchased

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      Katherine E. Standell and Cora Leigh Hampton
years ago when it had first opened its doors, tables. Not just any
tables, but topographical tables, they were huge, like the ones
used to lay out the plans for cities. In museums they were perfect
for laying out large flags, maps, old fragile quilts and, in Dani’s
case, ancient bones. The museum had these tables in every
research office and now she cleared and cleaned hers for what
she felt was the most important discovery in modern times, one
that she hoped would set the scientific world on its ear: the
remains of a real, honest to gods, Amazon.
        Gently she began to unpack the bones, placing them in
position one at a time. Careful not to rap them on the table, she
began slowly building a skeletal, prone figure. Though the age of
the bones had been verified the actual condition was amazing.
Like the Bog man found in England, these bones had been
preserved in what had once been a river bed of moist soil and bits
of plant life. The results were that the bones were still firm, much
like bones that were only a few hundred years old instead of a
few thousand. Still, Dani handled them as if they were made of
gold dust and would disintegrate into powder at anytime. She
carefully set out the sternum and ribs, the clavicle and thorax, the
scapula the beginning of the neck vertebra, the arm and finger
bones were in the next boxes, each bone numbered, wrapped and
boxed separately. These she set out one at a time. It was at that
point she began to count the breaks.
        One shoulder showed a broken scapula that had healed
with heavy scarring in the socket. Dani’s own joints ached as she
imagined what cold weather would have done to such an injury.
She had noticed similar injuries in the arms and ribs and even in
the clavicle but the ones in the fingers were unhealed. Walking
around the long table, Dani adjusted the finger bones again, still
amazed at the completeness of the skeleton in front of her. Many
of the bones were in pieces, apparently from injuries that
occurred at the time of the woman’s death. Others showed older,
healed injuries with scars and nicks in several of the longer
bones. She could only imagine the pain that the warrior may
have been in just before she died. Glancing into the next boxes,
Dani noticed that even the large femur bones were broken in
several places; her legs had taken horrible beating. There were

                                22
                       Nik of Time
also healed scars on the warriors’ arm bones.
        Her hands gently brushed the creamy bones, talking softly
to the skeletal woman on the table. “Why were you so badly
battered? How many times did you pick up that sword and charge
into combat?” She asked softly.
        Turning away from the table, she looked at the weapons
which, at first glance, appeared to be a long pile of rust covered
branches, sticks and leaves. Looking more closely, Dani could
see what appeared to be a sword with intricate tracings of lacy
vine like engravings along the length of long metal shards. The
grip still showed fine bits of leather and brass twined around a
supportive wooden handle. Dani was amazed at the length of the
sword and the details, imagining the time it had obviously taken
to create such a beautiful item that would, eventually, be used to
kill. Carefully removing the fragile leather and wooden grip, she
placed them both in a small plastic box and labeled it with the
corresponding number that had been assigned to the sword.
          She placed the metal sword in a large blaster cabinet and
poured in tiny plastic beads of grit. With a flip of the switch, the
hum of the blowers in the cabinet let her know that the restoration
of the broken blade had begun. Peaking through the glass
window, she watched as the delicate beads gently brushed the
metal, removing bits of rust and leaving the solid metal
unharmed. This bath of plastic would be followed with one using
bits of walnut shells. As Dani watched, the rust was replaced by
the dull dark gleam of clean metal. This would make the creation
of a replica sword a great deal easier and removal of the metal
eating rust would stop the decay process without damaging the
fragile metal of the sword.
        Dani returned to her desk to prepare a plastic mold for the
naked blade. The museum would want to display the sword in as
close to the original found condition as possible. But to put the
actual sword on display may prove impossible as more than one
museum was interested in the artifact; so it was up to her to
create a replica.. It was also part of her job, to verify, date and
authenticate the find; it was just her luck that this required she
recreate the artifact for comparison. In this case she could
actually complete two, one for the display at the museum and one

                                23
     Katherine E. Standell and Cora Leigh Hampton
for her personal research and study.
        Hmming to herself, she continued with her mold, her
mind traveling back to a time when this warrior had walked the
earth, fearing neither man nor beast. Clearly she had been
thought highly of by someone. The way in which she had been
buried was evidence of that, if nothing else. Her weapons having
been buried with her spoke volumes, having occurred at a time
and place in history when it would have been far more likely for
the weapons to have been taken by her enemy or scavenged by
whomever found them first. No, someone had taken the time to
make certain this warrior was given a proper burial and
considering what was obviously a brutal death Dani couldn’t help
wondering at what cost this last gesture of honor, and perhaps
something more, had been given. What an extraordinary woman
this Nikomachos must have been. She paused briefly, imagining
herself trailing behind the tall warrior woman, possibly carrying
her weapons, thrilled to be in her presence.
        She smiled, trying to picture the face of the woman whose
remains she had been charged with identifying, authenticating
and dating.
        “Dating,” Dani chuckled. “What a concept. So now even
the cosmos is making commentary on my long dead love life?
Whatever. I guess when you start talking to old bones and
crumbling artifacts you have to expect that, sooner or later,
something’s gonna talk back. Heh. As if.”
        Dani shook her head slightly, laughed softly and turned
back to her work.
        Soon, Nik. Yep, soon we are going to meet face to face
and I can’t wait. Will you be a handsome woman? Will you be
battle scarred and angry or beautiful; or perhaps d, all of the
above? Would we have been friends or lovers? If you were cute,
lovers would work. Yeah, cute and lovers…I vote for that. Dani
mused silently, chuckling.
        Finally finished with the mold, she turned again to the
skeleton. As she completed the reconstruction of the skeleton,
she began to think of Nik again. The long table seemed dwarfed
by the frame of the warrior.
        You sure were a tall woman, Nik. I wonder; everything I

                               24
                       Nik of Time
have ever heard about Amazons indicates that they were taller
than men of their time but you are even taller than the men of my
time. Was that normal?
         Dani pulled her digital camera from the desk drawer and
began snapping pictures of the bones; first the legs then the
pelvis, the ribs and spine, the arms and finally the shoulders and
skull. Picking up the skull, she carefully placed it inside a digital
scanner and, pushing a button, began a three hundred and sixty
degree scan.
          I can tell that you were not of African decent but it
doesn’t look like you were European either. So where are you
from Nik? Not from the Americas either, I bet. You are just a
tall old riddle aren’t ya?
         That completed, she repackaged the bones and very
carefully packaged the skull separately. It would be going to the
University of South Carolina’s Department of Anthropology.
With the advancement in technology, there would be a plastic
rendition of her skull made by the end of the week and in a few
months they would have a facial reconstruction. It gave her goose
bumps just to think about it.
         Turning back to the sword, Dani picked up a piece of thin
tracing paper to do a rubbing of the engravings on the blade
itself. Hmming again, she retrieved the largest part of the blade
from the cleaning tank and gently covered it with the paper.
Using a small fragment of charcoal, she rubbed the paper,
transferring the scroll design to the tracing paper. That done, she
began the arduous task of copying the image of the rubbing onto
an art pad; she would use this to recreate the beautiful scroll work
that would be on the replica blade when it was ready.
         She lifted her hand for a moment to flick on a tape
recorder resting on the table top.
         “Based on the patterns on the sword, I would place the
age of this artifact at about A.D. four hundred, about 2,400 years
old. With permission, we will attempt to carbon date the grip and
sheath.” Dani spoke softly as she concentrated on the etching;
the thrill of what she was seeing was evident in her voice,
especially to those who knew her. “The intricate pattern would
indicate that the owner was a warrior of some renown and held in

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      Katherine E. Standell and Cora Leigh Hampton
high regard by her peers as well as her contemporaries. It would
seem that this weapon was not just an ornament but an actual
fighting implement with power symbols emblazoned on it,
believed to protect the owner and destroy her enemies. The
translations of the first symbols are…”
         “There you are, always messing with old smelly shit.
You need a life, girl; you need to get out of this place and live a
little.”

        Dani switched off the recorder as her heart skipped a beat,
wishing she had already gotten that damned restraining order.
The voice coming from the door was not one that she wanted to
hear. Her stepfather had always hated her interest in history. In
her mind, she had decided that he could not help himself; it was
due to his education or lack of it. He had left school after failing
the sixth grade, for the second time. She had no idea why her
mother had married him; he was as hard, crude, and rough as her
mother was soft and gentle. She had always believed that he had
been the cause of her mother’s mental breakdown and subsequent
attempted suicide.
        Whenever she had to deal with him, her mind would flash
back onto the scattered memories of her past. The times she
could remember all seemed to fall into one of two categories,
sheer terror and school. She had felt safe at school and had done
well in her classes eventually earning a full scholarship to the
University of South Carolina and a Doctorate in Archeology.
The terror had come with every return home, from Grade school
until she started college. Every night was filled with fear and
anxiety. She would lay awake in bed listening for the sounds of
fighting and footsteps. Her mother had tried to protect her and
had been hospitalized more often than she could count. It had
finally reached a point were the Police and Emergency room
physicians knew them both by name and the police had their
home address memorized. It seemed as though it had gotten
worse as she grew older; he no longer visited her room with
thoughts of beatings but with darker alcohol induced thoughts of
rape.
        When she turned thirteen her mother had tried to kill

                                26
                       Nik of Time
herself. Dani had come home from school to find her in the
bathtub with an empty bottle of pain killers. She had called the
emergency number and waited for the paramedics to come. It had
been the most frightening thing that had happened in her young
life.
        The police had taken her to a foster home for a week but
her stepfather had found her and brought her home. Her mother
was hospitalized for months and she was left alone with her
stepfather. At first he had been content to beat her, but within a
few days he had begun trying to break into her room. She was
sure her bedroom door would not hold; that was when she
discovered that if she crawled out her bedroom window and slept
in the bushes under her bedroom window she would be safe. It
had worked well most of the time, only the winters had been
rough but extra blankets had helped.
        Finally, when she had turned fourteen her mother came
back. She had gathered their few belongings and bundled them
up in the family car one evening and left. They moved into a
women’s shelter and eventually into their own apartment. It had
been hard; she had to work after school to help pay the bills but it
had been worth it. Eventually her stepfather had found them and
they had to move but they were together and they were safe -
until the next time he found them.
        It had taken years but her mother finally saved up enough
money to hire an attorney and file for divorce. Her stepfather had
fought it tooth and nail but the divorce was finalized while she
was in college. Afterwards she and her mother had been able to
settle down and actually begin to live a normal life; her mother
had even begun to date again. Things were better, except for
those few times when he decided to take advantage of what he
considered his parental rights, which of course were non-existent.
Truth had never influenced his thinking though and that was
when he would drop in for a visit. But now she was older and
hopefully wiser and unlike the child he had terrorized, she could
protect herself. She hoped.

       “What are you doing here?” Dani asked, her voice tight
with anger and fear as she backed away from the table, her

                                27
      Katherine E. Standell and Cora Leigh Hampton
fingers searching for anything she might use to defend herself.
        Clayton “Clay” Patterson loved that look in her eyes; he
loved the feeling it gave him. He inhaled deeply, his mind
automatically providing the scent that his nostrils couldn’t, the
smell of her fear.
        “What do you mean Danielle? Can’t a Daddy visit his
baby girl’s work place?” He asked, moving closer to her, smiling
when her legs bumped the table behind her. He watched as her
face paled and she realized that he had her trapped.
        He stepped around the long table that held the transparent
tracing paper and moved closer to the slender woman, thrilled as
her strange grey eyes grew dark with fear. The long, thick black
lashes had always seemed strange to him considering that she had
that same dark reddish brown hair everywhere else. He was
certain of that, he remembered with a satisfied grin, thinking back
to when he had first seen his step daughter in the nude. He had
waited until he was sure she was naked before he had burst into
the bathroom. She had been thirteen or so and even then she had
been teasing him. He walked slowly around the table, his hands
beginning to sweat as he reached for her.

       “Is everything okay, Miss Danielle?” The deep voice of
Mr. Kitt, the museum security officer, asked from the doorway.
His forehead resembled a freshly plowed field of wrinkles,
displaying his concern as he eyed the large man who seemed to
have cornered the young curator.

        Mr. Kitt was a massive man. Tall didn’t begin to cover it.
He was huge, nearly filling to overflowing any doorway in which
he stood. His hands dwarfed Dani’s own, being nearly four times
their size. This was a very large, very dark skinned, African
American man who had the misfortune ( or distinction) of having
somehow reached adulthood without the benefit of a neck. His
broad head seemed to melt into an equally impressive tree trunk
that was supposed to be a torso. He was not a man of glib humor
and he took his job very seriously, with extreme devotion and
dedication. He was known to carry out necessary missions with
extreme prejudice and those missions directed towards his

                                28
                        Nik of Time
favorite curator ranked very high on his “to do” list. The welfare
of the museum and its personnel was his primary concern and
though he had a soft spot for lost children, small animals and old
ladies, most strangers found him a bit intimidating. He liked it
that way.
        Mr. Kitt limited the number of people he allowed close to
him and he kept a even shorter list of people he considered
friends. Those few and carefully selected people, he was,
admittedly, just a bit overly protective of -and Dr. Dani was at the
top of that list. If it upset Dr. Dani, it usually pissed off Mr. Kitt
and that could get down right ugly.

         “No, it isn’t. This person is leaving. Now!” Dani said,
hating the quiver in her voice. She swallowed and stood
straighter. “Please escort him to the door and make sure he
leaves the grounds. Oh, and Mr. Kitt, he is no longer welcome
on the museum grounds. Can you take care of that?”
         “Yes Ma’am, consider it taken care of.” For an extremely
large man, he moved very quietly and almost gracefully to stand
menacingly behind her stepfather, his shadow ensuring that there
was no doubt that he would have no problem removing the much
smaller man from the building.
         Clayton made the mistake of taking a step in the direction
of the good doctor and Mr. Kitt tightened his jaw and clenched
his fists, the sound of knuckles popping was like fireworks on the
Fourth of July. Clay stopped dead in his tracks, his expression
similar to that of a rat caught in the gaze of a large, venomous
snake. Slowly he moved his foot back, raising his hands in
surrender.
         “Nope, no problem here officer.” Clayton said, smiling up
at the huge man. He craned his neck around to address his
stepdaughter again. “I will see you later Dani. Count on it.” He
promised, turning to leave the room.

       Dani followed behind them, closing the door and flipping
the lock from the inside, her heart pounding and her hands
trembling. She walked back to table that held the rubbing and the
broken sword.

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      Katherine E. Standell and Cora Leigh Hampton
       She picked up the paper and turned the recorder back on.
“The scroll work would appear to date the sword at…DAMN!”

        She had been getting this creepy feeling for the last few
days, and his presence explained it. He must have been following
me for days. Dani thought, remembering the feeling of eyes on
her back. She knew that feeling, it was real familiar; she had felt
it for years. She slapped the paper back onto the table, tore off
her gloves and threw them onto the table.
        “Why does he have the power to do that?” She
questioned herself. “Why? I hate him. That’s why. I hate what
he’s done to me.” She whispered aloud, her voice cracking with
fear.
        She dropped her head to the table, a shaky sigh escaping
her lips as silent, frustrated tears dropped onto the paper and the
pieces of the freshly cleaned, broken sword.
        “Ah, Nik, if only there were still Amazons. The world has
changed so much since you were here - and not for the better, I’m
sorry to say. Most people today don’t even believe the Amazons
ever really existed. We know different, don’t we, you and I? How
I wish you were here with me now. It sure would be a better
world if there were someone like you out there to protect women.
We could really use someone like you today. Who am I kidding
here? We could use you, Nik, not just someone like you. Besides,
based on what I’ve seen so far, there really is no one like you. I
pray the Goddess could see her way clear to send you back to
us.” She quietly pleaded, carefully removing her tears from the
delicate metal.
        She was exhausted, her head hurt and her brain just didn’t
seem to want to wrap around the fact that her stepfather had
simply walked into her office.
        As if orchestrated by some unseen conductor, her phone
rang. It was the front desk informing her that her attorney had
sent a courier with some urgent paperwork she needed to sign
right away.
        “Thank God,” Dani sighed after thanking the woman and
hanging up the phone. “Looks like hiring this attorney was
money well spent if he gets this restraining order through by the

                                30
                       Nik of Time
end of the day like he promised.”
        It had only taken about five minutes to meet the courier,
scan over the documents, sign them and place them into the
envelope provided and seal it. Soon the young woman who had
brought the forms was leaving, explaining that she had to meet
the lawyer at the courthouse where he had made a special
appointment with a judge to file the papers. A copy would be in
the hands of local law enforcement by the end of business today.
Dani allowed herself to breathe normally again but the headache
persisted, effectively ending her work day.
        Dani gathered up her back pack and keys, her helmet and,
at the last minute, she picked up the tracing of the sword along
with her journal. Shoving the tracing and the journal into the
bag, she slipped out the back door and headed towards the alley.
She fumbled for the right key as she approached the parking lot,
the last sentence repeating itself over and over again in her mind.
It was true. She did pray the Goddess would somehow send Nik
back to her. The world. She meant the world. Didn’t she?
Shrugging, she opened the leather pouch on the front of her bike
and slipped her backpack into it, pulling the dark green helmet
onto her head, threading the strap through the buckle under her
chin. August in the Carolina’s was perfect bike season and the
little Honda GB500 was her favorite toy.
        Throwing her leg over the black saddle of the seat, she
reached back into the bag and pulled out a pair of leather gloves;
pulling them on, she snapped the small silver buttons on the back
and slipped the small key into the ignition. Turning the ignition
to the on position, she pushed the button and smiled as the single
piston thumped to life, the throbbing of the engine drowning out
the sound of the small voice in her head. She kicked the side
stand up and shifted the bike into gear, grinning as the machine
rolled onto the street. She loved that feel, the wind in her face and
the vibration of the engine as it rumbled; it always made her feel
better. She stopped at the first light and then turned left, electing
to take the long way home and enjoy the ride on the highway.
Living in Lexington sometimes had its advantages, and an almost
empty highway this time of day as well as late at night was one of
them. Coasting down the back roads always cleared her mind.

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      Katherine E. Standell and Cora Leigh Hampton
The little GB was too small to handle driving on the main strip
into or out of Columbia; I-26 always had the big rigs on it and the
small bike seemed to get thrown around by the airflow from
trucks.
         Riding always seemed to make things clearer and to cheer
her up; and with her spirits raised, the headache dissipating, her
thoughts returned to her first love: Archeology and the search for
ancient Amazons.
         I still can’t believe I was asked to verify the authenticity
of the Amazon. This has got be the find of the Century. I can’t
wait to get home and start working on the sword. I wonder if
those engravings are for decorations or if they mean something.
It may take years to study everything thoroughly. I wonder if I
will get to keep her that long.
         It had been wonderful and so hard to believe that she had
been selected to authenticate and restore this treasure. Well, not
really, if she were completely honest. Dr. Locklear had always
said that Dani had been her best student when she had attended
the University of North Carolina. If fact, she had also helped her
get the job she now had and loved at the South Carolina State
Museum.
         As the bike growled down the road, she smiled
remembering the day she first saw her ride. The GB suited her so
well, it was small but very powerful, a replica of the old Isle of
Man Tourist Trophy racers of the early 1900’s. When she had
decided to buy a bike she had initially wanted to get a 750 and
had checked a few of the dealers in town trying to find a bike that
she liked. When she stopped at the little Honda dealer hidden on
a small back lot near the Broad River, she had not expected to
find anything. Then she saw it. Sitting in a corner, snuggled in
between two very narrow dirt bikes was the GB. It was love at
first sight. The chrome wire wheels, the slender single exhaust,
the huge boxy tank and the fine delicate decals, even the almost
black, green color; it all spoke to her, it called her name. The fact
that it looked like an antique didn’t hurt a bit. When she asked
the dealer about it he had told her that the bike had been
misplaced for a year in the back of the storage building, still in its
packing crate. They had assembled it and had it on the sales floor

                                 32
                        Nik of Time
for a few weeks with no results. The had decided to use it as a
trail bike for the stores competitive racing team and had it
scheduled in a race that weekend. She felt like she had saved the
little bike from an undeserved fate when she wrote out the check
for it. That weekend she had a friend take her back to the dealer
to pick up her new bike. She had never regretted it. She had
been so enamored of the little bike that she had even splurged on
a personalized vanity tag made just for the bike, ‘GB500’.
         As she pulled into her driveway she pressed a remote that
was attached to the key ring and waited as one of the double
garage doors hummed into life and rolled upward. She slowly
pulled into the garage, careful to keep tight to the right, away
from the dark side of the black SUV that hogged the stall. She
still had no idea why she bought the truck, it cost more than she
had planned to pay and she rarely took the huge thing out unless
the weather was too bad for her bike or too nasty for her car.
         It really is kinda silly, a single woman with three vehicles;
but Hell, why not, I work damn hard and I earned them. She
reminded herself.
         Smiling, she looked at the red Nissan 300ZX glowing
from its quiet, reserved and sacred spot under the security
lighting in the other stall of the garage. She smiled again, seeing
her reflection in the new paint. She had been restoring the classic
Nissan and since she budgeted everything, it had taken her a year
to save up for the original paint. ‘Dragon Red’ the dealer had
called it. After that came a wet sanding, followed by two coats of
clear and another wet sanding. The paint was so deep she could
almost step into it and she loved it. For the first time in three
years, she would be driving her car with a complete and intact
clear coat. Now she was waiting for the decals; she was
expecting them any day and when they arrived it would be time
to head back to the paint booth. But right now she had a sword to
restore; her vehicular baby would have to wait.




                                 33
Katherine E. Standell and Cora Leigh Hampton




                    34
                      Nik of Time




Chapter 3

       Dani was exhausted when she finally reached her bed,
having finished her shower and changed into her Xena night shirt.
She had cleaned up the kitchen, vacuumed the living room floor,
changed the cat’s litter pan and dumped a tin of kitty kibble into
Bailey’s bowl. Finally she gathered up her laptop and the rubbing
and headed for her bedroom, turning out lights as she went. Her

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      Katherine E. Standell and Cora Leigh Hampton
room was her sanctuary, the one place in the house, the one place
on the planet,, where she felt completely safe.
         This was her house but like most of her co workers she
was expected to occasionally entertain; so, with that in mind, she
had decorated the house with a collection of artifacts that she
knew would meet the expectations of friends and family. But
when it came time to decorate her bedroom she decorated it with
her real treasures. One corner held an antique curio cabinet with
figures of her favorite heroines. There was Sappho, Athena,
Artemis, Proteus, Gia, even a token Amazon complete with bare
breast and sword, and last but not least a stunning figure of Xena.
Her bookshelf contained books and magazines on every female
warrior she had ever heard of from Boadicea and Durga to
Mulan and a few that most had not heard of like the little known
Queen Penthesilea, the legendary Amazon Queen, said to have
come to the aid of the Trojans at the battle of Troy.
         ‘Now, I might just have another name to add to that
collection. Right Nik?’ Dani thought silently as she scrambled
onto her bed.
         Bouncing a few times to get comfortable, she propped the
pillows behind her and crossed her legs. Bailey, her tabby
marked Tortishell cat, sprang onto the pillow beside her. Bailey,
a beautiful creature, had a habit, as with most cats, of getting into
anything that bore the slightest hint of trouble. Which is how
Dani had first found the bedraggled kitten that now shared her
home.
         Bailey had somehow managed to get into her garbage and
had gotten trapped in the cardboard carrier for a small four pack
of Bailey’s Kaluah and Cream that Dani had polished off the
night before. The sound of loud and pitiful howling had wakened
her in the early morning hours and drew her outside to rescue the
little bandit. Dani had once been told that cats with red hair were
prone to trouble and now,, after spending a year with Bailey,, she
knew the truth of that statement.
         Right now, having been patient and left to her own
devices all day long, Bailey was demanding her attention. She
had started with gentle purring and chirping but this quickly
progressed into some seriously heavy head butting, growling and

                                 36
                       Nik of Time
nipping. With such demands on her attention, Dani knew better
than to try to do any work until after she had given Bailey her
ritualistic evening scratch. As she rubbed the soft fur, she
remembered that when she first moved into the area she had
promised to get herself a guard dog. Where or where had she
gone wrong?

         I went to the animal shelter with the best intentions. Yep,
dog;; big dog. Big dog with big teeth, big sharp teeth. That is
what I was supposed to get, a companion. Someone who would
greet me at the door, tail wagging and rip out the throat of the
bad guys aka my stepfather. But lucky me, what do I end up
with? Hell,, I didn’t even bring home a critter that day.
         All of the animals she had seen were either to small, too
old or too scary. Then, just when she was ready to give up,,
along came this little red haired bundle of purring joy. Bringing
fun, happiness and hairballs into her home. So, she now had the
protection of a fourteen pound, constantly hungry, purring
machine. The only protection Dani figured she would be is if an
intruder tripped over her entering the house.
        “Or I could just throw you at him.” Dani mused aloud,,
smiling at the tabby cat.
        Bailey gave her a golden eyed slow blink as if to say,
“Yeah, right, whatever, as long as I don’t have to move.”
        Done with her nightly scratching,, Dani was finally free to
pick up her lap top and the rubbings and begin to work on the
translation. The glyces were fascinating; slowly she was able to
translate the ancient language. It wasn’t a complete story, just the
brief translation of a name and the explanation as to how she had
come to earn her own name. It told the story of a fantastic
warrior woman who had been captured in a great battle and
forced to fight in tournaments in order to stay alive. As often
occurred with the work she loved, Dani became lost in her
thoughts and soon forgot not only the time but everything else
around her. Subsequently, when the sound of breaking glass
erupted from her living room, she nearly leapt out of her skin.
Bailey growled deep in her throat,, having also been disturbed by
the sound. Jerking up from her laptop,, Dani sat up, her hand on

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      Katherine E. Standell and Cora Leigh Hampton
her chest as if to slow her rapidly beating heart.
        “What the Hell was that?” She asked the cat as she
moved the laptop off of her thighs and onto the bed. “I hate this.
In every horror movie I have ever seen the woman gets eaten or
horribly mutilated as soon as she leaves the bedroom.” Dani
whispered aloud as she headed towards her bedroom door,,
grabbing her softball bat as she passed the doorway.
        The hallway was dark and suddenly a very scary place to
be.

         “I’m coming out and I have already called the police.”
She yelled out loud, hoping that whoever or whatever it was that
had caused the sound believed her and left.
         Shaking out her hands,, she wrapped them around the
taped handle of the bat. Crouching low,, she walked slowly out
into the hall,, the bat raised for a home run and a shrill scream
trembling on her lips.
         Dani hoped that she presented a confident and brave
image as she moved into the living room, ready to swing for the
left field wall and was extremely relieved to find herself alone.
She wasn’t sure if she should be grateful or pissed as Hell for the
scare she had been given. On the floor in front of her beautiful
bay window,, shattered plated glass covered a large, rust colored
brick.

       Bailey had followed Dani into the living room and now
had ventured bravely up to the brick. Watching it like an alien
from space,, she approached it cautiously, reached out carefully
and tapped it with her toe,, ready to spring and swing if
necessary. Once she was sure the brick was dead,, she sat for a
moment, licked her paws clean and then walked away.
       Dani was surprised at how well Bailey was dealing with
the whole brick through the window thing. She, on the other
hand, was a nervous wreck, sweating profusely. The ceiling fan
made a gentle whirring sound as she cranked it up. She slowly
walked to the window and peeked out, looking for the culprit
who had thrown the brick, relieved to find the front yard empty.
 “Fucking vandals!” Dani cursed, hearing the squeal of tires.

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                       Nik of Time
“Hah! I knew it. Yeah, you keep running you worthless little
chicken shits!” She yelled,, her eyes still scanning the area for
movement.
       Suddenly something brushed her leg. With a yell any
banshee could be proud of, she jumped,, bringing the bat down at
the same moment. The dull aluminum weapon stopped in mid air
when Dani realized that the “thing” rubbing her leg was Bailey.

         “Ya know Bailey, one of these days you are going to
wake up to find a very dead woman, clinging to the ceiling by her
brittle, bloodied,, broken nails.”

        Dani slowly lowered herself from the ceiling, or at least it
felt like that. Dropping the bat onto the overstuffed sofa,, she
picked up the brick,, turned and headed towards the kitchen.

       “Cat you are really pushing that nine lives thing, you
know that.” Dani sighed and reached for the phone. “I think the
nine-one-one guys are gonna get to hate hearing from me.” She
muttered as she punched in the numbers.
       As she sat in her kitchen waiting for the local law to show
up,, Dani examined the brick which she had set on the kitchen
table.
       “Not only was he a vandal but a stupid vandal.” Written
on one side of the brick was the word ‘Hore’. Dani rolled the
brick over and on the other side it read ‘Dike’. “Oh yeah, a real
Einstein here Bailey. Idiot probably has no idea that, in ancient
Greek, he just called me the dispenser of justice.”

       A few minutes later the door bell rang and Dani spent the
next hour explaining to the police how, to the best of her
knowledge, a brick ended up in her living room.
       As she thanked the last police officer and closed her front
door. Dani felt exhausted;; half her evening had been taken up
with what she considered a total waste of time and energy and
now she was stressed and tired. There was only one thing she
knew of that would fix this problem.
       “This looks like a perfect Ben and Jerry’s night.”

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      Katherine E. Standell and Cora Leigh Hampton
         Dani headed down the hall and into the kitchen. Next to
the sink was the silverware drawer that held her favorite ice
cream spoon. This was no wimpy, dainty little thing that bent at
the first sign of a challenge. No, this was a solid steel number that
would hold up to even the most solidly frozen confection.
Grabbing that, she turned towards the freezer and grasped the
handle. There were only two things in Dani’s freezer since she
was far and away the worst cook she knew, ice and ice cream.
She reached inside and instinctively grabbed the round carton of
Cherry Garcia, popped the lid as she passed the trash can and
flipped it in. With a tabby purring machine on her heels,, she
headed back towards the bedroom and her laptop computer.
          Hours later, Dani closed the laptop, after having
transferred her notes and thoughts onto the hard drive, thus
making much of them available to other Amazon researchers
world wide. Dani leaned back, her thoughts on what she had
learned from the information gathered that day. Nik had become
more and more alive in her mind. Sliding the laptop to the side
of the bed and reaching for Bailey,, an empty ice cream carton
lay beside a very fat, very satisfied, and very loudly snoring cat.
         Laying Bailey on her lap,, she picked up an etching of
Nik’s shield as well as pictures of the skeleton, studying the
battered bones closely.
         “My Gods, what did you go through warrior? You must
have had some life, short though it was.”
         Dani had translated most of the shield. The warrior had
been captured in battle with a large Roman legion whose
commander was determined to destroy the Amazon nation and
colonize their land as his own. The Amazons had put up a
devastating and desperate battle, many great warriors had died;
but the Amazon nation was comparatively small and the Romans
were growing, spreading like a plague across the entire known
world.

        Nik had been one of only two surviving warriors of a
peace party that had been sent by the Queen to meet with the
Roman commander. The Amazons had arrived thinking or at
least hoping that there would be some way they could come to an

                                 40
                       Nik of Time
understanding. They had arrived with only their daggers and
shields. This was, after all, a peace conference and weapons were
not needed when meeting under a banner of peace. The Romans
lied. Once the Amazons had entered the meeting tent and had
begun to eat, the true reason of the meeting became clear.

        The Queen had sent her consort to meet with the Romans.
She had been killed first. Nik had been too far away to save her
but she had managed to help one Amazon escape and she had
nearly ran her young body to the death but she had succeeded and
was able to warn the tribe.
        Nik had fought with only her shield and dagger but had
still managed to hold off the men long enough to earn the respect
of the soldiers. As a result,, Nik, once captured, had been sent to
the arena to battle for the pleasure of the Emperor.
        Nik had been allowed to keep her shield during her time
in the arena and had used it as a journal to record her thoughts.
Inside of the shield, scratched with perhaps a sharp stone or, once
she had earned it back, a dagger, was Nik’s story. It began with
the betrayal of the Romans, spoke of her trials in the arena, the
battle with a Centurion and the ultimate winning back of her
freedom. The last entry was the joyous return to her people, cut
short by a final attack by the Romans - that tale was left
unfinished.
        “Only to die, probably at the hands of those same
Romans. You were some warrior,, Nik. Now I understand why
you kept such a shield and you truly earned the name
Nikomachos; though, as you pointed out, it was already yours
anyway. You were a powerful warrior, an entire army all by
yourself .” Dani spoke aloud, hoping that Nik could hear her,
wherever she might be.
        Snuggling into the covers with Bailey, Dani reached out
and turned on her television, setting the sleep timer for thirty
minutes. The news was on, nothing good; another woman found
raped and murdered, off I-20, with no suspects. The newest ideas
from the local cops was that they had a serial killer who was on
his way to becoming a monster.
        “On his way,” she interrupted the reporter. “And just how

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      Katherine E. Standell and Cora Leigh Hampton
many women does the bastard have to rape and murder before he
becomes a full fledged monster, huh? What morons!”
        She went back to listening, irritated by what she
considered the stupidity of the words, knowing they had come
not from the reporter but rather whoever was handling the
information from the police department. They seemed to have a
flair for stating the obvious and she found it more than a bit
insulting. The reporter continued to say that if he wasn’t stopped
soon they would have a serial killer who was in the same
category as Theodore Bundy.            As she watched the images
flit across the screen, her mind drifted and off away from the
story. She watched the slender, elegantly dressed, black reporter
finish the story by naming areas where police suspected the killer
would target. Her brain weary, Dani felt her eyes begin to burn
from exhaustion. She flipped off the light on the nightstand and,
cuddling her cat, closed her eyes and drifted off to sleep, lulled
there by the drone of a news reporter.

        “This has simply got to be a dream.” Dani said to herself,
glancing at the thick foliage surrounding her. Looking around,
she found herself in a forest, a very old forest with thick, ancient
trees, draped with moss and vines. Beautiful birds flew through
the branches calling out in strange notes to mates hiding in the
foliage. The smell of earth reminded her of the Sesquicentennial
forest that she visited as a child; ancient, quiet and safe. She was
in the center of a clearing with large trees all around her. The sun
was creeping out, between the deep green and bright yellow
leaves, painting the forest floor a soft gold.
        “Who are you and what business do you have in these
woods?” Asked a soft, deep voice in ancient Greek.
        Dani spun around, expecting to see the woman from
whom the sexy voice had come; instead there were only trees.
        “Answer my question.” The voice said,, more firmly this
time. “What business do you have in these woods,, stranger?”
        “I have no idea.” Dani honestly replied in the same
language,, turning around again, still searching for the source of
the voice. Considering her answer before speaking, she further
replied. “Actually I’m not really here at all.. I am in my bed, at

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                       Nik of Time
home, sleeping. This is all just a strange dream. I guess that
makes you a figment of my imagination.” She said, turning to
walk away only to be stopped suddenly by a very tall, very firm
chest.

        Her hands crept up, her fingers tracing the bronzed and
leather breast plate in front of her. The leather was hard and stiff,
swirled in beautiful thick curls around full breasts. As her hands
moved down the breast plate,, her fingers followed the leather to
lacing along the sides that cinched into a small waist and attached
to a leather skirt. Her eyes had followed her hands and now
moved down past the skirt, taking in long, bronze and cream
colored legs encased in leather sandals with straps that wrapped
around her calves and tied just below her knees. This woman
was cut, possibly the most magnificent specimen she had ever
seen that wasn’t a comic book drawing.
        “My God, you are beautiful. This has got to be a dream,
but my gods what a dream, oh yeah; a girl could get to like this
dream.” Dani muttered under her breath as her smoky grey eyes
finally met deep lapis blue. “Well Hell, as long as this is a
dream, I might as well enjoy the moment.” She grinned, as her
fingers moved upward and tangled in surprisingly soft, long dark
black hair. She smiled,, feeling the silkiness of the strands as
they slipped like heavy liquid through her fingers. It felt clean,
soft, and wonderful; she wanted to lift it to her nose, already
imagining the smell of it. “But wait, there should be no smell.
I’m dreaming and dreams have no smells.”
        She shook her head as her hands drifted back to the
leather again,, enjoying the feel of it under her palm. It felt firm
and warm. Curiously, Dani allowed her fingers to wander back
down the leather breast plate and under the thick shoulder straps,
stopping as they contacted with the warm moist flesh beneath.

        “Damn. I wish this wasn’t a dream.” She said in English,,
staring into the eyes of the Amazon.

       The Amazon returned the stare,, her eyebrow arched as if
she understood what Dani was saying. With only the smallest

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      Katherine E. Standell and Cora Leigh Hampton
hint of a grin,, she reached for the other woman,, wrapping her
hands around Dani’s upper arms, and lifting her off the ground.
Smiling slightly,, she tilted her head to the side and gently gently
pressed her lips to Dani’s.
        “Oh my, oh yes!” Dani groaned. “This is the kinda
dream I could have over and over."
        “So,, did you find what you were looking for little one?”
The stranger asked, still speaking in ancient Greek.
        “What do you think I am looking for, beautiful warrior?”
Dani responded in Greek.
        “Well, first of all, my name is Nikomachos and if you
plan on continuing to continuing to flirt with me we really should
be properly introduced.” She laughed softly, spoke, wrapping a
strong sun bronzed arm around Dani’s waist, effectively, pulling
her closer, effectively molding their lips and bodies together.
        Dani felt her heart beating faster as heat raced through her
body, centering deep in her belly. A warm tongue slipped
between her teeth and gently brushed hers.
        “Oh my God!” Dani moaned and leaned closer, but
before she could fully return the favor she was landing with a
hard thud on the cream colored carpet next to her bed.




                                44
                      Nik of Time




Chapter 4
        “Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! FUUUUUUCK!”               Dani
yelled,, rolling over and pounding the floor. “Aaarrrrgghhhhh!!!
Just when things were getting interesting.” Dani groaned,,
crawling back into bed pulling the covers up over her head. She
had been seriously contemplating a cold shower when a
sandpaper tongue stroked her cheek and a curious,
“MmmBrowww?” purred into her ear.

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      Katherine E. Standell and Cora Leigh Hampton
        “Aw, gee thanks Bailey, but it just isn’t the same.” Dani
said,, pulling the curious cat close again. “Maybe if I try really
hard to go back to sleep I can get back there.” Dani wondered,,
curling around the cat and closing her eyes.

        Later that day, Dani sat at her table carefully examining
the sword, nestling it gently onto a dark velvet cloth. She had left
it overnight in the cleaner with the walnut shells and was amazed
to see the metal bright and shining, almost as if it had just been
polished. Carefully, she placed the broken bits closely together,
forming one, long fragile blade. Staring down at the weapon, she
could imagine the dark hand wrapping around a pommel, raising
the blade to defend against the enemy of her tribe. She stared
closely at the blade, she strained, trying to see the scroll work and
even closer, trying to understand the etchings. She could not
quite make out the letters but she scanned them into her computer
so that when the time came to transfer the writing onto the mock
up blade she would be as accurate as possible. That done, she
gently picked up the bits and lowered them into a form she had
prepared the day before. Once she had all the pieces in place, she
covered them with more gel and put the entire thing aside to
harden.
        “Now let’s take a look as those bones again.” Dani was
back to speaking to herself.
        As she studied each bone, she noted any markings or
damage found before turning on her recorder again.
        “Most of the breaks and scarring seem to have been done
at or around the time of death since there is no evidence of any
healing. Old scars show growth of new bone and covered
scarring. It would appear that the cause of death was massive
hemorrhaging and tissue damage. There are several small bone
fragments that should have been lost if the injuries had been
sustained earlier than at the time of death.”
        She turned the recorder off now to count the number of
breaks in the bones.
        “Oh God Nik, what happened to you?” She muttered,
feeling a dull, not fully explainable, pain deep within her heart as
she stared down at the badly battered skeleton.

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                       Nik of Time
        Carefully she began photographing each broken bit of
bone, from various angles; then, using a tiny square of numbered
paper, she glued the number to the fragments and marked the
number with the corresponding photographs. Once a piece was
numbered, she carefully wrapped it in cotton and placed it in a
separate box, marking the box with the number and the medical
name of the bone. Each box for a bone was then placed, one at a
time, into the shipping crate to be returned to the Center. By the
time Dani finished with the left hand it was five o’clock.
        “Damn, time flies when you’re having fun.” She sighed
sarcastically, already feeling a growing affinity to the woman in
the box. Placing the last hand bone into the crate, she gently
rubbed the label into place.
        “One hand down, lots of other stuff to go.” She
mumbled, the stress of having handled the bones of a woman she
could almost believe she had met threatening her clinical
detachment, weighing heavily upon her.
        Standing straight, she headed to her desk to gather her
belongings. Her mind going over what she had done as well as
what she discovered today. Nik used both hands when fighting.
The multiple scars on the left hand attested to her ability to fight
with either, or perhaps she might have held her sword in a two
handed stance. She stopped at the gel mold and glanced inside.
        “Nope, the blade grip is really too short for a constant two
handed fighting stance. More likely, she was just taught to fight
with either hand.”
        That thought in mind, Dani turned off the light in the
office and headed home. Today it was raining and she was
driving her SUV. Sitting up high in the front seat, she always felt
like nothing could stop her; she would just roll over anyone who
pissed her off. Finally having escaped the traffic of the city, she
entered the somewhat tranquil road of Interstate 20. On the way
home she stopped at her favorite Chinese fast food shop and
ordered the Sweet and Sour Chicken with white rice and a spring
roll. Munching on the roll as she drove, she cranked up the CD
player and listened as Faith Hill crooned out a sweet melody,
something about kisses. No, not kisses but a kiss. The song
brought to mind the dream from the night before and she could

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      Katherine E. Standell and Cora Leigh Hampton
feel the muscles in her stomach tighten again.
        Girl, you are sick; she isn’t even a live woman! Boy, you
need to get a life… and a girlfriend.
        Later that evening, after eating, Dani began her daily
chores hoping to tire herself out and so that she might collapse
into a long dreamless sleep. No matter how much she stalled she
found that all her normal home tasks seemed to take care of
themselves. She had finished all her usual things early. She
showered and was in bed less than two hours from arriving.
        With all her work done, Dani found herself in bed tapping
away on her laptop. Bailey impatiently walked back and forth
across Dani’s legs, demanding her attention. Pausing for a
moment, Dani picked up the tabby and placed her on the floor
only to have the cat jump back up on the bed again and again.
Finally, she was forced to give up any pretence of working and
pet the demanding cat.        She soon found herself becoming
drowsy, the soft fur and the gentle purr of the cat was lulling her
mind into a dreamy state.

        Something shifted in the room, nudging her from that
pleasant state that is not quite sleep and yet not completely
wakefulness. Slowly a soft blue mist filled the corner near the
foot of her bed, gradually revealing the figure of a woman. Dani
sat up, alarmed to realize this was no ordinary woman appearing
at her bedside, as it were, but Artemis herself. At least it looked
like the images and descriptions she had seen depicting the
Goddess. Rubbing her eyes, she attempted to wake and clear
what must be some dream or vision brought on by her current
fascination with a certain ancient Amazon. However, after
vigorous rubbing, she found the figure only became more clear.
        “Artemis?” She braved a question.
        “Yes, my chosen.” The dream spoke.
        “Chosen?” Danielle inquired. “There must be some
mistake. My name is Danielle Patterson and I can’t possibly be
one of your chosen, I am not even an Amazon. I was born
centuries too late for that, unfair though it may be.”
        The Goddess smiled and the room became brighter. “Ah,
but Dani, being an Amazon is not controlled by when or where

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                       Nik of Time
you are born, my chosen. Search within your heart and you will
see the truth of this. Have you not made it your life’s work to
prove that this is so? Even now, is not your heart held by another
of my chosen?”
         Dani blushed considering what Artemis was asking and
realizing her dreams had somehow been observed or, at the very
least, known to the goddess. She paused, wondering how best to
reply, when Artemis spoke again.
         “Dani, know this: you are one of my Amazons as surely
as any who ever lived. Know also that Nikomachos is very
special to me and has served me well, dedicating her very life to
protect her sister Amazon. For this reason, and others, she has
been allowed to tarry in my forest but there are conditions that
must be met in order for her to stay there. She treads very close
to breaking the most important of them. If she does not hold your
heart, little one, do her the kindness of walking away before it is
too late.”
         “Walk away? Are you out of your mind?!” Dani shouted
to an empty room.

        She turned to a sleeping feline: “Well isn’t that just great
Bailey? Now I’m not only dreaming of ancient amazons but
goddesses too. What is worse, unless I am very much mistaken, I
was just asked what my intentions are toward tall, dark and
mysterious.”
        Shaking her head, Dani fluffed her pillow and laid her
head down. Before she knew it, she found herself standing again
in a lush green forest.

        “You are back, little one.” The deep voice growled from
the trees.
        “Yes, and you are playing the mysterious stranger again.
I thought we had gotten past that.” Dani answered, slowly
turning around and tilting her head towards the treetops.
        A soft rustling sound followed by a dull thud, barely
rustling the leaves, announced the arrival of the warrior. Dani felt
her heart rate pick up as she turned to face the tall woman,
stunned again by her beauty.

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      Katherine E. Standell and Cora Leigh Hampton
         “Um, Dani; my name is Dani and well yeah, I guess so.”
She muttered, suddenly tongue tied. How in the world was she
going to talk to this gorgeous creature? She always seemed to
say dumb things whenever she was around incredibly beautiful
women. Not that I have had the opportunity to be around any
women this hot. She thought. “I umm, well, I umm, I…I.”
         The warrior smiled at the smaller woman. She was cute
but maybe there was something wrong in her head. She had
known women like that, struck in the head in battle and never the
same.
         “You repeat yourself, little one. May I ask if you were
injured in battle and stumble in your speech now?” Nik
questioned, her voice showing her concern.
         Dani chuckled softly. “Oh no, I am no warrior. I just have
a problem talking to…umm to…when…umm, talking to…”
          What the heck am I gonna say? I can’t talk to you
because I can’t stop thinking about making love with you? Good
one Dani, absolutely brilliant! And making love? Where the hell
did that come from?
          “…um, talking to warriors. Yes, warriors make me
stutter.” Dani finished, feeling like a complete moron.
         Nik smiled. She remembered her first meeting with a
warrior woman. She had so many questions; she had not known
what to ask first. Her voice had left her as well; she had been so
impressed with the woman that she just stood there, her mouth
hanging open.
         “No need to be startled, I do not bite…unless you ask me
to.” Nik added, wiggling one eyebrow and adding a devilishly
crooked grin.
         Dani swallowed hard, her eyes drawn to that grin,
unavoidably noticing the beautiful white teeth and the soft pink
lips. This sure puts the term ‘Bite me’ into a whole new context.
She thought, feeling a silly grin appear on her own face. Time to
bring this conversation back to a safe place.
         “I am a doctor; you know, like a shamanist.” Dani nearly
laughed out loud at the expression that now appeared on Nik’s
face. God, she should never play poker, she would stay broke.
She watched as thoughts literally flew across Nik’s features.

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                       Nik of Time
        “Dani, you have the gift of healing?” Nik whispered, in
obvious awe.
        “Well, I am not exactly that kind of doctor, um,
shamanist. I am more like a teacher. I study people and lately I
have been studying Amazons.” Dani said, her eyes drawn again
to Nik’s darkly beautiful face.
        How can her eyes be that shade of blue, deep like the
Caribbean ocean or that lapis lazuli stone I found at the mine a
few years back?
        Dani smiled again, thinking that it was time for a swim.
She leaned in closer to the warrior and inhaled the warm scent of
the woman. Silently reminding herself this was just a dream
anyway, she somehow found the courage to say what she was
feeling and thinking.
        “I would love to study you, warrior.” Dani breathed the
words as much as spoke them, reaching out a tentative hand to
rest on a strong bronzed arm, enjoying the feel of the muscles as
they moved beneath the warm skin.
        Nik liked the strange accent of the little Shamanist and
she couldn’t help thinking the package that the accent was
wrapped in was appealing also. She placed her hand over the
small white one that rested on her arm. It felt small like a bird
and she suddenly felt an almost overwhelming urge, no a need, to
protect her.
        I wonder where that came from? She thought, trying to
bury her feelings, a bit confused at the sudden rush of desire that
sought to overcome her. Well, it has been a long time since I
have seen a woman. She paused for a moment to think about it.
I can’t even remember the last time I have been with a woman;
that’s strange. Why can’t I remember? It can’t have been that
long. Nik worried, her thoughts quickly redirected to her
seemingly faulty memory.
        Dani noticed the confused look that now shadowed the
beautiful face.
        “Nik, is something wrong?” She asked, feeling the dark
woman’s grip tighten almost painfully on her hand.
        Nik felt her head begin to throb and her ears ring. She
slowly sat down, her legs folding under her, her hand still

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     Katherine E. Standell and Cora Leigh Hampton
clutching the smaller one that was on her arm, forcing Dani to
join her in on the soft, moss covered forest floor.
         “Why can’t I remember?” She muttered aloud.
         “Nik. Nik, what’s the matter? Talk to me.” Dani
whispered, stunned at the suddenly pale face of the woman she
had already begun to care for far more than she could explain
rationally.
         “You are a Shamanist, little one?” Nik asked, her eyes
still glazed and staring into nothing. “Why can’t I remember? I
can remember nothing…except fighting. I remember the arena
and the Romans. I remember the chase and the bridge, then
nothing. I can remember nothing more. Why have I not noticed
this before? Have the gods have stolen my memories? Am I mad?
Is that why I am here all alone in the forest?” She asked in a
softly bewildered whisper, turning confused dark blue eyes to the
smaller woman. “Why can’t I remember?” She asked Dani.
         What can I tell her? She’s dead? She has been dead for
several hundred, hell, several thousand years? I can’t tell her
that, Dani thought. I can’t and I won’t.




                               52
                       Nik of Time

Chapter 5
         “Tell me Dani, I need to know…please…tell me.” Nik
whispered, her hand unconsciously tightening around Dani’s.
         “Nik, Nik…please easy, your grip…you are crushing my
hand.” Dani whispered.
         “I am sorry, did I hurt you?” Nik turned concerned eyes to
Dani’s, her hands reaching out and turning Dani’s hand palm up
in her own larger hand, her thumb gently caressing the life line in
Dani’s palm.
         Dani sighed; as she felt the rough flesh of Nik’s calloused
finger brushing her skin, a tremor ran straight up her arm and
coursed through her body striking her head, her groin and her
heart all at once. But it was the look in Nik’s eyes that began to
break her heart. She had to help her and she only knew one way
to do that. There was but a moment’s pause as she silently prayed
she was not breaking one of the conditions Artemis had
mentioned, but one look into the frightened, pain filled eyes told
her it as probably already too late to worry about that.
         “Nik, I think I know what happened. I believe I can help
you remember; I can tell you your story. But you must
understand, this is an ancient story and I am only your bard.
Okay?” Dani asked, holding onto Nik’s hand, her eyes dropping
to their now entwined fingers.
         She stared, mesmerized at the difference in their hands.
One small and slightly pale but deceptively strong, the other
large, dark, and very scarred, but powerful. Hands that she had
held in a different time and in a very different condition. Dani
felt tears begin to well in her eyes, but the look she had seen in
those deep blue pools gave her the strength to tell this incredible
woman the truth. She took both Nik’s hands and held them close
to her breast as she spoke to the warrior in soft, clear tones.
         Nik looked at this pale woman and listened to the
story…her story, her life drifting from those soft tempting lips.
She was dead, had been dead for a very, very long time. But how
could that be? She could feel the sun on her face, hear the birds in
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      Katherine E. Standell and Cora Leigh Hampton
the trees and smell the sweet scent of this small woman.
         Nik turned to Dani and peered intently into her eyes,
searching for the truth. What she saw there shocked her but also
made her smile. The truth was painful to the warrior; the young
Shamanist was not lying to her. The thought that she was dead
was terrifying in a way, but the warmth she read in the grey eyes
of the young woman helped. It was almost painfully obvious that
Dani had some feelings for her and for some reason had tried not
to let it show, but she had been unable to hide it, at least from
Nik’s eyes. There was something more as well. Nik was nearly
certain she had seen or felt something but it flitted out of her
mind’s grasp as quickly and uninvited as it had entered.
         Her mind still could not quite grasp that she had crossed
over; things here seemed so real, but where was her tribe? What
had happened to them? Did they escape the Romans or did they
all perish because she had been unable to stop them from
crossing the bridge. Had she failed the only people who mattered
to her?
         Her heart pounded loudly in her ears and her mind turned
back to the faces of her tribe, her family. Slowly, tears welled
then slipped from her eyes, leaving a glistening trail of salt on her
cheeks.
         Dani watched as the truth gradually dawned on Nik, a
fleeting shadow of pain drifted through her eyes and Dani felt her
heart contract. She had not fully realized how much she had
come to care for this dream woman or how much of her pain she
would share.
         ‘What the heck am I thinking?
She is only a dream, a creature created from my mind…Isn’t
she?’
         Slowly, gently, Dani released her hand from Nik’s death
like grip, and kneeling, pulled the warrior into her arms. She
whispered reassurances softly into one creamy ear as she gently
rocked the warrior. Softly, she placed a kiss on the top of her
dark head, her nose inhaling the smell of fresh herbs and sun.
         Wait, how is that possible? I am in a dream, you can’t
smell in a dream. Dani felt Nik’s warmth pressed against her, her
hand buried in the soft, dark hair. I feel her, the heat of her body,

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                        Nik of Time
the pressure of her breasts against me. What else can I feel?
        Reaching down, she lifted Nik’s face and looked deeply
into her eyes. Slowly, she lowered her head bringing her lips
closer to Nik’s, finally touching, tasting the saltiness of tears that
slipped between her lips. She felt Nik’s arms gently embrace her,
pulling her closer as their kiss deepened. She needed this, Nik
needed this. She felt the warrior pull her forward until they
locked into a warm embrace. Nik leaned back, taking them both
to the moss covered forest floor.
        She is the most beautiful woman I have ever seen, what
would she want with me? Dani thought. Oh yeah, there aren’t
any other women here, so I guess she is stuck with what she can
get.
        She felt a catch in her heart but ignored it. This was a pain
like nothing she had felt before and to acknowledge it, she was
nearly certain, would kill her. So, for now, she chose to believe
that they were not simply two souls alone in a dream world, but
two women who had somehow found each other and that this
incredible woman wanted her and no one else.
        Nik looked into stunning grey eyes and drifted away. For
the first time since she was little more than a child, she was
completely and utterly smitten. She wanted this woman like no
other she could recall. The feeling was nearly overwhelming; it
went far beyond even the most fiery desire. It wasn’t who she
was or what she was that drew Nik to her. For the first time in her
life, a soul actually called out to her own soul and she felt an
almost primal pull from somewhere deep down inside.
        A voice in the back of her consciousness somewhere
chimed caution; silently reminding her of something she chose,
for the moment, to ignore. Nik allowed her rational mind scarcely
even a moment to consider the source of the warning. Whatever it
was, she reasoned, it could wait.
        Gently, she rolled over, pulling Dani beneath her. Lifting
herself on her right elbow, she sheltered them both in a curtain of
her own black hair, the light of the sun peeking through and
casting rays onto the face of the beautiful young Shamanist. Nik
stared down into Dani’s eyes, slowly and tenderly committing
every inch of flesh to memory. Lovingly, her left hand caressed

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      Katherine E. Standell and Cora Leigh Hampton
Dani’s face, tracing the winged eyebrow and soft full lips, down
a gently curved jaw to a throbbing pulse in her neck, pausing at a
sloping shoulder before sliding down to cup a full breast. Nik
took her time, studying the reaction in the grey eyes, watching
the passion build there. She slipped her hand under Dani’s shirt
and very gently lifted it up and over her head, leaving the small
body naked and trembling beneath her. Never losing contact
with those beautiful eyes, she settled down next to Dani, pulling
her close. Her body draped over the smaller body like a living
blanket, her long legs caressing Dani, one lying next to her, the
other now slipping over her hip, coming to rest between her legs.
Pressing firmly, Nik gently urged them apart, resting between
them. She loved the feel of the powerful calf muscle as it rubbed
the sensitive skin of her inner thighs. Nik’s hand stroked her ribs,
moving slowly up to her breast, reaching again to hold it like a
treasure. She kissed it with a quiet reverence, amazed at its
beauty. She looked first into the grey eyes as if asking for
permission, then slowly lowered her head to take the coral nipple
into her mouth, sucking gently on it until she could feel the hard
bud on her tongue.
        Dani felt her heart contract as Nik suckled, the pressure
between her legs began to build and she arched her back with
need. The Amazon felt the muscles of the smaller woman
jerking. She was so close but not yet; she rubbed her leg between
the two paler legs, slowly but firmly, causing friction and heat,
pleased to feel the moisture streaking her thigh. She released the
nipple from her mouth and captured it with her fingers as her lips
blazed a trail down the sweet body. Past the ribs and the navel
past, the pubic to the soft fold of flesh that hid the treasure she
feverishly sought. She twisted her body around so that she faced
her prize, lifted the creamy thighs and placed one over each
shoulder as she pulled the smaller woman to her.
        Dani was entranced, her body was hot with need; her only
thought was to fulfill the desire that burned within her and Nik
was more than ready to help her. But she was unhurried in her
task, seemingly determined to make this experience an enjoyable
journey. She watched as Nik gently parted and opened the lips
with her thumbs, exposing her throbbing center, wet and

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                       Nik of Time
dripping. She blew softly on it, smiling at the Dani’s moan as she
bucked in Nik’s arms.
        The warrior pulled the Shamanist closer and stroked her
gently with the tip of her tongue, delighting in the explosion of
flavor she found there. Finally, she took the pulsing flesh into
her mouth, suckling on it as if it were the last food on earth,
enjoying the taste of this beautiful woman as she came, pulsing
into her mouth over and over.
        Later, as she lay curled safe and naked in Nik’s arms,
Dani smiled. Never had she felt anything like this woman and her
lovemaking. She was exhausting, she was thrilled, sated and in
love. Well, she mused, I guess Artemis has her answer. She
looked up at Nik, still partially on top of her, peacefully sleeping,
and was just about to wake her when the blare of her radio
brought her wide awake.
        With a rude and sudden harshness Dani realized that she
was back in the present. She sat there, on her bed, feeling the
unexpected loss of warmth and the physically painful aloneness
of empty arms. Falling back onto her bed, she pulled her hands
to her face and screamed at the unfazed dawn.

        Minutes passed before Dani could bring herself to get out
of bed. She didn’t want to move. Here, at least, she still felt Nik.
If she got up she would be leaving a part of her behind, the part
she could touch and smell and feel. Bailey decided to do her part
and helped motivate her to move. One minute Dani lay there in
bed, feeling unloved and alone; the next, she had an eight pound
hairy reminder on her chest, informing her that breakfast had not
yet been served and she was hungry. Struggling her way out
from under the covers, Dani pushed her backup, hairy alarm
clock onto the floor and rose to start her day.
        Having fed Bailey, she returned to her bedroom to dress.
That was when she noticed it: a large red bruise that was just
beginning to ache covered the majority of the back of her hand.
        “Well how in the Hell…” Dani stared at the injury, her
mind finally recalling the dream. ‘But how can a dream do this?’
She asked herself, still staring at the red welt.
        It really didn’t hurt much; what concerned her was how

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      Katherine E. Standell and Cora Leigh Hampton
had she brought it into the present when the only way she could
have received it had been in her dream, last night. And what
about the visit from Artemis? How the hell had she dreamed that
up, she wondered, still remembering how real it had all seemed.
        Dani sat on the edge of the bed, trying to put her thoughts
into some kind of order and figure out how the crushing grip of a
long dead Amazon warrior could have affected her after she
woke up. She had no idea how long she had been sitting there
when Bailey suddenly landed on her lap and reminded her that
she had a job to get to and kitty kibble to buy. Quickly, she
scrambled into her clothes and rushed out the door to her bike.

        It seemed as though her weeks had begun to melt together
and her life had come to focus sharply on her home, or more
precisely, on her bed. That was where Dani spent most of her
time, alone with Nik. Dani sat in the McDonalds near the
museum, the small booth that she usually occupied was in the
farthest corner of the room and away from the kiddy play area.
From her position there, Dani could see the entire room and be
prepared in the event that one of her colleagues decided to drop
in on her and chat. Today she was lucky, she had been so busy
on the Amazon artifacts that she had worked through the usual
lunch hour and was finally able to take lunch at two o’clock that
afternoon. She sat munching on a double cheese burger from the
dollar menu.
        She smiled, remembering the dreams, the feel of Nik in
her arms, the texture and smell of dark hair as it brushed her
cheek. She had it bad, real bad.
        This is really insane; I am falling hard for a dream
woman…literally. There must be something in the ‘You are a
really sick puppy’ book for this. Come on Dani, the woman isn’t
even real; don’t you think having a girl friend from a different
dimension would be tricky?
        Dani sat there with a silly grin, shaking her head at the
thought of the introductions to her mother and Jay. She finished
her meal and headed outside. She loved to walk to lunch and
back; it was her primary form of outdoor exercise since she
seemed to never want to go outside since she met Nik. As she

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                       Nik of Time
reached the corner, she looked up to check the crossing signal
and watched the green ‘walk’ figure flash on. She checked up
and down the street, then stepped out into the cross walk,
glancing again to the left at the same time; that’s was what saved
her.
        The car pulled out from the curve, tires squealed and
smoke spewed from the rubber as it burned. It was an older
model blue Ford Taurus. Besides antiquities, Dani knew cars,
especially cars that seemed set on running her down. Seeing the
car turn towards her, she threw her weight forward, pushing off
with her toes. It wasn’t the most graceful leap but it kept her out
of reach of the car’s deadly fenders. As she landed, she heard a
different sound, the sound of breaking. She landed with a hard
thud on the concrete median and felt the course grass scraping
her arms. Quickly, she turned her head towards the sound of the
car, trying to see the driver, wanting to know who and why.
What she saw was the covered eyes of a stranger. She didn’t
recognize the car and all she saw of the driver was the reflection
of dark glasses in the side view mirror. She tried to read the plate
but legs were blocking her view as people seemed to appear from
everywhere, hands helping her to her feet.
        At first she was grateful, but one pair of hands seemed far
more interested in fondling her than helping her. She slapped the
hands away. “I’m fine, thank you.” She said as she pulled away
from the hands while, at the same time, trying to see who had the
grabbing, exploring fingers. All she could see though was the
back of a pair of broad shoulders, a black cap, a dingy grey shirt,
blue jeans and dirty white sneakers. The man was moving away
quickly as other people approached to help her up. As she
watched carefully, he turned and she caught a glimpse of even
white teeth that grinned eerily at her, sending a strange shiver of
fear quivering up and down her spine.
        This is so not good, Dani thought as she stood brushing
off her jeans. I know that wasn’t my step dad and I know that
wasn’t his car; so who the HELL was that? Was he trying to kill
me and what is up with the weirdo with the rushin’ hands and
roman’ fingers? He musta just been in for a free feel…EW!
        Dani returned to the museum with skinned hands, scraped

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      Katherine E. Standell and Cora Leigh Hampton
knees and a bruised ego; it had been a long time since she had
taken a fall, literally. When she was finally back in her own
office, the entire incident caught up with her. She punched her
boss’s extension and waited. Jay Brayboy was a wonderful man;
kind, soft spoken and easy to like. He was also her mother’s long
time boyfriend.
        “Jay? Hi, it’s Dani.” She said in a shaky voice.
        “Yeah Dani, what’s up? Don’t tell me you are finished
with that moldy old skeleton already.” He joked, knowing how
enthralled Dani was with her latest project.
        “No, it’s coming along great, though. I have already
shipped the hands and the skull out. That isn’t why I am calling.
I need to take off early today and I might be out tomorrow. I
know I have loads of vacation time coming, and I hate to do it,
but I gotta.” She said, her voice still quivering.
        “Dani? What’s wrong, what’s going on? Is your
stepfather back? Do you need me to send in security? Better yet,
I’m coming down there. If that SOB is in violation of the
restraining order, I will personally have him tossed out on his ass
and bar him from every museum in the state. Right after I phone
the police to pick up his sorry ass.”
        Jay was pissed. He had heard about Dani’s last paternal
visit and he was determined that it was an event that would not be
repeated. All he needed was to lose his best Archivist, not to
mention his soon to be step daughter and a damned good friend.
        “No, he isn’t here, I just had a mishap on my way back
from lunch and…well, I guess I’m a bit shook up.” Dani said,
cradling her forehead in one hand while holding the phone to her
ear with the other.
        “What!? What are you talking about? Forget it. I am
coming down there.” Jay said, preparing to hang up the phone.
        “No, it isn’t that bad; a car just got a bit close to me in the
crosswalk and I guess it shook me up more than I realized.” She
explained, hoping her boss would not push the subject.
        “Okay Dani, spill it.” Jay demanded in a gruff voice.
“How close is ‘a bit’? Are we talking, the next lane over or are
we talking ‘seeing the flies on the bumper?” He asked, waiting
patiently for Dani’s answer.

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                      Nik of Time
         “Umm, well, it depends,” she grinned, happy to hear
something humorous after such a hellacious experience.
         “Depends? On what?” Jay asked, still concerned.
         “Well do bees fit the “fly on the bumper” category? Dani
tried to joke.
         “Hell, girl. I’m on my way. You just sit still.” Jay hung
up the phone.




Chapter 6
       Jay was the proverbial nutty professor, very distinguished
looking, highly intelligent, great with books and research,
impossible with humans and the real world and today Jay had a
huge cup of real world to deal with. Dani smiled thinking of the
fuss he had made over her little accident. He looked like
anything but the head curator of the largest museum in the state.
As far as looks were concerned Jay was a real hunk, a large

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      Katherine E. Standell and Cora Leigh Hampton
handsome man, well over six feet, with silver grey hair that was
almost white over his brow and temples that faded to a deep salt
and pepper at the nape of his neck. He had a broad smile, wide
shoulders and huge blunt fingered hands. Her mother loved him
to distraction and he worshipped her like a Botticelli Venus.
Dani was always surprised at his ability to handle even the most
fragile of artifact without damaging them. When she had first
arrived at the museum he had taken her under his wing, becoming
a mentor as well as a surrogate father and confidant, he was as
close to a real father as he could be without marrying her mother,
which, since he was dating her mother, it appeared, could happen.
Now her huge teddy bear of a mentor was taking a long dive off
the deep end. He had ordered her to the nearest hospital for an
exam and required that she produce a doctor’s statement before
she would be allowed back to work. A quick visit to the
Richland County Hospital emergency room resulted in strict
orders to stay home for three days then return to the hospital for a
reevaluation. The chuckle she got from Jay did not make her
restrictions any easier to take but it did help her in laying on the
guilt that made Jay stop by the museum and pick up some of her
paperwork. At least now she would be able to continue with her
ongoing research on Nik. Filling her briefcase with papers she
tucked it under her arm and, with Jay on her heels she walked out
the front door and into a prepaid cab, she wasn’t even allowed to
drive herself home. “Doctor’s order’s” Jay had said smiling,
Dani could envision him rubbing his hands together and dancing
around a boiling kettle. If nothing else he seemed thrilled to have
been right “For once.” Dani muttered under her breath just loud
enough for Jay to hear. His gruff chuckle followed her out the
door and into the cab. Jay promised that he would have her car
delivered later that day; she was not a happy camper. Well at
least I can explore the strange dreams I have been having; maybe
I can figure out what the heck is going on. If not…no loss. She
grinned, thinking of the tall serious and loving woman that now
appeared on a regular basis in her dreams, maybe this little forced
vacation won’t be so bad after all.
         When Dani finally got home it was dark and wet, it had
begun to rain, a light, sweet summer rain. She could smell the

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                       Nik of Time
earth, the dirt soaking in the water. The sidewalk, still hot from
the late afternoon sun, seemed to sizzle as the large drops of rain
splashed on the cement. The Carolina sky was releasing all the
moisture it was renown for holding on those incredibly humid
summer days.        “Well that should cut down on the sinus
headaches, now if I could just get rid of this, “I’ve just been hit
by a car headache” Dani whispered aloud, very aware that her
neighbors had already seen her talking out loud to herself. She
chuckled imagining what it would be like if they knew about Nik.
Yeah, right, I can see it now, the burning cross on the front lawn
the little guys in white hoods carrying torches. Get the evil
Lesbian! Oh yeah that would be real cool…NOT!
         She thanked the cab driver as she stepped out of the car,
her single house key looking lonely on the ring with her small
flash light and garage door opener, Jay having confiscated her
car, bike and office keys. She glanced down at the bit of metal
she slipped the key into the lock. She had gotten into the habit of
having her keys in hand from her college days. There always
seemed to be a story of someone jumping young women in the
halls of their dorm or in the parking lot or at the mall or anywhere
women were found alone. She was never sure if the rumors were
urban legend or the real thing so she made a compromise, she
told herself it was an urban legend and always had her key ready
just in case it wasn’t. For some reason today she was a bit
jumpy, her hands trembling as she unlocked the front door of her
home. She pushed the door open and slipped inside, throwing the
deadbolt and dropping the chain lock into place. She was not
usually this vigilant but perhaps she was still on edge because of
the accident. Turning she looked around her very sterile, very
quiet home wishing for the first time that she had a room mate or
partner or wife to break up the silence.
         Bailey spotted her care giver and headed towards her.
Dani reached down and picked up her pet, happy to have
something to distract her over worked imagination. “Hello
Bailey, killed any lizards today?” she asked knowing that the cat
had a habit of bringing her trophy’s in and depositing them in
places that she knew Dani would go to sometime in the evening.
The cat seemed to get an inordinate amount of pleasure hearing

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her care giver scream at the top of her lungs when she discovered
the little desiccated bodies in places like inside her favorite
pumps, under the covers on her bed, floating in the toilet bowl or
in her newest display place, in the cast iron frying pan that Dani
always kept on the stove.
        As she walked back to the bedroom Dani noticed that
Bailey was unusually quiet and seemed to be as jumpy as she
was. As she scratched the cat on the chin she spoke softly to her,
“What’s wrong Bailey? Are you picking up on Mommy’s jumpy
nerves? That’s okay, I’m fine, just a bit banged up from the car
aerobics this afternoon. What say we take a hot shower and call
it a night?”
        Later, dressed in a fresh night shirt Dani was finally
beginning to relax, the hot water from the shower had loosened
the tension in her sore muscles, and cleaned the last of the dirt
from her scrapes, leaving her injuries with a stinging feeling that
let her know she had already begun to heal. Dani walked out to
her kitchen and opened the door of her refrigerator. The soft
white light illuminated the empty shelves reminding her that she
had yet to buy groceries this week. The only thing left was a sad
box of Diet Coke in the twelve pack container; it was empty
except for two cans of the beverage.
        “Well Bailey, looks like it’s gonna be a Domino night.”
With a soft sigh Dani rolled both cans out of their container and,
leaving one on the shelf she threw the carton away and headed to
the cabinet with the remaining drink. Grabbing a glass she
returned to the refrigerator opened the freezer compartment and
dropped three cubes of ice into the glass from her bag of stored
cubes. She crossed over the kitchen to the wall phone and hit
speed dial for the nearest Dominos. The phone rang and a
chipper young person picked up on the other end. Dani quickly
ordered a medium Pepperoni pizza, thin crust extra cheese, got
the total and the estimated delivery time, she thanked the kid on
the phone and hung up. “I so hate cheerful right now.” she
grumbled to Bailey. “Cheerful really sucks when you are in
pain.” The day’s events were finally catching up to her as she
retrieved her chilled glass and Coke and headed back to the
bedroom to relax.

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                       Nik of Time
        Dani turned on the television, poured her drink and sat
back to watch the evening news. The big story of the evening
was still the killer that had been terrorizing the surrounding
counties; he had finally been given a name, ‘The 911 Killer’.
Dani listened with morbid curiosity to the news report. It seemed
that this killer enjoyed leaving taunting messages for the police in
the blood of his raped and dying victims. Most of the women had
been so badly injured that they died from blood loss before the
police could arrive; the rest had died in the ambulance on their
way to the hospital. The police seemed to be closing in on him
since the last two victims were still alive when the cops arrived.
The first three victims were found still warm and one even had a
faint pulse when the police reached the victims home. The killer
liked to call in to 911 and leave the address and name of the
victim with the operator. He never stayed on the phone longer
than needed and so the police were unable to trace the number or
location of the caller. The reporter gave a run down of some
pretty basic precautions, locking your car and home, staying out
of dark places alone at night, having your keys in hand when you
walk to your car, and having the number for the police handy.
Dani’s eyes were beginning to droop; she set her drink on the
nightstand and snuggled down under the covers, Bailey wiggling
her way under the sheets to lie along the side of Dani’s legs.
“Boy what a little chicken shit you are tonight.” Dani mumbled
reaching under to rub the soft brown fur. Her hand slowly
stopped as she began to snore, finally slipping off to sleep.
        He watched as the house grew dark and studied the
silhouette of the young woman from the flickering lights of the
television as she went about her nightly ritual. She had been one
of several women he had stalked and like his other victims; he
would add something of her to his collection of trophies. As
usual he felt his hands begin to tingle and a hot bundle of nerves
jumped in his stomach, it was a feeling he enjoyed, he lived for.
He stopped outside the window staring in at the sleeping woman
the glow of the television giving her face as beautiful surreal
look. He felt himself begin to loose control as his penis began to
swell, pushing against the inside of his pants. The feel of the
zipper rubbing against him, felt exhilarating, he had stopped

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     Katherine E. Standell and Cora Leigh Hampton
wearing underwear long ago when he noticed the feeling of the
metal teeth against sensitive skin. He reached down a hand and
stroked himself through the cloth of his pants as he stared at the
young brunette.
        She had not moved in the last few minutes and he knew
she was asleep. Reaching into his pocked he pulled out his
pocket knife, opening it he slipped the blade between the two
window panels feeling for the latch. One quick jerk and the latch
sprang open, the second latch opened equally as easy. He lifted
the window quietly, slid over the sill and into the room. Standing
there in her room, at the foot of her bed, he could smell her
shampoo, his mind already visualizing what was to come next.
He would go slowly with this one, she was much too pretty to
waste in a rush job. Yes, he would enjoy his evening with her
and at the end he would find a souvenir to take back, a trophy for
his trophy wall so that he could remember her.
        Hours later the police were standing in the exact same
place where earlier there had been a sadistic rapist and killer.
They stared down at the young dark haired woman but this was
not the same picture that the killer had seen. What they saw was
a dead girl, raped and bloody, posed in a pornographic position,
her legs apart and her mouth opened in a silent scream. He had
called them and told them where to find her, he had laughed at
their attempts to catch him, staying on long enough this time to
boast of his prowess. The 911 killer had taken another victim
and this one was, by far, his most horrific killing yet.




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                      Nik of Time




Chapter 7
        The river bed must be really dry. Dani thought as she felt
gritty sand rubbing her feet. Where is Nik? She glanced down to
see the ground moving while her feet were not. Now that is just

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      Katherine E. Standell and Cora Leigh Hampton
way too weird. She mumbled as she fought the ground move like
a cloak that seemed to be wrapping itself around her like a living
thing. Whoa! What is going on here? Dani began to fight the
cloak struggling to free herself and in the process she felt the
ground slip away. The force of her body hitting the floor woke
her instantly. “Ugh! That is the second time in two weeks I’ve
fallen out of bed. This is beginning to be a habit.” She groaned
aloud, “A very painful habit.” Dani reached for the side of the
bed and pulling herself upright began to untangle the sheets
which had twisted around her in her sleep. Bailey watched with
interest as her care giver, litter changer and all around slave
woke. “Brrrowww?” she asked trying to speed up the process
which would inevitable lead to breakfast. Her human was
moving way too slow this morning even after Bailey had gently
attempted to wake her by cleaning her feet. Now that was a true
sign of love or maybe it was a true sign of impatience, either way
the    results    would     be    the    same,     BREAKFAST!
“BRRROWWW!” Bailey called out much more loudly this time
trying to speed up her human. “I hear you Bailey. Ya know
sometimes I think you do this to me at night just so I will fall out
of bed and fix your breakfast faster.” Dani surmised speaking out
loud to the cat.
        She pulled herself to her feet, the tangle of sheets and
blankets falling to wrap loosely around her ankles. Slowly she
stepped over the pile and staggered, half awake towards the
kitchen, Bailey, hot on her heels. She opened a side cupboard
and pulled out a tall orange bag of Iams cat food and scooped out
a cup pouring it into the bowl marked ‘Cat-tastrophy’. That
done she turned on the coffee pot and headed for the shower. A
half and hour she stepped from the warmth of the bathroom,
wrapped in a huge terrycloth robe, her hair wet and headed
toward the sweet smell of fresh brew. Awake now she took her
cup and headed back to the bed room, determined to review some
of her notes on Nik, hoping that she would not lose too much
ground on her research because of her forced sabbatical. Nik had
become an obsession, that was apparent. Each and every night
since she had seen the bones, Dani had dreamed of Nik. It had
gotten to the point where she actually anticipated the night,

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knowing that Nik would be waiting in her dreams, a tall dark
lover who made her world spin. Initially she thought she was
pretty desperate, if not pathetic, after all, the only woman she
seemed able to catch was an imaginary one. “Well, at least she is
drop dead gorgeous.” Dani smiled closing her eyes and seeing
the beautiful dark face that had begun to invade her waking hours
as well as her sleep. “Damn it Nik why couldn’t you have been a
modern woman?” She said watching the wicked crooked smile
twist the lips of the dream woman. It was as if Nik could read
her thoughts. Now what would be the fun in that? Nik whispered
from her place in Dani’s head. I am sooo much more fun here in
your head, don’t you think? I mean what would people think of
an Amazon strolling around the place in battle armor? The
image chuckled. And what would you need and Amazon Warrior
for? It seems to me that there is no need for me there in your
strange time. This comment, though she tried to make it sound
light, carried a sound of resignation in it that twisted into Dani’s
heart. “Well, needed or not, I would be eternally grateful to the
gods if you were reincarnated and living out here in the present. I
would give anything to find you here and now.” She whispered
her voice holding the same sounds of regret that Nik’s had held.
        Picking up her briefcase, coffee cup in hand she settled on
the bed. Placing the cup on the nightstand she reached down and
picked up the fallen sheets and blankets. She bundled them into a
nice soft nest and opened her brief case to retrieve her laptop and
the documents she had managed to scarf up on her way out of the
museum last night. She leaned out of bed and plugged in the
laptop to a wall outlet then turned on the television as she waited
for the computer to boot up. Sitting crossed legged, her back
braced against the headboard of the bed she sipped her coffee and
watched the morning news.
        “…the most recent victim of the 911 killer was found this
morning, horribly mutilated in her home, in her own bed. The
police are at a loss, as to how to stop him. Police have now
determined that they are dealing with a serial killer. Local law
enforcement agencies have banned together with the FBI in a
joint task force to capture this elusive rapist and serial killer. If
you have any information or have seen anything suspicious the

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      Katherine E. Standell and Cora Leigh Hampton
task force is asking that you report it. Call area code 803 411-
1911 that is the direct line to the task force. Meanwhile, our own
Channel nine news is offering a card with safety precautions and
critical phone numbers as well as free pen lights and whistles at
our main office on Gervais Street to any woman who stops by.
Back to you in our studio Michael.”
         “Thank you Sandra. That was Sandra O’Keefe reporting
live from the scene at Forest Acres, the home of the most recent
911 victim. We will keep you informed on any breaking news on
this truly horrific situation.” The reporter turned to his colleague
and began a short discussion on the ongoing steps the law
enforcement agencies were taking to capture the killer. “Well, I
have it on good authority that the police will be staking out the
homes in the area of the most recent killing. They will be in
unmarked cars on the streets throughout the neighborhood since
the killer seems to enjoy killing at least two women in each area
his has killed in.” The man identified as Michael reported. His
coworker nodded his head in agreement. “Yes, my sources say
the same. Well, I suppose there will be some restless sleeping
going on tonight in Forest Acres. Let’s just hope that with so
many of our police laying in wait there we will finally catch this
animal.” The reported stated, his voice relaying the disgust he
felt in the failed attempts of the local authorities.
         “What an idiot!” Dani spoke aloud. “Why not just give
the killer the plate numbers of the unmarked cars? My gods are
all reporters’ idiots or just the ones on Channel nine? That moron
just told the killer what the police were doing. Does he think he
is helping or is he just that stupid? Dumb question, he obviously
is ‘just that stupid’. He just set up another woman to get killed, I
am sure that any half brained killer would know not to be within
a hundred miles of Forest Acres for the next few days. UGH,
how dumb is he?”
         Still grumbling Dani placed her cup back on the night
stand and stared down at the laptop screen as the image struggled
to settle. Once the screen steadied she tapped the icon for her
main museum page then, with a few more taps she reached the
page titled SC Archeological Center typing in her pass code she
accessed her secured section and finally reaching the section

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                      Nik of Time
dedicated to Nik. With a few more clicks she was in the section
she had decided to work on. Reading, editing and rewriting
sections she was totally engrossed with the topic and did not
leave the screen world until her bladder screamed for attention.
        Back at the computer Dani began her notes on the armor
and weapons used by the ancient warrior. Creating the replica
sword had been fascinating and had yielded information not only
about the construction of the weapon but the owner of the sword.
The length and weight provided critical information about the
height and strength of the owner. Only a woman of commanding
height could have had the arm length to swing the sword without
having it strike the ground. In addition the material the sword
was made of required a strong arm to wield such a heavy weapon
which meant that the warrior had to have been very powerful. So
based on those two conclusions it was obvious that Nik was a tall
and powerful warrior, something Dani already knew, having met
the woman in her dreams, now she was able to pass this
information on to others and verify it technically.
        With the information, calculations and statistics from the
report now entered in the museum data base Dani paused to take
another potty break. That was when she realized the time.
Somehow the sun had set and she had totally missed lunch. Now
her stomach was letting her know that in no uncertain terms it
was not happy and this had better be a case of, “I am fixing it
RIGHT NOW” or “I’m sorry but somehow my throat has been
disconnected from my stomach and surgery is pending”. With
growl and grumbles following her down the hall Dani headed for
the kitchen. Searching the freezer for a possible meal, she
settling on a beefy Man Handler, she tore open the box and slid
out the frozen dinner. Grabbing a fork for the silverware drawer
she stabbed away at the meat section quickly poking holes in the
appropriate compartment.         Placing the container in the
microwave she cranked up the dial and leaned back against the
counter to wait. As her dinner ticked away her mind skipped over
the information that she had been working on, picturing Nik’s
strong hand gripping the pommel of the large sword a battle cry
issuing from her lips and anger burning in her eyes. A smile
crept across her lips as her vivid imagination pictured the long

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     Katherine E. Standell and Cora Leigh Hampton
legged warrior damp with sweat, dark hair flying and deep eyes
flashing. She had become so caught up in her musing that the
sound of the microwave bell nearly made her slide to the floor,
and somewhere in the back of her mind she could almost swear
she hear a deep chuckle.
        Very funny, very funny Dani mumbled to the warrior in
her mind as she retrieved her dinner from the oven. Heading out
of the kitchen she paused long enough to pick up the fork and,
grab a Diet Coke from the refrigerator on her way back to her
room to quietly enjoy her meal.
        Finally the lights of the bedroom went out, he smiled in
anticipation of the evenings adventure. This was the part he
loved best, the hunt. He waited, watching the dim silhouette of
Dani as she prepared for bed. Slowly, quietly he rose from his
hiding place in the bushes behind her home. Dressed in dark
pants, shirt and gloves he pulled down his hood as he casually
walked to Dani’s screened in porch. Reaching for the handle he
smiled, she would be worth waiting for, he was sure of that.
Pulling open the door he silently slipped inside and headed down
the hall to the master bedroom his hands itching in anticipation.




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                      Nik of Time




Chapter 8
        Dani looked up at the trees and laughed at Nik’s antics.
She was sure that this was one of the best dreams yet. Nik had
surprised her with flowers and a wonderful meal and now was

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      Katherine E. Standell and Cora Leigh Hampton
playing her version of hide and seek at about twenty feet above
the forest floor. Her agility amazed Dani as she watched Nik run
along a thick tree branch and launch herself into another tree.
The branches swayed gently with the warriors’ weight. She
stopped long enough to laugh down at Dani, teasing her, tossing
down small branches and wild nuts.
        Suddenly Dani’s face changed she felt the presence of
someone in her room, as she struggled to wake she felt hands on
her shoulders pining her to the mattress, the sheet that normally
covered knees had pinned her hands and legs to the bed. Her
eyes shot open and she stared into the masked face of a stranger.
Struggling she tried to fight him off. This was no dream, a
nightmare maybe, but her eyes were open. Screaming as she
struggled, her mind tried to wrap itself around what was
happening. A feeling of horror leaching into her subconscious
sounding a blood curdling scream to the warrior in her
dreamscape.
        Nik was frantic, Dani had suddenly vanished and all that
remained was an angry red mist and a heart wrenching scream.
Dani was no where to be found, but her screams echoed through
the forest. Nik cupped her hands over her ears to drown out the
sound and try to gain her bearings. Jumping to the ground she
ran through the forest looking everywhere for the smaller woman.
Finally realizing that Dani was beyond her reach she wailed out
her frustration to the heavens begging Athena for help as she
collapsed to her knees crying at her own helplessness. Suddenly
she felt the hairs on the back of her neck rise as a voice seemed to
echo in her mind forcing her to listen. “Calm my warrior.” The
voice said gently. “Your soul mate needs you, go to her.”
        Nik was blinded by the brilliant light that seemed to be
coming from inside her head. Her ears were numbed by the
sound of rushing water as she felt herself lifted high, her heart
thudded in her chest as if to try to escape from the cage of her
ribs, the pain was incredible and Nik felt tears roll down her
cheeks as the pain radiated from her head and chest, down her
arms and through her legs and out her heels and finger tips a raw
burning heat. As quickly as the pain came, it was gone and she
felt herself falling.

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                       Nik of Time
        Dani struggled with the heavy weight on her chest,
helpless to move the heavier body crushing the breath from her
lungs. Legs straddled her hips and the coarse touch of denim
rubbed through her soft sheets to rub raw places on her legs. The
stranger leaned forward his forearm coming to rest on her throat
his mouth now intimately close to her right ear. She felt his hand
move as he lifted the edge of the mask to speak. “I love it when
you struggle. It makes you all hot and wet.” He laughed into the
delicate shell of her ear enjoying the feel of her body as it
trembled in fear. His left arm held her pinned to the bed but his
right arm was free to enjoy a search of this latest victims body
and he so hated cloth getting in the way of his fingers. He
reached for the neck of Dani’s night shirt and tore it away leaving
a raw red welt at the back of her neck and jagged scars down her
chest where his long nails had racked her body. She felt the
hands separate as one moved from her neck to her breast, tearing
her night shirt as it struggled to touch skin. A hand reached
inside the shirt to first caress then painfully squeeze a soft breast
then as suddenly as it started, it stopped and again she heard the
voice in her ear but it was different this time. The voice seemed
to speak in a third party to itself in a tight gruff tone. “No, you
mustn’t rush this, you have to savor her. See the gratitude in her
eyes for this gift you are giving her. She must understand and be
grateful.” He spoke aloud as he again reached for her naked
breast, his lips and teeth closing over it and sucking painfully as
his arm pushed into her throat. This close she finally recognized
her attacker, he was the groper from the accident, the man who
had walked away after having fondled her intimately, the man
she now suspected had pushed her into traffic.
        Lights danced through Dani’s vision as she hovered
between breath and death, the pain racing from her tender breast
pushing her mind to reality and she struggled harder. The man
that was now lying on top of her seemed to enjoy her struggles, it
seemed that the feeling of her writhing body excited him and he
pulled his free hand from her breast to reach to his pants. The
hand that was causing her so much pain was gone and she knew
that her attacker was occupied with the effort to open his pants
with one hand and keep her pinned to the bed with the other.

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      Katherine E. Standell and Cora Leigh Hampton
This would be the time to break free, if only she had the strength
to do so. Dani tried to roll out from under the stranger but her
efforts only resulted in the arm at her throat pressing down harder
and the teeth pinching tighter. There was a loud ringing in her
ears and she felt herself floating away in a painful nightmare.
        Nik landed and instinctively rolled to her feet, she
crouched instantly aware of the things around her. The dark
room, the strange feeling of cloth under her feet and the sounds
of a struggle behind her. She spun around horrified to see a large
dark figure pinning Dani to her bed. With a roar of anger she
rushed forward grabbing a handful of hair and twisted the man
opened his mouth and screamed, releasing Dani and allowing Nik
to toss him to the floor. Nik stared down at the attacker as he lay
at her feet next to the bed, his legs bent uncomfortably beneath
him.
        “WHO THE FUCK ARE YOU BITCH?” He bellowed,
twisting to free his legs and face this strange and unexpected
figure. What met his eyes was enticing, shocking, and beautiful,
a very tall, very angry, very naked woman stood there, her fists
clenched and her body crouched in preparation of attack. “What
are you doing here, she doesn’t have a room mate, who the fuck
are you?” He asked his eyes roaming with appreciation over the
bronzed body forgetting for an instant that this woman had just
thrown him like a rag doll across the room.

        Nik did not understand all the words but she did
understand the tone of the man’s voice, the manner of his dress
and the expression in his eyes as he they stared at first her then
Dani. She stepped forward, grabbed him by the arm and neatly
flipped him again over onto the floor behind her and further still
from the smaller woman on the bed. This placed her in between
the strange man and Dani. She turned and waited to see his next
move, she didn’t have long to wait as this time the man sprang to
his feet and turned to swing at her. Nik leaned to one side
allowing the fist to bat at the air next to her head and she quickly
reached up and captured the arm, pulling it towards her she
twisted and threw him to the floor again. This time he rose
slower than the last time pausing to size up the situation. Nik

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                       Nik of Time
however did not see any reason to stop, she reached forward and
struck the assailant twice, first with her fist which was followed
through with an elbow in the face. This stunned the man and Nik
shoved him towards Dani’s bedroom window. A quick grab in
the ass and shove in between the shoulders blades and he flew out
the open window, his head slamming tearing through the wire
screen and the frame as he tumbled then he was gone. That
done, Nik turned to Dani she rushed to the bedside, her heart now
pounding with fear for the woman on the bed. “Dani? Dani, talk
to me. Are you alive?” Nik spoke in soft worried whispers, her
hands reaching for the small woman. She leaned forward pulling
Dani to her as she sat on the edge of the bed. Dani’s head fell
back like a broken rag doll and Nik felt her heart skip a beat. She
reached behind and with one hand, gently cradled the chestnut
red hair in her large hand pulling Dani forward so that her head
rested on Nik’s naked shoulder. That large hand slipped down to
rub the soft skin of Dani’s back as her ears strained to hear
sounds that assured her that the little Shamanist lived. Slowly
she began to feel a response. Dani’s flesh began to warm and she
felt the small woman stir. Muscles tense as Dani began to come
round and to struggle. Twisting in her embrace, pulling her arms
free Dani began to thrash her fists striking Nik anywhere and
everywhere before they were pinned down by stronger, longer
arms.
        “Dani, wake up.” Nik whispered, wanting to see the grey
eyes looking into hers. Suddenly Dani sat up pushing away from
Nik’s arms, her face pale and her breath coming in short gasps.
“WHHHAAA!!” she screamed looking first at Nik then staring
around the room looking for the assailant. Seeing only Nik she
began to relax and fell back into her pillows groaning as her
hands reached tentatively to her neck and tender breast wary of
the bruises she felt there. With her eyes closed she tried to inhale
through her mouth past the tight sore tissue. Suddenly her eyes
popped open and she stared up at Nik. “What? How? Nik?” she
rasped in a painful tone.
        “Yes Dani, I am here, how are you feeling? Did he…, did
he…damage you?” Nik asked afraid of the answer she was going
to hear.

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     Katherine E. Standell and Cora Leigh Hampton
        “What, no, no you…you stopped him before he could.”
Dani said as her hands now reached towards the dark warrior.
“Nik? How did you get here? How can you be here you live in
my dreams. How did this happen?” Dani asked as if talking
would make the facts real.
        “The Goddess.” Nik said smiling.
        “The what? What Goddess? What are you talking about
Nik you aren’t making any sense.” Dani said not realizing that
both of them were speaking in Ancient Greek.

Nik smiled and pulled Dani to her laughing with relief. “The
Goddess Athena, the protector of the Amazons. She heard my
prayers and sent me to you. I fought you’re your attacker. You
are alright aren’t you?” Nik asked pulling back again still unsure
if Dani was truly unhurt. Her mind had accepted the fact that the
Goddess had somehow intervened and had transported her from
the past into the present to save the shamanist that she had begun
to care for like no other.
        “Yes, I’m, I’m fine, just really confused and if my throat
wasn’t so sore I would not believe what I am feeling.” Dani
replied burrowing into Nik’s embrace, enjoying the feel of warm,
strong arms around her and thanking the powers that brought Nik
to her, ‘whatever they may be’. She thought. Suddenly she felt
the touch of an intruder in her mind, she heard a deep warm laugh
echoing in her ears. “What the Hell is that?” She muttered finally
pulled back and staring at this beautiful woman, this beautiful
naked woman.
        The laughter in her mind tickled her senses and Dani
figured that what ever the case she was going to enjoy this
feeling. ‘Thank you, I am not sure how or why, but thank you.’
Dani thought in reply her arms pulling Nik closer as her mind
began to accept the facts of what she was feeling in her embrace.
Her shattered senses had been on overload taking in all that had
happened, realizing that she had been attacked in her own home
only to be rescued by and ancient woman warrior who even now
was sitting naked on her bed. That was when she first realized,
“Nik, where are your clothes?” She asked in a whisper in Greek.
“Not that I am complaining mind you.” She grinned.

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                       Nik of Time
         “Clothes, I need clothes to sleep or hold a beautiful
woman in my arms?” Nik asked staring down into the wide eyes
and smiling. “Things have changed in this new world, I am not
sure I like that. Perhaps I will ask the Goddess to send me back.”
Nik said pretending to rise all the while watching the reaction in
the eyes of the small woman, secretly pleased to notice that Dani
was not happy with that idea.
         Pulling the warrior back to her the caused her to breast to
brush against her night shirt reminding her of the nights events
and causing a large lump to form in her throat. Finally the events
of the evening caught up with Dani as realization sank in; she had
been attacked in her own home. A stranger had broken in and
who knew where he was now. He might return and if he did, she
and Nik would be forced to fight him again. Fear raced up her
spine and she began to tremble.
         “Nik, did he hurt you? Where is he? We have to call the
police.” Dani whispered in a shocked voice.
         “Police? What are police?” Nik asked, not happy that
Dani was again upset and even more unhappy when the woman
crawled from the bed and reached for a strange square
instrument, pushing tiny buttons with strange squiggles on it.
“What is that Dani? And what is police?” She asked again, she
watched as Dani held the thing to her ear with trembling hands.
Her crystal blue eyes grew large turning a stormy deep blue as
she heard voices coming from the square thing but her stunned
anger dissolved when the smaller woman crumbled to tears.
Whatever she heard from the strange thing was upsetting Dani
and she did not like that. “What is that thing Dani? Put it away,
it is making you unhappy. Put it away.” Nik pleaded, she had no
idea what the thing was but she did not like it. She stood and
reached out, put her arms around Dani pulling her back into a
warm, strong embrace allowing the shamanist to rest against her
as she continued to speak into the small box.
         Nik held the woman while she listened to the
conversation, not understand most of what was being said but
sure that she could handle what ever it was causing the woman to
cry. She was startled to hear a loud screaming sound and to see
blue and white lights begin to flash outside the window.

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      Katherine E. Standell and Cora Leigh Hampton
         “Dani, what is that light?” Nik asked nodding her head in
the direction of the lights.
         Dani turned to smile up at the warrior just then realizing
that her rescuer was still very naked and there were now several
police officers standing on her front porch pounding on her front
door. She thanked the operator on the line and hung up the
phone. Reaching towards the foot of her bed she grabbed her long
robe helped Nik into it then headed for the front door. Pulling the
door open she nearly fell into the arms of three police officers.
They quickly pulled the woman out of the doorway and stormed
into the home guns drawn only to come face to face with a tall
beautiful, barely clothed woman in a robe that was obviously far
too small for her. Stunned they approached the suddenly angry
woman hoping to lead her from the house so that they could
check area to make sure the home was safe. But here they stood,
three fairly large, well trained men with loaded guns and they
were suddenly afraid of this drop dead beautiful woman. The
smaller brunette came back into the house and spoke to the angry
dark haired woman in a strange language, leading her out the
front door, to waiting paramedics and nosey neighbors, much to
the relief and, to a certain degree, disappointment of the three
policemen.
         “Who are they Dani? What right do they have to enter
your hut?” She asked still peeved at the audacity of the men and
ready to take them on and send them out the closest available
window.
         “Nik, those are the police, they are here to protect us from
that man.” She told the tall woman seeing the warrior’s attire for
the first time and tickled at the sight of the woman. Nik stood in
the light of the police cars, the blue light flickering off of Dani’s
white robe.
         “You do not need their help to protect you from that man,
he is gone. I protected you. If need be I will kill him if he comes
near you again.” Nik assured her
         “Well, let’s hope that won’t be necessary. Maybe the
police will find something that will help them catch him and they
can send him to prison for a very long time.” Dani said. “Oh, and
in case I forgot to tell you…” Dani stood up on her toes and gave

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                       Nik of Time
Nik a peck on the cheek, “thank you for saving my life.” She
smiled when the warrior blushed. Stepping back Dani took the
opportunity to look at Nik in the light of the patrol cars, the robe
sleeves only reaching just below her elbows the length stopping
just below her knees enhancing a pair of beautiful long legs. The
robe was tied securely in the front but barely hid the swell of
creamy golden breasts. ‘I knew I liked that robe.’ Dani thought
her mind momentarily drawn from the evening events. As she
watched the blue and white lights flashed over the robe
reminding her of the reason for Nik’s attire and their present
predicament and she began to shake as she remembered the
seriousness of the situation. Nik seemed to sense something was
wrong as she turned to stare at Dani, the look on the smaller
woman’s face must have spoken volumes; the warrior opened her
arms and gathered the trembling woman to her glaring at the
gathering crowd, the angry energy rolling off of her and keeping
the neighbors at bay.
        Finally the police returned, guns holstered, they did not
approach the two women again, but stopped to speak to a whip of
a man in a dark suit. The older of the two officers spoke in soft
whispers nodding occasionally in the direction of the two women
their eyes reflecting in the light of the police cars. The man in
the suit pulled a small note book from a pocket of his suit coat
and wrote furiously then nodded and put the notebook away. The
uniform officers returned to their car and a small group of like
dressed police officers leaving the suited man behind. After a
short discussion the police officers spilt into teams and began
walking around the neighborhood. Cautiously, the man in the
suit approached the two women, aware of the anger in the eyes of
the tall dark woman. Coming to stand next to Nik he made no
attempt to touch either woman, not that he would have been able
to with Nik watching his every move with wary eyes. “Miss…”
“Patterson, Danielle Patterson.” Dani offered in a strained
whisper from Nik’s embrace. “Miss Patterson. Fine, that’s fine,”
he smiled as if speaking to dangerous animals trying to calm
them and to put them at ease. “I am Lieutenant Steven Coleman
of the Lexington County Sheriffs office; do you remember what
happened here? Can you describe your attacker?”

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      Katherine E. Standell and Cora Leigh Hampton
         Dani turned still frightened eyes to Nik then to the police
officer and nodded her head. “We both saw him and Nik threw
him out the window.” She said hugging the warrior with the arm
that was wrapped very securely around a slender waist.
         “Well, we would like to have you both checked by a
doctor, just a precaution. Then if you don’t mind, we would like
to have you meet with one of our criminal artist and try to put
together a picture of this man.” He said still keeping his distance
from the taller of the two woman.
         “Well, I really would rather no go to the hospital again
today and Nik, I know is not injured. So if it is alright with you
can we just stay here?” Dani pleaded large grey eyes now turned
on the police officer as she used all her charm to prevent a second
visit to the emergency room in less than twenty four hours.
         Well, how about I have the police artist come here, would
that be alright with you both?” he offered. Ignoring the comment
about the hospital.
         “Yes that would be fine. We will do what we can if it will
help catch that man.” Dani agreed. “But Nik does not speak
English very well, she is a visiting history professor from Greece,
I will have to translate for her.” Dani said thinking quickly.
“Umm,…the, the airport lost her luggage, it has her clothes and
things in it.” Dani added hoping to forgo questions of Nik’s
attire and the fact that she did not speak the language.
         “Fine miss, the paramedics are here,” The detective
pointed out. He waved over two paramedics one male, one
female, who trotted over, kits in hand. As they approached Nik’s
keen hearing picked up their muttering conversation, “…No you
take the tall one, she scares me.” The man admitted. Nik made a
mental note of the conversation to ask Dani what it meant later.
The woman approached her and smile shyly up.
         “I will see you at the hospital later…” the detective
began.
         “Umm, no you won’t I’m sorry, we won’t be going to the
hospital, Nik doesn’t like them and I have no intention of
spending the night there for a few scratches.” Dani added. “If
you like you can come by in the morning with the artist and we
can talk then.” Dani offered.

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                       Nik of Time
         “Are you sure, the doctor may want to keep and eye on
you overnight just to make sure.” Damn she isn’t gonna make
this easy. He had hoped that they would go with the paramedics,
that would have made things so much simpler. The doctors
would have kept them overnight for observation and he could
have a police officer on their room twenty-four seven and
probably talked the doctor into keeping them both for a couple of
days extra. Now they would be free to roam the area and loose
targets for the serial killer. That makes this a problem.
         “Alright I will see you first thing in the morning, you get
some rest, we will call before we come out. Meanwhile both of
you please try to remember the details. It the smallest thing
could help us catch this guy.” The detective said as he backed
away to let the paramedics take over.
         Dani smiled at Nik who was staring at the female medical
tech with one raised eyebrow. The male tech had taken Dani by
the elbow and started to lead her to the ambulance, but stopped
when he heard a deep rumbling growl coming from the tall
dangerous looking woman. He paled noticeably and stopped
dead in his tracks, placing his kit on the ground he raised his
hands and turned towards the dark woman.
         “Umm Miss Patterson, could you talk to her, tell her not
to kill me….please?” He asked in all seriousness.
         Dani chuckled easing herself down onto the available
gurney with a deep sigh, she was exhausted. “Nik honey please
let this nice man examine me so we can get some rest. I promise
he isn’t going to hurt me and that nice lady is going to examine
you.” Dani sat up suddenly realizing that a strange woman was
going to put her hands on Nik. Now she understood Nik’s
attitude towards the man who was examining her. “Umm, Miss
Paramedic, you might want to wait until we get finished here to
examine her. She is a self defense expert and if she doesn’t know
why you are going to touch her, she might just react and throw
you around.” She said seriously. The flirting smile disappeared
from the woman’s face and she stepped back quickly, taking the
warning to heart.
         Satisfied that she had taken care of the competition Dani
relaxed again on the gurney as the male paramedic checked her

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         Katherine E. Standell and Cora Leigh Hampton
pulse.
        “They are here to help us, nothing more, so don’t be
scared.” She added mentally more for herself than for the
warrior.
        “Scared? Are you trying to make me smile Dani?” The
warrior asked coming to crouch beside the gurney, reaching for
the free hand and taking it into both of her larger, warm ones.
Confident now that things were under control, Nik began to look
around trying to take in everything at once. This was all so new
and strange. The fact that she was here must be due to the wishes
of the Goddess and she would do what she must. Accepting that
now meant she was free to concern herself with more critical
issues. “What kind of wagon is this that has no horses? How can
they expect something so large to move without horses to pull
it?” Nik was leaning to the side trying to see the front of the
ambulance without letting go of the small woman’s hand.
        “Well it can move because it has an engine in the front.”
Dani explained with her eyes closed. It seemed that the
exhaustion was finally catching up to her. Still holding onto
Nik’s hand gently rubbing her thumb over the rough knuckles,
she could not believe that this beautiful woman was actually here.
Her eyelids crept open as she watched Nik again. ‘How did this
happen? What brought her here just in time to save me and most
importantly, will she stay?’ Dani nibbled on her lower lip as she
watched the beautiful disheveled woman the red and white lights
reflecting on her soft flesh. ‘Please God, if you brought her here
to me, please let her stay, don’t take her away.’




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Chapter 9
      They had been given a passing grade by the paramedics
and were finally hustled off to bed. Dani felt like she had been
poked and prodded in just about every location they could think
of. The Paramedics wanted to be sure that she had no severe

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injuries since they were responsible for her immediate care after
the incident, they even went so far as to have both women sign
release forms relieving the service from any responsibility
resulting from injuries from this attack since they refused hospital
care. She had not been sure how Nik was doing but since she did
not hear any blood curdling screams coming from the exam areas
she figured things were okay. Still Dani was relieved when Jay
rushed onto the scene. She smiled at the man standing there with
his pajama shirt tucked into his pants and his hair sprouting from
his head like victory grass on a dry field.
        Beside himself, Jay had promised Dani’s mother, who
was out of town, that he would keep Dani out of trouble. Silly
man had though that was an easy task and had promised that
nothing, absolutely nothing, would happen on his watch. Now
his charge had been visited by her obsessive step father, nearly
run over on her lunch break and had almost been raped by a
homicidal serial rapist. What the devil would he tell her mother
Joyce? Beads of sweat popped out on his forehead as he thought
of the ramifications of the days’ events. Hell the question should
be will I get to tell her before she kills me? Because there is no
doubt she is going to kill me. He thought, feeling his heart sink at
the sight of the seemingly tiny brunette stretched out on the bed
in front of him, Yep, death, a bloody painful one, she is gonna kill
me. First what little hair I have left will be ripped out one strand
at a time, nice and slow.’ He nodded his head in silence as he
raked his fingers through the grey patch on his head while
dragging himself to the edge of the bed, his heart sinking at the
sight of the bruised young woman. His eyes darted from the girl
to the Paramedic busy packing away his supplies. Looking for
reassurance, finding nothing but angry determination there he
questioned the young archeologist. “Dani, are you okay? What
happened?” Jay asked in a soft whisper, almost afraid that his
voice would break the seemingly fragile body. Concern showing
in his dark eyes and furrowed brow.
        “To tell you the truth Jay, I am not sure.” Dani said
trying in vain to sit up on the bed.
        “One minute I am sleeping, on a happy little pain killer
high, the next I am fighting off some horny giant maniac. I have

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no idea who the Hell I pissed off but I hope who ever it is they
have received their pint of blood now.” Dani said pulling the
covers up tighter around her.
        Jay reached out patted Dani’s hand reassuringly smiling
in relief, he knew that if she was joking about things it couldn’t
be too bad. Relaxing now he took a minute to glance around the
room noticing the roll away inflatable bed on the floor with the
extra pillow and blanket. He was just about to ask Dani about it
when the bathroom door opened and a tall strikingly beautiful
woman walked in. She glanced at Jay and smiled arching one
dark eyebrow over a deep blue eye.
        She spoke in a soft sensual voice. “Dani, who is this man
and why is he in your bed chamber?”
        Jay was stunned, she was speaking in a dead language,
Ancient Greek. He turned to Dani with wide eyes and a silly
grin. “Dani, she speaks Greek and not just Greek, Ancient
Greek. This is wonderful! Who is she? Where is she from? Is
she an Archeologist? How long is she staying? Can I borrow
her?”
        “Ugh” Dani sighed “Yes, she does, yes it is, Nik Machos,
Greece, no she isn’t, I don’t know, and I will think about it.”
        “Huh?” Jay said staring at Dani. “What are you talking
about? Oh, never mind. Introduce us, where are your manners
girl?” Jay said stand and straightening his pajama shirt and
trying again to pat down the unruly thatch of grey hair.
         “Jay, this is Nik, she is a…a visiting doctorate student
from Greece. We met on the internet.” Dani said unwilling to
supply any more information. “Umm, I told her about the
remains and she thinks she can help me with my research.”
        Jay held out his hand surprised to feel his arm gripped by
a heavy hand. “Pleasure, I’m sure Miss…?” Jay glanced over at
Dani for a surname.
        “Machos” Dani supplied again, unable to think of
anything at the moment.
“Miss Machos” Jay smiled a bit stunned at the strong grasp from
the brown hand that still gripped his forearm, not his hand and he
had expected. Jay turned to face Dani, his eyebrow raised in
surprised confusion, very well aware of the similarity between

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this woman’s name and the name of the Amazon remains in the
museum. He would have to make a note to ask Dani about that
later, for now he grinned up at the dark woman and returned the
arm clasp.




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Chapter 10
        He splashed another handful of water over his face
gritting his teeth against the sting of the cuts. Who had she been

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and where had she come from? That bitch had no right to steal
his prize from him, the woman was his he had claimed her and by
all that was right; he was going to have her. He stared into mirror
seeing first the deep pools of dull brown, and then beyond to the
cuts made by the razor grass he had landed in head first, into a
face he considered handsome beyond reason and women
considered completely forgettable. Saw past lips that were paper
thin and ghostly pale, around a narrow pointed nose that seemed
to have been place haphazardly below an average brow that had
been topped with average brown hair on an average height man.
He was the forgettable face in the crowd, the man forgotten in the
rush, left out of the party, left forgotten in line; he was the
perfectly forgettable face of a killer. And right now he was
angry, he turned from the mirror and rushed into his small
kitchen, ransacking the cabinets and drawers he retrieved a large
butcher knife. Rubbing the knife against his face seemed to cool
the scratches some, that felt good, very good. He walked back
into his study and turned on the light, the walls were covered
with pictures, clippings from magazines and newspapers. Pictures
of women, beautiful women, dead women, women he had made
his, that had begged him to make love to them just before he
killed them. He had been the last thing they had asked for in life
and he had made them his. He had more women waiting patiently
for their turn but that bitch had screwed everything up, now he
was off his schedule. He would have to fix that, he would have
to take care of some others and come back to this one when he
had enough time to commit to two women, he smiled and rubbed
the knife against the angry scars again, yes that would work, he
turned and left the room heading out of the apartment and into the
night.
         They found her the next morning; she was the worse so
far, the killer had called at two in the morning to tell the police
where they could find the body. She had been raped and brutally
butchered. Her body found in her bathtub, she had been torn
open, her throat cut with such anger that her head had been nearly
removed. She had been stabbed; the coroner stopped counting at
40 wounds. The killer was angry, very angry and he left that
message at the scene.

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         Dani was amazed at Nik’s memory; the police artist had
arrived and was scratching away on her pad adding details from
the translations given to her by Dani from Nik. The picture that
was slowly evolving looked much like the face that Dani
remember last night in her room a chill raced up her spine
followed by a shiver. She turned large grey eyes to Nik and was
relieved to feel a warm hand caress away the fear. The artist
caught Dani’s eye and smiled at the two women her hand
reaching for the rainbow beaded necklace at her throat.
         “Well, I think you have given us a pretty complete picture
here Miss Patterson. We have got to catch this bastard before he
hurts someone else.” She commented standing and closing her
artist pad.
         “Yes, I heard that he killed another woman this morning.
It really is horrible. If Nik hadn’t been here I would probably be
dead now.” Dani said leaning back into Nik’s embrace.
         “Well, all I can say is that it must be nice to have such a
strong, good looking partner.” The lady cop grinned.
         “Oh, Nik isn’t my partner.” Dani replied blushing. “We
just met the other night. We are just good friends.” She offered
smiling shyly.
         “Riiiight whatever” the cop winked at Nik who grinned
back seeming to understand exactly what was going on.
         “Well, thank you again officer.” Dani said heading for the
front door to let the officer out shutting it smartly behind her.
         “Dani? Dani, are you angry at me?” Nik asked, “Did I do
something wrong?”
         “Well, no I’m not angry at you Nik and no, you didn’t do
anything wrong…except be you good looking self.” Dani
mumbled that last bit in English, under her breath.
         “Are you angry because I smiled at that young woman?”
She asked “I will not do it again if it angers you. But we are not
fasted Dani.” Nik said confused.
         “Fasted? What is Fasted Nik?” Dani asked.
         A sharp rap on the door stopped Nik from responding.
         Dani, who was still standing at the door turned the handle
and let in Steve Coleman, the police officer from the night
before. Today his face was a grim if not more so than the night

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before. He did not wait to be asked in but walked past Dani and
into the house.
        Nik frowned but did not stop the man from entering.
        “Have you two seen the news, they are repeating it from
late last night.” Coleman said. “Here turn on the TV.” He
moved to the set, picked up the remote and switched on the set
flipping the channels until he found the news he was looking for.
“Thank you Jim, this is Barbara Stewards with News 14 bringing
you the report at the site of the most recent 911 Killer location.
And yes, he has struck again Jim but he has changed his methods
and according to police he has escalated. We have learned that
the killer may have gutted his latest victim and taken some of her
internal organ as some sort of trophy.
        The attractive woman stood on a tree lined street in front
of a cream colored house with green shutters. Yellow police tape
glowed in the street light blocking off an area from the sidewalk
to the door, police officers were everywhere, directing traffic,
searching the ground, wandering in and out of the building or
simply performing crowd control. The red and blue lights
providing an eerie background for the reporter.
        This, his latest and most vicious attack is being compared
with other equally sadistic heinous killer, today they have placed
him in the same category and level as Jack the Ripper.” Dani did
not hear the rest, all she heard was a hissing noise and felt the
skin at the back of her neck begin to tingle as her legs turned to
Jell-O, it was all just too much. Nik reached her in two strides;
she scooped up the smaller woman and carried her to the sofa,
sitting down with Dani on her lap. She wrapped the woman in
her arms pulling her close and speaking softly to her, rocking her
gently. Dani was in shock, her mind locked on the last words she
has absorbed, “Jack the Ripper.”
        Officer Coleman had the decency to be ashamed, “I am
sorry Dani, I didn’t know they would say…I’m so sorry, I figured
that you…God, I’m sorry…” was all he could say. Finally Dani
pulled herself together and looked up from the shelter of Niks
embrace.
        “He killed that woman because of me didn’t he?” she
asked. “If he had killed me she would still be alive wouldn’t she?

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This is my fault.”
        “No Dani, this isn’t your fault.” Coleman replied, “This is
his fault, the man is a serial killer for God’s sake, he kills because
he likes to. If he hadn’t killed her he would have killed someone
or he may have come back and tried for you again which is why I
am here. We want to move you. We think he is escalating
because he is angry. He has some sort of agenda and missing you
screwed with that, now his is pissed. We think he is going to try
again and we want you as safe as we can make you.”
        “Well what if I don’t want to leave? I have things I am
responsible for.” Dani said her mind still a bit jumbled thinking
of her job and the artifacts that lay deep in the bowels of the
museum.
        “We have spoken with your boss already and he has
agreed to allow you a paid sabbatical to recover from your ordeal.
Hopefully that will give us enough time to deal with this
problem.” The Detective told her. “We will have security on
you at all times, you will be perfectly safe, I promise you.”
        Dani thought about what she had been told, “Where
exactly are we talking about?” She asked. Focusing sharp grey
eyes on the man.
        “Well we have several hotels in the area we can choose
from and we will even let you pick, how’s that?” He offered.
        “Fine” Dani agreed, “But, only if Nik is my security. No
cops, no plain clothes goons no armed super heroes, just Nik.”
She said sitting up straighter.
        “Wait a minute, I don’t know about that, she isn’t even
trained officer. We really need someone who can handle herself
in an emergency.” Coleman said.
        “An EMERGENCY? WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT
LAST NIGHT, THE PIZZA DELIVERY BOY?” Dani screamed
“ I would call waking up with some pervert sitting on your chest
drooling like an adolescent teenager in heat an emergency.” She
went on.
        Nik was getting angry she could see that Dani was upset
and she did not like it. She turned cold blue eyes on Officer
Coleman and stared. Calmly and in very clear but very
beautifully accented English she asked “Are you making my

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Dani angry? That is not good.”
        Officer Coleman felt the eyes focused on him, he turned
to meet them and for the first time he looked, really looked deep
into them and what he saw there made his throat close and the
blood run cold in his veins. This woman was like nothing he had
ever known, she was beautiful, but so was a viper and both could
kill you, he was very sure of that.




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                    Nik of Time




Chapter 11
      The brutality of the last killing brought with it an
unexpected player into the picture; the local FBI was now

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involved in the investigation. The senior investigator had been
instructed to contact the state law enforcement authorities and
“offered” to assumed control of the case to include the security of
the only surviving witnesses. Since the case had not actually met
the criteria of the Bureau they were not able to assume the case
they were required to be invited. and though they had agreed to
allow the women the privacy of their rooms they insisted on
providing round the clock door security as well as driver and a
secure car. Dani and Nik were the only surviving victims of the
killer and the FBI wanted to keep them in that condition. It had
been decided that the women were to be housed in the Amerisuite
hotel on the edge of Columbia where they had a wireless hook up
so that Dani could continue with her research. The only people
privy to the information about the location were the FBI and
select members of the State Law Enforcement Agency, the LEA,
which had jurisdiction over any major cases that occurred
affecting people on a statewide level. So far there had been no
problems with the arrangements but that was due largely to the
fact that the agents the two women had dealt with were the
ground team, the driver and the door security. They had yet to
meet the AIC, Agent in Charge, and his staff he was due to meet
them later, at the hotel where they were to be briefed on what was
going on and what they might expect.
        The hotel wasn’t that far from Dani’s home and the two
women had been bundled up into a dark SUV for the drive over.
Dani and Nik were enjoying the drive and the beautiful day, well,
Nik was enjoying the day, Dani was doing her best not to think of
the woman who had died early that morning. She could still hear
the reporter speaking the words repeating over and over in her
mind. She could almost picture it, what had happened to that
woman. She was frightened, for the first time, she was really
frightened, Dani stared down at her hands watching them tremble
then seeing them covered by a larger soft brown hand. She
looked up and into a pair of celestial blue eyes that smiled back at
her and she felt…safe, warm and loved. Dani leaned back and
relaxed, she was with Nik, Amazon time traveling warrior
extraordinaire, what could happen? She smiled back and relaxed,
accepting things as they were, for now.

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        Nik turned back to watch the trees dart by, so this was
how the people of the modern world traveled…and so fast, she
could learn to like this Nik thought staring out the window still
amazed at by the hard black trail that went on forever. “Tell me
again Dani how this engine works.” She asked not taking her
nose from its foggy spot mashed against the glass pane.
        “Well the engine is actually a bunch of machine parts put
together that work on a liquid, something called gasoline, you can
think of it like hay for horses, you feed the horse and the horse
moves. So you put this liquid in the engine and the engine
moves. The movement is the turning of the wheels and that
makes the car move. It is kinda simple if you break it down that
way.” Dani said smiling at the Amazon. “Now Nik can you tell
me something?” The Amazon turned and nodded looking at Dani
as if she knew what she was about to ask. “How is it that you
speak English?” Dani asked her this in Greek unsure of the
driver and guard listening from the front seats.
        “Well, you have been visiting me often Dani and when
you are upset or happy or just having a good day you speak in
English. I simply listen. It is something I have always been able
to do. That is why I was chosen to go with the group to meet
with the Romans, because I understood their language as well as
several others. The Romans did not know that and spoke freely in
front of me. That is how I was able to warn my companions
before the attack, but sadly, not soon enough.” Nik’s eyes turned
dark as sad as she turned back to gaze outside at the passing
scenery.
        Damn, I wish I hadn’t asked her now. Dani squeezed the
hand that was holding hers then wrapped her free arm around
Nik’s. Leaning over she rested her head on a strong shoulder and
closed her eyes with a sigh of contentment.
        Nik glanced down at the dark hair of the Shamanist; she
gently kissed the crown of hair and laid her cheek on it. Closing
her eyes she let the hum of the tires lull her to sleep.
        The desk clerk had only seen things like this on CSI,
nothing like this ever happened in places like Columbia. He
watched as three big black SUV’s pulled up in front of the hotel,
even the windows were tinted black, just like on television. He

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was amazed, he was excited, and he was looking for the cameras.
The smile left his face when he saw the men in black. The cars
had all stopped at the same time the doors all opening at once and
six men, that could best be described as goons, stepped out he
stopped wondering and decided that digression was the better
part of valor and he would be better off doing his job, well.
        The men approached the desk and arranged for a suite
with two king sized beds. The room was on the third floor and in
the middle of the hotel, no outside windows and only one door
with no connecting suites. Now he was curious, who was it that
needed so much security, a politician, the President, maybe a
movie star? He craned his neck trying to see, the men walked
back outside to the second SUV three men stood by the back door
while one opened the door and reached inside, he watched as a
small brunette stepped out of the truck, she was beautiful, he
could understand why she needed an escort but he did not
recognize her or the second taller stunning woman that stepped
out right behind her. This woman was exotic looking, he smiled
at both, the small woman smiled shyly back the but the tall
woman ignored him, placing a hand at the small of the brunettes
back,\\ she was looking around as if searching for something,
Normally he would have felt insulted but after seeing the
seriousness in her eyes he was glad she chose to ignore him.
        Nik felt Dani trembling; the small woman was still in
shock from the events of the night and hearing the news. She
was not surprised the death of another human was always a hard
thing to deal with and to know that it could have been you would
be enough to cause anyone trauma especially someone as
sensitive as her little shamanist. When they arrived at this new
place, this ‘safe house’ Nik was determined that no one would
touch Dani again if it was within her power to prevent it. As
soon as the door opened Dani hopped out and was quickly
followed by Nik. The men walked on either side of Dani their
eyes hidden with dark glasses, Nik made no attempt to disguise
the fact that she was checking out everything. Anyone that came
too close received an icy glare and a near growl from the tall
black haired woman, not that they would have gotten past the
wall of goons that surrounded the beautiful women.

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        “So who are they?” the young clerk asked one of the men
in black watching as the women entered the elevator. The man
did not answer; he simply peeled off several large bills and
passed them to the clerk. Let me guess, umm movie stars? No,
no I’ve never seem those faces on TV, I would’ve remembered
them. Umm models, no…not important enough…I know foreign
Royalty right, that’s it isn’t? Those two are some sort of Royal
Queens or something and they are in hiding here right?” He went
on passing the change across the counter. The goon simply
collected his change and followed the small group into the
elevator.




Chapter 12
        Nik watched Dani as she unpacked their clothes she was
still amazed at all that had occurred. She was alive, here with
Dani in her world. The Goddess Athena had placed her here to

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protect the shamanist, the woman she loved and she was more
than happy to fulfill that wish. Now after driving off a crazed
killer she was closeted up with this incredible women by strange
men that had not only provided them with a place to live, but they
had also collected clothing for them to wear. Nik now owned
several pairs of blue cloth leggings that Dani told her were called
blue jeans; she had a pair on now and found them tight but rather
comfortable. The cloth jerking that Dani said was a shirt by Old
Navy was nice and soft as well but what she did not understand
was the need for the torture device that now bound her breast.
She was not in combat yet and she had never been good with bow
and arrow so had never felt the need to bind her breast so this
device was unnecessary. But Dani had insisted that she wear this
thing so in order to keep the peace she did but as soon as possible
she and Dani would have to discuss the issue of this bra thing, it
was apparent to her that this was some sort of torture device
invented by men to keep women bound. She tugged at the front
of the bra again twisting her shoulders in a vain attempt to find a
comfortable position.
        “Stop that Nik, if you just relax you will get use to it, I
promise.” Dani assured her coming up behind Nik and rubbing
the broad shoulders. “This thing will help prevent those
wonderful breasts of yours from slapping you knees when you
get old and grey, and for now it will go a long way in keeping
those FBI security men alive.”
        Really?” Nik asked. “How does that happen? Are they
wearing a bra also?” She asked turning a surprised expression to
the shamanist.
        “Well no of course not, but now they can’t see you
bouncing around the room and they have no excuse to stare at
your gorgeous breasts so I can allow them to live awhile
longer…with their eyes in their heads.” Dani added in a whisper.
        Nik smiled, pleased that Dani felt the need to be jealous.
She turned around and wrapped her arms around the smaller
woman and pulled her close, resting her cheek against Dani’s
head. “Do you know how I got here Dani?” She felt the smaller
woman shake her head. “Do you remember the last thing you
were dreaming last night before all Tartarus broke loose? You

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were in my forest and we were playing then you suddenly
disappeared. I could tell something bad was happening. I asked
the Goddess to send me to my love and suddenly I was in your
room.
        Nik felt Dani pulling back from her, she released her hold
and looked down into stunned grey eyes, “What did you say?”
She asked in a whisper.
Before Nik could answer there was a soft knock on the door.
Nik released Dani long enough to walk to the door, “Holla” She
called.
        “Ms. Machos this is Agent Haskell I am the Agent in
Charge of the Investigation may I come in please?” A voice
responded from outside in the hallway.
        Nik looked to Dani to make sure that what she heard was
correct, receiving a nod from her ward she opened the door and
stepped aside allowing a tall heavy set woman into the room.
        Agent Haskell was not at all what Dani had expected
when she was told that a senior FBI agent would be sent to
ensure their security. To her embarrassment she had expected a
man and now was a bit surprise to discover, an African American
woman.
        Adrian Haskell was not just any agent she was one of the
top female agent to ever graduate the FBI academy, she was the
top graduate of her class. She was also the best shot in the state, a
no nonsense agent that knew her job better than most agents that
had been in the field for years, she had to, she was a woman and
a gay woman on top of that. The FBI had elected to use the same
‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy that the US Military used,
unfortunately Agent Haskell never considered herself shy and the
fact that she was so good at what she did made her too vital an
asset for the FBI to loose even if she were very obviously gay. A
tall woman, she always wore tailored business suits, usually with
designer labels, drove a black Jaguar and wore dark glasses to
hide silver grey eyes, which, though strange looking in her dark
face, drew women like flies. She wore her hair cut short and
close to her head much like Halle Berry and when she smiled,
which was not often, perfect white teeth shown out from
mahogany skin. She was not what one would call beautiful but

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definitely a handsome woman.
        Nik liked her immediately, she reminded her of the Arms
Mistress, all gruff and hard on the outside but a heart of gold on
the inside.
        Agent Haskell sized up her two latest projects, the smaller
woman was a geek, a cute geek but still, a geek. Danielle
Patterson, PhD. 26 years old, works at the South Carolina State
Museum Archeological Department specializing in Ancient
Civilizations and only survivor of the 911 killer. Well, that’s
pretty straight forward. Now the other woman, she is a mystery,
nothing from immigration on her, nothing from the Greek
embassy and so far nothing from their counterparts in Greece,
Nik Machos is the invisible woman Adrian frowned. No one that
good lookin’ should be invisible, who was she?
        She watched as the tall woman walked back to the doctor
and placed a protective arm around a slender waist. Well, she
does have good taste. Adrian smiled nodding at Nik who cocked
an eyebrow and nodded back with a smile. And smart, seems we
have a lot in common. Adrian mused.
        She walked to the table by the bed placed a thin black
briefcase on it pulling out a chair she sat down and opened the
latches, she lifted out a thin laptop and immediately got Dani’s
attention. Plugging into the nearest power source Adrian booted
up the laptop and began tapping on the keyboard.
        “First of all there are a few questions I need answered, she
paused for a moment and looked up at Nik, “I would love to ask
you a few like who the Hell are you. But that is for later. Right
now I need to know about your late night visitor, you gave a
pretty complete description to the police artist now can you tell
me how he got in and how he left. Now, who wants to start?”
Adrian looked up again and smiled.
        Dani took Nik’s hand and led her to the table pulling out a
chair she sat down, Nik pulled out a chair and sat next to her and
the three women began talking. Sometime around nine that
evening they stopped to order pizza, a food that Nik instantly fell
in love with, three large meat lovers later they had provided
Adrian with all the information they could think of. Now she
was compiling a profile of the 911 killer that included everything

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except the color of his underwear.
        “She is good, very good.” Nik told Dani in Greek, “She
is a great warrior, much like a woman I once knew.” She said her
eyes misting as she remembered that the women she knew, the
warriors that she had grown up with, fought with and yes died
with were all dead, they had died thousands of years ago.
        “You know, it isn’t polite to speak in a foreign language
in front of a guest.” Adrian said looking at the two women.
        “Sorry Adrian” Dani and Nik said in unison.
        Adrian stood and raising her arms above her head,
stretched her lean frame causing her spine to crack and bringing a
groan from Dani.
        “Ewww, that sounds bad” she moaned staring at the
agent.
        “Yep but it felt wonderful.” Adrian smiled as she packed
up her laptop closing the case. “Now I am going to leave you
ladies for the evening. Get plenty of rest we have a busy day
tomorrow and I will need you alert so get some sleep if you can.”
She opened the door and stepped out “I will be leaving an agent
at the door, if you need anything all you have to do is knock and
tell him what you want. He has been ordered not to bother you
unless you knock so…have pleasant evening ladies.” With that
Adrian winked at Nik as she pulled the door closed.
        “What was that all about?” Dani asked Nik, the Amazon
was busy taking off her shoes and peeling out of her jeans.
        “What do you mean Dani? I am going to bathe and get
ready for bed as agent Haskell recommended.” Nik said stripping
off her top and now standing in her bra and panties. She stood
heading towards the bathroom, her stride graceful and smooth
reminding Dani of a cat.
        “CAT! Bailey?” Dani cried.
        “What?” Nik stopped almost at the door.
        “Bailey, we left her at the house…alone, she must be
hungry and scared.” She was beginning to panic.
        “No she is fine, I gave her to Jay to watch before we left.
He is taking good care of her.” Nik commented turning again
towards the bathroom disappointed that Dani had been so easily
distracted from her so well planned parade. Well, there was

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always the walk to the bed after her bath; she smiled thinking of
the expression on Dani’s face.
        Nik closed the door and turned towards the tub Dani had
explained how this thing worked but she had never used one
herself. This was going to be an interesting experience. She
pulled back the curtain and looked for the silver handles but there
were no silver handles there was just one big knob. She could
figure it out after all she had conquered a roman legion she could
conquer a bath. Nik stepped into the tub and pulled the handle
watching the spout smiling when cool water poured out. This
wasn’t so tough she though, very proud of herself. She sat down
waiting for the tub to fill but a hole in the bottom prevented that
from happening. There must be something that she had missed,
something that was used to plug the hole. That was when Nik
noticed the silver stem sticking out below the large knob, feeling
very clever she reached up and pushed the stem in watching the
hole expecting to see something appear to plug the hole instead
she was suddenly showered with water falling from a fountain
high on the wall of the tub and it was COLD! She gasped in
surprise the chilling water taking her breathe away she reached
for the knob fumbling with it twisting it back and forth finally
feeling the temperature of the water change, now it was warm, it
felt…wonderful.
        “By the great Goddess Athena, if I had known they had
water bathes like these I would have bathed every hour I have
been here.” Nik mumbled enjoying the feel of the water as it
washed over her head and face. She Hmmed an old Amazon
lullaby as she rubbed the small bar of hotel soap over her body
enjoying again the feel of the water.
        Dani had begun to undress, having removed her jeans and
shirt she now sat on the bed wrapped in a towel and waited while
Nik finished her shower. She smiled hearing the sound of the
warrior, she was one of those fortunate or unfortunate people
born with perfect pitch and when listening to a well trained voice
her soul could be touched, when her ears were tortured by off key
notes she often ended the concert with aspirin. This was one of
those rare occasions when the sound reach her heart she was not
familiar with the song but she understood the notes and she was

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touched. She sat on the bed letting the sound wrap around her
loving the voice and loving the woman who owned it.
         Finally the door open, clouds of white steam rolled out
followed by a very happy and very clean Amazon warrior. Nik
had wrapped herself in a large towel and her hair in a second
towel. “Dani you must try that silver stem, it opens a waterfall in
the wall it is wonderful.” She exclaimed excitedly, her eyes
sparkling, all thoughts of her parade forgotten in the moment.
         Dani smiled and patted Niks arm. “Sure thing Nik, I’ll be
out in a few minutes. Why don’t you finish drying off and see if
you can find something of TV to watch.” She said as she closed
the door to the bathroom before Nik realized that she had just
missed her chance to impress Dani with her body…again.
         Dani stood in the shower she smiled remembering the
bronze skin that had not been hidden by the towel, her fingers
actually seemed to itch wanting to touch that soft flesh. Since
Agent Kelso had left she had wanted to have Nik alone but it
seemed that the Amazon was preoccupied. Well maybe I can do
something about it. She thought as she rushed through her
shower.
         Napping her warm naked body in a towel she stepped out
of the bathroom and into the chilled bedroom. The main lights
were out and the lights over one of the king sized beds was on
washing the room in a warm glow, the television was set to a
music station and soft music filled the room. Dani glanced at the
bed and saw Nik laying on the bed she smiled at Dani and held
out her hand. She knew that by taking her hand she would be
committing herself to a relationship with the warrior, this was not
a woman that gave easily or at random. Did she want this? She
slowly walked to the bed, coming to a standstill a few inches
from Nik’s hand.
         Nik looked up hoping to read something in Dani’s eyes
afraid of what she might see.
         Slowly Dani’s hands reach up pulling the towel away,
letting it fall to the ground leaving her exposed to Nik’s eyes.
         Nik pulled back the covers leaving room for Dani to slip
in.
         The sheets were warm from Nik’s body, bed was soft and

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light seemed to wrap them both in a cocoon that blocked out the
rest of the world. Nik pulled Dani close to her and leaned
forward, her black hair fell like a gentle curtain closing off every
thing but Nik’s face. For the first time Dani looked, really looked
into the face of her warrior, the golden skin had a light sheen of
sweat, the lips were full and rose colored and her eyes were now
a deep blue, the pupils large and dark. She felt the strong
muscles flex as Nik lower herself closer, their lips touching,
Nik’s tongue slipped inside her mouth exploring, seeking,
finding. Dani felt a large hand slide up her side gently feeling its
way past her ribs caress her breast. A callus thumb rubbing a
sensitive nipple was soon joined by a finger that plucked at the
bud which was soon engulfed by a warm mouth. As the lips
closed over her breast Dani felt herself dripping wet, she wanted
this, she needed this. The hand that had caressed her breast was
now traveling down slowly gently stroking soft willing flesh as it
traveled coming closer to an ach that Dani knew only Nik could
heal. Her hips lifted urging the Amazon on until finally Nik
reached a soft nest of damp curls. Dani moaned arching her back
again as Nik stroked the curls, slipping two fingers into the tender
folds of flesh lightly at first then deeper, and deeper until she
touched a bud of nerves she stopped there with her fingers on that
sweet spot. Dani was near tears as Nik released her breast and
slide down her body, her fingers never moving from their its
warm nest until her lips arrived a the curls. The fingers gently
spread the folds of flesh exposing the quivering center to Nik’s
lips and tongue. As she greedily sucked the sweetness into her
mouth she wrapped her strong arms around Dani’s thighs and
held on. The small woman bucked as she felt the pulling deep in
her center, her heart felt as if it was exploding, she loved this
woman with all her soul.




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                      Nik of Time




Chapter 13
        It was the talking in the hallway that woke them. Nik
whispered into Dani’s ear, “Wake up my love we have visitors
and I think they are trying to surprise us.” Dani’ eyes were now

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wide open and she sat straight up in bed Nik handed her the towel
from the evening before and shooed her towards the bathroom.
She slipped out of bed and into her jeans pulled on a t-shirt,
slipping on a pair of socks she went to stand by the door waiting.
Suddenly the door opened and in walked a very smug FBI
security agent, “Good morning la…”.
        That was as far as he got before he felt himself flying
across the room. The back up agent came in to assist his partner
and he too was sent across the room. Both agents were slow in
rising and were not ready for what they faced, one very angry
Amazon, one pissed off PhD and worst of all, one really angry
AIC who was now standing in the doorway behind the Amazon.

        “Agent Caine, can I assume you have a DAMN good
reason for being in this room?” Agent Haskell asked having
removed her glasses now drilling both men to the floor with a
piercing glare.
        “Well ma’am we heard that you were coming and we
though it would be good to get these two up and…” he began.
        “Wait, wait, wait you thought? We don’t pay you to
think, your job is to guard this door. PERIOD that is it, nothing
more. Now, what do you mean ‘these two’? are you implying
that you take issue with the fact that these woman are together?
If you take issue with that then perhaps it is time for you to find a
new employer. Good morning gentlemen.” Adrian moved aside
allowing the men to pass as she reached for the phone clipped to
her hip. Flipping it open she touched speed dial and called
Quantico. “This is AIC Adrian Haskell I am on the 911 Serial
Killer case and I need two intelligent security agents. I say
intelligent because I am sending the bozos you sent me back
along with a detailed report about their behavior.” Adrian said as
she shut the door. “The subjects will be with me until the new
security arrives.”
        Adrian did not wait for a reply from the other end of the
phone; she hung up and went set her brief case down.
        “Good morning Nik, I see you have had an interesting
start to your day.” She smiled. Nik smiled back. As quiet as it
was kept she enjoyed her bit of exercise.

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                      Nik of Time
        “Hola sister good to see you this morning.” Nik replied
holding out an arm to Adrian pleased when her forearm was
grasped in a firm grip.
        “Okay you two now that you have both finished flexing
for the morning can we find something to eat, I am starving.”
Dani said, her stomach picking that moment to voice its opinion,
loudly. Adrian looked at Nik who grinned broadly.
        “Well, I think the hotel still has their Continental
Breakfast open let’s go see what they have.” Adrian suggested.
Dani looked from one tall woman to the other frowning, these
two were up to something, she just wasn’t sure what it was.
        Nik stepped into the bathroom for a few minutes to
properly dress then returned and the three women left for
breakfast.
        As they sat in the small dining area of the Amerisuite
lobby they spoke quietly about what was going on with the
investigation.
        “Well, we had not been able to get any sort of DNA on
our unsub, apparently he used a condom. What I couldn’t figure
out is why no hair or skin or anything. It just didn’t make sense,
well not until our friend Nik here showed up. Now, before we
get any further, Nik do you feel like telling us where you are
from? I mean we are having a Hell of a time figuring out
anything about you, so do you feel like sharing?”
        Nik smiled, but did not respond.
        “Okay, well, I guess that answers that question.” Adrian
said “Well, we can come back to that later. Since Nik has so
graciously provided us with both hair and skin samples we have
been able to get more information on this sicko. He is a
Caucasian male, middle aged, from what Nik has told us he is a
bit broad in the shoulders but not a heavy build. We still don’t
have any prints but if he has committed any other crimes or has
been employed with any Federal or State agency then we have
him in our system. So now we are waiting for the information to
run through the system and see if we get a hit. It isn’t like they
show it on television, it actually takes several days. So until we
get a positive identification then we will just have to keep our
wits about us.” Adrian said

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      Katherine E. Standell and Cora Leigh Hampton

        Dani looked at the Nik then to agent Kelso. “Can you tell
us anything about this guy Adrian? “
        “Well you know about as much as we know Dani right
now this man seems to be fixated on you. He will continue to kill
until we either catch him or kill him.
        Roger Caine was beside himself, who did she think she
was? “That damn Dike she don’t have the right to do that.” He
murmured into his glass of Jack straight up. His partner and
fellow unemployed agent Roland Greer sat next to him nursing a
beer, no where near as inebriated as Caine, but the dull look in
his eyes echoed his frustration.
        “We didn’t do anything wrong Danielle, did we, nothing
really. Well maybe we should have knocked and maybe we
should have waited for the AIC but that isn’t bad enough to get
fired for is it?” Greer whined forgetting that the reason they had
actually barged in on the two women was in the hope of catching
them naked together. It wasn’t like they were regular women,
they were just a couple of lesbians, who would it hurt? It never
dawned on the two men that the only persons hurt so far had been
them.
        Roger tipped his glass to his lips, tossing back the
contents then lowered it gently to the bar, staring into the bottom
he looked for a way out of his predicament. Slowly his liquor
soaked brain wrapped and curled its way to an idea, not a smart
idea by any stretch of the imagination, but an idea none the less.
“They will be begging to hire me back.” He mumbled.
        “What?” Greer asked looking forlorn.
        He might need some help if he was going to pull this off,
Greer could help him get his job back. He threw an arm over the
whiners shoulder, “Greer old buddy you and me, we are going to
show that damn Bull Dike how real FBI agents work.” He said
grinning. Greer dumbly nodded his agreement, he had nothing
else to do and nowhere else to go, why not.
        Adrian had offered to take Dani and Nik out shopping for
some necessities since they had been forced to leave almost
everything when they were taken into protective custody and
moved into the hotel. The FBI had given both women a small

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                       Nik of Time
allowance for personal purchases. In turn the AIC was
responsible for placing certain restrictions on their movements
for their own welfare as a result they were restricted to the areas
where they were allowed to shop. Absolutely no malls and no
huge shopping plazas like the Super chains. Smaller chain stores
were okay, local stores were better and one of a kind stores were
best because the clientele were usually well known by the owner
and anyone new was instantly recognized. That rule taken care
of the three women all piled into Adrian’s black Jaguar sedan and
headed towards town. The first stop was at a Dollar General
where Dani insisted on buying a real bar of soap, along with real
shampoo, real mouth wash, two real tooth brushes and a tube of
real tooth paste. All of which fascinated Nik. Nik selected a
tortoiseshell colored comb and brush, several scruncii, some hair
clips and hair combs promising to fix Dani’s hair in true Amazon
fashion. Their next stop was at a small Food Lion where they
stocked up on cola, juice, and a large assortment of
microwaveable foods. That done Dani had two places in mind
that she wanted to take Nik. The first was a small stone and gem
shop called Beckham's Barn. Tucked away on a small side street
the little store held a rainbow of both semi precious and precious
stones, geodes and every type of stone weapon you could
imagine. Nik selected two matching Amethysts, paid for them
and put both into her pocket.

        “This is a wonderful place Dani, we must come here
again when this is all over.” She said, smiling at the brunette that
was holding an armful of geodes.
The next stop was Home Depot. Dani looked at Adrian and
Adrian looked at Dani, both women yelled in unison, “HOME
DEPOT” and gave each other a high five.
        “What is this Home Depot? Dani and what is that you are
doing with your hands?” Nik asked feeling a bit left out.
        “Well the hand thing is called a ‘High Five’ it is what you
do with a friend when something you like happens. The Home
Depot…well let’s just let you find out for yourself.” She grinned
as the Jaguar rolled into a parking spot and Adrian cut the engine.
        Dani and Adrian followed Nik into the store they both

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came up beside the tall woman to watch the expression on her
face as she saw the inside of the store for the first time,
         The doorway was dark and Nik squinted to see beyond
them as they approached she reached out toward the handle only
to have it slide quietly to the side. A cool breeze and strange
smell greeted her and she took a step into the store. She stopped
just inside the doors amazed at what she saw. It was huge and
everywhere she looked there was something new and wonderful
to look at. Things with wheels, things with blades, shiny things,
golden things all sorts of tools, nails hammers, she was stunned.
She turned to Dani, and lifting a hand gently poked her with a
long finger.
         “Oww! Nik what that was for?” She complained rubbing
the sore spot.
         “I’m sorry Dani I just wanted to make sure this was real,
it is real isn’t it? These blades, these weapons all these things,
they are real aren’t they? “She asked in a whisper her eyes
darting around to see if anyone was watching.
         Dani grinned, “Yes silly they are real and now you know
why the High Five.”
         “Yes” Nik said “Home Depot” and she lifted her hands
high in a three way high five which was answered by both Dani
and Adrian as all three women chuckled and turned down the
power tools isle.
         By the time they finished shopping it was well past four
o’clock Adrian suggested a fast food place and the three piled
back into the Jag, Dani slid in next to Adrian in the front while
Nik hopped into the back with her packages. Nik had not
stopped singing the praises of Home Depot since they had left the
building, it had become her new home of worship and she was
now convinced that its entire creation had been the ideas of the
Goddess Athena and that the Goddess of the Amazons was
somewhere in the building. Dani was still chuckling over Nik’s
purchases, the warrior had spent nearly her entire allowance in
the store buying a double headed short handled ax, a small mallet
and two knives, one Bowie knife and one, very nasty looking
serrated pocket knife.
         “Adrian, is it okay for her to carry those things around, I

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                       Nik of Time
mean out in public?” Dani asked concerned and knowing that
Nik’s ideas for carrying them were not exactly the reasons that
the manufacturer had in mind.
       Well Dani, the thing is she is carrying them in plain site
and for all anyone knows they are tools of the trade, I mean she
may work in a job that requires the use of a hand ax or large
menacing cut your head off knife, who knows, she may be a Girl
Scout leader.” Adrian said grinning. “Okay an EXTREME Girl
Scout leader for Marine Girl Scouts.”
She chuckled.

        Nik sat back and grinned as she checked the edge on the
Bowie knife smiling as she pulled a sharpening stone from the
sheath and began working on the edge.
        Adrian turned into a Sonic and pulled up to a parking
space. “Okay ladies this one is on the FBI, so name your
poison.” She grinned.
        Nik’s head shot up, the smile disappeared and she
dropped the stone, the knife flipping in her hand as if on a ring
attached to her finger to a ready fighting position. Dani saw the
flash of the blade in the corner of her eye and instinctively put a
hand on Adrian’s shoulder. “Now you know Sonic has the best
burgers in town, it isn’t really poisoned.” She explained.
        “Nope just a figure of speech, my dear, just a figure of
speech, personally I love their shakes.” Adrian commented as
she powered down the window totally unaware of how close she
had been to death.
        Nik relaxed and rolled her eyes towards Dani reaching
towards the floor for the stone, spitting on it she returned to the
slow scraping motion of the sharpening action her lips quirked in
a ironic grin.
        Dani chuckled at the Amazon watching her happy to see
her relaxing again. “Nik what do you want for lunch?” She asked
“This place has great burgers.”
        “Burgers? What are burgers Dani?” Nik asked her
curiosity aroused.
        “What? Don’t you have burgers in Greece Nik? I thought
McDonalds was everywhere? Well, never mind, we will get you

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all broken in good before you go back and who knows maybe
you will be so spoiled you will want to stay here. I mean after all
there are so many nice things to temp you.” Adrian smiled
looking from Nik to Dani.
        Nik grinned in agreement.




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                   Nik of Time




Chapter 14

     Adrian unlocked the door to the suite that Nik and Dani

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      Katherine E. Standell and Cora Leigh Hampton
shared the two women waited outside in the hall with one of their
new door security agents while the other accompanied Adrian
into the room.
        “Tell me again why I have to stand here in the hall while
Adrian gets to check our room.” Nik asked Dani just a bit ticked
off that Adrian may get the chance to have a bit of fun and she
would miss out.
        “Nik you already got the throw the other agents across the
room this morning, let Adrian get a chance now.” Dani said
patting the taunt belly near her elbow pleased to feel the firm
bundle of muscles under her hand. Mine, all mine. She thought
with a smile remembering the night’s activities.
        Okay ladies its all clear, you can come in now.” Adrian
spoke from the bed room where she was holstering her pistol.
        Nik looked around the room and began to frown, she
spoke to Dani in whispered Greek. “Dani, someone has been in
our room, the pallets are tidy and there are clean rags in the
bath.” She looked at Adrian surprised that the other woman had
missed the obvious.
       Dani told her that there were actually people who came in
every day to clean the rooms and make the bed and they also put
down fresh towels. She almost laughed at the expression on
Nik’s face. “They’re called maids and they are paid to clean the
rooms and tidy the beds.

       Nik nodded her head and continued to check the room.
Dani, meanwhile, carried their bags to the sofa in the living room
area. Smiling at Adrian and Nik she strolled with half closed
eyes to the bedroom, paused at the foot of the first bed, spread
her arms with and threw herself forward across the thick
mattress.
       Adrian shook her head and rolled her eyes towards Nik
who shrugged her shoulders and walked over to Dani. She
walked to the head of the bed and lay down on her back turning
her head to face the smaller woman. Dani groaned and pulled her
body slowly forward her eyes still closed, until her head rested on
Niks belly. She pushed, poked and prodded until she deemed her
makeshift pillow was just right then curled up and settled in to

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sleep. Nik grinned up at Adrian and waved and the agent
signaled that she was leaving and would call later. Nik reached
over and pulled the bedspread up and over them both, propped a
pillow behind her head and went to sleep with her Shamanist
snoring away on her belly.
        That evening the two women were enjoy a quiet meal
together, this was Nik’s first experience with Chinese food and
she loved the Sweet and Sour Chicken but the chop sticks were a
pain. Nik had resorted to what she knew, she reached behind her,
into her belt and pulled out her recent purchase, a now razor
sharp, Bowie knife, she speared each piece of meat and delicately
nibbled it off scooping a few fingers full of rice. It was all done
very delicately and no food was spilled. All in all it seemed a
very cultured way to eat, Dani grinned, plus Nik was happy and
that was all that mattered.
        They were almost halfway through their meal when a
knock sounded on the door. Dani opened it to find Adrian
standing there with an extremely angry expression on her face.
        “Dani, turn on the television and tune in to channel 10.”
        “…channel 10 at 10 with this late breaking news story.
Channel 10 has learned that the surviving victim of the 911 killer
is presently staying at a local hotel in the Lexington/Richland
County Area under close guard. In addition we have discovered
that there are actually two victims not one as we were first told.
Both women are under FBI protection at this time.” The cheerful
reported paused here with her hand to her ear listening to the
announcer at the main station. “No John, we don’t have their
names but we believe that they are at an Amerisuite here in either
Lexington or Columbia. The 911 Killer has threatened to kill the
women if he finds them so they are supposed to be very well
protected. However our informer tells us that the security that is
being used is substandard, not at all quality agents. He believed
that almost anyone could walk right in and kidnap or kill the two
women.” She paused again listening. “No we are not certain if
it is an Amerisuite it may be a Holiday Inn or a Ramada I will
check back with our sources and let you know. For now this is
Sandy…”
        Adrian turned the set off. “FUCK! How did this leak

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      Katherine E. Standell and Cora Leigh Hampton
out? We have got to move you two. It will take a few hours so
sit tight; we have to find a safe house since we won’t be able to
use hotels for a while. The guys will be at the door until we
move so just stay here and don’t open the door for anyone except
them or me got it?”
         “Yeah, Adrian, should we be worried?” Dani asked.
         “Well for normal people I would say yes, but you have
Nik, so I have to say no.” Adrian grinned giving Nik a slight nod
which Nik returned understandingly.

        With that Adrian left the room to brief the door security
and head back to the regional office to set the wheels in motion to
find a new safe house, plug an unwanted leak and most of all
silence one nosey television reported.
        Adrian had not been gone long before there was a knock
on the door. Nik signaled Dani to wait in the bathroom as she
went to the door, the large bowie knife hidden in her belt loop in
the back of her jeans.
        Nik watched and listened as Dani first shut then locked
the bathroom door, that done she went to the door and glanced
out the peep hole. Seeing only the door security she threw the
security bar to the locked position and opened the door a crack.
The security agent stood there with agent Caine.
        “Miss Machos Agent Caine just informed me that AIC
Kelso has had an accident on her way to the local office and has
sent agent Caine to ride to escort you to the office to meet with
her there.”
        Nik look at Caine who smiled at her then shifted his eyes
towards the room behind her. Nik pulled the door tighter. “I
don’t think so; we will wait here for a call from Adrian. If she
wants us she can call and let us know, until then we will stay
right here.” Nik said and started to close the door.
        Suddenly, Caine drew a weapon; he brought the butt
down sharply on the back of the first guards head, then turned it
on the second guard and disarmed him. Nik slammed the door
shut and locked it. Watching through the peep hole she saw
Caine first cuff the second agent the strike him hard leaving him
in a heap on the floor. He then turned the gun towards the door.

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                      Nik of Time
She had seen enough television shows to know what sort of
damage a weapon like that could do, she backed from the door
and moved to the center of the room waiting for Caine.
        Two rounds fired in quick succession destroyed the
electronic lock on the door as former Agent Roger Caine entered
the room. “Hello Nik, where is that little Dike friend of yours?
Hiding in the bathroom?” He asked sneering. “Tell her to bring
her cute little ass out here or I will shoot you. After all I only
need one of you to prove my point and it would be a whole lot
easier dealing with someone small like her.” He yelled grinning
as he heard the frantic fumbling of the bathroom door lock.
        “No, don’t hurt her. Please, I’ll do what you say, just
don’t hurt her.” Dani said frantically as she stumbled from the
bathroom and fell into Nik’s arms.
        “Now isn’t that just sweet.” Roger snarled disgusted. He
tossed Dani a pair of handcuffs. “Put them on, one on her, one
on you. We wouldn’t want you to get lost now would we?”
        “Why are you doing this?” Dani asked tightening the cuff
around her wrist. “You are suppose to be one of the good guys.”
        “Yeah, well thanks to your Amazon friend here,” Roger
said not realizing how close he had come to the truth. “I am out
of a job. So I figured you two should help me get my job back.”
        “Wait a minute, does this have anything to do with the
leak? Are you the reason the news people know where we are?”
Dani asked.
        “Yep, I figured that they would have to move you and that
would give me the chance to prove that I was the best man for the
security job.” Roger said puffing up his chest proud of his plan.

        Dani rolled her eyes and turned to Nik. “Can you believe
this guy?” She turned back to Roger. “Are you always an idiot
or is this your special day? How in the Hell did you get into the
FBI? Do you have a relative that put in a good word for you or
something?”
        Roger stared at her angry that the smaller woman had
called him an idiot. He pointed the gun at her. “My Uncle didn’t
have nothin’ to do with my getting the job.” He had heard that
same accusation all the time he had been at the academy.

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“Maybe I will shoot you after all.” He turned and pointed the
pistol at Dani
         Nik quickly pushed Dani behind her and turned to face
Roger. “I would not do that if I were you.” She growled, her
eyes narrowing on the man and the gun.
         “Or what? You gonna throw me across the room again
Amazon? You are all cuffed up, you can’t do a…” before he
could say another word there was a loud snap. Roger heard his
arm break before he actually felt it, and before he could scream
he was flying across the room again.
         Dani grinned as Roger hit the wall with a resounding thud
then slid to a heap and lay still. She turned to hug Nik but was
stopped by the hand cuffs, their arms becoming tangled as they
tried to hug each other. Laughing the women did not notice the
third pair of eyes staring at them from the doorway until the
sound of applause caught their attention.
         They both turned to see a police officer in a blue uniform
standing in the doorway smiling at them as he leaned against the
door frame. “That was some trick, very impressive.” He said as
he drew his revolver. “Now if you don’t mind please raise your
hands ladies.” He pointed his weapon directly at Dani, the smile
leaving his face.
         “Wait you don’t understand. That man he was trying to
kidnap us.” Dani said lowering her arm trying to reason with the
officer.
         “Don’t bother Dani, he isn’t interested in anything you
have to say. Don’t you recognize him?” Nik whispered in
Greek.
         Dani turned to look into the officers eyes, frowning in
concentration. Suddenly it came to her. She recognized those
eyes, the last time she had seen them had been the day she had
nearly been run down, the day she had met Nik, the day she had
nearly died, twice. Those were the eyes of a killer, a serial killer
and he was a police officer.




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Chapter 15
        Dani was frantic; she sat in the front seat of an ancient
faded Bronze Plymouth Duster to frightened to look at the driver,
afraid that he would stop terrified that he wouldn’t. It was late in

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the day, Nik had to be okay and until they stopped she knew that
there was no way she would willingly leave this killer. Her ears
strained, not to hear the radio or the sound of sirens but to hear
the sound of knocking or pounding or anything from the trunk of
the old Coupe. This madman had forced Nik into the trunk
knowing that Dani would never leave him as long as the tall
woman was trapped.
        “You know you are late. You were scheduled for
Tuesday, today is Thursday. Do you have any idea what you
have done? I was ready to allow you to opportunity to become
mine, to experience the pleasure of sex with me before you die.
But that great cow, the bitch ruined it but perhaps you can earn
the right, the opportunity to redeem yourself.” He laughed
reaching over to stroke her thigh, painfully squeezing the area
directly behind her knee.
        Dani tried not to cry out but a moan slipped out from her
lips causing the driver to smile with pleasure. She hated this but
she would do what she had to do to be reunited with Nik. That
was the only thing on her mind right now.
        From the darkness of the trunk Nik had not been lazy she
had been planning. The heat did not bother her, she had dealt
with far worse and there was much at stake. This man had not
bothered to search her, he had secured her hands behind her
backs with the metal bands he had shoved her into the back of
this wagon and closed the door. That left him alone with Dani
and that was not good. She strained her ears trying to hear the
young Shamanist her only thoughts were to get free and get Dani.
She had managed to get her hands around in front of her, she had
dislocated her shoulder in order to be able to twist her arms
around and forward. Now it was only a matter of waiting,
waiting for the wagon to stop and for the man to open the door
and let her out. Nik was determined that it would be the last
thing one of them would see.
        His name was Frank Taylor, he glanced into the rear view
mirror not really expecting to see anyone, after all they had not
caught him yet. It had all been so easy, it was just like he had
dreamed for years and now it was true, he was following his
dream. He had wanted to be a police officer he had trained for

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months, working at the most disgusting jobs just to save up
enough to buy a pistol then to pay for the months at the range.
He had trained for weeks, running, weight lifting and hitting the
pistol range, firing over and over and over. Only to be washed
out in a psychological evaluation. The police academy required
all officers pass an evaluation before they were allowed past the
second week of training. Frank had failed his evaluation, twice.
After the second failure he had exploded, threatening the
psychiatrist and had been washed from the program. Now the
only option available to him was as a Security guard at the local
malls or as a school rent a cop, providing security inside the
school for the teachers and for the students. He made sure they
didn’t have to worry about dangerous weapons in the schools.
He chuckled at that, the idea of the students being dangerous,
they had no idea of what dangerous really was and they had no
idea what they had allowed in their schools, near their sweet little
kids. He grinned at the face in the mirror. It had been so easy, all
he had done was to pull his old car to the side of the road and lift
the hood, the cop saw his uniform and just pulled over, no lights
no radio no nothing, just helping a fellow law enforcement
officer. He had been really surprised when he saw the pistol.
         Frank had forced the young officer into the corn field
beside the road and stolen his clothes then killed him and driven
his car into deep into the corn and out of site. Now no one would
question him, a police officer at a crime scene, it was brilliant, he
was brilliant.
         Dani watched Frank primp as he drove, if the situation
had not been so tragic it would have been funny. This bland, thin
unremarkable man was primping as if he were Fabio, so
distracted with his personal admiration that his car began to drift.
Dani noticed the drift and her instincts were to gasp, to grab the
wheel and pull the car back in line, it took all her nerve not to.
She reached for her waist tightening her seat belt, the old Duster
didn’t have the modern addition of airbags or even shoulder belts,
just the old fashioned lap belts. She moved slowly hoping that
Frank would not notice as her hand reached for the door handle.
Suddenly it happened; the expected squeal of tires the blare of a
horn and the horrid sound of metal crunching. Frank slammed on

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the brakes pulling the old Duster sharply to the right, away from
the adjacent lane. The other car skidded to a stop, the driver
stepped from the vehicle to look at the damage on his car, his
hand reaching for his head wiping a small scratch that was just
beginning to bleed. He turned to check on the other driver, the
one that caused the accident, only to see the tail light and a
glimpse of a license plate as it whipped around a corner and out
of site. He staggered back to his car and opened the center
console grabbing a pen and a piece of paper he quickly wrote
down the numbers then unclipped his cell phone and ironically
dialed 9-1-1.
        Frank was furious, somehow this was her fault and he
glared at the small woman in the seat next to him. He had been
forced to punish her she was sobbing now, cringing against the
door as far from him as she could be and still be in the same car.
It was her fault that the accident had happened she should have
warned him. Now he had to find a new car. He began to cruise
the bus station parking lot. He knew that people often pulled up
to drop off friends leaving their keys in the car while they ran in
to say good bye. He watched and waited, it had to be the right
kind of car with the right kind of driver, a young black male and
an old but nice running car. It didn’t take long, a young man with
an attractive girl pulled up he, very gallantly ran around and
opened her door then grabbed her bag and escorted her into the
bus station leaving a small blue car running in the parking lot. He
pulled up behind the little car, shoving the shifter into park he
grabbed Dani’s hand and dragged the stunned woman across the
seat and out the driver’s side door. He walked her to the
passenger door of the car, opened the door pushed her in and
slammed the door. Walking around to the drivers side he
climbed, belted up and drove off, leaving the Duster and Nik
behind.
        Adrian Haskell was as frantic as she could be, as she had
ever been in all her years with the FBI. They had discovered the
body of three FBI agents at the Amerisuite with a fourth, former
agent, one Roger Caine, found unconscious in the rooms of the
now missing witnesses. Both Dani and Nik had been taken,
Adrian was sure that whatever had happened it must have been

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some sort of threat against Dani, that is the only thing that Adrian
could think could stop Nik from protecting them both.
        Within minutes Adrian had the entire Columbia police
force and South Carolina State Troopers looking for the women.
The problem was they had no idea what to look for, no
description of a car, a driver nothing except the two missing
witnesses. Every police officer in two counties was called in and
every available source was tapped. The road units were out in
force checking every call watching for anything unusual.
        When the hit and run traffic accident was called in the
officer had no idea how important this routine response would be.
        The report on the Bronze Duster was suspicious, the area
was right the passenger description was very close to Dani but
there was only one women. Still, it could be her, he may have
gotten rid of Nik, she would have been a problem. Adrian
thought. If it had been me I would have lost her. Dani would be
a lot easier to deal with alone. Adrian had an flash put out for
the Bronze Duster, hoping for the best, expecting the worst.
Within an hour the car was found, abandoned at the Columbia
city bus stop. When Adrian arrived at the bus station she found
that the car had been cordoned off with yellow police tape.
Curious on lookers were kept at bay by police officers while
reporters vied for positions close to the car in the hopes of
capturing some stray bit of information.

Adrian walked to the car escorted by the Chief investigator
Officer Coleman, “The officer hasn’t touched the car just in case
there is something you spot that we miss.”
        “Go ahead and pop the trunk Coleman.” She said sighing
her voice reflecting dread and suspicion.
        Picking up a crowbar Coleman slipped it under the lip of
the trunk and gave it a twist, the lip popped and all Hell broke
loose.
        The two law enforcement officers were not prepared for
what happened.
        With the springing of the release the trunk flew open and
a chilling cry came from the dark cavernous hole. Suddenly they
were faced with something that seemed to have sprung from the

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pages of a college history book. A tall bare footed woman
dressed in jeans, wild black hair flying was staring at the gathered
crowed through ice blue eyes. In the darkness the light of blue
lights glinted off the silver of a huge bowie knife clutched in
tightly cuffed hands. For a moment Adrian felt her face and body
grow suddenly cold, her flesh tingle as if immersed in ice water
her brain clutching only one though, death.
        “Nik, Nik it’s me Adrian, put the knife down.” Adrian
held out one hand the other on her hip holster. Cameras flashed
as reporters filmed the standoff between the FBI agent and the
angry Amazon.
        Nik slowly relaxed standing from a crouch her eyes cold
and unfriendly. “Where is she?” She asked Adrian, flipping the
bowie knife in her hand she slipped it into a link. “Where is she
Adrian?” She growled twisting the knife her eyes locked with
Adrian’s as she snapped the chain.
        Adrian had never seen anything like it, as far as she knew
what Nik had just done so easily was impossible.
        Nik slipped the knife back into the sheath in back of her
waist band and faced Adrian the air around her seemed to crackle
with angry energy.
        Still stunned Adrian waved the angry woman over;
pulling her keys from her pocket she unlocked the cuffs,
throwing the broken bits into the front seat of her car. “He has
her Nik, and if you plan on doing anything to save her you are
going to have to calm down.”
        Nik looked into Adrian’s eyes. “He has no idea what he
has done.” Nik whispered. Adrian placed an arm on Nik’s
shoulder, stunned for a second at the feeling of the muscles under
her fingers.
        “I will take you back to the hotel, we can figure out what
to do from there. We will find her Nik, I promise, I promise.”
Adrian said offering Nik her hand.
        Nik wrapped her hand around the agents arm finding a
kindred spirit in this modern warrior.




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Chapter 16

       Nik had insisted that Adrian stop at the Home Depot on
the way back to the hotel. As they were leaving Nik noticed the
display window of a clothier next door she turned to tell Adrian

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that she wanted to go in but noticed the agent on the phone.
Catching her eye she signaled that she would be right back and
she headed into the store. Ten minutes later she returned with a
large package and followed Adrian to the car.
        Back at the hotel Adrian parked her car and retrieved her
leather briefcase from the trunk. Once they got back to the room
she opened the case and pulled out a slender laptop and a small
black box with a cable coming from the front and back of it. One
end of the cable she put in the laptop the other end she plugged
into a wall outlet. The laptop Hmmed to life. Adrian sat down
and began typing. “I am going to alert the main office but it is
going to take me a few minutes.”
        Nik had been watching her silently her face a frozen
mask, still and cold. Finally she stood and headed for the
bathroom and shut the door. Once inside she turned on the hot
water and watched as the steam fogged the mirror blocking her
tear streaked face from her sight. Rubbing away the salty stains
she sighed and stepped into the shower, reaching for the bar of
soap she began lathering her body washing the stench of the old
trunk from her hair and skin. “I have to stop this, Dani needs me
strong and there is much to do.” She finished her shower
wrapped a towel around her waist and headed out of the
bathroom.
        Adrian was still at the laptop when the bathroom door
opened an a nearly naked Amazon stepped out. She glanced up
expecting to see Nik in jeans and a shirt, but what she saw made
her jaw drop. This woman was magnificent, a body rippling with
sinew and muscles, covered with old scars and healed wounds
but even so she was very beautiful and, right this minute, she was
also very naked.
        Adrian swallowed, hard. “Umm Nik, I think I umm
wh…yoooou….uummm.”
        Nik dropped the towel and turning towards Adrian,
slipped into a pair of soft cotton under wear. “What is it Adrian?
Did you discover some information about Dani?”
        “Well no” Adrian said, a bit embarrassed to have been
thrown off course over a naked woman, even one as drop dead
gorgeous as Nik. Frowning at herself she continued. “Based on

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the new information you have given us we think we have an idea
of who the killer is, a wash out from the Police Academy named
Frank Taylor. He works at the Lexington Middle School as a
School Security Agent. It was his car that you were locked in
and it was his fingerprints they were all over the trunk. We think
that he was the one who killed all those other women and he is
the one who has Dani.” She said. “Right now we had a APB, um
that is an All Points Bulletin, out on the stolen car he is in, we
aren’t real sure if he is going to keep it or dump it but the sooner
we find it the sooner we find Dani.”
         Nik nodded her understanding then went back into the
bedroom to finish dressing. She pulled on a pair of snug fitting
blue jeans and slipped a thick leather belt around her waist on to
this she hooked a steel and leather scabbard which held double
headed hand ax tightly to her hip. She retrieved two smaller belts
from the clothier bag and used them to attach her bowie knife
scabbard to the calf of her leg. That done she sat down and tied
on her shoes double knotting the laces before she stood up. She
reached for the bag from the clothiers again and pulled out the
final item.
         Adrian had finished with the laptop and had come to stand
in the doorway curious to see what Nik was up to. She watched
as the woman armed herself amazed that the only weapon now
visible was the two headed ax. Having seen Nik come from the
clothiers with the heavy bag she was curious about the contents,
as she pulled the item out Adrian smiled, it seemed so appropriate
and matched Nik’s personality to a tee.
         Nik unfolded the heavy black leather vest and slipped her
arms into it loving the smell and feel of the smooth hide. The
inside of the vest was lined with a think satin like quilt that was
soft and smooth against her naked skin and the outside leather
was heavy and very thick. It would prevent slow moving arrows
and slow down knives, she was sure of that. She had asked the
clerk in the store to remove the garish fringe that had been
hanging from the front and back of the vest but she did like the
picture of the screaming bird on the back. With the vest on and
the weapons secure she was ready, she turned to Adrian. “I am
not sure of your laws here but I know the laws of the Amazons, if

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he has harmed my chosen I have the duty to make it right. I will
not allow this man to harm Dani or another woman.” Nik
explained to Adrian. “He had killed for pain and pleasure and
this is not right. Retribution is required.”
         “Nik, we have the same laws as the Amazons, but our
laws must be decided by a counsel of his peers. He must be
judged by them not by Amazon law.” Adrian explained unsure of
what she was hearing but certain that this woman was more that
willing to put an end to Frank Taylor and save the state to court
expense but at what cost? “Nik, if you kill him you will be
charged with his death and you will be hunted down for the crime
of murder.”
         “Adrian this man must be punished. He has killed, he has
Dani, I will do what I have to do to get her back.” Nik said, her
voice low, dark and angry.
         Dani’s head was pounding, she was cold and miserable,
Frank had stopped at a Circle K about an hour ago. That had
been the last time she had been warm. While she had been
allowed to use the bathroom, Frank had made a small purchase, a
cup of coffee, a candy bar and a roll of duct tape. Once they got
back in the car he had duct taped her hand tightly together, so
tightly that it had cut off most of the circulation and they were
very cold, not that it would be noticeable since he had cranked up
the AC and the little car was freezing inside. She had asked him
to loosen the tape and had received a punishing blow to her
temple as a reply, the punch had slammed her head into the
window so hard that she had seen bright flashes of light behind
her eyelids. Now as she sat silently in the front seat she
concentrated on not throwing up and on remembering where she
was. Her heart ached for Nik, to be safe in Nik’s arms. It all
seemed as if it had been a dream, what Nik for real or was she
just someone her bruised mind had conjured up?
         Frank was almost singing to himself oblivious of the fact
that he could not carry a tune, he kept checking his rear view
mirror rocking back and forth in the drivers seat half singing half
mumbling. He was looking for a place to hide until things
calmed down. He had the girl and this one would have to last
him a while so he would keep her alive for a day or so until thing

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got better. But for right now he needed someplace to hide
someplace quiet where people didn’t visit a lot someplace
like…the woods…the woods off Wildcat Road.




Chapter 17

       They must have missed something Adrian paced the floor
of the hotel room, There is no way he could have slipped
thorough the noose, no way. She thought her ear straining to hear
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anything on the tiny cell phone. “Tell me something. Tell me
you found the car.” She said to the voice on the other end. She
watched Nik sharpening the blade of the double headed ax.
There was only the scraping of stone on metal and the silence on
the other end of the then a voice crackled. “Where? Fuck, fuck,
fuck! Okay, get me the number of the commander there. Yeah,
well find out and call me back on this number.” She flipped the
phone closed and turned to Nik. “We think we know where they
are, it isn’t good. She is on Post.” Adrian said heading for the
laptop.
         “What is ‘on Post’?” Nik asked following Adrian to the
table looking over her shoulder as she typed. She watched the
screen as the picture changed the words disappeared and what
seemed to be a map appeared. “Is that where he has taken her?
Do you know where that place is? Can you show me?” Nik
asked her voice a harsh whisper.
         “Well we have had the state law enforcement patrolling
every road into and out of the city and state, we call that
‘throwing a net’ over the entire state trying to catch this guy.
Since all roads out of state have been watched and there was no
way he could have gotten out of the state without us knowing it
he must be somewhere inside the state.” Adrian continued to
type furiously on the key board. “So we figured that he has
decided to find a place to hide. Since we know what this guy
looks like now most every hotel, inn or rest area is going to be
looking for him so he probably won’t be going there, that leave
only a few places for him to hide. We began checking all the
state parks with no luck that only left two places, this state
boarders the ocean on one side and is the home of several
military installations, one is of which is the largest basic training
installations on the Eastern coast of the United States so we
figured he either headed for the ocean of the military base. We
don’t think he has had time to make it to the ocean so that leaves
the post. Well most of the bases don’t have enough land to hide
on except the one right here in this area, Fort Jackson.”
         Adrian typed furiously away at the computer, accessing
the information that she needed was denied finally she went
through the black box and a channel of the FBI computer to

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access the detailed information she needed. Sliding a chair closer
she waved Nik to sit down. With a few clicks with the cursor she
pulled up a screen with a detailed map. “This,” She pointed to a
light grey portion of the map, “is called the Cantonment area.
        It is where the soldiers, their families and their support
live, work and play. While this area,” She pointed to a huge
reddish portion of the map, at least four times the size of the
Cantonment area, “is the training area. It’s and untamed, filled
with turkey, deer, wild dogs and anything else that you can
expect in the middle of a wilderness.”
With a few more clicks Adrian brought the screen in closer,
zooming in on a smaller section of the map. “This is the road we
believe Frank used to get onto the installation. It runs the length
of the installation with smaller roads branching out and deeper
into the forest. Now that is where Frank has taken Dani, the
problem is that right now it is hunting season, that means that the
locals are out there hunting deer in some parts of the post and
where there aren’t deer hunters there may be soldiers training.
        Nik nodded in understanding realizing that this would
require some assistance from the military on the installation.
“Adrian, is there any way we can get these soldiers and hunters to
delay their hunt and training for a day. I will only need a day, I
swear by the Goddess, I will find Dani and return her in that
time.” Nik said solemnly “I cannot promise to bring this killer to
you…alive.” Nik added the last bit in a near afterthought.
        “Well, I have a call in now with a friend at the Pentagon. I
am hoping that we will be able to get access to the installation
and get the commander to let us have access to this area.” She
said pointing to a section that Nik was doing her best to commit
to memory.
        Adrian’s cell phone rang, pulling it from her hip she
flipped it open. “Kelso” she said. “Yes” there was a pause.
“Right, when can we meet with him? Alright we are on our
way.” She listened for a few minutes then spoke again. “Yes
and tell him that I need to speak to the Provost Marshall so have
him standing by. We are on our way.” She hung up and closed
her laptop; unplugging it she wrapped the cords and the black
box and put it all in her briefcase. “Come on Nik we have a

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Military base to visit.”
         With a high five the two women rushed from the room
slamming the door behind them.
         She felt warmer now but still sick to her stomach Frank
had been pulling her through the bushes in the dark. Branches
had reached out tugged at her hair and skin and Frank made no
effort clearing a path for her. She had no idea where they were
just that she was very tired and wanted to sit down, just for a
minute, to stop and rest and let her head stop hurting.
         After a few minutes Frank stopped and turned on
flashlight, Dani squinted her eyes from the glare of the sudden
light, at least she would not walk into a tree now she thought.
         Frank jerked at Dani’s bound arms pulling her along with
behind him impatient to reach the building he knew was there.
“Come on damn it quit slowin me down it’s your fault we have to
be in these woods in the first place.” He complained.
          In the dark and Dani tripped over tree roots as they
reached a clearing. This caused her to run into the back of her
kidnapper when he stopped suddenly, this earned her another
blow from an elbow in the jaw that snapped her teeth together
and made her ears ring. “Damn it woman can’t you just follow
me, even a dog can do that.” Frank took off his belt and wrapped
it around Dani’s neck slipping the end through the buckle he
pulled it tight and with a jerk pulled her behind him. As they
started across the clearing Dani lost her footing, instinctively she
brought her bound hands up to stop her fall. Frank felt the belt
jerk in his hand and tightened his grip; Dani felt the belt tighten
but was unable to stop it, Frank continued to walking, his back to
his captive, she didn’t see him smiling as he dragged her across
the open clearing until he reached a dilapidated building and
stopped at the stairs. “Now that was fun, wasn’t it?” He turned
and chuckled at the choking woman as Dani struggled to her
knees then to her feet. “You know, you really are an ass and I just
can’t wait until Nik find you.” Dani coughed. “Well it’s nice to
know you still got a bit of fight left in ya, I am gonna have fun
beatin that out of you.” Frank smiled at her then turned and
climbed up the stairs pulling the small woman behind him.
         “Welcome to my beautiful vacation home.” Frank said

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                      Nik of Time
with a grandiose wave of his arms. Dani was still catching her
breath, bent forward her eyes trying to focus, her other senses
taking in the smells of dust and molds. Though it was dark in the
building Dani could tell that the inside was large from the sound
of her echoing foot steps, the place was cold dank and
frightening but to Frank it brought back memories of Fishing
with his brother on wonderful summer days.
        Walking with confidence across the open floor he reached
a heavy wooden pole in the center of the building. He pushed
Dani to the floor and pulling out the duct tape wrapped her ankles
securely together, he then cut her wrists loose only to rewrap
them around a pole. He looked down at her and smiled, she
wasn’t going anywhere anytime soon and that gave him enough
time to go get some supplies and get back here before it got too
dark. Hmming to himself he left the building and made his way
back through the woods to the car. Fifteen minutes later he was
back on Wildcat road heading towards the Cantonment area in
search of a service station for food and gas.


        Nik and Adrian were escorted by Department of Defense
Security patrol to the Post Headquarters. Nik didn’t bother with
the view this time her concern lay elsewhere with a small dark
haired woman that she knew deep in her soul was still very much
alive and very much in need of her help. They pulled up in front
of a large white building its circular drive lined with flag poles
and large trees. There were soldiers on guard duty at the main
entrance that sprang to attention as they approached but the large
front double doors opened and a distinguished tall grey haired
man stepped out walked past the guards and brought the two
women in.
        “Welcome to Fort Jackson ladies, I am Chief of Staff
here, Brigadier General William Richardson, lets go to the Sit
room where we can brief you on what we have so far.” The man
was all business, Nik appreciated that especially now when all
she wanted was to know what direction they were in and to be
left alone to hunt. The sound of their foot steps echoed down the
hallway on the hard wood floors, Adrian’s hard heel followed

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closely behind the Chief’s black dress shoes, Nik’s shoes made
no sound though you would have expected her Sketchers to
squeak on the highly polished hard wood, the Amazon had
returned to the very dangerous mental state of the warrior. Soon
she would make her peace with her Goddess and go into battle to
face what ever it was that needed the skill of an ancient Amazon
to destroy.
        The Commanding General was leaning over a large
detailed map of the post when the small group entered the room.
He glance up briefly to acknowledge their presence then returned
to the briefing he was receiving from the Provost Marshal.
        Well, Sir we believe that he may be in this area off
Wildcat road, there are fresh tire tracks there and it seems that
they have entered once and exited once. Whoever it is that left
the tracks has left the area. Whether it is him or not we can’t be
sure but it appears that the tracks are from a small car. If it is him
he will be back and we can be ready to stop him when that
happens.”
        The Chief of Staff interrupted then, “Sir, this is Special
Agent Adrian Kelso of the FBI and Miss Macho the other
witness. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has offered to
assist us in our search for this fugitive and they are here to assist
us if necessary.” He offered.
        “Well, it seems that this fellow has made a grievous
mistake Agent Kelso, he has trespassed on Military property and
the United States Army takes a dim view of that. We will just
have to secure his ass. So although we do welcome the FBI’s
offer I am sure we can handle this, however, if you would like to
observe you may have a seat over there and my aid will get you a
soda or coffee or anything else you might like.” The General
offered dismissing the two women with at wave of his hand. He
signaled his aid and told him to provide the two women with
anything they requested. Grinning he turned back to the Provost
Marshal and slapped the man on the back. “Okay Jim, lets get
back to business. What’s the best way to approach this? Do you
have your rapid deployment teams ready?”
        To use the word angry at this point would be vastly
understating the obvious, Adrian was pissed beyond

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comprehension. “I am so mad, I can’t see straight.” The agent
growled through clenched teeth as she sat in the straight backed
chair her fists clenched on her knees and her eyes tightly closed.
Nik watched the muscles bunch in the dark skinned woman’s
jaws and expected to hear her teeth crack at any moment.
       “Why are you so angry Adrian?” She asked in a soft
whisper.

“Didn’t you hear that…that…walking rectum?” She hissed. “He
expects us to sit here like two little old ladies while he digs out a
sledge hammer to kill a fly. If we let him he is going to get Dani
killed.”
         “No he isn’t.” Nik replied, her eyes suddenly turning
dark and menacing. “And we are not going to just sit here.
Don’t you remember what he said?” She asked the agent.
         “Yes he said…” Adrian paused here then turned to Nik
with a wicked grin. “He said to provide us with anything we
requested.”
         The two women stood and signaled for the aid as they
walked out the door, ten minutes later they were roaring down
Wildcat road in the Commanding Generals personal HMMV
heading towards the last known location of the suspicious vehicle
tracks into the woods.
         Dani woke to the sound of feet approaching, “Nik? Is that
you? Where have you been?” Her voice croaked.
         Frank was not happy, who was this Nik, she was always
asking for him. Frank slipped behind Dani and wrapped his arms
around her waist. He pulled her tight against him his hand
painfully closed over her breast his lips whispering into her ear.
“Nik ain’t here, it’s just me and you and you better start getting
use to it because he ain’t coming back. I killed Nik and he ain’t
ever coming back.” Frank expected her to cry to fight him, he
didn’t expect her to laugh.
         Dani opened her eyes and turned her head to try to see
this man who held her and lied to her. Nik was alive and Nik was
going to find her and when she did, this man was as good as
dead. Dani laughed thinking of Nik throwing his skinny ass
through the window then brushing off her hand with that same

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little quirky grin. Yep, her Nik would take care of him.
         Frank was rattled, this woman should be frightened
instead she was laughing, something was wrong, really, really
wrong and for the first time since he had begun his killing spree
Frank was worried.
         Adrian had the Generals driver pull up next to the fire
road that had been used by Frank to access the deep woods.
Adrian gave Nik a hand held radio, the size of a cellular phone
she showed her how to use it and explained that it contained a
global tracking device. This was something that she had tried to
explain to Nik the entire time that it had taken to drive out to the
fire road. Nik finally asked if there was anything she needed to
do to make the tracking device work. When Adrian replied ‘no’
Nik nodded, stuffed the instrument in her pocket and jumped out
of the Hmmer. Adrian followed her from the vehicle to the edge
of the forest. “Nik, I know that you are one tough woman and for
some reason you feel that you are up to this but remember, this
man is not stable, he is dangerous.” She reached out and laid a
hand on Nik’s arm, amazed again at the taunt play of muscles she
felt. “One more thing, that General is going to turn a crew of
Military folks, probably a Platoon of Combat Military Police,
loose in these woods some time later tonight to hunt this guy
down and I don’t think they would hesitate to shoot anyone that
they find in the wrong place.” She gave Nik a worried look.
“Hell, I thought this was a good idea at first but now I’m not to
sure.” She sighed in distress. “Damn, if anything happens to you
Dani will kill me.” She said trying to play down her worry.
         “Adrian, I know what I am doing, don’t worry, just be
here when we get back.” Nik said. She turned towards the
woods a smile on her lips happy again to be in a forest feeling the
touch of the Goddess around her. She would find Dani and she
would stop this killer.
         Adrian watched as Nik headed towards the woods she
was worried. Maybe I better go with her watch her back. If
anything happens to her Dani would kill me, Hell I would kill me.
I had better go with…She took a step forward and as she looked
Nik simply disappeared. She blinked her eyes and walked in the
direction she had just seen Nik go, but there was nothing, no

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movement of leaves, no bent grass, no noise, no nothing, she was
simply gone. “Well, I’ll be…Nik? Nik? Okay, well then, umm
I think I will just wait right here until you get back.” She said
aloud hoping Nik could hear her not sure if she was even
anywhere near. “Yeah, right here, me and Billy Bob the driver.”
She said pointing her thumb over her shoulder at the young man
in uniform who appeared equally stunned. “Damn, that woman is
down right spooky when she wants to be.” Adrian whispered to
herself as she backed up towards the Hmmer to wait.
         Nik had stepped into the tree line slipping silently
between the tall pines feeling strangely at home among these
young evergreens. Her home forest had been hard woods, oaks
and maples with a few evergreens here and there but this place
was full of the fresh tangy taste of pine, it was refreshing but
pines were not as strong as the oaks she was use to, they would
not be able to hold her weight so she would have to travel on the
ground not through the trees as she had in her home forest. As
she followed the tracks of the car tires along the edge of the road
she prayed to Athena to guide her to Dani. She could feel the
spirit of the huntress near her and she took comfort knowing that
she was not alone in this task, the hardest thing she had ever done
in her life.
         As she moved through the forest she stepped over and
around nettles and bushes that would have grabbed at others, wild
roses with their tiny but sharp thorns reached out towards her but
seemed to turn away at the last minute. Black berry bushed
pulled aside as she came close and even the rough barked young
cedar trees bent away from the trail she followed as she made her
way forward. Nik was as silent as the animals that lived in the
woods, her eyes glued to the tracks as she fought to keep her
mind on task and away from what might be happening to Dani.
         Frank had taken the small car further down the trail and
hidden it close to the fishing pond. There had been an old mill
next to the pond at one time and a small damn that had eventually
crumbled. He drove the car down the hill next to the damn taking
his package from the front seat he rolled up the windows and set
about covering it with dead bushed and leaves hiding it from
overhead view and plain site. That done he grabbed a bit of

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undergrowth and brushed out the car’s tracks then tossed the
brush into the woods.
        “No one is going to find that for a while.” He chuckled
brushing off his hands on his pants. He had gotten over his fright
from the night before since no one had discovered him and his
companion. “I must be getting paranoid, there is no way anyone
could know where I am, I am way too good for them to catch
me.” He spoke aloud as he strutted back to the barracks the
package tucked under his arm. Opening the door he walked in
and turned to stare at his captive.
         Dani had spent the last few hours tied to a post in the
middle of the floor. Her wrists were raw and bloody and she was
exhausted from trying to free herself. Frank smiled seeing the
bloodied tape he liked knowing that she still wanted to fight it
always made it more interesting when he made them give up. He
walked into the room and squatted next to her he reached out and
brushed the hair from her eyes and smiled when she jerked away.
He opened his bag and pulled out a long stick of beef jerky,
tearing open one end he bit off a piece and chewed it as he
watched her.
        Dani couldn’t help herself she was so hungry, her mouth
watered at the sight and memory of food. I am so hungry, I could
eat a piece of bark right now and enjoy it, but I will be damned if
I am going to ask that Bastard for anything. She frowned
determined not to watch Frank eat.
        Frank stopped and stared at her then with a grin he pulled
out his pocket knife, Dani pulled away from him alarmed, but
couldn’t go far. He reached forward and slowly cut the tape
binding her hands. He watched her as she rubbed her bruised and
torn wrists then handed her what was left of the jerky.
        Dani took the jerky and bit off a piece chewing it slowly
determined not to give him the satisfaction of knowing how
hungry she really was, plus her throat was so swollen that it made
swallowing difficult. Still she watched him not trusting him,
ready to fight at any moment, not taking her eyes from him.
        Frank chuckled to himself then leaned forward and took
Dani’s chin in one hand he tilted her head and checked the
damage to her throat then turned her to face him and smiled

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pulling her closer enjoying her struggle. Just as she was close
enough to kiss he stuck out his tongue and licked her lips
groaning at the taste of her. She struggled pulling back from him
until he released her laughing. He sat back on his heels and
looked into those strange grey eyes. “Now don’t you go no
where, I’ll be right back.” He said as he stood to leave, knowing
all along that she would do her best to escape and then the new
game would begin and this one promised to be the most fun of
all.
        Dani watched as Frank wandered off, for some reason he
didn’t tape her hands again. She waited until she was sure he was
out of earshot then stuffed the jerky into her pocked and began
working on the tape at her ankles, it had rolled and begun to stick
together and her fingers did not want to work right but eventually
she was able to find the beginning and slowly she pulled it away
occasionally taking bits of skin with the tape but she didn’t care
she wanted away from him the sooner the better.
        General Richardson had been given the go ahead to
deploy a unit of Combat Military Police into the area of Wildcat
Road where the killer was last reported. The CG had ordered
him to disperse the unit into the area, locate the killer and, if
possible bring him in alive with little or no harm to the civilian.
Richardson knew that the CG was not concerned with the health
of the civilian he simple wanted the killer caught so that he could
turn him over and bask in the glory of the five minutes of civilian
fame he would get as a result of doing what the civilians had
been unable to do. The MP’s were trained in both urban assault
and tactical assault and Richardson hoped that they would get the
opportunity to capture this killer before they were forced into a
deadly force situation.
        As he got closer to the access road he saw the CG’s
Hmmer and the FBI agent but what he didn’t see was the tall dark
woman that had been with the agent. This is not good, please say
she is in the woods digging a cat hole. I know she isn’t but pleas
lie and say she is. He prayed silently as he rolled his eyed
skyward on there way to the heavens they passed the rear view
mirror and paused long enough to stare at the convoy following
him. A long line of tactically modified HMMV’s with flashing

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blue lights trailed behind him. They were the 10 recently
acquired Military Police modified Hmmers which meant they
were tank killers with 50 calibers machine guns and Mark 19’s
among other wonderful toys mounted in their turrets. He would
call it overkill in this situation but it was what the Combat MP’s
used. To top things off, it had begun to lighten up and the
weather report called for rain and lightening all day. This is
gonna suck big time With a sigh he signaled for his drive to pull
up behind the CG’s Hmmer this was going to be a very long
potentially messy day.
         Dani finally ripped the last bits of tape from her ankle,
tossing it aside she slowly pulled herself to her feet. She had
been sitting on the hard wood floor for so long that the muscles in
her rear had bruised and she was forced to bite her lip to keep
from groaning. She looked around and listened for Frank afraid
that he would hear. She slipped what was left of the beef jerky
into her pocket and slowly, carefully walked towards the door
terrified that the old wooden floorboard would creak and give her
away. Finally reaching the doorway she tripped down the steps
landing on her knees in the grass, hearing a noise behind her she
didn’t even bother to look behind her she came to her feet and ran
towards the woods. The sky was an angry grey color and clouds
had begun to roll in, there was a definite storm brewing and she
was going to be out in the middle of it. Run, don’t turn around
just run and when you get tired run harder Dani told herself her
feet hitting the ground hard seeming to jar her entire body. She
looked ahead trying to see in the darkness willing her feet to land
on solid, level land.
         Frank heard the sound of the woman falling on the stairs.
Good I was wondering if she would get up the nerve to try to run
away. This should be fun the thing is how long should I let her
run? I don’t want her to tired. Frank chuckled; he walked out the
door and stood by the stairs that Dani had tripped down just
moments before. He stared into the forest watching the
movement of the slight figure as she stumbled into the woods.
Yeah I’ll give her a few minutes; I gotta finish my soda anyway.
He looked up at the sound of thunder rolling in and smiled as the
fat drops of rain began to fall thinking of the rain that was going

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to make his hunt even more of a challenge. Taking another sip of
his drink he turned and walked back into the building totally
unaware that his day was not going to end exactly as he had
planned.
         It was hot, at first the rain didn’t make it any better, with
the humidity of the forest everything just wanted to stick to her
skin. Nik ignored it, she stopped for a minute and checked the
trail, the rain had made the young trees bend and partially
obscure the old road she was following as it was most of it was
buried in overgrown weeds and grass, had she not known it was
there she would have become lost several times over. She
stepped out of the tree line and onto the road checking the bent
grass, it had been recently crushed she looked in the direction the
road led and sent a silent prayer that Dani was at the end and
alright. Standing she started trotting down the road, anxious now
to reach her destination. Please let her be alright, I don’t know
what I would do if she is not. I have waited so long to find her
please don’t take her from me now. The long grass slapped Niks
pant legs as she ran as if trying to slow her down, to no avail. As
she ran the end of the trail grew lighter until suddenly she ran out
into an open clearing her running feet loosing their traction in the
soft wet sand as she skidded trying to stop finally giving in to the
momentum the leaned forward and threw herself back into the
trees rolling to a stop by slamming her side against a tree. UGH!
Good job Amazon. Holding her side she rolled to her stomach
and pulled herself forward until she could see the clearing again.
This must have been some sort of training area at one time.
There is a mill near the creek and pond and there’s the car, but
no Dani. It looks like some buildings were over there at one time
she thought staring at an area next to the small car where there
were several foundations but no buildings. And that looks like it
is still usable so they are probably in there. Nik stared at the
only viable structure left in the clearing, a long building with a
rotting roof. Blue eyes changed from aqua to ice as Nik’s lids
lowered in thought, slowly she moved sliding and crawling to the
building all of her senses alert to the sounds, site and smells
coming from within. Reaching the rear of the structure she found
a doorway whose door had long ago rotted away, carefully

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silently she stood, slipped the bowie knife from its sheath and
walked to the building, sliding along the exterior she glanced into
a window trying to see what, if anything, was going on inside.
The room she peeked into was empty as was the next. The next
room appeared to be some sort of washing area, it too was empty
but had a pole in the center of the floor that appeared to have
been used and recently, there was some sort of rope or binding
material near the base of the pole and Nik instinctively knew that
Dani had been secured to the pole. That pile of horse crap tied
Dani to a pole? Where is he and where is Dani? She slipped
into the room looking for some trace of the Dani, just as her feet
hit the floor Frank walked into the room. There was an audible
‘click’ and Nik froze staring at the man who had taken Dani
away. “Where is she?” Nik growled standing up straight and
looking the thin man in the eyes. Frank had never felt anything
like this woman’s gaze, it was powerful and he actually took a
step back as if struck by a blow, then he smiled after all, he was
the one with the gun. Poking out his chest he strutted up to the
woman, “I think I should be the one asking questions, don’t you
think pretty lady?” He said walking around Nik sizing her up like
a side of beef. Nik did not move she was waiting. “Where is
Dani?” She asked again. “Well, she might be in the trunk of my
car.” Frank said, “Or she might be in the other room, you know,
my bedroom. Or she might be dead, buried in the field outside.”
He leaned in close to whisper that last on into Nik’s ear reaching
out to give her a quick lick at the same time. Nik wanted so
badly to snap his neck but she needed information and the only
way to get it was to play along, for now. “What is it you want
Frank? There has to be something.” Nik said her voice low. “I
don’t know Nik, what can you offer me?” Frank asked smiling
his lips pressed close to Nik’s ears. Nik was tired of playing the
game, she reached up with two fingers and grabbed Frank by the
trachea. “How about I give you your life Frank, how does that
sound? You give me Dani and I let you live.” Nik reached out
and took Frank’s pistol, pulling him close and for the first time
Frank stared into the eyes of death and for the first time in his
life, Frank was afraid of a woman. He broke out in a cold sweat,
he wanted to swallow but he could not, he wanted to speak but

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this woman had his life in her hands. He tried to pull back but
her fingers tightened, he stopped struggling. “Let me guess, you
want to tell me where Dani is don’t you?” Nik asked, her voice
revealing her disgust. Frank tried to nod. “Good, now I am going
to let you breath and you will tell me the truth, if you lie, I will
rip off your very small testicles and hand them to you, do you
understand.” Nik promised in a deadly whisper. Frank nodded,
“She’s gone” He said his hands slowly moving down to cover his
groin. “Gone where?” Nik asked rising, “I…I’m not sure, I let her
escape so I could hunt her down. She ran out there.” He nodded
towards the woods hoping that this woman would believe him
and leave him alone, alive.




Chapter 18

        Torrents of rain fell like a waterfall from the sky; Nik was
forced to high ground as instinct warned her that the path she was
on was a dangerous one, moments later a flash of soupy brown
water flooded the trail with mud, small trees and debris, taking

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with it everything in its path, including the tracks that Nik had
been following that would have led her to Dani.
        Forced to find shelter until the rain stopped Nik watched
the small flash flood rush down the make shift road. As soon as
the flood cleared she renewed her search for Dani, the trail that
she had been following was now much wider and had been wiped
clean by the flood. She hoped that by following it she might
discover a bend that the flood mist and would still be able to find
track further along the way. But as she trotted further up the trail
she discovered that the path split into four separated trails none of
which had footprints, still she followed each on the slight chance
that she would pick up a clue further up the trail but each time
she was disappointed. Finally she concluded that any further
searching like this would waste what little precious time she
might have remaining.          With such a large area to search
and such a limited time before the arrival of the soldiers, perhaps
Adrian had some suggestion some modern way to locate Dani.
She turned and headed back towards the main road, it didn’t take
long, she moved silently through the forest pausing occasionally
to adjust her direction then continuing on. Finally she reached
the wood line, pausing more out of habit than caution she waited
until she could see the agent before she would leave the tree line.
Adrian was speaking to someone, Nik waited until she could see
his face clearly. Adrian was speaking with General Richardson.
        “You can’t do that, Nik and Dani are out there! Don’t
you know that mad man will kill Dani if he thinks that you are
going to take her away? He is a fucking crazy, please just give
Nik a little more time, she will bring Dani out alive. Please.”
Adrian pleaded
        General Richardson pulled off his cap and ran his fingers
through his thin grey hair. He was torn between his orders and
his conscience. “She has one more hour, and then I am sending in
the MP’s. I’m sorry but that is the best I can do, the CG thinks I
have already deployed these men. He knows the MP’s, they will
not come out of these woods with out that killer and frankly he
doesn’t care how they do it or who dies in the process. I know
they will try to bring him in alive but he is a killer and if he
attacks them they will take him out, they will not allow him to

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come out of the forest and harm civilians.” General Richardson
said assuredly.
         Nik heard it all, her eyes narrowed on the General as she
took in his last statement, he doesn’t care how they do it or who
dies in the process, she had to find Dani. Turning she slipped
back into the forest. She would not come back without her soul
mate.
         Returning to the place where she nearly been caught in
the flash flood had become more difficult, the path that she had
first followed was now a soft red clay that sucked her feet in and
refused to let go. She wanted desperately to take to the trees but
these pines had brittle branches and she doubted that they were
strong enough to hold her weight. So she continued fighting
through the Carolina clay until she reached the fork in the trail.
Wet, hot, dirty and exhausted, Nik stopped in a small clearing
surrounded by young cedar and closed her eyes hearing and
feeling the forest, allowing the earth and air to caress her body
the smells to enter her soul slowly she eased herself to the ground
folding her legs beneath her. Laying her hand on her knees she
silently prayed to the Goddess Athena. Great Athena it is your
daughter Nikomachos, please hear my plea. I seek the other half
of my heart and soul in this strange forest out of time she is in
danger and needs me. Do not let me fail her. I beg you hear your
daughters’ prayer.
         Nik waited her mind and her heart open and silent.
Daughter, I have heard you. There is much I owe you for your
protection of my Amazons so long ago, I will grant your prayer.
Follow you heart and you will find your soul mate, one half
cannot live without the other. You will have what you desire, this
I promise daughter. Then the voice was gone when Nik opened
her eyes she was no longer in the cedar clearing but near a pond.
She could hear the sound of something struggling off to her right
and she turned in time to catch a glimpse of a slight figure
stumbling through the forest. Dani!
         Nik watched her for a few more minutes then stepped
back into the wood line and melted into the forest. She needed to
wait until she was sure that her love was clear of the killer before
she moved in. She wanted to take no chance in the mad man

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harming Dani before she could reach her, she knew Frank would
kill Dani in front of her just to bring himself some sort of sick
gratification. She knew that she had taken his hand gun but she
did not know if he had others and she was not taking any chances
with Dani’s life. First she would make sure that Frank was no
where near, and then she would go to Dani.
        She felt it, the hairs on the back of her neck rising letting
her know that someone was watching her. I know it’s got to be
him, he is back there, I can feel his eyes on me. I have to find
someplace to hide. What would Nik do? Dani stopped and looked
around for a minute trying to think, but her nerves got the better
of her and she began to run again. Nik would find a place to hide
first then she would find a way to fight. This guy is going to
catch me I have to hide. Dani was exhausted and in pain her
ankles had swollen from the constriction of the tape and the
stumble down the stairs and her head was still throbbing from the
slap that had driven her head into the window not to mention the
elbow to the jaw that had left a large bruise just below her left
ear. Still, she was not ready to give up, she focused on making it
from one tree to the next and kept going.
        Nik got her bearings and back tracked Dani’s trail, it was
much easier now that she had found the woman. Her trail since
the rain was easy to follow, she had found a place to shelter
during the storm inside the hollow of a dead tree but her trail
from there was like an bull in the woods, Nik smiled, she had a
lot to teach Dani. She checked her back trail for several miles
and saw no one, perhaps Frank understood that it would be in his
best interest to leave Dani alone Nik though, the smile slipping
from her lips. She turned and trotted back in the direction she
had just come. Reaching the dead hollow she cut a wide circle
around Dani and came out ahead of her. She watched the woman
struggle through the woods towards her, and her heart began to
swell, she was so proud of this small Amazon, her courage was
incredible, and in the same though she was enraged at her captor
for the condition she was in. Just a little further Dani, come to
me little one. That’s it just a bit closer. Nik stepped out of the
forest and into the path directly into Dani’s line of sight but the
smaller woman did not stop she stumbled forward as if unaware

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of Nik’s presence until two strong arms wrapped around her
holding her close.
        Dani felt the arms around her and began to struggle, it’s
him! FIGHT! Her fists came up and though the blows were weak
they landed with all the right intentions. Finally her mind caught
up with what her body was telling her. This is a much softer
body holding me and these are loving arms embracing me, NIK!
“Nik? Is it really you? Am I dead or just dreaming?” Dani
asked trying to look into Nik’s face and bury herself in Nik’s
chest all at the same time.
        “It is me my Shamanist and I am no dream I am flesh.”
Nik answered her in Greek as she gently scooped up the smaller
woman and carried her back along the trail she had just been on.
“You are safe now but we have got to find a resting place.” Nik
told the exhausted woman as she moved swiftly and silently
along the trail, disappearing into the trees.
        Frank was angry, he threw his half empty can of grape
soda into the wall the purple colored drink splashing against the
faded green wall leaving a sickening tableau to roll to the floor.
Who did she think she was that bitch! He was furious his space
had been invaded and he had been threatened by, of all things, a
woman, a sub human, something put on this earth for the pleasure
and use of man. Who did she think she was? “She’s a damn
DIKE! That’s what she is.” He said to himself trying to boost his
courage. “An abomination, it would be better if she and that little
whore were dead.” He reached into his pocket and pulled out a
set of car keys rubbing them between his fingers. “God did not
mean for their kind to be here, it is up to decent men like me to
make sure that women know their place and that creatures like
her are sent to Hell where they belong.” Bits of spit and foam
were flaking on Franks lips. He walked from the building
heading to his car. “Yes I will see to it, I will send that Dike to
Hell and teach that bitch her place before I kill her.” He opened
the back door of the small car and pulled out a machete and a roll
of duct tape, shutting the door he headed off into the woods. “I
am doing the work of GOD!”



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Chapter 19

       Nik carried Dani deeper into the forest further and further
away from the trail, deeper into the woods. She was looking for
something in particular; a stand of small trees would meet her

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needs perfectly. After traveling through the deep woods she
came through a field and saw exactly what she wanted on the far
side behind the tree line she could see the tops of young saplings,
tall, green and close together. Carefully she made her way
around the field following the tree line along the edge of the
field, careful not to mend down the grass and weeds. Once she
reached the far side she set Dani down at the base of one of the
saplings. “Love I am going to have a place for you to rest in just a
bit, now don’t go running off.” She grinned.
        “Very funny Amazon,” Dani replied smiling, she was in
pain, her head still hurt but she could not be happier.
        Nik found some thin vines wrapped around several of the
older trees, using her Bowie she quickly cut and gathered the
vines and within a few minutes she had several of the saplings
bent and tied together. She didn’t use all the saplings in the area,
just a few so that from a distance there was no ‘hole’ in the tree
line from the missing trees. Using the leafy branches from older
trees she wove them into the sapling and created walls for her
shelter. Finally everything was ready the shelter was, for the
most part, weather resistant and invisible from a distance. It
wasn’t much but, for now, it would have to do.
        “Wake up Dani, time to move into some shelter love.”
Nik held Dani’s hand rubbing the back of her knuckles with a
callus thumb. “Love wake up.” She whispered watching
eyelashes flutter.
        Dani opened one eye, exhausted and not ready to get up
yet. “Not right now Bailey it’s Saturday.” Her eye finally
focused on a beautiful woman. “Oh, hi Nik, sorry what did you
need?”         She asked shifting her feet to rise.
“Oww,…oww,oww,oww!” She collapsed back on her butt.
“Yikes! That hurts too, owee!!” She reached for her butt and
brushed her wrist against the ground. “Damn! Is there any place
that doesn’t hurt?” She mumbled more to herself than to Nik, but
the Amazon had wonderful hearing.
        “Don’t worry Dani, he will pay for all those injuries and
more.” Nik promised.
        “No Nik I just want to leave this place and get away from
him. He is dangerous, he could hurt you.” Dani whispered

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frightened her hand gripping Niks.
        “Dani do you really think that little man can hurt me? I
can rip his arms out of their socket and beat him to death with
them. And for what he has done to you and the other women he
deserves that and much more.” Nik said in complete seriousness.
        “Please Nik…” Dani whispered. “Please, just leave him
be. Let the law deal with him.”
        “Dani, I cannot promise this, but I will promise that I will
try to kill him, but I will not allow him to harm anyone else, I
cannot allow that. You do understand that don’t you?”
        She asked her eyes pleading.
        Dani nodded to exhausted to argue.
        “Alright then, let’s get you inside and take care of these
injuries okay?” Nik asked smiling. She reached down and easily
picked up Dani and carried her to the shelter.
        Dani was amazed and the little hut at first she didn’t even
see it, just a wall of pale green. The forest looked solid and
beautiful and she was relaxed and at ease in the arms of this
beautiful woman. Nik carried Dani towards an area where the
trees seemed thicker, that was when she spotted it, a beautiful
green hut made of bent saplings. If she had not been brought to it
she might never have known it was there.
        Nik bent as she carried Dani inside, the space was bright
and airy the ground was covered with fresh leaves on pine
needles making a soft springy bed. Dani sank into the leaves, the
sore places finally finding some relief. Nik left her for a few
moments and returned with some water cupped in leaves which
she used to clean Dani’s cuts and bruises. She carefully removed
much of the tape residue from her wrists and ankles and as she
worked Dani drifted off to sleep and by the time Nik finished
Dani was snoring softly in her nest of leaves and it was time for
Nik to finish what she had started. Grinning she covered Dani
with soft young leaves and headed out of the hut to find a hard
tall hardwood.
        Fort Jackson is an old military post built near the heart of
the Palmetto State and at one time or another the land had been
used by everyone from the Native Americans to the
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Combat soldiers to the soldiers of Desert Storm and Operation
Iraqi Freedom. It had been dug up, plowed, bombed, burned,
colonized, homesteaded, and even gold mined as a result the
natural resources had been used replanted and harvested again
now most of the forest was pine, fast growing but not as strong as
the hardwood of old forests.            Nik remembered General
Richardson’s promise to Adrian, he would wait an hour before
deploying his soldiers and she was certain that they had been
deployed by now so the question was, how far had they trekked
in and were exactly was Frank now?
        The oak tree was huge and ancient; it stood alone away
from the pines as if guarding the forest edge its huge gnarled
branches spread like arms holding back the world. Nik was in
love at first sight. This tree was like none she had seen outside
her home forest and rarely inside her home this was a guardian
set here by the Goddess. She circled the tree, her arms spread,
her head thrown back and a radiant smile on her, this tree was a
touch of the Elysian fields. Stepping back she took a running
leap towards the high branches, running up the trunk flipping at
the last minute to reach out and grab a thick branch, with a twist
she used the spring of the branch to throw herself higher into the
tree landing on a thick branch about twenty feet off the ground.
She ran along the tree branch leaping from branch to branch until
she reached a point where she could see a three hundred a sixty
degree perimeter. “Alright where is the little scum that I cannot
kill?” She turned in the direction she had first seen Dani, from
her height she spotted a strange roof top rusted and filed with
holes but still usable. “So our little scum has a hole he lives in.”
She studied his location and worked out a map to his location,
that done she climbed higher and rotated around to the other side
of the tree. “Time to find what Dani would call the good guys.”
She searched in the direction she was sure Adrian was in, the
direction of the road. She spotted the vehicles parked along the
edge of the road but they were not moving. She watched them
for several minutes but nothing, no movement no sound no
disturbance. Nik saw the flash of movement then the bushes
seemed to come to life and an entire tree line seemed to grow and
move forward only to stop suddenly and drop. “Hmm, not bad

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but much too distracting they would do better if they moved one
at a time but their foliage disguise is very nice. We could have
used that back in my home forest. I am sure it would have
caused havoc with the Romans.” She chuckled imagining
combining Amazon tactics with the camouflaged clothing and
techniques of the modern US military. As she watched the
soldiers carefully and quickly moved through the forest covering
the ground between the road and the building that Frank had kept
Dani in swiftly and thoroughly. Still there was quite a bit of
ground to go before they reached Frank’s hide away meanwhile,
Frank was on the move.
         Walking around to the far side of the tree Nik watched
Frank, he dodged through the woods rapidly approaching the line
of soldiers, he knew they were there. It was apparent that he was
very familiar with the area. About a hundred yard from them he
stopped and fell to his knees, reaching and feeling around he
seemed to be looking for something. As she watched from her
perch Frank lifted a piece of earth and wood and slid under it into
a shallow hole lowering the cover over himself just in time.
From her perch she watched as they passed over Frank’s hid
away totally unaware of his presence As they continued on
toward the shelter that Frank had used earlier Nik had come up
with a plan, but there were a few things that she needed to do
before she would be able to put her plan into action. Within
minutes, the soldiers passed right over Frank and continued on
through the woods missing the killer entirely.
         Nik watched as the soldier’s progress slowly through the
forest it was obvious to Nik that Frank was very familiar with the
area and he knew how to make use of the terrain. Right now the
soldiers were on their way to the old building that had been
Franks hide away but by the time they reached it Frank could
have found Dani and be gone that would be if she had not found
her first. Nik watched to see if Frank was ready to move again
but he seemed content to remain still at least for now. Nik
leaped from branch to branch until she landed on the ground,
silently and unnoticed, she quietly followed the soldiers.
Observing their movements she remained hidden watching them
learning their movements and signals until she was able to

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determine who was in command of the unit, then she moved
closer to that soldier.
         Sgt. Martinez loved his troops, they were by far the best
trained unit he had ever worked with, if he had not seen them
moving he was sure he would not be able to find them. As it was
it was still difficult to see them in these new digital uniforms with
the addition of the loom and moss coloring on their faces. They
were silent as ghosts and he was willing to put them up against
anyone, I bet they could even compete with some of those damn
Special Forces Ass Holes. Martinez thought proud of his
soldiers. Silently he signaled the soldiers to his left to move
forward and swing in a flanking movement, he knew there was a
building ahead and he knew that there was a strong possibility
that it was being used by the felon. He was about to signal to the
         right flank when a voice whispered in his ear. “He’s not
there.” The voice was deep and sensual with an unusual accent.
A chill raced up his spin and the hair at the back of his neck stood
on end. Slowly he turned his head, he didn’t have to turn far, her
lips were almost next to his cheek. He had no idea how she had
gotten so close to him without making a sound. He stared at her
confusion evident on his face, “How in the Hell did you…”
“Never mind that right now.” The woman said still staring over
his shoulder. “If you want Frank you are going to have to go
back the way you came.” “Lady I have no idea who you are but
we are going to check out that building and then we are going…”
He turned to finish his sentence but the woman was gone.
“Fuck, fuck who the hell was that?” he mumbled angry at having
had his cover blown.
         Nik had moved back into the forest and watched, she
rolled her eyes as the Sergeant checked out the building anyway.
Men can be so stubborn; he just had to see inside. When he
came out he had several soldiers watch the perimeter while he
spoke with some who were apparently leaders in his unit. Nik
moved off into the forest to check on Frank, she would come
back and see what the soldiers were doing later. Moving back
into the tree she climbed until she reached a height that allowed
her to see the trap door hiding space that Frank was in, it
appeared that he had not moved. She turned to look back as the

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soldiers and was surprised to see that they had decided to forgo
their stealth movement in favor of speed and were now moving
quickly towards the area where she had hidden Dani. Now it was
time for her to move, the soldiers were coming closer to her
shelter and it was doubtful that they would miss the sapling hut
and Dani. Without hesitation Nik dove towards the lower
branches like a high diver over open water, grabbing a branch she
twisted her body around and flew through the air landing in the
soft grass of the field. She stood and moved through the forest
like a deer, heading straight for Dani. Moments later she peeled
back the edge of the sapling hut and scooped up the small woman
without stopping she continued through the other side and back
out into the forest. She circled around the group of soldiers and
returned to the great tree, “Dani, Dani?” the young woman was
very warm, too warm and much too quiet. Nik found it much
more difficult to climb into the lower branches with the
additional weight of the young woman but she was finally able to
get Dani into the lower branches before hauling herself up then
moved Dani up a little at a time. With the little Shamanist out of
harms way she felt better about going after Frank but with Dani
ill she knew that she would not have much time to spend trying to
catch him. There had to be a way to catch this killer, keep her
word to Dani and get her love the help she needed.
         I forgot how nasty it was in here, it’s been a long time
since I had to hide in this old hole. What the hell? Worms!
There’s a worm in here! Man those soldier boys better move fast
I hate worms! Frank resisted the urge to fidget and scratch he
knew the noise would draw the attention of the soldier to his hide
away so he bit into his lower lip and waited he wasn’t sure how
long he would have to wait so he lay still and for the first time in
a very long time he exercised patience. He knew that if the
soldiers caught him it would be far worse than being caught by
the sheriff so worms or no worms, he would wait.
         The soldiers moved silently under her tree, again Nik was
fascinated, the hand signals were so similar to those she had
taught her Amazons to use. She watched them move noticing the
way they held their weapons and placed their feet, if it had it not
been for the occasional misplaced boot there would have been no

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sound made by the unit at all. She was impressed, considering
they are mostly men she smiled. From her perch she watched as
they passed her hideaway totally unaware of her presence, they
had however found her sapling hut. The unit had located it and
moved in, four of the members had cleared the hut and moved
out without making a sound, it was all very impressive,
        Nik waited until she was sure that the soldiers had moved
well past her roost before she brought Dani down from the high
branches. She quickly carried the unconscious woman to the
hide that was sheltering Frank and laid her across the doorway.
The weight of the smaller woman’s body was enough to prevent
the prone man from lifting the door and easily escaping. Nik
quickly gathered short pine branches from the forest floor and
drove them into the ground around the door all about five or so
feet from Dani. That done she gathered some kindling and added
some torn bits of her shirt soon she had a yellow smoky pine fire
burning, heavy on the smoke, light on the fire. Grinning Nik
touched each of the branches to the flame causing them to smoke,
before the smoke got to heavy she moved Dani to a position
behind her and took her place on the door. Soon the smoke
began to have the desired effect, all of the insects, worms, spiders
and crawling creatures within the circle made their way to the
trap door and inside trying to escape the smoke and threat of fire.
Nik sat on the door, her head above the level of the heaviest
smoke and waited before long two things happened, a moaning
scream could be heard coming from the ground below her and the
sound of rushing feet trampling the forest sounded in front of her.
Within minutes she was surrounded by Military Police Soldiers
all of which wanted to know where Frank was, Nik smiled she
stood slowly and stepped back to Dani. The soldiers were not
sure what to do the woman did not seem to be a threat she had no
weapon, she was only a very beautiful woman in a pair of well
fitting blue jeans and half a shirt. They watched as she bent and
easily picked up the smaller woman and turned and faced the
soldier still smiling. As the watched the ground seemed to open,
as a door lifted and a thin man in a police uniform crawled out of
a hole in the ground, coughing and brushing away at the worms,
tears streamed down cheeks, as he finally stood up straight he

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jumped around batting at his chest squealing like a five year old.
The soldiers stood stunned staring at the man who had for the last
month terrified most of the young women on the state, it would
have been funny if his crime had not been so heinous. The
Military Police stepped in and immediately cuffed Frank,
whether they knew it or not, whether they cared or not, Frank was
still infested with worms and insects. By cuffing him they
prevented him from brushing away any more of the pests and
forced him to travel back through the forest cuffed with his
crawling friends.
         Following closely behind them was a tall, serious, quiet
woman easily carrying the smaller woman though several
soldiers offered to carry Dani, Nik simply shook her head. At
first she was there, in the middle of their group as they pushed
through to a point where a fire road cut into the woods. Then it
seemed she slowed down a bit and the other soldiers passed her
one at a time until she was bringing up the rear and before they
realized it, she had disappeared into the shadows. As the soldiers
reached the edge of Wildcat road they had begun to whisper
among themselves about it, all the talking stopped when they left
the tree line and stepped into the opening only to discover the
beautiful woman had beaten them there, many jaws dropped and
a stunned silence fell over the group. It seemed impossible, they
had taken what they knew was the most direct route out of the
woods yet this woman, carrying another woman had beaten them
here. Nik watched as one of the soldiers, apparently the senior
man, judging from all the stripes on his uniform, reported to the
General Richardson. The General had Frank shackled by the
ankles and placed in the cargo compartment of an MP Hmmer
with a two man escort for his trip back to the cantonment area, he
was ready to conclude the briefing from the NCO when the
Sergeant interrupted him with one more item to report. He spoke
quietly and quickly looking over at Nik several times confusion
evident in his expression. The General, to his credit kept a poker
face, thanked the for his report Sergeant, saluted and released the
man, after he walked away General Richardson turned and stared
at Nik with a quirky grin, from her seat in the CG’s Hmmer Nik
simply arched an eyebrow and nodded back.

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        Adrian had called for an ambulance from Moncrief, the
military hospital on the installation and within minutes they could
hear the wail of a siren screaming along the road towards
Wildcat. As Nik sat with Dani’s head cradled on her lap, the
young woman drifting in and out of consciousness. “Love wake
up let me see those beautiful grey eyes, look at me sweet one.”
Nik whispered her lips close to Dani’s ear, her fingers stroking
the unbruised cheek, angry at her own inability to prevent what
had happened. “Nik it isn’t your fault, you couldn’t have stopped
this, you probably saved her life.” Adrian tried to tell her. “No
Adrian, I was too weak, too weak to stop this from happening.
Like I weak to save my sisters in the forest all those years ago.”
Nik felt the tears slip down her cheeks as she thought of the
Amazons and the fight at the bridge. Had her failure to stop the
Romans been the reason why there were no Amazon’s today? If
only she had been stronger. The tears fell like the rain that had
fallen earlier that day, landing in large salty drops on Dani’s face
and lips.
        “Nik? What’s the matter? Where is Nik?” a soft voice
croaked from Nik’s lap. Stunned the Amazon pulled the small
dark haired woman to her, “DANI!” Nik yelled. Adrian smiled
as the two women hugged, General Richardson, had backed off
allowing the women some privacy, he looked over and gave
Adrian a thumbs up which she returned with a wide grin as the
ambulance finally pulled up beside them.




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Chapter 20

       They arrived by military ambulance at the Emergency
room at Moncrief Army Hospital, Dani had been wheeled in on a
gurney bundled up in sheets an oxygen mask covering most of

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     Katherine E. Standell and Cora Leigh Hampton
her face and IV lines flowing from her arms. Nik was in the
CG’s Hmmer right behind the ambulance, the Paramedics refused
to allow her to ride with them after the episode at Wildcat Road.
Dani was badly dehydrated and suffering from shock and the
Paramedics had no idea what else may be wrong with her. They
wanted nothing more than to get their patient to the hospital and
into the hands of a trained physician. In order to prepare her for
transport they had decided to place an IV in her arm and begin
giving her fluids in addition they wanted to help her breathing by
giving her oxygen through a mask. Nik on the other hand had no
idea who the men were and what exactly they were doing to
Dani, as far as she was concerned, taking Dani home and caring
for her was the best thing to do for now. The woman had no
broken bones, no bleeding wounds and no exposed internal
organs, so Nik saw no reason to puncture her arm and allow some
strange man to pump some unknown substance into Dani’s body.
It took Adrian and three of the MP’s to keep Nik from throwing
both Paramedics into the trees. As it was one was sent flying into
a drainage ditch when he grabbed Nik’s arm to pull her back
away from Dani. Nik jerked her arm free and punched the man in
the chest with her free hand sending him back into the ditch much
to his surprise. Adrian calmed her enough to explain to her that
what they were doing was giving Dani medicine and they were
not going to harm her. The Paramedics had seen enough, they
were still not going to allow this volatile woman into the
ambulance, so Nik was forced to follow in the Hmmer. As soon
as they arrived at the hospital Nik was out of the Hmmer before
the wheels stopped rolling, she ran to the ambulance and watched
them unload Dani, taking the Archeologists hand as soon as she
was able and walking with her into the building. Thought the
Paramedics wanted to stop her they thought the discretion was
the better part of valor, plus they had no desire to end up as
patience in their own hospital, so they left the tall woman alone.
Adrian was able to convince Nik to leave Dani long enough to
allow the doctors to tend to her injuries and get her settled in a
room for the night. Between her and General Richardson they
were able to pull some strings persuade the hospital to bend their
otherwise stringent rules and allow Nik to stay with Dani for the

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night.

        “Nik? Nik where did you go?” Dani’s voice was a
whisper in the dark room. “I’m right here Dani.” Nik said from
the window. She turned and walked to the bed sitting on the edge
she reached out and took Dani’s hand. “How do you feel? Are
you in pain? Would you like me to call someone?” Her thumb
brushed gently across Dani’s knuckles. “No but there is one
thing I would like, if you don’t mind” Dani said her voice
catching in her throat. “What is it little one?” Nik could tell
there was something bothering Dani. “Could you please just hold
me?” Dani held out her arms her eyes filled with tears the spilled
over and rolled gently down her cheeks. Nik stood up and moved
to the head of the bed she lifted the covers and slid in next to
Dani then lifted the small woman and placed her on her lap
cradling her head under Niks chin. Slowly she began to rock side
to side Hmming a soft lullaby as her Shamanist cried out her
fears safely in the arms of an ancient Amazon.
        The new day dawned with a trip to another hospital,
Adrian arrived to check Dani out of Moncrief and taxied her to
Lexington Memorial hospital where she and Nik were both
escorted to a waiting doctor for an evaluation and a physical
exam. While it had been initially set up so that both women
could be examined at the same time Nik refused to leave Dani’s
side and so Dani was examined first then Nik. During Dani’s
exam Nik hovered like a great eagle with one chick, ready to
pluck out the eye of anyone that roused her anger, when the
doctor pressed too firmly on the bruise below Dani’s eye he
nearly lost a hand. Before he could apologize he found his hand
held high above his head in a vice like grip his feel dangling off
the ground, while his eyes were now locked with a pair that
resembled cold blue death, it was not pleasant. “Nik leave the
nice doctor alone, he is just checking my bruises.” Dani said,
secretly pleased that Nik was so concerned about her welfare.
Next it was Nik’s turn to be examined, Dani, though not as
physical was just as protective, but more like a tiny Bantam
rooster with one hen she hovered over the exam table as the
physicians conducted a full exam. What they found amazed

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      Katherine E. Standell and Cora Leigh Hampton
them. Niks percentage of body fat was unheard of; she had
virtually none, she was a mass of muscle and sinew. Though it
was apparent that she had hundreds of healed broken bones none
of them seemed to have had any effect on her ability to function
and in fact had healed better than anything they had ever seen,
there was absolutely no arthritis present anywhere. As they check
first her reflexes and then her heart rate at rest and active the
doctors became even more excited. Dani watched them closely as
did Adrian neither woman was happy with what they were
seeing. “Okay Dani, spill it.” Adrian said once she had Dani
pulled aside. “Spill what? What are you talking about Adrian?”
Dani replied distracted by what was going on with Nik. “What is
up the Nik and those Quacks? Why are they so happy? Is there
something you forgot to tell me?” Adrian could smell a lie before
it was told. Dani turned and looked deeply into the agents eyes
trying to judge whether this woman could be trusted with the one
thing that she loved most in life. She turned back to Nik, it would
have to wait until she had the chance to speak to Nik, meanwhile
Adrian would simply remain in the dark. “I’m sorry Adrian, I
have no idea what you are talking about.” Dani told her. When
or if they decided to tell Adrian would be a time and a place of
their choosing and that was not now.
        Following the exam the two women were pronounced
physically out of danger but Dani was put on bed rest for forty
eight hours and threatened with a hospital stay if she elected to
ignore the doctors advice, so on that note Adrian offered to
chauffeured the two women home with strict orders to Nik to
make Dani rest and to keep in touch with her if that became a
problem. When they pulled up to Dani’s modest home in her
otherwise quiet neighborhood they found it buried four deep in
reporters and news crews all trying to interview the women
behind the capture of the 911 Killer. While the two had been in
the hospital the story had exploded across the televisions and
newspapers of the nation making Nik and Dani instant heroines
in demand by every reporter, talk show host and movie producer
in Hollywood and on the quieter somewhat darker side, Nik had
received offers from just about every covert law enforcement,
military and paramilitary agency in the United States and several

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from around the world. As for the 911 killer, apparently Frank
was spilling his guts and he didn’t care who he spoke to about
what that, “crazy Amazon bitch” had done to him, how much was
the truth and how much was Frank’s sick imagination only Frank
and Nik knew.
         Nik and Dani were finally alone, Adrian had provided
them with a driver to take them home, Jay met them when they
arrived but after checking every window and door he kissed Dani
on the cheek and left the two women for the evening.
         Nik showered and Dani called Dominoes, Bailey was
following Dani around the house not allowing her care giver out
of her sight for one moment. The last time she had allowed that
to happen she had ended up with some strange human that tried
to feed her, of all things cat food! Bailey was insulted she had no
idea what the stuff was or why this person expected her to eat the
stuff he put in a bowl on the floor. So she did just what any well
respected cat would do, she turned her nose up went hungry, well
at least until Jay turned his head and she stole bits of his prime
rib. But now she was back in her house with her care giver and it
was time to set things straight. First thing was petting, then food,
then more petting, then perhaps a bit more food, it was good to be
the cat. She followed Dani into the bedroom and watched as she
placed a call for Pizza then stripped and put on her robe. She was
aware of the shower running and the scent of another human in
the house but this was no threat. Bailey stopped her nose
twitched, a scent came to her with the steam of the hot water and
it was very different, more like sky and earth and outside, she
purred, the creature in the bathroom, was different very different
and she liked her. Bailey stopped in front of the bathroom door
and sat waiting for Nik to come out. Dani was stunned for the
first time since she had known her, Bailey was not on her heels,
she was actually distracted by something else, as she watched the
cat actually rolled onto her side and slipped her paw up under the
door trying for all she was worth to open it from the outside.
“Well I’ll, not that I blame you, she is cute but I don’t think she is
going to let you in Bailey.” Dani said watching the cat’s antics.
The doorbell rang and Dani reached for her wallet and headed for
the living room. “Boy that was fast, I thought they said it would

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take at least forty five minutes.” She reached the front door and
opened it glancing into her wallet for the correct bills and a tip.
“Let me see it was what?”
         “Hi darlin’ I hear you are a big time hero now. So I
figured you wouldn’t mind letting your dear old Dad share some
of that fifteen minutes of fame and glory.” Clay Patterson was so
proud of himself he knew that his face was the last one she
expected to see. He pushed past Dani and walked into the house.
“Not bad for a geek kid, not bad at all.” He walked over and
plopped down on Dani’s sofa and threw his feet up on her coffee
table making himself at home. “So whatcha gonna do with all
this fame ya got, ya gonna do movies or talk shows. I know ya
got paid some kinda reward for capturing that rapist, you are
gonna share that with your dear old Dad aren’t ya?” He asked
dragging he boots off the table leaving deep scratches in the
wood which brought a smile to his lips. “I mean after all, I
supported you and your lazy no account Ma all those years you
was growin up to be such a fine woman. I think I deserve
something don’t you?” “Oh yes, you deserve something alright.”
Came a cold voice from the hallway as a tall Amazon warrior
stepped into the living room. Nik was dressed in a night shirt and
boxer shorts, her long legs and lean muscles very evident in every
stride, her black hair coiled in braids that hung on either side of
her face moved as if alive as she strode across the living room
and directly up to Clay she reached down and lifted him with one
hand by his shirt collar. Holding him up eye level, icy blue
stared directly into muddy brown for several minutes before she
spoke. “I have heard all about you Clay and I am not impressed.
From now on you are not welcome here or anywhere near my
Dani. If I ever discover that you have been seen near her I will
…” Nik pulled Clay close and whispered into his ear. The man
turned white as a sheet and as Dani watched a large wet stain
appeared in the front of his pants. “Do we understand each
other?” Nik asked as she set the man on his feet brushing
imaginary dandruff from his shoulders. Clay nodded his head like
a bobble headed dog in the back of a cheap ride. “Good, now go
away Clay and it might be in your best interest if you changed
cities, don’t you think?” The man did not reply he just ran, out

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the door down the sidewalk, past his car and down the street.
Dani could not stop laughing. “What on earth did you tell him?”
She finally gasped out. “Oh nothing much,” Nik said leaning
against the door her arms folded, watching the man run. “just
that I would rip off his very tiny penis, roast it over an open fire
and feed it to the cat.” She added without cracking a smile. Dani
fell over laughing again unable to stop, still seeing her stepfather
running past his car and down the street. Nik kicked the door
shut and turned to Dani. “Now if I remember correctly the
doctors said that you were to stay in bed and rest. It does not
look like you are in bed and you are definitely not resting so little
one, first it is into the shower then it is time for bed.” Taking
Dani by the hand Nik led her back towards the bedroom and the
master bath. “You know there are many things that I have come
to enjoy in these modern times but there is one thing that I have
really grown fond of.” Nik led Dani into the large master bath.
Of all the things Dani liked in her home the bath had been the
major selling point. The first owner had been a wheel chair
bound tri athlete and had needed several modifications in the
bathroom to compensate for his chair and his fitness needs. The
results had been a rather large bathroom with floor to ceiling tile,
a large Jacuzzi tub and a shower that was comprised of six
shower heads that sprang from a corner of the bathroom wall.
There were also teak benches near the shower so that a steam
sauna could be activated. Dani had never used the sauna but she
loved the tub and the shower, she considered the bathroom her
one religions experience of each day. Nik led Dani into the
bathroom and over to one to the two teak benches attached to the
wall near the shower. Sitting her down she knelt at her feet and
untied Dani’s shoes, slipping off each one followed by her socks,
standing she lifted Dani’s shirt up and over her head, tousling her
hair in the process. Grinning at the expression on the smaller
woman’s face she was unable to resist pressing a kiss to the soft
lips, her hand slid down Dani’s arms to small hands and lifted her
to her feet as she stood there distracted by the searching kiss Nik
unsnapped the button fly jeans Dani wore and slid them off her
hips and down her thighs, the were quickly followed by a pair of
underwear and a silky bra. Now completely naked Nik stepped

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      Katherine E. Standell and Cora Leigh Hampton
back, her hands still holding Dani’s as she looked at the body of
the woman she traveled through time to love.
Her eyes still locked with the Shamanist she quickly pushed her
shorts off of her hips and lifted the night shirt from her shoulders,
she stood naked and exposed to her love. Dani smiled as Nik
opened her arms and pulled her lover to her. Holding her tightly
Nik reached over and turned on the showers, quickly adjusting
the temperature to bathe them in a lukewarm bath as she began to
gently kiss the woman she loved. Dani was the perfect height as
far as Nik was concerned, her head just reached Niks chin. Nik
reached out to the soap shelf and picks up the liquid soap and a
loofa, she squeezed out a stream of pearly liquid into the center
of the sponge then held it under the water crushing the sponge
until the soft foam dripped from her between her fingers. The
smell was soft and sweet, she brought the sponge up and brushed
it across Dani’s small shoulders enjoying the feel of holding the
small woman, her breasts firm against her chest. She stroked the
sponge down the center of Dani’s back her empty hand following
closely, as the sponge dipped into the curve of Dani’s lower back
both soapy hands met and curved under to cup Dani’s rear lifting
the small woman up allowing her to wrap her legs around Nik’s
waist. Nik turned them both into the flow of the water, her lips
met again with Dani’s, this woman who had pulled her spirit into
the future. Slowly Nik backed to the shower wall feeling the cold
tile making contact with her warm skin. The flesh of this
beautiful woman making her forget everything but the smell and
taste of her. She slid down the wall letting Dani’s feet touch the
floor until Nik was kneeling at Dani’s feet her head now resting
on her lover’s soft belly. The feel of her, the smell of her was
incredible, she could not resist her tongue reached out and dipped
into the hollow of Dani’s navel sipping the water there following
the moisture that trickled from that tiny cavity as it rolled into a
downy nest of black curls Niks hands pressed Dani’s rear toward
she allowing her to bury her nose and lips in those delicate curls.
She slowly turned Dani allowing her to sit on the teak wood
bench, gently she lifted first one leg then the other over her
shoulders and slid Dani to her lips kissed her lovers nest as she
gently spread her legs further apart exposing the flushed pink

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                       Nik of Time
bundle of nerves. A moan escaped Nik’s lips as the scent of her
lovers arousal reached her, slowly she reached out and sucked in
the treasure that she considered hers, thrilled to know that she
was able to cause this response in Dani. She felt the small
woman quiver as she came exploding in Niks mouth, then
collapsed in exhaustion. Nik gently finished washing Dani,
sponging her body, her legs, her hair even her feet until she was
clean and completely relaxed. Nik stood Dani in the shower and
turned off the water. Wrapping the Shamanist in a large soft
towel she picked her up and carried her to their bed, stripping the
towel away she pulled Dani’s naked body close to her own and
curled together they fell into a satisfied deep sleep.
        She was running, but her legs could not seem to move fast
enough, it was as if she were moving in molasses. If she didn’t
move soon he would catch her, she paNiked, she could hear him
behind her, feel his breath on her neck but she still could not
move. “Dani, give me your hand.” It was Nik’s voice Dani
looked up now she was in the forest and there were trees. Dani
saw Nik in the trees hanging upside down, she would laugh if she
were not so frightened, she reached up with both arms grabbing
both of Nik’s arms. She felt as if there were wings on her ankles,
suddenly she was flying. She felt laughter bubble from her throat
as she was lifted into the trees and into Nik’s arms. “Nik thank
the Gods” Dani said. “The Gods have nothing to do with this
Danielle” Said a strange musical voice. Dani looked around
unable to see where the voice came from. Nik smiled at her, she
recognized the voice and curled her arms around Dani as she
lowered them both to the ground. Dani knew somehow that they
were safe now, Frank was no where to be found and the voice
would make sure that they were safe. “Hello daughter.” The
voice said as a mist rose from the forest floor solidifying into a
beautiful woman dressed in a beautiful Grecian gown and
bronzed armor, the woman wore a bronze helmet on her head, her
hair could only be described as titan red, Dani was amazed, but
what really surprised her was the tiny owl that peaked from under
the thick braided curls near her neck. “Hola Daughter it is good
to see you looking so well, and so happy.” Nik grinned falling to
one knee and pulling Dani with her “Thank you Mother, I have

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     Katherine E. Standell and Cora Leigh Hampton
never been happier, Dani is my world.” Nik said. Athena
reached out and took Nik and Dani by the hands, helping them
up. “Daughter you have done nothing but please me all your life,
I have waited for the perfect mate for you and it has taken a very
long time, but then , you are a very special daughter and I love
you.” Athena said smiling at Nik. “And I you Mother. There is
one thing I must know Mother,” Nik asked her eyes falling as her
hand reached out to grab Dani’s. “Yes daughter, you need never
fear me, ask.” Athena said. “My sisters, what has happened to
them, did they fall from the Earth? Is there no place for Amazons
on this modern world?” Athena looked into Nik’s eyes her own
soft grey showing a deep sadness that brought tears to Dani’s
eyes. “There will always be a place for Amazons daughter.
Strong women are the mothers, daughter, wives and teachers of
the world. They are also the peacemakers and the warriors their
battles may not be the same as the battles of old but they are
battles none the less. As for your sisters…you must speak to you
soul mate of that she will help you answer that question.” Athena
told her smiling. Dani was amazed at this whole turn of events
and now she felt the need to ask Athena a question. “Umm,
excuse me…Miss umm your Majesty, umm Goddess, Oh good
grief, what am I suppose to call you?” she asked Athena. “Well
for now you may call me Athena.” The Goddess chuckled.
“Okay, Athena, umm I know that you are the reason that Nik is in
my time and I am very grateful to you for allowing her to be here.
But I just wanted you to know, “ Dani said as she moved to stand
in front of Nik, “if you had any misconception of taking her back,
it will be over my shriveled dead corpse. I don’t plan on giving
her up without a knock down hair pulling bitch slapping battle.”
Dani put up her small fists and faced Athena. “Do you mean to
tell me that you would be willing to fight me to keep Nik?”
Danielle Athena asked in amazement, her grey eyes now wide
her lips draw into a incredulous smile. “Well, yes, I do I know
that you could probable strike me down with a bolt of lightening
or something but I will not give up my soul mate without a fight.”
Nik stood behind Dani her chest bowed out with pride as she
grins at her mother and the courage of her chosen. “Do not worry
little one Nik has earned the right to your love and she will have

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                       Nik of Time
her life with you.” Athena said “I must leave you now daughter,
but I will be watching.” As Dani watched Athena seemed to
disappear in a mist as quickly as she had appeared. She turned to
Nik wrapping her arms around Nik’s waist and burrowed her face
into the breasts of the woman she loved and with a deep sight she
relaxed into Nik’s embrace.
        There was an irritating ringing in her head and Dani
burrowed deeper into the softness that was her pillow trying to
block out the noise with no luck finally she rolled over and
slapped at the alarm. Laying back she stared up at the ceiling her
arms flung wide, momentarily disoriented. Wait, this is wrong,
my arms…are not… my bed is…EMPTY! “NIK!!!” Dani sat up
straight and looked around, the bathroom door was wide open
and she could see that there was no one inside, it was as empty as
her bed. “NO! Athena, you promised! You said she could stay!
You promised!” Dani began to cry in fear her heart tearing apart
as she grabbed the white robe that lay at the foot of her bed, the
same robe that Nik had worn the day she arrived. Slipping her
arms into it she ran out of the bedroom and down the hall and
into the living room. Standing in the center of the living room
floor was something she never expected to see in the flesh, a fully
armored Amazon warrior. The woman was dressed from head to
toe in battle gear, leather sandals on her feet laced up her legs,
leather and brass greaves protected her shin and calves the hilt of
a dirt protruded from the leather bindings at each calf, a dazzling
white tunic covered her body but was partially hidden by a
leather skirt and an intricately carved breast and back plate and
on her head was a beautiful bronze helmet with a bronzed face.
At her back Dani could see the pommel of a huge sword with a
leather grip and on her hip she wore a scabbard that held a double
headed ax. The warrior was tall, powerful and incredibly
intimidating. Dani stopped at the entrance to the living room
frightened of this imposing woman. The warrior turned towards
Dani and she saw azure blue eyes peering at her through the eye
holes in the helmet. The warrior approached her slowly, silently
and gracefully until she was directly in front of her. Dani
recognized Nik and smiled at the warrior. Nik lifted her helmet
and placed it under her arm, slowly dropping to one knee, she

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      Katherine E. Standell and Cora Leigh Hampton
placed it at Dani’s feet then leaned back her hands extended
outwards, palms open upwards in submission, “Dani, I love you.
In all my life I have never said that to any woman. I love you my
Shamanist and if you would have me I wish to Fast to you.” Nik
added her face serious and her eyes pleading. Dani was stunned,
this beautiful warrior woman that had traveled through time to
save her life loved her. She bent down a picked up the helmet
setting it carefully to one side she knelt in front of and leaned into
Nik’s arms crying. “I thought you had left me Nik, I don’t think I
would survive that.” Dani said from some where deep in Nik’s
shoulder.
        “Well then, I guess that is a yes my shamanist” Nik said
through a teary voice.
        “Yes Nik, that is a yes I will Fast to you, until the end of
time.” Dani promised.
        “Until the end of time.” Nik agreed.




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                    Nik of Time




Epilogue:

      Jay thanked the man in the brown shorts and shirt; the
UPS guys were always on time he smiled. He walked back into
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      Katherine E. Standell and Cora Leigh Hampton
his office and sat the box on the center of his desk. It was heavier
than he though it would be and he was excited about its arrival.
He knew that Dani was anxious for its arrival but right now she
was still out recovering from her experience with that crazy
killer. He still couldn’t believe it had all happened, her mother
was on her way home now and he was in for a long day of
explanations when she arrived but that was for tomorrow. Today
he had other things to occupy his mind and the biggest one was
sitting in the middle of his desk. He picked up his letter opener
and tested the edge, yep it was sharp enough to do the trick, all he
needed was to cut the tape across the bottom of the box and let
the contents slip out. He had been amazed at the arrival of the
package, it should have taken months for the skull to be prepared
and returned but for some reason the sculpture had been driven to
take up and complete this particular project. She had written to
Jay about the obsession that had consumed her when the skull
had arrived. She had been without sleep for days and had been
too happy to have it out of her gallery and safely returned to the
museum. The last time they had spoken she told him not to send
her anymore skulls for the rest of the year, she would be on
vacation for the next two months, she had then hung up on him.
Jay had been stunned, he had no idea what was going on with the
woman but had been happy that she was working on his skull and
was just thrilled to have it back so soon.
         Slowly, gently he lifted the box, the skull wrapped in
tissue and newspaper, slid out the bottom, with a gentle thump.
Placing the box to one side he carefully began to unwrapped the
newspaper and tissue exposing the newly sculpted head a tiny bit
at a time. Finally the entire head was revealed; he turned it to face
him stunned at the eyes that stared into his. “This is just not
possible. No, it just can’t be.” He stared at the face now so
familiar to him. The face of the ancient skull, the reconstructed
Amazon, was Nik, how could that be?




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