Stars in Chains - Book Two
Chosen by the Mindgods to liberate the Galaxy from the tyrant Kaloor, David Stark must change to emerge victorious from the last battle. His craving for blood during sexual intercourse is only part of his metamorphosis. He must fight bandits and slave traders to achieve the final goal.
David Stark lay on his cot and stared at the ceiling of the tent, wondering if it would withstand the force of the forever-blowing wind. At least the tent was airtight enough to keep the sand from covering everything inside with a purple layer. Enough of it came in every time someone opened the entrance.
Unfortunately, it didn’t keep out the heat during the day. The nights were not as bad. Among the supplies had been blankets they could use as protection against the cold.
Each tent was home to ten slaves. There were seven tents altogether. The largest one was used as a mess hall. If there was any consolation at all, it was the fact that the guards were also housed in tents.
Stark found it strange that none of the guards were Melkos, those white-faced, emotionless soldiers of the Almighty Kaloor, who had proclaimed himself as ruler of this part of the Galaxy.
He ran his hand across the stubble on his face, debating if he should let his beard grow again. He had found a use for the knife in his backpack. Its keen-edged blade was sharp enough to make it usable as a razor, but without shaving cream, it was not a pleasurable task. Also, he had noticed that his facial hair seemed to be growing faster than ever before. If he wanted to keep his face clean-shaven, it had become necessary to shave twice a day, which proved to be too bothersome. Strangely enough, even though his beard grew around his chin and cheeks, his upper lip stayed smooth, leaving his lips visible and clean. He couldn’t grow a mustache if he wanted to.
He’d never cared much for men with long hair. Women wore their hair long; men wore it short as far as he was concerned. He had tried to chop his hair with his knife but finally gave up. It was far easier to just let it grow. He tied it into a ponytail with a piece of fabric he cut from his blanket to keep his long hair from obscuring his vision.
Grimacing, he put his hand behind his back and touched the thick bundle of hair.
Who ever thought I would wear my hair this way? I guess a man can get used to anything.
He pictured himself in a pirate’s outfit, his hair hanging down his back, a huge ring in his ear, a golden cross dangling on his chest, a sword in his hand, and a sexy, scantily dressed woman in his arm, fighting off a dozen angry soldiers.
Chuckling, he put that vision out of his mind. No rings in my ears! I do have my limits. Men who wear rings in their ears are sissies.
“How about sharing that joke with me? I could use a laugh.”
He turned his head to look at Akros. The ape-man sat at the edge of his cot. His yellow eyes seemed to study Stark. “Are you talking with yourself again?”
Stark shook his head. “Thinking about my life. It wasn’t really that funny.”
“I’ve been watching you,” Akros said thoughtfully. “We’ve been here now exactly twenty-seven days. You have changed since first we met.”
“How do you mean?”
“Your appearance has changed. You are larger in body, your chest has deepened, and your arms have developed muscles you did not possess before. Even your face is not the same.” He showed a toothy grin. “It is beginning to look more and more like my handsome face.”
Stark stared into the other man’s savage face. “Don’t flatter yourself,” he said. “Besides, it would be a step backward for me. My ancestors might have looked like you. I have evolved.”
“Have you looked at your image lately?”
“I haven’t seen my countenance for a long time. Maybe it’s just as well. My skin must have aged years in this dry, hot dessert. Even the cream they gave us doesn’t help much.”
Akros chuckled with a low growl. “No cream will help you, my mysterious friend.”
Stark had to admit that his coveralls seemed too tight on his frame and he had been wondering if he should put in a request for a new pair. He was not ignorant of the fact that his body had gained more mass. What disturbed him most was the hair growing all over his body. He had never been hairy before. In addition to becoming more muscular he also felt more powerful and had more energy and stamina than ever before in his life.
He had never been a weakling, but his newly developed muscles and gaining of strength defied logical explanation. This was a something far beyond anything possible in such a short time, even with an extensive training program.
He remembered Feleena and Serina noticing the change in his appearance, but he had not given it a second thought then.
“Should I worry about it?” he asked Akros.
Akros lifted his massive shoulders. “As long as you’re not feeling sick I’d say there is nothing to worry about. Maybe it is a good thing. The work we do requires a strong body. It is quite possible you are adjusting to the conditions you are forced to live in. The universe is a wondrous place. There exist species that can exactly do that. Yours is possibly one of them. Who knows?”