Chapter Seven: Jill gets cut

As the sun set behind the mountain, we left. We headed west, so it was nice the sun was down, and it was still pretty hot. We had our hands tied behind us, and to our waist. It was a pretty natural position so we wouldn't have a problem with joints getting sore. We were tied by the neck in threes, and sent off. Suzanne was tied, but not to any of us, and she and Anne Marie lead the way. They were both using the mountains and the stars to keep on course going west.

The man walked among us. He would stop us at times. He would untie us, give us a standing massage, and talk a bit. Then he would tie us back up and pat us on our way.

Jill would have nothing to do with him, or with the program. She was constantly yanking on the rope that held her to Trish and Jeannie, and she yelled at the man whenever he came close.

It wasn't an hour into the walk before he grabbed her and untied her from Trish and Jeannie. "Go on." he told them.

While she wailed like a banshee, he once again tied her wrists high up her back and held them there with a loop of rope around her elbows, and one around her neck. He then pushed her off and said, "You're on your own, lady. Find your own way to wherever you want to go." and he walked off.

Jill stumbled way from him, then turned and watched him. When he started working with the other group of three girls, she ran up to our group.

"Good, I tricked him." she said, "I'm almost free to get us rescued. Quick! One of you untie me."

I was tied to Anne Marie and Lorrie. We were in the lead along with Suzanne. Somehow Jill had forgotten entirely that Suzanne was surely on the man's side, and she was watching this from about twenty feet way.

Not that any of us were particularly on Jill's side. She was just being wacko now. She looked a little surprised when we didn't hop to her request to untie her.

"Lorrie..."

"Your hands are too high. I can't reach them." she said.

"But I can't get help tied up like this!" she stamped a foot. As we walked along she begged and whined for one of us to untie her. Finally Suzanne came up.

"What would you do if you were untied?" she asked.

"I'd run away and get help!" Jill said proudly.

"You'd run about fifty feet. Get lonely. And come back and untie one or more of these ladies to come along with you." she said.

"I would not!" she got huffy.

I giggled, "Your nose is growing."

"So.... What if I did?" she said.

"You nearly got Lorrie killed with your antics this morning." replied Suzanne, "You still don't believe, do you? You still think there's a policeman or a Prince Charming waiting just over the next hill." she looked around, "If there was a hill."

Jill started crying, "I don't want to be here!!!" she moaned.

"Well, you are. And this is a life-or-death situation." Suzanne's tone changed to something more sorrowful, "The man has cut bait on you. When he cut you out of that line, he was saying he didn't think you would ever get with the program."

Suzanne looked at her sorrowfully, "We women may run the show on this new world, but he is our leader, and we want that. Having strong men is in our genes, all our very human genes, and it's valuable, and we want that concept to survive!"

Jill stopped walking, "You want... What? Were you born a hundred years ago, or something?"

"Where you born yesterday?" retorted Suzanne. "This is a new world. It needs strong men just as much as it needs strong women. Taming this new world is how we are evolved to live."

"You can't be serious!" Jill said as she ran a bit to catch up.

"Can you?" said Suzanne placidly. "We're not walking to some dilettante ball. If you, physically, don't have the force to make something happen, it's not going to happen. If you, emotionally, don't have the will to overcome unpleasantness, it's not going to be overcome. That's what this journey is testing. By coming here, and sharing your trial, I'm reaffirming my commitment to this."

Jill walked along, alternately pleading and whining for one of us to untie her.

Suzanne finally said, "Jill, we have a long way to go. I don't mind talking with you while we do, but I find your whining highly annoying."

"Shut up!" Jill snapped in her poisonous don't-cross-me tone.

Suzanne stopped and let Jill walk by her, as she did Suzanne kicked her in the back of the knee. Jill went down to her knees and lost her balance; she fell face down on the hard mudcake. She lay there a while, first screaming, then whining and sobbing to herself as we walked off.

We walked for some minutes before Suzanne said, "I don't think the gene pool is going to suffer from lack of that attitude."

"But you don't know, for sure." I commented.

"No, I don't. This is a project that is still full of risk." her voice sounded a bit worried and sorrowful.