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Chapter III

            One of the side rooms was reserved for Milo's wife, and going into the antechamber introduced me to his wife's handmaiden. She was an enormous black woman from some lesser-known African tribe, and towered at least a foot above my surprised head. Leda knew her, however, and said a few words which I didn't understand, and produced one of the tokens which were so common in the apartment. The handmaiden looked at the token, smiled at Leda, looked suspiciously at me, then unlocked the door to the "Holy of Holies." The first sense to be affected by the room beyond that door was the sense of smell. Rolling out the door like a physical tide was a scent of the jungle: musky smell of animals in heat, heavy sweet smells of overripe fruit, a faint whiff of decay in slow-moving jungle streams where the Sun seldom cuts through the thick foliage, and where leaves rot into the luxurious topsoil of the jungle floor. Strikingly different, I could hardly make up my mind to decide whether this differentness was pleasant or displeasing, but then the sounds reached my ears: low sounds of creatures breathing deeply in sleep under heavy bushes, gentle sounds of water splashing over rocks covered with mosses and ferns, a gentle hum of insects---and I hoped that the reality of the atmosphere stopped at the actual presence of the insects the sound advertised. As we entered the room, the carpet under our feet became cool and slightly damp, and though I'm sure it was still a carpet, there was the unmistakably soggy sound of feet going through jungle undergrowth. The light was dim, and I could see nothing. Leda called softly: "Anakanan," and sounded more like a jungle macaw than the girl I had grown to know so well. A form shifted on the ground---I felt compelled to think of it as ground---and then stood lithely up before us. I raised my hand in front of my face in surprise and found that my garment was glowing blue-white as if under ultraviolet lamps, and looking forward I was startled to see two luminous eyes peering at Leda from the top of the huge form which stood before us. I grew accustomed to the half-light, odd-light to see a form more blue than black against the background, and a Black Aphrodite took shape before my straining eyes. So black was her skin that the light turned it a deep vibrating blue. "Leda," said Leda, followed by unknown sounds, and the area under the two hovering eyes was split by the width of a smile, and straight blue-white teeth glinted in welcome, while the eyes narrowed, changing their aspect into a Chinese nightmare of a face under stress of a wide smile. I was terrified of this head which loomed two full feet above mine. She stepped forward to greet us and there was a slight rustle of material, but it was a sound as if she were clothed in thousands of chimes, for the air erupted with a metallic melody as she moved, yet looking down at her, I could see no clothing. But I could see a body of enormous bulk, huge breasts with nipples which gleamed blue at the tip, a waist which was a mere indentation to a set of hips which could have birthed quadruplets with no trouble. This was truly a marvel of flesh, and she carried herself so well that one quickly forgot she was over eight feet tall. I could only wonder in contrast what Milo did with her when performing his husbandly duties, but I could easily see why once he had married her, no one could easily take her place. "Where did she come from?" "Somewhere in Africa. I don't know just where. One of his agents found her; and she came dear, since she was considered one of the living gods of her tribe, and it's easy to see why. His agent had to pretend to kill her, and said he was taking her to their equivalent of heaven. Somehow he managed to convince HER that she had died, too, and that Milo is the incarnation of her most powerful god. They made a perfect couple: he's satisfied with her because he's certain there isn't another like her in the entire world. She is satisfied with him because he's literally her god, and her entire life is spent in waiting for him to come to her. She never leaves this room---the Handmaidens are the only people she sees other than close friends, and she thinks we're gods, too." "But---" "But don't get ideas, lover boy; Milo is the ONE god, and she has no other gods before, or AFTER, him."