A Voyage to Arcturus HTML version

Chapter 19. Sullenbode
Sullenbode's naked skin glowed softly through the darkness, but the clothed part of her
person was invisible. Maskull watched her senseless, smiling face, and shivered. Strange
feelings ran through his body.
Corpang spoke out of the night. "She looks like an evil spirit filled with deadliness."
"It was like deliberately kissing lightning."
"Haunte was insane with passion."
"So am I," said Maskull quietly. "My body seems full of rocks, all grinding against one
"This is what I was afraid of."
"It appears I shall have to kiss her too."
Corpang pulled his arm. "Have you lost all manliness?"
But Maskull impatiently shook himself free. He plucked nervously at his beard, and
stared at Sullenbode. His lips kept twitching. After this had gone on for a few minutes, he
stepped forward, bent over the woman, and lifted her bodily in his arms. Setting her
upright against the rugged tree trunk, he kissed her.
A cold, knifelike shock passed down his frame. He thought that it was death, and lost
When his sense returned, Sullenbode was holding him by the shoulder with one hand at
arm's length, searching his face with gloomy eyes. At first he failed to recognise her; it
was not the woman he had kissed, but another. Then he gradually realised that her face
was identical with that which Haunte's action had called into existence. A great calmness
came upon him; his bad sensations had disappeared.
Sullenbode was transformed into a living soul. Her skin was firm, her features were
strong, her eyes gleamed with the consciousness of power. She was tall and slight, but
slow in all her gestures and movements. Her face was not beautiful. It was long, and
palely lighted, while the mouth crossed the lower half like a gash of fire. The lips were as
voluptuous as before. Her brows were heavy. There was nothing vulgar in her - she
looked the kingliest of all women. She appeared not more than twenty-five.
Growing tired, apparently, of his scrutiny, she pushed him a little way and allowed her
arm to drop, at the same time curving her mouth into a long, bowlike smile. "Whom have
I to thank for this gift of life?"