Short Story - Phase in Space - by Paul O'Neill

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Phase in Space - by Paul O'Neill

Phase was lost. There was no question about it. At first, the jungle had seemed a nice enough place - full of interesting birds and animals, and lots of smokeable looking plants growing all around.

Now, four days later, the plants had all been too damp to light, the birds kept him awake at night and Phase had yet to encounter an animal which did not try to attack him. Scratch that. He had yet to encounter an animal which did not succeed in attacking him.

Now he was lost in an uninhabited, alien jungle on a far away planet in a completely parallel universe and those drums were driving him insane.

The impossibility of drumming in an unihabited jungle hit him about the same time as the spear-butt from out of the bushes to his left.

He awoke to find himself sat in a clearing surrounded by about four dozen young women wearing the sort of fur bikini that would have made Raquel Welch give up and go home.

He very carefully didn't pinch himself in case he was dreaming.

"Hello," he said, still quite dazed from the attack.

Several of the younger ones (aged around 18) took flight across the clearing towards the mud huts that surrounded it. "My God!" he thought "They look almost as good from that angle as they do from this".

The eldest woman there (23ish) looked him up and down.

"You are male?" She asked.

"You can't tell?" he replied, trying to keep the tremor out of his voice.

"All our men were killed several years ago in a bizarre accident involving a herd of Tortoise. Don't ask. We have spent the last few years searching the jungle for more men to help with the whole 'having children' thing."

Phase quietly resolved never to pinch himself again for as long as this lasted, just in case.

"So, when do I start?"

"Right away, if you like," said the tall brunette to his left.

Phase rubbed his hands with glee.

"The children are over here." Said a redhead.

Phase was confused. "Children?"

"Yes," informed a blonde, "We have more than enough men for the first bit. This jungle was full of tribes whose males were only too willing to volunteer. But we're much too busy having sex to raise the children ourselves, so any other men are assigned the task of looking after them."

The first girl took his arm. "Don't worry, the rest of your life will just fly by if you concentrate on changing nappies and not trying to escape in any way."

She looked puzzled. "Why are you pinching yourself like that?"