"It's from Sunny!" Phil said, happily surprised.
"What the hell does she want?"
"If you let me read it I might be able to tell you."
"All right, all right," Jack replied. "Sorry. Why don't you read it out loud?"
Phil sighed. But, she thought, at least he was trying to make up. "Okay," she said, "I'll read it out loud."
My dearest Phil,
How I wish you were here with us in Shabathawan. We live as men and women were meant to live, far from the filth and misery of the City! We drink pure water, grow our own food and sometimes partake of our mother's animal bounty; the land provides for all of our needs!
And Phil, there are bears here! And moose, and beavers and wolves! At night, you can here them worshipping the moon ...
This is an ancient land, Phil; water and stone and forest, where Man (and Woman) has a chance to start anew, to chart a new course of civilization. We can live without devasting our Mother's forests or her creatures, if only we remember that we, too, are Her children.
This land, Her ancient home, has been here for 3 billion years, Phil, always changing, always growing, yet also always very much the same. You can touch rocks that have weathered through tens of billions of days; you can touch the bones of Mother Earth, you can feel Her wisdom and Her joy.
There is life here, everywhere; even where the soil is thinnest on cliff-tops there is life, drawing on our Mother's milk through roots spread wide instead of deep. In this land of raven and hawk, you can touch Her, as if we had never left the primordial Garden.
Everything is different here, Phil. Everything is touched by Life. If only you had been here to see my belly swell; I so much wanted you with me when my daughter was born ...
Everything we once dreamed of is coming true, Phil. All that is missing is you.
In place of a signature was a smiling sun.
"Holy shit," said Phil quietly, "she had a kid." She sat down and let the letter fall to her lap. "But she's only been up there 5 or 6 months - and I'd swear she wasn't pregnant when she left; she swore by the Pill." She shook her head. "It doesn't make sense ..." She picked up the letter again, as if handling it would provide some clue to the mystery it reported.
Jack smirked. "Maybe she forgot to take it. Obviously, she had to have been knocked up when she left." He chuckled. "Bet she doesn't even know who the father is."
Phil turned on him. "Leave her alone! Sunny's never done a fucking thing to you!"
Jack grinned, the way he did when preparing to say something nasty, as if he equated that with being clever.
"I let her suck me off once," Jack said, his hands smug in his pockets.
Phil roared and leapt from the couch. Jack stood his ground and Phil hit him with both fists. As he staggered back, she grabbed his beard with one hand, his hair with her other and banged his head againt the wall.
Jack crumpled to his knees while Phil watched, her balled fists at her sides.
Jack got to his feet, shook his head and touched his mouth. His hand came away bloody. He shook his head again, then looked right at her.
"You fucking bitch," he said slowly, "you shouldn't have done that." His dark eyes glittered wide, promising extravagant violence. "You really shouldn't have done that."
Phil backed off a step. She had never seen him so quietly enraged. But Phil herself had never backed away from a fight. Anyway, she thought, it's too late now.
Jack moved towards her and swung, catching her cheek with the back of his hand. Phil steadied herself against the wall and realized she'd been lucky he had only slapped her.
Jack charged her. Matching fury with fury, Phil leapt up at him and Jack crumpled beneath her, but still managed to throw a weak punch as he went down. Phil tried to block the blow but he grabbed her wrist, then bucked beneath her and threw her off, still holding tight to her arm, twisting it hard.
Phil managed to pull her arm free as Jack got to his feet. They began to circle each other, both breathing hard, both concentrating like prize-fighters. Jack feinted, then charged her. Phil took another punch but managed to wrap her arms around him and squeeze. She pushed him against the wall and raised one hand to claw at his face. Jack butted her and Phil staggered back, stars floating before her. Still, when he lunged at her, she managed to raise her knee and just missed kissing his groin with it.
Jack's momentum was slowed, but not stopped and he took her down to the floor. For a while the almost seemed to take turns; first one, then the other, on top, raining blows down from on high. But Phil's arms grew heavy, and her turns on the bottom grew longer. At last, she couldn't catch her breath and Jack rode her easily. She couldn't even squirm beneath him.
With ludicrous ease he forced her arms above her head as blood from his broken nose dripped on her face.
She couldn't believe how strong he was - she outweighed him by 40 pounds; she could lift him with ease, carry him all over the apartment, but now ... now, she couldn't even move him, couldn't even move herself!
Finally, she stopped struggling. It was all she could do to breathe. He held her wrists tight in one hand (his left hand!) and stared into her eyes from only inches away, as if trying to gauge the strength left in her limbs and in her will.
"You've had this coming a long fucking time, you fucking bitch." And, casually, he loosed her wrists. Straddling her, he slapped her face, hard. Once, twice, three times. "It's time someone taught you a God damned lesson," he grunted.
Phil tasted blood. "Fuck ... you," she gasped. "You ... fucking ... bastard!" She spat at him.
"Bitch!" This time his fist was closed. "You lie to me - you've always lied to me! You think I didn't know about you and fucking Dave Perinni? Huh? You think I didn't know about that?" He punched her three or four more times, then ripped her shirt open, popping off several buttons. He grabbed her left breast and squeezed it hard.
The sudden, intense pain renewed her strength. Phil bucked beneath him, desperate to throw him off. Jack twisted her breast. "Don't. Fuck. With me." He let go of her breast and slapped her hard, then smashed the back of her head against the floor. He hit her again, as though to make sure she was down for the count, then unzipped his jeans.