Chappell_05-1989
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Alien Worlds

She was a handsome woman, Raylene Thomason, not what you'd call beautiful, but with Cherokee blood that gave her a broad pleasant face with a clean jawline and steady dark eyes. She took her looks so much for granted that it seemed she paid no attention, and maybe she didn't. Her appearance was useful for getting men interested in her, though she was not a flirt or a tease. But she was curious about men because she simply could not make them out. They were helplessly attracted, always putting moves on her—well, okay, that's how men are—but when she took up with a man and tried to make him happy, it was only a week or two before he began treating her shabbily, lying and sneaking and cheating. Now why was that?

She was taking a continuing education philosophy class Tuesday nights at Sugdon College and the demeanor of the affable fuzzy young instructor had gained her confidence, though she hardly knew him. After class one night -in October she had waited patiently to speak until the other students departed and then had told him quietly: "I'm going out tomorrow night."

"Going out?" he asked.

"Yeah," she said, and her gaze turned inward and she nodded in agreement with some thought that Rodney Hegen knew he would never hear. Then she hitched her books against her chest and walked out of the classroom, marching away as steady as a soldier.

And because...

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