Biology wakes the thin man a few hours later. Carefully he removes himself from Lori’s embrace and tucks the sleeping bag close around her before leaving the tent. Thanatos is outside, alert eyes scanning the forest and the dense canopy overhead. He waves an acknowledgement and turns away as a stream of urine splashes against a tree. It has been a long time since Dave has been free outside. The feeling of the night air on his bare skin reminds him that he is alive again.
Lori snuggles against him as he eases back under the downy material, half asleep she mutters into his shoulder. “Ooh, you’re cold, where you been?”
“Shh, quiet … I had to pee. Go back to sleep. I’ll still be here when you wake.” Outside he hears the theta settle against the bole of the tree. No sound had come from his lips but his words still echoed loudly in Dave’s head. The gift of haoma is in the intent of the giver and the grace of the recipient. You shared with love for the girl and she has nothing but acceptance in her, it will go well with her. Helena showed you what that possible. You were willing to give everything with Alyssa but she is wrong inside, you just made her more of what she was.
It is later, he hears voices, a murmur of tenderness between a man and wife, and he remembers that his reality is now different to what it had been. Ishtar and Galahad are outside, from the rhythm of their sounds he can guess what they are doing. From the other echoes in his mind he knows that Thanatos is with them. The Theta is as gentle with them as he had been in the night when Dave had nervously asked if receiving always had to hurt. He had finally received all that Thanatos had wanted to give him, mouth to mouth, looking into each other eyes as the giant held him in his lap and came inside him. Dizzy with the rush within he’d finally lain back in the undergrowth, more than happy to let the silent one use his mouth to draw the same gift from Dave’s hardened flesh.
A warm body curls against him. Lori. Lori the sniper. Lori who watched over him for months, all the time wanting him but never speaking. Lori who had finally enjoyed being with him and who was now carrying the potential for life. A small hand rises and falls with the movement of his ribs. She wakes and smiles up at him. This is no dream. He might still look frail but he knows he is much stronger than the previous night. Her smile is all he needs to remind him what to do with his new energy. The child inside her needs protection. They both need him. Tenderly, knowing it will probably be for the last time, he rises to her and gives her what bliss he can as he offers his gift to the dividing cells in her womb.
Full day. It is hard to leave. Lori has been so sweet to him. Lori who will be back with another man – no, with a man, a real man – there is no room in her life for him. Ishtar and Galahad – damn, he’d never even asked their real names – two who would play the part of victims but who’d put things together to free him, how could he ever repay their bravery? And Thanatos. His supposed death was not what the bitch had anticipated, this death brought knowledge and freedom with him.
Demon time escapes them. So close to freedom, but unwilling to take his leave, the others crash into the clearing with guns and threats while he yet kisses the soft lips that had first given him such pleasure in the hide by the lake. He offers no fight as one of the men drags Lori from his hands. Dave recognises the looks between all of them as the woman is snatched away – this man is the original father of their child. This man needs to be honoured; he will save the woman, according to Thanatos he will save the child.
Lori is a good actress, good enough to cling to her real man and sob out the story of returning to their love nest to tidy up and of being surprised by the silent one and his terrified thralls. Dave plays his part. There can be no hint of connection between them. Alyssa may have known about the others but Lori had always been his secret. Restrained by others, he breathes them in – weaker Thetas, probably ones who didn’t believe he was Adam Kadmon – then turns to this real man, he has his part to say even though it offends his feelings.
“It’s been a long time since I had a woman. She has a nice mouth, I was about to see if her cunt was as welcoming. But I see you know it is. Don’t worry sweet girl, I’m sure you’ll make do with this one after they kill me.”
No resistance as the captain doubles him up with a rifle butt in the guts. They all think he is still weak. Nothing but a grunt as the same weapon is driven into his face, and again, blood spraying across the onlookers. Some are human. Most are Shabtis. Her eyes fixed on the beaten Delta the bitch doesn’t notice the way some of the Thetas wipe at the blood spatter and lick their fingers.
“Let the humans go. They are no part of this. Collateral damage. They didn’t know what Thanatos would do.”
“You expect me to believe you?” A booted heel makes the thin figure cry out in pain. A gloved hand lifts his face to look into eyes gone mad. “You freak, you fucking freak, you should never have drawn breath.” Whatever else the Thetas believe they have been told who Thanatos, their strongest, thinks this creature could be. Alyssa is unaware of shifts in posture, alterations in allegiance as she spits into the drawn face. She can never be more than human; the half world of the Thetas – of the Shabtis – is unknown to her. Dave is now aware of it. He understands that to get away he needs these uncertain and unknown beings. Thanatos is the only one he can count on but he is restrained by a knot of his own kind. Force has to give way to force for the first to stand a chance of escape.
“You told them there was an Adam Kadmon. You gave them a hope for redemption and a threat of disapproval, and some of these idiots think it’s me. You fucking stupid bitch do you know what you have done?” Another blunt force to the head, more blood collecting in his cupped hand. “You picked the giant out and didn’t realise the education you were giving him by leaving him at the house with all your half-arsed teenage anger and dated science fiction. You know I can’t be Kadmon, I refuse to be. But do you know that one also wants me to be his Lazarus Long? How many other mad ideas have you foisted on them? I’ve had enough of playing your games. This stops now. It all stops. It’s all wrong.”
She goes to kick him again but he drops and rolls away from her, the whip crack flick of a bloodied hand casting more dark droplets across the watchers. Some land on clothing, some on skin, a few into open eyes and mouths. The message, for those with eyes to see, is carried in the drying fluid. Haoma is not just in the semen. In the silent communication of the substance Dave knows it is also in the root, in the blood that powers the machine of his body, blood they all share. Those who are willing to receive his gift change their stance as they listen to the unspoken words of Thanatos. Others join in, a silent debate in children’s voices that will decide many fates.
Stand with us, stand with Adam Kadmon against what she wants us to be. Our gift is to protect not to destroy humans. Attack us and be the abomination that she has created.
The weakest of us is stronger than any of them. Why should we serve them?
They are our makers, without them we have no purpose.
Leave them to their fate, what are they to us?
Why should we believe you? Weaklings are to be used not followed.
He is our first, our strongest. Some Theta’s believe, the scorn of silent laughter from the others sends a chill across the clearing. More human’s become aware of the currents running at a different level of consciousness. New lines are drawn, before and against, a small knot of Theta’s protecting Ishtar and Galahad, Lori and her captain and the potential children. I tell you he is the first and the strongest. Who among you has bested me? I am nothing before this one. I have submitted to him and I have seen more than you could ever comprehend. We have been fed lies with this bitch mother’s milk but this is our perfect whole, the mould from which we are all taken. Reject him and you reject our purpose. We stand for man, we answer for them.
No, we stand apart.
He is Adam Kadmon, he will not have the children of men harmed. If you will not serve man then stand apart as you will. Do not stand against us or you will feel his wrath.
He is the atom of Eden. Echoes of the phrase spill from lips across the clearing, one then another. The Thetas make their decisions as the bitch stands before the figure hunched over himself in the dirt and lifts his chin with her toe.
“You made this.” The words spit from a bloody mouth as he glares up at her. “You made this freak show. You can’t hear them arguing, but I can. Stupid girl trying to control them with symbols you never owned, always looking for a shortcut to understanding. You thought you would surpass your father? You were never anything other than an empty shell.”
She doesn’t see him move. She is too human and too slow as he rises and looks down at her, a blur of motion twisting her round before anyone else can move. The body drops to the floor, the blond head rolling loose on a neck soft with disconnected vertebrae. In the end her death is an easy one. Easier than perhaps she deserves for the sorry mess she has created. Dave knows enough, he can already imagine the military cover up of her ‘rogue’ experimentation.
The god who refuses to be looks at the humans, at the stupefied Shabtis on both sides who had followed the bitch into the clearing. His humans will be safe; he had ears to hear, he knows there are enough to defend them. He hopes some good may come from the seeds that have been planted. He knows all will be changed.
“Now I am finished.” Walking away, he leaves the twisted body behind without a backward glance; it is not worth his consideration. He is the Adam Kadmon. Wanting nothing to do with any faction he walks into the forest, into myths of his kind and the nightmares of humans.