He wakes to the darkness. Knowing that one pair of technicians is watching out for him he does not feel quite so lonely. The feeling surprises him. As he flexes against the restraints there is another subtle hint that he is feeling stronger. He guesses it is some days since the first gift left by the giant and the start of his recovery. The second visit had been as painful as the first and apparently even more exciting for the bitch, she barely scolded the giant as he went too far and came deep inside his victim. For the first time in a long time Dave is clear headed.
“Director McDonald? This is the duty tech for Patient Zero. Can we have a moment?” The disembodied voice disturbs his peace. Dave is sure the door hasn’t opened.
“Be quick.” The bitch sounds distracted, a murmur of conversation audible behind her words. He relaxes when he realises she must be somewhere else. No one has come in – the voices are being relayed from a different room.
“Director your Theta has arrived. He seems to want access to the patient, should we let him in?” Allowing for the distortion of the isolation suits this could be true voice of the shortest of the rebellious pair.
“Yes, I said he could go out to play. I guess he just likes his new toy. Set Jack up as before but keep suited and watch in case things get out of hand. I’ve reminded him not that Jack’s not for killing yet but I swear he doesn’t know his own strength. Use the cattle prods to stop him if you have to.”
“Would you like us to record it for you?” And the higher voice was clearly female. A woman touching him, supporting him as Helena had done when he had first joined the world.
“No no no no. I saw more than enough last time, I don’t need another souvenir. Just clean up the mess after and send him back to me when he’s had his fun.” The line cuts out; Alyssa is too busy to be interested in old news. Harrison had been equally busy as the programme struggled with failure and then the first shocking success. He hadn’t been a bad man but had clearly proved to be no match for the woman intent on surpassing him.
It does not take long for the door to open. Just long enough, perhaps, for the techs to don the heavy suits. They may have clearance from the bitch but Dave knows they will have to maintain their pretence should anyone else come by. Sure enough, gloved hands disconnect the IV lines, remove his sheets and the restraints. His hands are bound again but this time they seem to forget about shackling him to the wall. As they leave each of them contrives to give him a reassuring touch on the neck. The threat of discovery limits what they can do, whatever happens next is up to Alyssa’s pet. Unlike them he is too valuable to face punishment should he be caught acting against her wishes.
The air changes, subtle notes passing through the hood and directly into him. The scent is stronger this time, as if once experienced it would always be immediately recognisable. He prepares himself for whatever might come.
Large hands run along his body, a light touch across protruding bones settling briefly on the unusual distension of his sternum. Warmth flushes through his chest and radiates out to neglected limbs. The leather binding his wrists together offers no resistance to the silent visitor. The hands carry on up to the hood, fingers feeling at the shape of his face below the thick cloth. Then the hood is gone, the lock holding the strap tight against his neck unaccountably undone. The same fingers deftly un-cinch the rubber gag and gently ease it from the open scream, massaging feeling back into rictus strained muscles before repeating the same with the blindfold and the layers of gauze pad beneath the band. Gradually Dave feels a lessening of the dark; his world becomes red as light filters through gummed-closed eyelids.
Thanatos sees what he needs in the room. A flick of a scalpel opens a spare saline bag and soft dressings become a sponge as he cleans crusted matter from the sealed eyes with the unexpected delicacy of someone stroking a butterfly. He raises a hand to shade Dave’s hollow face from the harsh light and waits expectantly as the eyes open slowly. Alyssa had never been under his spell like her father and Helena. While she recognised the effect on others she never understood the potential impact of his gaze. If she had known she would never have commanded his eyes closed – or she would have had them removed altogether.
In Dave’s mind there is the sudden surprised laughter of a child. Oh it is you! They said, but I wasn’t sure. I had to see you for myself. It’s you, it’s you. The light spills from your eyes. Adam Kadmon it’s you. His internal voice is a peal of joy and the brooding aspect of his face is wiped away by a wide smile. This beast is only a youngster and the pleasure of discovery is written clearly across his features. I would give you haoma again if you will take it. I didn’t want to hurt you before but it was the only way I could get to you.
Water, I need water. Anything to get the taste of that thing out of my mouth, saline will do. Dave projects his answer to the big theta, surprising himself with how easy it seems. Fluid is trickled across cracked lips and into the dry mouth. He spits it onto the floor and asks for more, finally drinking the last of it as the theta steps back from him and he sees the proportions of his noiseless rescuer for the first time, well over two metres tall, muscles bunching and flexing under penitentiary orange scrubs, shaven head tattooed with the symbol of his iteration – Θ. At least the bitch was right about one thing, he looked every large inch the superman.
I would give you haoma. I want you to be well and strong again. The scrubs do not hide the obvious outline of what the theta intends. Dave tries not to look as Thanatos begins to stroke himself through the bright cotton. Please accept what I give you in love and you will become well. I can give you nothing that is not freely taken just as you cannot take anything that is not freely given.
What is haoma? The question is for confirmation only, to gain a little time to think. He has already guessed the answer from the snatches of images leaking through with the child’s voice but he doubts his ability to be willing.
You know what it is, you are the source. Haoma is our essence; it is what you passed on to us. Not all of us have the ability to give, but we can all receive. Would you receive me? The creature steps next to the bed, patient but obviously wanting an answer. Whatever these new ones call it Dave knows he needs to accept the gift being offered. After a long pause – surely the hardest part was over – thin hands gingerly reach out to release the hardness from the drawstring pants, the sounds in his head gentle and encouraging. His face soon follows his hands but he doesn’t have the strength to complete the act on his own. With a practiced motion the theta quickly brings himself to a climax, spurting his essence into Dave’s hesitant mouth. Silently one gives and one receives – sustenance and healing, strength shared between one and the other.
“You should not call me Kadmon.” Feeling nerves and muscles crackle with the hidden energy of the gift taken inside him Dave finds his voice as he tries to hold the theta’s spade sized hands in his own. Brown eyes look into green, flecks of light burning and blurring his vision. He lies back, suddenly exhausted. Was this how it had felt to Helena? A fire within re-kindled.
You are Adam Kadmon, the perfect man, our first. All our souls come from you. It is not right that you have been denied in this way.
“We are products of science not mysticism. I unite nothing, I give nothing, I just am. What they are telling you is to control you. There is surely nothing more powerful than one such as you. They just don’t want you to realise that.” They stare into each other for a long time before the theta leans over the thin man and kisses him as a lover. Whatever you are I will see you well again. Thanatos joins his progenitor, taking up the space on the bed, gently expressing adoration. They both ignore the sound of the door opening as Dave learns about his own kind from the view of the strongest of those to come after him. Acceptance is the key to the power of haoma.
“Sorry to break this up but time is passing, she will start to wonder what is going on if Than doesn’t get back home soon.” The male technician hovers nervously inside the doorway. Dave has never seen his face before but he immediately knows what he and his wife look like. His new companion knows both of them; he realises his new companion has had both of them. Of course, Helena had accepted him unconditionally. Some humans must also be able to receive the gift. “We need to get everything back as it was.” The theta glares threateningly at the obscured faceplate, something passes from him to the petite man. “There’s no time for more today. Look at him, he needs time to absorb it before he can take any more.” The mask tilts to one side, as if listening. “Four days. We’ll start increasing his nutrition, if anyone asks I’ll say it’s so he can put up more of a fight for you next time, they all know you like to show how strong you are.” Another pause. “Yes, I know we need to get him free, but we need him to be stronger. It’s not like he can just walk out of here. Please, just four days and we’ll have everything in place.”
Gloved hands cajole the theta back off the bed and hustle him to the door. “Go back to her. We’ll tell her you hurt him again. She’ll like that. She’ll let you come back to him. And when you come back we will get him out.” The man in the suit reaches up and pats a giant shoulder reassuringly, “Four days.”
The orange figure gone from the room Dave says nothing as the two technicians tidy away the evidence of his visit. The taller one, the woman, apologises as she replaces the gag and the blindfold. She strokes his cheek and he notes that again a glove is missing from her hand, before replacing the hood, thanking him for his co-operation. “Things are falling into place. We have people outside who will help us.”
Briefly, before exhaustion takes him, he wonders if this is some elaborate plot by the bitch to break what is left of him. But Thanatos had shared some of his soul with the gift of his seed and his soul had been true. By whatever accident or chance the creature named for death wants to save him.