A long way from his body he hears a new voice calling him back. He doesn’t want to come back. Reality hurts too much. Not for the first time he despairs his existence.
“Please do not respond. Another like you is coming.” The voice is modified; it must be coming from behind one of the masks. Back in himself he tries to move away from the voice but feels himself held in a strong grip. A bare hand slides across his chest under the sheet, skin against skin. There was something important about being touched. He remembers Helena’s hand making him strong, making him want to be. This can’t be Helena because there was the soldier and the gun.
“She thinks he will hurt you. We’ve told him who you are. We’ve asked him to save you.” The filter strips nuance from the voice but this one is higher pitched. The techs work in pairs. They have never spoken to him before. Or have they? Is this new or part of the muddle of events? Both voices were barely more than a whisper, exhalations so quiet he guessed that only he could hear them.
“Don’t try to move you are very weak. We are here to clean you and get you ready.” The deeper voice again. There was one of them on either side of him. “She wants you to hurt so she’s allowed us to reduce your sedation. Your suffering is going to be real but we need you to be aware. We have a plan and we need you to be what you are.”
There is movement around his head. The dark does not change but suddenly there is air on his face. It seems to be a long time since air drawn into his lungs was cool and free of the stink of the hood. He has no idea what the technicians see but he hears the sharp intake of breath. He can’t work out how long it has been since anyone has looked at his face. They say nothing but begin to work as they normally do, slowly and carefully washing him down, clipping his nails, soothing pressure sores, rolling him onto cool clean sheets. This time they cut his beard close then shave his cheeks clean, taking care to run the blade under the straps holding the gag in place. One sits him up and he leans across a broad shoulder while the other cuts away sweat matted hair. They seem very professional, very detached, but he is aware of a tremor running under the heavy material he rests on. Fear or disgust, he cannot tell.
“We cannot remove the blindfold or the gag, it is too risky now. We have been told to make you ready but we cannot allow you to speak. We are not allowed to touch you.” The broad shoulders and the naked hand now gently squeezing his infolded and hidden arm belong to the higher pitched voice. It is a small rebellion indicating their intentions.
He is as clean as they can make him. A fresh hood goes back over his head and the restraints go back on at wrists, chest, hips and ankles. They are looser than before but he has little strength or inclination left to test them. Whichever hand he felt bare against him is gloved again by the time the techs are ready to leave. There is a final apologetic whisper before being left to his fears. “The first time at least will be for show, you will be watched. He cannot hold back but know that he does not want to hurt you, accept what he does to you. After that it will become clear.”
The darkness stretches around him, the silence echoes in his head. He remembers patience. He remembers what his father had said once, about what had happened to some of the other Deltas before him. He realises maybe it would have been better to have let the outsider have him first. He waits.
A door opens. Footsteps. He does not turn to the sound. Two pairs of feet in protective suits, he recognises the same footfall of his technicians. A pair of boots, he can imagine who that is, and another so quiet it is hard to work out where he is. And it is a he, or maybe an ‘it’. A hint of something not quite blocked by the hood … a smell, a smell like his own but stronger. And he remembers why the bitch doesn’t want anyone touching him. The techs, like the harvesters, were always in the suits so they would not be affected by him. One of them had risked much just to place a hand on him. The warmth of the touch had comforted him. He wonders what they had taken from the illicit contact.
“My, my, it really is Jack the Bodiless.” The bitch is back, disdain dripping in every syllable. There had been a time, he thought, that she seemed to like him. But then he had disappointed her. “I said I would bring someone to you. You can’t see him but, trust me, he is a god compared to you. He also has the advantage of never talking back because he does not speak. You two – get rid of that sheet and the lines into him. Unstrap our Jacky boy, we need him mobile … hmm … but not too mobile you never know with that one. Bind his wrists, use the wall.”
An exposed Dave is left with his hands strapped together, the long cable secured to a loop in the wall behind his head. Alyssa knows he cannot get away; this is just to drive the point home. She dismisses the technicians with a curt “Out” and turns to the silent shape next to her. “Thanatos, oh Thanatos my lover, you know what you do with the weak ones, you know how you show them they are weak? I want you to do it to this one. I want you to show him you are my alpha and omega. I want you to show him what happens to weaklings who are not compatible.” Her voice becomes a sultry promise. Dave remembers the same tone being used on Ginger from the bar. Given his situation he doubts there will be a repeat of that apparently blissful threesome. “You please me and you know what I will do to please you.”
Dave has been told to accept what is coming, the hurt is necessary. He tells himself that. Accept it, accept it, he doesn’t want to hurt me, he has to but he doesn’t want to. He has little sense of time. The new pain obliterates what is left. The gag isn’t enough to stop his screams as the huge thing, the strong thing, turns him over and forces his way into him. He doesn’t know how long it lasts but eventually the pain changes in him. In the distance inside his head he hears a child begging for forgiveness and he realises this is the voice of Thanatos. His mind whispers understanding and comfort back even as his body suffers beneath the giant that was one of his own.
The physical torment stops abruptly as Thanatos withdraws and spills himself in hot gushes across the skinny rump of his victim. Heavy breathing fills the room. The Theta rolls off the bed. The bitch sounds excited as she surveys the damage her pet has left. Without the massive hands crushing his hips into his attacker’s groin Dave falls to the bed, bound wrists twisting awkwardly beneath him; he does not want to move but allows the bitch the satisfaction of seeing barely controlled sobs shake his stark ribs and bony shoulders. Footsteps, the door is held open. “Back in here, we have blood. Sort him out and strap him down again.” The bitch’s boots clatter down the corridor and in the emaciated man’s head a child’s voice weeps the giant’s gratitude.
The silent technicians do their duty and leave him to his thoughts with no acknowledgement of what they have done. He realises they do not clean the drying ejaculate off him but, instead, efficient fingers quickly smooth it into him. This was what they wanted him to accept. In the dark, before sleep takes him, he recalls the effect of the first accidental spills of himself on Helena and, as the technician had promised, he begins to understand.