Another one had disappeared in the night. Emilio knew he’d been running out of time for a while, but now he keenly felt it. While the good doctor clawed at his flesh, crushed his hips with her pelvic assault, rode him like a wild beast trying to tame the cowboy, his mind floated away to better times and better places, but even this wasn’t enough anymore. The numbers on the island were thinning. And really, how much longer could he last being the doc’s personal battery?
“Don’t get soft on me you bastard!” Dr. Kirke snapped.
“Never,” Emilio replied in his usual deadpan. Though these days it was more due to lack of energy than any kind of humor.
“Then do it! Come on!” she bellowed.
Some nights she moved like a piston, bouncing so hard that one wrong move would have snapped him in half. Other nights she was a wild thing, all nails, teeth and guttural howls. Sometimes she would keep her hair up and glasses on and move like a dancer, spelling ten dollar words with her hips, in cursive, or maybe it was even god damn calligraphy. A swish, a flourish, a well timed shimmy and shake, but the whole time she would watch his face. Study him. Like a sex naturalist observing her subject in its native habitat. Tonight was definitely a wild beast night. She was working through some things and Emilio could feel it. A psychotherapy roleplay in three acts, first a prologue, then a rise, then a climax!
She arched her back, stiffening, then collapsed on him, her chest almost smothering him. When he thought he’d run out of breath, she rolled off of him, panting. He wasn’t looking at her, but he could hear the smile in her voice. She put a hand on his chest. He wanted to vomit.
“You’ve really impressed me,” she began. She played with the rivulets of sweat on his chest. He wanted to scream. “I know I probably say that a lot, but I’m serious. Maybe sometime, I’ll bring you down to my lab and we can find out what makes you special. Together.”
Was she hitting on him? He’d never felt this energy from her before. It was awkward. Nervous. A school girl with butterflies in her stomach. This couldn’t be real. It had to be a trick. An emotional experiment. He refused to believe anything genuine had ever come from her mouth.
“Are you going to say anything?” she asked, irritation floating just beneath the surface.
“That… sounds nice,” was all Emilio could muster. She snuggled up close to him, her breasts pushing against his rigid torso.
“Good. I was worried you’d gotten sick of me. I thought maybe you hated me. You don’t hate me. Do you?” she asked.
What was she doing? What level of mind game was she playing?
“No. I don’t… hate you,” Emilio said. “I…” Revile. Loathe. Detest. Abhor.
She wrapped her leg over his, the intense warmth between them spreading across their flesh.
“Do you… love me?” she asked.
“It takes a lot for me to love someone,” Emilio said, almost without thinking. He waited for death, sure that he had insulted her in some way. Instead, she surprised him, reaching down to his pulsing, aching manhood and grabbing it. Her hand changed, revealing an alternate biohack he’d never seen before. He felt his pain dissipate. Evaporate. His aches melted away.
“Maybe, someday, you’ll learn to love me too. Like you did her. Then you won’t be just a battery. You’ll be… my lover.”
Emilio wondered if it was possible to slice one’s own head off.
Parallel 12: Jungle Earth
The village quickly prepared for a celebration. On the occasion of the Chief’s daughter escaping the grasp of the encantados, the people were ready to party and party hard. Emilio thought that maybe they didn’t have to leave this Earth so quickly. Especially if they kept the puna fruit coming. Jael had been whisked away by men and women in see-through clothing, to wash up and change most likely, so Emilio was effectively on his own.
His lack of helmet and scanning module was becoming a problem. After months of wearing the thing he’d become accustomed to seeing its augmented reality visualizers overlaid on everything from people’s faces, objects to the environment itself. The data stream was overwhelming at first, but eventually he got used to it. More than once he’d wondered what the temperature or humidity was here in this village and was left without answers, like reaching for a phantom cellphone in an empty pocket.
He checked his wrist display. The helmet was still broadcasting a homing signal. He wasn’t good at reading maps so he assumed it was still where he’d left it. He’d have to go back for it eventually. There was a lot of neat chips and biohack module data stored in there. Any raw material he could use to jerry rig a warp module would be helpful.
But in the meantime, he would enjoy the air on his face, seeing and hearing things that weren’t being piped through the helmet’s auto-senses, eating things bigger than the makeshift mouth window he’d created. One night wouldn’t hurt. Nothing in the jungle would be interested in a high tech metal helmet, anyway. Tonight he would just relax.
Villagers prepared for the festivities. Banners were hung, tents were erected, and torches were lit. That last thing didn’t seem so party oriented the more he watched. Only villagers wearing red tunics and weird looking hats were lighting the things, and muttering a prayer as they did so. A ward against the darkness, perhaps. Or that which hid in it.
Tables were set up in front of huts and other dwellings. Sweet smells of baked goods and fruit wafted through the dirt streets. Exotic smells of herbs and spices the likes of which he’d never smelled before. It almost masked the smell of animal shit that was pervasive here.
“Sundown. Time is now,” an elderly woman said as Emilio wandered about the village.
“Time for the celebration?” Emilio asked.
“Time, is now,” the old woman said with a smile full of missing teeth. She chuckled before walking back into her hut.
Emilio was now thoroughly freaked the fuck out. He went to find Jael. The first few places he checked with no luck. He asked someone where he could find the men and women with the see-through clothes and that got him kicked in the dick a few times. Finally, he saw one of them enter a particularly large tent and thought he’d try his luck there. When he entered the tent he realized he’d stumbled into a nest of nudity the likes of which he’d only seen in adult films. The women eyed him suspiciously, wondering what he was up to. The men shrieked, covering their nakedness from the prying eyes of the outsider and shoved him outside.
Emilio didn’t appreciate all the naked men pushing him, but he quickly got out of their expertly kempt hair. He was at a loss. He needed to talk to Jael about tonight and what the plan was for tomorrow. Where would they go? How far was the nearest city? He didn’t have any answers and it made him feel so alone not being able to talk to someone. Anyone.
“Come!” someone announced. Villagers eyes turned to the source of the voice coming from the village square. “Come and rejoice! For the Chief’s daughter is safe and Purisma Iya has done her sacred duty with honor!”
Emilio followed the voice along with others until he came upon a crowd gathered before a great colorful tent. On a raised stage next to the shouting man, the woman from before, the one who’d saved Jael and Emilio, was standing at attention with her machete-like blade at her hip. The village elders stood before her. They bowed their heads while she did a full bow in response.
“But she was not alone this day. No, she was aided in her sacred task to fight the darkness by a brave soul. A brave soul who ran headlong into danger without any idea how fucked he would have been if Iya had not been there to save them. And that brave soul… is named Jael!”
Jael appeared then, sitting on a wooden seat being held aloft by two nearly nude men wearing masks and Emilio had never wished more that he had a camera to capture the moment. Jael sheepishly waved while trying to cover his overly exposed flesh. Nobody paid any mind to the scars covering his body.
“Rejoice! For tonight we honor Purisma Iya and friend Jael with food and festivities!” the man shouted. The villagers cheered.
“It has been too long since an Honor like this,” one man said.
“I’m getting so very drunk,” said a woman next to Emilio.
Outside the village gates, two guards watched the darkening jungle. One of them yawned. Then the other. They set their weapons down and fell into a deep sleep. They were dragged into the jungle, never to be seen again. Two other men, their pink mottled skin shifting into a more human complexion, replaced them. They tipped their hats as a retinue a dozen strong strolled past them, ready to start a party of their own.