Primitive: Chapter 17 – The End

“I punched the harbinger of the apocalypse in the face.”  Christophe sat on the edge of the bed, staring at the wall.

“Ragnarok.”  Lykos shrugged.

“I punched the harbinger of the Ragnarok in the face.”  Christophe kept staring at the wall.

“Not the Ragnarok.  Just Ragnarok.”

“I punched Jörmungandr in the face.”

“Was good punch too.”  Lykos grinned at him.

“I punched a dragon, in the face.”

“You know, if was going to punch a dragon, he was right choice.”  Lykos patted his shoulder.  When Christophe slowly turned to look at him, Lykos shrugged.  “He think it funny, respect your guts.  Other dragons?  They just set you on fire.  Or bit off head.”

“Your grandfather is the World Serpent.”  He exhaled.

Lykos shifted to sit next to him, and put an arm around his shoulder before pulling Christophe in.  “You should sleep.  Was big day.  Nearly got brain fried, nearly nuked, punched dragon, rode off on back of dragon…”

“He flew from Colorado to Holland in less than six minutes.  I can’t even…”  Christophe shook his head.  “We should not have been able to survive the G-forces involved with going that fast.”

“You ride dragon, and you worry about g-strings?”  Lykos tilted his head.

“G—”  He turned to stare at Lykos.  “There you go.  Thinking you’re funny.”  He smiled a little.

“I…”  Lykos put a hand on his chest.  “Am hilarious.”

“Yeah…”  Christophe shook his head.  “Like the plague.”

“Bah.”  Lykos lay back on the bed, pulling Christophe down with him.  Christophe shifted so he was laying in Lykos’s arms, his head resting on Lykos’s chest.  Lykos stroked his hair gently.  “Are you okay, my Christophe?”

“Yeah.”  Christophe nodded.  “Strange as…”  He swallowed.  “I am.”

Continue reading Primitive: Chapter 17 – The End

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Primitive: Chapter 16

Lykos tossed the last soldier into the room, then slammed the door.  It took only a heartbeat of concentration to seal the metal door into the metal frame.  “I want you to know, I did not kill anyone getting in here.”  He tilted his head.  “Except that doctor.  May have broken her skull.  A bit.”

“I, uh…”  Christophe nodded to him as he pulled the pants up over his hips.  They were too big for him, so he had to cinch the belt tight.  “Yeah, I’m okay with that.”  He smiled, then checked the gun before putting it back into its holster.  “You weren’t hurt, were you?”

“I got buried by avalanche.”  Lykos stared at him.

“Yeah, but were you hurt?”  Christophe raised an eyebrow at him.

“A.  Va.”  Lykos narrowed his eyes.  “Lanche.”  He shrugged.  “Then forest fire.  Also, got shot.”

“Yes…”  Christophe drawled the word.  “But were you hurt?”

“Well…”  Lykos shook his head.  “No.  Not really.  Annoyed.  They stole my guns.”

“You stole them first.”  Christophe gestured to a corridor, and Lykos started down it.  Christophe followed.

“Not point.”

“I’m glad you’re alright, Lykos.”  Christophe’s quiet voice made him turn, and he saw Christophe giving him a shy smile.  “I, uh…”  He rubbed his neck.  “I was scared for you.”

“Scared for me?”  Lykos ran his knuckles down Christophe’s cheek.  “You were one nearly got brain fried.”  He tapped Christophe’s nose.  “Come.  Which way go now?”

“I was kind of out of it when they brought me in here, but uh…”  Christophe pointed.  “These are all laid out similar —”  He cut off at the sound of footsteps heading their way.  “And since that is the way the reinforcements are coming from…”

“I may have to kill —”  Lykos started to put a hand on Christophe’s shoulder.  The alarm blared into life as all the lights in the area started blinking red.  “Christophe?”

“Yeah, that uh…”  Christophe shook his head.  “That’s not good.”

Continue reading Primitive: Chapter 16

Primitive: Chapter 15

“One would think at some point in the past few centuries you would have learned patience.”  Lykos growled at Jormun, who just rolled his eyes.  Jormun continued, ignoring the growling sound.  “Christophe has been moved back to the military base.  He is still sedated.”

He didn’t miss Jormun’s small frown.  “Why still sedated?  Is no need sedate Christophe.”

“Captain Guerin’s orders.  Christophe is to remain sedated until he can be transported to a secure medical facility.”  Jormun set his cell phone down.  “It is possible —”

“He called out warning to me.”  Lykos started pacing.  When Jormun raised an eyebrow, Lykos sighed.  “Twice.  Yelled warning before first shot, yelled when rocks fell.”

“Stockholm —

“He is mine.”  Lykos shook his head and gave Jormun a furious look.  “He said he would stay with me.”

“And Lima Syndrome.”  Jormun exhaled.  “You developed feelings for your hostage.”

“Is not like that.”  Lykos glared.

“Or perhaps you’ve just become sentimental in your old age.”  Jormun stood.  “Lykos, you need to put this behind you.  If you care about the boy, let him be.  Let him go home to his family and —”

“He knows.”  Lykos clenched his fists.  Then he met Jormun’s eyes.  “He knows his father killed innocent people.  Shot the deputies.  Murdered them.”  Lykos waved a hand.  “Send them after me then kill them for going after me.  Cannon fodder.”

“There are reasons for our rules, Lykos.  And one of those reasons is men like Guerin.”  Jormun sighed.  “Come.  It is time to —”

“No.”  Lykos shook his head.  Then he started for the door.

“Lykos.”  Jormun called after him.  “Lykos, where do you think you are going?”

“To get my Christophe.”  He grabbed the door handle and started to open it.  The door slammed shut again.  He turned toward Jormun.  “He is mine.”

“If you persist in this, Lykos…”  Jormun’s eyes narrowed.  “I may have to take measures.”

“Defending is allowed.”  Lykos glared.

Jormun sighed, then nodded.  “Exercise discretion.”  The door clicked open behind him.  “And good luck.”

Continue reading Primitive: Chapter 15

Primitive: Chapter 14

“You’re just messing with me, aren’t you?”  Christophe narrowed his eyes suspiciously.

“You doubt me?”  Lykos gave him a wide-eyed look of shock, but the corners of his mouth twitched just a little.

“There is no such thing as a were-beagle.”  Christophe folded his arms.

“Just the one.”  When Christophe raised an eyebrow, Lykos shrugged.  “Never gamble with pixie.  Always with the thinking they are funny.”  He looked around the camp.  “Few days, jerky will be dry.”

“Yeah.”  Christophe nodded.  “Any chance we could get some pepper or —”

“We leave in five days.”  Lykos turned back toward Christophe.

Christophe blinked.  “What?”  He stared at Lykos for a moment, then his eyes widened.  “You mean…”

“Go Canada.  Find little town.  Cabin.  Get you television.”  He put a hand on Christophe’s shoulder.  “Maybe violin.”

“I, uh…”  He gave Lykos a hesitant smile.  “I would like to learn to play again.”  It took him several minutes to realize that travel would give him the opportunity for escape.  He could…

“Christophe?”  It took him a moment to realize Lykos was speaking to him again.  “Your eyes went away.”

“I was…”  Christophe exhaled, then touched the collar.  “A few nights ago, you forgot to lock my chain.”

“Did not forget.”  Lykos met his eyes calmly.

“You…”  He stared.  “You were testing me.  You…”  He took a deep breath, then stepped forward and shoved Lykos hard enough the man actually took a step back.  “You think taunting me with freedom is fucking funny?  In case you forgot, you fucking kidnapped me.  You…”  He felt the anger start to fade, and that pissed him off again.  “Son of a bitch.”

“Hey.”  Lykos poked him in the chest.  “I not insult your mother.”

“I…”

“You can write.  Drop letter in mail on way.  What you tell her is your choice.”  Lykos squeezed his shoulder.  “I will not read letter.  If…”  Lykos hesitated a moment.  “If when time to go, you want to go a different way…”  He met Christophe’s eyes again.  “I will take off chains.”

“You…”  He swallowed.  “You’d let me go?”

“Yes, Christophe.  If you want to go…”  Lykos sighed.  “I will let you go.”

“I…”  It was Christophe’s turn to hesitate.  “But then you’ll go after my father again.  You won’t…”  He looked away.  “You’ll kill people.”

“Is possible.  Is also possible they will leave me alone and I will not have need kill people.”

“Let me think about it.”  Christophe couldn’t believe he’d just said that.  Lykos was offering to…  He gave a small shake of his head.  “Let me think about it.”

“Take all time need.”  Lykos patted his shoulder before heading into the cave.

Continue reading Primitive: Chapter 14

Primitive: Chapter 13

Christophe followed Lykos down the small hill to the stream.  There was a source of water in the caves, but it didn’t have fish.  Lykos kept the leash short, only a few feet, but there was an additional coil of chain in his hand.  His wrist and ankle cuffs, however, weren’t secured together, allowing in freedom of movement otherwise.  Lykos rarely bothered with those chains anymore, but he never removed the leash.  It was no longer even fastened to the collar by a lock.  Lykos had used his power to seal the links to create a ten-foot length of unbroken chain permanently attached to the collar, though longer lengths were often attached.

He sat on a rock, enjoying the sun as Lykos gave the stream one of his critical looks.  “Overhunting.  Fish too small.”  Lykos glared at the water, then sniffed it and wrinkled his nose.  “Fertilizer run off.  Shameful.”

“They’ve been trying to pass laws about the runoff problems, but the corn industry has a powerful lobby.”  Christophe lay back on the rock.  Lykos had secured the leash, giving him about a twenty-foot radius to move around in.  But with living half naked in a cool cave most of the time, the sun felt good and he saw no need to move from where he currently was.  Off in the distance he saw a helicopter heading west.

“Lobbyists.  Should all be drawn and quartered.”  Lykos shook his head as he waded into the river.

“Can’t really argue with that.”  He lifted himself up to rest a hand on his head.  Watching Lykos catch fish with his bare hands remained fascinating.  The man had attempted to teach him and Christophe had even managed it once, but Lykos made it look far easier than it actually was.  Within a few minutes, several fish were on the bank.

Cleaning the fish and game, however, remained his task.  He was getting better at it.  Lykos had caned his feet twice before he’d gotten the hang of properly butchering a deer.  He’d wondered at why the man had brought back so much before realizing that the leaves were falling.  Lykos was stocking up for winter.  “You like chickens?”

It took him a moment to realize Lykos had asked him a question.  “I like chicken.”

“Not chicken.  Chickens.”  Lykos gestured for him to grab the fish.  “I think I steal some.  Eggs.  Meat.  Build little coop.”  He shook his head.  “Cow too big.  Goats better.”

“You…”  He picked up the fish.  “You talk like you intend to stay in the caves forever.”

“Good place.  Secure.”  Lykos nodded.  He frowned when he looked at Christophe, and a couple expressions crossed his face.  “You don’t want to live in cave forever.”

I want you to let me go.  He didn’t say the words aloud.  “I kind of miss television sometimes.  And uh…”  He rubbed the back of his neck.

“Lonely.”  Lykos gave him a look that was surprisingly sympathetic.

“A little.”  He watched Lykos unfasten his leash from the tree for the trip back.

“Perhaps…”  Lykos hesitated before he started back toward the cave.  “We can go north.  Canada.  Find small town where no one will look for us.”

“That uh…”  Christophe nodded.  “Yeah.”

Continue reading Primitive: Chapter 13

Primitive: Chapter 12

His fingers found the marks on the collar.  Lykos had added a rune, ensuring the collar did not merely mark Christophe as a possession, but Lykos’s possession.  He slid his fingers a bit further and found the seam, then took his hand away when he heard Lykos stir.  Lykos gave him a slight frown.  “You wake early.”

“I…”  He hesitated.  “I was thinking about my mother.  By now she probably knows I’m…”  He exhaled.

Then he felt Lykos’s hand on his shoulder.  “Can get phone, go where there is signal.  You call, tell her you are alive.”

He smiled.  “You’d let me?”

“I have no grudge against your mother.”  Lykos nodded.

Continue reading Primitive: Chapter 12

Primitive: Chapter 11

He woke up with his Christophe in his arms.  The young man slept quietly, his face peaceful.  Lykos traced a finger along the collar.  It was a fairly spartan thing.  He should put a rune on it, make it clear Christophe was his and…  He frowned.  And there were few left who could even read such things.  Still, he would put the mark on anyway.  His Christophe had earned it.  He leaned over and kissed the young man’s shoulder.

Christophe stirred, blinking up at him.  “It’s morning?”

“Yes.”  Lykos sat up.  “I will make your chain longer before I go.  You can sleep more, if want.”

“I can make you breakfast.”  Christophe sat up, blinking bleary eyes.  He glanced at the cave entrance.  “It isn’t light out yet.”

Lykos caught Christophe’s chin and gently kissed his lips.  “Go back to sleep, my Christophe.  I will see you well into the night.”  He pushed Christophe back onto the bed, and the young man resisted only a moment before laying back down.  Then he put the cover over him before fixing the chain.  Christophe was asleep again before he’d finished.  Lykos smiled, and left the cave.

Continue reading Primitive: Chapter 11

Primitive: Chapter 10

Guerin looked up at the man who’d entered Darin’s office.  He’d been expecting a scientist, not someone built like a linebacker.  Guerin nodded.  “Thank you for coming, Mr. Wōtan.”

“A pleasure.”  Mr. Wōtan accepted Guerin’s handshake.  “I was told there was a sighting.  Would it be possible to speak with the witnesses?”

“I’m afraid it would not.”  Darin stood, and also shook Mr. Wōtan’s hand.  “Given the delicacy of the matter, the situation had to be contained.”

Mr. Wōtan nodded.  “I see.”

“What can you tell us about this creature?”  Darin folded his arms.  “Is he an extraterrestrial?”

“Quite the opposite, really.”  Mr. Wōtan’s spoke with an accent that sounded Russian.  It put Guerin slightly on edge.  “I would require access to the samples you took to confirm, but if I am correct…”  He shrugged.  “Then you may be better off thinking of him as primordial rather than extraterrestrial.”

“You mean what?” Guerin blinked.  “He’s some kind of Neanderthal throwback?”

“That is one way to put it.”  Mr. Wōtan set his briefcase on the table.

“Mr. Wotan…”  Guerin narrowed his eyes.  “That thing has my son.”

“I am aware of the situation.”  Mr. Wōtan gave Guerin a sympathetic look.  “However, if he was going to kill the boy he would have done it already.  Mr. Darin says that the creature took the boy to bait you into a trap?”

“Christophe confirmed it when the thing let me talk to him.”  Guerin swallowed.  He could still hear Christophe’s bitten back cry of pain.  “This thing needs to be neutralized.”

“Contained.”  Mr. Wōtan’s voice was firm and calm.

“It’s —”

“Captain Guerin, I cannot stress this enough, and I have the backing of your superiors on the matter.”  Mr. Wōtan met his eyes.  “The creature is to be taken alive.”

“You have any idea how many people it’s already killed?”  Guerin glared at him.  “This thing, Li-cost or —”

“Lykos.”

“What?”  Guerin blinked.

“His name…”  Mr. Wōtan smiled.  “Is Lykos.”

Continue reading Primitive: Chapter 10

Primitive: Chapter 9

The cot Lykos had set up for him was surprisingly comfortable.  Lykos had purchased a pad, and folded a couple blankets atop that.  Despite the fact that his hands had been shackled behind his back and his ankles secured together, he’d have passed a pleasant night if he hadn’t been dreading the events to come with the dawn.  Lykos had gone deeper into the cave before sunrise.  Christophe’s leash was fastened to the old track, meaning he couldn’t have followed even if his hands and legs had been freed.

He heard a sound and his stomach sank a little.  Lifting his head meant he could see the shine of Lykos’s eyes as the man returned.  Lykos had taken no light source with him into the dark.  He didn’t appear to need one, though he left a lantern in the cave that sheltered them for Christophe’s benefit.  He’d also left a flashlight next to the cot.

Lykos had brought with him what looked to be two pieces of metal railroad track.  He also brought several other pieces of metal back with him.  As Christophe watched, Lykos set to work.  The dwarf used his finger to slice one of the track pieces in half, moving through hardened steel as easily as a hot knife moved through butter.  Christophe half expected to see the metal glowing, but however Lykos worked the material didn’t seem to involve heat.  He swallowed.  “How do you do that?”

“How do you move your hand through water?”  Lykos glanced over his shoulder at him.

“Water is a liquid.  Not a solid.”  Christophe sat up.  “The basic state properties are different.  I couldn’t move my hand through ice.”

“Ah.  Science.”  Lykos nodded.  Then he shrugged.  “Don’t think this is science.”  He set one of the bars atop the longer one to make a cross-shape, then used his fingers to smooth the metal and join the pieces.  He then added small circles of metal to each of the ends of the arms of the…

Christophe’s eyes widened.  The arms of the cross.  Lykos was making a steel cross.  “Lykos —”

“It not yet dawn.”  Lykos glanced over his shoulder.  “You beg already?”

“You intend to kill me.”  Christophe shook his head.

“Kill?”  Lykos shook his head.  “No.  Young, healthy.  Can live days on cross.  Perhaps a week or more, if give you water.”

His body was started to shake a little.  He clenched his fists to try to make the shaking stop.  “I need a word.”

“Word?”  Lykos blinked, then turned back to him.  “What word?”

“So, you know the begging is real and not just reflex.  Give me a word.  I won’t mean anything I say except that word.”  He dragged his eyes from the cross to meet Lykos’s.  “Please, master.”

The nod Lykos gave him was one of approval.  “Two words.  Give you pause to think.  Snow White.”

“Okay.”  He drew in on himself, and took several deep breaths before watching Lykos finish his work.

Continue reading Primitive: Chapter 9

Primitive: Chapter 8

“What happens to me, after?”

“You soft.  But I think there is potential.”  Lykos shrugged.

“You intend to keep me.”  The manacles had been evidence of that, but hearing the man say it made his stomach sink.  And yet…  “But you intend to kill my father.”

“There was woman…”  Lykos’s gaze became far away.  “Back where I was when they found me.  Kind woman.  Old, wise with years but her body was weakening.  She would cook for me, bake.  Always with the stews and bread.  Good, solid food, stick to ribs.  Snow came, and I cleared it for her.”  Lykos’s hands clenched into fists.  “That is where I was, when your father came.  Clearing snow from old woman sidewalk, while she cooked for me.”  He looked up, his eyes glowing in the dim light as they met Christophe’s.  “She stepped out on her porch, and they fill her with bullets.  Slaughtered a kind old woman, because she saw them when they came for me.”

“I —”  Christophe swallowed.  “My father wouldn’t have —”

“Your father.”  Lykos’s voice was cold.  “Gave order.  No witnesses.”  He gave a small, bitter laugh.  “He hide this from you.  His soft son.  Waste of soldier uniform.”

“He wouldn’t —”

“I not lie.  Neither will you.”  Lykos took a step toward him.  “Not to me, and not to you.”  Then he shook his head, and left the camper.

Slowly, Christophe sank down to sit on the edge of the bed.  He knew his father lied.  His job required it sometimes.  The price of working with classified information.  As sick as he felt, Lykos’s story fit what he had seen.  And yet he still couldn’t believe his father would attack innocent people.  Lykos was vicious.  If they had gone after him, he must have given them a reason.

Continue reading Primitive: Chapter 8

Primitive: Chapter 7

He pulled Christophe into the camper, then pushed him to the bed.  Christophe made a small whimpering sound as Lykos fixed the chains, leaving Christophe spread face down on the mattress.  Then he covered Christophe with a blanket.  Christophe went still at the gesture, and he noted a small trace of surprise on the young man’s face.  Lykos stared down at him for a moment, then laughed.  “You worried I would bed you.”

Christophe flinched.  “No.”

“Lie.”  Lykos shook his head.  “I punish you in morning for that.  You will not lie to you master.”  He petted Christophe’s hair.  “Are pretty man, but weak.  Soft.  Not worthy.”  He stood.  “Get sleep.”  He patted Christophe’s shoulder, then left the camper.

Outside, he crouched down and put his hand flat against the earth.  It hummed at his touch.  He’d searched before, last time he was this far west.  They were in the mountains now, the ones called the Rockies.  Slowly, then with growing intensity, he hunted among the vibrations of the ground.  There was no answering echo.  None of his kind had walked within a hundred miles of this location in the past decade.  The earth would have recalled their passage.  Lykos exhaled.

It had been that absence that had eventually driven him out of his caves.  The silence had grown deafening in his slumber, enough that he had sought out his cousins.  That had brought him in contact with humans.  At first the things they had made from metal had fascinated him.  They mixed and molded it with abandon, shaping it to their will.  There had been a few moments of hope that perhaps they had learned, after all.

From time to time he could smell dragons in their movements.  Governors remained, but no shepherds for a flock grown far too large.  None of the other elemental spirits had left marks of their passage above ground.  If any remained, they were hidden.  Hope had been dashed quickly.  There were far too many humans, and too many knew nothing.  He couldn’t share the truth even with those with whom he’d become friendly.  The first…  Lykos glanced back at the cabin.  The first he’d spoken to of his true nature had been his prisoner.  Christophe was young.  Perhaps when Lykos had avenged the wrong done, he would take Christophe back with him below.  A pet, at least, would be company of sorts.  The alternative was to seek out a dragon.

Lykos snorted.  Better to tie steel to his ankles and drop in on the merfolk than seek out a dragon.

Continue reading Primitive: Chapter 7

Primitive: Chapter 6

He returned to find Christophe once again attempting to escape.  The young man had actually managed to get one of his wrists free of the chains, though his skin was bloody from the effort.  He was frantically working at the other when Lykos stepped into view.  Christophe immediately banged his head against the tree limb and uttered a few mild curses.  “I didn’t run.”

“Obey letter of law.  Hope to escape punish.”  Lykos nodded.  “Teach you that in military?”

“You didn’t tell me to leave the chains alone.”  Christophe tried to give him a defiant look, but the slight cringe in his body language ruined the effect.

“If had removed chains, would you have stayed put?”  Lykos raised an eyebrow.

Christophe glared at him.  Then he summoned up a little bit of nerve.  “No.”

Lykos patted him on the head.  “Good boy.  Honesty is best policy.  Had lied, would have put hot rocks on your feet.”  Christophe paled at the threat.  “You need bandages.  No more damaging self.  You damage self, I punish.  Understand?”  He moved in to undo the lock from Christophe’s other wrist.

“I understand.”  Christophe accepted the first aid kit Lykos handed him, and started cleaning up the abrasions on his wrists.

After watching for a moment, Lykos went back to what he’d brought with him.  He set the pieces of bar stock down, and saw Christophe jump slightly at the clanging sound they’d made.  The bags he brought over and set near his captive.  “Brought sandals.  You may wear.  Feet too soft for hard ground.”  He saw the brief hopeful look.  “Also, lotion for skin, to stop sun from burning.”  The hopeful look faded when Christophe realized clothes weren’t included.  His chest and the front of his thighs were lightly scratched from being pressed against the bark of the tree, and he’d not managed to fully escape getting some scratches on his genitals.

The young man used the first aid kit on the worst of the scratches without being told.  Lykos gave him an approving nod.  Then he took some of the leftover venison and set it on the cutting board he’d bought.  The pot he hung over the fire and added water to before going back to the bag.  He took out a couple potatoes, celery, and carrots, then set them by the roast.  Then he offered Christophe a knife, hilt first.  Cautiously, Christophe took it, then looked at the food.  “Dinner?”

“Yes.  Make.”  He waited a moment as Christophe considered the knife, then nodded when Christophe clearly realized attacking would be stupid.  Lykos went back to the lengths of metal he’d brought as Christophe began chopping ingredients and adding them to the pot.

Continue reading Primitive: Chapter 6

Primitive: Chapter 5

“But he was alive?”  Guerin stared at the soldier?  “How did he look?”

“He was limping.”  The soldier swallowed.  “A bit scratched up from being in the woods, but otherwise unharmed.”  He exhaled.  “At least as far as I could see.  I couldn’t quite hear the conversation, but he convinced the thing not to kill me.”

“If he’s established some sort of rapport with the creature…”  Darrin slowly nodded.  “That is a good sign.  He may be able to get it to let its guard down.”

“Chris is a smart boy.”  Guerin took a few deep breaths. Smart, but definitely out of his league against a monster like this one.  Chris had barely passed his combat training, and he’d had to lean a bit to ensure that. If they didn’t resolve the situation soon, he was going to have to tell Sandra what had happened.  From the tone of her last voicemail, she had clearly already figured out something was going on.  “Keep an eye out.  He’ll find a way to signal us.  And track down that fucking jeep.”

“Already done.”  Darrin held up his cell phone.  “They found it at the side of the road a couple hours away, the gas tank empty.  We’ve got people on their way now to search the area.  There is a town nearby, but the area is heavily wooded.  Hopefully your boy can leave us a trail to follow.”

Continue reading Primitive: Chapter 5

Primitive: Chapter 4

His captive hadn’t spoken during the last couple miles, but he was starting to flag again.  Despite Lykos intending to continue their trek overland, it was clear Christophe was unable to handle such a journey.  At least, not without assistance and better gear.  Lykos glanced over his shoulder, and Christophe visibly flinched when Lykos’s eyes landed on him.  He lost his footing and fell, grunting in pain when he landed.  Lykos sighed, then walked back toward him.

“Get up.”  He gave a tug of the leash.

Christophe was panting.  He tried to get up again, then winced and cried out.  Lykos sniffed.  He could scent blood.  With another tired sigh, he reached down and grabbed the young man by the front of the shirt and hauled him over to a rock.  He tossed more than set Christophe onto it, then crouched to look at the damage.  The young man’s pants were torn near his left knee, and blood was starting to show through the cloth.  “I can’t keep going.”  Christophe’s voice bordered on a whimper.

He rolled his eyes, then tore the pant leg further to examine the wound.  A jagged shard of rock was still embedded in it.  Christophe yelped as Lykos yanked it out.  He turned the rock over in his hand, then shrugged and tossed it over his shoulder.  The wound was bleeding freely now.  “Leg is not broken.”  Lykos shook his head.  “Get up.”

“It hurts.”  Christophe shook his head.  “I’m losing blood.”

“Soft.”  Lykos shook his head, then looked at the wound again.  It was deep, and it was possible Christophe could lose enough blood to damage him if it wasn’t treated soon.  And perhaps more importantly, the wound may fester or scar.  Neither suited him.  He pulled the knife out.

“What are you doing?”  Christophe cringed away.  When Lykos brought the knife toward him, Christophe started frantically shaking his head.  “Don’t.  Please. I can walk.  I just need a banda—”

Lykos sliced the meat of his own palm, near the thumb.  He let the blood well up, then reached over to put his bloody hand over Christophe’s wound.  Christophe tried to pull away, and Lykos used his other hand to yank the chain, pulling Christophe back into position.  “No move.”

“What…”  Christophe’s face was pale.

“Shut up.”  Lykos gave an irritated grunt.  He focused, feeling the wound as the blood worked.  Then he took his hand away, and held it up for Christophe to see.  The wound on his palm was gone.  “See…”  Lykos gestured at the blood-covered but healed skin of Christophe’s leg, then stood.  He patted Christophe’s cheek with the formerly wounded hand.  “I am kind to you.”

Continue reading Primitive: Chapter 4

Primitive: Chapter 3

His head was pounding, and his throat hurt.  Christophe started to reach up to rub at his eyes, but something had hold of his arm.  He tried again, and realized his arms were secured together.  Memories came flooding back, and he began yanking at the restraints.  They failed to budge.  Slowly, he sat up.  He was alone, in what looked like a garage.  It was illuminated by what light came in through a boarded-up window.  And he was alone.

He started to shift position, and there was a tinkering sound.  He looked down to see a length of chain encircled his ankle, secured with a padlock.  The other end was secured around a support pillar.  “Great.”  His boots had been removed, and he saw no sign of them.  He tried to scrap the chain off with his other foot.  Christophe began looking around, trying to see if there was anything he could use to free his wrists from the zip ties.

Some fumbling got him to a nail sticking out of the floor.  He began sawing his wrists over it, wincing when he caught skin.  “Come on.  Come on.”  It took what seemed like ages, but finally a tug succeeded in separating the restraints.  Immediately he leaned forward and began trying to get off the chain.  There was no slack in the chain.

Christophe was trying to pick the lock with a bit of wire he’d found when he heard footsteps.  He quickly hid the wire in his clothes as his captor entered the building.  “Good.  Awake.”  The larger man shrugged.  “Thirsty?”  The man held out a bottle of water, then tilted his head.  “Wrist is bleeding.”  He tossed the water down next to Christophe, then grabbed a small box and tossed that to him as well.

A glance proved it was a first aid kit.  Christophe exhaled, then grabbed the water bottle and opened it.  “What do you want with me?”  He took a long drink.

“Bait.”  The man shrugged.  Somewhere, he’d found clothes.  Christophe frowned when he realized that the man was wearing his boots.  “Your father…”  The man waved a hand, then went back to looking through the bag he’d brought with him.  “Is an asshole.”

“He is not.”  Christophe glared.  Then he blinked.  “You took me as bait for my father.”

The man nodded.  “And to punish your father.”

That part didn’t sound good.  Christophe exhaled.  “I was kind to you.  I—”

“You live.  In one piece.”  The man smiled.  “I am kind to you.  See?  Brought bandages.  Tend your wound, or I will.”  He tilted his head.  “What is wrong with your name?”

“What is…”  Christophe pulled the first aid kit over and opened it.  “What do you mean what is wrong with my name?”

“Is missing letters.  Your parents not love you enough to give you a whole name?”

“Missing…”  Christophe glared.  “It’s French.”

“Thought Americans didn’t like French.  Cheese-eating surrender monkeys.”  The man took a bottle of water for himself.  “Though that does explain your father.”

“You’re a dick.”  He took ointment out of the kit and began putting it on the scratches the nail had made.

“Been called worse.”  He opened the water and drank it.

“So, what do I call you?”  Christophe grabbed a bandage.  “Dick?”  He glared.  “Asshole?”

“Brave now.”  The man smiled.  “Master.”

“What?”  Christophe blinked.

“I am Lykos.”  The man set the half-empty bottle down.  “You will call me Master.”

“I won’t do anything of the —” Christophe cut himself off when the man produced a long bladed knife.  He swallowed.

Continue reading Primitive: Chapter 3