The Atavist

            Another day, another dime. This one is dialogue heavy, but hey, it’s not like I have much control over how much they talk.

            I’ve been getting a lot of feedback! Thanks to everyone who has emailed me. I’d love to get back to everyone, but frankly I’m usually busy writing, and there are getting to be a lot of you.

            Anyway, enjoy!

Chapter Five


The blade came down, sinking into Blake's neck. A fierce jolt of pain lanced through his spine as the edge snapped it in two places. He felt jets of warmth coat the front of his body. Somewhere in the back of his head his own voice was screaming.

It's blood! It's your blood! Blake tried to breathe in, but instead he got a lung full of his own vital fluids. An armored face stared down at him with a single, unblinking, orange eye. It made no noise but he could tell it was laughing.

Blake drew another breath, this time it was clear and strong.

::Slowly. I cannot maintain this rate of repair.::

Blake winced as he felt his tissues knit around the blade. One last step. He pushed the creature off of himself with all of his might, sending it flying farther than he thought. As the blade slid out of his neck, the wound sealed itself instantly.

::Cute trick, Atavist. Now I take your head.:: The head of his attacker tilted to the side in an awkward angle.

What is that? Blake asked.

::I'm not sure. Some kind of simbiont-host pairing. Probably sent by Peor.:: Khamon said, Blake feeling the simbiont's senses roaming over the deserted lot.

Is there any chance we can take him?

::It is possible.::

Likely? Blake asked, as the thing advanced.

::I do not understand.::

Is it probable?! Blake asked, dodging a slash to his head.


Blake frowned. Khamon, you are NOT helping.

Suddenly Blake's hand moved of its own accord. As he ducked a blow, his hand came up, catching his attacker by the throat.

::Further analysis is required.::

Blake felt his fingers tighten with strength far beyond his own. The creature was covered in chitin plates of some kind, maybe even a thick bark. Khamon squeezed with enough force to turn a golf ball into dust and the thing only squirmed in his grasp, the armor not even giving a little.

It twisted around, forcing Khamon to let go of its neck. Before they could react it bounded across the lot and fell into a crouch, recovering.


::If there is a weakness in the armor which covers this abomination, it is beyond my senses.:: Khamon admitted. The next few minutes were lost in a flurry of movements. Blake and Khamon together just moving out of the place they had only moments ago occupied as a gleaming blade sliced through the air. The creature moved so fast that Blake could barely keep his eyes on it,

let alone launch a counter attack.

He had been in similar situations in kendo. An opponent would sometimes begin with such an overwhelming barrage of attacks that all the other kendoka can do is block the advances and look for signs of weariness. Except it had been nearly fifteen minutes and the creature was as steady as ever, while Blake could feel Khamon diverting resources to keep them afloat.

We're not going to last much longer are we? Blake asked, the blade flashing before his eyes. Several small cuts were oozing on his arm. Khamon had not repaired them as they were less than life threatening.

::Our materials are depleted.:: Khamon said.

Senses dimmed, Blake's foot caught under a crack, twisting his ankle fiercely. He could hear the snap as his foot traveled several degrees beyond its limit.

He waited for the blade to follow. It didn't come.

Opening his eyes, Blake saw something that stilled him inside.

The creature stood, ready to strike, blade raised above its head. But the blade was caught in something, no, held by something. A giant figure clad in radiant golden armor.

::IT IS NOT YET TIME FOR YOU TO DIE.:: The voice boomed in his head like a huge war drum. The giant released the creature and with a flick of its head, sent the thing flying.

The creature landed, immediately rebounding with a bone-melting scream which Blake head in his mind as well as his ears. The blade was aimed right at the giant's head. Blake could feel the force focused at the tip of the blade, just like he had been taught to do in practice. He was sure the golden one would join him on the ground in a moment. Instead the creature ceased moving in mid air. It's limbs twitched and jerked, black ooze dripped from the amber colored blade in its chest.

The golden stranger separated his blade from the creature, which fell to the pavement like a sack of over ripe meat. He flicked his wrist, cleaning the blade of the black ichor. Footsteps echoed as the stranger stood over Blake.

::Tsk. And I expected more from an Atavist.:: The voice was strong, deep, but not booming before.

'You are a fool. Your enemies know where you live and sleep, yet you do not move.' The voice was human. It didn't some from inside the helmet, but from the surface of the armor itself. It was everywhere.

'What?' Blake asked, his ankle throbbing. The figure leaned close. Blake could feel Khamon wriggle like a fish inside of him. The stranger was...scanning them.

::How peculiar. A mutual bonding, and with an Atavist no less.:: The voice sounded amused. The figure leaned back.

::No matter. This is the first and only time I clean up your mess, new-born. My advice: remove yourself from the Grau's territory or suffer a swift death.:: The stranger turned and took several steps, a huge crimson cape writhing behind him like spun gossamer. Noiseless thunder impacted in the air, and then he was gone.


Blake barely remembered crawling back to Jared's dorm after that. Partly because of the shock of the whole situation, and partly because Khamon took turns driving when his blacked out. The simbiont acted as a crutch, there just enough to keep him going, but not enough to interfere.

Jared pulled him into the room without a single word. Blake sighed as he was laid out and tended to, barely keeping awake through the whole process.

'Red, hey.' He tried to smile. Jared looked on solemnly.

'Blake, man, conserve your strength.' Blake had never seen Jared so serious. It was strange. The way Jared talked and acted, it was easy to forget that he wasn't at all what he appeared to be.

'Red, I need a small favor.'


Sunlight poked at his eyes like sharp needles. Blake tried to roll over to escape it. Instead he found himself rolling on top of a strange body.

Not again. He groaned and the body under him moaned.

            Uh oh.

Blake opened his eyes. He came face to face with Jared's neck. Somehow the jock had crammed himself into the tiny bed, with Blake taking up most of the space. Somewhere in the night they had gotten tangled in the sheets.

Blake's eyes darted all over the place. How was he going to get out of this one? One hand on Jared's chest—

A NICE chest.

--the other on his bicep.

A nice bicep. Blake fumed. Shut up! You're not helping! Still it would be so nice to just...

Before Blake could make a move, he heard the door knob turning. He gave a mental shrug. If it was one of Jared's friends they could deal with it however they wanted. Blake was so tired he couldn't care less.

'Hey guys. I was just checking up--'

Blake's insides froze. The voice was familiar...


‘Want to come to a party? My friend, Lisa, is throwing one at her place. My date kinda stood me up.’ Rob flashed a charming smile. ‘I mean, you know, if you’re up for it.’

            ‘Uh, I’m kinda tired now Rob. You know, with the arm and all.’ Blake said, anxious to get out of the med student’s presence.

            ‘Yeah, that’s understandable. Say, why don’t you give me your number. I’ll call you later, see you you’re feeling.’ Rob said.

            ‘Okay.’ Blake said, giving his number as Rob entered it in his cell phone.

            ‘You want mine?’ Rob asked.

            ‘Yeah, sure. But I don’t have a cell phone.’ Blake said.

            ‘Paper?’ Rob asked, holding a pen. Blake held out his forearm. Rob smiled and jotted his number down.

            ‘Thanks. See you later.’ Blake said and started to walk away.

            ‘Hey.’ Rob called after him. Blake turned and paused. Rob didn’t speak for several seconds.

            ‘You look good tonight. I mean, for a guy that’s been shot and all.’ Rob smiled.

            ‘Thanks.’ Blake said wit ha grin and before he could respond, Rob was off.

Ohshitohshitohshitohshit! Blake became a mess of limb as he tried to push himself off and away from Jared. He could feel Rob's eyes on them. Of all the time for his senses to kick back in...

'Rob, man, this isn't what it looks like...' Blake started to stammer. Jared began to stir.

'Really.' Rob asked in a tone of voice that was far too calm for Blake's liking. Over the past few weeks he had gotten to like the pre-med student, almost to the point of asking him out, something he would have never dreamed himself doing.


'It's okay, Blake.' Rob gave him a smile that was more pain than joy. 'It's not like we were dating. I mean, I'm happy for you and Jared. Really.'

::He is lying.::

Shut up.


'No. I was just dropping by to let you know I picked that thing up last night. I don't know what it was but the inside of my car now smells like whale vomit.' Rob said. 'You can pick it up later if you feel up to it.'

Blake cringed at Rob's choice of words.

'See you two around.' rob said, closing the door.

Blake felt his awareness rush out like a flood, following Rob’s heels down the stairs and outside into the cool morning air. He sat in silence, chewing his bottom lip as Jared rolled over in his sleep.

'FUCK!' It tore from his throat suddenly and loudly. Jared bolted upright in his sleep, fists flying. One connected with Blake's eye, launching the back of his head into the wall. He pouted and allowed himself to slump back onto the bed.

'Holy Jesus, dude! I am so sorry! I didn't mean to...' Jared turned over to face Blake. His eyes dropped at the sight of his crestfallen friend.

'You okay?'

'Rob was here.' Blake said, Jared blinked. 'He saw us in bed together.'

'Oh.' Jared eased himself back on to the mattress, his head turning to watch Blake. 'You gonna be alright? I mean, with Rob...and the black eye?' Jared asked, fingers lightly brushing the hair from Blake's face. Blake wanted to shy away from the contact, but the wall was directly behind him and he didn't want to seem sulky.

'Yeah, I guess.' They listened to the birds chirping for a few seconds, Jared stroking his hair and Blake reluctantly allowing him.

'So what the hell happened last night?' Jared asked, propping himself up on an elbow.

'I don't know! I swear I was asleep the whole time!'

Jared threw him a glare.

'I was talking about why you show up at my door full of blood and dirt.'

'Oh.' Blake was so glad he immediately launched into his tale.

'So this...thing, you got me to pick up, what was it?' Jared asked.

'Dunno. Khamon didn't recognize it either.' Blake wrinkled his forehead in thought, 'What did you do with it anyway?'

'Uh...well, you know how Rob has a car, right?'

'Oh no. Jared, please don't tell me you said anything about any of this to Rob.' Blake leaned toward his friend.

'Kinda yes and kinda no.' Jared gave a half smile. 'I wrapped it up good before calling him. He thinks its some kind of personal project or something.'

'Are you sure?' Blake asked.


'Then that’s what he was talking about earlier.' Blake said mostly to himself.

'You talkin' to me or the parasite?' Jared asked.

::It would do for you to remind our friend that I am a SIMBIONT, not a parasite.::

'Talking to you.' Blake said, gazing out the window before adding an afterthought, 'Oh yeah, simbiont, not a parasite.'

Jared frowned. 'He's talking to you, isn't he?'

'Hmm? What? Yeah. Of course.' Blake said.

'Do you talk often?'

'All the time.' Blake said.

'About me?'

Blake snorted. Suddenly the door opened again, revealing two wiry soccer players.

'Whoa! Sorry dude. Didn't know you' The dark-haired one smiled.

As the door closed Blake could hear them talk.

'Wait, Nash does dudes? I thought he was a total pussy hound...'

'Naw, he does dudes too.'

'How do you know?'

'Uhhh...never mind. We're gonna be late.'

Blake smiled to himself.

'So, Red...'

'Yeah?' Jared asked, sliding his fingers over Blake's bicep.

'A few weeks back you said something about fooling around with certain guys...'

'Yeah.' Jared's smile turned into a smirk.

'Was that guy with the short hair one of them?' Jared immediately blushed and shrunk back.

'You shouldn’t use your alien mind reading powers on me, dude. It's totally an invasion of privacy.' The tall jock tried his best to look offended.

'I didn't' Blake explained what had happened.

'Still cheating.' Jared muttered.

'I head that.' Blake said. He also heard several other things Jared thought were inaudible.

'He was my first.' Jared suddenly said. Blake's face was soon flush with his friend's unexpected revelation.

'Uh...' Blake searched for the proper words.

'Just...shut it.' Jared tossed a pillow at him, grabbing a towel and sandals before wandering into the hall clad only in boxers. Blake's eyes swept over his friend's form as he entered the showers.

::What is it you find so attractive? Is it the flesh?::

Partly, I guess. Blake said. The way it’s shaped, the form it makes. The smell. The--

::I understand.:: Khamon said.

Do you? Blake could feel the simbiont withdraw from him to mull things over.

Surprise! I’ve already started on the next chapter so it should be up in a few days.

Oh yeah, by the way, I know that traditionally simbiont is spelt with a “Y” but my finger flow to the “I” much easier…plus my word processor auto corrects…eruncorrects it. But at least I’m consistent!

As usual, any questions, comments, speculations can be sent to