Poking a mad bear with a stick. I always laughed at that expression, but never really thought that someone could do something dumber.
It looked like touching Ascheya was that something dumber.
The man that Ascheya called Jacob rushed in and grabbed her by her arms. He lifted her up and spun her around laughing, but then realized she wasn’t who he thought she was.
And she was pissed.
Looking down at the man, she lifted her blade so it was prodding him in the throat, “Put me down … NOW!”
Jacob gently sat the woman down, “You’re … who are you?”
Jacob was huge, he obviously was what Biocorp called a Gamma Unit. With his long hair and scruffy bad-boy beard he would normally been a very handsome man, the type of guy that appears on the cover of a romance novel, but he was covered in dirt and dried blood and his hair was matted with mud and gore.
“I’m the bitch that’s gonna remove your head if you touch me again,” hissed Ascheya furiously.
“Oookay,” I quickly stepped between the two before Ascheya went psycho-hairdresser on Jacob. “Jacob, you’re a Ga … ga … JACOB! THE JACOB!?”
Jacob couldn’t take his eyes off Ascheya. His eyes were narrowed in confusion and his jaw flexed.
“Yeah, that Jacob,” he grunted. “Who are you?” he asked Ascheya.
“I’m the one that got out,” she said, relaxing. The subtle, bedroom tone to her voice was returning.
“So what happened?” I asked. “The last bit of information everyone had was that you and Draghixa went to find her son.”
Jacob grumbled and shook his head, walking past me and tossing his sword into the pile. Pulling his dagger out of a sheath on his belt, he groaned and picked up a can. Still not speaking, he carved it open with his dagger, stabbed a small sausage out and ate it.
The silence was heavier than a winter blanket.
“Jacob?” I couldn’t stand the silence any longer.
His mouth full, the big man looked up and glared at me, “You see any kids running around here?”
“They’re both dead aren’t they?” Ascheya offered, sitting down with her back against the wall. She was smiling; a devious grinning filled with intent.
Jacob spit something against the wall and nodded without looking at the demonic woman, “So where the hell did you come from?” he asked with a full mouth.
I wanted to change the subject, whatever happened, Jacob wasn’t happy about it. So I thought I would bring up something that had been bothering me for a while.
“Hey,” I spoke up, “So watching the news and reports, all you Gamma Units look alike …”
“Designer,” mumbled Jacob, “Wanted us to be good looking.”
He pointed his dagger at Ascheya, “Her designer had a fetish for anthro … anf … animal-like women. You’re a lot skinnier than Draghixa was.”
Ascheya was watching him very closely. I could see in her eyes that she was holding something back, waiting for just the right moment to say the wrong thing and upset him even more. She was like a malicious child waiting for just the right moment to write on the wall.
Lowering her head, she watched Jacob with an acidic stare, “Well I didn’t have you there to take care of me,” she leered.
Jacob stopped chewing and stared the dark fury in the eyes. His own eyes were seething.
“You read her stories, you fed her,” Ascheya leaned forward, relishing the mental anguish she was causing, “But you just left me.”
It sucks to be the third wheel listening to an inside joke. Its worse listening to a conversation between two people and only one knows what’s going on. Jacob appeared to know just enough to be confused and angry at the same time.
“Yeah,” I tried to interrupt, “So Ascheya and I were just looking for a place I could sleep. I’m guessing you don’t sleep either?”
Shaking his head, Jacob returned to his sausages, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Oh you don’t?” Ascheya cooed like a dove, “Lieutenant Jack, meet the man formerly known as Doctor Steven Schmidtweiler.”
“I figured …” Jacob mumbled.
“Oh yeah,” Ascheya giggled, standing up. “When they sent your baby here, you signed up.”
Jacob just grunted. He didn’t seem to want to care. Stabbing the last sausage, he tossed the empty can into the armor pile
Figuring a less subtle approach might help, I tried to step in, “Okay Ascheya, that’s enough. Let’s leave him alone.” I tried to usher her out of the basement, but Ascheya was on a roll.
“Seriously though,” Ascheya continued, “Why don’t you just go home? You’ve still got family there.”
I wasn’t going to listen any more. Walking out I waved them off, “Okay, I’m going to hang out with whoever survives.”
I sat down on a broken pile of lumber outside and breathed in the air of Charon. I wouldn’t say it was peaceful, Charon was never peaceful, but at least it was quiet. I watched the undulating, rotten sky, feeling the pangs of regret. I wouldn’t get to see the blue skies of Earth again. Well, on the plus side I wouldn’t have to fast food anymore.
But a burger sounded really good.
Hearing a slam behind me I wondered who would be my next traveling companion. Jacob would probably be a more pleasant companion, but Ascheya was the reason I was there in the first place.
“Take me to that attack site,” I heard Jacob’s raspy voice behind me. Paydirt!
But then there was a giggling sound. They were both alive? Dammit! Now Ascheya was going to be a worse pain in the ass than before.
“Why do you want to go there?” I asked. I really, really didn’t want to get involved in that situation. Nothing better than introducing a guy to the chunks of meat that had once been his daughter.
Holding his dagger in her hand, a laughing Ascheya staggered to our side, “Wouldn’t you want to at least find a part of your daughter?” she snickered.
Putting my face in my hands I groaned. Perfect. Back to the scene of the crime.