Home > BZRK: Apocalypse (BZRK #3)(3)

BZRK: Apocalypse (BZRK #3)(3)
Michael Grant

“Laugh again,” Noah said.

“Not yet,” Sadie said.

“You’re torturing me.”

“I’m teaching you endurance,” she said, voice slurring.

“I’m standing right at the very edge of a cliff,” he said, and his eyes closed and his smile became dreamier. “If you laugh … or even move at all … or even breathe deeply, I’ll go right … mmmm … over … the edge.”

“You’re going with a cliff metaphor?” she asked, and giggled.

Which was all it took.

She watched his face while his body arched and thrust and shuddered and finally subsided. His expression was more animal than human in the first seconds, and the sounds he made were definitely not witty banter. Or even half-drunk and quite stoned banter. But then that feral look softened into an expression like you’d see on the face of a saint in a Renaissance painting.

And then he laughed, too.

And opened his blue, blue eyes and said, “Don’t go yet.”

He remained inside her, in more ways than one. He was also inside her brain, and not metaphorically. A tiny creature smaller than the period at the end of a sentence—a creature that was built from an exotic stew of DNA that included Noah’s own—was deep within Sadie’s brain. This was a biot. One of his, Noah’s biots, because biots were nothing if not unique to their creator. It was designated K2. Keats 2. His other biot, K1, was in a tiny vial stuck in the buttoned pocket of his shorts, which were … he looked around … over there, somewhere.

K2 had the job of maintaining the fragile latticework painstakingly built around a bulge in an artery in Sadie’s brain. Left alone, the aneurysm might never pop. Then again it might pop at any moment, which would almost certainly kill Sadie, perhaps over the course of pain-filled hours.

Noah had worked with scarcely a break over this last month to strengthen the Teflon casing around the deadly bulge. It was tedious work. Fibers had to be carried through Sadie’s eye, down the optic nerve, up and down the soggy hills and deep valleys of her brain—quite a long trip for a biot—then carefully threaded in place. Basket weaving.

All the while a sort of picture-in-picture was open in Noah’s own mind, an artificially color-enhanced but grainy picture. Imagine a 3D special-effects movie but with the color flattened out and stripped of nuance, all shot through a dirty lens.

Noah knew Sadie with an intimacy that was impossible for people who did not travel down in the meat. When she became aroused, he could feel the artery beneath his biot’s six legs pumping faster, harder. But it was not just the relatively monotonous, liquid-encased surface of the brain that he had seen up close. He had at various times, in the course of more than one desperate mission, crawled across her eyes, her lips, her tongue.

She kissed his mouth and then the place just beside his mouth and then his neck. Then she rolled off onto the blanket and looked toward the food.

“You didn’t …,” he said.

“No.” She struggled to find the right tone. Unconcerned but not indifferent. Nonchalant, not like it mattered. Then tried switching to a sexy purr. “But I loved every minute. That’s not the only thing in the world, you know.”

“It’s not?” he asked, trying to be funny.

“Want some lobster?” she asked, deflecting him. She didn’t like talking about sex. The effects of weed and wine were ebbing, leaving her tired and groggy. She could be cranky in a minute if she let herself.

There were things nagging at her, distractions. She wanted to keep pushing them away, but self-medication had its limits and all those niggling worries would resurface, frequency and intensity increasing. She had pushed it all away for a month and now “it” was pushing back.

“I do want some lobster, I absolutely do,” Noah said.

“Then trot on over there and get me some, too.”

He sighed. “It’s always something with you. Undress me. Make love to me. Feed me lobster. You are so demanding.” He stood up, and she saw that half his hard, lean behind was coated with sand. She lay back, head resting on one hand, enjoying that particular sight, and the view beyond. They were in a secluded lagoon on the western edge of the island, facing the much larger island of Madagascar, which was a blur of green ten miles off.

A quarter mile to both north and south, armed men—fashionably attired in white Tommy Bahama shirts and automatic rifles—watched for any threat to their privacy. Just out of sight behind a rocky point, a yacht crewed by ex-soldiers rolled in the gentle swell and kept a radar lookout over the area.

Noah brought her pieces of lobster on a small china plate.

“We’re out of wine,” he said.

“Good. Time to sober up, anyway.”

“Is it?” he asked. “Why?”

She sat up and reached for her T-shirt. He interrupted her with a kiss and gently stroked her breasts as if saying good-bye to them. “I quite like these,” he said.

“I guessed that. Can I put on my shirt now?”

“I suppose.” He started to dress as well: shorts, a T-shirt, sandals. He reached down and pulled her to her feet.

“I’ll call for our cab,” Sadie said. She pressed the talk button on a handheld radio—there was no cell-phone reception this far up-island.

Five minutes later, as they packed up the picnic, a glittering white cabin cruiser appeared around the point.

The captain gave a little toot-toot on the horn, and the boat blew up.

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