The Title

by David Caldwell

When Shiva Starts to Dance: Part 05.


He woke but kept his eyes closed. He lay beneath clean sheets feeling warm and comfortable. The rain must have eased off as he couldn't hear its usual constant drumming on the roof of the hotel. Rachael had chosen that they live in this abandoned hotel partly because it belonged to what she referred to as "another, more human era" as well as the fact that it was located on the highest point of the island and afforded protection from surprise attack. No attack had ever come; no one at all had come after them.

He could feel Rachael's body generating heat in the bed next to him. He rolled towards her and felt her arm enfold him, her breath warming his neck. At this moment a loud roaring from the end of the bed jerked Deckard fully awake and sitting up.

"Kali be still," Michael Yeat's voice came from next to him in the bed. Deckard looked from the tiger to the replicant lying naked beside him.

Michael sat up. "How are you feeling?" he said placing his hand on Deckard's forehead.

The former Blade Runner was unable to mould his thoughts into a reply. Looking down, he became aware that he was also naked and had a catheter inserted into his right arm attached to a drip bag hanging on a pole next to the bed.

Reading the confusion on the other man's face Michael said, "I put something in your drink. It worked quickly; I gather you hadn't eaten for several days?"
"No, how long was I out?"
"Approximately a day and a half."

Deckard threw back the covers and started to get up, Michael reached out and placed a hand on his shoulder effectively preventing him from rising.

"I think you should stay here for a while longer. You don't really have anywhere else to go to anyway, do you?"

'He was right' thought Deckard who leant back against the pillow; he had nowhere to go and no one to go to.

Michael reached out his large hand and gently touched Deckard's bristled cheek.

"Tell me about her, the one you loved, Rachael."

Deckard gulped as if his breath had caught in his throat, the tears that had been waiting their time in his heart spilled down his cheeks. Michael placed his other hand on the side of Deckard's head and he pulled the sobbing man's face towards his.

Their lips met, Deckard opened his eyes, his tears ceased as he experienced a similar feeling to that just before he had collapsed. Michael's tongue was sliding into his mouth, exploring his teeth and then engaging with his tongue. Michael's eyes were open as well, their icy, blue depths seeming to attempt to draw in every millisecond of this experience in much the same way that his mouth seemed to be almost devouring the part of Deckard that was his essential self.

Being enveloped by Michael's strong arms and being held tight to his dense powerful form seemed at that moment to meet every need Deckard had ever had. All resistance, all craving, all need for any volition on his part seemed to be gone, he just was.

Some time later Michael released his embrace on the now sleeping man; he rose from the bed and began removing the catheter from Deckard's arm. As he placed a dressing on the entry point of the needle, Deckard's eyes opened and his hand closed around Michael's arm.

"Why are you doing this? You know what I used to be, what I used to do."
The replicant finished the dressing then looked into Deckard's eyes; he raised his hand and stroked a finger across Deckard's lips.

"I know what you were, what you are now and what it's possible you may be." He leant forward and placed his lips on Deckard's forehead.

"You have to rest now, I'll be gone for a couple of hours. We'll talk when I return. Kali will keep you company." At the sound of her name the tiger bounded onto the bed and lay down beside Deckard. He watched Michael dress and leave the room then, listening to the replicant tiger's deep, rumbling breaths, he fell asleep.

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