Chapter 4 Jake
(EVOLUTION FAILURE. YOU ARE IN A HUMAN FORM, BUT YOUR SKIN IS PALE BLUE, WITH BLUE AND PURPLE ETCHINGS. YOUR HAIR IS CRYSTAL SPIKES AND YOUR EYES ARE SOLID PURPLE. BLACK CRYSTAL SPIKES HAVE FORMED ON YOUR SHOULDERS AND FOREARMS. SHALL I REATTEMPT EVOLUTION?)
Dustin sat up and stared at his hands for a moment, before scurrying back to the water to look at his reflection. The water was flowing too fast for him to see more than the faintest hint.
"What do you plan to do with him now?" asked Olivia. She was holding the boy by both of his arms, where he was fighting her. The way she was holding him, he couldn't bite her, and his scratching, clawing and kicking weren't fazing her at all.
Hunkering down in front of the kid, he watched him fight. This kid was truly wild. Maybe that's why he managed to survive so long. He couldn't blame him.
"Hey," he said, making sure the kid knew he was talking to him. "Are you scared?"
The kid went still and glared at him. "No!"
"Then stop fighting us. We don't plan to hurt you."
"Slaver's don't hurt their slaves!" he growled.
"I'm not a slaver! I was a slave myself, kind of. And I managed to escape. I don't plan to do any of that crap."
The kid finally seemed to calm down and look at him for real.
"Why do you look so different now?"
"I have this device," Dustin held it up for him to see. It was mostly hidden behind the black spikes, but it could still be seen.
"The aliens that made me a slave, put this on me, I think. I don't remember too well. But I can't take it off now, without it hurting me a lot. It let's me change my form to help me survive."
"Can I get one?" asked the kid, deadpan. His eyes were glued to the PED.
"I don't have another one, but if you help me, I can try and make one?"
"How could I help you?" the kid seemed incredulous at his suggestion.
"Well, I don't now this place too well, and I bet you do."
Olivia let him go, now that it seemed he wasn't going to just run away, and he hunkered down on the ground next to Dustin, to touch his new spiked.
"Be careful, I don't know if they have poison or not. You see my device is messed up right now, and it keeps doing weird things. It probably won't get better until we leave this planet."
"Mom had something like this," he crooned, touching the edge of the PED.
"What? She did?"
"It didn't let her change, it was already broke, but it told her what was wrong with her. She had something inside of her that made her sick. When the robots came, they killed her. They would have killed me too, but I'm too fast."
Olivia looked at the kid thoughtfully for a moment, then moved off towards the pools they had left behind.
Dustin sat down.
"What was your mom's name?"
He just shrugged, then glanced up when Olivia returned. She was carrying the bag he had thrown down, and a stick that had several large fish on it.
"Well then, what's your name? Mine's Dustin, and hers is Olivia."
"Jake," he said, eyeing the fish.
"We'll share our fish with you, if you help us?"
Jake quickly nodded and sat down, as if they were going to give it to him raw.
"Look, Jake, I may be hungry, but I want to cook it first."
"Like on a fire?" he perked up and looked so excited, they were both taken aback for a moment.
"Let me guess, you don't know how to start a fire?" ventured Dustin, climbing to his feet. He paused as he heard a faint hum coming from his right. Looking in that direction, he noticed a robot on the other side of the water, sneaking towards them, using all four arms to keep it down low to the ground. The hum was coming from it.
"Time to go," he said, motioning for the kid to lead the way. Jake glanced across the water, and saw the robot too.
"Follow fast!" he said, darting off into the brush. Olivia threw his bag at him, and took off after the kid.
Dustin threw the bag over his shoulder and followed as best as he could. This body didn't seem to have good coordination. He could hear the robot splashing in the water, and hoped it got swept away in the fast current.
They jumped over fallen trees, ducked through tight spots in the undergrowth, and ran along animal trails. Olivia grabbed a tree trunk just in front of him, and swung sharply to the left. He grabbed the same tree, and saw that they were on the very edge of a cliff as he swung. Not stopping to think, he kept going, finally skidding on a natural slide, into a small hole in the side of a rock. His bag dragged behind him, barely fitting through the hole.
No sooner was he inside, then Jake let go of a rope, and another rock slammed into place, blocking access into the room from that spot.
Panting, he turned to look around the dim room, and realized they weren't in a cave, they were inside an actual room. The floors were covered in vines, and seemed the be the only reason they hadn't caved in. Olivia was walking very carefully across the room, where Jake was waiting for them to follow him.
Stepping outside the room, Dustin had to stop to admire the view. They had to be on the fourth or fifth floor of a building. Most of the walkways between the floors had collapsed, the few that remained, were held in place by more of the vines. He could see the occasional tree limb that had pushed its way into the building. Fireflies lit up the gloom, amidst beams of light that shown from high above them. Far below, Dustin could see the occasional glint of water, as it seemed to be flowing through the ground floor of the building.
"This place is amazing!" said Olivia softly.
"This used to be home, before mom died," said Jake, waiting for them near a makeshift ladder made of more vines.
Climbing down to the bottom floor, he saw that the water that flowed through the building wasn't very deep. Bugs skated across the top of it, and he shied away from them out of habit. Jake looked at him puzzled, but continued to lead them outside the building.
They had to stop again when they realized it wasn't just one building, but an entire city that they had found.