A Stab at Conversation

I will say that for those first two days, every second I spent in that cell was like torture. I scarcely slept, I barely dared to move, and I was constantly afraid. The creature never made any move to harm me, but after I had seen what it had done to that poor man in the arena, I was always fearful that I might meet the same fate.

The hours crawled by at an excruciating pace. I tried to watch Vengeance with my peripheral vision, without making eye contact. I still could not forget the image of those horrible, black eyes and did not wish to see them again. After an eternity, the guards brought in lunch. It was tasteless gruel that stuck in my mouth, but I forced it down anyway. I drank what little water they had given me; I was very thirsty.

And then the monster spoke to me.

"What is your name?" His voice was like grating charcoal, deep and rough.

I flinched from his voice, but once I had determined it was not a threat, I made myself answer in a comically shaking voice.

"Gavin's my name," I said still not daring to look the creature in the eyes.

The beast may have nodded, but it was difficult to tell since I was staring stubbornly at his feet. I could only assume he was masculine, too. I did not even knowing what species he was.

"They call me Vengeance," he said. "I do not know what my real name is. I don't think I ever had one. This life is all I have ever known."

I might have felt pity for him then, but there was no room for it alongside my terror. His very voice was disturbing to me, and though he seemed peaceful at present, the memory of what he had done to Morrow flashed to my mind whenever I saw his enormous claws and array of deadly biological weaponry.

"I saw you fight this morning," rumbled Vengeance. I nodded feebly.

"You're lucky you had the Phoenix. She doesn't kill; otherwise you would be dead right now." Vengeance paused for a moment. "You'll never survive in the arena the way you fought today."

Under normal circumstances I may have felt a prickle of annoyance at having my combat skills insulted so, but coming from Vengeance I just felt fear. Was he going to kill me now just to prove it?

"I could teach you to fight," said Vengeance.

I tried to form a coherent response, but couldn't manage it and ended up just shaking my head.

"Then you'll die," said Vengeance unsympathetically. I secretly thought death would be much more immanent if I were to take combat lessons from Vengeance. I would rather take my chances in the ring.

But of course, that's not what happened. It didn't happen that day, or the next even, but eventually Vengeance went from being my worst nightmare, to my trainer, to my friend and the only thing that kept me alive in that place.

The End

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