Basha only vaguely remembered the Ezramatheia exploding. He didn’t know he’d been thrown out and knocked unconscious when the ship had fallen out of the sky. Nor was he aware Hyde had found him, dragged him over to a ratty bed, strapped him down to the frame and was now attempting to force her way into his chest cavity.
No. As far as he was concerned, it was the tinkling of music, playing backwards from Eremis’ broken box, that lured him back from the edge of oblivion. It wasn’t nearly loud enough to cover the growing sound of sarcastic snickering that followed it as it slithered up and inside his ears, coiling itself around his backbone and made him cringe. The sudden and brutal attack continued on his other senses as well; he could also smell acrid smoke, wafting up from somewhere below. It too, forced its way into his mouth and nose, down his windpipe and settled at the bottom of his lungs like scorching hot lead. When Basha doubled over in a coughing fit that left him gasping for air as tears streamed down his face, the subtle burning itch he’d been feeling in his lower extremities erupted. It raced up his limbs and across his chest, the pain nearly forcing him in the fetal position as he thought for certain he’d burst into a ball of literal hell fire.
“And wouldn’t you imagine, you haven’t opened your eyes yet.”
That voice… That godforsaken voice… Basha believed for sure he had buried it along with the Monster it belonged to. Yet here it was, haunting him from the edge of doom as the force of gravity threatened to make him collapse under his own weight. Basha haphazardly teetered in place, covering his eyes and ears with his hands to little avail.
“Do you remember when we watched them dance in their throes of death?” His voice kept talking to him. No, Basha couldn’t recollect the thought. He couldn’t even understand what the voice was trying to tell him. “Such misery we’ve wrought together.”
Basha could barely hold on to his thoughts and already they were spinning completely out of control. His attempts at trying to place himself in his surroundings were failing harder than his efforts at tuning out the incessant fucking racket.
He wasn’t aware he’d either been knocked unconscious or fallen asleep… So where the actual Hell was he waking back up?
“Such death and fucking destruction.”
His deep and deadly ominous voice was racing through the growing whispers, coming closer and becoming much clearer. Basha slowly slid his fingers out of his eyes to take a peek around but could only watch with growing terror as his own shadow grew three times in length. Wings appeared on his back while horns sprouted out of his head. His mouth, covered by the palms of his hands, split into a shit devouring rictus before Basha shuddered and shut his eyes again, wishing it would all go away and leave him the Hell alone.
“Do you truly believe you killed me?”
The booming laughter that followed his rhetorical question bounced off the floors, walls and ceilings of the cavernous space they were now sharing.
There was no fucking way.
This couldn’t be happening.
“Of course it is.”
But of fucking course it was. Basha didn’t need to lift his head to know what was now looming directly over it; the tense chill of impending dread was dripping down his neck and back, making his skin crawl and his hair stand on end.
Dead fucking silence.
“Tell me, how are you feeling, little brother?” A soft whisper. Lips behind his ear. The light brush of razor sharp canines over the skin barely covering the arteries in his neck…
… Except the hopelessness that had been growing in his gut… The desperate scream that threatened to escape his vocal cords… Was abruptly muffled and then entirely cut off as the Mad Maestro fell upon him like a blanket of ashen snow. Using one hand to grip Basha’s wrists and pin them both behind his back, he made a show of licking the blood, dripping down the serrated claws of his other hand as he dug them into Basha’s narrow cheekbones.
Basha, stubbornly refusing to fully open his eyes, struggled and tried to break free, but standing a full head above him, the Mad Maestro wasn’t having a single problem keeping him wrapped up in his inhumanly strong grasp.
“You are dearly missed, little brother.” The Maestro smirked into his ear before moving his black lips down his jawline. He then forced Basha’s entire head to turn in his direction, drawing more blood between his fingers as he took a closer look at his pale features, “Being away is making you frail, I see.”
The Maestro kissed Basha’s forehead, running his elongated tongue down the bridge of his nose before biting into his upper lip hard enough to make him wince, “I have a present for you, little brother.” His voice sounded as jagged as his teeth as he let go of Basha’s face and spun him around, “Something for all the pain you’re causing.”
Basha finally managed to open his mouth to protest but was far too slow with his words as the Maestro interrupted him once more. Never letting go of Basha’s wrists, he placed his freed hand between the boy’s shoulder blades. Basha’s heart slammed inside his chest once, twice, skipped a beat and then stopped completely as the bones in his back and chest splintered and snapped like dried twigs. His knees gave out, his spine buckled and warm blood gushed down his upper body, drenching the clothes he wore in dark red. Nearly blacking out, the sole reason Basha found himself still standing was the Maestro, unmercifully holding him upright while he failed to register what the Hell had happened to him.
“He ripped your heart out. Can’t you see how beautiful it is?” Said another, distinctly female voice. In the state he was in, Basha only recognized Eremis because her tone nearly matched the timber of her music box, still playing out of tune somewhere in the background.
Using the Maestro’s forearm to prop himself back up, half-dead Basha couldn’t process what was going on in and around him. He’d stopped breathing, felt paralyzed from his chest all the way down to his feet and had to force himself to close and open his eyes a number of times before his vision began to return… But there it was, jutting out of the front of his shirt, resting precariously between the Maestro’s fingertips as it kept pumping blood out with rhythm.
“Impressive how it keeps beating.” Eremis giggled from somewhere behind him but, crippled and almost completely blind, Basha was unable to see her.
“… No, not you too…” He muttered, muffling a scream as the Maestro pulled his arm out of his chest. Impossibly weak, Basha was unable to stop him as he finally let him go and evaporated into the inky black backdrop of their shared delusion, bringing Basha’s heart with him.
“Is this making you upset?” It was a stupid question with a loaded, dishonest answer and Basha, unsure of who had asked, chose not to dignify it with a response.
“Don’t be rude, little brother. Open your eyes and look.” With his heart, now a toy nestled into the Maestro’s hands, Basha could merely, mindlessly do as he was ordered. He spun around on his heels, opening his eyes wide, and found himself facing Eremis’ entirely naked figure. Her matted, waist-long, chestnut hair did nothing to conceal what little curves she had, all while her glowing, fuschia eyes seared another hole straight through his skull.
“Come closer…” Eremis beckoned him with a finger as the relentless snickering, giggles and whispers returned with a proper vengeance. Basha struggled not to slip over his own feet as he stumbled forward, taking a step, then another, and a third. That was when he saw the full extent of the horror that had been standing bare alongside him much of the time they’d been there. Utterly speechless, Basha was unable to make himself ask if someone had practiced on her… Or if she’d fallen off the deep end and inflicted her wounds upon herself as she’d done so many countless times before.
The skin on Eremis’ neck had been slashed… No… That wasn’t right. It had been ripped to shreds, exposing the muscles, tendons and ligaments still pulsing with blood underneath. Her torso and stomach were covered in deep bites, long scratches and multiple stab wounds while her arms and legs had been slashed to shit, revealing the bones that remained under her flailed and battered skin.
Much fucking worse was the way she’d been sown back together… Or rather, someone had tried. Thick strands of coarse, black threads crisscrossed in and out of her mangled and mutilated flesh. Of course, Basha knew Eremis had lost much of her humanity a long time ago… But this… He found himself clamping both his hands over his mouth before he could say anything they’d all regret.
“I promise. It didn’t hurt when this happened to me. Please try not to overthink it.” She said as she came closer, burying her nose in his blood-soaked shirt as she dug her chewed off nails into his forearms with a strength she shouldn’t have had. “You have no right to be standing either, Basha.” She added before the thought had barely finished crossing his mind. She wrapped her arms around his neck, the loose stitching getting tangled into his shaggy, white hair along with her tiny fingers. Basha smelled nothing but vanilla as he pulled her in close and held her there.
“Big brother’s watching.” Eremis whispered as, unbeknownst to him, the Mad Maestro had materialized behind him, his heart still beating between his claws as he flicked his forked tongue out from the back of his venomous fangs, “How are you feeling, Basha?” She asked him in turn.
“Big brother can go fuck himself.” Basha told her as she freed her hands from his hair and ran her fingers over the fresh cuts on his face. She pulled his lips towards hers, allowing them to connect and melt into each other as she traced a path down his chest, avoiding the gaping, bleeding hole there to reach for his leather belt instead.
“… Always happy to oblige, little brother…” The Maestro replied, too quietly for Basha to pay attention as Eremis undid his buckle and pulled down his zipper. The boy held on to her small, battered frame as she wrapped her frozen fingertips around his rapidly growing inches, making him gasp from both the cold and the sudden, insanely pleasurable friction.
(… He could feel it… That slow warmth… That ever rising pressure… Basha would have never admitted it… But dear GOD could he absolutely fucking feel it…)
“Tell me you miss me.” The Maestro hissed in Basha’s ear as they both watched Eremis play his swollen member like a true artist, sucking on his neck before biting her way down his abdomen. She kneeled in front of him, pulling on his pants until they’d reached his knees.
“… No…” Every other word he’d conjured up in his head until that point completely evaporated as Eremis ignored his weak reply and placed her full and tender lips on the tip of his throbbing erection.
“Say it, little brother.” The Maestro kept taunting him as Basha half-heartedly attempted and still failed to move his hips away from Eremis’ mouth. He could merely grip her shoulders and choke on his non-existent breath as she drowned him in sensations he’d forgotten he could feel and made him rock to the rolls of her tongue, “Tell us how much you miss us.”
“… I said no…” But Basha was far too distracted to care if he’d spoken the words out loud or not.
“Such a feeble answer. You must be on the verge of losing it.” The Maestro’s voice was dripping with ill-intent as Eremis reached the bottom of Basha’s shaft. He couldn’t remember how long it had been since he’d been this aroused… Was unable to recall the last time he’d so desperately wished he wasn’t. This wasn’t the place for games… But the Maestro and Eremis clearly had other ideas, “You’re fucking close…” The madman moved away from Basha’s ear as the boy knotted his fingers in Eremis’ hair and thrust his engorged cock down her throat. He unwittingly let out a grunt, his eyes rolling back in time to catch the Maestro’s face, mere millimeters away from his own as it spread into a wide, fanatically sadistic grin. He hung Basha’s heart under his nose, the tender organ beating in time to his throbbing member, on the verge of exploding at the bottom end of Eremis’ mouth.
“Come now, little brother. Let it go.” The Mad Maestro ordered him obscenely when all Basha had left to do but obey. The Maestro’s booming laughter reverberated across the room once again, all while Eremis swallowed all of Basha’s frustrations in one, big, satisfying gulp. Then, instead of returning Basha’s heart to its rightful owner, the Maestro went ahead and crushed it in his fist, ripping the defective muscle into barely recognizable chunks before letting them fall through the cracks below, never to be seen again.
Eremis wiped her mouth while the Maestro cleaned his hands of the bloody mess he’d made and sneered at Basha’s limp and lifeless corpse. It slowly crumpled in on itself and fell to floor in a heap as Hell erupted in a wall of flames. Both the Maestro and Eremis vanished in a puff of smoke, leaving as suddenly as they had appeared, taking their music, their sarcasm and their laughter along with them when they went.
It was all over. They were gone.
Basha was alone.
All over again.