Basha hadn’t realized he’d fallen asleep until music, tinkling from a backwards and broken source, returned him to semi-consciousness. The wail of mishandled violin chords, accompanied by piano keys being played out of tune, barely covered the sarcastic snickering burrowing its way into his ears.
“Remember when we watched those ridiculous Iala’Endzi dance in their throes of death?”
There was an itch in his lower extremities as; a not-so-subtle burning sensation that quickly spread up his limbs and across his chest. Acrid steam billowed up through cracks in the ground, forcing its way down his throat and settling down at the bottom of his lungs like scorching hot lead. Basha convulsed into a coughing fit, thoroughly convinced he was breathing hellfire.
“Like watching snakes writhing in agony.”
The snickering wasn’t getting louder it was coming closer. As the force of gravity threatened to make him collapse under his own weight, Basha haphazardly teetered in place with both his hands covering his face.
“All that death and destruction.”
His thoughts were spinning out of control. His attempts at placing himself in his immediate surroundings were failing harder than his attempts at tuning out all the fucking noise.
He hadn’t been aware he’d fallen asleep… So where the Hell was he waking up?
“Such misery we wrought together.”
And that voice… That godforsaken voice… He thought he’d finally buried it along with the monster it belonged to… Yet here it was, rushing out to greet him, hissing, taunting… dangerously ominous. Basha could only watch with increasing terror as his shadow grew longer, sprouting multiple pairs of horns and elongated fingers.
There was no fucking way…
This couldn’t be happening.
“Did you honestly believe I was dead?”
The laughter that followed the question boomed off the imaginary ceiling and bounced off the non-existent walls, drowning out everything else in the room. Basha finally found himself able to think and talk, if only for a moment.
“Not quite, Little Brother.”
Dead fucking silence. Basha knew. He didn’t need to lift his head to know what was hanging directly over it; the tense chill of impending dread was making every hair on his body stand on end.
“You can feel it, can’t you?”
But like a blanket of ashen snow, the Mad Maestro was already on him, coiling his leather-bound claws around Basha’s neck and stifling his yet unspoken words. He wrapped his other hand around Basha’s waist, pulling him close, licking the blood down his serrated nails as he drilled them into his narrow cheekbones.
“You’ve been missed, Basha.” Standing a full head taller than Basha, the Maestro had no problem at all breathing down his neck, brushing his lips against his ear as he spoke. Basha attempted to struggle but was unable to move, caught as he was in the Maestro’s inhumanly strong grasp.
The latter smirked as he moved his mouth down Basha’s jaw line, drawing more blood between his fingers as he forced his head to turn in his direction, wanting to examine it closer. “Passionate as always, I see.”
He bit the tip of Basha’s nose hard enough to make him wince before kissing his upper lip, finally letting go of his face long enough to slip behind him and place his free hand between the boy’s shoulder blades.
“I have a welcoming present for you.” The Maestro’s voice sounded as jagged as his teeth as they pressed against the soft skin of his neck. “I think you’ll appreciate the favor.”
Basha opened his mouth to protest but was interrupted by the sound of his bones snapping like twigs. He felt his knees give out as his spine buckled, blood gushing down the front and back of his white shirt. Only the Maestro’s arm stopped him from collapsing to the floor as he nearly lost consciousness again, his blacked out and blurred vision making it impossible to see or register what the Hell had just happened to him.
“He ripped your heart out for you to see. Isn’t it beautiful, Little Brother?” Said a distinctly female and instantly recognizable voice. “Impressive how it still beats.”
Using the Maestro’s arm to pull himself upright as his eyesight began to return, Basha was still barely able to process it… But there it sat, jutting out of the front of his chest, sitting between the Maestro’s fingertips as it pumped Basha’s blood down into the cracks below.
“Something for all the pain you’ve cause.” The Maestro hissed.
“I said ‘NO’!!” Basha shouted as though it would change anything. He was still unable to see Eremis. He couldn’t even tell where her voice was coming from as he tried to stop the Maestro from pulling his arm back. Too hopelessly weak, however, Basha was left stranded as the Maestro evaporated in the backdrop of their shared delusions, taking Basha’s heart along with him.
“So why are you so upset, Little Brother?” It was an incredibly stupid, yet absolutely loaded question with an equally stupid and dishonest answer and they all knew it. There was a subtle shift in the atmosphere as the Maestro’s form re-materialized itself, his hands, mouth and neck now completely covered in crimson scarlet.
“Don’t be rude. Take a look.” The Maestro’s face split open in a face-devouring rictus of a smile as he kept licking his claws. He put a finger in his mouth, sucking it clean before using it to point at something behind Basha’s left shoulder.
Basha mindlessly did as he was ordered, spinning around on his heels as a spotlight turned itself on over Eremis’ entirely naked figure, revealing her waist-long, dark brown hair, completely matted to her ivory skin… Her fuschia eyes practically glowing in the near-dark.
“No, Little Brother, look closer.” The relentlessly loud snickering was returning with a vengeance as the Maestro put his hands on Basha’s shoulders and pushed him in Eremis’ direction as his gaze came back into focus. For the third time, Basha was at an utter loss for words, his mouth dropping open as he took in the full extent of the horror standing not three feet away.
Eremis’ neck had been slit open. Not only that, it had been ripped to shreds from ear to ear, revealing all the muscles and tendons underneath. Her torso and abdomen, along with her arms and legs, were completely covered in deep cuts and even deeper gashes while her wrists and ankles had been sliced all the way down to the bone… And that wasn’t even the worst of it.
No… The worst was the way someone had attempted to fix her by stitching her wounds shut in an incredibly hasty and crude form of ‘surgery’; thick strands of coarse, black threads crisscrossed in and out of her mutilated flesh, transforming her into a terrifyingly rendered yet still entirely human ‘doll’.
“Come now, Basha, are you afraid?” Basha was still too confused and disoriented to understand how she’d suddenly appeared directly under his nose, her nails gripping onto his arms. Standing so close to each other, Basha found himself shuddering as he felt the warmth coming off of her flayed and tattered skin. “I promise it won’t hurt.”
“I don’t know what that means.” He felt her smiling against his skin as he put his hands up on her chest where his heart should have been. She wrapped her arms around his neck, her stitches getting tangled into his shaggy white hair along with her fingers. He could smell vanilla and cherries as he breathed her in, pulling her close and holding her there.
Unbeknownst to Basha however, their Mad Maestro, still standing behind him, had re-produced his heart out of seemingly thin air, flicking his tongue out from between his venomous fangs in anticipation of what he already knew was about to happen.
“Big Brother’s Watching.” Eremis bit into Basha’s earlobe as he brought her in even closer. He could feel it, all that pent up pressure building up between them. Yes, now he could fucking feel it.
“Big Brother can go fuck himself.” Basha muttered in earnest, refusing to admit the Maestro was right. Eremis freed her fingers, gently running them over the fresh scratches on Basha’s face. He sighed, bowing his head so their lips and mouth melted into each other. Eremis kept tracing her fingers down his neck and ribcage, towards his studded leather belt, the buckle of which Basha was already prying open.
“Always happy to oblige, Little Brother.” Basha didn’t know who had said it. Eremis had popped his buttons before he’d finished his sentence, had his zipper down before he’d taken off his belt and her mangled hands on his rapidly growing inches so fast, he could only teeter in place, holding on to her small frame as he gasped for breath.
“Dear God…” All that pressure… That warmth… ALL that delicious fucking friction…
“Tell me you missed me Basha.” Eremis’ fingers were playing his swollen member like a true artist while she kissed her way down and around the gaping hole in his chest, stopping to smile at the Maestro as she dragged her nails down Basha’s stomach, kneeling down at his feet.
“… No…” It was the only answer he could muster as all the words he’d conjured up inside his head disappeared. His feeble protests continued to fall on deaf ears however, as Eremis didn’t wait for his weak reply to place her lips on the tip of his throbbing erection, sending him reeling.
“… Eremis… I said no…” Except he moved his hips forward in time with her attempt to pull her head back, leaving himself exactly where he was and rendering his sentence utterly moot. Any and all thought he had left went flying out the metaphorical window, replaced instead by wave after wave of new, overwhelming and most welcomed sensations. All that mattered to Basha now was the feeling of sweet, oncoming release as Eremis sucked on his cock much as the Maestro had sucked on his own fingers.
“You’re about to fucking lose it…” Basha didn’t hear The Maestro say to him either, distracted as he was by Eremis. He arched his back as she reached the bottom of his shaft… God he was so fucking hard… So fucking close… He knotted his fingers in her hair and thrust his cock down her throat, grunting as his eyes rolled back in his skull from sheer pleasure… Looking up… Looking straight at…
“Tell me you missed me.” The Mad Maestro had moved, his face having appeared mere millimeters away from Basha’s own. He grinned like a goddamned lunatic as he hung Basha’s heart under his nose, the tender organ in his hand beating in tune to the tender organ in Eremis’ mouth.
“Come, Little Brother.” The Maestro ordered obscenely as all Basha was able to do was obey his command. He waited until Eremis had finished with him before closing his open hand, crushing Basha’s heart between his claws and letting the pieces fall into the cracks on the floor, never to be seen again.
“I told you, Little Brother. You’re much fucking welcome.” The Maestro sneered as ‘Hell’ erupted into flames around them. Basha, limp and lifeless, crumbled to the ground. His eyes, wide open but empty, didn’t see his broken heart turn into ash and dust. The Maestro and Eremis vanished faster than they’d appeared, the snickering, the giggles and the broken music they’d left behind quickly faded back into silence with them.
It was all over. They were gone.
And Basha was left behind.
All over again.