[Episode III]

Basha could only vaguely remember the explosion. 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 Faustus and Hyde had found him before Hyde had dragged him down an abandoned basement, thrown him on a ratty bed, strapped him down to the dilapidated frame and was now attempting to force its way into his torso.

No. As far as he was concerned, it was the tinkling of music, playing backwards from Eremis’ nearly broken music box, that lured him back from the edge of the void. This was almost immediately overpowered by the increasing sounds of sarcastic snickering as they slithered inside his ears and coiled themselves around his backbone, forcing his bruised and battered body to jerk and convulse uncontrollably. He could smell acrid smoke, wafting up from somewhere below as 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, thoroughly unaware of what was happening to him, Basha finally doubled over in a coughing fit that left him gasping for air as tears streamed down his face, the subtle burning itch that had been growing in his lower extremities erupted. It raced up his limbs and across his chest, the pain nearly forcing him down 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 sudden sound of that… HIS goddamned voice… The voice Basha had believed he had buried, along with the un-hearted Monster it belonged to. Yet here it was, haunting him, even on the edge of death, as the force of gravity threatened to make a teetering Basha collapse under his own weight, all while he attempted to cover ears with his hands to no avail.

“Do you remember when we watched those ridiculous insects dance in their throes of death?” His voice kept talking to him. No, Basha couldn’t recollect the memory. He couldn’t even understand what the voice was trying to tell him. “Such misery we wrought together.”

Basha shook his head. He had only barely gotten a hold of his thoughts and already they were spinning completely out of control. Similarly, his attempts at placing himself in his surroundings were failing harder than his ongoing efforts at tuning out the cacophony raging both inside his head and all around him.

He wasn’t aware he’d either been knocked unconscious or fallen asleep… So where the actual hell was he waking back up?

“Who ever said you’re awake, Basha?”

His deep and deadly ominous voice was racing through the growing whispers, coming closer and becoming much clearer. Basha slowly slid his fingers down his face to his mouth, partially opening one eye to take a peek around…. But it was all he could do to stop himself from screaming as he watched his own shadow grow three times in length. Wings appeared on his back while horns sprouted out of his head. His mouth, despite being shadow and 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.

“You don’t truly believe that now, do you?”

The booming laughter that followed his rhetorical question bounced off the floors, walls and ceilings of the cavernous space they were very obviously still sharing.

But there was no fucking way.

This couldn’t be happening.

“Of course it is, Basha.”

But of fucking course it was. Fucked up as he was, Basha didn’t need to lift his head to know what was now very painfully looming directly over him; the tense chill of impending dread was dripping down his neck and back, making his skin crawl and his hair stand on end.

The deadly silence that followed was both abrupt and brutal.

“So tell me, how are you feeling, Little Brother?” A soft, barely audible whisper. Lips behind his ear. The light brush of razor sharp canines over the skin barely covering the veins and arteries in his neck…

But the hopelessness that had been slowly growing in the pit of his stomach… The desperate scream that threatened to escape his vocal cords… Was suddenly muffled and entirely cut off as the Mad Maestro fell upon him like a blanket of ashen snow. Using one hand to grip both of Basha’s wrists and pin them 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, Basha.” The Maestro smirked into his ear before moving his blackened mouth 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, “And being away is making you frail, I see.”

The Maestro kissed Basha’s forehead, running his forked 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,” 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 us.”

Basha finally managed to open his mouth to protest but was far too slow with his words as the Maestro put a finger over his lips to quiet him. Never letting go of Basha’s wrists, he turned him away and placed his newly freed claws between the boy’s shoulder blades. Basha felt his heart slamming inside his chest once, twice. It 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 himself, unmercifully holding him upright as the boy kept failing to register what the hell was happening to him.

“He ripped your heart out again, Basha. Can’t you see how beautiful it is?” Said another, yet 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 keep himself propped up in a standing position, half-dead Basha had all but stopped breathing. Paralyzed as he was from his chest all the way down to his feet, he had to force himself to close and open his eyes a number of times before his blurred vision began to return… And there it was, jutting out of the front of his chest, resting precariously between the Maestro’s fingertips as it kept pumping blood out with a steady rhythm.

“Impressive how it keeps beating.” Eremis giggled from somewhere close, but crippled and still 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 back and out of his chest cavity, letting him go and evaporating into the inky black backdrop of their shared delusion, bringing Basha’s heart along 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 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, fuchsia 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 fucking 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. Speechless, Basha still wondered if she’d fallen off the deep end and inflicted her wounds upon herself as she’d done so many countless times before… Or if someone else had used her for practice.

Eremis’ neck had been slashed… No… That wasn’t right. It had been completely 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 down to her plainly visible bones that remained under her flailed and battered flesh.

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; the wires still sticking through the holes in her flailed and battered flesh more than proved it, but this…

“Promise it looks worse than it feels.” She kept giggling as she came closer, burying her nose in his blood-soaked shirt as she dug her broken nails into his forearms with a strength she shouldn’t have had in the state she was in, “You have no right to be standing either, Basha.” She added before the thought had finished crossing his mind. She moved her arms up and around his neck, the loose stitchings 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 pounding heart nestled between his claws as he flicked his forked tongue out from between his venomous fangs, “How are you feeling, Basha?” She asked him in turn.

“Big Brother can go fuck himself.” Basha found words to spew out and promptly forgot them all as Eremis gleefully freed her hands from his hair and ran her fingers over the fresh cuts on his face. She pulled his lips towards hers, their mouths melting 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 pretend to hear. Eremis had stolen his attention, undoing his studded belt buckle and pulling 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 delightfully delectable friction.

(… He could feel it… That slow warmth… That ever rising pressure… Basha would have never admitted it… But dear GOD could he absolutely still fucking feel it…)

“Tell me you miss me.” The Maestro hissed in Basha’s ear as they both watched Eremis’ fingers play his swollen member like a true organ, sucking on his neck for their Maestro’s pleasure before biting her way down his abdomen. She kneeled in front of him, pulling down on his pants until they’d fallen on his knees.

“… No…” Every other word he’d managed to conjure up in his head completely evaporated as Eremis ignored his feeble plea 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 kept attempting, and failing, 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, making him rock to the rolls of her tongue, “Tell us how much you miss us.”

“… I said no…” But Basha was far too gone and distracted to care if he’d even spoken the words out loud or not.

“Such a pathetic 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, much less able 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 so fucking close…” The Mad Master 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 another wide, fanatically sadistic grin. He pushed Basha’s heart under his nose, the tender organ beating in time to his throbbing member, very much on the verge of exploding where it rested at the bottom of Eremis’ mouth.

“Come now, Little Brother. Let it out.” The Mad Maestro ordered 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 Basha’s frustrations in one, big, satisfying gulp. Then, to add more insult to his already brutal injuries, the Maestro crushed his poor, bleeding heart between his claws, ripping the defective muscle into barely recognizable pieces before letting them fall through the cracks below, never to be seen again.

Eremis stood up, wiping her mouth while the Maestro wiped his hands clean of the bloody mess he’d made, sneering at Basha’s limp and lifeless corpse as it crumpled in on itself and fell to floor in a heap. Both the Maestro and Eremis vanished in a puff of smoke, disappearing nearly as quickly 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.

And Basha was left alone.

“All. Over. Again.”

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