Each breath was labour now, prickly and long and deep. The doughy young boy’s smart and shiny shoes skittered over the black flagstones off in the ink, the sound an echoing scent to his ears. If he’d any brains in that fat head of his, he’d have taken them off.
The hunter fell into an archway, crucified in its aperture and gagging for air. His hands slid down the rough stone on either side of him as he stood up straighter, his left arm falling limply to his side as he threw his head up, up towards the tap dance above. A whimper, far off in the black.
Everything was black here.
The arch led from an endless hall to a spiral stair, hewn rough out of the same stone as the arch, and indeed the floor and everything else. A grey light lanced in through slit windows, again and again at arbitrary points up into the unseen pinnacle; spokes of drifting dust. And through them fell chains, gently swaying as one, each a private pendulum. The pitter stopped.
A whimper, again.
A pudgy little head peered over the rim, and swayed a little. There was no rail.
The whimper grew into a gatling wail, spiced with tears towards the end.
The pittering began once more, but now a patter, flatter and heavier. The plumper was getting tired, and the hunter could feel the boy’s wheezing in his own veins. Vigour returned, streaking through his blood and bone.
The little fucker had only been four levels up.
A hand on the outer wall for balance, the hunter tore up the exposed flight. His torso swayed from centre to left as often as he dared, sometimes scrabbling on his knees in order to ground himself for a better view up the centre as he could not stop. On opposite sides the plumper could be intermittently seen, swarfy and grease-soaked in his precocious uniform.
I’ll have you, plumper! I’ll have your fucking head!
A whine grew in volume and pitch, higher and higher until the man’s staccato laugh drowned it. The last notes of his mirth became words, I’ll bleed you on these stairs! Plumper!
Then it happened, or rather, it began.
The plumper’s whine became a shout, which degenerated into loud and husky sobs filled out with the jangling of big chain. The hunter stopped dead, muscle taught, and brought his hands in to his chest and up to his throat and then hair as he leaned out into the breach and gazed up, jaw shuddering, eyes half lidded as they craned up to see. The plumper, his trunk wrapped in chain, spinning slowly in the middle of the shaft. His eyes must have been closed or soaked, for he didn’t see his nemesis for a full three seconds, upon which he jumped and juddered, and the bawling became a protest.
The hunter’s hands became fists in his wet locks, and a shark’s smile spread across his lips all glistening teeth bared to the world. A long and bestial noise came through the clenched teeth, the sound of a man starved of… something. Something which was finally present again.
No! This one degenerated into loud, repetitive sobs that sounded more like laughter. Gobbets of mucus and tear fell heavily down, and it was a long way now.
Yes, was the quiet, guttural reply.
The next sound from the plumper sounded more like a swine, even more so when the hunter began a sort of half dance, rubbing his hands with glee.
To the tune of a porcine squeal the hunter leapt into the abyss with, a lusty roar in his lungs. His left arm wrapped tightly around one of the chains dangling from the trussed prey, his right hand arcing out as he swung back and forth like a crazed bell-ringer, arcing toward the other lace in the bow-knot that caught plumper above. It arced and found, and the bell-ringer roared again with glee and bounced on his chains, ringing his bell. The chains around plumper’s waist tightened, and his blubbered torso and legs expanded and contracted with the rhythm like some pasty sausage in thick gut. As tears soaked his face, the hunter’s rises and falls became greater, the end result an inevitability.
The boy burst at each end, a thick pink ichor flowing from the ragged ends. The chain fell rigid with a jerk, and a slow sinking as the blubbersack voided itself. The putrid torrents, like some processed blood and bone, fell like waterfalls either side of an increasingly nonchalant predator, the fire is his eyes dying to embers; the adrenalin in his veins leaving with a sigh of satiated relief. Below, the impossible mess bubbled and toiled, and raised it’s protean meniscus toward the man’s feet. It fell just short as bony shapes began just below the surface, passing over but not breaking the seal of the fleshy well.
The hunter, dangling happily from the chains with his weight caught by the links, regarded the aberration with a lack of interest, a disassociation.
As it withdrew down the tower and began to swirl as a maelstrom, one side of his slack lips curled up into a smile. Out of the whirling pit a thick tendril emerged, a featureless, boneless finger of glistening and unidentifiable mass. It snaked up the centre of the shaft, nudging aside all chains as it went save the ones suspending the object of it’s interest. It rose to within two yards of the man, and he could see it spilling over itself; pumping more of it’s viscous, meaty substance up the centre of itself to sustain it’s form, the waste melting slimily down the sides. An enormous eyeball broke the surface, evidently pumped up from below. The pink withdrew from it like an eyelid and it swivelled about and came to bear on the dangling man.
He met it’s gaze, the damp football sparkling with a cunning of sorts, fluorescent-yellow iris rimmed and shot with bright crimson. The orb darted about, surveying it’s small world, and then bobbed up out of the syrupy fountain and fell to the paste-pool below, replacing itself with a perfectly-circular maw studded randomly with teeth.
Teeth ever replacing themselves as they overflowed with the rest of the gelatinous mess down the sides of the fetid thing.
From deep within, the sound of a thousand screaming people and an earthquake built up.
It was finding it’s voice. It was coiling, ready to strike.
The dangling man, the proud hunter, found the back of his head to be laden with shaggy, wet hair.
Eyes snapped open.
The pillow was sopping.
Not the sheets. Not his chest or thighs or anything else.
Not his brow, just the back of his head, like it always was.
He hauled himself up into consciousness, and slumped heavily into the chair before his dresser. The room was pretty much bare aside from that and a smashed wardrobe. Clothes littered the floor and bed, and it was ever so dusty. Then everything was round those parts. Everything.
He straightened himself up, naked, staring at his visage and rubbing his eyes. There were three mirrors on the dresser; it was likely meant for a woman of beauty, but it made this more fun somehow. Where would it come from?
The right, today. A slight tilt to the side, and an impossible focus. He caught it out of the corner of his eye.
The reflection in the mirror to the right of him began to smile a smug smile. It tilted it’s head up as he turned toward it, the smile getting bigger as it looked down his nose at him. He nodded at the reflection that was not, and indeed should not be. It’s head loped forward, the smile lopsided now, and an eyebrow raised flirtatiously. Confidence incarnate.
It was giving him the eye, the saucy bastard. It’s lips moved, mouthing words to the damp-haired man.
Sebastian, it said.
This is how you do it, it said.
It flashed a grin.
Copy me, it said.
And he did, for an hour and thirty-six minutes.
Until he got it right.