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Between midnight visits where the sheets are left pepper-marked with blood and lonely evenings where you wait—bored and playing normal—there's room for thought. These deep mind-ticklers leave you staring aimlessly at the evening news, thinking about what the Breather's really doing when he's not kicking your door in or throwing a leg over your window sill. What does he get up to—other than merry murder—when he's not white-knuckling your thigh during each fat thrust of his cock, damaging your cervical muscles into pudding? What exactly does the Breather do when he isn't stalking you in the grocery store, the post office, the deli, and everywhere else you venture alone?

 

Well, the answer to those dumbass questions is pretty obvious: he kills. He does a great job of it too, judging by his body count and the fact that he's a free man with, you assume, a driver's license and social security number. 

 

Tonight, you're using your free time off to kick back in your undies and an ex-boyfriend's faded shirt with Doritos and beer, watching the local news. Yeah, maybe your mind wanders to questions best left unanswered; the curiosity was just too fun to indulge sometimes. Plus, you sort of miss him right now in a way that isn't purely sexual.

 

Every now and then, the Breather makes an appearance on the evening news. Never in the flesh, of course, but he's a frequent topic when something eerie happens within a hundred-mile radius. The news has been all abuzz about the faceless serial killer leaving hitchhikers in ditches with perforated lungs and other various organs. Death follows in his wake like a slug leaving a trail of slime, or as the reports like to wax poetic: there's a fox in the hen houses plucking feathers across the state.

 

It's all pretty grisly, but you're used to this by now. Sometimes, you even get off on it.

 

"The world is disgusting," you comment, feeling incredibly detached from your own words as the hypocrisy tries but fails to weigh you down.

 

Far from unfamiliar with murder and sticky dealings by now, you crunch on another cheesy chip and swallow the MSG down with a swig of beer. The news anchor with her perfect bob and slightly garish lipstick mentions something about another assault, but since you're already munching on another mouthful of Doritos, her words turn to mindless chatter and nothing more. 

 

Somewhere outside your home, a vehicle backfires. A backyard dog barks and another frat party down the street starts up again. Weekend college kids with too much aimless drive, you think, recalling only a few moments in life where you enjoyed the aspect of partying until sunup. Nowadays, you get up to much more heinous shit than simple binge drinking. 

 

As you snack and get a slight buzz going, the evening news continues. 

 

If it's not the Breather that some botox-embalmed news reporter in her mid-thirties is talking about, then they fill the gap with speculation about a new designer drug coming from an anonymous group. It’s probably deep web shit; the reporters aren't hackers, so how would they know to suspect such underground groups with far-reaching agendas? 

 

"For gorilla reporting, even you gotta admit this is pretty dumb," you tell the beer, swirling its half-full contents as the TV cuts to a male reporter with a ginger beard bristling at the edges.

 

'Thank you, Rachel. I'm standing at the scene of the crime right now. Unfortunately, we have yet to get any further details. The Nowhere Police won't let anyone through the alleyway behind me. They urge citizens to leave the—'

 

Outside, the Breather's front door slams shut. Like Pavlov's dog, you salivate, ready for a knife or a cock to the face, but nothing except the glow of the TV watches as you squirm, wild-eyed, and on guard. 

 

'—locals are already calling this evening's victim “The Red Beauty” due to leaked photos taken prior to the police’s arrival. Measures are already being made to have these disturbing photos removed…'

 

"Wait— what?" You ask the reporter, but he begins blabbing about recent crime statistics while pandering to the scene behind him, which is growing more crowded with responders by the minute. 

 

You set down your beer, look at your quiet phone beside you on the sofa and carefully—so slowly—turn to the uncovered window facing the side of the Breather's bungalow.

 

The man of the hour hasn't been by in several days, which is a blessing considering the last time he came by resulted in an awkward trip to the ER. The doctors there didn't believe you got drunk, decided to try fucking your bedpost, and failed. Honestly, you wouldn't believe it either, but you've seen videos; there's no way they didn't come across crazier shit, like the things people willingly stuck up their rectums. 

 

The TV set starts regurgitating news about the list of his alleged victims before this most recent 'Red Beauty.' One of the previous months’ victims you know for a fact the Breather didn't kill because he was in the middle of killing your cervix—stuffed inside you while you bled out your period in the shower like some barbaric rape—when they reported the incident. 

 

Because you're a worse person than you think you are, you pull up Twitter on your phone and check the local trending tags. It's disgusting how quickly you find yourself looking at a dead woman in a sleek cocktail dress, crumpled like a snapped Barbie doll. Something about her doesn't look like the Breather's usual, gleeful array of puncture marks; plus, her throat is slit from the larynx to the left ear. Never have you seen him cut someone's throat. That would defeat the whole purpose of them bleeding out slowly...

 

Despite the gush of acid in your esophagus, you swipe down to find several more images. It takes one-point-two seconds for that pale, vacant face to trigger your memory, jump-starting a messy sense of jealousy, pity, and disgust. 

 

The dead woman is none other than your old high school friend: Margot Lang. A friend by the end, she was not, though.

 

"No," you blanch, "No fucking way…"

 

Suddenly, the TV lights swallow you whole, transporting you to your old childhood bedroom, staring at a picture of your boyfriend's dick on your phone that was meant for Margot. It had taken him several texts to realize he'd sent his cheating sexts to his current girlfriend's phone…

 

Your heart thuds with embarrassment and pain, turning you into a seventeen-year-old girl experiencing her first messy breakup with a side of ruined friendship. All the awkwardness from that point in your life washed over you now.

 

"... fucking bitch." The words come out like a hiccup—completely involuntary. 

 

Despite your sudden influx of emotions, you're not a complete monster. There was a time when you wished she'd get hit by a car or butchered like a pig, but not now. This visceral recollection of hate brings a wave of shame over you as you look at her post-mortem photos, feeling as if you willed it somehow. 

 

Instead of thinking the Breather tracked down your old 'friend' for some belated vengeance, the way your mind twists the coincidence is even nastier. All the ancient hurt—fresh like some of the wounds still knitting down your spine—floods up your throat, filling your mouth with resentment. 

 

The emotion tying your guts into fisherman's knots is jealousy. It's the eerie idea that the Breather might have stalked Margot as he stalks you—might have fucked her as he fucks you; and yes, it's a stupid concern when the reality is Margot's dead.

 

Envy continues rolling in your guts, cramping your damn soul. It's an inescapable emotion that won't stop nibbling at your conscious mind: Margot stole your most recent obsession like before, but this time she went too far and met a knife for it...

 

'—if you see these disturbing photos online, please report them to the proper channels.'

 

With a trembling thumb, you swipe, tap, and report each tweet you find while trying to ignore some of the more troubling comments. Despite these selfish, immoral emotions over sympathy, you know it's right to help get these things off the internet. Sure, they'll endure on the hard drives of computers and sold on deep websites for spank material, but reporting Margot's corpse album is the least you could do while cursing her under your breath.

 

"He wouldn't," you tell yourself, but the feeling that you're wrong still lingers even after the evening news cuts to a commercial about Febreze's new line of fabric softener. 

 

For a moment, you forget the Breather's been home for several minutes now—forget the object of such obsessive blackness is no more than a couple hundred feet away. 

 

You stand, brushing off Dorito crumbs and stumble to the kitchen to make a pot of coffee. It's something to do at least, even if caffeine at seven-thirty is an unproductive idea in addition to this greasy feeling underneath your skin. 

 

Getting jealous over a dead woman because she might have been… 

 

"Nope," you stop over analyzing, emptying the rich, brown beans around sharp grinder blades instead. 

 

"You're not a fucking teenager anymore… this isn't like then," you tell yourself and the coffee maker, but Margot Lang—too cool to care about being prom queen—stole what's-his-name. For that cunt to do it again, even if it killed her, wasn't too far fetched.

 

"...shut the fuck up, brain," you mumble, but it just laughs and digs in for more, showing you vivid illustrations of the both of them. Your mind runs around all the possibilities until you're convinced the Breather's got a game he plays with women like you. How he wraps himself around them, sedating them with his readiness to do anything and everything, then… he kills them when he gets bored. He did it to Margot, and he'll do the same to you... 

 

A part of you knows it's not true; another, more significant and louder, part is pretty damn sure you're just one girl in a long line of conquests. Different victims to his more obvious ones, but victims nonetheless.

 

'Investigators are hurrying behind me as the weather takes a turn for the worse.'

 

This thing between you both is nothing special to him, and when he grows tired of your cunt, your tears, and the power he has over you, he'll leave your stomach shredded by his blade. Probably on the corner of the street like some soggy piece of refuse. 

 

Frustrated tears sting your eyes as you spill half the coffee grounds across the floor. You ignore the mess, sprinkling the aromatic remains in your machine while picturing Margot and the Breather writhing against one another in brutal, gory intensity as you've writhed with him.

 

Rotten thoughts come and go, all the more self-centered sounding as the muffled garbage from the local news talks about Margot's cause of death: blood loss via the carotid artery.

 

Again, the news itches at the back of your brain; a slashed throat isn't the Breather's calling card.

 

'The twenty-seven-year-old was well known throughout the community for her charity work, specifically with—'

 

Margot was a cunt, but she was a person, and now she's a corpse. Being worried about whether the Breather had an unstable relationship with her or not is psychotic, and you should be ashamed, but you're not as much as you should be. Yeah, there's shame in your chest, but there's also avarice stretching your guts. It pounds between your thighs like a heartbeat...

 

The smell of coffee grinds distracts your filthy mind long enough that, by the time the tar is brewing, you're less disgusted with yourself, worrying instead about the increased murders than your personal feelings.

 

While leaning against the kitchen counter, the evening news flows back into your ears. 

 

'Breaking News,' the mannequin-esque reporter seated safely behind her desk announces, 'we've just received reports that another body has been discovered on the Jefferson Highway by police en route to the current scene down here on Thirteenth Street.'

 

You walk mindlessly into the living room, so fixated on the screen that your stomach hits the back of the couch. Fingers in the headrest, you listen, transfixed and confused.

 

Was the Breather a greedy asshole tonight? Or could there be more than one killer on the prowl? It wouldn't be a first, considering how Nowhere had a tendency to harbor seedy characters of all kinds.

 

'We don't yet know the time of death, but the consensus amongst police is that these two crimes are unrelated, although the scene on the highway is identical to the Breather's MO.' 

 

Every time they name drop him, your cunt flexes. 

 

A queer feeling of relief shoves the misplaced—and wrong—jealousy aside, leaving you wringing your hands in your baggy shirt like a chastised child.

 

Of course, the Breather didn't slash throats. Of course, he didn't have a chain of fucked up women at his disposal. Your type of lust is disturbing, perhaps even to him at times. The chances of someone else needing to be stage-raped on the weekly by a known serial killer—even in this town—was slim to none. 

 

"This is the sorta shit he's supposed to keep you from feeling," you mutter to the small-minded part of yourself, scratching loose the threads on the hem lifted around your navel.

 

Because you’re focused on your own fabricated melodrama, you don't hear the window across the living room rumble softly as it’s lifted; all you hear is the second-hand reporting coming in at a molasses pace from blondie.

 

'—suspect’s blood could be among the utter chaos left behind at tonight's second gruesome killing.'

 

Fresh air—cool thanks to the early spring temperature—crawls through the opening. In response, you merely cocoon the baggy shirt around your waist and lift your shoulders to your ears. Even the creaking floorboards barely tug your attention away from the TV. Images of the Breather shouldering his van on a dark, empty road, only to nab his victim by the collar and yank him into the tip of his knife arouses you. Each squishy stab only adding to the slimy blood oozing between the Breather's grip and the knife handle, lubricating his rubber gloves until the weapon slips out of his grasp for none other than the Breather's own victim to snatch it up—the tables turned. 

 

Now you’re anxious and worried. The Breather is a two-minute walk away if that, and really, what harm could it cause to just check on him? You shift on your bare toes, strongly considering paying the Breather a visit to make sure he's not dying in some corner of his home.

 

A police officer appears on the screen, warning everyone to stay in their homes, and advising hospitals and urgent care centers to be on the lookout for anyone with knife wounds as they've determined the killer was injured during the incident thanks to blood patterns found leading onto the highway. 

 

You string together several curses, which allow uncoordinated footsteps to stomp into the hallway bathroom unimpeded. Good thing you didn't live next to a serial killer, right? Wouldn't have heard him coming…

 

The report continues; the conclusion was that whomever the murderer was, whether the Breather or a copycat, they were on the run and potentially fatally wounded. 

 

Abruptly, the news cuts to a commercial break. The room fills with the sound of your thudding heart while a woman educates you on a new barbiturate for an antidepressant. 

 

In your peripheral, the drawn curtains sway. You turn and only now realize your window has been lifted open… and on the sill is a bloody handprint smeared as if the person's grip skidded while pulling themselves into your home.

 

The chill of fear in your throat isn't unwarranted, not like the itchy hot envy a moment ago, because you remember shutting that window earlier this afternoon.

 

"...Hello?" You ask the open window. It's such a pointless question when you can make out the dirty boot prints caked across your polished hardwood floors; the shoe size is the same as the Breather’s. Obviously, some random burglar hasn't invaded your home tonight.

 

Of course, there's always the slim chance it's not who you want it to be. Life can be fucked up like that, and—to be fair—it would be just your luck that the person who killed Margot has beaten all odds to crawl through your window into your home, which is more the Breather's than yours by now.

 

"All right, if it's not him, then you're gonna go buy a fuck ton of lottery tickets tomorrow," you mumble, threading your fingers through the stretched shirt at your groin, and follow his muddy trail.

 

The boot prints turn into the hallway bathroom where the sink light is on. Sounds of dripping water pitter into the wet, porcelain bowl, but when you turn around the door frame, there's dead air, nothing more.

 

A floorboard screams right behind you. 

 

You freeze, inhale in instinctual panic, and throw your elbow back in a twist to run and flee and never look back, only to throw yourself into the sticky grip of the Breather.

 

Shock rocks you back and then forward into his arms—into the vice-like grasp he bruises your upper arms with. A brief, rough assessment erases terror for blood and ashen skin. Sagging eye bags and pain-lines running between hairless brows look back at you. He shudders from his throat into the blood-drenched mask, gummy around the cusp of his chin in semi-coagulation. 

 

"What the fuck happened to—"

 

The Breather growls in a soft, low octave and squeezes the meat of your arms until you hiss with pain, almost forgetting what it was that preceded his arrival. The way he leans into you with all that bulk and near-dead weight presses your spine into the wall beside the door.  The back of your head bounces as it connects thickly with the wall.

 

A drop of cloying blood falls in a tepid dollop off his masked chin, painting the navy-blue shirt exposed beneath his hoodie a purple hue. Another nearly congealed bundle on the inside of his throat grows before running in a viscous river over his gulping adam's apple. 

 

It's disgusting. Revolting. And yet instead of hate, jealousy, or vapid virtue, your lips tremble with worry. The Breather looks at you with barely concealed contempt, and it's this that tarnishes that concern until it's rusted at the edges. Your anxiety is gone. Only previous avarice remains.

 

There's a part of your brain that wants nothing more than to throw him to the floor and kick his teeth in for potentially fucking that slut, Margot. A portion of you wants to see how much he'll stumble if you jab a knee into his balls and shove him down the hall… then you want to rip the mask off and strangle him like your jealousy has been strangling you for the past thirty minutes...

 

The Breather shudders, coughs, and a blotch of fresh red stains the mouth of his medical mask. And, just like that, the fear comes back.

 

"Fuck," you gasp, realizing suddenly that it's not someone else's blood, or at least not all of it. He's hurt. He's…

 

You look down past your breasts as they heave against the old-worn shirt—ignore the visible stiff nipples beneath—and search for stains along his body. The bathroom light manages to expose a large swath of his side, but there's no purpled fabric, just soft wrinkles around his clenched stomach. 

 

"What happened?" You ask again, this time softer despite how deep his fingers dent the muscles around your bones, using you as leverage to keep himself aloft.

 

"Where did you put the alcohol…?" he demands, eyes wide despite the crease of pain beneath the worn bags; he's become easy to read after all this time. There's plenty of alcohol at his house, so there's no real reason for him to come to your place… unless he wanted to.

 

Carefully, as if holding still a frothing predator, you bend your forearms up to cup his rattling elbows, and ask, "Did she stab you?"

 

It's a trick question of sorts, just to see how he reacts. 

 

The Breather's brows pull in confusion, but his grip doesn't falter. The quickness in which those little lines of perplexion dissipate was too fast to have been a deliberate effort. It takes a fraction of a second for his confusion to morph into irritation, shrouding the bags beneath his eyes a deep, worrisome purple. 

 

You press him once more because you don't know when to quit; the question barely makes it out halfway before the Breather runs his forceful fingers up your shoulder to coil tightly around your throat. Rubber squeaks as air lodges in your lungs, inflating your brain till it feels like jaws are folding down on your skull.

 

"If you're drunk," he hisses wetly behind the muffled mask, "get sober."

 

He lets you go with a quick release, swaying on his heels until his chest bumps yours, bringing a leaning weight against your front. Your nose twitches an inch from his covered face, smelling something like motor oil and iron-rich blood while he wheezes out tiny, strained breaths. 

 

"I'm not drunk… and you're," you wince against the warm, tacky fabric sticking to your arm, "... you're fucked up."

 

A moment of silence passes as the Breather catches his breath, gradually leaning away from you to shoulder the partition against your back instead. His eyes droop, then brighten, only to fall half-closed again.

 

Softly, you put several fingers to his side, feeling for wetness only to sigh at the dry heat you find, "Did she get ahold of your knife?"

 

Again the Breather's bare brows pull together in reflex. His eyes roll in their sockets for a second before slipping down to you, looking blown out and wet.

 

"She?"

 

The woman he's fucked dozens of times now is a teenager once more. Where did your spine go exactly? Who knows. Certainly not you, for sure. Instead of having something witty to say in retort, you blush and look away.

 

"The alcohol," he reminds you with the sound of gargled gravel in his throat. 

 

You skim him over in the limited light, swallow down your weak sense of womanhood, and tug him by the waist down the hallway. His boots skid across the floor as he walks, swimming in something too thin and slimy to be just mud. The whole of him reeks of sweat and blood; it's anyone's guess in the dark if it's a red puddle or muck he trails behind him. 

 

The Breather grunts as you guide him into your bedroom; his sounds of pain lessen the moment he eases onto the edge of the bed. It makes sense when you flick on the fanlight, and a long, bloodstained, denim leg looks back at you. 

 

"Jesus-fuck-Christ!" You exclaim between your teeth, gaping at his soaked leg and the streaky trail of dark blood across the floorboards. "She did stab you!"

 

"She," he echoes the word like it’s poison infecting his wound. You stand there, fingers twitching with the need to touch—hurt or heal, you don't know. The Breather just narrows his eyes and smirks beneath the blood-soaked mask.

 

Near sensual in its purpose, he pulls a long, crusty blade from the inside of his hoodie where your own fingers had searched minutes ago and balances it upon his thigh, "The only woman able to take me down stands before me. Does she let me mend, or will she sup on this knife instead?"

 

You swallow as if that will reabsorb the moisture currently staining your underwear. Waxing poetic like that has become a sure-fire way to get you hot and bothered—wet and wild like a fucking water park.

 

"All right," there's something vulnerable in your voice that makes the Breather groan lasciviously, "do you need a fentanyl patch?"

 

"Dilaudid…"

 

The thought of injecting him with drugs brings back memories. A warmth spreads through your bloodstream, something primal and matronly just thinking about feeding the needle through his veins until he's docile. Your heart thuds happily at the very idea of medicating him like he's medicated you—closing the fissures of flesh as he's done for you… 

 

"Yeh-yeah," you stutter and turn towards the master bathroom.

 

There are only about half a dozen vials of dilaudid that the Breather dropped off last month after you spent too much time complaining about back pain. Anybody would have complained after he spent several hours bending you into pretzel shapes while snapping your body to and fro over his dick, but reassuring him you weren't a total wimp just got you shoved into the corner of your sofa and finger fucked for half an hour. It wasn't even like you mentioned the itchy suture marks still tugging down your spine either, which you should have in retrospect. Even now, the healing tissue pulls when you walk, and complaining might have gotten you more than three fingers beating the back of your cunt while he recited poetry against your neck.

 

The pain medication did help in the end, but it left your head too foggy to appreciate the borderline torture he and his cock put you through, and there was no point in dulling the pain if it so too took away other sensations. 

 

As you enter the bathroom, the sound of wet denim folds and gathers in the bedroom. A boot clunks. Male groans reverberate; you salivate in response. 

 

Whenever you rifle through the contents beneath the bathroom sink, you imagine a dope fiend seeing a bright heavenly light just singing from the open door as dozens of high-quality meds stare back at them. Angelic bells probably sang from this thing too, but you were just a little too sober to hear them.

 

Some of the items are leftovers from the countless bottles and boxes the Breather brought to make sure his bites, both from his teeth and that knife, didn't fester. Some were purchased off Virtual_Eve just in case you couldn't be bothered to drive to urgent care—too many visits and they'd get suspicious anyway. Plus, these days, they were really stingy with their narcotics.

 

In the living room, the evening news goes into overtime thanks to the ratings they're probably getting. All those commercials weren't being run between five-minute updates for laughs, after all.

 

Muffled static voices mingle with the low panting in your bedroom. 

 

You turn your baggy shirt into a pouch and fill it with gauze, suture utensils, and antiseptics. A syringe of dilaudid is popped between your teeth as you balance everything else against your pelvis. 

 

Inside your room, the Breather sits—naked from the waist down—on the edge of the bed. His wild gaze hovers over your breasts where the shirt is stretched thin over them, exposing how hard your nipples still very much are despite the sight of his blood oozing to your floor. It's always gratifying when he stares, especially at your tits, because—while your not sure what sort of man he is—he's not much of a boob-man. Probably an ass-man, judging by the way he's fucked it a couple times.

 

It takes a second, but once you're eyes hone in on it, it's all you can see: his limp dick...

 

There's never been a situation where either of you has been naked that doesn't lead to or come about due to the inevitable act of fucking. Walking in to see his flaccid cock just… there… is strange. The blood-crusted leg—hairless and pale—ends up trumping the weirdness in the end. 

 

You look from the deep fissure on the side of his thigh to the dingy color of his mask where blood is browning the medical cotton. It makes you scrunch up your nose in sympathetic pain. Too much blood was oozing out his mask earlier for that part of his anatomy to be okay. It's an awkward subject, though, even if you've seen what he hides beneath it; the mention of it only leads to silence.

 

"What about your… face?"

 

The Breather looks away from the deep cut on his leg, glossing across your breasts again and the pouch of medical supplies before meeting your gaze, "Don't. Worry. About. My. Face."

 

A spark of indignation at his response makes you feel more yourself again.

 

"You've got a copycat ya know," you mention, upending your shirt of goodies on the bed beside him.

 

He ignores the comment, either not giving a shit or knowing already. You try to hold a quiet staring competition with him, but it ends with you on your knees, prodding the bend of his arm until thick blue veins rise beneath his milky skin. He neither says a word nor makes a sound when you uncap the needle and gently slip it inside. The protruding vein bulges more as you shift it, pushing it deeper until a little flush of red fills the hub between the barrel and the cannula. All he does is exhale through the mask as warm opioids work their magic. It's a premeasured dose, nothing more than a thin blanket atop his pain, but his pupils widen in response. 

 

Once he's breathing steadily, despite the nasally sound, you inspect the wound on his thigh. There's a clean puncture several inches above his knee that turns into a ragged rip where his victim stabbed then cut up and out the side of his thigh in a hurry. 

 

It's hideous, all torn and shredded in a half-smile. Maybe six inches at least in length and deep enough to fit the first knuckle of your thumb inside. The look on your face must expose your feelings on this 'cut' because the Breather giggles darkly. The results of it are much less effective thanks to his flaccid cock hanging between his baby-smooth inner thighs. Come to think of it, you've never seen it soft before…

 

Even high on dilaudid, he notices you eyeing his junk and grabs your face, twisting you up to look into his heavy eyes. You jerk in surprise, but his thumb presses against your molars, locking down the gasp. In your hair, his fingers curl, holding you in place. Only a foot or so separates you from the pale hang of his cock, but your mouth waters as if it's already leaking across your tongue.

 

You inhale the stench of red matter wafting off his bloodstained leg, tasting it through your teeth as that stiff thumb goes soft, stroking the slope of your cheekbone and curve of your jaw. Tender brushes of tacky rubber pacify you into a sense of safety—the very thing you never have within his radar. The drugs are hitting him hard, you think, as the Breather massages your cheek with a peculiar compulsion. You've only seen him doped up once, but that was a calculated dose on your part, and even then, he was able to sustain a rather robust erection. 

 

Perhaps it was the blood loss that kept him soft? Perhaps he’d emptied himself in Margot already and this is the leftovers. The thought isn’t fair, neither to you or him, but the stain of jealousy lingers. For sanity's sake, you part your lips and exhale hot breath between his legs as his thumb traces the dimple in your cheek. 

 

Beneath his thin shirt, his stomach flexes.

 

"Would you rather have a copycat killer," another warm sigh just to see his balls pull taut, then release, "or find out I've been fucking someone else on the side?"

 

The Breather doesn't like that. Hair follicles snag between his fingers as they clench around your head. His thumb hooks the edge of your mouth, filling it with the foul taste of someone else's blood… or maybe his… or maybe Margot's...

 

He seems to have forgotten about the patch job needed on his leg, so you bite down on the latex digit in your mouth until bone and sinew crack gently. You picture that slinky cocktail dress getting viciously gathered up around Margot's wide hips as the Breather tunnels his cock through her wet channel, fucking her good and deep the way he does you. 

 

Another hard bite to the Breather's thumb makes him hiss—a sound so quiet, it might not even exist but in your imagination. The image of the Breather bringing another woman pleasure morphs into one of you bringing him pain, and just like that, your cunt throbs.

 

Your eyes flicker across his. Big, bulging eyes—so pupil-swollen it's eerie—gaze back. His chest rises and falls in uneven shadows. His stomach twists, and beneath that? Beneath that, his cock rises like his inflated ego, bursting with meandering veins of off-purple that grow more vibrant the closer they sprout near the sharp head. 

 

He's dangerous-looking enough when flaccid; with each lick across his rubber thumb, each nasal exhale against his dick, it grows harder—longer. You're entranced by it, addicted to it, and only now beginning to realize the Breather feels similar things for you. Which is why you need to be sure it's you, and only you, he wants.

 

Garbled though it sounds with his thumb between your teeth, you ask him, "What would you do if you caught me?"

 

"...fucking," you add.

 

Low and harsh, the Breather reminds you, "I'm always here. Always watching…" a swallow reveals the influence you have on him as you start gnawing wetly on his thumb, "... so don't lie to me. You're mine. Only. Mine."

 

As drool builds between your lips and his thumb, you smile and turn your head to suck the flavor of death off it. A groan of manipulation taking root fills your room as he responds to the attention. Either this slightly domineering seduction is actually up his alley, or he's more receptive thanks to the drugs. Whatever the reason, his cock is stiff now. It curves upwards, pointing towards your mouth as you flatten and drag your tongue beneath his thumb—back and forth, from base to tip, pretending all those veins are pulsing against your taste buds instead of squealing latex.

 

"I. Own. You."

 

You almost giggle. Instead, you vibrate his digit with a moan and skillfully maneuver your head out of his hold while sucking him off. A sound rips from his mask when your teeth nip hard on his nail bed. So many nerves there that even he—beneath the curtain of opioids—feels it and reacts. 

 

The second he jerks his thumb from your mouth, you lean forward and swoop in where his cock is already melting salted precum. The cherry-red cap tastes like primordial soup and sour candies—brine and sweat. Instantly, you want more.

 

The sound he makes mid-suck is like nothing you've ever heard from him before: a weak, pitiful noise that belongs in a submission porno than this unforeseen altercation on your bed with the Breather.

 

You push your palms between his thighs, rubbing the smooth, warm muscles like a lover would before taking him to the back of your throat and cruelly shoving his legs open. The mixed sensation of pain in his thigh and pleasure from the lavish attention of your mouth forces him back on an elbow, panting and struggling to gain purchase on the loose hair around your nape. 

 

A powerful sense of aggression takes over you. It's all thanks to old and new jealousy—old and new desire. The fact that he's stoned helps too. 

 

This, right here, as fucked up as it is, is everything you've wanted for years and years; thinking that some bitch from high school was going to come along with a new cunt and take it from you makes you swallow around the cock throbbing down your throat. You gulp and gag and suckle strings of spit off the obscene length until the Breather is wheezing with every touch of your tongue. Fucker doesn't have a clue why you're sucking him off right now, but he doesn't need to.

 

He opens his legs wider, letting you deep throat him further until burning bile lurches in your throat, only to be gulped back down as his cockhead chokes your esophagus. Fresh blood hits your senses. The smell of it mixes with the aroma of sex and musk so well, your lashes flutter beneath a physical wave of gratification. 

 

An explosion of precum stains the back of your tongue—the perfect cue to slip your lips back around the pounding head of his cock with a toothy grin, slurping up all the potent fluids with noisy relish. 

 

Against the weeping slit of his cockhead, you tell him breathlessly, "The news said you killed a woman…" his eyelids barely twitch open at this, still stuck in that hazy limbo between euphoria and pain, "it said you raped her." It didn't, but that word gets his attention.

 

The Breather's eyes widen slowly. His attention only snaps back when you begin drenching his frenulum in moist licks.

 

"Women are disgusting," he says and continues. "Men are revolting. People… are rats."

 

You swallow beneath his burning gaze, lips parted against his cock as your nails dig and hook inside his inner thighs.

 

"I don't fuck rats. I kill rats."

 

Heat fills your cheeks as his voice rises—as the veracity of it breaks open like a pus-filled wound. His blue, latex fingers tear at your scalp, dragging your gaping mouth from his blood-filled cock to face his blood-soaked mask. 

 

"You're not a rat," he snarls, staring maddeningly into your eyes as if trying to convince a lobotomized brain it’s sane.

 

"Understand?"

 

You tremble against his chest, brought against it with his fingers stuffed in your hair. Each breath from him pushes pressure into your breasts, hardening your nipples despite the putrid damp of past blood and the horrid smell of his mask. You shiver but pull yourself together by the open zip of his hoodie and try to understand: tonight he killed, the news loved it but… Margot…

 

"So," you wince before voicing your insecurities to the one man you want thinking better of you, "...just me? You and me only? As in… no one else?" Just to really drive home the idea that him fucking and murdering an old high school rival makes you a self-conscious teenager all over again.

 

"Mine first—mine last—mine in the grave," he quotes like some bleeding hearted poet. It makes a sick swelling of love fire from your chest where his strains—where he breathes and groans and lets you rake your fingers hard enough to bruise.

 

If you're just some easily manipulated whore for him, or he's spouting the truth, you'll never know for sure; he sells you obsession, and you grasp it. Through the mask, you kiss him despite the tang of blood, dried saliva, and dirt. Always wanting more, you sigh into the covered slant of his mouth.

 

The Breather hisses against your lips, tears one ear of the mask away, and attacks your mouth with a tongue soaked in blood. His bottom lip spills open against yours, busted as it is from underestimating his prey; the slurp and gnash of crimson fuels you like gasoline splashing on a bonfire. Every kiss grows stickier, more energetic, and… smudged.

 

His teeth scrape your tongue until those taste buds balloon with irritation. He doesn't seem to mind the pain when you crawl into his lap—a knee slipping over his bloody thigh to straddle his hips—so you don't object to the pain his kisses bring. A snap of his jaws here or there doesn't matter. By the end of this, you'll both be colored carmine.

 

"You killed the men who touched me," you breathe out between his tongue and teeth, finally voicing it aloud even though his gloved hands squeeze and mold your tits until you can barely breathe. Every swipe of his nails against your cotton-covered nipples makes you jolt and moan.

 

The Breather chuckles fiendishly as if remembering that night—the night you tried to satiate this disgusting urge that led him to where you are now. Those drunk frat heads ready to bind and rape and leave you by a dumpster were found gutted the next morning. You've known for a while it was him—the Breather—but… did he know you knew? It doesn't matter to him, it seems; his fingers never relax across your body, and his kisses only delve deeper, trying and succeeding to eat out your soul.

 

This primal sway of rival passion rocks you over his mean cock until it starts mashing your slit through the damp cotton. Each nudge makes him hiss, grasp your ass beneath your panty line and force you harder against it. 

 

Only once before have you fucked the Breather without the threat of death—only once without a blade to your skin or something else threatening to slash you apart. Right now, as you reach between you both to tug your underwear to the side, is only the second time he's taken a reasonably passive stance to sex.

 

You lean away from his mouth, lick the raw taste of blood off your lower lip and, with a drunken smile, grasp his cockhead. One puff of air whistles between his teeth as you guide him in with a sharp thumb through your folds to take him in.

 

You cry silently, falling into a strangled whimper when the Breather slams you down in his lap without preamble—two filthy, gloved fists in the meat of your ass.

 

There's not enough drugs in the world to blot out the feeling of ten inches forced too deep, too swiftly. He's always too deep and too much, but even though you sob, you shove him down on the bed and sink lower—deeper still. Wet, fixed nerves ache around his hardness. Your cervix bruises as the length of your inner walls stretch into the depths of your pelvis, all those ribbed muscles pulled taut. 

 

The world shifts, as does your womb, and—with a few rubber-coated scratches to your back and rear—you rock your hips. Brilliant sensations gut you. The Breather's cock remains lodged against your cervix, no matter how you rotate your hips. It's too deep, but it's nothing compared to the pain he must feel with each gyration in his lap. Every churn of your cunt forces him, and the mattress back and forth, his legs and the wounded thigh included. Your headboard slams your wall with knocking raps, adding to the growing orchestra of fucking.

 

The Breather takes it all with vulgar enthusiasm.

 

Sweat blossoms on his brow. The dried blood obscuring his lower face starts to bleed fresh as perspiration coats him in a shiny hue. 

 

You fuck yourself on his cock, streaming tears of glorious pain as his eyes glass over. Asphyxiated grunts leak between his teeth as wails leave your lips. Each backward dance bashes your cervix that much harder, bringing you that much more warmth and ecstasy sugared by pain. 

 

"God…" you exhale, "damn… it's," a bated breath, "so deep…" the clumsy words end in a hoarse groan as the Breather presses his thumbs under your hip bones, bruising the fat of your ass. He holds onto you like you're an extension of him and starts sawing you in his lap with a manic gaze. 

 

He's psychotic, you think, realizing that's a given but finding something surprising in it. 

 

This is what he is. 

 

The Breather squeezes your waist until your liver aches acutely—until he can control the pace of your brutal cadence one-handed.

 

A maniac.

 

He hikes your baggy shirt over your stomach—knuckles branching a hot path to your sternum—and exposes your bouncing tits to his view.

 

A monster. 

 

His eyes stretch open wide at the sight of your irritated nipples, pebbling even tighter against the naked air. A breast bruises in his grip, throbbing with the vice-like hold as you're mashed inside the alcove of his hips until the slick sounds of sex rival the banging of your bed frame.

 

"Say it," he growls, unimpeded by the mask and visually appalling thanks to the crusty blood and sweat staining his face. You know what he wants—what he always wants when he knows you're close.

 

"I…" you start, only for the words to get lodged in your throat by a sudden, roiling pang of pleasure. Just the untethered sight of him on his back, covered in gore while you fuck him as hard as he fucks you, twists the pain deep behind your navel into something itchy… hot and irritated.

 

You look down and see him for what he is.

 

The Breather kills, and he fucks you; it's just those two things. When he isn't tearing your body in two, he's doing it to others… the only difference is the weapon of choice. He kills you with a different blade, but he kills you all the same. You're the anomaly in his life, and he's the one in yours…

 

Beneath your swollen, slurping cunt, the Breather starts to pant—starts to bend at the elbows and shake. His ashen skin grows ruddy beneath the crimson stains of early carnage, proving he's so close to cumming—close to shooting his load into your womb like a lethal injection. 

 

"I… want you to," you swallow and picture the both of you locked together like this with his knife stuffed in your chest and… and you cum with a haunted whisper, "kill me…"

 

His hand is no longer locked on your breast but around your throat. The illusionary freedom of fucking him vanishes like a flame blown out, dropping you flat on your back with two rubber-clad fists strangling blood into a rolling boil in your brain. 

 

His hips beat between your thighs, alighting the tender, inner flesh a brilliant red while slaughtering your cunt. Pain is nothing now. The only thing that exists is your throat breaking under the weight of his palms—the battering of your cervix and something hot and wet gushing around his cock. The fluids are yours, thin and thick, and sour… then, just as quickly reeking of blood. 

 

The lack of oxygen bubbles up nitrogen in your brain, or so it feels that way. Something is bursting between the wrinkles of your mind, but the cell death feels freeing. The dying is…

 

"... k… kill… meee…"

 

The Breather kills you with the only weapon he cares to take your life with, and when you die, his hands slide away to thread greedily through your sweaty hair, tasting the gasping, starved breaths you swallow as your orgasm snaps into a holy hell. 

 

You've never been a screamer, but you scream. A pornographic wail belts out your throat and doesn't stop until the Breather's first shot of cum roasts your insides. The second squirt brings with it a guttural 'I love you' that isn't so odd coming from him now but made strange by the soft way he cradles your face close to his.

 

He drinks down your screams until they turn into broken sobs, growing weaker with each sluggish thrust and paint of cum. Only when your belly feels swollen with hot jizz does the Breather kiss the corner of your mouth, drag all those bloody inches from your cunt and drop to the mattress beside you. 

 

Like lovers do, you think, wishing you were dead as the pain begins to pound above the endorphins. 

 

Now you're both wounded—bleeding and exhausted. 

 

"Thought… you were gonna... actually... do it," you crackle out on a whisper.

 

The Breather inhales and exhales deeply several times before stretching his ruined leg out, grunting, "Not yet ready."

 

"So, you plan to? Kill me, I mean." You turn away from the dizzying fan above, to look at his sharp profile.

 

A sweaty, beaded-red smirk curls the soft plush of his lips, "One day, I'll bury us both in a shallow, shallow grave."

 

You sigh and blow some damp curls off your cheek as your cunt starts to swell with damage. It's broken for now, but it's been worse before. Yes, you can feel and smell the fresh blood oozing out on a deluge of spent cum and female ejaculate—and your sheets are ruined—but he's never made a cut on you that didn't heal.

 

Heavy-lidded and spent, you just barely turn your head to stare down at the puffy, red tissue surrounding the deep gash in his thigh. How the man fucked on that, you'll never know… especially since he could barely walk on it earlier. The body can ignore lots of things in the pursuit of an orgasm, you think.

 

"D'you need another shot of dilaudid?"

 

His eyes follow your hand—lying limp in the open fold of his hoodie—past your bare elbow and over the covered slope of your chest to your lazy gaze. He glares in response; you just smile contentedly and close your eyes, basking in all the terrible and pleasant sensations nourishing your body. The ache inside your womb, the pleasure beneath your skin, and the twisted love tricking you into complacency all coalesce in a sense of supreme contentment.

 

In the breathing, gasping silence, the TV in the living room returns from the dead.

 

'It's been a startling entrance into the new year for the town of Nowhere. Is another killer stalking our streets and threatening our way of life, or was this a crime of passion? The Breather is still on the loose after his scene on the highway, and after last years’ streak of murders, we have just one question: what will this year bring?'

 

"I love you…" you tell him belatedly.

 

Within the shroud of darkness behind your eyelids, you feel his fingers tap your wrist—mapping the lines of your bones—and ends up holding your hand. Despite it all, you blush, scoot your upper body closer and squeeze him back.

 

It's not the oddest thing that's ever happened to you but laying half-naked in bed with the Breather while threading fingers is up there. The cops would hesitate if they saw… or maybe they'd open fire just to rid the world of whatever unnatural attraction you have to one another. 

 

Oh well, you think, and smirk, "I made a pot of coffee, ya know," and then suck in a moan when he guides your pointer finger to the sticky open fissure in his thigh.

 

Against your ear, the Breather growls, "I'll sup on your sweets, or you will be kept in the room where I sleep. For I am not ready to dress you inside out; I'll hurt you if you hurt me…"

 

The way his voice enunciates 'hurt' brings to mind the goading you did about the fictional man you'd been fucking. For a second, you think about dead Margot slumped for her post-mortem photo shoot, all that unfounded jealousy leading to this… 

 

You picture her and him laying in bed like you are now—his hand guiding your fingers in and along the inside of him—and nearly laugh at how absurd it was. He'd never let anyone so close, no one but you and barely even that. 

 

"Never…" you sigh happily as your cunt contracts and bleeds, "I would never hurt you…"

 

"I know you won't."

 

"So," you whisper, stroking the raw meat of his thigh as he perspires and groans, "you want a cup of coffee?”