Actions

Work Header

who will deliver me from this body of death

Work Text:

And the princess said to her suitor:
"Shock me. Overwhelm me. Make me believe.
If you do this, then gratefully will I submit myself to love."

And the psychiatrist said:
"This patient is in a state of mourning of parental love lost at early stage. She gains a sense of self esteem, by attaching herself to abusive figures, who she imagines to be strong. From home she craves acceptance, and in home she needs to feel herself supported. Such patients, though often charming, tend to be shallow in emotional relations, and they seek meaning in injury. Life itself frequently seems not worth living."

And the suitor said to the princess:
"Resist me. Scorn me. Put me through hell.
And if you do this, then gratefully will I submit myself to love."

And the psychiatrist said:
"This patient lacks the capacity to mourn, because his rage against lost love objects, especially his parents. Sexually promiscuous, hungry for emotion, ravenous for admiration, but shows contempt of those who provide it. He avoids involvement. Sadistic elements dominate the superego of these patients, and they complain of inner emptiness, while entertaining fantasises about liberties, and has a strong belief in their right to exploit others."

The princess and her suitor fell passionately in love, and did as much damage to themselves as they could. And if they're not dead, they're still at it.

Gut / Davies — Princess

.

.

RETRIBUTION.

A thought inside a brain inside a man.

(Waylon Park is still a man, yes? Yes. Cock's still in place, for now.)

The background for the conclusion of retribution needs an explanation to outsiders in the form of an absurd individual named Quizzer.

They met when Waylon was studying programming—from C++, #C and Java to Haskel, Scala and Scheme—and became roommates with Quizzer simply because no one else put up with him. Yet the idea that mathematicians are either extremely ordinary or non compos mentis is a stereotype, and there are diversity and contrasts. For an example, Algebraists think in discrete terms, while mathematical analysts tend to visualize numbers and other mathematical entities on a continuum. Quizzer, however, could not be categorized and looked more like an art school dropout than a math genius. His passion was irrational numbers; a waste of talent in the eyes of his professors. Rumours said he even dabbled in occultism. Quizzer meant one could find pure logos—truth, fate, God—inside advanced mathematics. He believed that the answers to EVERYTHING laid within numbers, though acknowledged that some answers were too complex for the human mind.

...Hang on there is a point here.

There was a fire in Quizzer and Waylon's flat. Quizzer had trusted the low mathematical probability of such a fire and owned no backup files like Waylon did. Years of work, on papers and hardware, melted and burnt. And he wondered: what have I done to deserve this level of punishment? It couldn't be a simple error of cleaning personnel or other students. The only way he could make sense this was RETRIBUTION, which meant that there was a sin in there somewhere. But he couldn't figure out what he'd done.

Then a fellow occultist told him: you don't take stones off the beach in Hawaii.

And Quizzer had just been there, a week ago, on a conference representing his state. He'd picked up the stones in a fond gesture to childhood. So that must be what caused the fire! Diligently, he wrapped the stones in a white cloth and mailed them back to Hawaii, with instructions to place them back on the exact spot where he'd found them. But doing so did not ease his depression. It wasn't until a week later before he suddenly woke up one morning feeling great. And he knew then and there for sure that the stones were back on the beach. Waylon, shaken by all this, asked why Quizzer was not. Quizzer answered, "Did you really think, like all the delusional philosophers and scientists, that the universe is indifferent?" The implications made by this statement could drive a man to insanity.

Could it be that, after all, the universe is not indifferent?

.

.

Because this is true punishment—

squelch! squelch! squelch!

—and Hell, running through an asylum and through blood puddles, intestines, and a general mass of soggy wet filth. Waylon stumbles like a newborn abattoir calf... or a pubescent girl walking in high heels for the first time. The asylum smell floods his senses, stuck in his throat. The place is rotting, and so, he is too. There is no refuge in morals, knowledge, religion or other human concepts. He's in a maze that stretches on into infinity and he's realizing that there is no light at the end of the tunnel. There is nothing but death, which is a nothing in itself. Nihil, nihil, nihil. A great big motherfucking nothing eating away at him. A black hole, he thinks. That is what the asylum must be. A hotspot for unfathomable horror.

Waylon has tried to imagine himself an extension to the machinery of Murkoff, filled with impersonal data and logic, mind nonexistent. But the exterior is cracking, mental infections oozing pus. A head exploding in a microwave. A bathtub filled with blood. A man masturbating in front of bodies grounded into paste.

Waylon tries a total recall of the beginning and fails.

It shocks his system. He moves through his data vaults in an instant, digging deep into his memory core, but he finds the images distorted and grating. College days. Lisa's hand, reaching out for him. His boys, who he cannot remember the names of. The beginning—the time before—must have been redacted. He was not meant to survive the madhouse. His standalone memory supports the theory. And he is a machine and fear is not a part of his programming.

Waylon tries a total recall of the beginning and fails.

Waylon tries a total recall of the beginning and fails.

Waylon tries a total recall of the beginning and fails.

(His pace slows a little, but he doesn't notice, too far inside. He sidesteps an indescribably violated corpse. It is only by auto impulse in which thought had no part he avoided stepping on him, or was it her? No face or genitals as far as Waylon can see. Idly, he wonders where the head is. In passing, he finds that a nearby medicine cabinet looks... back... at him.)

It is of course here Quizzer's theorem reveals itself after years lying dormant. Waylon concludes that he has done something and must repent. Like Quizzer, he doesn't know what, but has no one to ask. Perhaps it has something to do with family? Waylon's is a constant in his mind. But what he did is not important; what he must do is. Practise =/= theory.

There's existence, pure and still, then a broken consciousness drools into and refills his body and Waylon awakens, vacant eyed and insane. He's a coward, he knows, and won't be able to hurt himself. He needs to find someone to do it for him. He understands that to reattribute, he must also be reborn. To accomplish this, he has been temporarily let into another world; a world of mysterious symbols, fathomless signs and portents, and pure horror; a world of magic and madness. Cold logic means nothing in Wonderland.

Waylon looks around. He's standing in a basement of some sort. No birdsong, here. No screaming. No noise at all, but plenty of evidence of bloodshed and mutilation. A lone ear, for an example, lying on the floor. Waylon tilts his head like a dog, wondering what the ear's story is. He finds some files, scattered about. Skimming through them, reading without absorbing, he finds a familiar name: Eddie Gluskin. It sounds like famous names do, associated with concepts rather than faces. Georg Cantor. Alan Turing. Aleister Crowley. The last one makes him think about Quizzer's theorem again.

He reads the words scrawled in blood on the walls like love and death and nowhere.

He hides his wedding ring and wires when he goes underground.

He knows what he's doing. He knows what this is about.

Hands in his pockets, he wanders on. Head raised high. Eyes half lidded and dead.

Until he reaches the far end of the basement, a door, and in a window smudged with human grease—a face! Grotesque, scarred, mad like he missed his rabies shot, breathing hard and steaming up the glass. The face of Waylon's retribution? In the slow black sludge of his thoughts, he finds himself having a déjà vu moment, and wonders where he's seen the man before. In the Morphogenic Engine? There were so many faces. But... has he not read articles, or books, or seen documentaries as well? Waylon tries a total recall of his undoer's past and succeeds.

A name, a face and a concept.

"Darling."

And now Waylon conceives his end, arms held out in love.

.

.

The question everybody is asking: how could he deserve this?

It is January 23rd, 1977, and it is cold. Mercilessly cold. The press huddles together like sheep outside the court. Wolves in sheep clothing. As soon as the door opens, the rumble starts and a mess of flashes and questions erupts. A true media circus, with animals attacking each other to get to the meat—a small boy, the face of this tragedy. The face of the front pages that makes viewers feel a little bit better about their own hardships while demonstrating their bleeding heart by asking, "How, how, how?" The flashing cameras agitate the boy. And the more they agitate him, the more pitiful he looks, tenderizing the meat and heightening the photographers' paycheck.

His uncle and father are sentenced to life.

But the covering does not stop there. It's merely begun. With the antagonists behind bars, the paparazzi are looking for the villains' sidekicks. And when the media looks for things, it finds them.

Teachers. Neighbours. Friends. They'd seen the signs but hadn't contacted anyone. "Why didn't you?" the interviewers demanded, hoarse and trembling like excited children picking insects apart. The explanations were numerous. Fear of being called a liar and of humiliation. No time to focus on one student when they had other things to do. Overall, an expectation of indifference. The media—a pack of starving wolves—does not rest until it gets three breakdowns, eight people fired, and a promise from the mayor to freshen things up and "never forget". (He adds these quotes to fuel his campaign; his opponents say he's milking a tragedy, but his followers nod like watching an old painting they only understand the significance of, not the meaning).

And so the face of the tragedy withers. Ooh, there are still photos, of course, but people need more shock value to continue to buy the story—as in, images from the wretchedness itself. Pictures and stills from the actual crimes. Grainy, cut from old film stock. Child porn videos and photos. The police files leak and are grabbed by the press with teeth and claws. Documentaries, professional and unprofessional, are quickly made to get as much money as usual. The popularity of the child porn itself rises among pedophiles. Rumour has it copies of the original VHS tapes are handed out in secret locations and locked doors with rough voices behind it demanding passwords. But they're also looked upon as a cruel prank teens play to shock and sicken each other. Whoever doesn't puke when they twist the boy's arm till he cries uncle wins 5$. The media, an orchestra of howling, uses these to bring up old ethical questions like 'what should our children be allowed to watch?' and 'does witnessing violence in young ages increase the chance of committing violent acts later in life?'

Little Eddie Gluskin gets smothered by the pillow of society. He turns out like a million other children, ignored and forgotten, growing up thinking it is fair. Already from birth they have become a statistic, or a dark figure. Shh, don't cry, state and insurance is gonna cover your institutional stays and medical bills.

Who's a good boy then?

.

.

The system shits Eddie out together with a rainstorm of drugs and compensation cash that will miraculously stop coming in five years. For someone who hasn't had a private toilet in a decade, the change is huge. However, pills and therapy cannot change Eddie's essence, which was carefully crafted by a cocktail of neglect and unwanted proximity. The subconscious idols depicted in his drawings remain. He wants a family, which is good in the eyes of the doctors. He tells them what they want to hear, parroting.

Such a good boy.

After years living in the system, Eddie is shipped back into the machinery of society.

The insurance company gives him a small house out in the country. He likes his little life, squeezed in-between needlepoint and porcelain figures dusted lovingly every Sunday night. During workshops he'd favoured crafting and sewing; tasks that demanded patience and finesse. He does not define these traits as feminine—because feminine is weak, feminine needs correcting, feminine is Mother vomiting after washing blood off his butt and making breakfast like she hasn't lost her appetite. ("Did you fall and hurt yourself, Eddie? You did, didn't you? Eddie you doofus!")

He rots on the inside. Decay doesn't make a sound. Nor does loneliness. Only when the wind blows through the house does it groan, creak and sigh because it hasn't been touched in so long—divine humiliation, open heart surgery without anaesthesia. Invasive. Painful. His life is a quiet house and nobody lives there but him.

Eddie's a nice guy, and helps his landlady carry out the garbage. She's a widow, face a wrinkled map of worry. Her husband died by a freak explosion, leaving him a drooling lard with no hope for recovery in a tiny hospital storeroom, breathing, eating and shitting through tubes for 20 years before she pulled the plug. The nurses and doctors chose to remain silent about it. She chooses to remain silent about Eddie's past, but expects a listener in return, which she receives. Eddie is shy and quiet, listens to her complaints, and soaks her bitterness up like a swamp. A comment here, an opinion there. "When I was young..." she'd say, fuelling his idea that everything was better before.

When she dies off liver cancer, he inherits all her stuff. Manuals. Books. Records. Dark brown furniture and Scandinavian design, simple and squared. His house suddenly turns into a 50's appreciation cave. He enjoys reading the manuals the most; the stories of how family members should behave against each other. The Strict Father, the Supportive Mother, and the Strong Boys & Cute Girls. Eddie starts working out to enhance the image. The desire for a family is the strongest next to the revenge thoughts the pills are supposed to keep dormant. It doesn't matter if he swallows 100mg or more, because the childsick still festers. His past has become a blur in the corner of his eye. His life revolves around his house, a convenience and butcher shop where he collects his commodities, a dusty bookshop, and a seamstress. Scarcely anything exists outside the walls of his house. He does not own a TV. He does not listen to new music. He does not refresh his opinions. In a way, he's still stuck in the mind of a child lost in a dark forest, following a trail of moulding breadcrumbs.

But oh, how he tries! Although the music is too loud and fast paced for his refined taste, he still attends modern concerts. He can't quite understand what the people there are saying at first, but soon picks it up. Old fashioned. Boring. Weird. It reminds him when he was bullied by his peers, standing around him, chanting the question of why he had a limp. Eddie finds himself drawn back in a corner of social gatherings. He's agitated by women who brush against him.

Women make him...

Uncomfortable.

And he's trying so hard to be good! Why, with outfits like that, they're begging to be raped! Not that Eddie would do such a vulgar thing, of course not, but he will tch and shake his head when he sees drunk women escorted off by sober men. The fairer sex truly needs someone to guide them, or they end up like the 2$ prostitutes, hanging on street corners exhibiting worn merchandise, calling after a blushing Eddie. Eddie, who's been a good boy and done everything right. He's started working out, too. He offers stability and safety.

So why do they not want him? What good girl wouldn't want a good boy? A gentle woman for a gentleman.

Ah, women. Woman. The Perfect Woman .

Or rather, the idea of Her. Half ideal half desire, mixed up into something no one can live up to.

Restless, Eddie subconsciously begins the search of his mother's reincarnation. His visits to the bookshop increase in search of explanations. He thinks feminist literature is disgusting, and goes instead for the dusty books featuring Freud's complexes and witch burning. He finds out that in the middle ages, the priests burned the witches' bodies so that their soul could go free. When you're looking hard for things, you find them. He's looking for the woman of his dreams.

He finds her in a bookshop, bespectacled and Christian. They go on three proper dates, until she tells him she is leaving him for another. His bride would never leave him. This is not his bride. In an irrational moment of rage, he ends her—and something moves through him. Her soul, that's it. Her soul, warm and white and brittle, released from her whorish body. 'This...' he thinks. 'This...' It has become his calling, to free them from their prison and cleanse them off their sin.

He buries her in the back garden.

This time she's beautiful, but has a sharp tongue. She kicks and screams when he brings her home. His bride would never fight him. This is not his bride. So he ends her and buries her next to herself.

This time she is older, less trusting. She rejects his advances from early on, and when he brings her home and she sees the mud puddle left by the not-her, she screams. His bride would never fear him. This is not his bride. So he ends her and buries her next to herself and herself.

The one after that is quiet and submissive. Has he found her, finally? But no, because when he fills her up, she bursts. Bursts—because she turns her head away and cries silent tears. His woman would never reject him. This is not his bride. So he ends her while still inside her, a knife in her belly, hugging her until she bleeds dirt all over the kitchen table and her soul leaves, pure and untainted again.

Hundreds more women are moving past him, beautiful and giggling and faceless, slim and busy, and he is standing in the middle of the stream, overwhelmed.

A graveyard starts to appear in his backyard. To lessen suspicion, he starts storing them inside. The crawl space. Storerooms. Chests. Closets. Dangling from ceiling fans.

One of them, found when walking home from school, has a moment of clarity while pressed up into the corner of his kitchen. "Wait!" she screams, and Eddie stops, because he is an honest man. "How much longer will you continue to do this?" she asks, terrified.

"Until you get it right," Eddie says kindly, and ends her as well.

There are more women passing him for each year. One big mass of powdered lipstick faces instead of a few, rolling towards him, giggling louder and louder and louder. He needs to strip them off their creamy fat—needs stab and rip until he gets to the core, which is The Perfect Woman. Eddie continues killing, cleansing and storing them. His house is so full of trophies of his good deeds that he rarely leaves; he just floats through it with a sheepish, boyish grin on his face. Sometimes he's dressed in a groom's clothes. Sometimes he's naked.

(Here, the punishing becomes more important than the actual goal.)

This is not a circle that can go on forever.

Eventually, the door slams open, revealing policemen. People passing by noticed the smell.

"Oh dear," Eddie says upon discovery, blood up to his waist. "And we didn't even prepare dinner!"

The policemen attack him without a moment's notice, and Eddie feels his grin grow strained, because hasn't he suffered enough? Hasn't he been a good boy, ridding the world of whores? There must be kind of light at the end of the tunnel, yes?

There must be.

There must be.

There must be.

.

.

They're digging up bodies in his back garden.

The media circus begins again. The summer's been quiet so far, and the revelation of a fresh serial killer is the murder paparazzi's wet dream; a wet dream consisting of crying families and shrinks whose fingers twitch in anticipation to dissect this monster's mind. They know it is antisocial personality disorder before they know his name. Neighbours claim that he was a bit odd, like there were something they couldn't put their finger on. All the butcher equipment he'd brought, for an example. Knives. Drills. Meat grinders.

...Then his identity is revealed.

The story becomes sensational. Old photos are dug up. As television's sensor rules are less strict than all those years ago, the image that becomes the most popular is this:

A boy fastened spread eagle to a soiled mattress in some basement, wearing a filthy baptismal dress.

Explanations warp into excuses, although stately neglect won't bring those women back. He's MISUNDERSTOOD, the supports scream. Online pop psychology fans assign him dissociative disorders to explain his switching from good to bad. The real's Eddie Gluskin is just a poor, misunderstood boy. 

Meanwhile, the policemen (he does not respond well to policewomen; regards them dribbling, red faced and rock hard) question Eddie Gluskin. "They were pretty, mostly," one of the roughest ones say, trying to coax a reaction out of him. "Is that why you destroyed their faces and sexual organs?"

"They are ugly," Eddie corrects. "All of them."

They also ask him why he cuts his wrists with razors.

"To feel... Just to feel something."

He's deemed insane and sent away to more institutions, this time to rot.

Thing is, he's been rotting for a very long time.

.

.

And when he finally spilled, all those desires and memories flowing upwards towards the sky, it's in the Morphogenic Engine. Having too many cables poked into your belly can do that. Eddie, inside a machine. Another one, but in a more concentrated dose. After a while, the doctors started to warp. One in particular unnerved him. Anna? Andrea? The name does not matter. The face does not matter. The sex does not matter. This was not his bride. He killed her first, hunted her down and gave her the cock she wanted in the form of an automatic drill.

He does not know how he ended up in the basement, but feels a connection to the place. His mind throbs and swells and twists, ruined by the Machine. But he is strong, and lives by his principals still. He makes a makeshift home out of the best of his abilities; a shelf placed there, a writing desk here, some chairs... Rugs are harder to come by. The place has sewing equipment, no doubt a gift from God. His raids result in canned goods, weapons, why even a radio once. It is he who painted WELCOME HOME in lipstick red colour.

(Note how he describes his house: blandly and without detail. He perceives his idea of a home, not reality, because reality is unappealing and smells bad.)

He makes sure the home is clean to unburden his future bride, and in case he needs to teach her these things. This day's rotten society rarely offers proper housewife courses for cookery (thick, delicious sauces), sewing, embroidering, washing, ironing, dusting, child care and most important of all: keeping your husband happy. …Instead they're untaught, swinish women with fat creamy bodies and unnatural makeup & lusts like girl on girl(!) and free sexuality and wearing masculine clothing and own thoughts and feminism and slutty cleavage no bra skimpy skirts dragging it up moaning—

He grins, always a little strained, because She will be nothing like that.

They all come to his basement, in the end. He finds her again, and again and again and again.

Her.

The Perfect Woman.

Today, too. Right now. It must be! Because she stands there, face a beam of sunlight, arms held out in devotion and love. He tells her that he loves her. He tells her about her situation and all the things he knows. His own love rushes through his head like mania or a pumping infection and words like pus—

maria

motherofjesus

motherofme!

magdalena

whore!

—but it rots soon enough, the doubt creeping in.

"Darling?" he repeats, uncertain, to see if she'll run or go up in smoke, just a fever dream.

"Gluskin," she says, (softly or treacherously? so hard to tell the difference, manipulative little bitches), and she knows his name! She smiles lazily in an almost self satisfied fashion, but there is a tremble there, thank god, as he values meekness in women.

"Please," he says, and he's standing close, reaching out for her, "call me Eddie." He grabs her arms so hard they bruise. It is to make sure she's real, of course. She'll forgive him if she loves him.

"Eddie," she says. "I've been bad, Eddie. Real bad."

He squeezes her arms tighter.

"I don't know what I've done, but it must be terrible. Oh, I simply can't understand what, but I guess it's too complex for my mind." She sighs, long and overdramatic—crazily, even. Very womanly. It enamours him.

Because yes, the fair sex is truly simpler than its opposite. It is up to men to punish them, even if the women do not understand why.

Could she be The Perfect Woman? He dares not hope.

"I want you to punish me severely. I don't know how, but I want you to do it," she says matter-of-factly. Had she been lewd, he would have gutted her and pulled her intestines out like gelatine worms. "Shock me. Overwhelm me. Make me believe. If you this, then gratefully will I submit myself to love." She hugs herself. "Now," she urges. "If not then I'll snap."

"You'll spoil," Eddie corrects, always so patient.

"Please."

"It's my duty," he says. "Once we remove the vulgar bits, I'll make an honest—"

"No," she interrupts, "Now."

He slaps her. It's reflexive and effective. It's what his Father always did. She tumbles to the floorboards—just like Mother did, too—by the sheer force of his hand. Blood oozes from her lip. If she'll be like this on the wedding night, oh my, he better have extra sheets ready. "See?" she says. "More of this. But I want to live afterwards."

"You will. After the operation, and the wedding, and the consummation."

(A plethora of infinite motherwives, gushing towards him. They always live, don't they? No matter how many bitches he puts down.)

"Wedding?" she asks. Out of a sudden she lights up again. Oh, her happiness! It warms him. She grabs his arm, and he nearly jolts. She falls into inchorenet mumbling, and seems to think hard. This, too, enamours him, because it is obviously too hard for her little brain to conjure up abstract situation. Females are more impulsive, less intelligent. Silly, so silly! He does not mind it until he hears "...a holy act to repent, to give back, like Quizzer did..."

"I don't want you talking about anybody else," he thunders. She's so small beneath him that he could crush her windpipe with a single hand. She's so delicate that he could toss her into a wall and watch her break. She's so annoying that he could rip out her tongue and watch her choke on her own blood. He finds the idea of stomping on her the most tantalising; the thought and feel of her bones and muscles under his boots, almost erotic.

"No, no, you're right. There is no one else, and no one who can help me like you can."

He picks her up bridal style.

(The truth is this: he cannot see her face. Not properly, anyway, not since the Machine. The face is a blur, a hole in space / time, a blank for him to fill. But he decides that since she pleases him, and thus, is beautiful. He sees what he wants to see: ribbons, dimples, a smile for the face. A carefree laugh, a winsome wink. Some giggles, some curls, a touch of pink. Eyes, filled with more love than there is tea in China. And to round it all out, he concludes a vagina.)

"So we will wed first," Eddie says and starts to walk.

It's raked out weed before. Either the whores die by the operation, the wedding, or the conception. Only one died in childbirth, an act he hopes never to repeat, as she was a lousy birther, not pushing as hard as she should've and screaming so loud he felt the black droning rage born by his childhood engulf him. When he came to his senses, she'd died in childbirth and the baby was stillborn. Another failure.

"To wed, you need to dress properly. There will be a dinner after the ceremony." He must be careful not to introduce to many things at once, or her little mind might overheat with worry. He navigates them through the darkness to the room in which the dress is. It is complete with an accessory gearbox, a razor and two wooden bowls of washing water and shaving cream.

"A wedding dress," she exclaims in awe. "Symbolic. Perfect."

"A symbol of our joining, yes."

He sits her down. Tentatively, he unbuttons her ragged excuse for an outfit (his fingers tremble because of a hard day of toil, not nervousness)—if it was she who dressed herself, no wonder she spoke of sinning. But she jolts. He thinks she'll deny him, sighs, and reaches for his knife. But she surprises him. "No! Seeing each other right before the ceremony brings bad luck! The cosmos," God, Gluskin hears, "will not stand for it, and I'll be punished further." Eddie is delirious, not dumb. He could tell if she was bluffing, which she isn't, because the leaking dove eyes are so real he wants to wear them as a pearl necklace.

So… superstitious? Or just pious? It's quite all right. Eddie likes clichés. Likes the safety of them, the patterns, needle on thread. He heeds her wish. "If it is that important to you, then I will wait by the altar while you dress."

"How will I find you?" she asks, agitated. Again, he is filled with love.

"You will follow my trail, darling. Then, then, you will find me," he answers.

And this is what she will follow: a thread of breadcrumbs, like snow. He always did like Hansel and Gretel. The crumbs create a stark contrast to the colour bellow, deep red and dark brown; at least the latter reminds him of 50s design. He goes to the altar and stands perfectly motionless. It does not take long before she comes in, striding towards him on the aisle. Her face is hidden by a veil made by a thin loose grille fence (something old), a bouquet of wildflowers in hand (something new), a dress made by fabric and flesh (something borrowed), and garters (something blue), complete with homemade nylons and a corset. She strides towards him like a ghost and he thinks of Mother.

It takes a lot of willpower not to fuck her bloody right there.

…That was a little bit vulgar of him, but you know what they say.

Eddie thinks about roses and clichés. Roses are always innocent and always smelling sweet. Roses are stupid and die quickly, without nourishing and care.

The Groom continues to stand motionless till his Bride comes up to meet him.

In his head, he hears the wedding bells. He hears the priest speak. He remembers the weddings he'd read about in his manuals. "Yes," he says, answering a question only he hears. She copies him, a little later. The veil symbolises modesty, youth and virginity and shall protect her from evil. He lifts it up because he will protect her now. He presents the rings to her. Steel wire. It cuts into her finger, making her bleed. Oh well. She'll bleed more tonight, if they get that far without incident. From now, they'll support each other 

in sickness and health.

A little girl turning into a woman, with that follows, whining and bleeding and all.

"Onward, to the feast," he says.

She looks around. Nervous? Waiting?

He gestures to a table, licking his lips, adding a new layer of drool to the hardened one. "Sit here. I will get some food."

At once, she starts whining about her punishment. To stifle her deeply rooted desire, and to make sure she won't run, he breaks her foot. She screams, but thanks him afterwards. Plates and glasses lie nearby. Too bad his desired food choices are not to be found. He settles on cans, and boxes, dried and salted food. When he returns, carrying boxes of food, he finds her already chewing on something.

"Mmf."

"Aren't you hungry?" he asks.

"Mmfmm. Eaten," she says, parting her full lips to allow something thick and black fall out of her mouth like motor oil chunks. "Eaten. I've eaten."

It is first then he sees it:

Beetles.

Symbols of rebirth.

It is his first glimpse into the mad world, a woman's world. Created secondly by God, it is only natural that she has some faults. But it does not fit into the narrative he's made for himself—and his mind expunges it. "Darling," he scolds (his little daughterwifemother), "no chocolate before dinner."

Teasingly, she grins at him with teeth full of mashed insect bits.

He grins back.

She eats a little of the food he's brought, minding her manners, oh so careful. Her expression remains uncertain.

"Are you ill?" he asks.

"Not yet," she answers. "But I think I will be. I don't think... I don't think I've given enough of myself, yet."

"The wedding night," he explains. 'And then the transformation.' She nods, hopeful. Eddie lays a hand over hers, further pressing the steel wire ring into her finger.

Out of a sudden, he's overwhelmed by dissociation; a familiar swirling mass vomiting into his brain, and he scratches his head. Scar scab, dried blood and skin flakes get stuck under his fingernails. He clicks his tongue. Unhygienic. But when he regards the hand beneath his, he frowns. Tries to place it. Can't. The five fingers are bony, if not a bit stubby, masculine, and dirtier than the tablecloth bellow. Five fresh fish on ice, pink, plump and slightly splayed. He'd remember fingers like that, so they can't be her fingers. Slowly, he follows them, sees an arm, reddened, full of razor burns, cuts, bruises and patches of unshaven hair. Continuing upwards, frowning more by the centimeter, he finds the dress filthy and bloody like the fingers, not properly taken on. The shoulder, too sharp. The neck, too thick. Hair so greasy it stands by itself. But then he sees her face, and suddenly, all of her is beautiful and flawless, and he is overwhelmed by love. He loves her so much it hurts inside. Loves and lusts. He will fuck her demons out. Satan will be perplexed.

Next is the bedroom, consisting of a mattress soft like drugs and the sheets he has hung above for an effect of a queen's bed. He takes her there and lays her on the bed, ready to be plucked. She is his little bird, and he must tie her down so she doesn't fly away, using a belt. Would he rip the wings off a bird just to watch it fall? Only if the bird had been bad.

"This will hurt, my love," he says. "But it is necessary pain. For our babies."

"And as my punishment."

Well, yes. Eve, the first woman and whore, did pluck the apple from the tree and feed the naïve, loving Adam.

"You should remove one of the garters. It's a wedding tradition," she explains as if it was the most important thing in the world. And he does as commanded, going down on his knees, carefully unclipping it.

For their lovemaking, he would prefer something more delicate; oil of almonds, or thyme, lavender or rosewater essence. But a box of bear's grease snatched from a dusty locker will have to do. His little lamb. Veil. Filet mignon. A wedding's feast in itself. His cock is hard in his pants, ready for love and childmaking.

(This is the truth: he has never masturbated. He finds the act repulsive.)

She turns on the mattress, belly down, as if it something she must do rather than wants.

This is fine.

A slut does not fit into his love story.

The belt is still on her arms, twisted at an odd angle. He heightens her skirt, her underskirt, and removes her ugly, modern briefs. In doing so, he met with a disgusting view—a deformed, jingling pussy. He considers doing the operation here and now, a tiny incision that she will survive if she's the one. But parting her lovely butt cheeks, he finds what he's looking for. A vagina! A cute, hot hole to welcome his seed. He begrudgingly opens the bear's grease, taking out a handful to rub messily on her love tunnel. Without further ado, he fixes his pants so that his cock is in his hand and forces it into her, clumsy but intent. She gasps, and he imagines a thousand ladybugs escaping between her small parted teeth. Kitty teeth, really, and he sees them as she bites into the pillow. Such a lovely sight. His Eve.

He moves at once.

Soon, the honeylike substance of the bear's grease and pink bloodjuice slide down her pretty white thighs, making it easier to move. So pretty. He slams into her tummy, into her candy cave. His hands are on her angelic hips, skin bruising. The same feeling that overwhelmed him when he contemplated her fingers takes him again.

Love. Lovey love love.

Eddie's mind continues to swell.

He takes her body whole. She is so thin, like a spine, and he threads hers on the inside of his, to become one. Connected, forever. He sneaks into her bones, forever there, unborn. She will become a mother.

Mother.

She fists the sheets, hands white, copying claw gestures, knuckles moving underneath her paper skin, foetus like, feet kicking in bellies.

Mother!

...He thinks he would like a daughter first...

MOTHER!

She's so loving, he thinks he's back in Mommy's arms, plopped into a hot bubble bath of—

.

.

—stagnant, steaming filth. It's foaming at Waylon's waist, covering his lower half, working itself upwards, ready to eat him whole. There's a body rotting in the corner of the room, but the smell of decomposition is so normally gross that he doesn't really notice it.

No, because Waylon is very far gone by this point. As if he's floating above his body, looking at it as a shapeless mass of tissue getting pounded by a larger, dirtier one. He tries to find the error of the situation, because there is one, obviously. He does not at all feel at ease, not like Quizzer did after the stones were back on the beach in Hawaii. Here is the theory he's worked out:

He discarded his wife, therefore he must remarry. With all that follows, including sex.

There is a pause, here, in the trail of thought, where he screams himself hoarse because of a particularly rough shove on Gluskin's part. The belt is biting at his arms, making swelled welts and burns. His wrists are threatening to snap because of the angle he's lying in. Waylon makes a broken computer noise, an open wound, hurting all over. His broken leg throbs in time with his heartbeat.

Continuing when the pain has numbed down, he thinks about death. Is there no way out? The asylum demands a sacrifice, he thinks. Gluskin made is clear that they were to become one, and Waylon could not help but wonder: which one will we be?

He discarded his life, therefore he must... die? Be reborn?

The beetles, ah, the beetles. He'd grabbed them as soon as he saw them on his plate, knowing they meant something. He'd thought it was his rebirth as a wife, then. But perhaps it is less complex than the software engineer thinks; perhaps it is rebirth, simple and clean. Perhaps all of these theories add up somehow.

But the question stands: which one of them must die?

Waylon is the sinner. The woman. The sacrificial lamb. But he wants to live. He really wants to live. Wants to live wants to livewantstolive

Something shatters.

Gluskin currently thinks he's having sex with his mother, apparently, crying out her name.

Jesus Christ.

Jesus fucking Christ.

'Hmm, Jesus... fucking... Christ...' Waylon ponders in a moment of rapid mental decay. 'Does that mean God's masturbating?' He giggles quietly at the joke, Gluskin's Oedipus complex and the ecstatic oneness of it all. There is something beautiful in setting the world on fire and watching from the centre of the flames. He's going to die soon. It's as real as Gluskin's greasy fingers on his skin, tearing and leaving angry red marks, his hands coming down on Waylon's belly at random intervals, either to stroke or hit or claw, probably breaking a few ribs. The cock is like a knife inside him. His leg hurts. This is all done while his punisher / savoir / God cries

"mother"

and

"don't leave me"

and

"I love you"

...The last one makes Waylon frown. It suddenly makes him realize what kind of position he's in, at that moment. It's a swell of power like nothing Waylon has ever felt before:

To be loved so much he's accountable for what someone feels.

To be loved so much that everything he does causes pleasure or pain.

To be loved so much someone thinks they know him on the inside.

To be loved so much that someone's confined by his will.

One would think this is tragedy. Waylon thinks this is fun. True tragedies end in deaths, you see. This is a comedy, because it ended in marriage. Or?

Gluskin's looking more funny by the second, stuttering and lisping like an awkward teenager touching warm breast for the first time, drunk in the backseat of a car after prom, "b—b—bvve—bvveautiful like 'dis…"

This is almost like a parody.

A parody! Yes!

Because if he's going to die, he's first going to live. Lying there like a dead fish will do nothing. So Waylon inhales, and says in a girlish screech, "Pl—please, Eddie... Turn me around... I want to look at you while you make love to me."

The newest theory: He discarded love, therefore he must... love?

Gluskin rips him around, smashing him into the filthy mattress with his body weight.

Waylon's mouth goes dry. Pulse rising. Pupils dilating. Lips parting.

Whether he's in ecstasy or agony, he doesn't care; the godly oneness of it all annihilates such fundamentality. Somewhere beyond consciousness and human boundaries—that's where Waylon is, currently. He wraps his legs around Gluskin and pulls him into himself and eternity. The numbness remains, but the rough parody of sex continues. Waylon is certain he's tearing, feeling his own tissue ripping—something that'd be grotesque and horrifying hadn't Waylon been so disconnected, driven mad long ago. The blood is hardening on his thighs, not quite body temperate anymore, twin rivers, dirt avalanches, exploded sewers spewing filth. Waylon's screamed himself voiceless, so he's just breathing, gasping, gurgling, panting. Gluskin is running a trembling hand over his shaved pubes, where small red sores will appear, and it isn't really pleasurable. He's biting at Waylon's shoulder, kissing his throat, tonguing his nipples, muttering something about lambs and moms and virgins.

In a half hearted attempt to make it as filthy as possible to please the gods, Waylon crashes their lips together and his tongue very nearly knocks on Gluskin's. But Gluskin blinks, never really looks at Waylon, and goes back to making out with Waylon's throat instead—better than focusing on his stomach again, at least, which rumbles because of lack of food, stress and perhaps bug eggs bursting. Waylon tries to jerk himself off and fails. There's no Stockholm syndrome to turn him on, nor is he lulled into a safe security. He isn't turned on or dumb. Gluskin continues.

No.

It isn't this, either.

Waylon tried being a wife, both unwilling / hateful AND willing / loving / understanding. He even tried to accept his fate as a sacrificial lamb.

Then a previous idea blooms: He is not the only sinner here. His life is not a proper sacrifice. Things have to be put back in their place, and so, Gluskin... Gluskin must...

In Gluskin's narrative, the sex is romantic. He probably thinks he's fucking in tact with some love song. In real life, it's awfully awkward. The sound of balls slapping against Waylon's ass is untimely and clumsy. What a poor excuse for a human being this is, ruined as a child and neglected to the point where he never became an adult, living in a fantasy world. Waylon even pities him. But today is not the time for forgiveness. Today, the only answer is RETRIBUTION. Waylon, spread eagle on a dirty mattress, has done his part. It is time for Gluskin to pay, too. Pay directly to the asylum.

Eve withers. Suddenly, Gluskin is face to face with Lilith, shedevil from hell.

And Lilith is so hungry that this time insects won't do. 

Only Adam will.

(Waylon... he found a bride, a while ago. But this is not Lisa. So he'll end him.)

"We must end this," Waylon says.

"Cut away... the vulgar... parts," Gluskin pants, slobbering. "Cut cut cut cut cut cut cut"

"Yes," Waylon agrees. 

And Gluskin comes, messily, crying out for his darlingmotherwhore. He looks at Waylon, and finally sees him. Waylon smiles, guiding Gluskin's slump hand—smile widening and widening and widening—he brings the knife first between their faces

kisses it

and shoves it right into Gluskin's forehead.

.

.

Yanking the knife out is harder than anticipated.

Stabbing Gluskin countless times, not so much.

Afterwards, the Bride gets to work. Even Lilith gave birth to something.

.

.

The Bride exits, still wearing a tattered wedding dress, covered in blood; dress, veil, wrists. Drip, drip, drip. 

He walks as though in a haze. In the bloody hand is a bundle; a piece of white cloth ripped from the dress to resemble a bag, wrapped around something round and vaguely head sized. Why, one might say the bundle was face shaped. Red at the bottom, white elsewhere.

The haze momentarily ends when Jeremy Blaire stabs Waylon in the stomach (he imagines a voice crying, "the baby, oh no, the baby!"), bundle rolling away, and despairing, he wonders if he had it all wrong—if it wasn't Gluskin who was the sacrifice, but both of them. But this thought is aborted when Jeremy Blaire is dragged upwards and explodes.

The Bride sees the smoky remnants of the Walrider, and says, "Thank you, God." He collects Gluskin's head from where it rolled and starts wrapping it up again, staring fondly at the expression overwhelmed by love.

He lays it in the middle of the asylum's exit like a gift.

.

.

First when Waylon's out, the insanity vaporizes.

His mind shuts down, he tears off the wedding dress, steadying himself on a wall, vomiting, and he feels—

.

.

ill.