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Daniel jars awake at the distant sound of a door slamming, his body convulsing as he struggles to breathe, sit up, and assess the situation all at once. He blinks and rubs his sore head, gingerly prodding the slight contusion just above his temple. He remembers being overpowered by three of those things and falling to the ground, which is probably where the bump came from. His back and shoulders also feel tender and Daniel wouldn’t be at all surprised if they dragged him the entire way down to the gaol.

Carefully, he raises himself up, wobbling on unsteady legs as he looks around the cell, noting the bed and the table with a sense of unease. He can feel the lingering presence of the shadow, the metallic tang on his tongue that manifests every time it gets closer.

“H-help!” he calls out, wondering if there’s a one-in-a-millionth chance that there might be someone there to save him, but the only response he gets is a creaking noise beyond the stone walls and a small gust of wind that drifts past and stands the hair on the back of his neck up on end.

Stepping over a small mound of the pliant red substance that he’s seen scattered throughout the castle, he makes his way over to the door and shakes it vigorously. It doesn’t give; not even an inch. He sighs and rests his forehead momentarily on the cool iron bars, shutting his eyes and blocking out reality for as long as he can.

He startles as the walls around him shake and a loud roaring noise rips through the castle, smothering him in darkness for a long moment. When the light slowly filters back through, he notices there’s more of the pulsating red goo around his feet and it squelches loudly every time he shuffles his feet. Carefully, he makes his way back over to the bed frame to perch on the edge of it, his head falling into his hands as he sighs in defeat. He’s come so far only to be trapped by some of Alexander’s Grunts and the thought sends rage and regret through his body.

In the distance, he hears a faint voice, but it’s so quiet he cannot tell who it belongs to. However, he does know – can feel it in his gut – that it is a part of Alexander’s destructive plan, and he shudders in disgust that he is unable to stop him. It seems in fiction that the maleficent antagonists never prevail, but now when it matters most, Daniel knows that Alexander will succeed. He presses the balls of his hands against his eyes to stop tears of frustration from forming, but he doesn’t hold back from cursing loudly, hoping Alexander can hear him.

He stands to try the door once more, hoping to shake it straight off its hinges, but it appears that in the short time of shutting his eyes and moving again, the red, fleshy substance in the room has grown in size once more, spreading out and covering almost the entire floor, making it hard to walk forward. His feet sink into it, holding him back and he only makes it a few more steps before he drops to his knees, the sliminess thankfully cushioning his fall. He curses again and punches his fist down, listening to the wet smack as he hits the substance and it seems to roll over his fingers, sliding over his hand and restraining him up to the wrist. When he tries to tug it free, it only holds tighter as though not wanting to let him go.

He begins to panic, dread welling up in his stomach when he finds himself unable to stand, and he reaches forward for the bars, gripping tightly and using it to pull him forward, however, nothing seems to give way. He doesn’t dare set his other hand down for fear of trapping that one too. He keeps hold of the cool metal in front and tries to get his feet under his body in order to gain enough leverage to raise himself up. Yet, as he attempts to move his legs, he finds something pressing down over his calves, holding him in place even as he wriggles to try to free himself.

His heart thunders in his chest as he stares over his shoulder and finds the red substance has curled its way over the backs of his legs, pinning him to the floor. He knows without a doubt that there’s no way he’ll be able to free himself unless he finds something sharp to cut through the spongy material; however, there’s nothing in sight. When he struggles, it tightens, just as it did with his wrist, but this time he cries out, needing help, but knowing none will come for him.

Surely Alexander doesn’t want him dead yet, he reasons. If he had, he would have ordered his servants to kill him instead of just throwing him in a cell. Perhaps if he shouts enough, someone will hear and finally take pity on him.

“Alexander!” he shouts, ignoring the way the castle shakes again and the lights dim. “After all this, you’re just going to leave me to die? You are a coward!”

When the darkness falls away and the few torches around the room flicker back into life, he notices there’s more of the red substance around him, the warm, wet flesh reaching nearly all the way up to his elbow. He knows he cannot pull free unless he wishes to break his own arm. He wonders if Alexander can see him right now; if he’s laughing as Daniel struggles and fights for his life.

“You are nothing but a coward and a – ” the rest of his sentence cuts off immediately as a some sort of tendril slides free from the gloop below and smacks straight over his lips, silencing him easily as it holds in the noise. He lets go of the bar in front of him and, with shaking fingers, tries to dislodge the substance, but it forms some sort of seal over his mouth, keeping him from making any sound at all. His nails are too short to dig into the matter and he begins to worry that it will grab his free wrist and pin that too. After a few more failed attempts to dislodge it, he reaches for the bars once more, keeping his hand from touching any more of the substance. As long as it doesn’t cover his nose, it won’t suffocate him slowly and brutally; he tries to remain as still as possible, hoping it’ll make it less likely to spread further across his face.

Thankfully, it doesn’t move, however, it doesn’t seem to be the only limb the substance has. Something moves below him, poking gently at his side, slowly making its way over his body as though searching for something, or perhaps just testing his limits. He curses despite not being able to make a noise and the tentacle-like feeler presses harder against him as though it knows. It seems to be more curious than anything, working its way between two buttons of his shirt and softly prodding at his skin beneath. Daniel recoils, but has nowhere to go, as he ends up jarring his shoulder and forcing himself to remain in place, allowing the creature – or whatever it might be – to have its way with him.

He shuts his eyes as the fastenings on his shirt ping off when the tentacle jerks back suddenly, opening the material almost the entire way down his chest. He wants to scream and plead and ask what it wants with him, but nothing escapes but muffled sounds and ragged breathing through his nose. He just hopes that it’s only inquisitive and won’t actually harm him, but he won’t place his bets, knowing nothing in the castle so far has done anything but try to kill him. Even Alexander himself now makes it onto the list. He wonders once more if the baron is watching; if he’s controlling what the substance is doing to him.

He glances up, keeping his sight locked on the view beyond his cell, remaining hopeful that once he’s been mapped out by the feelers, they’ll let him go to continue trying to escape. It tickles as a tentacle circles around his navel, slowing tracing its way up his chest to one nipple, which it pokes in interest, obviously trying to understand more about Daniel’s body. Quicker than Daniel’s brain can catch up, it suctions over the soft skin and pulls just enough for Daniel to twist against the feeling and let out another muffled sound, no longer able to ignore the touches.

Why are you doing this? he wants to ask it, hating the way his body tenses in preparation as another tentacle moves towards his other nipple. He wants to bite and rip and squeeze the life out of the squishy substance, yet all he can do is stare forwards and hold onto the cool metal bar. He flinches as the tip of the feeler flicks against his skin, sucking periodically as though judging and searching for where Daniel is more sensitive. It seems to realise that Daniel’s nipples are particularly responsive as it always seems to return to them, tugging softly as someone would with their teeth; just enough to tease, but enough to remind their partner of the power held beyond their grasp.

Daniel swallows and tries to ignore the way his body reacts, as though he’s being explored by a lover with tender touches. He almost wishes it would hurt him so he could hate what’s being done to him and not have his dignity ripped from him every time his breath catches. Slowly, the tentacles make their way down his chest, over his stomach to brush at the waistband of his trousers. He jolts away from the invasive touch as far as he can, but the substance holds him down, making it easier for it to slide one sticky feeler down the front of his trousers to tug them open with force alone.

Two tentacles push the material down over his hips, letting it bunch up mid-thigh, leaving him cold and trembling in only his undergarments. He wants to hide his face, push it against the floor in shame, but he’s far too worried that the substance will suffocate him entirely if he leans closer, so instead he turns and presses his burning cheek against his bicep. Gently, the feelers trace down his thighs, curling around the backs of them and squeezing gently. When they reach his clothes, they slide along the inside of his legs and trail back up with excruciating slowness.

When one slips up the inside of his underwear, he tries his best to clamp his legs shut, but the stickiness holds him back, forcing him to remain still while it explores. He wants to tell it to stop, to leave him alone, but before he knows it, it’s prodding at his most vulnerable places as though studying his form, needing to know every last detail. His free hand twitches and he wishes he could reach back and stop them from moving any further, but he knows he’ll end up with no way to escape at all. With a muffled sob of embarrassment and horror, the tentacle curls around a handful of cotton and tugs roughly, ripping Daniel’s undergarments down to let them join his trousers around his knees.

Free to explore his entire body without restraints, the feelers seem to tickle against his thighs happily and it sends a wave of nausea crashing over Daniel and he heaves quietly, wondering if after all this he’ll end up choking on his own vomit. One of the tentacles slides between his shoulders, rubbing up and down as though to soothe him, but Daniel hates to think of it as a sentient being, one that knows exactly what it’s doing to him. He cringes and presses his face harder into his own skin to keep himself from looking.

After a long, tense pause, the other tentacle flicks against his entrance and Daniel jumps in shock, not at all expecting the sensation. When the feeler draws away, it seems to leave behind a strange wetness, as it cools against his skin and leaves the area tingling slightly. He crosses his fingers and toes that it’ll move on to other parts of him now, and it does; unfortunately, it moves to gently press behind his sac, nudging against the soft, warm skin with precise motions. If Daniel could speak, he would curse and damn it to hell, but it is more likely that the substance is already from hell, so as it is, he struggles harder and tries to pull himself forward. It doesn’t work; the material just tightens around his body where it’s held and his heart thunders loudly in his chest.

Please don’t do this, he thinks, trying to use willpower alone to save himself, however, the feeler encircles his cock and slides all the way up to the tip. The matter over his mouth keeps all of his noises inside, but it doesn’t stop his mind from screaming and calling out for help. The curious tentacle pokes at the head of his cock, sliding partially under his foreskin and rubbing over his slit. He clenches his teeth, feeling his jaw grind painfully, but the tentacle doesn’t relent as though knowing how much it affects Daniel. It spreads a sticky slick substance over him, like some kind of saliva or seed, and it lessens the friction as the feeler strokes him, but it sends confusing waves of satisfaction up Daniel’s spine.

He heaves again in utter defeat and humiliation as it forms a suction over the tip of his cock and leaves his skin throbbing. His eyes prickle with tears of shame and he prays for forgiveness even as he begins to harden unwillingly. It’s a pleasure Daniel has never felt before; a base sensation that makes his toes curl. It reacts to his cock twitching, tightening its hold and suctioning harder, and Daniel would let out a breathless noise if he could. His hips buck ever so slightly, but the creature seems to notice because it covers his entire length in the warm, smooth material, all the way down, behind his balls and Daniel’s vision whites out briefly.

Oh god, he thinks, unable to say it, as his stomach ties itself into knots, leaving him feeling light-headed, gasping for air. The substance wriggles against his skin, tickling and squeezing with just the right amount of pressure. Daniel has never hated himself more than the moment he thrusts forward for more. Apparently, that’s what the creature wants as it rewards him with a long suction that makes Daniel’s thighs ache with built up pleasure.

There’s a strange slick sound as another tentacle sprouts from the substance below and it drapes across his back with a strange, heavy warmth. He struggles briefly in worry, unsure what it plans to do to him, but wetness suddenly drips over his shoulder, running down Daniel’s upper arm in thick strands. If Daniel’s honest, it looks a lot like come, but he doesn’t dare touch it to find out. He turns his head as far as he can to see the new feeler, but it trails down his spine, dragging more of the slimy mess down with it. He gasps – or he would if he could – as it slides slowly between his parted cheeks, flicking gently at his entrance.

He wriggles, trying to break free as his body fills with horror at the thought of being violated so thoroughly, but the creature holds fast and he doesn’t budge an inch. The head of the feeler swirls around his hole, spreading wetness that’s surprisingly warm, before pressing against him with enough pressure that he feels himself stretching. He clenches down, trying to stop it from sliding inside him, but the hold around his cock tightens, rippling over his length and making him buck forwards at the feeling. In that moment, he relaxes just enough that the tentacle slips inside and he inhales suddenly, knuckles grinding as he grips the metal bar in front of him with a bruising force.

Daniel panics from not being able to breathe through his mouth, feeling suffocated as he tries to escape and he knows he’s verging on hyperventilating, but he can’t stop himself. Strangely enough, when black dots start dancing in front of his eyes, the material over his mouth shifts and gives way, sliding down his chin and allowing him to draw in a ragged breath. He gulps in air, pleas to be released falling off his tongue before he can even think to stop them. The fact that the creature shows some sort of skewed version of compassion just makes it worse.

“Please, just let me go,” he begs, but he feels his muscles stretching as the tentacle slides further into him.

It’s wet; so wet that it drips down the backs of his thighs, but at least it eases the pain and lets the feeler glide smoothly inside without tearing him up. It’s a small favour, he knows, but at this point, he’ll take anything.

The grip around his cock pulses, seems to hum with energy, as though it’s enjoying filling and overwhelming Daniel, but all Daniel can do is cling for dear life.

“I’m nobody,” he says around a gasp, the tentacle inside him finally stilling. “You could find someone better.”

He knows he’s bargaining with the devil and he won’t get his way, but it’s worth a chance, at least. Everything around him pauses, falls still until Daniel’s almost sure that he’s done something right and he’ll be let go. After a long pause, the feeler begins to slide out of him and he drops his head, letting out a sigh of relief at the thought of being freed. However, before he’s even finished exhaling, it slams back inside him, rocking him forward and forcing a strangled cry from his throat.

Daniel only wishes he could say it was a cry of pain, anything than to admit that it was from pleasure.

It must know something he doesn’t, because it rubs against a spot inside him that makes his cock drip with precome at the feeling. He gasps and throws his head back, needing air, and even though his mouth is uncovered, he still feels claustrophobic and penned in. He hates it; hates the way it knows his body better than himself; hates that it makes him ache for more.

It picks up the pace, thrusting into him with abandon and Daniel doesn’t know how long his bones will hold out. Something has to give way eventually, and he’s sure it won’t be the gooey substance beneath him.

He doesn’t notice it at first, but when he begins to feel a little off balance, he realises that his legs are slowly being spread wider, changing the angle, turning the pleasure sharp and steady. He opens his mouth with the full intention of calling for help again, but the tentacle slides an inch or so deeper and Daniel feels so exquisitely full that he end up salivating all down his chin instead. It’s shameful and utterly embarrassing, and he raises his free hand to wipe at his face, needing some modicum of dignity.

Some far off part of his mind wonders what Alexander is doing. Maybe he’s just a few seconds away from completing his plan, or maybe he’s just watching the fleshy red creature slam into Daniel, mocking him for being so easily mounted, like a bitch in heat. Daniel shuts his eyes and tries to distance himself from everything, but nothing can distract him from the way the substance squirms around his cock, tugging him closer to the end.

“Take you pleasure and leave me be,” he begs, but his words seem to have the opposite effect as the tentacles begin to slow, sliding into him with long, leisurely thrusts that make his breath catch. Something nudges at the tip of his cock and he knows he’s lost, knows he’ll never get what he wants.

He bites his lip and clenches both hands so hard he feels his bones creak, but there’s no stopping the flood of feeling that washes over him and leaves him gasping for air as though he’s drowning. He comes with enough force that his whole body spasms, thighs tightening, bordering on cramping, while he empties himself against the waiting substance that just wriggles and encourages every remaining drop of seed from him.

His chest heaves and there’s too much spit in his mouth to draw in a full breath without choking, but the tentacle never stops filling him again and again, bruising his over-sensitised body. He wants to crawl away, to curl up and ignore the entire world. He wants to forget again.

The tentacle shudders and seems to pulse inside of him and an intense feeling of fullness overwhelms him and he scrabbles, trying to pull away before his abdomen can distend from the pressure.

Ah!” he gasps and it’s a strange sensation as the feeler slips free, dragging with it more of the sticky, come-like substance. He bears down against the strain and it all seems to drip out at once, sliding down his thighs, all the way down to his knees. He doesn’t know how long he pushes for, but it seems almost never ending, until the bloated feeling slowly fades, leaving a raw ache instead.

Ignoring his screaming mind, he reaches back with his free hand and touches between his legs gently, fingers sliding easily into his stretched hole even though he never means to let them. He bites back a sob of shame and pulls his hand back, glancing down at the glistening wetness dripping over it.

“Why wait?” he asks, voice wrecked. “Just put me out of my misery.”

A tentacle swipes along his side as though in comfort and Daniel leans forward and heaves, finally free to spit out a mouthful of saliva, his mouth watering as though wanting nothing more than to be violently sick. He doesn’t know how he keeps the contents of his stomach down, but he ends up sprawling face-first into the substance, no longer caring whether or not it will choose to smother him as the humiliation sits low in his belly.

Surprisingly enough, it allows him to use it as a pillow and, eventually, it begins to unstick itself from his body, sliding away from his calves and letting his hand go. His limbs tingle with pins and needles, but he hardly feels it, lying sprawled out, entirely well-fucked, his insides still roiling uneasily. He lets his mind drift back to Alexander and wonders if he ever had a chance to win.

He shuts his eyes and with one last roar from the Shadow, Daniel falls unconscious.