A/N: This chapter contains references to rape. If any of you, my lovely readers, feel uncomfortable with this please just skip the second section of this chapter.
Murdoc's footsteps came down the stairs calm, a little parched of blood, like Hannibal's heart in his chest. Pad pad pad. He watched, intrigued, as the rabbit blood swirled into the plughole, and he didn't turn at the sound of Murdoc's breathing.
He had no more fucking time for any more of these fucking bullshit excuses. Everything was dead, dying, or wrapped up in a bin bag and leaking its guts. He didn't care anymore. He whipped around then, and stared at Murdoc's face, and he remembered the day he first saw it, eyes peacefully closed the way Mum's had been just after they'd started feeding her from a little clear bag of what he assumed was chicken soup, through a tube. He never saw her again.
And still here he was.
"I did it for you," Hannibal said quickly. "I mean, think of all of the things I've given you."
Hannibal's face was completely expressionless, and Murdoc had never seen anything like it in his life. He was washed, dressed properly, his hands were clean, and he'd neatly folded the rose-patterned tea towel over the back of a chair. He looked like a man, Murdoc realised; a strong grown man with morals and purpose or something, the doting father, the wise-crack business man, the world-weary arsehole. Murdoc couldn't manage a word.
When he spoke he gradually got quicker and quicker and started to spit. "You can cook it. Fry it, boil it, roast it. You can skin it and make a coat, a hat, some gloves. You can stuff it and put it on the mantelpiece. You can sell it cheap or sell it pricey. You can drain it's blood and exfoliate. Or, why not finger it?"
A grassy taste rose up in Murdoc's gullet, like bad weed or undercooked potato. And he knew it was guilt. He thought of the writhing pink meats of Pris' sex, and the writhing pink meat of the slashed rabbit.
"Why not lick it out? Why not fuck it? You're that screwed up, aren't ya, mate? You're that fucking screwed up!" He was shouting now, but his face didn't move, and the anger didn't reach is eyes, didn't press a single line in his skin, didn't even shake his shoulders. It was contained, calculated, anger like a carbon monoxide pipe leak; it would feed him and feed him and feed him full and just slowly kill him, Murdoc knew. "I know what you've been fucking doing. C'mere."
Well, naturally, Murdoc didn't want to walk willingly into his hands. When he got there, there would be nothing for him but a strangler's clasp.
"I said, come here!"
It was yowled at him with such little emotion he knew he had to obey; steadily Murdoc was realising a person with no feelings rather than too many was a far greater danger. He walked to him, his head full of ants and ants' hills, butterflies, pins and needles. Hannibal did nothing but take his hand and scrub it under his nostrils, inhaling thickly. He clucked his tongue.
"Just like I thought," he whispered, staring into Murdoc's eyes. His looked like metal or concrete or brick in the dark; solid, cold, dead, inhuman but man-made. "I know that anywhere."
"You know, Mum said you'd be a fuckin' curse," he spoke gently to him, as though reciting a sacred prayer, a secret. "She tried ta fuckin' kill you. And then you killed her. And then you killed Karen. An' now Pris is dead."
Murdoc gulped, feeling a burning swell of tears in his eyes. "Dead?"
"To me. Fuckin' dead to me, mate. You killed everybody."
"I haven't done anything!" he squealed when Hannibal grabbed the front of his t-shirt and began to chuckle pleasantly.
"You've done enough," he smiled. Strangely he articulated each word perfectly, well-trained, well-thought-out. "Have you ever wondered, Murdoc, what it might be like to fuck a dead body?"
Murdoc stood, shivering up against his brother's chest, "No."
"Well I popped my cork straight-a-fuckin'-way thinkin' about that," Hannibal laughed, "so now I guess we'll find out, won't we?"
"What?" Murdoc bellowed, "what are you gonna do? She didn't ask for anythin' – it was me, I started everythin', she lay there like a sack o'potatoes!"
Hannibal pressed his lips together, as if in contemplation of something, and then shrugged. "You know what? It doesn't matter. We're both leaving tonight and not coming back. So now. Rat-a-tat. I've got all of my money. And all of yours. And I've wiped the bank account. And now you're all as broke as I am. So now. Forget my face. And forget hers, you sick fuck," at this point Hannibal leaned in, and Murdoc felt the weirdly sexy, heated tingle of beer and brother on Hannibal's breath as it lingered over his lips. Then Hannibal licked his cheek, lavishly, in a single long stroke, leaving a glistening track of wetness on his skin. He spoke into his ear, "Or I'll come back, in the night, and cut your fucking eyes out!"
He had a lit cigarette resting on the ashtray by the kitchen sink. Murdoc saw it coming, of course. Dad wasn't there. No-one was there, and he could barely speak or think for the pain of a cigarette burn in his cornea. That was the last thing he could remember from that night, and the last time he ever saw his brother.
Pris was sat in the dark when he came to the house. She invited him in hoping he didn't know anything, hoping to make it up to him, hoping God would forgive her. She went to the door naked, naked from praying to God, naked all but a pair of knickers and a cardigan wrapped around her.
"Hans!" she grinned at him.
"You're a brilliant liar," he said slowly.
So he knew. She squeezed her eyes shut, for a moment enjoying the broken pulsation of light stained on her retinas. When she opened her eyes he had shut the door and turned off the lights in the sitting room. It was dark. Her cigarette was still burning in her hand and the grey smoke hit the air like hot breath in a cold alleyway.
"Let me explain," she said, unafraid. He wouldn't dare hurt her, after all. She would put her clothes on, and they would talk, and she would repent somehow – although this was Murdoc's fault.
"Lie to me," he said slowly. His tone of voice sounded like a computer or a ghost or something; artificial. She flinched at it. Why wasn't he angry?
"I don't wanna lie anymore."
"No. Lie to me."
"Lie and pretend you like this."
He shoved her back against the wall. His fingers hooked into her underwear, scratching her skin softly, yanking it down her legs, binding her at the ankles. Before she could struggle he bit into her neck so hard he might have been trying to rip up a streaky piece of bacon. She felt his teeth dig against her pulse. She felt him draw pain out of her. She felt him lower her down – she knew it was her it was happening to, but her eyes saw nothing, even as she heard his belt buckle rattle, even as she stung inside, even as he licked at her face, spat in her silently screaming open mouth – she looked up at the light bulb and didn't feel a thing.
31st June 1981
"So, what, you thought you'd fuck his little brother and just get away with it?"
Paula Cracker was hiding her small, gerbil-like, weed-reddened eyes behind sunglasses. She sat on one arm of the sofa in her sitting room, her feet resting on the cushion. She was still dressed in her cat-patterned pyjamas and, though she probably looked like a morning-after Nancy Spungen she couldn't help but regard the mess in front of her with the upmost disgust. This was Pris, filthy crying, wearing a men's denim jacket with grass stains on the elbows, holding a can of lime-cola on her lap, wrapped up in both hands as though she was a starving rodent. She was wearing a skirt, though her legs were thistly and she clearly needed a shave. Paula dared no look under her arms – her natural hair colour was a gingery dark brown like winter spices (she was a peroxide girl that was in deep need of a root touch up) and frankly her pits would have been nauseating. She was crying. She had a cut below her lip in the shape of a crescent moon and a massive, cherry-coloured mark on her neck that had swollen to a bruise.
"I didn't fuck him," she answered quietly. Her boy began zipping up a bag in the kitchen, and then hugged Paula's brother for a long amount of time.
"Well what happened then? Tony says you fucked him, but he's forgiven you and you're going to London now."
"I don't want to go to London," she said.
"Well why're you going then?" Paula demanded, shaking her head at the girl's complete and utter hopeless dumbness. "Jesus, will ya fuckin' stop crying?"
"Oh, fuck off," she muttered.
Paula was outraged. She snapped, "Don't speak to me like that in my own fuckin' house! We've been good enough to let you stay here for two whole fuckin days, fuckin' bonkin' each other into bloody madness. I ain't surprised you're both so freaky." She stood up to leave, but not before throwing an empty packet of Sobraine Blacks at her inattentively, barking, "Why don't you just take a fuckin' hike and clean ya cunt? Huh? Well?"
Hannibal emerged from Tony Cracker's arms and slung the rucksack full of underwear, booze and t-shirts over his shoulder. He took her gently by the hand and guided her out of the house.
He'd paid Tony for his car. Pris sat in the passenger seat, as she was compelled to do for the rest of her life – she had been a passive vessel for two days.
She did not think about the future. Hannibal gave her a sweet kiss in the corner of her mouth, beautiful, caring, softly stroking her cheek like he loved her. She stared ahead at her reflection in the rear-view mirror. Murdoc was a baby. It was time to grow up. This seemed like a childish dream. It was time to grow up. She only had time left in the world to hold her to anything, to keep her alive.
She was going to grow out her hair.
A/N: And so concludes Hopscotch! A million hugs, kisses and thank-yous to everyone who has reviewed, favourite and altered this story. Without the amazing support of all of my readers this would have never been finished, I'm sure of it. Your enjoyment and inspiration has been invaluable to me. I can't thank you all enough but I completely adore every single one of you (especially PandaLove01, Coy Fish and SweetCherryCandy and IAmTheRedOne for their recent reviews) . And an extra-special thank you to, of course, the exquisite cherry-magpie-x – everyone has Sara to thank for the continuation of this story from chapter one – she's been here from the beginning to the end and really is the best resource of encouragement and support I could ask for. Much love for you my darling!
I'm really sad to see this end, but I do hope everyone has enjoyed the experience. As we come to an end I'd like to recommend a few things to you my gorgeous readers. Nothing like a bit of shameless self advertisement! If you still have an insatiable appetite for Hopscotch, please see:
* Shoebox – a Murdoc/Hannibal fic written by me, further expanding on Karen the Rabbit.
* Pinch – a fanfic of a fanfic by cherry-magpie-x, a beautifully written ghost scene to this story. It's just so perfect I feel I might've written it myself, please go and give her love!
* Debridement/NRT/Burning Thicket – three other Gorillaz fics by yours truly.
I'm now beginning a new chaptered fic, this time for the Wuthering Heights fandom – if you're a fellow literature geek please check it out!
So here I sign out. Please let me know what you think, feel free to send Pris goodbyes. I think she might need a little cheering up, so please do! I know she'll miss being written about. If you'd like me to write any fics I do take requests, just sayin' ;)