"I live near the

slaughterhouse

and I am ill

with thriving."

- BUKOWSKI

I.

You don't understand what happened, just know that as they drag his body across the perfectly made rug of royal red up to the throne you stand beside, that the man, no boy, is the most pitiful thing you have ever seen. He spits in your face, but you do not falter. The king merely stares at him.

"You are aware of your crimes?"

"Fuck you, frothy dismal-dreaming scullion."

The chuckle that nearly escapes your lips leaves you feeling lucky that your neck isn't severed yet. The king shifts in his seat as he ponders what to do. In that span of a moment, your metal uniform weighing you down with the force of the hearts you've slain, he looks at you. Really looks at you, and you find yourself licking your chapped lips and shifting away. He makes you uneasy, large yellow eyes with something so close to human, it makes you choke. Makes you feel like your drowning.

The king makes a thumbs down and the guards are lifting up his body as you unsheathe your sword. You didn't think twice when it broke bone, but you will forever remember it as the day your heart stopped and something inside you clawed its way out and died with the unknown man lying at your feet in pieces.

If you stare long enough, it looks like broken glass.

II.

You sit quietly in the pews, the church in full throttle as the choir hums a tune and the audience claps, paying their indulgences for fake guarantees to heaven. An altar boy stops at your pew, the last row, away from the lecherous preachers and chatty housewives. The plague was spreading and you will not be the one to catch it.

The boy looks at you expectantly, holds out a hat and growls. The little retched boy growls and hisses at you, baring teeth like knives. You didn't blink much at him, recalling him to be one of the head's favorites. Your lips curl downwards. The boy nudges your foot and you rightfully tell him to fuck off. He fumes for a bit, recalls his place and settles down. His eyes narrowing in delicious anger and Dave wondered how soft his lips were. How many older have tried them? You lick your own lips in response.

The wrong move, the boy feels immediately violated, turns a wonderful shade of red before storming off to the other side of the pews, hat in hand and collecting as he moves. You don't see him again until your shuffling out, eyes catching the preacher holding him close, hand lower than should be allowed with that submissive look in the young male's eyes, the same wonderful color tickling his cheeks.

You dream about him that night, dream about his body under yours, him withering with the ghost of touches and the softest of thrusts.

You wake to hear that the old church was set ablaze that night, the orphans stored away in the basement burning alive.

III.

You are tired as fuck. The brothel should have been closed hours ago now that the sun was peaking behind grey sheets of sky. You ache everywhere, feeling unnecessarily empty. The girl was a bit wild compared to your usual, her body harsh with cuts and bruises and you wondered as you fucked her if she tells her husband what she does purposely for the beatings. She probably got off on such things.

The door opens and you lull your head lazily to look while you offhandedly realize the bed sheets will be stained for the rest of the day. A male stands at the doorway, skin flushed even with the dark tones to it. A laborer, most likely. It's only justified when they're touching and you feel the cool callus of his hands on your back, digging blunt nails into your back. You find yourself wishing him too, wanting him to be covered in cuts just like the woman you fucked. He looks into your eyes, red with the tiredness of work meeting yellow with passion and his mouth is on yours and so hot. You kiss him, like you do anything else, with the best of your skills and the pretense of your knowledge. He's mewling in your ears within seconds and you're already hard.

You don't think much when you let him enter you, his body all wired with muscles and his skin tight and god, he was so fucking deep inside you and you are moaning harder than you ever were before you pass out, white passion and blazed eyes.

Waking up alone, like usual, gives you a sense of calm that's only thrown off by the familiar. Yet you swear not in this lifetime, of the absence of something you had close enough to keep.

You decide that taste was horrible and drunk three bottles of whiskey to kill it dead.

IV.

He tastes like ash, you recall. You find yourself frowning at the notion because you just met the man and here you are, acting like you have an air to be familiar with him. He doesn't smile at you. Instead, he turns to talk to the man beside him, whisper secrets you hate yourself for wanting to know, But more than anything, you want the feeling of his breath on your eye, his eyes on you as he whispers somethings and nothings and you hum at the thought.

There's a smile on your lips when you find him waiting by the door, move to make small talk, to get his name because you are sure you have met him before. The look he gives you holds the same feeling as he tries to place you, obvious that his brain only draws blanks.

It's your only chance to put a name to a face, to hear him say yours aloud before tomorrow, where you and your fellow settlers were journeying to the new land. Britain's thirst boiling in your veins at the new world being spin with the edges of your fingertips. The look he gives you as you approach is hard enough to press you into diamonds.

You leave without a word, just a smirk and enjoying the wonderful shade of color on his usual dark face.

V.

He's staring at you, wide-eyed and fear stricken. There are near-tears in his eyes and he's scrambling to make sure you don't move. Despite the absolute look of devastation on his face, he is the one with the gun in his hands, the one with the finger on the trigger and a bullet that dances with the thought of piercing you. You are out of bullets, you vaguely realize, the trenches nearly empty except for you and the German, the man's knees shaking something fierce. You can easily take him, the boy was too young to be in the army anyway, a child no older than seventeen, you think. You have five years on him. Without thinking, you move to grab the gun, a movement too fast that it spooks the boy.

The bullet flies through you like paper and you lay on the ground trying not to piss yourself at the sheer pain of literally having a hole in your chest. You swallow air rapidly, your own blood drowning you, another familiar feeling you can't quite place.

The boy runs to you, something you also cannot understand and gathers you in his hands. He has not experienced the pain of taking a life before this moment and as he cradles you, he weeps. And you find yourself crying as well, but not for you, for the boy who died more than you think death is worth today.

You leave with tears mixing with blood and gentle apologizes.

VI.

The weather is getting colder, you dully note. A man sits in front of you, a stern face with a boyish undertone, head held high with jagged teeth and a horrid tongue. He is reading the accusations against you, the shackles itching on your wrists. You shift in the wooden seat, and in turn, receive a beating over the head with a wooden stick. You chose that it would be wiser to stay style, a tough decision considering it wasn't your usual style.

He prattles on, the list full of bullshit reasons, you both know, that will wind up with you swinging from a rope. He doesn't look up, as if making eye contact with you is uneasy to him, something too knowing in the way he tried to place your face. He's cruel and harsh, the words thrown to insult hitting you like a wave, yet your face remains neutral. Yes, you are sure you have met him before.

"What's ya name?" You blurt out, voice sounding disgusting from underuse, bouncing off stone walls and falling on foreign ears. The male looks up from the paper in front of him with faint surprise. Almost as if, you ponder, you knew he was waiting for such a question, a proposal that he, himself, was forbidden to offer.

"It's Karkat," he says slowly, "Karkat Vantas." You nod, just as slow and swear to yourself that even as you lay hanging from the rope, swaying left to right in front of a crowd, that you would remember.

VII.

You watch as the train unloads hundreds, no thousands, of people, moving rather slowly, a pace that made you feel agitated, the snow that fell worsening your mood. The separation began soon after, women to the left, men to the right. Boys and Elders walked together, shoeless in the blaring snow, feet as white as death and breath too tired to form a cloud of smoke to puff above them.

You watch them move, not as silently as you'd like, one turning to look at you as you dragged a woman to her feet, blind as a bat and useless. After dragging her took more energy than you assumed she was worth, you let her fall on the snow covered ground, like a pillow enveloping her. You remove your rifle and shoot her cleanly in the head. The screaming comes soon after, a body rushing toward you in a blaze of anger. You point your rifle at the oncoming offender before he has time to approach. Watch with calm eyes as he stares at you, dark skin and crusted eyes, dropping to his knees in horror at your face. He cannot cry because he doesn't have anything in his system to produce tears, so the only thing you hear, over the shouts by other Nazi soldiers to keep moving and yells of pain from those around them shuffling passed, was the dry sobbing of a boy who wanted to mourn the loss of someone but had no means to do so.

You put your rifle away, to both of yours surprise, and beckon him to stand. He shakes his head, spits in your face, and you've been in this scene before. His name is rolling off your lips before either of you have the chance to mutter anything else, and he looks up at you without question, getting up slowly. He moves like the rest of the bodies around you, hopeless and dead.

You made arrangements so that in the dead of night, as you snuck in to his cabin, dragged him out of his shit of a bed, men in the room remaining silent as he screamed for someone, anyone, just fucking help me. He didn't scream when you entered him, at the hardly shallow thrusts, at the harsh contrast in weather of the snow outside and his fire of skin. He burned you with silence and that angered you more. When you finished, he made another strangled sound, the same dry cry as before.

He was put to ashes and you feel as if your insides were on fire.

VIII.

Your face remains calm as he swallows you whole, hollows his cheeks to fit as much of you in his mouth, careful to avoid scraping you against those bear-traps he calls teeth. He hums with you in his mouth and you grunt, the vibrations making you shift your legs and thrust shallowly, a weak attempt to go deeper. Karakt, the name fits the face, you think, understands as he opens his mouth wider, licks the slit at the tip before swallowing you once again, tongue moving to encircle as much as it can.

You're groaning now, feeling yourself thrust passed his lips, forward and back, repeat. His mouth is hot, but that's not what's really doing it for you. It's his face, you think. The way he looks at your stomach, eyes narrowed in pure concentration, cheeks a wonder—no beautiful color of red, a shade you wish ran through your blood, a warm color. His eyes are blown, gone with swollen lips wrapped around you. He pulls back to look at you, your dick falling out of his mouth as he grasps you. "Dave," he mumbles, looking at you questionably.

You moan and slur as his voice is what carries you away, right on his face, and laugh at the look of horror and disgust he gives you before licking his lips.

IX.

Karkat's body lay still against yours, the quiet whistles of the birds outside, the break of dawn, keeping you awake and solid. The boy doesn't stir, but you move in the sheets restlessly, tired, and excited. You trace circles on his back and tell tales with your fingers on his shoulders. You whisper adventures in his eyes and hold him with your arms.

The apartment is small, getting smaller, you're both too personal not to horde a lot of shit you don't need. You debate in asking him to move somewhere else, closer to the nightlife of the city, rather than the edges of the abyss of old people and retail homes. He'd probably punch you in the face. You chuckle at the thought.

"I love you," you whisper, and ponder when you started acting so incredibly gay when he's asleep and unable to hear you. You feel a bit disappointed when he doesn't say it back, but you know it's not his fault, he's practically dead beside you.

So instead, you hum appreciatively that you're this close, his skin like lava and lips of ash, and you figure you can die like this.