In the End
ONCE upon a time, he’d had a last name and a girlfriend, and he’d been completely straight. He wasn’t sure what happened then. There had been a dark shape, swooping in front of his car, a body thunking off the hood, a terrible crunch of metal, and a feeling of unreality. Part of his steering column snapped in half and penetrated his femoral artery, and his soul began to detach from his body as the blood that held the two of them in the same space pumped out.
Things got weird after that.
Absolute cold, the silence of a frozen sea, the faint promise of warmth and light, and then….
Something fiery burning along his veins, pulling him back through that sea, causing it to splinter and scathe, penetrate and scrape, flay the skin from his flesh and bind it back together with a cold so penetrating, so icy, it felt as though his blood was lined with blistering pustules, bursting with scorching, raw pain.
It felt a little like… a lot like… a whole lot like….
The need to come when someone wouldn’t let you breathe and had your cock in a vise.
Marcus expelled his last breath on a scream, bit down hard on something that felt an awful lot like cold flesh, and pulled blood into his body in an orgy of carnage until his stomach filled to bursting….
And he came.
He felt like panting then, in aftermath, and his chest even cooperated for a few tries. But as he blinked hard and looked around him, his chest stopped moving, and he was too distracted to notice.
His clothing was shredded, and his shredded body was healing, knitting up flesh like some sort of reverse time-lapse photo, even as he watched. He was covered in blood—not just from the injuries that no longer existed, but spilling from his mouth, and over his chest, and there was… a man’s thigh, in tattered jeans, pulling away from his face even as he took stock.
There was also a man’s mouth, licking gently at Marcus’s naked thigh, where he’d seen the steering column enter and the blood had pumped out before the whole frozen-lake-of-silent-fire thing.
The hole where the steering column had been was all gone, and what was left was smooth, rapidly cooling skin.
The man who’d been… suckling on his thigh? Really? The man who had pale white hair turned his head and grinned at him, flashing red, whirling eyes. His mouth and chin were covered in blood and—
“Where are my pants?” Marcus asked, his voice resounding so loudly in his ears that he almost wept.
“Mr. Desarno! Oh my God!” Marcus was on the side of the road, naked from the waist down and covered in blood, and there was something wet and white on his chest, mixed with the blood, and Marcus watched as the man who’d been… suckling… on his thigh rolled over and tucked his equipment in his jeans and buttoned up, commando style.
He was lying on the side of the road, naked from the waist down and covered in blood and come, and someone he knew was there to see him?
Oh God… he knew that voice. Recently. Where…?
“Mr. Desarno, you’re going to be a little disoriented, okay?”
He knew that voice. Where… where…? He blinked, and his teacher’s brain kicked in.
Adult education, last year. She’d been in her twenties, and… fragile. He remembered that she’d been so… on the verge of just not showing up, just not earning her GED, just not being a part of the world at all. Twenty-three years old, and she was just ready to disappear.
“Gina?” His voice was still too loud in his ears. “Gina Victorine?”
“Mr. Desarno! Oh thank the Goddess! You changed! You were dying, right, and I remembered you, right? And Adrian was taking me flying and… we couldn’t just let you, you know? We couldn’t just let you die.”
The blond haired man with the whirling eyes who’d been sucking Marcus’s blood sat up and gave them both an insouciant grin. “Well, technically, luv, he is dead.”
Marcus stared at him, and the man gently placed Marcus’s hand on his own throat.
Nothing happened. Nothing moved. Nothing pumped, breathed, or twitched.
He was dead. Dead, naked, and covered in blood.
“Mr. Desarno, you’re going to be all right, okay?”
Marcus blinked. He was going to be all right? Or he was going to be dead? One thing was certain.
“All things considered, Gina,” he said slowly, “I think it’s better if you call me Marcus.”