I may be the only person who likes this story. It was originally a bit about a Wild Arms RP character, but I decided shortly after that she could stand on her own two legs better. Bloody stuff!


She was crouched in the middle of the stone floor, breath rasping in and out of her throat. In and out. She gazed, unseeing, at her blood-slicked hands, unable to accept the unreality of what she'd just seen -- what she'd just done? In and out. For a moment, she thought she was fading away, melting into the floor itself, but she realized through the wishful fantasy that the blood was on the floor, too. She was on hand and knees in a pool of it.

In. Her gaze drifted up, around. Blood everywhere, not a patch of clean floor to be seen. The whole floor was the pool of blood she was crouched in. The walls, too, were liberally smeared with the sticky, darkening red.

Out. But no bodies. Not enough left for there to be bodies. Bile rose in her throat, and she choked it down, fingers clenching slickly. Breathe in.

Over the sounds of her carefully drawn breaths, barely rising into her conscious notice, came another sound. She knew without seeing what it was; skittering from place to place was a half-formed figure from her nightmares, suckling on fear and pain, feeding on the dead.

And thriving. Growing.

She didn't look at it, concentrating only on keeping her stomach from violent upheaval. After several minutes, the subtle sounds of feeding stopped, and wet, padding footsteps made their way toward her. She didn't move as his shadow fell across her -- or even when he squatted before her, regarding her with interest.

He reached out with one hand, tracing the curve of her cheek with his fingers and leaving behind four streaks of red on her pale face. Only when his hand cupped her chin and drew her face upward would she look at him.

As she expected, he wasn't wearing anything, and that was through no fault of his own. His growth had been fast, even by the standards of his kind; there had been nothing available in the fifteen-minutes interval to clothe him in. His skin was oddly pale; it had a blue-gray cast that made his oddly human face seem all the more alien. His features were regular -- even handsome -- and his build, though slender, was firmly muscled. Black hair and eyes -- disconcerting, alien eyes -- that seemed to change in hue depending on the light.

She lowered her head again to retch, giving in at last to her churning stomach. He watched her in silence for a moment, then spoke. His voice was cheerfully sardonic.

"Oh, come now, Mother dear. It wasn't really a blood sacrifice, you know. Your child was hungry, so you fed him." She knew he was smiling as he stood upright again. "And just look at how I've grown."

She didn't look. There was more than just blood coating her hands now. More than that wanted to come up, but she didn't let it. Instead, she gritted her teeth and spoke.

"Shut up, demon."

He turned back to her, eyebrows lifted in mock-surprise. "Why, Mother, what a thing to say -- and to your only begotten son, at that."

"Stop calling me that." Her voice had lost most of its force. She rose slowly -- most of the sickness had passed -- and stood looking at him, dripping refuse on the floor.

He watched her carefully for a moment, as if fearing some reprimand. When none came, he continued. "It is true, you know. I am your child. The first, but not the last." His lips curved into a grin, revealing neat, even teeth. "There'll be more. Lots of little brothers and sisters for me to play with."

"There won't be any more." Her tone, however, was so hopeless that even she didn't believe the words coming out of her mouth.

He shrugged, grin fading. "So," he said lightly, "where are we headed next on this grand adventure? I need to see as much as I can of this world that's going to be mine."

"I need to wash," she said, ignoring his question.

"So do I," the demon answered her cheerfully. "A roll in the hay with the dying does tend to leave you smelly and wet."

She shot him the very briefest of disgusted looks and stumbled toward the entrance, feet scarcely finding purchase on the slippery floor. She could hear the demon's puzzled, quick steps behind her.

"Don't go that way," he said, the cheer gone from his voice.

She looked at him.

"You realize, don't you, that we'll be seen if we go that way?" He gave her a crooked smile, as if his face was unused to the expression, and his eyes held only irony. "I'm sure the world will know my name eventually, but it's a bit too soon to announce it now, don't you think?"

She stared at him in silence, mulling sluggishly over his words. All she could hear in them was his selfish will to survive -- to live through this day so he could destroy the next. She turned back to the door.

"Mother." His voice, this time, held a note of command, and he stepped in front of her, hands suddenly clamping over her shoulders. "For your sake, as well as mine." With an abruptness that bespoke his inexperience with such gestures, he drew her forward to enfold her in a strangely affectionate embrace. His arms wrapped her tightly, vise-like -- she couldn't have moved away from him, even if she'd had the will to -- and she realized, blank fear and shock racing circles through her, that he was warm. Heat radiated from his body, just like any other creature's -- any other human's. The realization struck her like a blow.

Tears streamed down her cheeks, and her eyes gazed hopelessly over his shoulder, lips silently forming the words Let me go don't touch me don't touch me don't touch me over and over again.