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Vice Machine

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The noon was ablaze. Deep blueness spilt across the sky, filling the heated air, and the house’s shape edged into it with its sharp lines of wood and glass. Squinting from the brightness that contrasted with mild dusk of the living room he’d just left, Venom walked along the swimming pool and settled into a lounger. The shade of the palm trees – the only trees up the hill where their house was located – hid him from the too-harsh light that glimmered with gold in the pool’s azure waters.

Noticing him, Miller beamed with his pearly-white smile and swam to the ledge. He emerged and ascended up the metal steps; water traced down his tan body, every muscle prominently bulged from the push. His Rolex shone in the sun when he casually and yet ostentatiously stroked his hair back.

“So, did he take the deal?”

Venom nodded, and Miller sank into the opposite lounger. He effused freshness; water drops were drying on his bronze skin. Miller reached out for a margarita on the small table between them. His full lips curled around the straw, Adam’s apple glided up and down.

“Three consignments, for starters,” muttered Venom, tilting his head to the side. “The meeting’s today at nine. Unofficial, to mark the partnership.”

Miller’s brow rose and he set the glass aside. Even under the sunglasses, his face brightened with satisfaction.

“Sounds good to me,” he said with a grin. “Maybe I should wear my new suit for the occasion? What do you think?” 

Miller rolled on his side and the sunlight exposed his relaxed body, emphasizing the dark spot of his just-tight-enough trunks. Venom beckoned to him with a hand.

“Come here,” he whispered, “first you need to get rid of these.”

With a soft laugh, Miller slid from the lounger. For a moment he stood still, looking at Venom top-down, almost triumphant, and cocked his head. A few golden strands fell to his forehead and he stooped closer to Venom’s face. Their mouths locked in a hungry and deep kiss, no forewarnings. Miller’s tongue tasted like lime and tequila.

Venom laid a palm on his neck, feeling the flushed skin, and Miller clung to him all over, laying on top of him. Their legs intertwined, Venom slipped his free hand under the wet trunks and squeezed a tense buttock. Leaning back, Miller let out a throaty groan, he bit his lip; his sunglasses were fogged up from their hot breaths. Venom tugged on his hair and tilted his face closer with a light push, kissing him as if gulping water from a lonely well in a desert. He felt Miller’s firming cock with his thigh, his vigorous body tensed, arms winded around Venom’s neck, hips rocking shallowly. Not tearing from Miller’s sensual mouth, Venom dipped his other hand into his trunks and clasped his ass, fondling and spreading his buttocks.  

“C'mon, stop it, you're making me blush,” Miller cooed. But it was clear by the sultriness of his features that he didn’t mean it. Venom guided his hands down Miller’s hips and thighs, outlining strained muscles with fingertips.

Miller leaned back, bearing against Venom's chest with his palms, his legs clutching Venom's sides. Shade from the foliage fell to Miller’s face, and his lips parted when Venom palmed his cock through the moist fabric. His hips perked, chest heaved of a deep sigh and, with a bright smile, he slithered down. With his hot mouth he mapped Venom’s pectorals, caressing his skin with his tongue and kneading a nipple between his fingers. Venom let out a breath, dipping his hand to Miller’s disheveled hair, and Miller wouldn't stop lapping at his skin, shifting further south. His limber fingers wedged underneath Venom’s white slacks, unzipping effortlessly.

Miller looked up at Venom’s face, so pleased with himself, and pulled out his half-hard cock. Without taking his eyes away, so piercing even from under the tinted lenses, Miller rested his cheek against his cock and, teasing, licked the shaft with the very tip of his tongue. Venom clasped his hair harder, but Miller was in no haste to continue. He rubbed his face against the cock, barely touching it with his lips, wrapping his fingers around the base and sack. Venom let out a dry moan, and Miller’s teeth flashed wetly in a charming grin.

“Say it,” Miller murmured, and his hot breath brushed Venom’s flesh. “Say how much you want me to suck you off.”

“I want it, badly,” Venom mouthed. Miller’s eyes were drilling into him, through him. “I want you.”

“I don’t know,” uttered Miller, playful, and peered into the sky. “I’m not convinced.”

What a tease. But Venom wasn’t against this simple game rule. With a small smile, he cupped Miller’s jaw, stroking his cheekbone with a thumb.  

“I want your mouth on my dick right now, Kaz,” said Venom with note of fake menace. “It’s an order.”

Miller sharply exhaled from his nostrils, content with the result.

“Yes, Boss.”

His moist lips closed around Venom’s cockhead, his tongue grazed across the length. Venom’s spine arched, and he had to hold back so as to start thrusting his cock into Miller’s throat right away. A few more strands broke loose from Miller’s hair and Venom gently brushed them back, keeping a hold on them and watching a pulsing vein in Miller's temple. He craned his neck, taking the cock in deeper, firming his lips harder, moving faster. Between his eyebrows sat a light crease, his eyelids were drooped, and his eyes met Venom’s one. That profound gaze full of confidence, passion, the one saying I’m the best and you know it, made Venom’s breath hitch. He wanted to sit up and grab Miller’s legs, turn him over and sink his cock into his mouth and caress his asshole with a finger so Miller would moan like a whore and lose his concentration, dropping the act as well as Venom’s cock from his mouth. But before Venom could attempt to do that, Miller swallowed him whole and promptly withdrew with a wet smack. Brusquely, he freed himself from Venom’s firm but delicate grip and straightened, one foot propping against the tiles while he pulled down his trunks. The muscles of his hips bulged hard, and Venom ran his tongue over the roof of his dry mouth.

“You’ve got the stuff?” he asked. Venom nodded and reached to a pocket, extracting a condom and a small bottle of lube. Miller snatched them away, opening the pack with clever fingers and slipped the condom on Venom’s cock, fingertips lingering on the length. His chest rose and fell as he lubed himself; that small wrinkle between his brows again. He sat up, slowly plunging on the cockhead, his mouth parted in a voiceless groan. Feeling the enveloping pressure, Venom groped his thigh and stroked his heated skin.     

Miller’s face twisted, he made a muffled moan. Venom was fully inside, feeling the warm pulsation, and started to move around the clenching flesh. Miller leaned back, supporting himself against Venom’s knee, rocking slowly; his thick cock swayed to the rhythm of the smooth, rolling thrusts. Venom guided his hands up from his legs and pressed them to his chest. Miller’s head lolled back, he moaned deeply and covered Venom’s hands with his, building up the pace.  “Your cock is incredible,” he said. “Can’t get enough of it.”

Biting his lip, Venom shifted his hands to Miller’s ribs and started to thrust upwards, suppressing the responding pumps.

“Fuck me, Boss, yeah, like this,” continued Miller. His thighs shook with scarce shivers, a transparent drop leaked from his reddening cockhead.

“You’re amazing,” wheezed Venom, clasping Miller’s ass cheeks and lowering him faster and faster on his cock. Miller let out a dry chuckle, but his laughter broke off with a moan, and he grabbed Venom’s shoulders. Venom sat up, seeking Miller’s barely parted lips with his, shoving his tongue in deeply. Miller kissed back sloppily, not even linking their mouths, too busy with needy groans and intermittent breaths. He was close.

Venom’s tongue slid across Miller’s lips, chin and jaw to his tense neck.

“Come for me,” Venom uttered with a hitching breath right into his ear, fucking him with thorough and steady pushes.

“Yes, Boss.”

Miller’s arms wrapped around Venom’s shoulders, he pressed his forehead to the crook of Venom’s neck. His hair softly touched Venom’s skin, heavy and hot breaths so close, his tight voice, his strong legs clasping Venom’s sides – Venom embraced him with one arm, moistening his other hand with saliva and took Miller’s cock, rubbing the head and then the whole length, faster and choppier. It seemed that Miller tried to melt into him, squeezing with his arms and legs, clinging onto him, trembling – he came and slowed down. Venom only needed a few more pumps, and he pressed Miller closer, firmer, coming and not keeping down a drawn-out groan.   

They sat silently for a few minutes, settling down, before Miller was the first to break off the embrace. He didn’t look particularly tired, there was a languid smile on his face, and he nuzzled Venom's beard, kissing his jaw.

“I’ll go take a shower,” he said quietly, stroking Venom’s hair, and got up. Venom pulled up his slacks and zipped up, catching Miller’s wrist as he was about to turn away, and placed a soft kiss on his lips. Miller grinned and fixed his sunglasses.

The sky had become obscured by dark clouds – Venom hadn’t noticed when it happened. Rain was approaching, but sweltering heat wasn't going anywhere. Venom got up and took Miller’s abandoned glass, taking a few thirsty gulps. He looked into the distance, absent-minded. Then he started.

Through the withered greens, from the hill’s base, a man in a cowboy hat stared at him. He stood motionless, his piercing gaze fixed on Venom. Sharp pain burned the right side of his forehead, echoing with reverberating gnash through his brain; he clutched his head, squeezing his eye shut – a deafening clatter of breaking glass made him startle. Alert, Venom glanced at the house, the huge windows of which appeared to be safe and sound, and inside Miller’s silhouette brushed across the living room. He looked at the ground: the glass was shattered into pieces, and the cocktail had spelt across the white tiles in a neon puddle. Venom slowly reached to his pocket but remembered that he’d left his gun in the house. Turning his attention back to the slope, he found the man in the cowboy hat was gone.

 

***

 

The sun was spreading its last rays on the Persian rug in the living room. Venom halted in front of the bookshelf, where vinyl records and porn magazines nested among books. He carefully moved the album of Francis Bacon’s illustrations and pushed the hidden button beneath it. A light skirr sounded and the shelf slid apart, revealing a red velvet alcove loaded with guns.

“Are you serious?”

Miller ceased in the doorframe: he’d already changed into a dashing white suit with a dark Hawaiian shirt underneath, unbuttoned just enough to show off his chest. A golden chain complemented his tan nicely.

“Just to be on the safe side,” said Venom, taking a Desert Eagle and shoving it behind his belt on the back. “Does it peek?”

He turned his back on Miller, tentatively moving his arms to and fro. The flap of his jacket had to be long enough to hide it.

“Nah, it’s fine.”

Miller walked into the room and plunged onto the leather couch with a coffee table in front of it, spreading his knees wide. Taking out a small plastic envelope, he poured a little of its contents onto the glass surface, then his hand dipped into a chest pocket and he drew out a 50 dollar bill.

“Cutting costs, huh?” Venom commented. Miller rolled his eyes.

“We just need to close more deals.”

Venom approached the table, considering the fruit in a bowl on top of it. Choosing the most vivid peach, he snatched it and estimated for imperfections. There were none, and he bit into its juicy flesh.

In the meantime, Miller skillfully smoothed out a line, flattening it with a Visa Platinum he'd picked from the table. Rolling the bill into a tube, he leaned forward, propped it against his sharp nostril and crisply inhaled. He made a content mumbling sound, rubbed his nose and laid back in the seat, spreading his arms on the backrest and peering to the ceiling. Venom clenched the peach pit in his fist.

“Let's go?” he asked, having waited a couple of moments while Miller was sitting in a wordless trance. With reluctance, Miller stood up and dusted off his slacks.    

“Should I take a gun too?” he asked, staring at the stash in the wall.

“Better not, might turn out a big pain in the neck.”

They exited the house, coming down the path past the bushes of hibiscus and alocasia and sparsely placed fan palm trees to the fence. Magenta beams of setting sun foreboded winds. Miller pulled at the gate handle and stepped down onto the driveway, where their deep red Buick Riviera was parked.  

“You mind if I drive?” offered Venom, approaching the car from the left. Miller shrugged and passed the keys over, deftly jumping over the top and sprawling on the passenger’s seat. Venom opened the door and settled down.

Miller’s sunglasses gleamed in the fluid purple rays; he ducked his head to the rear view mirror, watching the reflection of his face. With mere fingertips he smoothed down his hair, then fished out a rattail comb and brushed up one particularly wayward strand. His hairstyle was more than alright, but he inspected it over again, casting up his chin and turning his chiseled face about. His lips were lightly parted; noticing Venom’s fixed gaze he beamed.  

“How do I look?” asked Miller, propping his face with his palm.

“You look incredible,” answered Venom, not taking his eyes off the fire from behind Miller’s sunglasses.

Miller burst out laughing, his head dropping back, and drew near him, wrapping his arms around Venom's neck and pulling him closer.

“That’s right there is why you’re the best,” he said with a seductive smile, and closed his lips with Venom’s. The kiss was brief but its fullness took over Venom’s mind, rewinding it again and again when Miller was already back at his seat, joyful wrinkles in the corners of his eyes.

The engine started with a turn of the key. Venom looked  both ways, though there was almost never traffic on this stretch of road. He shifted into gear and eased into the turn out of the driveway.

The wind was tender. Soon the narrow, serpentine road morphed into the broad highway through a vast heath. Miller sat with his face up, it seemed he was dozing off. The dusk was setting, the sun merged into the line where the road disappeared from the view, the air became crisp with dew. In the distance, muffled by engine’s roar, sounded crickets' warble.

Miller stirred. His hands hovered over the dashboard, fingers pattering against the buttons. He turned on the radio and switched stations back and forth until one of the songs met his tastes. Stretching and sighing sweetly, he grabbed a pack of Marlboros.  

The headlight beams protruded through the dark, the broken passing line flickered with white flashes. The scent of tobacco and monotonous tune lulled Venom, his only uncovered eyelid became heavy. He endeavored to focus on the road when a swift shadow swept in front of the car.

He hit the brakes, tires screeched, a strangled scream sounded. Severe shudders shook Venom's hands, he leaped out of the car without shutting the door. There was nothing on the road, he looked around – not a hint of the run-through, be it animal or human.

“What the hell are you doing?” Miller rose from his seat.

“I thought I saw... something.”

White light cut through the air, lighting up the swirling dust. Venom squinted, his face clenched up from the blinding rays. He peered into the depth of darkness behind them, but couldn’t see anything or anyone.

“Just a mound,” said Miller. “Let’s get moving.”

Half an hour later they entered the town. Neon signs glared from every direction, the roar of traffic drowned out the radio and steady tapping of Miller’s fingers against the car door. A little further to the outskirts, 17 Hound Drive, here. A white mansion illuminated with flood lamps – that was it, there weren’t any other houses of that kind around.

Venom drove into the driveway, judging by the amount of cars the party was in full bloom. He killed the engine. Miller was the first to get out and he marched towards a man in a blue suit who hurried to them. Venom followed suit.

“Boss, Miller!” The man had a pleasant smile and he offered his hand to Miller, who beamed in reply and shook it with vigor. Venom looked at the man’s face – a lengthy scar divided it into two, though not diminishing the friendliness in his expression.

“Zero,” Venom nodded and joined with a handshake.

“We’ve been waiting for you,” said Zero and patted Venom’s back. “Come on in, make yourself at home.”

Venom walked after Zero, Miller following beside. They crossed the extensive yard where dozens of well-dressed men and women gathered around the highlighted swimming pool – they laughed, conversed, each had a glass of champagne. Light jazz was playing from the house. Venom felt a hand on the small of his back and half-turned toward Miller, who nodded at him with a light-hearted grin.

The interior appeared not less crowded. In every other room Miller leaned to Venom’s ear to comment on art pieces in Zero’s possession.

“Over there,” he motioned with his head, “is The Orchard by Maurice de Vlaminck, apparently the original. Although I don’t think that expressionism fits in with the hi-tech interior.”

“Doesn’t look bad to me,” Venom shrugged.

“Reeks of money, at the very least.”

At last, Zero stopped in one of the rooms: a long dining table filled a half of it, a glass wall provided a view to the backyard with the pool. With a grand gesture, Zero encouraged them to sit down; all heads turned to them, some people stood up in greetings.

“I want to introduce my friends to you,” boomed Zero to the guests, taking a glass. “This is Vic Boss and Benedict Miller.”

Venom and Miller nodded, taking their respective glasses.

“To our alliance,” Zero smiled and raised his glass.

“To our alliance,” echoed Miller with his best charismatic tone and toasted with him. Venom followed his lead and took a sip of sweet champagne.

While Zero was discussing his paintings with Miller in a low voice, Venom was observing the people. From the opposite direction, a woman ran up to the table – a platinum blonde in a blue low cut high slit gown with long sleeves, her cleavage barely leaving room to the imagination. Flapping her voluminous hair to the side, she stooped to a sullen girl on the opposite of Venom – a black corset dress, brown hair done up – and both of them stared at him. Two pairs of glowing eyes – blue and green – pierced him with intrigued gazes. The blonde plucked her lilac-painted lips in a blown kiss and took a seat, the brunette lowered her lashes, fingering a fish knife.

“This is Eva,” said Zero, leaning closer to Venom and glancing at her. She waved her fingers, all coquettish, and winked. “And this is Quiet,” he added, and the brunette nodded shortly.

“Pleased to meet you, ladies,” Miller sang in his trademark suave voice and kissed Eva’s knuckles.

“They act in my... films,” Zero smirked.

“Why ‘Quiet’?” Venom asked, paying her an inquisitive look. She didn’t answer anything, just shifted closer to Eva, whose mask of vibrant makeup deformed with hostile roughness.

“Don’t ask stupid questions,” she hissed, taking Quiet’s hand in a protective hold.

“Quiet has her niche,” Zero interrupted, raising his glass again. “But let’s not ruin the mood. The girls are a little gift to you, to celebrate our deal.”

All five of them drank. The music changed to easy disco; the lights dimmed. Many left their seats to dance, and of course Miller kept abreast.

“I've always wanted to star in porno, we should discuss that with him,” he leaned to Venom's ear before hurrying after Eva who was pulling at his sleeve.

Out of politeness, Venom reached his hand out to Quiet. To his surprise, she nodded and stood up; the hem of her dress appeared to be a chiffon skirt that jounced with every sway of her hips.  

He awkwardly shuffled about on the impromptu dance floor, and Quiet weaved her arms around his neck, yet kept her distance.

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to offend you,” Venom mumbled. Quiet shook her head and gave him a mysterious smile. Her eyes looked past him.

Two songs later, Venom stepped back from his escort, scanning the crowd for Miller. No white suit, no shine of the blue dress caught his eye, and he headed to the next room, forcing his way through the dancing people. In the doorway he ran into a waiter with a twitching brow. He grabbed Venom by the arm. He was holding a telephone.

“Vic Boss?” he asked, trying to outshout the music. Venom nodded.

“A call for you,” the waiter said and thrust the phone to Venom’s hands.

He pressed the receiver to his ear. Steady white noise came over the line.

“Hello?”              

Something clanked on the other end with a metal clash.

“Come into the woods,” said an unknown male voice.

“Who’s that?”

Dial tone. Once again Venom felt a poignant pain in his skull, as if something squashed from outside, aiming to stave in the bone. Cupping his forehead, Venom returned the phone to the waiter.

The next room was darker, heavy curtains covered the windows. Few people were there, talking in half-whispers on velvet sofas. In the far corner, Miller and Eva melded in a fervent kiss, her arms entwined around his neck, sneaking underneath his collar; Miller was squeezing her thighs, his fingers disappearing under the rim of the thin blue fabric. Venom approached them, standing idle.

“Ben,” he called, and Miller instantly broke away, adjusting his jacket. Eva tucked a curl behind her ear, peering at Venom with an enchanting smile.

“Something urgent, Boss?” Miller asked, patting his pockets for cigarettes. He shoved one between his teeth and Eva leaned toward him with a burning lighter.

“I’ve just remembered something,” Venom uttered. Someone stopped next to them, steps almost noiseless; he turned and saw Quiet. Noticing her, Eva jumped up and hugged Quiet’s waist with an arm.

“Boys, let’s take a walk,” Eva offered. Venom and Miller exchanged glances, then looked at the girls.

“I don’t mind,” said Miller, crushing a cigarette in a black glass ashtray. “Boss, you wanted to tell me something?”

“Yeah, better do it outside,” Venom agreed. Eva and Quiet’s faces lit up.

“I’ll just grab my purse,” said Eva and before she took off to the dining room, she placed a kiss on Miller’s cheekbone, leaving a lilac mark on his skin.

They met up beside the pool. The floodlights were too bright, and Venom covered his face with his palm. Eva took Quiet’s arm and ordered him and Miller to follow. Four long slanting shadows fell on the bleached wall of the mansion.

Miller’s hand rested on Venom’s shoulder with peculiar heaviness.

“What did you want to tell me?”

The girls were laughing. Eva wouldn’t stop chattering to Quiet with a jolly voice. There were less and less people around, music muffled, Venom could hear night birds’ singing.

“I had a strange dream yesterday,” said Venom, puncturing every word. “I was riding a unicorn through a prairie.”  

“Interesting,” Miller chuckled. His hands were in his pockets, shoulders craned back in a relaxed manner. The trees thickened around them, concealing the sight of the mansion.

“It didn’t throw me off in the dream,” continued Venom slowly. “There were enormous birds hovering in the sky, and you were there, too, but I could only hear your voice.”

“And what did I say?”

Eva stopped in the dark, propping her back to a trunk. She took something out from her purse, Quiet approached her and covered her face with her hands, but it still lit up with an orange glow. Venom sensed a familiar harsh scent.

“I... can’t remember,” he muttered, but Miller wasn’t listening: rubbing Venom’s shoulder, he turned to the girls. Eva burst out laughing and passed the joint to him.

Chill crept through the close-set woods, headache rang in Venom’s ears. The sky was hidden by ragged foliage; somewhere above them a crow cried.

His eyes got over darkness, and he saw Quiet staring at him intently. Eva hugged Miller by the shoulders. She was shaking with laughter, too loud among the sounds of nature. Miller laughed back. Venom felt a hand on his chest and startled: Quiet was a step away from him, looking into his face. He didn’t want her so close, and he shrugged her hand off, rolling his shoulders.

“Let’s see if you can catch us!” shouted Eva at the top of her lungs.

“What?” Miller bent over with laughter, Eva echoed him, and even Quiet chuckled weakly. The dark floated in front of Venom’s eye, the trees merging into a black formless mass.

“Ready, steady, go!” Eva cried out, and before Venom could blink, she and Quiet took off running in opposite directions. A swift gust waved them off before they disappeared into the woods, and only the quiet rustle of grass indicated their presence.

“They're a riot, aren't they,” Miller exhaled, dusting off his jacket.

“Kaz, let’s get out of here.”

The right side of Venom’s head pulsed with deep ache, like asphalt crushed with a jackhammer. He reeled on his heels and Miller steadied him, holding his elbow.

Leafiness was torn apart with a blinding ray of cold light. Venom froze, chills ran up his spine. Throbbing roar from the source of light sounded like a car engine, the beam hardened, reverberating in a red circle on Venom’s retina.

He stepped forward, slowly – a branch crunched, and between the trees he saw two narrow eyes staring at him. The look was overwhelming to the bone, it drew closer, and then before him stood the man in the cowboy hat. He was a razor-sharp grey figure in the acid white light. Dust danced in the air; it reeked of burnt flesh. A metal clank sounded.

Venom stretched out for the Desert Eagle, but his fingers only met his belt. Taking a deep inhale, he raised his fists and stepped forward on his numb feet.

“Go for him, not me,” said the man in the cowboy hat in an obscure, muffled voice. His index finger pointed behind Venom’s back.

Venom turned in caution, the noise in his ears grew vociferous and drowned out the night sounds. From the depth of the woods, a man was coming at him; his shape bled and diffused, he towered among the disturbed bushes, one arm thrusted forward. Instead of a face he had a blurry smear lacking lips, eyes or mouth. Venom strived to make him out and narrowed his eye, but the pseudo-face only was getting more ill-defined. Incandescent steel sizzled in Venom’s head, like his skull was split open. He bent from the pain and panted, grasping his forehead. The man from the woods halted, and in the headlight beam Venom recognized his snakelike features. From the other side, Venom’s own face stared at him, wrenched with a sinister grin. He aimed the Desert Eagle at Venom.

“Now do you remember? Who you are?” the double croaked, cocking the hammer of the gun. “I am you, and you are me.”

The forest behind the double whirled into a dark spiral, his laughing face split in the white light, doubling, tripling, verging and distorting. But he didn’t move an inch, and Venom couldn’t move a finger himself. On Venom’s right came a gloved hand with a revolver sitting in it.

He jolted to grab the revolver, but the man in the cowboy hat dispersed into thin air, his contorted shadow lingering for a moment. The pain burned Venom’s whole body, it felt like he was breaking from within. He made a labored step, a loud burst sounded. The double looked at him with unblinking eyes, and Venom rushed onto him like a wildcat, throwing his last strength into the assault.    

The gun fell to the grass. Venom brought the fiend to the ground, ruthless, clutching his torso between his thighs; his fists were punching with acute frenzy, one hit, two, three – Venom’s knuckles had gone numb. The double’s face still laughed, blood gushed from his broken nose and hollowing mouth. Venom loomed over him like a black shadow in the icy lights, like a demon over his prey, and clutched his hands on the man’s neck with an iron grip. He dipped his fingers into living flesh, gore gurgled in his throat along with strangled groans. The double’s hands clawed into Venom’s thighs in a desperate attempt to throw him off, but Venom only hardened his grasp, crushing the man with his hands, legs, with his whole weight. Bone crackling filled his head, mashing with everlasting ring and faraway echo of voices. Venom was throttling him, squeezing his throat harder, harder, until the echo became one voice, a well-remembered one.

The ominous light turned bluish. Staggering back, Venom pulled his hands away from the body. Through the crimson bloodstains, none other than Miller’s face stared at him with cold, empty eyes. 

 

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