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Darling Don't Be So Shy (I'll See You at Midnight)

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Living like this was tiring, he just wanted it to be over or to leave. He couldn’t leave though, not when Changbin made it so easy for Chan to sneak around behind his back, meeting up in the middle of forests when the clock struck twelve, cloaked in black like the grim reaper. He figured he was sort of like a delivery boy, picking and choosing people who were ready, sending them halfway there for the reaper to finish. Maybe that made him worse than the man with the scythe.   

Something was different this time though, Chan could feel it when he met up with the others. It was a new group, six boys in their early twenties.  This is interesting,  he rarely worked with people this young, usually they were a bit older, at least mid to late twenties. He had spoken to one of them through texts, a guy named Seungmin, and he was surprised when one of the lankier boys walked towards him introducing himself as the person he’d been messaging.  

Seungmin looked like the last person chosen when questioned with ‘Who was the one that summoned an ancient demon and  performed  a  sacrifice ?’ But they were all like that. He was pretty,  would’ve made an okay sacrifice himself,  and he had this aura of  false  good about him.  What are this kid’s intentions?  Chan shook his hand anyway, the younger’s grip was strong and sure. He could work with this.  

You’re not what I expected,” he gave Seungmin a once over before scanning the rest of them. They were all so typical, good looking people. Chan could’ve smelled them from a mile away but he had to humour them.  

“Not expected but welcome, I hope,” the boy smirked, “You and I both know it’s boys like me  though .”  

Boys like you, huh? Very cute.  Chan’s mind wandered to what it would've been like to groom Seungmin for sacrificing. The weedy kid would probably be down for it, into having his body used as a gift to some  otherworldy  being. Maybe he’d present himself to Chan first, all smug smiles and brandishing an ornate knife, offering to carve the first symbol into his chest.  In another life, Seungmin.   

 

He led the group of boys through the forest, the trees seeming to get taller and taller. They walked in the darkness, the only light source coming from the moon. Chan’s eyes adjusted to the dark fairly quickly, but he could hear some of the other’s stumbling around behind him  and then a thud.   

“Jeongin, grab my hand. Come here,” Seungmin’s voice was the first to break the silence spell, followed by a slightly lower voice asking where ‘here’ is.  

Moving  forward ,  they came to a small clearing in the trees and the faint sound of a goat bleating filled the air. The moon was perfectly centred when they looked up as if it was there to watch their every move, casting a glow that was far too innocent for what they were going to do. It’s craters a million beady eyes that cling to the dark and disturbing. There was a small table Chan had set up prior to meeting the boys at the opening of the forest,  covered in a red cloth ready for whatever instruments the group brought. To his left the goat bleated again, it had eaten patches of grass around where it was tied to a stake. Chan found himself thinking he could own a goat as a pet, or  maybe I should start a goat farm, it would make things easier.   

The arrangement was for Chan to overlook the ritual, supply the sacrifice and make sure shit didn’t hit the fan. Seungmin must know what he’s doing. He had his doubts, of course, the weird gut feeling didn’t leave. It felt like his stomach was clenching, trying to squeeze itself out of existence but he tried to focus on what was happening.   

 

They began. Adorning masks depicting grotesque faces, some of the boys stripped off their shirts and formed a circle around a triangle that someone dug into the dirt. Seungmin opened up in a prayer, standing at the point of the triangle behind a stake and his voice had taken on a deeper tone surprising Chan momentarily. Maybe he had nothing to worry about, the younger’s pronunciation was clear even though Chan wasn’t familiar with what he was saying.  

That should’ve been a red flag, he should’ve intercepted the prayer but past experiences similar to this where nothing went wrong gave him a sense of security. He watched on, relieved when Seungmin began calling on specific demons while the others chanted lowly. The sound hummed through the forest and Chan could feel the energy swirling around them spike. This was something he knew, no need to be cautious anymore.   

Someone broke the circle, one of the older looking boys with sandy brown hair, and walked towards Chan where he stood by the goat. This was his favourite part, the best part. Chan watched as he untied the animal and lifted it with little struggle, arms bulging. The bleating got louder. Handing the goat over to Seungmin, the sandy haired boy retrieved a large silver knife from the table, the blade almost as long as his forearm and handle engraved with intricate symbols, presenting it to the other before returning to his place.   

You’re taking your time, Seungmin. I know you can do it, hurry up and slice the goats  throa -  

Chan’s stomach dropped. There was something off with the chanting. He strained his ears, searching for the smaller voice that didn’t match the others. Someone in the circle was invoking something else, Chan wasn’t sure what but this shouldn’t be happening. Scanning the faces of the boys was out of question, he was only faced with the morbid masks. He took a step towards the group, ready to recite a closing mantra when his feet became rooted to the spot and his mouth was clamped shut by an invisible vice.  This isn’t good,  he could only watch as Seungmin grabbed hold of the goat’s horns and forced it’s head to face the sky.   

Momentarily forgetting that something was going wrong, Chan watched eagerly as the boy’s arm curved in an arc and the crimson liquid sprayed onto the ground. He wished that Seungmin had been messier  as if the blood spray wasn’t enough , that he wasn’t so experienced just to satisfy his raging bloodlust.  I need to see  more  blood, give me blood Seungmin.  He spoke too soon, the younger was down on his knees now, his grip on the knife was different as he sliced through the flesh and muscle easily. This is what Chan was waiting for.  I knew he’d come through.   

Seungmin’s lower stomach and hands were streaked, the contrast between his creamy skin and the fresh blood hypnotic. He watched in fascination as the boy made deft work of the joints in the animal’s neck and before he knew it, Seungmin was passing around the decapitated head. Each member held the head above their own, masks pushed up to let the blood drip freely into their mouths. Chan snapped out of his daze.   

He had to move again, had to do something to stop them before the head got back to Seungmin. They were messing with something far more dangerous than whatever they came here for. His feet felt like they were buried in concrete still and he could still only produce muffled screams. He could feel his vocal cords aching, he was going to have a terrible sore throat the next day.   

It was too late, Chan watched in slow motion as the goat head was passed to Seungmin. He prayed that the boy wouldn’t raise the head above his, hoped that whatever force was out there right now would put an end to the madness.  It was too late, the bloodied boy had the goat head raised above his own, both hands holding the sides of its face in some sort of fucked up holy display. Chan couldn’t look away as Seungmin’s face  was  coated in red,  fat droplets of blood   staining his  skin. It was alluring how  the boy looked accomplished, determination set in his eyes as he grinned  widely  

Everything sped up. One second Seungmin was alive,  the next he was choking on blood as he  sliced  his neck  open like he did the goat, albeit less fluidly.  There was so much blood.  One second Chan was unable to move, firmly stuck in his place by something he couldn’t see, the next he felt bile rising in his throat and he lurched forward. H is stomach clenched painfully and h e threw up, watery and acidic before he collapsed onto the grass, convulsing. It was too late.   

 

He woke up to  a pounding headache  and the buzzing of flies.  The sun had risen and it was beating down on him, his black clothes soaking in its rays and he felt like he was being cooked alive. Chan sat up with a groan, his back ached and his throat hurt,  he raised a hand to block out the light.  His eyes stung and he could feel them throbbing in his skull, sensitive to the brightness. A wave of sickness flowed through Chan as he let his body get rid of his stomach’s contents. His throat hurt so bad and the vomit attracted even more flies, the insects swarming. Why are there so many fucking flies? Willing his head to raise again, he was met with a horrific sight.  

Seungmin had been strung up to the stake at the point of the triangle .  The  metallic stench  still lingered and it grew stronger when he got closer to the boy  as did the amount of those pesky flies. God, they were everywhere, around the  goat  and burrowing into the wound in Seungmin’s neck.  He had to untie  him  and dispose of the body. There was no way he could hide anything else, the grass was soaked with blood  and vomit but he tried his hardest.  When it came to getting rid of Seungmin he came to a stand still.   

Take him home.  

No. He couldn’t do that.  Where would he keep him? Sat in the corner of his room wasn’t a good idea, the image of Seungmin  lifelessly  staring at him while he slept sent  chills down his spine.   Calming down his stomach was proving to be more difficult than  figuring out what to do with  Seungmin’s body .  He should’ve  packed a shovel, usually he did but these last few days he’d been so out of it. He regretted not rescheduling, honestly, but these sorts of things aren’t able to be rescheduled. He could throw him in a river and not worry, that was quick and easy, maybe he’d get lodged between some rocks or a log and hopefully decompose before someone finds him  

He could cut him up. That seemed plausible. The knife was still on the ground next to the goat and he could suck it up and dig holes with his hands, it’s not like he hasn’t before. He couldn’t risk getting any bloodier though, for all he knows Changbin could be asleep on his bed right now. The next best thing was a trip to a pig farm. He'd heard a lot about how pigs will eat anything, dumping Seungmin’s body at one would be easy. It just wasn’t the right time, there’d surely be farmers out and about right now.  Looks like I am taking him home.  

 

Changbin was there when Chan got home, tangled in his sheets and deep asleep. He left Seungmin in the boot of his car, it was nearing midday so he’d only be in there a few hours before he was fed to the pigs. He spent the rest of the day spaced out. Changbin had left some time ago, something about having to work and he had pressed a kiss to Chan’s cheek before leaving.   

When it hit  8 pm , Chan grabbed a bag and he left. He drove almost two and a half hours out of town to a pig farm in the middle of nowhere. His boot smelled disgusting ;  it was a miracle Seungmin’s stench hadn’t permeated through the back seats. The trip through the back paddocks in the dark was easy. Seungmin was surprisingly light. Perhaps he’d been really exhausted that morning and it made the boy seem heavier than he was. Watching the pigs dig in was kind of terrifying. They really do just eat anything.  

 

That night, Chan slept like a baby. He woke up fresh and relaxed, all the tension in his muscles had bled away during the night. It was great. What wasn’t great was the fact that he began spacing out even more often now, for full days sometimes, accompanied with nausea inducing migraines and nose bleeds. This wasn’t just any regular spacing out.   

Chan knew it was different. Usually, he wouldn’t do anything, just stare at the wall or ceiling before snapping out of it but now he was walking around, doing chores and going out but he just didn’t feel like himself. It was as if he was watching himself through his eyes but he wasn’t registering anything he was doing. It was like someone else had taken control.   

Battling whatever this illness was didn’t help. No amount of trips to the doctors h elped his headaches or nose bleeds.  They all ruled it down to major stress. Chan told them all to go fuck themselves.  Stress my as s.  Nothing held answers to what was happening  

He hadn’t seen Changbin in  a month , or anyone really.  He tried to do his courses online but the pounding in his  head held back any room for taking in information. He dropped out after the second week.  The peppy feeling had faded over time.  His  brain felt like mush and goo but his body was the healthiest it had ever been. He was in perfect shape and Chan would be lying if he said it didn’t freak him out. This wasn’t adrenaline, he knew that for sure, so what was it?   

Nights became rough for him. It started with common nightmares; being chased by something he couldn’t see, drowning,  his apartment being broke into . They were easy to shake off, Chan moved on from them immediately but then dreams of the ritual began and he would wake up startled and for the rest of the morning Chan would think about the younger’s naked body laying half eaten in the pig pen. Then this mysterious shadowy figure would appear in the same dream, each time getting closer and closer to Seungmin when one night it was nowhere to be seen.  

The dream started off like all the others.  

 

Chan was back in the clearing; the moon brighter than it was on the night and Seungmin was chanting in a language Chan had never heard while passing the head around. It was the same as the real thing except when Chan prepared to see the younger slit open his throat again, readied himself for the spray of crimson, Seungmin instead plunged the horn of the goat’s head into the side of his neck. There wasn’t a lot of blood, a single drop trailed down Seungmin’s neck and over the ridge of his collarbone. A single trail of blood was all that marked his pristine body.  

All of a sudden Seungmin was strung up like how Chan had found him but this time the goat’s head was still protruding from the boy’s neck and they were whispering to each other. It was disturbing, the way that the goats head seemed to be animated all by itself. Chan watched in horror as Seungmin’s head lolled side to side and his eyes rolled back. He couldn’t help but move forward, stopping at the younger’s feet.  

The goat’s eyes opened and they were pitch black. A grating, echoey voice startled Chan. He fell and scrambled back, hands raking through the blood and vomit-soaked ground as Seungmin untied himself from the stake and jerkily crawled towards him. His movements were so jagged and his arms were bent weirdly, not to mention he was moving fast, gaining up on Chan’s sluggish struggling. The voice was coming from the goat, Chan realised and Seungmin was on top of him now, the goats head right next to Chan’s ear as fresh blood trickled from the boy’s neck into his mouth from an invisible wound.  

“Everything will be easier if you give up control, Chan.”   

He woke up screaming. The tiniest hint of blood filled his mouth when he swallowed. He rushed to his bathroom, catching sight of what looked like Changbin standing in the  loungeroom . He called out his boyfriend’s name while he got ready to brush his teeth but there was no response.  Weird.    

 

He jumped into the shower, scrubbing away the sweat and general grossness, turning around to rinse shampoo out of his hair. He opened his eyes and he saw his reflection in the mirror but that didn’t make sense. The mirror showed his wet back, as if he was standing behind himself and he was reaching down into the cabinets under the sink. Except he was in the shower. There was no way that was possible. He shook his head, nightmare Seungmin appearing behind his closed eyes.   

Chan didn’t feel safe in his apartment anymore. He kept seeing things in the corner of his vision, his reflection was always a little bit off and he didn’t look like himself. He even tried the two-way mirror test short fingernail pressed against the cool surface  but his mirror was just a regular, old one. Late at night there was scratching coming from inside his closet and he could never sleep for more than three hours a night.   

He invited Changbin over after months of not seeing him and he ruined their movie night by running down the hall screaming.   

“What’s wrong?” Changbin’s face was full of concern as he held the older close to his chest.  

He couldn’t breathe.  

“There was-” he struggled to take a breath, ” He  was there in the hallway.”  

“Who? Chan, breathe, you’re scaring me.”  

“Seungmin. He was there in the doorway and then he was crawling, just like in my dream.” He began to cry, hot tears soaking into Changbin’s shirt.  

He couldn’t stop babbling, Changbin questioned him, wondering who Seungmin was but Chan only cried harder. The younger walked him to bed and  didn’t  left his side throughout the whole night.   

 

Things started quietening down after that and Chan was thankful. He still had to stand behind the archway of the hall and reach a hand blindly to turn on the light before he entered. His reflection seemed to go back to normal, although he really did look worse for wear. The figures in his peripherals never left though and late night googling found him reading a comments on a sketchy forum explaining that it wasn’t anything spooky, just a trick of the eye.   

Searching for explanations of weird things led Chan into nightly deep dives. It all became painfully obvious, very quickly. First, he was initially surprised. Demonic possession, really? Then a second later a chill ran through him, his arm hairs standing up.   

“I knew this, I knew this. Why didn’t it click?” Past the glow of his laptop screen, he swore he could see the outline of a figure in the corner of his room.   

Squinting, he searched for whatever it was.  Are you going to come out?  He thought if he closed his laptop, the light would make it easier to see but it just made hi s  room darker . He held it open only slightly and he could make out the figure now. Still black, no visible features but it had similar stature to himself. Honestly, it was like looking at his silhouette or shadow.   

It didn’t  move at all , not for the whole five minutes Chan stared at it.  He looked around, making sure that there was something to  solidify that he was indeed seeing something and it wasn’t just his imagination. He looked around, wondering if it was  like when you look at a light and the ghost of it follows in your vision. That wasn’t it.  He checked for a shadow, that was dumb. It was way too dark The thought to shine his laptop at it crossed his mind, so he did.  It was as if someone had taken a snapshot of his room and inked a  figure on top of it.  black, solid figure. He slammed his laptop shut and  rolled onto his side.   

 

He backtracked all the events, coming to the realisation  that he must’ve been an open vessel for whatever Seungmin and his friends had been summoning.  It was true, he wasn’t protected enough, for starters the boys  were summoning something a lot darker than he was prepared for . He  was just completely unprepared in general that night. Lesson learned  

He tossed up his options ; keep the demon or exorcise it. Exorcising would take a lot of effort, he’d have to go to a priest and that was a no go  right off the bat. Not to mention how fucked up that could get and the risk that the demon doesn’t even leave in the end.   On the other hand, he could keep it.  It didn’t seem to be doing anything terrible, it just  projected itself  in to  his room gave him terrible nightmares and made him see  shit. It wasn’t life threatening, but it could be .  

The  pros and cons list sat on his  desk for days before he came to a decision , or rather he forgot to think about it and another week passed.  The demon stayed, nested inside Chan’s body somewhere and he had no problem with it. Going about his daily life  while not being completely in control became normal,  he imagined it as being chaperoned around in his own body.  

Everything was  peachy, Changbin came around a lot more  and Chan was asking him to stay night after night  because he couldn’t get enough of him.  Of course ,  Changbin  agreed, it had been a rough few months of Chan being withdrawn for no particular reason.   

So, d o  you wanna talk about why you’re all over me again?” His tone was playful, no real malice to it .  

“Because , ”  Chan caged  the other against the armrest of the couch  with a  smile , “You’re my boyfriend and I love you.”   

He watched the younger roll his eyes, but he raised his hips  to move into a  more  comfortable position  so he could accommodate Chan between his legs better.  Seeing Changbin under him was his favourite thing  and he couldn’t help but  meet the other’s lips in a slow kiss.   

Kissing Changbin felt like swimming in  honey. It was  slow and warm  and sweet both men taking their time to explore each  other’s mouths.  Neither rushed ,  wanting to savour the feeling of their lips moving  together languidly  while  rough hands slowly crept down  soft arms.   

 

A good nights rest was what he was hoping for, but he was riddled with  random flashes of Changbin’s body  as he slept. Smooth skin  carved  with ancient symbols,  his pretty eyes void of life  and blood everywhere.  How he managed to look beautiful despite everything  had to be  a  gift. He  freed himself from Changbin’s hold,  locking himself in the bathroom He sat under the shower fully clothed a nd the images didn’t stop,  instead they got  worse  and he couldn’t shake them away.   Hitting  his head with his fists wasn’t doing anything other than  creating a headache  but he had to make the images stop.  Chan felt sick, he wanted to throw up but there was nothing inside him. He  cried instead,  sobbing into his hands .    He didn’t want Changbin  to die.  

He  woke  up in his bed, dry. It was all a dream.  Opening his eyes, the first thing he saw was Changbin’s  socked feet across the room. His boyfriend was sat in his desk chair blankly staring into space.   

“Hey, morning,” he  croaked, sitting up and stretching.  

“Are you going to tell me why I found you in the shower  at 3am this morning  with a  really  bad nose bleed ?   I mean really bad, it was everywhere.  You were talking to yourself, you scared the shit out of me.”    

Changbin didn’t look at him  and his voice was flat . His leg began to bounce quickly where he sat.  Chan  froze,  the other’s  words hitting him like a brick.  What had he heard? Why did he wake up? Why would he-  

“You’re doing it again, you’re talking to yourself , what’s going on Chan?”   

Hearing Changbin  desperately yell like that hurt him. He didn’t want  to cause him any grief  or freak him out more than he was. What  can he say though? Confessing that he was possessed by a demon after a ritual  gone wrong  would  scare Changbin away forever  and he couldn’t have that.   

I need him .  

“It’s just stress, I promise,”  he swallowed around the lump in his throat,  “I’ve seen multiple doctors about it and they all said the same thing.”  

He wasn’t telling a complete lie, so he felt less guilty. Maybe one day he’d be in a more comfortable place where he could tell Changbin the truth. That would never happen though, there would never be a time when he was safe enough to share what was really going on. Hiding this part of his life in the shadows was the only way to keep Changbin safe, to keep himself safe.  

 

Changbin let him have a few days alone. Again. Chan was always alone these days, after he finally thought things would go back to the way they used to be. Hearing how exhausted his boyfriend was after his walls came down, the tiredness that seemed to just envelope Changbin’s face when he said that they needed to have a break hurt Chan more than anything.   

“We’re not breaking up, Chan, I just think you need some time to sort out whatever’s going on,” Changbin’s hair was sticking up in random places from running his hands through it and Chan couldn’t help but reach up to press the strands down.  

“This sounds like a break up,” He pulled back from the other quickly, a pained look in his eyes , “The word break is literally in break up.”  

“I promise you it isn’t, I still love you,”  

“Don’t leave,” Chan chewed the inside of his lip.  

Changbin left after  one last glance.  Chan had nothing better to do than sleep.  

 

His nights were plagued with more nightmares than he had ever experienced. He’d wake up covered in sweat in the middle of the night only to fall right back asleep and dream of more bad things. He became desensitised, the scary figures and scenes of death didn’t cause him to wake up shivering anymore, instead he slept through them as if they were nothing. He knew this wasn’t normal, he should be afraid, but he found himself falling asleep hoping that he’d be riddled with whatever horrible images his mind would conjure.   

Chan was fixated. Writing down his dreams in a journal, marking favourites and highlighting key parts. The gorier the better. Ten points if it was about Changbin.   

And god, did he begin to resent the younger. Any thought he had about his boyfriend made him scowl, betrayal filled his entire being when he replayed their parting in his head. They broke up, they did. It didn’t matter if Changbin said they hadn’t, that was a break up and Chan knew it.   

He needed Changbin more than ever and he just left him as if it was nothing. The worst part was Chan wished he knew how long it had been since they last talked. The spacing out lasted for days on end now and he had no recollection of what he was doing in that time. His body ached, that’s for sure. He was waking up like he had done a weeks worth of working out in two days. Whatever he was doing, whatever the thing inside him was doing, was running Chan down into the ground.   

This demon was sucking the life out of him, leeching him of every ounce of strength and energy to the point Chan was too tired to care.  Is this how Changbin felt?  Fuck Changbin though. Everything was crumbling and it was all his fault, if he hadn’t of dumped him, if he had stayed and been there for Chan through everything it would be fine.   

When he was conscious of what he was doing, Chan was blowing up Changbin’s phone. He was obsessed with getting answers, he needed to know why the hell the younger just copped out when he saw how fucked up he was. His boyfriend,  ex - boyfriend,  never replied to any of his question s,  instead he just sent a single text asking Chan to leave him alone.   

He couldn’t. He deserved to know. Deep inside he knew it was his fault and he was being irrational with dumping all the blame on Changbin but he couldn’t bring himself to care. That’s just how it was all the time now. He just didn’t care, not unless it was about pulling answers he already knew to a question that was his fault.   

He didn’t care that he was possessed. He didn’t care about nightmares or the insistent shadows and creepy figures in his apartment. He didn’t care that Seungmin killed himself right in front of him. He didn’t care if Changbin died.   

The younger would  still look so beautiful anyway.  

You should’ve kept Seungmin, ha d  an audience for when you off Changbin. You could’ve given him a friend.  Two pretty boys together forever.  

That sounded appealing in a way. He didn’t want Changbin to be lonely, as much as he hated him. But god, he would’ve been killed if his boyfriend found Seungmin’s body before Chan was ready for him to. He thought of various scenarios; Changbin opening the closet Seungmin was stuffed into or finding him shoved in Chan’s second freezer. Would he scream? Would he cry? Would his now ex-boyfriend throw up like he did? Somewhere deep inside Chan hoped he did all three.  

Guess it  was  too late for that now.  

That’s all it really needed. For Chan to not care and give in. It felt like he was slowly being surrounded by darkness, as if his body had been hollowed out , all contents of  his self   scraped away from his shell and he was being filled up with black sludge. He was drowning, this  darkness weighing him down until all that was left of him was the smallest amount of  awareness.  All thoughts  slowed down until it was nothing and all Chan could do was just watch , not processing anything.   

 

With Chan’s resolve finally cracked, the demon possessing him could get to work. Chan had put up a fight, not a good one but one nonetheless, and all it took was a break up for him to give up everything. If it was that easy to break Chan, the entity nested inside of him would’ve made this happen sooner, forced Chan to fuck up even more royally so that Changbin would break things off with him  faster .  

Choosing Chan as a vessel was the best-case scenario. He was familiar with the occult, an active participant in ritualistic practices  and  had direct contact with the perfect person for sacrifice. Putting Chan through the pain of endless nightmares and visions brought deep satisfaction to the entity, watching him slowly accept the fact that Changbin had to go.   

Chan already thought  Changbin  was perfect, destined for something great, and the idea of seeing Changbin sliced up and bloody twisted something deep inside him as much as he hated to admit it. Months and months had passed since the ritual in the forest. He’d ignored every message and call that was asking for assistance in any other practice and he missed it. Chan knew he did, back when he had a mind.   

It ached.   

A deep-rooted ache that hurt so much, the need to watch something horrible happen again. Blood, guts, screams. He needed to see red, hear red, again or he’d positively explode. It was a surprise he held out for so long. Maybe he knew in the back of his poor, twisted mind that nothing would compare to the absolute relief he’d get from seeing Changbin suffer.   

Chan was the most perfect, fucked up vessel.  

 

The countless notebooks filled with his nightmares served as guidelines for exactly what would happen. The plan was practically already made. It was just a matter of getting Changbin now.   

Since they parted ways and since Chan had given up himself completely to the demon, he really had no say in stalking the younger. All he could do is watch, not understanding anything that’s happening, not realising that Changbin was starting to get suspicious and uncomfortable because the demon was making this anything but subtle. Following him to work was one thing, but standing outside his apartment was another, and Chan’s voice was different now. He’d had enough.   

“Why are you following me, Chan? I’ll call the cops,”   

The threat sounded empty, tired sigh leaving Changbin’s chest. He was always so tired.   

“We both know you won’t call the police, Bin,”   

“You’re stalking me Chan,” his posture was tense and closed off, “Stop showing up at my place and at work. It’s fucking creepy.”   

The older pouted, eyes round and sparkly and Changbin flinched from the change in  demeanour . Something hadn’t been right with Chan in a long time and it didn’t seem to be getting any better.   

“But I miss you,”   

If the cards were played right, it would be easy to get Changbin back to his place. Surly he’d fall for the lie, he has to miss Chan too. But he just stepped back, arms crossed over his chest and frowned.   

“I miss you too, believe me, but you’re not yourself,”  

Chan stepped forward.   

“I miss  my  Chan, not whoever you are now.”  

 

Really there was no other choice. Changbin wasn’t easy. It would’ve been easier if Chan had held out a little longer before giving up, he could’ve been more convincing. The younger would’ve been more inclined to follow him. Kidnapping certainly wasn’t on the agenda, but here they were.   

Thank god for closing shifts. And thank god for the short stretch of road from Changbin’s place of work to his apartment where there were no streetlights. He fell right into Chan’s hands, his struggling no use against the amount of strength Chan’s body had now. Strangling him into unconsciousness behind the bushes was exciting. A rush. The smaller’s body went limp on the grass and his eyes fluttered shut. Chan watched the skin on his neck turn pink.   

When Changbin woke up after what felt like forever, they were already deep into the forest. He tried moving his arms but they were bound together tightly with rope. His ankles were free, he could get up and run away. And try he did. But he lost his balance and fell into the grass face first. A chilling laugh filled the otherwise silent air and Changbin turned his head to find the source of the sound. He was pulled up onto his knees from behind by his bound hands, arms bending back at an uncomfortable angle and he yelped. Chan walked out from behind him, eyes dark.   

“What the fuck?” Changbin spat some blades of grass onto the ground, cheek streaked with dirt.  

“Both you and Chan try to put up a good fight, huh Changbin?”   

Seeing the confusion settle on Changbin’s face brought a smile to Chan’s.   

“He tried really hard, he did,” Chan’s head tilted mockingly, “But you should’ve seen how broken he was when you left, god. He needed you so badly, it was pathetic.”  

“Chan, this isn’t funny,” he started fidgeting in his place, fear covering him like a blanket.  

He was pushed back onto the ground, arms aching from their position, and suddenly Chan was on his lap, legs caging him against the grass. Suddenly there was a knife in his hand, silver blade glinting under the moonlight and Changbin started laughing nervously.  

“Hey,” Changbin wriggled under him, “Hey Chan this seriously isn’t funny, what the hell,”  

“Oh, but I think it’s funny,” the blade traced Changbin’s jawline and he tried to turn his face away from it.  

In a quick motion, Chan sliced Changbin’s shirt open and the knife caught on the end of the younger’s chin. It was only a nick, a tiny cut, but it bled wonderfully , bright red  trailing down his neck .  He leaned in to lick it, tongue feeling the  fast, scared pulse.  Nothing the demon could put in Chan’s mind would compare to the real thing. Changbin was so, so stunning.  

“I honestly don’t know what to think,” Changbin’s shirt was pulled open, “Was Chan too good for you or is it the other way around?”  

Changbin was breathing deeply, eyes locked on the person on top of him in fear that if he looked away something bad would happen. Fear looked so cute on Changbin, it sparked something in the air.   

“Now, I’m going to need you to be  really  still for me. Can you do that?”  

 

Carving symbols was difficult as it was, but on a writhing, annoying and noisy canvas it was twice as hard. Changbin was lucky his cries were nice to listen to, otherwise he would’ve found himself without a tongue and his lips sewn shut minutes ago.  It must’ve stung . Changbin’s chest must’ve felt like he was on fire, the heat that came from the intricate cuts  providing some warmth from the chilly air.  His blood beaded where the knife had only just broken his skin , where in other places the  deeper  cuts slowly pooled  before spilling over and running down his side . Changbin kne if he thrashed around enough he could throw Chan off balance but the older ’s legs were n’t budging and the hand  on his shoulder  was like iron.  

Changbin would’ve never  imagined a day when he was being cut open, his  ex o n top of him whispering  something to himself.  One look at  his chest and the drawings that seemed to glow with his blood under the moonlight  had Changbin lightheaded.   

“Don’t pass out on me  Changbinnie ,” the pressure on his shoulder was gone and all of a sudden, his head was thrown the other way, cheek stinging.   

All he could do was groan in response and his eyes clenched shut before forcing them open. Chan’s voice was his, but it was different. He never spoke so mockingly, never had this weird twinge at the end of his words. Changbin didn’t like it. He focused on the other’s full lips, the way they pursed around unknown words giving Changbin something to be distracted by. It helped for a while, his mind blocking out the stinging that moved down towards his stomach now, until Chan sat up straight.   

“Alright,” a satisfied smile graced his face, “You’re done, you’re ready. You’re perfect.”  

Not having a chance to ask what he was ready for, Changbin was hauled up onto his feet and dragged over into the centre of a circle made of candles. He stood there, body aching, and watched as Chan fiddled around an altar. He decided he didn’t need to ask to know what was about to occur. He could run. Chan wasn’t paying attention. It would be fine. He could get out of here alive. Potentially.  

Just as Changbin was about to move, Chan made a disappointed sound, back still facing the other.   

“I wouldn’t try anything Changbin,” the pure disinterested tone to his voice sent chills along Changbin’s arms.  

“I know this forest better than anyone and I could catch you in less than a second,”  

“Fuck you Chan,” Changbin spat.  

“It already took me long enough to get you here,” the blonde turned around and walked towards the ring of candles, “I can’t have you running away.”  

Changbin took one glance at Chan and watched as he started chanting in that same foreign language. He was in a horror movie. Everything was the same as those dumb movies he and Chan used to watch and he couldn’t help but wonder if this had been Chan’s plan all along. Had Chan been planning this ever since the beginning, was Changbin just a body for him to sacrifice?  

 

Hot tears fell down his cheeks. Changbin sobbed, body shaking with every choked breath and he fell to his knees. He just watched as Chan kept chanting, garbled pleas to stop but the other paid him no mind. This wasn’t a game anymore. It never was. Changbin was going to die. He was going to die and there was nothing he could do about it.  

“Chan please,” his voice couldn’t stop wobbling, “please don’t do this.”  

There was a searing feeling inside of him, his veins seeming to thrum painfully. He looked down at what he could see of his arms and he cried harder when he saw his veins seeming to strain against his skin. They pulsed, the blood flowing through them trying to burst. It was horrible, it was disgusting. Changbin wanted them to disappear, he felt terrible. He looked down his body and panicked. Why were his veins doing that, why were they black and purple, why were they trying to break through his skin.   

“What’s happening? Chan?”  

The blood from the carvings on his chest bled darker, black goo spilling from the cuts instead of the pretty red. It hurt so much, it was like the cuts were reopening, spreading wider and burning.  

“Chan stop it, please,” his screaming landed on deaf ears.  

“I love you, please stop, don’t do this to me please. I love you.”  

Chan stopped and Changbin sobbed in relief, head leaning into the older’s palm when he cupped his face. There was still fear in his eyes and he was still crying, snot running past his lips into his mouth but that didn’t stop Chan from staring at him in awe.   

“That’s all I needed, Changbin. All I needed was your heart and I’ve almost got it,” his thumb smoothed over Changbin’s cheekbone.   

“You’ve always had my heart,” he hiccupped.   

Chan hummed lowly, kneeling down in front of Changbin. He dragged his hands down the expanse of the younger’s neck, trailing his collarbones before resting his hand against Changbin’s beating heart. It was beating so fast, Chan could just taste it.   

The whimper Changbin let out when Chan’s fingernails started to dig into his skin was like music to him. His screams and cries, the look of horror that completely masked any sign of relief from a moment ago spurred Chan on. Changbin was like a loaf of bread, and he opened up easily for him. So, so, so much blood. So much muscle. A loud crack and soft squishing sounds. One last blood curdling scream.  

Chan held Changbin’s heart in his hands. It was hot, searing and s lowing down.   

“Beautiful.”  

That’s all that was needed. A heart in return for a damaged one and it would leave him.  He loomed over the mutilated body. His ex-boyfriend’s wide eyes stared up at him, lifeless.  Chan hadn’t done anything so exhilarating in such a long time. The smell of blood in the air gave him a heady rush, his eyes raking over the way he’d clawed apart Changbin and he leaned down to press one last kiss on Changbin’s bloody lips. He gave the body one last glance before he  stood up and left, picking skin out from under his fingernails.  

 

It was like he was breathing fresh air. A weight had been lifted off his shoulders and Chan decided he had never felt better. He was tired, but he was better. He realised he was back in his body. Although he had never left, he had control of it now. He stretched, the bones in his back cracking when he leaned back and he made his way to the kitchen.   

Looking cautiously around every corner, Chan was met with nothing. No figures in his peripherals or shadows on the walls, no sounds. Nothing. His apartment was still. Grabbing a glass of water, he downed it easily before going for a second and finishing it just as fast. He was so thirsty.   

He had little to no recollection of whatever happened in the past 24 hours, only that he was gone from his place for a while. Walking to the bathroom, he stripped and stepped into the shower. His hands felt gross and uncomfortable, so he looked at them and was met with dirt and blood and something tough under his nails. The quick realisation that something bad happened last night filled  Chan’s  mind but it quickly vanished.  

Chan spent the rest of his day as normal. Going out for ice cream, shopping for groceries since his fridge seemed to be full of rotted food, he even drove all the way to the farm he dumped  Seungmin  at just to check on the pigs. He didn’t get back to his place until late, fast food cup in hand. Something had been off the whole day, but Chan couldn’t put a finger on it.  

It was obvious he had killed something or someone last night. That the demon had killed someone in his body. He couldn’t remember who though, or how. Only the deep unsettling feeling in his stomach solidified any of Chan’s wondering. He was used to this though, not knowing who was sacrificed only that it was them and not him. It was his job.  

“As long as it’s not me.”