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Ars longa, vita brevis

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Gabriel was sitting down at the table of a fancy coffeehouse, sipping on his overpriced cold brew. He was looking around at the crowd that populated the place. Mostly younger men and women, most of them with their nose stuck to their laptops or smartphones, even the ones that were seated together. There were some exceptions of course, such as the loud group of girls a few tables in front of him, who were chatting together and laughing and sometimes snapping pictures of their drinks or of themselves or each other.

Technology had gone so far in such a short time, it was a real wonder to Gabriel. He still remembered back when only a few particularly wealthy and technologically-inclined people owned a computer, and back then there was no access to the internet yet. Now even little kids went around with the whole wide web at the touch of their small fingertips.

As the times had changed, Gabriel had of course learned to adapt. He had used such technology to his advantage before, the rise of social media in particular had made stalking people and identifying potential preys all the more easier. However, this was the first time he lured someone using online messaging and convinced him to meet him in person. If the other really was serious and he had not just been... what was the word again? Catfished. He guessed he would have to wait and see.

It was exciting, even if it was different than what he was used to. He'd toyed around with the idea for a while, but it had taken him a bit of experimenting before he found someone he deemed like a suitable prey. An eighteen-year-old aspiring model who posted a lot of semi-naked pictures on Instagram and other such platforms in search of attention. Though he didn't have a huge following thus far. Gabriel guessed there were just too many people competing for the spotlight now that everyone could try to seek fame with a smartphone and their abs. Plus, while the subject matter had a lot of potential, the quality of the pictures was not too great. It was clear that young Zack Collins was not destined to be a photographer.

Well, luckily for him, Gabriel had decided he would help him gain the fame he so desperately wished for. Though the unfortunate boy had no idea that it would be in a much different manner that he expected.

It had not been too hard to entice him. He'd followed him on all his profiles - using fake information and hiding his traces, of course - and liked all of his photos, then he'd started to comment on them with little tips as well as compliments. Eventually, when he felt he'd gotten his attention he had tried messaging him in private. Telling him that he was quite handsome and could easily have success as a model, it was a shame his photos clearly didn't do him enough justice. That what he needed was a professional that could do it for him, and what a fortunate coincidence, he happened to be a photographer himself and would be happy to take a few pictures of him, without charge, as long as he properly credited him when he used them. That he was sure he could help him get famous, probably enough to have his name plastered everywhere. That it would not be the first time someone modeled for him and then ended up becoming an international sensation, even if he worked behind the scenes and his own name never got quite as famous.

Well, those weren't even complete lies. After all, the names and pictures of his victims did end up on all newspapers, even overseas. He'd really made a name for himself over the years, but not under his real one. Yet, of course, Zack didn't know who he really was. If he did, he would have ran straight to the police. Instead, about ten minutes after the appointed time the boy walked through the door and looked around.

Gabriel hadn't given him his own picture, of course. The last thing he wanted was for the police to find such an incriminating evidence when they examined the boy's possessions. He had made up all sorts of excuses for it, claiming he only ever would take photos of others and refused to have his own picture taken, even by himself. That only his name was to be known, not his face. Eventually the promise of fame seemed to have outweighed Zack's suspicions enough for him to agree to meet him despite this.

The boy headed towards the table he'd been instructed to reach, looking uncertain. Gabriel smiled encouragingly.

"You're Zack, right?", he asked, getting up to shake his hand. "I'm Andy. Or, well, WonderShutter26". He chuckled, taking note of the other's hold. Not as firm as he'd expected it to be. Overall, the blond boy looked a lot more insecure than he would have guessed given the bold pictures he had no problems posting online. Still, even from above his clothes he could tell that he was every bit as beautiful as in his photos. He had been worried that Zack might have photoshopped them or used filters to look better, but if he had it clearly hadn't been anything major as he really couldn't tell.

"Sorry, I just got out from school", Zack explained. "I had to stay behind to help with... well, I got here as soon as I could".

"Oh, don't worry. I haven't been waiting long. And school is important after all", Gabriel reassured him with a small wave of his hand. "Would you like to get something, my treat? Or would you rather just get on with it right away? I don't mind starting whenever you're ready".

"Ah, well... let's, uhm, let's just go, I wouldn't want to waste your time", Zack refused his offer. Gabriel had to wonder whether it was because he didn't want to feel like he owed him, or whether it was because he really was eager to get to work. Well, it didn't matter to him. The sooner he could be alone with him the better.



"Is... is that the place?".

Gabriel could hear the nervousness in the other's voice as he looked out of the passenger window. He'd just brought him in a rather secluded area in the outskirts of the city, full of abandoned warehouses. It didn't seem like there was anyone else around. It wasn't exactly a place where people lived.

"Yeah, I don't like to be disturbed, and there's actually a really good light inside. Plenty of space to shoot, too", he said, shrugging and smiling at the boy, who awkwardly tried to smile back. It didn't seem he was convinced. So he was not entirely gullible after all.

"Come on, let's go before it starts to get dark".

Gabriel got out of the car and went to open the passenger door, waiting for Zack to get out.

The boy still eyed the building with suspicion, but eventually he got out and started following him.

"Uhm, do you really own this place?".

"Yeah, of course". Gabriel took out his key and unlocked the door, which opened with a somewhat sinister creak. "Come on, after you".

The boy hesitated again. Gabriel wondered if he was starting to suspect this had not been so much of a good idea after all. Well, either way it was too late. Even if he tried to run, there would be no one nearby that could help or even see him, and Gabriel could catch him easily. He was starting to get older, but he was still quite fit, and he knew the area. He knew there was nowhere the boy could hide where he couldn't reach him.

Thankfully, it seemed like he wouldn't have to. After a while he saw him sigh and walk inside, glancing back as Gabriel followed him and locked the door again.

"Why are you-"

"Oh, it's a bit defective. Sometimes it can still be opened from the outside if you don't lock it", Gabriel promptly lied.

He could tell the boy was getting more and more suspicious with each passing second. He held back from smirking, and wondered just how much longer it would take for him to snap and decide to try and make a run for it. Not that it mattered, since he would catch him in a matter of minutes if not seconds now that he was locked there with him, unless he tried to break a window and escape from it.

Come to think of it, one of his victims had tried that once, except then he got impaled in the glass and forced him to cut things shorts. That had been annoying. He hadn't even gotten to fuck him properly before he died, so he had retaliated by fucking his wounds instead. Which had been really immature and stupid, in retrospect, firstly because cleaning out the traces of his semen had been a pain and secondly because for all he knew there might have still been glass shards stuck there and he might have gotten his cock cut. But he'd been more inexperienced back then, and really pissed, so he had kind of lost his cool.

"Come on, let's go upstairs", he said, gently pushing Zack towards the staircase.

Once they reached the upper level, he saw him tense up at first, then relax a little. No doubt he had noticed the state of the place, which didn't look the best, but then he'd seen the corner he prepared for their little photography session. He'd done his best to make it look at legit as possible, with lights and a background and a tripod and everything. After all, he actually did intend to photograph him.

"There we go. Now get over there, please. I'll just take a couple quick photos to get things started. So you can strike a pose, or whatever comes natural. I just need to make sure the lighting and the angle are both good".

He went on to adjust the settings of both the lights and camera, while Zack stood up in front of it and didn't quite seem to know what to do at first. After a while, however, he started to strike a few poses and move around, glancing at Gabriel from time to time.

"Is this good, or...?".

"Yeah, I think we can get started", Gabriel said, and now that his face was covered up he allowed himself to start grinning. "Take off your shirt".

Zack flushed a little, but he did as he was asked, slowly taking off his shirt and then throwing it aside. He was a little stiff, and Gabriel wondered if it was because he knew he was being observed.

"It's harder when someone else is there, huh?", he asked in an understanding tone. "Don't worry about me. Try to relax, and pretend I'm not even here. Ah, and take off your jeans next, please. Socks and shoes too, of course".

He saw the boy gulp, then untie his shoes which he took off together with his socks, before he went to place them aside. Then he unzipped and took off his jeans, almost pulling down his underwear in the process. "Shit!".

"That's alright. In fact, just take that off too".

"H-huh?". Zack looked at him in shock. Gabriel couldn't hold back from taking a picture of that.

"What's the matter? Is this your first nude photoshoot?", Gabriel asked, although he knew very well that was the case. "It's nothing to be ashamed of. And trust me, you'll need some nudes in your portfolio".

"I'm... I thought it would be... uhm...".

Zack gulped again, scratching the back of his head nervously. Gabriel smirked again as he saw him shiver. The semi-nude boy was gorgeous, he really could have been a model. His body deserved to be made immortal, and his fear made it all the more appealing.

"Come on, trust me, I've probably seen a hundred other guys nude before, in this very same place. You don't have to be embarrassed. I'll make sure you look really good".

The boy sighed, then it finally seemed his resolve was broken. Still, as he took off his boxers he never stopped shaking.

Gabriel felt a familiar stirring and realized, he was already getting hard. Oh well. Soon it would be time to get the real fun started.

"Come on, face the camera... now smile! Turn around... slowly, do it again. Try crouching down, give me an artistic pose. Cover up but don't look ashamed. Now get up again, hands behind your back. Keep your back straight, good posture is important in modeling!".

Gabriel kept on ordering him around, enjoying the thrill of having him do whatever he wanted, and without even threatening him yet. It seemed after the initial reluctance he was starting to get less nervous. He waited for a bit longer, wanting him to lower his guard as much as possible.

"Now, get on your knees, and raise your hands", he finally instructed, his cock rock hard in his pants, something the younger man probably hadn't noticed. Gabriel's hand went to the inside of his jacket, and he slowly took out something. "Then look at the camera, and beg".

"Huh?", Zack looked towards him, confused. "What do you mean, be-"

BLAM!

The gunshot echoed in the mostly empty room. The blood splattered on the white background behind Zack, who was screaming in pain and horror. Two of his fingers were missing, blasted right off by the bullet that Gabriel had fired. It made for such a great picture, Gabriel made sure to capture it before he continued.

"I said, beg", he told him, his voice cold and threatening. One hand was still on the camera, while the other was holding a gun and pointing it towards Zack's chest. "Or do you want to die now? That would really spoil things for me. I've got a lot more planned out for us".

The boy's terrified eyes went to the gun, then to the blooding stumps of his fingers, then back to the gun, all the while he was still screaming. Gabriel waited patiently for him to quiet down, watching him hold the injured hand to his chest and sobbing.

"W-what's...what's going on...w-what are you...".

"I'm sorry for not introducing myself sooner, Zack. But you see, I'd rather let my work speak for itself than go around bragging about it. And I really wanted to capture your first impression, with no preconceptions or expectations to spoil the experience", Gabriel said, figuring he might as well let him know who he was dealing with. "My name is Gabriel Molyneaux. I'm the Blood Painter. You've probably heard of me, many times, isn't that right?".

Ah, there it was. That look of absolute terror. He made sure to get that. He didn't know why he never dabbled in photography before, it was going to be so nice to be able to collect that memory and hold on to it physically rather than just having it impressed in his mind. Then again he did have a remarkable good memory so maybe that was why he never felt that necessity. He never even collected trophies from his victims like some other serial killers did. He didn't need them to remember each and every one of the boys he captured, and how their death had allowed him to turn them into something more, something that would last forever in everyone else's memories too.

"W-what...? You are... no!".

The boy tried to get up, and Gabriel sighed and aimed at his leg, shooting a bulled straight into his calf. There was another desperate scream and the boy fell back down, sobbing even louder as he brought his uninjured hand to his bloodied leg.

"Now, as I was saying, I'm going to need you to beg", Gabriel repeated for what was at least the third time. There wasn't going to be a fourth. It was clear from his tone he was starting to lose his patience.

Thankfully, it seemed the message had finally been received.

"P-please", the boy whimpered, staring at him, at the camera with tears streaming down his handsome face. He looked much more beautiful like that. Gabriel had to hold back from touching himself. "P-please, don't kill me".

"There, was that so hard?", Gabriel asked, chuckling as the boy only sniffled. "Stay like that, let me get a good picture... there, perfect!".

Zack didn't dare to speak for a while, but once he finally gathered his courage he asked in a trembling voice:

"W-why are you doing this?"

"Because my daddy didn't love me enough... or maybe he loved me a little too much. I can't remember which it was". Gabriel shrugged. "They've changed their version a few times anyway. It's always fun to read what they come up with. You know, the FBI profilers and the so-called expert they interview whenever they talk about my case, and... ah, right, I almost forgot! Apparently it's also because I can't get it up unless I hurt someone. They might be onto something there. Then again, I'm not sure of what other reason there would be. To get it up I mean. I've considered marriage, you know, for appearances, but it sounds like such a hassle and... wait, what are you doing?".

BLAM!

The bullet didn't hit Zack this time, but the shock was enough to make him recoil in fear.

"It's not nice to try and leave when someone's talking!", Gabriel harshly scolded him. The fucking nerve!

"You kids nowadays, you've just got no fucking manners", he complained. "Now I forgot what I was talking about", he lied, finally letting to of the camera as he stood up straight, towering over the cowering man in front of him. "Oh right. About getting it up".

He grinned, his hand moving down to grasp the bulge in his crotch. His grin only widened once he saw that Zack had noticed it, seeing all color leave the boy's face as he probably remembered about what had happened to all the victims before they were killed and turned into one of his many artworks.

"Speaking of which, I've got a little, ahem, situation here. Think you could lend me a hand with that?", Gabriel asked him, and the look on the boy's face already was enough of a response in and of itself. "I just need a hole to shove it into for a while. You wouldn't mind, would you?".

"N-no... don't touch me!".

Zack backtracked against the white background, or rather it had been white before but now there were a few bullet holes and blood sprays on it.

Gabriel moved around the camera, advancing towards the terrified boy.

"No?", he asked, frowning. "Alright, then maybe I should make a whole new hole, just for me."

"No, wait-"

BLAM!

The blood splattered everywhere, including on Gabriel's sleeve. The barrel of his gun was still pressed against the boy's shoulder, and when he pulled it back both the end of the gun and the hole it had left were smoking.

The scream that followed was almost inhuman, and it kind of hurt his ears as well. It was worth it though, just to see the sheer desperation in the boy's face, which was contorted in pain. Damn, he should have gotten a picture of that. But then he wouldn't have gotten to see it up close. He supposed it was a fair trade-off.

"Don't worry", he said, lifting the boy's chin with the tip of his gun and smiling down at him. "I'm not actually going to fuck that. It's not nearly big enough for my cock to fit in. But, I will still give you a lot of new holes if you don't open those pretty legs for me and beg me to fuck you. Understand?".

The boy quickly nodded, too terrified to speak.

This time, he made sure to take a picture as the boy did just as he asked, his legs trembling as he forced himself to spread them, his lips quivering as he begged for his cock. Gabriel instantly knew he was going to include that in his collage. He was sure it was going to go viral in no time.

And as he stepped forward, taking out his cock and then getting on top of the boy, gun still in hand, he knew this was going to be a new masterpiece. All of the pain, the horror, the anguish, he was going to capture it all and share it with the world.

But first, he was going to take something that would be his, and only his. He probably was not his first, but he could be sure he would be Zach's last.

He prepared him first, sticking his fingers into the wound of his shoulder to cover them in blood, which he used as a sort of lubricant to help them slide inside his ass. He didn't dwell too much on it, only stretching him out enough to make sure he'd be able to slide in without ripping him open, then he took out a condom from his pocket and unwrapped it, putting it on his own erection - as much as he would have loved not to use it, with the amount of boys he fucked and killed it was a necessary precaution to avoid catching something. Especially given how sometimes the victims he picked were junkies or whores, or both.

He wasn't gentle as put it in, he wasn't going to make this easier for Zack, nor would he try to make him enjoy it. Not this time. This time he wanted nothing but his pain and fear, and that was what he took from him. Of course the delicious, tight heat that enveloped him was also a nice bonus.

He didn't care enough to last long, nor to play mind games on him to make him cooperate. Maybe another time, another boy. But not this once. He always followed his inspiration, and this time he was so eager to get the final, last picture he needed he almost didn't want to wait long enough to finish.

Still, he enjoyed the way Zack cried and begged him to stop just as much as he enjoyed the mere animalistic act of fucking him. It once had been the sole reason why he started kidnapping and murdering all those young men, before he realized he was meant to fulfill a higher purpose. Even so he did not think what he was doing made his intent any less noble.

The pain, the anguish, the humiliation and the depravity, those were all a necessary part to the transformation of his victims. Only after experiencing true agony and abject terror, after being tainted by such a primal and selfish act could they transcend their simble, fragile form.

Like a ripping open a crysalis right as it was supposed to hatch, he tore the last vestiges of their childhood and innocence off of them and showed them just how much cruelty and horror a man was capable of. Only then would they be ready to be molded into their final shape. Only then did they became worth killing so that their sacrifice would make their name and his art immortal.

When he finally did reach his climax, cumming inside him with a few last frantic thrust and a low moan, the boy had gone so still underneath him that he almost worried he'd died from a heart attack until he felt him breathe.

"And now, there's one last thing I need you to do", Gabriel said as he got up and pulled off the bloodied condom, before putting his cock back in his pants. "You already know what I need from you, right?"

He could see the terror in those green eyes, and he knew that there would be no need to ask him out loud.

"No, no, please, don't do it...", the boy begged him, pleaded him as if his life depended on it. Which it didn't, as it was a fruitless attempt. Though Gabriel had to appreciate the effort.

"You know, life is short anyway. But art is eternal", he said as he walked back to the camera, still keeping the gun pointed at Zack's face. He was going to catch it. The exact moment in which the light left his eyes. The one, perfect moment that took away everything - fear, pain, horror and the very last glimmer of hope. "You should be glad, in a way you'll get to live forever. Like I promised, everyone will know your name!".

His hand grasped harder on the handle, his finger once again curling around the trigger. He was ready.

"Come on, Zack. Now, smile!"

"No no no don't do it, don't do it, DON'T-"

BLAM!

The boy's life had been short. But the art he allowed Gabriel to create, well, it would live forever.

And that was all that mattered.