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Ashes in the Dark

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His ears rang like alarms in his head and Wilson could barely process his own thoughts, he was so cold. He could dimly hear the baying of the dogs behind him, howling mournfully, and hoped to science that the pig men had taken care of them. Black shadow hands plucked at his feet and he stumbled blindly towards where he was pretty sure the fire pit was, he knew he had left one around here somewhere-

“Oof, uh, shit,” Wilson stuttered as he abruptly tripped over said fire pit, his fall broken by charred wood that crumbled instantly under his weight. The ash was everywhere, instantly, in his nose and eyes and in his jacket and shirt collar. Wilson rolled out of instinct and flopped out onto frigid, wet mud. His eyes streamed tears and through watered vision he saw the last sliver of sun slip over the horizon. He groped in his backpack, wild with panic, lit his torch, and threw it into the pit just as the shadow fingers closed over him.

Sickly green flames roared up and, within an instant, the hands retreated. The cold permeating his limbs was already burning away with the fire and Wilson breathed out a wretched sigh. His eyes still scorched. There was a little creek just beyond the reach of the fire’s glow, too far from the safety of light. Wilson would have to settle for the water in his beefalo horn flask for cleaning up for the moment. Carefully, he unstoppered the horn and poured clear water over his eyes until he could see again. They still burned, still watered, but at least Wilson could sort-of see again.

He could see well enough to realize that the darkness surrounding his tiny fire was dotted with ghastly faces. They were watching him much too intently for comfort. His stomach growled and Wilson closed his eyes. He was way too far from his main camp, had been too focused on gathering flint and gold to notice the accumulating distance.

Wilson cursed his over-confidence, cursed the fact that he had only brought along a few pieces of jerky and some meatballs. There should have been plenty of seeds and berries this time of year, more than enough to keep him satiated as he searched the vast, yet empty, landscape. It also shouldn’t be nearly this cold, not yet, but Wilson really shouldn’t have been surprised.

This world was cruel and capricious, and the game was always changing. Every time he died, he was brought back to life. Every time, it was to a new and different place. Nothing stayed the same. Nothing except Maxwell and his sadistic punishments.
Wilson regretted saying yes. He regretted it every single day.

He remembered the one time that he had been brought back and no matter how far he searched, there was no gold to be found. Through uncountable marshes, dark forests, graveyards, and grasslands he had searched. Unable to build anything of real importance, the winter came all too soon and Wilson had died in the dark, screaming in agony and despair. He remembered that death in particular detail. The mere memory made his head hurt.

Now he was going to die, again, and have no choice but to start back at the bloody beginning. Again.

The fire was a lot smaller now, the shadows much closer. Wilson closed his eyes and wondered if he should just give up.

There was something tugging gently at his left foot and Wilson didn’t have the strength to look. It probably wasn’t real anyway, a figment of his terrified and traumatized imagination. He could hear a very slight roar off in the distance, and he was fairly certain that the ground beneath him was shaking

There was, suddenly, a very familiar smell.

"You don’t look so good, pal.” That voice echoed through his very bones and Wilson could only moan weakly. Smoke, not from his fire, curled around him in tendrils and Wilson coughed bitterly. He hated cigars, hated the stench, hated how it clung to his clothes for days after like a heavy depression.

Though his eyes were closed, he could hear the fire suddenly roar, feel the sudden warmth cascade over him. Wilson didn’t get up, only pulled tighter into his own self. "Do you want to start over again? Perhaps I should leave you to freeze. Come here, stupid boy." Compelled by magic, the human shuffled forward on his hands and knees. He came into the light, eyes cast downward, and stopped at Maxwell's feet.

"Oh, pet,” Maxwell ran a hand through the human's short hair and pulled, elicited a groan as he tilted Wilson’s head up and back to expose that pink throat.

"P-please, I, uh, don’t, don't," came the small voice. Wilson could practically hear Maxwell smile as the demon leaned in. Hot breath washed over his collarbone and all the human could do was shiver.

“Just be still for me,” lips skittered over his jawline and centered on the pulsing jugular. Wilson started to whine through his nose, unable to breathe from fear. “Just for a minute.”

Maxwell bit him, impossibly hard, and Wilson screamed loud enough to startle a few birds out of the grass nearby. Their dim shadows were just visible against the blanket of the night beyond and Wilson could only stare at them, his jaw slack. He could feel the demon’s mouth against his throat, literally pulling the blood from his body in fierce draws that left his toes and fingers cold.

“Muh, uhm, M-Maxwell,” he begged, soft and weak, “Please.” Maxwell had never straight up killed him before. Oh, he had tortured Wilson to within an inch of his sanity, drugged him with poison and alcohols, fucked him, destroyed his mind, left him broken and begging, but the demon had never directly contributed to his death. Wilson found his hands and settled them on Maxwell’s broad shoulders in some attempt to push the demon away.

That mouth left his skin and long fingers closed gently around his neck. Not pressing, not suffocating, and Wilson felt his skin itch as Maxwell healed him. Blood still coated his chest and collarbone, was soaked into his shirt and overcoat, tacky and drying fast.

“I can’t play with my toys if they’re broken, now can I?” the demon explained, as if Wilson cared either way. “Look at me, boy.”

Wilson refused.

“LOOK. AT. ME. BOY.” That voice boomed in his head, rang in his ears, bellowed into his soul and Wilson could only comply. Maxwell’s eyes raged like grey storms, his mouth and face smeared with blood and spit. “There you are. Lovely.” His words were all honey and condescension and the juxtaposition was enough to make Wilson feel sick again. The hand in his hair tightened and yanked him to his knees.

"Now, be a good boy and open up for your Master.”

Wilson closed his eyes and did as he was told. Maxwell watched intently, obsessed, stared at his own cock as it slid between full lips. Maxwell groaned, relished the sound of the human's quiet suckling. That shy mouth could only take in the first few inches, but his teeth were carefully pulled back and Maxwell appreciated the effort. Wilson had learned quickly, and each time it was even better.

He grabbed the human by the ears and guided his cock deeper. Wet flesh clenched around him as the young man gagged, and Maxwell eased back just a little. His victim gasped for air in that short reprieve, and then squeaked when the demon surged forward, forced himself down Wilson’s throat as deep as he could go. The body in the demon's hands contorted, coughed around his dick, the fluttering muscles more gratifying than anything Maxwell could remember. He thrust hard, careless as the human gagged and struggled. Wilson drooled copiously, his body desperately trying not to choke. Wilson's throat was so wet, so slick, and it was easy for Maxwell to build up to a punishing tempo.

"Good, good boy, such a skillful cock sucker, aren't you? I'm sure you're thirsty, you’ve been out all day haven’t you? I have something for you. Fuck yes, just like that my sweet slut. Don't worry, Master is going to fill you up nice and full, isn't he?" Maxwell forced himself as far in as the human's mouth allowed and came, pumped his burning come down the bruised throat. One hand twisted in the black hair, held the human completely still. "Swallow it all, pal." Slowly, unwilling, the scientist gulped it down and Maxwell let him go.

Immediately Wilson reared back, tried to vomit but could only bring up the taste of Maxwell's come. Bitter, sulphuric, disgusting. He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand as he began to shuffle away.

"No, Master isn't done with you yet." The demon snapped his fingers and the forest changed. They were in a bedroom now, moderately sized with a high ceiling. The walls were painted a handsome grey and the furniture was modern, all dark wood with black and chrome accents.

Maxwell had never brought him here before and Wilson felt his heart plummet.