there’s no sense of time here. a piece of him counts water drops hitting the wet stone floor, up to 20 then starts again, and the rest of him lies prone in a daze, crunched awkwardly in fetal position on his side, head turned and eyes staring up past his listless bloodbag into a black rock ceiling. the pitter patter of water and the slow rolling throb at the end of his arm, just above his wrist, where what’s left of his hand lies. it’s how he counts the hours. the days.
there’s no glory in this place, the sickroom. only soft boys, things too sick and too worn down to stand anymore. no standing, no war. that’s him now, and it shouldn’t have been. the unfairness is an acid in the core of his chest, burning at his insides. he shouldn’t be here. was so shine, what he did, the glory. it loops in his head like film. the buzzard excavator squealing out of control, and he and tappet dangling off the back of the milk rig, hurling thunderstick after thunderstick into the ugly excavator face. razor shrapnel flying in all directions as the excavator lurched, then fishtailed, then smashed and rolled. shine. glory, glory, screams and squeals from them all until the excavator slammed right into the back of the rig. tappet’s skull crushed in like an egg under steel and his own hand caught and shredded, splitting into thirds and he’s hurled from the rig, ass-first into sands, pitching and rolling down the dune in a flurry of dirt and blood and screams.
that death was meant to be his too, him and tappet together. glory into the fire, glory onward onto the next life in valhalla, but here he was, dragged back to the sickroom, shattered hand sewn and tied and his body hooked to a bloodbag and only growing sicker and sicker. ‘infection,’ ‘blood poisoning,’ terms he knew nothing about and had no concept of. only that he was still alive and growing weaker every day. every water-drop. dying soft. he can see those gates slamming shut when he closes his eyes, when he dreams, the war party driving off and leaving him in the freezing night for the crows, and all he can do is moan. like a pup. a child. it isn’t fair. he’d done so well, and now he was to die uselessly.
but all there was to be done was wait for that moment of the end. nothing else.
He’d built this place up so well that it had started to partially run without him, tasks that could be arbitrated were arbitrated, they had power enough to automate certain things, and the only time he was required for anything outside of administration were the now-rare direct affronts to his empire.
Boredom was a terrible thing, a thing once easy to alleviate forty years ago, a press of a button and time was filled for as long as it needed filling. The last shipment of milk to Gas Town had been attacked but not destroyed. The Citadel War Rig hadn’t been defeated once, and while he’d had a brief time to preen about it, he had no one to preen to who could really appreciate it. Secondhand victory was bland at best.
It was slightly humid down in the blood shed and it felt good on his skin, a relief from the arid stillness that sucked all the moisture out of the air outside and left his tortured skin cracked and raw and fragile. Little irritations, minor, but the older he got the more there were, all of them adding up into greater and greater intrusions into his mood, into who he was. He resented the alterations, and boredom left him prone to dwelling on them, but not even the zealous salutes of zealous War Boys seemed to be enough to lift him from his foul mood today.
He stopped near one of them when he felt a flicker of recognition. This one. He knew this one. From the attack he’d been told about. He’d seen the Boy being hauled off in the background, or more importantly, he’d seen his hand. Joe had assumed it would’ve been amputated, but the Organic must’ve wanted to practice something.
Joe wasn’t an expert, but it was pretty clear whatever he’d tried hadn’t worked.
It was much worse now and he found himself absorbed in studying it. He was aware that some of the nearby Boys in the shed were weakly saluting him, trying to get his attention, but none of them had much more wrong with them than run of the mill radiation poisoning, unworthy of his time. The infection looked bad. He wondered if he’d be able to smell it if his mask was off, but he supposed if it were that bad, he wouldn’t be worth hooking up to a bloodbag. Joe considered going to find the Organic, to ask him why a bloodbag was being wasted on him, but that sounded like a boring conversation, and he was already desperate for something to distract him.
Joe waited for the wretch to notice him, something black and sticky shifting in the back of his mind.
drumbeats, sometimes. when he shuts his eyes and drops off into that night fever hallucination of the war party peeling off without him, he can hear them pounding. it’s the water he’s really hearing, or his heartbeat. something transformed into the war cry. as bad off as his body is, his heart is something he can feel more than ever, loud in his ears. it’s sickness, but he tells himself it’s his spirit growing stronger. his engine revving, blown and supercharged and ready. his body, his machine, will knit through sheer force of willpower, just enough to burst back out there and die chrome in the direct sight of God. but he knows it won’t.
God, God, his thoughts are consumed with it. if He’d just Witnessed him beating the buzzards back from His property, He’d have known how hard he’d fought. in his fantasies, He would’ve gone and delivered him unto Valhalla for his efforts, where tappet was now. rewarded him and birthed him from his shell of a body into the afterlife. seen how good he was, how shiny, how-
war drums again, disrupting his dreamtime fantasy, clicking and clinking, weighty metal on wet. clipping against stone. it isn’t his heartbeat making them, it’s louder, more overwhelming, and when he opens his bloodshot eyes he immediately understands it’s the sound of heavy boots on rock. he’s drenched in an oily sheen of sweat from infection already, but a new wave springs up, prickles and beads along his palms (palm), the backs of his knees, the sides of his skull, oozing over the remnants of led and clay sticking to his burning skin and streaking down. is it God? Daddy? the sound is getting louder, coming towards him, coming for him, and in his fear he shuts his eyes, afraid that he is dreaming. is it a dream? another night fever about God, come to torment him for his failure to die chrome. his hand is trembling and the sound stops just in front of him, a mighty mechanical wheeze of a respirator and an aura of holiness he can almost feel, like heat radiating off the high noon desert sands, burning the moisture off his skin. in a panic, before he can think, his eyes fling open. and God is there.
“Imm-!!” he ekes out, or tries, through a mouthful of old silver spraypaint and older thickened saliva, because even if this is a fever dream God is here. God has visited him in a vision, maybe, come to take him away into Valhalla in his sleep. merciful in spite of his slipping away so soft, so sooky. weak. “I, Immortan!!” as he scrabbles forward off his stone slab, knocking empty spraypaint bottles to the ground as he slams kneecap-first to the floor. “Immortan,” like a mantra, rising in pitch, because now is his chance to worship, to show he is worthy, and his hands go up into the holy V8 before he realizes his shattered fingers are bandage-bound and he can’t.
oh god, stupid, stupid smeg-
“Immortan i, i, oh,” in a panic as he hunkers in there on his knees, tearing at his bandages with the nubby chewed nails of his free hand, his teeth, anything to get them off. panicking, wheezing and sweat rolling down his ribcage, “sorry, so sorry- ah-”
Joe felt a laugh building in his chest at how the Boy reacted, the clattering of the cans especially loud in the otherwise silent space, but it died in his throat when he saw what the boy was trying to do. It never ceased to amaze him, the things they would do for him. Just when he thought he’d seen the pinnacle of insane human devotion, he realized he hadn’t even scrape the bottom.
This didn’t even seem human, though. This was subhuman, the desperate need of a dog, blind to pain and humiliation so long as the promise of praise was held over their head. If he could just be good, it would all be worth it.
He hooked his thumbs into his belt, his posture squaring up without him being aware of it. Shoulders back and legs spread, looking down at the boy just over the snout of his rebreather, barely even grazing him with his eyes. Or it seemed that way, anyhow. He was watching very intently, wondering how much was going to be too much, wondering when he’d just curl up and sob for forgiveness, the pain too much.
But from the looks of it? He might actually do it. Joe doubted he could even feel anything but pain in the mangled limb.
“I’m waiting, Boy.”
He’d briefly considered giving the Boy a pass, phoning in something about saving the milk truck and shooting him, but that would be over with too quickly, and hadn’t he just been looking for something amusing to fill his time?
Impatient and bored, neither things he had to feign. Joe kicked one of the empty cans hard enough to send it skittering, the sound protracted and echoing in the large cavern. Hurry up hurry up the can warbled in hollow, tinny staccato hurry up or Daddy will be Angry.
His eyes are boring into the back of his shaved skull, he can feel it. His staring. metal nails hammering down through thick bone into his secret thoughts. his hands are shaking, shaking, clammy with sweat and sickness, and as he jerks around looking for the loose end of the bandages (wherever the organic had tucked them), the IV tangles in his way, ensnaring his fingers, rattling the bloodbag’s cage. he rips the needle out without a sound, without a second thought, in an arterial squirt that spurts once, twice, and then eases through some miracle. red on white lead, mixing to runny mud that snakes its way down his forearm and puddles in the inside crease of his elbow, hot and thick. he pays no attention to the engine oil loss, and tries his teeth again, worming through fabric, gripping tight and ripping free. he can barely think, through the fever haze, through the throbbing pain in his hand and his head - most of all through the watching, the observing. God had turned His all-seeing eye and zeroed in on him. on him.
the cloth is off and there’s a septic smell underneath, rising off of boiling hot flesh. (’just, running a lil’ hot is all, engine needs to cool,’ he’s told himself in the night, cradling his hand up against his sternum, feeling his hand’s infected flesh and his heart throb in time together.) swollen and red, swollen thick and infected around stitching that he doesn’t really understand and doesn’t care to. some splint in the way, keeping broken fingers straight, and it’s so in the way he pries it off with a noise, air hissing out and a vocal little hhuhh. the pain would be overwhelming had he not been chroming so frequently. (’nice new paint job overtop that scrap metal, yeah?’) it buzzes through him, dulling the sensations and dizzying his perceptions, drying the saliva in his mouth to aerosol paste. when the splint comes off, when the tape unwinds, his fingers bend to the side funny, right over the first knuckle, but it’s besides the point. it doesn’t matter. what’s pain and disfiguration in the sight of God. God, who transforms, who lifts those worthy up to the light and transfigures them, shapes them into His eternal riders. His warriors. forever, forever.
his hands mash into one another, pressing through swell and blood into V8. his fingers on his broken hand won’t stand straight, so he squeezes them in between the others, harder, harder, until they raise, sticking out at odd angles. hands up and head bowed, prostrate, forehead to the floor in his worship, his supplication. in this moment, he is nothing. he is a speck in the presence of the Sun. he is absorbed in His divinity.
“Im-Mort-An,” he breathes into the puddles of humid wet on the floor, like the rock interiors of the mountain are sick and sweating along with him. his hand hurts so much, and he can almost see it pulsing in time with the waves of Power he can feel, emanating off of Him. his voice is cracking, choking.
“love you. Daddy. i love you.”
He actually did it. Joe took it for granted most of the time, their devotion. It was a means to an end, a means to his ends. He fed their desperate need for meaning and they made him a god in turn, but he forgot, sometimes, how deeply they believed. This was different from how it had started. He’d been well respected first, a level head in troubled times, a war hero, a familiar name. Respect followed by fear, fear of his ability to command the loyalty of men, fear of what he did to those who crossed him.
He had not anticipated it that it would become this. Fanatical devotion had preceded it, but now? Now they had transcended to love. They loved him and they believed every word he said. Every single thing he said, everything he did was divine in their eyes.
So complete was his divinity, so real, that he half expected the stitching on the War Boy’s mangled hands to split down their seams and burst out a rotten mixture of congealed blood and pus. If the infection didn’t kill him, that hand had to be throwing clots, wiggling around in smaller and smaller vessels, little time bombs only a few cells big, but still enough to kill.
“You defended the Rig from Buzzards,” he said, not bothering to address the salute the Boy had just struggled valiantly to give him, “I’m proud of you, Boy. I’ve come to Witness you, to take you to Valhalla myself.”
He was smiling under his mask, the expression crinkling his eyes, making them kind and paternal even though there wasn’t a drop of kindness in his heart for the thing prostrating itself before him. Joe imagined an ant under a magnifying glass, himself the heat and the boy the stupid insect he was focused on. There were hundreds more like him, mindless and scurrying and unable to comprehend him. His gaze was terrible and the Boy was powerless to escape.
Joe didn’t know how it had happened, how he’d become so much more and them so much less. It had never been equal, not really, but it had never been anything like this. And in such a short time, too, in the grand scheme of things. Would the next generation be even more fervent?
“What do you have to say to Daddy for being so generous?”
like something in him cracking. a dam, solid rock, solid steel, cleaving, and all that lay inside rushing forth, pouring out. Witness. Witness. take you there Myself. he can feel a force like a fist rising in his chest, strangling his voice off in the back of his throat, choking and sputtering and his vision blurring.
“i!!!...” a warbling cracking voice, not gonna be soft, not gonna be soft, but his eyes are spilling before he can stop himself. relief like he’s never known. glory all his own, and God standing there to give it to him. He who had no duty or obligation to something as small as him, come to give him this Gift, this ascendance. Valhalla. Valhalla!! to ride eternal, by His side, under His command, through the dust storms, across the wastes, to a place seized from the sun itself, a place gleaming so bright his eyes would be blinded. he is smiling shakily, like it’s threatening to collapse, and the tears drain in through the corners of his mouth, back through his sinuses into the back of his throat.
and so he throws himself forward, hands slamming flat on the black floor and he makes an awful little noise when the shattered right one makes an impact. it flinches and curls, and most of the meat doesn’t respond. as prostrate as he can make himself before Him, fingers and the stitched mishmash of hand pointing forward and trembling in space like they want permission to touch - a shred of His garments, a touch of His boot, anything, like just the contact will bless him somehow, rub off some of His shine onto him. make him holy. make him glow.
“thank you,” he’s whimpering straight into the floor, babbling on and on, hands trying to clasp one another, “thank you, thank you, glory be. you’re- you’re so- i’m not- worthy- thank you-”
his eyes swing up, his head and shoulders turn up, sweat-soaked, eyes watering like he’s gazing directly into the sun. “am i-” and he swallows, swallows, teeth chittering and chattering in his head, his trembling and breathing are so out of his control, “i am- i am awaited?”
The blubbering disgusted him. It wasn’t a deep disgust by any means. Disgust was a strong word for it, but he couldn’t think of a better one as he watched the War Boy mewl. He’d probably slobber and snot if he had the spit for it. Still, the question made one of his feet twitch, the one closest to the boy’s prostrate hand. It was a mean little sting of a thought, a reflex, like jabbing a bruise or slapping a sunburn.
“You are awaited,” Joe told him, slowly moving his boot over the boys mangled excuse for a hand. Hovering. Joe knew he wouldn’t move it, but would he twitch, at least? Would Joe see doubt in his eyes? “I’ve come to take you to be with your Brothers in Valhalla.”
Joe didn’t explain further and brought the treads down slowly, slowly, only applying weight once the hand was completely covered by his boot, leaning forward, his eyes fixed on the boy’s pallid face. How far before he tried to yank his hand away, tried to somehow stop him? There had to be a limit to how much he’d suffer before his faith departed him.
“You will be reborn there, Boy! Your heart will become a V8, every inch of you chrome!”
His voice boomed in the cavern, an obscene peptalk for tolerating having a man well over two hundred pounds grinding your hand into gritty rock. But that wasn’t how it saw him, he had to remember that. He wasn’t an old man who’d never changed his eating habits since he was sixteen crushing some poor idiot’s hand, he was God promising Heaven to a lowly Thing.
He was God.
it’d smashed and torn his hand into pieces, the buzzard vehicle. shreds of muscle and tendon and broken metacarpals, dangling apart from one another like a flower blooming, dripping its sap. the mechanic had sat there with him, he with his aerosol can of chrome in his lungs and mouth (the first of many) and the mechanic snorting something powdery off the back of his hand, and he’d worked, sewing it all back together with fishing line, needles the size of blades of grass that he’d never seen. it took, it held, but it was dirty, sticky, dripping infection and held together by a prayer and wire and sheer force of will.
he sees the shifting of His boot, sees it rise up at the toe - his eyes are widening, quivering in their sockets, thinking no, no, He wouldn’t possibly be so, so, so generous - and when it touches down, the first near pressureless contact of metal and rubber on skin, he gasps like he’s been shocked. electrocuted. God. the touch of God!!
the hand is complaining even at the slight touch, the skin prickling, throbbing, but his heart is hammering in his ears. the sound in his eardrums, it’s the calling of the promised war party, it’s them, chanting to him from beyond. he’s listening as He speaks, and his lungs flutter in his chest, open mouthed and bug-eyed and slack-jawed like he’s stupid. forgotten how to speak. gasping.
“Ddaddy,” almost incoherently as the pressure of the boot increases, more and more like the weight of the world smashing in. the pain a living thing now, a crushing wet crunch of meat, wire, broken bones displacing; he can feel a stitch ripping, then another, and still he can’t tear his eyes away from His gaze, can’t stop staring up and mouthing nonsense, sounds of the body living its pain, little ghghhgs and hhahhs and ohgghhs and no effort to drag himself away. he shivers, shudders, jitters in place, face twisting in a mess of hurting and joy and humility.
he doesn’t pull back. he doesn’t try to stop Him. God sees so fit as to show him the frailty of his own half-life body, to- to illustrate for him the difference, yeah, between this form now and his reborn self. his gleaming skin, his strength, his V8 engine heart that waits for him. the pain is a blessing. the touch of God, the Man who held the sun in His fist, is a blessing, and the touch of the sun burns, hurts, as it’s meant to. burns away the soft. the pain is a love he’s always starved for. and his hand, his intact left hand, slithers and laces its sweat soaked self over the back of His boot. holding on, like it wants to pull in. harder. destroy the soft. burn it, burn it.
“Daddy!!” the thing wails. he can barely breathe, barely speak, can barely form connected thoughts through the pain, through the stomach-clenching nauseating awe, and something broken in his crushed hand shifting and cracking.
He heard it so often it tended to lose meaning in all but very specific instances. When the setting and the mood was just right, when it was more than just sincere. When it was intimate.
This was intimate, making eye contact with this wriggling thing trapped under his boot. And trapped wasn’t the right word for this because it was right where it wanted to be. It was begging for more, daddy, daddy, a child wheedling for a lolly, a supplicant on a televangelism show, howling to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
Joe leaned back a moment like he was going to lift the boot up and then he threw all his weight forward onto one foot, feeling a little light-headed when he heard the sound it made. He didn’t always feel powerful, didn’t always feel divine. Things went wrong and they kept going wrong and his skin had become a nightmarish lattice of tumors, boils and radiation burns. All his sons were twisted and broken and he had more dead children than living ones, but right now, to this squealing, wriggling ant, to this maggot, he was God and even he could believe it for a short while. Right now he was all-powerful, and even his most debased cruelties were exalted gospel.
He picked his foot up and stepped back, scraping human-flavored gunk off on the nearest step.
Joe didn’t give him time to reflect or dwell on what had happened to his hand.
“You can’t go to Valhalla if all of you isn’t together, in on piece,” Joe said, his tone warm and paternal, slightly nagging, “An engine can’t run without spark plugs, boy!” he pointed at the whatever-it-was he’d scraped off his boot, sloughed skin and shards of bone and pus-sopped meat, “You’ll need to take this with you!”
It couldn’t. Not after what he’d just done to it.
it will, something hissed in his ear, it’ll do it it’ll do a n y t h i n g for d a d d y.
Joe adjusted his codpiece but kept his eyes locked on the craven thing that might have once been a man.
screaming rips out from his guts and overtakes him - his vision cuts out, his eyes roll up, his back seizes and arches. his body reacts without conscious thought, without his control. betraying him, for the body didn’t know what was to become of it, how it would be discarded for the sake of his transcendence. all the body knew was that it didn’t want pain. the body was soft. stupid. the boot comes down and the sloppy stitching, the odd angles and broken things and infected swell - it ruptures in a burst of liquid, a splattering of infection, the snappings and twangings of stitching. no amount of chroming can dull this, he’s howling and he- he can’t be, it’s ungrateful, the hand was soft and had to go. it had to. there’s a rotting smell, ammonia lacing through where his body, wracked with sick and pain, had given up and just let go, wet heat soaking through the crotch of his pants, mixing in with motor oil puddles under him.
the pain, it’s so overwhelming that for a moment he thinks he’s died. he’s floating, the pain ebbing in and out of his awareness, a numbness seeping through him and crawling up his skin. but His voice is there, roaring through the fevered haze and the body’s attempts to ignore everything outside of it. He demands, demands that he listen, Obey, and he lurches his face back up, forcing himself to look at Him. (ignore the hand. it’s soft. it doesn’t hurt. ignore it.)
and of course, of course he’d need to be whole. all accounted for, so they could replace the parts as they go, or whatever excuse his adrenaline addled mind is cooking up to get him back to reality enough to focus. focus on what needs to be done.
what’s missing? he’s looking down at his hand and doesn’t comprehend for a moment. crushed and wet, a ruin of meat and bone splinters and things he doesn’t recognize as tendons. he can’t make sense of it. something is rising in his guts, something trying to come back up, mouth watering thick into the spraypaint coating his teeth. he swallows it down. stares up at Daddy stupidly. stares down at his boot, the smear of blood and muscle fibers leading to the step He’d scraped the treads of his boot off on. a smashed finger, bent backwards at a knuckle and sticking up from a shred of skin, meat, creamy white pus like congealing milk. it’s pointing skyward accusingly, like it’s pointing up to Valhalla, where he’s meant to be. where he’s meant to go, and there’s no getting there without spark plugs, is there? is there?
he’s lurching towards it. scrambling on his knees, scooting ahead and obliviously soaking one of his knees in the piss puddle he’s left behind. Daddy is merciful, Daddy is kind to show him the meaninglessness of the body. He could crush him into individual parts, and he would thank Him for it, praise Him for it. Daddy could see the bigger picture, not like him. something as small as he was. He knew what was good for him. best for him. Daddy loves you.
when he grabs it, there’s that funny, funny feeling in his guts, the squirms and the gurgles and the saliva free-falling out the corners of his scarred mouth, but he ignores it. he ignores it and thinks for a second about sewing it back in place. but speed is best. the shortest route to wholeness is best.
he eats it. stuffs it in his mouth and slides it over his tongue and swallows without a second thought. his taste buds are so scorched from the years of inhalant abuse, years of huffing exhaust fumes with his brothers and laying there stupefied and screaming and hacking up black. he can’t taste it but there’s an awful rancid thickness that tries to close his throat around it. he forces it. crunches himself and swallows, swallows, over and over, feeling it scrape its way down nail-first into the pits of him. the body doesn’t want it. the body knows it’s for the sake of becoming whole, to move on beyond it and onto his heavenly self, and the body wants it out. but the body doesn’t know better. he doesn’t know any better. he’s not smart, not like the Immortan is. not like Daddy. Daddy knows what’s best.
his mouth leeches over the step, scouring with cracked teeth the chunks and debris and fibers of meat left behind. licks up infected fluid that his tongue doesn’t process but his guts hate, gagging him, choking him as he works. the solids go down, little rock fragments alongside them in his haste. he follows the trail, like an animal, grabbing at whatever solids his fingers can find and stuffing them in, leading its way back to His boot. something gunked underneath, and his tongue is out and trying to snake into the space between the rock and the treads. worm it out. be whole. do what Daddy says.
It was a disgusting mess and his eyes shone brightly with malicious fascination, watching how its body pulled and strained against its own skin, muscles and tendons seizing and writhing as its body struggled to cope with the overwhelming pain. It even stopped howling without being told, instead scrambling to fulfill its next task, pushing through an unfathomable amount of agony. Because he said so. Because he willed it. Because this crawling thing could no more question him than it could question the sun in the sky.
He was the sun in the sky. He was divine and he felt it in that moment, watching it try to choke down its own finger. Its body protested but that didn’t stop it. This was the purest form of love, blind and boundless, incapable of reason, not needing it. Rejecting reason as false gospel, heresy in the face of truth, heresy in the actual presence of god.
Joe had only meant the finger but it continued to bolt itself back down, following the grisly trail of its own pulped inner works straight to the boot that had done the deed, the steel cap spattered, the treads caked. He lifted his foot and forced himself to take a few rattling breaths, his rebreather hissing noisily with the more forceful intakes and expulsions. He’d been holding it, mesmerized, not wanting to miss a moment of the stimulus, not wanting a single wheeze or gasp or yelp to be drowned out by his filtered breathing.
He lifted up the toe of his boot, leaning forward to stay balanced and to get a better look, checking the bottom of the boot for filth and finding it in grand abundance, watching how the thing’s tongue desperately squirmed between the treads. Dry, so dry. It’d never get it down and keep it down and Joe wanted him to. He was rooting for the little grub.
Joe started to nudge its face with the steel cap, just a light tap at first, and then he pressed on its neck, on its shoulder, shoving it back, kicking it back towards his own puddle of waste. It was still half in it, had smeared through it to further prostrate itself, but it hadn’t sopped it all up.
“Drink it before it dries,” he suggested. This thing was so stupid, so base, it needed to be coddled and reminded to do even the most basic things, and Daddy took care of poor idiots that couldn’t take care of themselves, Daddy accepted that burden, Daddy was kind and generous, “It will help you swallow.”
He had no idea if it would or not but that wasn’t the point. He was kind and generous and what would it take to make the idiot throw up? If not its own infected flesh, if not its own rancid piss, what?
If nothing he did would make it curse him, then was there at least a limit on what the thing would praise him for?
the boot pushes into his face, his cheek, and oh, oh, he leans into the pressure, trying to twist his mouth towards in, grind his gums against it, kiss wherever he can reach. love, pure and helpless love. a neediness in him that overpowers the sick, overwhelms the nausea, makes him hungry, starving, for anything Daddy wants to feed him. He feed him pain, slamming the boot into his shoulder and knocking him flat on his ass in the puddle of his own urine. Daddy feeds him real good, things he deserves, things he wants and laps up and thanks Him for.
drink it. drink it. it’s an order he doesn’t even have the ability to disobey. he can’t go to Valhalla without all his parts. not his spark plugs and not his engine oil. he’s twisting himself, muscles flexing under sallow lead-smeared skin, into a crouch, head down and facefirst into the lake of urine, pressing his lips to the rock and sucking with a disgusting noise. salt. salt and black grease from the floor, ammonia and bitter, and he can feel it washing into his stomach in waves of swallows, forcing the meat and rocks down his esophagus. it would, it really would help him swallow. he gulps down his own fucking piss from the floor like it’s mother’s milk, like it’s water from His own reserves, because He told him to, Daddy told him to, and he will make Daddy happy. please Him. satisfy Him with his obedience to God. he is disgusting and wallows in it, revels in it, in the hysterical frenzy the adrenaline and endorphines create from his mangled hand.
when the piss is gone, and it is gone quick as can be, because Daddy told him to, he lurches his way back to where He stands, radiant and beautiful, shining, chrome and burning hot. glory, glory, as he slams himself headfirst to the floor, back to his boot, his mouth running with fresh saliva and his own urine, streaking down his face, melting the white clay off in a stream down his chest. the boot leans up, and he zeroes in on the treads, little traces and zigzags through the patterns they create, like they are a holy mystery in of themselves. a map, a pathway up through the stars, up to Valhalla, that he needs to memorize and memorize right now. the gunk in between is rancid, leaky and runny, and his chest begins trying to reject it as he jostles it free and swallows it down, but Daddy said so. Daddy said to. he has to. the hand mash on the underside is diminishing but he’s still working. his teeth catch on the rubber and the bottom row sink in between treads, loosening things stuck in deep. dirt, rocks. filth. His filth is a blessing. the filth He has stepped on has been transformed into objects from the great beyond, the great highway that lay beyond the black of space. Daddy shares these with him, because He loves him. Daddy loves him, and he loves Him back with such a severity it makes his hand shake, his knees quake, his jaw tremble around the heel he’s sucking on. rakes his tongue over the bottom, feeling it slice a little on something sharp stuck into the rubber. works at the bit of trapped glass with his teeth, eases it out, feeling it cut him on the way down as he swallows.
he can hear the bloodbag moaning, but it’s so far away. he is absorbed, consumed, trapped in the present moment. here, where he belongs - servicing. being a good boy. loving Him. worshiping.
He marveled at the thing’s dedication, a mixture of bemusement and disgust and satisfaction at how greedily it slurped up its own piss, how it flung itself around, heedless of its wretched body. They were old men before their time, War Boys, covered in growths, their joints wrapped with razorwire, their breathing hard to come by on especially nasty days, but that didn’t stop them. It goaded them instead, a cattle prod that they thanked him for. This thing at his feet would’ve died a decade ago without his great war machine to keep him running and he was overflowing with gratitude.
So overlooked, so unappreciated, gratitude, and now it was practically chewing on the treads of his boot, and was that fresh blood dribbling out of its mouth? He must’ve stepped on a nail or a piece of scrap. Joe actually bent his head a little, curious, but he didn’t see anything.
It’d eaten it. It’d eaten whatever had cut it, and now it would cut it inside, too. Not much the Organic could do for things like that, but it’d been dead long before it’d swallowed the sharp thing that’d been lodged in his boot. Some object reaching down deep inside of it, deeper than he could go, caressing his cancerous innards with idiot abandon. A nail, a hunk of metal, a piece of glass couldn’t appreciate the power it had, couldn’t enjoy it.
Joe yanked his boot out of the worm’s grasp and snapped his fingers, waiting for it to look up, to make eye contact with him before he kicked it square in the mouth. Worshipful as it was, he didn’t trust anything with teeth near his cock anymore, so first things first they had to take care of those. He was hyper aware of how much he was sweating, little trickles that collected under sagging flesh, pooled against his plastic armor before gravity pulled it further down, his heart pumping harder in anticipation. This groveling worm, this sack of meat could last a little longer than it might normally, the moan from the bloodbag a vague reminder. The Organic would be cross for wasting one, but that wasn’t his problem.
Nothing was his problem, not now. Not when he had such a devout worshiper to Witness.
He sat down next to the thing with a loud groan, not finding the seat comfortable but not needing it to be.
“Let Daddy see what’s left of your mouth,” he cooed, beckoning the boy closer, arms open, entreating, benevolent, “Let Daddy take care of you.”
slice slice slit of the shard of glass on its way down, and it hurts so much more than he’d anticipated. the cutting, the fever, the mangled hand - he’s moaning in a helpless drunken pain around the toecap as it cuts him inside, red-tinged saliva in a spattering freefall down the sides of his face, over the sides of the steel toe, puddling on the ground. is it more material that he’s losing, drooling on the floor like this? would Daddy disapprove? he’s off the boot and licking at the ground immediately, drinking up his own spit from the rocks, when he hears a snap, once, twice, like a dog being called.
when he swings his head up, up, to behold God, the steel toe of His boot strikes down hard into his mouth, and the world goes nuclear blast white.
he’s reeling backwards, his spine bending back in an awful shape as his upper half ricochets away, a horrible little sound escaping out, tumbling backwards onto his ass, good hand on the ground to hold himself and mashed one up to his face. when he thought it couldn’t get worse, it hurt worse. worse. “GHHGLLHG,” out from him in a waterfall spray of blood, and something loose, then another something loose, fall out from his mouth. tick tick ticks against the rock, bouncing off a discarded can of spraypaint.
he can’t lose those. no, no, his teeth, his bolts, Daddy said he needs everything - he reaches out and tries to grab them and forgets his right hand is ruined, mashes it against the floor by accident and squeals when it hurts. grabs the teeth up with his good hand then, stumbling to get them. sucking them in. swallowing them down without thinking, like silver and yellow pills. they scrape, grind on their way down, like they’re trying to remember how to chew things. sharp shattered edges, slicing along on their merry way. the pain is so unreal that his vision is swimming, his body faltering even though he’s only sitting there. making a noise like he’s drowning, he gropes around him, feeling for a canister with some juice left inside. the chrome paint burns his lungs, his throat, sears in the gushing holes in his gums where shards of teeth protrude out. he’s shouting, but it’s melting down into a groan, a stoned inhalant blur that mashes the sensations into one another. stuffing the room with cotton balls.
it doesn’t hurt. it doesn’t hurt. Daddy knows best.
and there He is too, sitting and beckoning him close. radiant, divine, a beacon of burning energy. is he moaning? is that noise coming from himself? how badly something in him wants that love He offers, that embrace, and his body grinds to life. on all fours, without the ability to stand anymore, he crawls ahead, sluggish, drunk, panting through the mess of pain and sick and new coating of chrome on his insides, mixing with the blood. when he’s there, and he can’t believe he’s made it there, he looks up, glassy-eyed and awestruck, into the ghoulish mask of Death Himself. merciful Death, kind beautiful Death, loving rebirth. he’s there, wobbling on his hands and knees between His legs, beholding his God. beholding His benevolence, His mercy.
his mouth opens to show Him His beautiful handiwork and his tongue hangs there, limp and exhausted. two shattered shards jutting up from whitened gum. chrome and red dying his white body dark, brilliant. he is being transformed now, he can feel it. he is becoming.
“still,” he groans through wheezing, through wet, through pain and drugged stupor so intense he can barely think straight, “still, all in, all in one- piece, Daddy...”
He’d never been that well off Before, had never had a front row seat to anything but the destruction of everything he’d ever known and loved. The only front row seat he’d had was watching his future turn to radioactive ash, watching the oceans recede, watching human beings wither and warp and cry out for an end to their suffering.
Nothing like this. Nothing at all like this, this naked disregard for dignity, this awesome display of how powerful he was. Even Before there had not been many gods who’d had such putrid, messy deeds performed in their honor. Terrible things, devastating things, but nothing like this. Nothing like something shaped like a man gobbling his own shattered teeth off the ground. Nothing so base as this, a man reduced to a thing, so ignorant and so desperate for love that he didn’t even care if the only love that was left in the world was pain.
Pain was the purest love and Joe couldn’t feel any of his, imagining himself transferring it to the worm, filling it up with all his aches and pains and excess rads and malignant, slumbering cancers. He suffered for them and so they suffered for him when he willed it and it was grateful to be filled with such scouring divinity.
“Shh shh shh,” soothing, like coddling a child, a hand smoothing over his bald head, the other cupping his ruined face, one thumb pulling his chapped lower lip down to better observe the damage, “You’re such a Good Boy. Daddy’s so proud of you.”
Not bad for one kick, but aside from him still having teeth, there were shards still poking up out of his gums, some at funny angles, and more than a few had only been snapped off at the roots. Brittle teeth, not quite chalk but not far from it.
“Daddy’s so proud,” he murmured, his thumb moving into its mouth and rubbing where he knew a root was still lodged, moving up to a shard and pressing down on it. Lightly, gently, “What a Good Boy you are, but you’re not ready. Not yet.”
It took him five tries to pry a shard loose, his fingers too thick for such delicate work, only managing to get it free by catching it between two fingernails and almost gleefully placing it on the tip of the thing’s tongue to swallow before he inspected the rest. What a mess. He’d never get it all out with just his fingers, either.
Joe looked up from his project and bellowed for the Organic, keeping a steadying, firm hand around the thing’s gyrating throat.
touching him, touching him!! it cuts through the haze of sweat and sick like lightning striking down, and he almost jumps out of his skin. Immortan, Immortan Joe, Daddy, Daddy was touching his face, His hands and fingers skating over his scalp and the flesh prickling in gooseflesh. he’s whimpering before he knows it, whining and wriggling and trying to press more of himself into the hand stroking over his head, his face, his cheekbone, drenching itself in his sweat. he could envision it evaporating off of Him in a mist of boiling steam, if He willed it so.
good boy. it clamps something down somewhere deep in his guts, a vice grip of muscles and pelvic floor. he stutters out a high, pathetic, “oh!-” in awe, rapturous awe that shakes him to the core. squirming and feeling His hand, hearing His words, His love, His recognition, His witnessing, it’s all he can do not to collapse. the hand is in his mouth, swirling around the mess of blood and spraypaint, zeroing in on the tooth and oh, oh, Daddy’s love is coming, Daddy’s love is here to take the things that cause pain away. God is here to free him from the shackles of his body, his sickened, diseased, breaking body. God shows him the way, spends the time removing what needs removing. transforming him with His own, His own, His own hands!! His fingernails are working the shard of tooth, back and forth, little slow circles along the hole in the gumline, worming it free, and the pain is oozing and hot, makes his eyes water, makes his bladder clamp and then release even though there’s nothing inside of it to let go. Daddy is showing him pain, the pain that this body gives him, the pain he’ll never feel again in his chrome self. the pain is a gift. the pain is a lesson.
he can’t stop himself from licking at His fingers as they prod and pry and tug, his tongue flexing out of his control and sliding its slug self along in a stuttering shivery path. His knuckle, the pad of His thumb. the burning, the searing, this is the gift of the Sun, the gift of the white hot engines from beyond. this pain is to be understood as a transcendence. He puts the little knife on his tongue, and he swallows it down, feeling his throat contract in the grip of His huge hands, flex like it’s alive without him. He holds his life in His hand, feeling His skin against his throat, His strength, His willpower. he can’t stop his trembling, can’t stop his tongue lolling out like a dog’s. keep your mouth open. keep it wide open for Daddy.
The Organic stumbled out of wherever he’d been just when Joe had inhaled to bellow for him again. He had a sixth sense, that man, of how to be just the right amount of annoying without getting swatted. He shuffled over and Joe imagined that he reeked as he itched one of his armpits, barely even registering the display until he laid eyes on the bloodbag slowly exsanguinating. His mouth pulled into a frown and his hands went to his hips, disgruntled by the waste.
Joe spoke before he could voice his protest and disturb his very intensive personal project, “Pliers.”
It wasn’t a waste at all.
The Organic didn’t have to hunt long to find what he needed, needle nose pliers with disintegrating rubber grips. Joe took them and looked away, not at all interested in his opinion or his input. He was busy, and the Organic knew to mind his own business. Joe wasn’t even aware of him stumbling off, too busy clicking the pliers next to the thing’s ear and then jabbing them into his mouth, quick as could be, catching the squirmy end of his presumptuous tongue, his eyes crinkling as he grinned at it, a fair facsimile of the mask covering it. This stupid fucking thing. He’d had dogs with more sense.
“Hold still now,” Joe murmured, “Hold still,” he released his tongue and tapped the jutting remnants of a root, “Hold still,” he was ginger at first, unsure of the tools and his grip, unable to fully see thanks to all the blood, but then he started to dig into the ragged socket, trying to get a good grip on the root, twisting when he thought he got it, “Hold… ha!! Ha ha!”
Joe brandished it between them, triumphant, his hand covered in spit and blood and chrome. Disgusting, but he couldn’t smell it, and it didn’t make his skin crawl. He was pure compared to this filth, untouchable.
“Open wii-iiide,” he said in a baritone sing-song, swooping the shard of tooth in circles towards its mouth like he was bringing in a spoonful of babyfood. Joe wondered what throwing up teeth would feel like.
be a good boy. good boy. that's him, he’s the good boy, and good boys sit still, good boys keep their mouth open, good boys - hiss when pliers clamp onto their tongue and stop the noise in its tracks. the tips are digging into the cut on his tongue, pressing in and beading blood around them. he was bad to have licked, bad, didn’t ask before he did. God expects His machines to be just that, machines. obedient, exact, precise. his body is such a ruin, such a disgrace, and the pain hammers it home further and further, the concept of the beauty of his fully realized self that’s coming. Daddy’s going to give it to him.
Daddy gives him pain so white hot his vision crosses and blackens with his eyes rolling back up into his head, like if the body can blind itself, it’ll make the pain not real anymore. the body is stupid, stupid, but he is good, good in spite of faulty machinery, he will be good and he forces himself to sit for it, keep his jaw open and locked, even in spite of the stuttering his thighs are doing, the jittering of his good hand as it gnarls and knots into the rough black fabric of his pants, in spite of the little squeaks and squeals coming out of his throat. vocal cords grinding and flexing over short shallow breaths, coming faster and faster as the root twists in its bony socket. there’s a pink little nerve inside, wet and plump and fat, like a worm, a maggot, and it’s pulping, crushed to paste as the root is twisted, rotated, rocked back and forth unnecessarily. pain, radiating down his jaw, down into his neck, up through his sinuses so bad that everything in him is watering, eyes and nose and thick saliva, copious and mucusy like something wants to come back up. the pain is so great that the body wants to clench, reject everything, reject the rot he’s forced it to eat and the glass, the rocks, the bones. he won’t let it. he won’t allow it. Daddy says to open wide, and he cries and cries and lolls his blood blackened tongue out to receive it. communion. his body as food, his body as expendable. to illustrate the magnificence of his higher self. the magnificence of His army.
when he swallows the root, it sticks in his throat so bad that he chokes. it’s that one coughing fit, that hacking once, twice, that his body takes advantage of to try and launch what’s inside of it back up and out, and there’s a thin, watery stream of bile then. no, no!! he tries and closes his throat, tries to swallow, but the vomit rockets up into his sinuses, spurts out his nose in an awful ugly snort. he’s disgusting. he’s ashamed, that his body fights this Gift He’s giving him so hard, this Gift He’s given to him so generously, so lovingly. the tooth that skittered back out of his throat, he snatches it from the floor, chokes it down. the vomit in his lap, the hideous little puddle of tarry black sludge and chunks of hand, he’s scooping it into his remaining palm and he sucking it back down into his guts. it doesn’t hurt. nothing hurts. pain is only the body trying to trick him. stop him. Daddy said he needs everything. Daddy showed him the way, and he will walk that path.
the pain is so molten, wracking him with such violence - his hand, his wrecked mouth, his guts - that there is a strange feeling, somewhere in his stomach, balling up and radiating out. a melting spreading up from the base of his spine, where the pain is transforming. is it his V8 engine heart, taking shape inside of him? placed there by His power? is that this feeling? the tip of his tongue dances idiotically in the hole He’s left behind in his gums, and it feels like it’s singing, speaking some language of pain that the nerves all along his body are beginning to understand.
he doesn’t know when he began rocking in place like this, or when he’d stared up into His benevolent eyes with such adoration, such unconditional love. his mouth stays open, dripping and sick. does He want more teeth? He can have them. He can destroy them. He does what’s best for him. what’s most loving, actions beyond his ability to understand them. he is a grain of sand.
It was so utterly vile, the scene playing out just in front of him, this thing trying desperately to please him, this thing overriding its own instincts, going out of its way to damage itself, to hurt for him, to bleed for him, shoving its own teeth, its own flesh back inside of it. His stomach was a hard knot and his eyes gleamed and his cock throbbed, constrained by the elaborate codpiece that kept his most precious possession safe from harm. Love, pure love, needy, pathetic, desperate love and it was all his. It was all his and he could do whatever he wanted with it, and it would still love him.
It loved him as he yanked out its teeth and it loved him as he made it swallow the very tooth he’d just removed. It loved him as it threw up and it loved him as it scarfed its own sick back up and it loved him like a dog would love him, but far more base. Far more perverse. A dog couldn’t love him this deeply. Eventually, even a dog would turn and snap.
This was less than a man, less than a dog. A worm, a soft grub, a maggot gorging itself on pain in a desperate bid to transform, to become something gleaming and beautiful, to leave nothing but a withered husk of its former self behind.
But even a maggot only became a fly. Still an insect to him. Still worthless.
Joe grabbed its face again and started to yank and twist teeth out, the beaded sweat at his hairline starting to slide down, tracing erratic paths down in the deep creases of his forehead. He didn’t have time to make it swallow, not if he wanted to get this done in a reasonable amount of time. His work was steady and he smeared blood on his forehead, wiping at the sweat there with the back of the hand holding the pliers. He felt like if he let the thing go it would fling itself down and start sucking up its teeth, desperate to get them all back inside of him, so they were still a part of him. All because of something he’d said, some horseshit he’d just made up because it had sounded like something one of them would say. Stupid, vacant, nothing without him.
Tic, tac, tic as he dropped the teeth he pulled out one by one and by the time he’d gotten all of the incisors out of the way, the canines, the premolars, Joe didn’t see why he couldn’t clean house entirely. It would be funny, he thought with a sudden, broad grin. It would be funny to hear it try and praise him with no teeth. Oh, it would be so upset. That would hurt it more than anything Joe had done directly and a weird gurgling laugh, too deep to be a giggle, burbled up out of him. Well, it was settled then.
Joe hauled the boy around, slamming him onto his back against the roughly hewn ledge, easing a big knee down onto his chest. He was going to need leverage to get these back one’s out. Probably not this much, his teeth weren’t in his mouth very well to begin with, the gums receded and tortured even before he’d started to work on them.
“Open wider,” he demanded, catching the molar furthest back on his bottom jaw, the pliers sliding off a few times (shit, hold still! shit! frustrated and breathless, maybe even desperate) before they caught and he started to twist, leaning his back into it, laughing at the loud crack he was rewarded with for exerting far too much pressure on sure a structurally unsound tooth. He had to pick it out shard by shard then, bit by bit, remembering absently to give it a moment to breathe, relieving the pressure on its chest. He didn’t want it dead just yet. He wasn’t doing all this work for nothing.
“Daddy loves you,” he said, gentle and sincere as he started to haul out its molars, “Look how broken you are, look how disgusting, look at how soft and wretched you are, and Daddy loves you anyway.”
the hand on his jaw, His thumb in his mouth, jerking it open. pliers coming back into view, and the only thought in his head, the only real clear thought, was that he was grateful. this was to be his rebirth, and he is grateful. his eyes lock onto His, and then the tooth next to the gaping hole twists sideways in its socket, and his vision is gone. his self is gone.
no thoughts. no words. just squealing, piggish and gurgling through the blood flowing back in his mouth and into his throat as his teeth snap out, blood he starts swallowing until he can’t anymore, his body so wracked with pain that every cell, every nerve, every fiber is screaming. his jawbone radiating molten magma down into him, and all he can do is squeal. squeal.
is this what it’s like? rebirth? is he transforming? metal is made from great heat, forged and smelted in flames. He puts the sun inside of him like this, the burning and white-hot pain of lava. a tooth flies out, ticks off His mask, lands somewhere unseen. is he being forged like this? forging hurts. rebirth hurts. it hurts to be born. it hurts to be remade. it hurts the engine to have its impurities burned away, and he is burning. he understands now, the sickness was a Gift. the fever was a Gift. it was fire, fire planting itself inside him like a seed, like a duststorm, growing Godlike and all-powerful. awe-inspiring and consuming of the soft around it. the fever was to heat him first, prepare him for this. his pants are soaking in urine again, his bowels have gone utter liquid under the onslaught, and he is grateful. he is screaming and grateful for it all. in his screaming, mutilated ugliness he is transforming. he is reshaped, remade.
he is thrown, his air is forced out of his lungs under a huge knee until only hissing comes out, told to open wider, and he does, crackling and strangling on blood - the content of his stomach come back up then, in a wave of bits and clotted half digested red over his face, overflow out his mouth and nose, and he holds his mouth open wider. wider He said. the molar in the back of his head shatters under the twisting grip of the pliers, and his awareness is cutting out. blackened bits of nothing, and sharp-colored swatches of gore and red and His divine face burned into his retinas. a foggy, hazing, loves you drifting through his ears and dancing over the melting sludge of his brain, and he feels himself crying it back, echoing through his ruined flooding mouth. “llghgohoghh,” he tries, crying, hyperventilating, his hand and his mash stammering against the rock, “lohhghg, yhyyhhghhgh, ddhdhghhd-”
“Shh shh shh,” he soothed, stroking its head again, smearing its own blood all over itself, “Shhhhh, I’m going to take care of you. Easy, easy.”
Tender, as tender as he could be with pliers, and there were so few teeth left. He’d heard the thing shit itself but his mask protected him from the stench. He was above having to smell rotting hands and soiled pants. He was above all of this, looking down it, his presence a scouring one, wearing the thing down, reducing it to a tight knot of raw, exposed nerves, eroding its already withered sense of self.
Joe tossed the pliers aside, careless, no longer needing them and both his fingers were in the its mouth, one gripping his lower jaw to hold it open, dragging its lower lip down with his thumb, the other inside dragging his index finger experimentally around the radius of what had once been its bite. The meat was smooth for the most part, the slick of its own blood making up for its dehydration, but around some of the sockets it was ragged and textured and he made sure to probe and inspect those, to make sure he hadn’t missed any stray shards.
Nothing sharp. He wasn’t taking any chances.
His inspection continued on its upper jaw next, pressing each individual hole, making sure nothing poked back, making sure he hadn’t somehow missed one entirely, some ingrown mutant tooth he’d have to dig out with his knife.
But all was well and he tucked a thumb into either corner of its mouth, stretching its chapped lips out just enough to make it split in a few places. The blood wasn’t even noticeable anymore, there was so much of it. He had the bloodbag to keep him topped up.
Joe withdrew abruptly and sat a short distance away, keeping eye contact with the thing as he undid his belt, guns making it hang low and heavy without the buckle to keep it up. He put his gory hands on his thighs, staining the white linen dramatically, spider threads of red spidering out.
“You’ll need guzzoline, Boy,” his voice rumbled out low and languid, smirking, self-satisfied. Could it do anything besides crawl? Could it even crawl? It’d strain the IV to get this far but Joe had confidence it would have its priorities in order. He had faith, “Come here and I’ll give you some.”
the motion of the pliers softens, less frantic, less greedy and more slow, methodical. He’s stripping the weaknesses away from him, the things that give him pain. his flaws. the pliers clamp tight around one of the last ones in his mouth, and He works the tooth slow, twisting it counterclockwise, rocking it gently, back and forth. coaxing it out of its little hideyhole. through the haze of hysteria he wants his body to obey, wants the tooth to obey and come out, but it’s brittle and it cleaves in two in the socket, and He has to fish the pieces out a long sharp half at a time. some small piece of him, a little smattering of braincells that still are capable of conscious thought think, Daddy is patient in spite of his body’s shortcomings and failures. Daddy is kind.
there’s a hypersensitivity oozing over the rest of him, encircling the radiating hole of his mouth that somehow isn’t connecting with him anymore. it’s all one smearing blur of sensation, overloading something inside of him. the holy engine taking shape in his chest. that’s what’s doing this, what’s dissolving the pain away into a mass of feeling he can’t comprehend anymore. his throat opens and nothing comes out, nothing but a croaking noise. his body is dying away, and his true self is congealing in his ribs. V8.
his skin is so fiery it’s melted the lead clay away almost utterly, and he is there, bare and filthy, like a newborn. when His hand touches his face, it almost feels cold to him. he is radiating heat. he is becoming the Sun He’s put into him. he can feel that pain jolting out in bursts of flame from the ripped holes in his mouth as His fingers skate over each. inspection. He is seeing how he’s coming along in his metamorphosis, cooing encouragements, beautiful word that sting his eyes and sinuses with fresh tears but that his throat can’t vocalize, his wrecked mouth can’t form. gurgles and sputters and chokes, warbling moans and all he can do is lean, lean hard into the hand. his eyes are wide open, pupils blown, but he can barely see. everything around him is awash in static, like standing up too quickly, consuming everything but His shining maw. His holy power, His face.
when the face pulls out of his field of view, he reaches for it blindly, tries to speak and his ripped gums grind together so horribly that the try at words breaks off into a long, high gurgle. can’t speak, can barely see, and he is on the floor, both hands gripping into the rock - one mashing itself further. he can’t feel it. if everything is pain, then nothing is. he doesn’t feel it. he will not. he is evolving, he can feel it below the pain. his engine core piecing itself together in him, as he eats pieces. he slobbers the vomit off his hands. he feels a tooth, another, dropped around him, and from his prone spot near flat on the ground, he licks them up. they jab in the holes like they want to stick themselves back, but he chokes them down. in his half blindness he reaches here, there, until he hears Him speaking, lovingly and fatherly to him, and then he understands.
guzzoline, guzzoline, of course. his heart needs to run. when his true engine heart starts he will become even greater. he cannot stand, so he sets to crawling - but he cannot crawl. his arms and legs won’t cooperate. everything is trembling out of his control, and all he can do is slither across the ground, pitching and rolling and falling whenever he tries to rise. reaching forward and dragging himself in the direction of His voice, His sound. His breaths. when he touches something that might be a tooth, or a rock, or, it doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter, he stuffs it in and it cuts him on its way inside. he can’t feel it. the slither of stone against his belly is lighting his nerves on fire. he can feel every rolling rush of sweat down his thighs, his throat. closer and closer he drags himself, and when he drags his ass over an aerosol can he sprays it into his mouth and lungs immediately, and the world is screeching again for five seconds as it reacts with the shredded nerves, then melting and foggy again. the strength needed to push on. the chromed body of the divine. all he needs now is guzz.
he crawls, climbs, clambers up His boots, over His shinguards, the ends of His robes, pulling himself as upright as possible, balancing on his shins in a hold that threatens to give and send him collapsing at any second.
guzz, guzz. glug glug glug, he thinks stupidly. monosyllabic and simple.
Its wriggle towards him was as pitiful as it was hilarious and Joe watched with a broad smile, his hands lifting from his thighs when it managed to get closer, beckoning it, encouraging it, trying to keep it on task as it slupped up anything in its path. This shattered thing with a meaty flipper at the end of one arm, with blood pouring out of its mouth. The stink must’ve been incredible, Joe thought, his rebreather hissing in mechanical agreement.
He didn’t even need to prompt it where to go, but it was unsteady between his legs, its body wavering even if its will was iron. Its iron was soft and malleable in the presence of his forging heat and it was leaking out of it from every orifice, including the fresh ones he’d created in its mouth. What a benevolent god he was to this wretched thing, and more than one sickly Boy in the bloodshed would Witness this. Would see what the ultimate reward of their devotion was, an affirmation of his Grace.
Joe suspected he knew how to stir it out of its stupor, at least a little, at least once more before most of its blood was outside of itself. A last hurrah before it became as useless as its mangled flipper-hand, a soggy remnant of something that had once served him.
He reached into his codpiece and freed his cock, suppressing a groan of relief and turning it into a sort of low growl, grasping it and giving it a few reassuring strokes, letting it get a good look at how it’d be receiving its guzzoline. Joe felt impatient once his dick was free of the cramped oppression of his codpiece and he grabbed the back of its head, slapping the head of his cock on its gory lips, sliding it against its slick, ragged gums with his hand, no shards of bone spoiling his well-earned fun.
“Are you ready, Boy?” Joe asked, his voice hushed as though it were a reverent moment, as though it wasn’t some perverse game, as though he cared even the tiniest bit about whether or not the worm was ready. It lived in a state of perpetual readiness, but that didn’t mean he didn’t like to hear it, “Tell me you’re ready! Tell me you’re ready for Valhalla, Boy, and I’ll coat your insides with guzzoline and chrome!”
back, forth, weaving, unstable, and he grips the one hand he’s got left into the red-stained fabric over His thighs, the other dropping uselessly between his legs. dangling and dead. his nose is sealed shut with sinus drain and vomit, and all he can do is breathe through his mouth, haa huhh haa huhh, in rushes of humid air that sear along the exposed pulped nerves in his mouth. the feeling is beyond belief. nerves only reacting because the body will stupidly react, electric because the engine inside of him transforms him into a being of sensation. he envisions himself racing across the Fury Road itself, a war machine, crushing anything in his path, explosive and screaming and Him fanging it at his wheel. His hands in the mouth of his fetish, his own human skull embedded firm in the steering wheel. beautiful and pure. shiny, forever.
guzz, the idiot’s chromed mind thinks, wallowing thick in its haze of inhalants and endorphins and brainwashed stupidity. guzz.
there’s a noise then, rattles and metal jangling, and he picks his glassy blank stare up from the floor, up from where his ground beef hand is, and looks up. and so he believes then that he’s died. this isn’t real, what he’s seeing. he’s died, because the jolt that shoots through him is unbelievable, rockets him higher up into his adrenal haze - he tries to speak, and it’s only a crackly little high pitched “-uuhhhh!!” like he’s been kicked in the chest.
His, His, His, His- His!-
he thinks of tappet, for a moment. clumsy groping at tappet’s head once while he was asleep, getting fingers between tappet’s nubby teeth so his jaw creaked open and feeding his schlanger inside. heard it off of yob and gutt in the maggot pits, said it felt good that way. did feel good - then bad, hideous when tappet woke up and bit him, hard enough for blood, beat him back with a length of rebar. all for his curiosity. unfair, unfair of him, but the moment had felt good. something good, nice, but not part of his life. after all, the Immortan was the only one with use for things like that, feelings like that - breeding like that - and so he’d put it out of his simple mind.
His Cock - it’s thick and lump, with nodules of strange angry flesh knotting red over Its surface. the Thing is like his own body, his own tumor-laden and sick body, like God forged him in the image of His own Flesh somehow. He pulls Its skin in His white hand, peeling it back and there are more growths underneath all along and around the head, twisted and ground down tight into the tissues. his vision swims, his legs wobble bonelessly under him, his grip in His clothes falters and clenches, over and over. His, His, His, over and over, jabbering circular thoughts that get him nowhere. the warty foreskin sheath overtop It pistoning as He masturbates, but all he sees is his salvation. the pain is so far away, so mixed in with the inhalants and the endorphins and the sheer hyperventilating zealot hysteria of being- face to face with- God’s Gun, God’s Stick, God’s- what He gives to His breeders, His mercy, His strength, His-
It strikes him in the bottom row of ripped-up holes in his gums, jutting past his ripped lower lip and smacking into the open sockets. lightning stabs of pain, flashes of electric in the hazy dark stupor, little sticky splashes of clear sap-salt precum across the tip his quivering tongue. guzz, guzz, this is how He’ll, how He’ll feed the engine inside, how He’ll revitalize him, rebirth him, remake him perfect- no more mediocre, never again, no more mistakes, no more pain, no more sick and disappointments.
“plhhsh,” through his ruined mouth, garbled further from Him slapping It against his tongue; he is so overwhelmed he can barely think. no thoughts outside of, do good, do good. “yhhshh, yhhhcsh,” trying to force himself to nod and finding that the hand clamped on the back of his skull is preventing it, keeping him steady, keeping him prepared for Him, set, ready. with his eyes he pleads, watery and pupils blown as wide as they’ll go. little mangled pleases and Daddys and staccato grunts of pain when It hammers down against a cut or a socket. he knew what came out of his own schlanger, but. guzzoline would come out of His? but, of course it would - He was holy, something beyond human, something so unreal His flesh that contained Him roiled with growths, bubbling over like it was boiling from inside. frothing with the sun’s heat. His body was the thick black earth spurting forth the oil and His face, His eyes were the Sun. God as all-encompassing.
mercy, oh, please. guzz for the thirsty boy.
It was practically crying for his cock, mewling, begging, enthralled. His cock had always been a crude and inelegant thing and the apocalypse hadn’t improved things but to this cretin it was the font of all life, the shining centerpiece of everything they held dear, his tortured pride and joy. His lip twitched up in a sneer, his breath hitching as he shoving his cock into the thing’s mouth and then grabbed his skull with both hands, jamming him straight down, jamming his head against the low edge of his belly and his armor. He tongued the gums under his upper lip, feeling the high mark where they’d started to recede.Tight and twitching, conforming to the uneven shaft, and he held it there, felt its foul warm drool drizzle down his balls, felt it pool by his asshole, reminding him how the thing had shit itself not a moment again.
He pulled out and let it breathe again, savoring the loud shlrp!, savoring the fluid pouring out of the thing, its nose, its eyes, its relentlessly gory mouth still drooling thick ropes from its chin, all of it bloody, all of it thick and congealing. And he slammed in again, wondering if he could dislocate its jaw this way, wondered if that would help it breath easier while he held it there, felt its entire body react to his invasion.
Even now it was jubilant. Even now, with it choking on his cock, it loved him. The oxygen deprivation probably only improved its fervence, made it feel more in love, and he let it breathe again, hair in his face he was unwilling to release its head to brush away. Disposable. It was disposable and it wanted to be used and disposed of and he was a good man for indulging it, for satiating the poor thing's terrible, devastating need.
He slammed back into it and held him there harder, closer, hunching his back slightly, watching its face. He wouldn’t let it breathe, this time. He’d let it writhe, let it think it understood what was happening.
“Daddy loves you,” he whispered, his fingernails digging into its scalp to keep it from trying to jerk away, to make sure it was crushed as far down as possible, “Daddy’s so proud. It’s almost time. You’re almost there. Just a little further, Boy. Can you feel it burning in your heart!? Are you ready to Become?”
when the uneven skin on It rakes past the open sockets in his mouth he groans a high-pitched little wriggle of a sound - starts to, and then it’s all cut off, strangled off around the thing in his throat, wedging in and squashing Its soft end against the back. it’s just long enough to reach and just long enough to cut off his air, his sinuses packed with sick, his nose useless and mashed airtight into the part of His stomach that distends down from His chestplate. it’s unbelievable what’s happening, it’s almost beyond his ability to comprehend - truly he’s reduced down to a singular thought, his mortal body’s want for breathing. stupid, stupid, He’s trying to- seal it, make a seal, so none of it escapes- his little maggot brain races trying to piece it all together, wanting to understand His divine motives. he gags, gags again, and It slides out and drags a torrent of blood and mucus along with it, an obscene noise of skin on fluid, a cacophony of hacks and chokes and thick saliva dripping down his chin, the front of his neck. his chest cramping, contracting. (the engine in him, reacting, responding, knowing guzz was coming, yeah.)
he gets half a sucking breath before It’s in again, trying to seal everything off perfect, like how Daddy knows to do. He knows everything, something high-pitched and stupid jabbers in the back of his head as his body works, fights trying to suck in air around the obstruction pistoning in his throat. see how stupid he is, letting his body fight like this, letting his body’s want for living get in the way. Daddy corrects him and forces pain down. it’s a lesson, brilliantly hidden inside of His work to connect the gas pump. His balls smack into his chin and stay there - ah, He’s connected - and it’s then the gagging starts in earnest, frenulum right overtop the little hair trigger on his tongue where the reflex lay, dormant and asleep and wide awake now. he chokes, and he can feel his throat clamping down overtop, feels each individual little hole in his mouth grind uselessly against the base of It. his tongue tries to back up further into his mouth, trying to find some foothold to push It out, and all it does it make him choke harder, twice, and flatten itself, stick itself out to the outside of his mouth, hanging down and spasming uselessly like something run over and dying.
his vision blurs, twists around and around in his asphyxiation, his body kicks and kicks and he is proud that he doesn’t fight, doesn’t tear himself away, proud his will is stronger than his meat - even as another choke drags up a runny liquid stream of pink bile, leaking over His flesh.
He could feel it choking, feel its body jerk and hitch, feel how the thing resisted its own desperate need for air. It didn’t need air, didn’t need water, only needed His will poured down into it, filling it until it split and gushed everywhere, overflowing with terrible, idiot love.
There was a new pressure now, and its stomach attempted to disgorge what was left in it, the pressure so immense the liquid squeezed around his cock, but not strong enough to disrupt the clog in its sinuses. Not strong enough to break the seal so much as lube it up. It’d thrown up so much already and Joe relented just a bit, giving it just long enough to think it was going to get another breath before he hauled it close again. His chest piece was spattered with the things disgusting fluids and he knew it must’ve reeked. Blood and snot and shit and piss and vomit now, all of it twining together and slithering off of him. He was above it, above the thing, and now the thing had given him a way to make an even more complete seal, to not allow anything else to come back up. Not many other places for it to go.
“Don’t disappoint me,” he said, hammering its mouth, his eyes wide and feverish, “Don’t bring anything else up or you’ll throw up your guzz, boy! If you waste it you can’t go! If you’re mediocre you can’t get into Valhalla. I’ll l e a v e you here.”
Enough slack to let it breathe or choke or swallow, enough to keep it jumbled, and then he was back inside it, his breathing ragged now, sweat dripping off him, pooling and rubbing where his armor pinched into his soft flesh.
“Don’t choke boy! Don’t choke! Don’t!! Choke!! IT’S YOUR FINAL TEST BOY! THIS IS IT!!”
His whisper blossomed into a laughing roar, wild and unsteady, wheezing. Absurd. This was absurd and he was drunk with it.
I’ll leave you here
I’ll leave you here
the fear, the animal terror is overwhelming then. his heart is a jackhammer in his ears, his throat, his temples, slamming so hard and the squelching in his skull of Him grinding in that it’s all drowning out all other noise, drowning out the sounds in the cave. the breathing of his brothers around him, watching, witnessing. Valhalla is there, Valhalla is just beyond, within reach, he only needs refueling and his body wants to ruin it so badly, like ruining it will save him. his body heaves again, trying to regurgitate the last of it, sharp bits and stone - he feels it rising and swallows as hard as he can, straining so hard to force it inside that his hand clamps into an involuntary fist.
no. no, he won’t lose it. Valhalla is there, so close he can taste it, he can hear the drums of the war party now, smell the sulfur and sands, the fire in his heart and under his wheels, the nitrous white hot in his veins. he is good, he will be good, he will obey, he will do exactly as Daddy says - with each wave of fluid inside trying to rise he overwhelms it, with each rocking haze of blurring vision and impending unconsciusness he forces a fraction of a breath in, in the spaces between Its grinding in. he will listen. he will look Him in his eyes and stay locked on as he transforms. he will be witnessed. no more pain. no more sick, no more fevers. no more, God will deliver him. God will redeem him. no more pain. never again.
he is ready. his body is spasming, salivating in an idiot mortal fear of its death but his soul, his self, his iron will is ready. the guzzoline that will transform him, the love, the Immortan’s pride that will reshape him, rebirth him.
he is the man who grabs the sun. riding to Valhalla.
It fucking did it. Joe was rooting for it to fail, rooting for it to lose and against all odds the thing didn’t even bother to throw up even a little bit. He shoved it off of his cock with a spiteful snarl, feeling how hot his own breath was as he finished himself off, came into his hand, warm, slimy spurts that clung to his fingers, strings of it already sliding down, heavy, spreading and seeking, directionless, despondent at the waste.
Joe turned and flicked the cum on his hand, flicking it a few times, still able to hear a wet splat over his own ragged breathing as it landed further up the roughly hewn levels of the bloodshed. Some other War Boys, having been listening intently on how they could get to Valhalla, were already started to wriggle in its direction. Joe paid them no mind, instead using still cummy hand to draw his Anaconda, letting it rest heavy on his thigh, muzzle pointing down, flaccid and loose like his cock dripping with fluid, a gloppy mix of cum and blood and bile.
“I told you needed all your parts, boy!” Joe said, his voice a little breathless but still dripping with malicious, smug disgust, “I told you what you’d need! You’d better hurry if you want your guzz, boy! The gates are closing!”
He gestured with the gun before he let it dangle between his knees again. The rise and fall of his shoulders was labored.
“Don’t you want it?” he asked, “I thought you loved me. How could you be so ungrateful?”
the world slides sideways as his vision lurches as he’s unceremoniously shoved off, his head and shoulders and body succumb to gravity and hit the floor like rocks. dead weight, skull-first, a loud CRACK echoing through his head and no pain. no pain if everything is pain. he doesn’t understand, but he hears Him, groaning and breathing fire and milking Himself into His own hand. that was, that was what he sought, that was what his engine needed, why had he been shoved off?
when He flicks it away, splattering it off like it’s nothing, then he knows. he’s made a mistake. he’s done something wrong, he’s made a mistake, something he should’ve known better on but blundered anyway, like a pup, like a smeg. MEDIOCRE roaring in between his ears, in time with the throbbing iron clamp of the no-pain in his skull, the no-pain in his hand, his mouth. he’s blown it. fishtailed. he’s disappointed Daddy.
no, no, no!!! he cries out in his head and lets ooze from his throat in a mash of incoherent, toothless jabbering, tries to right himself and can barely roll over, the whole world spinning out of control around him.
no!!! i love you!! i love you daddy!! i love you!! His words, His accusations cut him, cut him worse than any pain He could give him, cut deeper than where the hidden snapped-off roots of teeth still lay in his gums.
why, why?? didn’t he do everything right?? he didn’t lose any more of what was inside him. he could put back the materials he lost, just like before, just like He’d told him to. but it didn’t matter. he’d transgressed somehow, and it wasn’t His job to lead him by the hand. he should’ve known better. stupid pup, stupid boy, stupid, stupid, and his hands want to pound the sides of his head in gut-clench shame, but he has to get it. the guzz. the guzz is there, still there, sliming its way down a step, just a few feet away. dingy pearly yellowed, there, right there if he can do what Daddy says, do what Daddy says!!! get up!!! get up!!! his body won’t cooperate. his limbs won’t coordinate. a mad scrambling wail, his arms and legs useless under him, trying to pull him forward, towards his salvation. the gates, the gates are closing. the gates are closing, over and over, faster and faster and a high whining wail coming from his throat. all his life, waiting for it, right there, and he can’t get himself moving forward. can barely see, knocked senseless by the crack in the head and the shame, and when his eyes come together in one direction and focus for a moment, on where he needs to go, where he needs to be, where the key for the gates lies,
there’s bizzer. there’s bizzer, shrieking and giggling and rail-thin, been there for a month, a month getting sicker and jabbering on and on about health and glory that was never going to come - there’s bizzer lept off his spot and splayed on the floor, grinding his fingernails into the stone and scraping all the white guzz up, all of it, funneling it into his mouth, smacking his tongue against the seven fingers he has left.
there’s bizzer, laughing so loud that it drowns out the squealing that spews out of the core of him. a car screaming out of control, flipping, rolling, engine smoldering, tires burning black and gates, slamming, slamming shut.
Joe watched it struggle in vain, watched it like he’d watch a worm twist on the sidewalk after a heavy downpour. He’d drenched it in his radiance and now it was drowning, struggling, unable to do anything but writhe uselessly until something came along and put it out of its misery. A bird to peck it up, to feed it to its young, the innocent cruelty of a child stamping on funny shapes, too innocent to understand why the wriggling had stopped.
He had nothing even remotely so useful planned.
“You failed,” Joe leaned forward, jeering at the thing, his voice extra rough from his exertion, his voice a knife eviscerating it, spilling its gutropes out to mingle with the rest of its useless filth, “You failed me, after all I did for you. I love you so much and you traitored me.”
Joe thumbed back the hammer of the Anaconda, turning his head when something lurched into his peripheral vision. Something pale and craven, gobbling up his cum like it was a delicacy, a rare vintage, of the highest echelon of quality. Ambrosia, to him, blessed guzzoline.
“This one has all his parts,” Joe said, “This one listened. He didn’t need my help. He isn’t weak like you.”
Joe extended his arm, steady and straight, leveling it at the War Boy who’d slupped up his cum.
“He isn’t soft.”
He glanced to check his aim and once he was sure he had it he looked the worm in the eye and pulled the trigger, the sound heavy and sharp in the cavern, echoing off of the high ceiling, bounding around the confining walls. The War Boy’s brains splattered out and his body twitched a few times after he slumped, a blissful smile already slackening on his pulpy face.
Joe holstered his gun and shoved his dick back into his codpiece, making sure he did up the belt before he stood. Wouldn’t want to ruin his grand exit.
Before he did he hunkered down again, his face framed by his yellowed, sun-bleached hair, stuck to his scalp in places, his war paint caked and runny, exposing flush, ruddy flesh underneath.
“I hate you.”
He pushed up off of the stone with a grunt, adjusted his belt. Sucked in a breath and readjusted his chestpiece so it didn’t ride up on his gut too much, and he turned and left. Slowly, like he might turn around, like he might be listening, knowing that he wouldn’t.
The Organic could clean up that mess. He was done.
He wasn’t bored anymore.
dropping out from under him
he wants to shriek as He speaks, wants to cling to His ankles and cry that no, no, he didn’t do a traitor, he loves Him, he loves Him so much and he tried, he tried, just one more chance Daddy, he’s spec for glory, but his body won’t move. his tongue won’t work, his mouth won’t make the shapes right. nothing but a high whine, like a beaten dog, airy and heartbroken. pathetic. grating. his mouth is full of the taste of sour unwashed filth, salty preejaculate cooling to ice over the cuts in his face. coppery blood and acrid bile, spoiling meat, the oil from the floors, from under His sacred boot.
he sees him raising His Anaconda, cocking its hammer - the explosion shot is the sound of the gates slamming closed. bizzer’s skull erupts, a blossoming fireball burst like the sun’s come into being inside his head, ripping through his body. bizzer is reborn, and his old body slumps awkwardly, limbs akimbo and bending wrong in places when they hit the floor too fast, pink matter splattered and dripping down the black walls of the cave just behind him.
singsongs, weak whispers, of witness, witness, echoing through the sickroom cave. it’s unbearable. the world is ending. the glory was meant to be his, and there is no one to blame but himself. his failure. his own mediocrity that he was just too stupid to even understand.
He knelt towards him, face streaked with the efforts of his attempt to raise him up, efforts he squandered. wasted. the irises of His eyes are glassy, blown clear and crisp and razor sharp by the Sun, His beautiful voice from behind his death mask - speaking to him one more time and thundering down like a gavel with what He says, like an ax across his battered neck. a gunshot in his chest, shattering the brittle guzz-starved metal. destroying him. ripping him in two.
he wails. long, loud, piercing and shameless and ragged and gurgling-wet through the blood, a feeling like dry ice in his stomach, his chest, his throat, like everything is losing structure and crumpling into itself. mashing down into nothing, collapsing into acid sludge, melting through his body. the world is ending. ‘daddy.’ ‘i love you.’ ‘i’m sorry.’ ‘please.’ nothing comes out. He’s up, He’s leaving, and his hand tries to stretch out, tries to cling to His ankle, grasp some piece of His boot, and He steps over him. away. leaving him to finish dying, rot alone on this earth inside his ruined body. alone. sookie.
i’m sorry Daddy.
His footsteps carrying Him out of the cave, carrying Him up to His place in the skies, they’re the throbbing drums of His war party, the endless songs of Valhalla. they’re fading away.
i love you.
i love you.