Flesh and Blood
by: Ken Williams
His eyes were open, but he could not see. He never saw anything anymore. The only time any light came in was when Skins came in to feed him or when Sire came to “play” with him. Ros sat there blind. he knew better than to move. The floor was lined with barbed wire and razors adorned the bars of his cage. Sire always knew when he was hurt and he came in shortly to clean the wounds.
Ros started to flex his fingers. It was how he remembered what he had left. From his left hand to his right he counted. One…Three…Five…Seven…Nine. Only those five fingers remained. Whenever he lost an appendage, he was fed well. Sire would make a sausage. Sometimes the sausages were hard to eat… like his sausage, served with a side of Red Oysters. Sire was a cruel man.
It wasn’t long before Skins came in. Skins was a short man who never wore a shirt. Surely it was because Sire didn’t allow it. He was probably also one of Sire’s victims. Skins opened the cage and grabbed Ros. He never spoke, only acted.
“Where are we going?” Ros whimpered.
“Tell me! Where are we going?”
Ros pulled himself away from Skins’ grip only to be punched in the mouth, hard, and be grabbed again.
“Please tell me…”
Skins brought Ros-if that was his name, sometimes he couldn’t remember-into the burning light behind the door. He shut his eyes because of the blinding brightness.
“Please open your eyes,” Sire said politely.
Ros tried to open his eyes, but couldn’t. The light hurt his eyes too much.
“Salazz, please help Tinit find a seat. He can’t see and you can’t talk. It’s quite funny.”
As Sire laughed, someone, Salazz, led Ros to a couch and he sat. Sire had called him “Tinit”. Tinit was dead. Tinit Tinit had been a smuggler who worked for the Purple Wave after Ros disappeared. Ros had been gone since Sire has destroyed a Red Atular base on the border of Ebon Atul, Crimzen Atul, and Pyros. Ros smuggled for them back then, since Hydros made it difficult to set sail during the war.
Ros finally was able to open his eyes and he saw Sire, a tall, smiling Hydrosian in red and black leathers. He also saw Skins… or Salazz? He was covered in scars and he had no tongue.
“Power without service is pain!” Sire shouted, startling Ros.
“Yes, Sire, Glory to the Goddess!” Ros responded
“Are you well, Tinit?”
“Yes, Sire, perfectly healthy!”
“Hurting?” Sire asked, eyebrow raised.
Ros shrunk, “Not yet, Sire…”
“Good! I want you whole for this!”
“Whole?” Ros’s eyes gleamed in hope.
“Mentally. You may get cybernetics if you are good. I do not intend to kill you. I hunted you for four years and I’ve had you for eight months. It would be a waste of good time if I threw you away. This revenge isn’t as satisfying as I expected, so I turned to the Goddess. She told me it was because I was doing this for me and not her. Because of this, I will fulfill her wishes. I shall allow you a room on an upper level. No more dungeons.
Ros fell on his knees and thanked the Goddess profusely. He swore his service to her. Sire then commanded him to rise, so he did. He looked around for a moment. Sire had macabre taste in design. The walls were the color of old blood. Skulls and bones in various shapes and symbols adorned the walls. The leather that Sire wore was thinner than cow or boar. It was Atular flesh. Of course it was Atular flesh. Sire was wearing Atular flesh when Ros first met Sire. It was the bodies of three members of the Grannis family. It was horrifying, but not as horrifying as knowing he was caught by such a monster.
“Tinit, it is time for Salazz-”
“Skins?” Ros responded, motioning to Skins.
“How quaint, he has a name for you, Salazz. Yes, skins. It is time for him to pass. He must become meat. Will you take his place?”
“There is no need to call me that any longer…”
“Then what should I call you?”
Admiral Guilon stood up and shook Ros’ hand.
“Tinit, we will do great things together, but there’s some things that you should know first. For one, I have a sister…”