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Fantasy Fiction Science Fiction

This story contains themes or mentions of physical violence, gore, or abuse.

  Drp.

  Drp.

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  Blood dripped off of his body steadily, adding to the pool of crimson beneath him...wait...above him?

  Dorian arched his body this way and to try and get a better view. It was hard to really get a good angle given the dozens of large, metallic spikes that pierced his body at odd angles starting at the neck and going all the way to his feet. The giant skewers locked his body into place and made it difficult to really see anything, but given the blood was 'up' his face, he concluded that the most reasonable interpretation would be that the pool was above him.

   ...adding to the pool of crimson above him. Our stalwart hero once again found himself in the evil clutches of the Mastermind!

  "HA! HA! HA!" a boisterous and raucous sound echoed out from somewhere underneath of Dorian as...wait...

   Once again, Dorian twisted in place and tried to determine what his orientation should count as. His head was getting pulled towards gravity, so he was technically upside down. If someone else was looking at this other than stupid old Victor, they'd probably interpret that Dorian's feet were above him. But would it matter more about his own orientation or a global orientation to the room?

   "Do you mind? Are you even listening?" Victor demanded from his position above Dorian at the top of the spike contraption on a small platform overlooking the massive hole. Only moments before, the entire death trap had been covered by some well-laid lumber and a throw rug meant to catch Dorian in just such a predicament.

   "Yes, yes, yes." Dorian answered dismissively. "I'm listening, I'm listening. I'm just trying...to figure out..."

   ...underneath of Dorian as...wait...crap. What's the next line. Let's see, Mastermind above. Spike trap. Blood below...What's a good next line?

  "I don't think you're even listening." Victor accused the impaled man.

   "Yes, yes." Dorian called again. "Just...Give me a second. I'm trying to figure out the next line!"

   ...dripping blood. Right. Whatever.

   The evil Mastermind towered above our stalwart hero, standing only feet above the precipice of metal and malice that now threatened to...

  "Oh, come on, Dorian!" Victor yelled. "Are you doing the whole thing again? That narration thing?"

   ...that now threatened to consume...

  "Doriiiian..." Victor called again.

   ...to consume...Fuck!...

  "Yes! I was doing the narration thing! And you fucked it up!" Dorian growled back.

   "Ha! I knew it!" Victor yelled, pumping his fist in triumph. "I build this whole death trap and you can't even give me the time of day!"

   "It's not like that, Victor!"

   Victor, pulling a controller from his coat pocket, hit one of the dozens of unlabeled buttons. The walls of the tunnel that Dorian was suspended in that weren't being used for a giant crushing spike trap slid open. Cylindrical metal tubes, not spiky on the end this time but, instead, hollow, jutted out from their newly exposed spaces in the wall. Dorian's body was consumed a few moments later in great gouts of flame that were so hot the spikes holding him in place began to bubble and drip with molten metal.

   Victor stared down at his nemesis, or, more accurately, the flaming plume where the now liquefying body of his nemesis was, and just soaked it in. The heat washing over his face. The stink of burning human. The sense of success and a job well down.

   By the time the flamethrowers had done their job, the spikes, and the body that they had been holding in place, had been reduced to molten slag and was little more than a stinky, softly glowing puddle on the hard stone below.

  Satisfied, Victor put the controller back away in his pocket. 

   ...joining the pool of blood that had once been inside of him... Wait...I guess it's now inside of me? Do I have an inside?

  "Question." the bubbling mass of remains called up.

   And, like that, Victor's satisfaction drained away and left him with the same old exhaustion that had been plaguing him for a while now.

   "What?" he called back down to Dorian with defeated acceptance.

   "If blood was in your body, and then out, and then...uhh...this happened. Is the blood back in your body? Does the molten metal cause a problem with how things are mixed up? I'm having trouble figuring out the in's and out's here."

   Victor glowered down at the pool where lips and, disgustingly, a throat and vocal cord set were already emerging and rebuilding from the gore.

   "I feel like inside requires you to have the rest of the body in one piece." the disembodied lips continued as cheeks and teeth started to form around them. "So a puddle in a puddle is just...what...a big puddle? Right?"

   Pulling out the controller again, Victor considered it for a long moment. He had several things that would shut him up for a little bit. He could freeze him. Maybe suck him into a giant spinning saw blade. Just melt him again. Call a Roomba?

   But what was the point?

  Victor let out a long, drawn out sigh and, instead, tapped a button that caused the platform he was in to start descending towards the floor. The metal spikes did their best to retract automatically, but some of them, now hardening in strange, half-dissolved columns of metal, jammed in their housing. Still, it was enough that he could maneuver the platform around here and there and touch down next to the remains of his arch enemy.

   "Dorian." Victor began before sighing again and pinching the bridge of his nose with one hand. "I really don't know. I just... I don't know."

   "Like, don't get me wrong." the grotesque amalgamation of meat and bone declared matter-of-factly. "It's probably already actually inside now, but I feel like making that proper distinction is important to really get a sense of everything going on."

   "A sense of everything going on." Victor echoed, pinching his nose tighter. "Dorian, do you even have a sense of what's going on?!"

   "Pardon?" the bust of Dorian asked as he continued to slowly regrow from his molten puddle.

   "I mean, do you have any idea why we're still doing...THIS?" Victor demanded, waving a hand at half-destroyed trap room as a well of annoyance that had been growing within him bubbled to the surface.

   "This?"

   "YES! THIS! This song and dance! This... Whatever this is! Why are we still doing this?"

   "Well, you see," Dorian began. "I find your evil lair..."

  "Naturally."

  "Break in."

  "Obviously."

  "Deal with the traps and minions and all that."

   "Clearly."

   "And when I'm just about to defeat you, against all odds, you escape to your actual evil lair."

   "Oh, yes, the real one." Victor remarked snidely as he considered just how many different actual evil lairs he really had and how many had been destroyed over the years.

   Honestly, the property taxes alone made him cringe to even think about them.

   "And then I go to break in there! The actual lair."

   "Yes, yes." Victor agreed. "I know what we're doing. I asked why we're doing this?"

   "Because that's what we do." Dorian gestured with a meaty appendage. An arm, perhaps? Hopefully an arm.

   "And we've been doing it for as long as I can remember." Victor agreed. "But how long has that been? I know it was at least before the British came about."

   Dorian seemed to nod and consider. "I vaguely remember something about you wearing Roman armor for a while..."

   "Oh yea, I remember that one. I really liked that armor."

   "So, I guess before the Romans?" Dorian considered.

   "Yea, we'd been doing it for a while before that. Definitely before the Romans."

   The two sat in thought for a second, Victor standing over the cooling pool of mess while Dorian slowly grew and emerged out of it, his body stitching itself back together.

   "Was there a thing with dinosaurs once? Has it been that long?" Dorian asked thoughtfully.

   "Well, there was, but that was pretty recent." Victor considered. "You meant the one with the pterodactyl, right?"

   "No, no." Dorian shook his head. "The tyrannosaurus."

  "Oh! Right! When I was trying to create a dragon!"

   "Oh, yea! And you had that whole knight thing going on. Where did you even get that one?"

   "Bought it off some guy from Montana. Something... Brown? I think his name was Brown."

   The two stood there, just staring at each other. Remembering things that had come before and realizing that they probably only recalled a fraction of what had actually been.

   "Vic," Dorian echoed his nemesis's question. "Why are we doing this?"

   Despite himself, Victor tried again to recall, but knew that the answer was no longer there. Maybe he had just run out of space to remember stuff like that. Maybe it had been lost from one of the times he'd 'died'. Maybe it just hadn't been significant to begin with.

   "I don't know." Victor confessed.

   Another few seconds drew out before them as Dorian slowly reached his natural height. The man was nude as his clothes had been disintegrated in the conflagration earlier, but it was nothing that Victor hadn't seen before.

   For the first time since he could even remember, they regarded each other as men, as thinking people, rather than as the enemies they had been for so long.

   "Dorian." Victor began.

   "Yea?"

   "I'm tired." he confessed.

   "I- Me too, Vic."

   The two took in their surroundings, glancing around at the half-destroyed trap room again, but looking at it again with a new perspective. So much time. So much money. So much everything wasted in this endless rigamarole of back and forth, back and forth. They had been spending so much time trying to kill each other even though they both knew that neither of them could die. They had tried literally everything under the sun to invoke their own deaths that-

  "It was because you couldn't die." Victor declared, the briefest flicker of a memory bubbling to the surface.

  "Was that it?" Dorian asked hesitantly.

  "Yea. You said you'd never met someone else who couldn't die when...something happened. I can't remember what. And then you tried to kill me just to see. And then I tried to kill you."

  "Seems about right."

  "I can't remember what really started it, but I definitely remember bashing your head in with a rock." Victor recalled.

  "I think I tried to drown you." Dorian though.

  "Oh, right! I remember that." Victor said before shuddering. "I hate drowning. Always leaves me feeling weird."

  All at once, the silence of the room grew around them. Everything that had been said, everything that had been done for so many years. The maiming, the attempted murder, the property damage, the crimes against humanity, the tax evasion...

   "Do you want to-" Victor began while Dorian stared at him expectantly. "Do you want to go get a drink?"

   "Yea." Dorian said with a nod. "I think I do."

   Victor stepped further to the side of his platform and offered the space to Dorian who slowly stepped on, dripping with the remains of the pool.

   "Though, one requirement." Victor continued.

   "Don't drown you in it?"

   "Also good. But let's get you cleaned up first."

   "Sounds like a plan." Dorian agreed.

   And so, enemies no more, the dastardly duo ascended towards the heavens aboard the Mastermind's creati-

  "Stop that."

   "Sorry."

July 05, 2022 15:18

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