27 – Serpent’s Den

Ramon was not the only name he had. He’d been called a wolf, a dog, a mutt, a mongrel, even a coyote. He would balk at the idea of being called a hound though, for it implied domestication and ownership. He was his own master, though many would consider him feral for having such a status.

He remembered being Silvio and Bentley, once upon a time. Which one was the original, he wasn’t quite sure. Perhaps neither was. Perhaps Ramon had been the first. Or maybe there was a fourth, buried deep under the weight of what he once was, what he had become, and what he was now.

Perhaps he never was anyone to begin with. The wolf inside did not have a name, it only took the name of its host once it ripped free. He was not a mere wolf anymore. The fire had seen to that.

It still burned beneath his skin. He was marked as hellbound. 

No devil would take him, but he would one day fall into the womb of all demonkind.

It was said the devil, the first devil, whose name was sanguine and burned so readily, was the first angel crafted by the architect. She who wore the skin of her father who wore the skin of his mother, though in truth, she crafted clothes of her own. She had no need to hide, not as she was Majesty.

The angel was made, mixed with blood, born of humanity. Fused, blood gathered in a grail, and yet as the wings spread, the eyes bled, and a scream split the sky. 

The architect was not a sculptor, Majestic though she was. A sword was easier to make, and it swung through her child’s neck in a swift blow.

Blood surged high enough to bathe the heavens, and every droplet that fell birthed dragons. Malice was made in that geyser, born of betrayal, and the angel’s halo broke into vicious horns.

But that didn’t matter, now did it?

Ramon wasn’t sure why his mind was lingering on such thoughts. Perhaps it was because someone was pursuing him again. He hated thinking of that time. Of when his mind was barely his own and his body most certainly wasn’t. He thought he was Silvio at that time, and that was an identity he did not care much for. He didn’t much like Bentley either. One was cruel, the other was servile. 

He didn’t like that, didn’t like either of them, but then, what being would ever tear its own heads off?

He sighed and swirled his drink. A part of him didn’t really want to send the young wolf to her death, but he had done worse for his own sake before. He had at least three lives, but he wanted to keep this one more than the others.

The coiled serpent was curious. She had seen the Hound in her domain before, at times following his master, other times wandering on his own, but the bitterness surrounding him caught her attention, her fascination, and her tongue tasted the air with interest as she wound up his leg.

Ramon raised an eyebrow, then raised the leg, staring with a curiosity of his own at the host using his limb as a pole to dance upon, wriggling her way up to his lap.

Whimpers entered the air, echoing despite all the other noises that could cover them. Curtains were plentiful in the snake’s domain, for she adored pleasure of many types.

The point of sense was pleasure, after all. To discover what was enjoyable and avoid that which wasn’t. Hedonism was the natural state of the living and asceticism was merely torture masquerading as enlightnment. Such was the creed of the snake who readily fed others.

Apples and pomegranates patterned the cushions of her couches and cherries the pillows on her beds. Restraint was allowed, encouraged even. Freedom was desirable, taboo was eschewed, and abstinence was heretical. Though there was fun to that, all the same.

Here in the den, marked by paired serpents coiling in rhythmic ecstasy, the enjoyment of flesh mattered above all else. The sinking, the sizzling, the biting, the breaking, the melding, the mixing, the malleable. A face fusing into a cushioned chest, pushing until the eyes nuzzled the heart. 

Heat was delicious, desirous. The snake was cold by nature, so she adored warmth, the feeling of bodies, the breath and flesh mixing, sweaty and pulsating. Lips locked until faces were one; arms and legs wrapped and sunk, diving into skin without tearing until the bones pushed out; minds melted down, pouring from ears and noses as the eyes rolled free onto the floor.

Or, if implements were desired, they could act in that way. Nails in the skin were beautiful, as were needles in the brain. Pins pushing in, clamps squeezing tight, a vise made for vice, clinging tight and choking. Suffocation, asphyxiation, such was pleasure, such was lust.

All was bliss. There was no harm that was not pleasant within the serpent’s den. The snake was not treacherous, no longer, her adoration had changed, selfish cold mattered little when there was ecstatic warmth to be enjoyed. Mercury traded for Venus, venom for aphrodisia. Yet if she wished, if she was offered heat, she could take far too much and leave little more than cracking frost in her wake as her supplicant shattered.

The snake lay across Ramon’s shoulders and asked what troubled him, her tongue flicking to touch his cheek. Even then, even with what she wished, the touch burned his skin, but he laughed all the same and told her it did not matter. He had no worries.

Not until he noticed the woman in black standing in front of his couch.

“Ah…hello, Miss Bonnie,” Ramon greeted, raising his hands in surrender. The woman was not aiming a gun at him, but the glare in her eyes was threat enough. “If I said I am sorry, would you forgive me?”

Her boot meeting his face was answer enough.

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