On the Origins of Enemies.

He fell from the sky as if he were nothing more than a dead bird, tattered wings fluttering uselessly behind him. He hit the ground hard and with a wet thud, and for a moment he did not move.

Guile alighted on the ground next to him with a lazy grace, toeing him over with one foot until he was lying on his back. "Feels interesting, doesn’t it, hunter?" He grinned toothily and crouched down low over the other man, lips brushing over one bleeding ear. "I thought I told you once already, that it is folly to pick a fight with me. Even for one such as yourself."

A faint groan escaped Dysz as he made a futile attempt to get his limbs to move. He felt numb all over, aside from the splitting pain running up his spine.

"Still trying to fight, are we?" Guile sneered down at him, planting a knee on his chest and cradling the side of his face in mock affection. "Please don’t push yourself, Mosquito King. We wouldn’t want you to get hurt, now would we?"

Dysz wheezed a little, a trickle of blood leaking out of one corner of his mouth. "We – we wouldn’t want that at all." He managed to crack a lop-sided smile.

Guile tapped the side of his forehead with one long claw. "Ever the cocky bastard, aren’t you? I must say, I don’t think I will be forgetting you any time soon."

The grin on Dysz’s face grew a little wider, cracking open his already-bleeding lip. "I certainly am unforgettable."

"Then perhaps I should return the favor. Give you something to remember me by." Guile matched Dysz’s grin with his own, and dug his claw into the other man’s forehead. Dysz struggled, trying to pull away, but Guile gripped the back of his head with his other hand and dragged his claw slowly and inexorably downward, raking through his right eye and down his cheek. He whispered spidery words of magic into Dysz’s ear as he mutilated his face. Dysz could feel the pale blue tendrils of Guile’s runes sear into the gash, and he inhaled a sharp, ragged breath as he felt his eye swell and burst. Tears and pus mingled with the blood that rushed out of his new wound, and Guile’s grin grew ever wider.

"My mark will never heal, will never mend. May its blight and persistent infection be a reminder to how I feel about you."

He ran his tongue almost tenderly over the oozing gash, drawing a whimper from Dysz. "Though you were very beautiful."



Back to Short Stories