A couple hours ago, we published the first part of the epic battle between Peter Orullian, author of The Unremembered, and Sam Sykes, author of Tome of the Undergates and Black Halo. In the first round, Orullian made Sykes sing, and it appears Sykes wasn’t all that good at it. Now, it’s time for Sykes to get his revenge.
However, I’d like to give a very serious warning to the faint of heart: Sam Sykes takes his revenge seriously. Being forced to sing and then being laughed at brings out the worst in him. In this second round, he proves two things:
So yes, heed this warning: if you’re not into vivid, bloody, grotesque horror, you might not want to read what follows. If you think you can handle it, there’s a great and amazingly funny story ahead for you. And don’t forget to select your winner in our poll!
I can hear them all. Every lip puckering into a tiny, rubbery anus to crow his name. Every slap of dying skin upon dying skin as their hands come together. They call for more. They call for him. I can hear them.
But only for a moment.
Only for a moment.
And I hear her talking to me again, what she said those days before I found out there wasn’t a difference between love and hate, those days before I realized the most important part of a man’s heart was the blood running through it. I hear her talking to me, so gentle my ears hurt.
“For you, baby.”
I’m listening to her intently as I walk across the stage.
I’m hearing her voice as I reach out.
I can’t get her out of my head as he laughs and I take his lower lip between my thumb and forefinger.
All for me.
It’s still her voice I hear when I pull down.
Ain’t that the goddamn truth.
That’s the last thing I hear before the sound of ripping fills my ears and the crowd starts screaming that I can’t hear her anymore, or me, or him. But he’s making noise, he’s screaming and it’s making thick globules of red spatter across my face as my wrist trembles and his lower lip is coming further and further away from his lower jaw in a mess of frayed skin and jagged lines.
It’s a stubborn thing, this lip, a thick and ugly piece of skin that takes some doing. I’ve peeled his face like a banana; his lower lip is dangling a finger’s length from his teeth, but there’s that little stubborn of piece of sinew that won’t let me finish. I’ve felt it before like I’m feeling it now with my tongue, that little web of pink that’s attaching my lip to my jaw and cringing in sympathy for what I’m about to.
I pull hard.
It comes off and goes flying through the air, crumpling on the stage like a used condom in a cheap hotel after prom night; I came, she didn’t.
After that, he’s a paper man. He’s a pink origami thing, folded into the shape of a human being and hoping nobody will notice how fragile he is. I’m a kid on Christmas unwrapping a present. It’s not that I don’t notice. I just don’t care.
I’m taking off pieces of his face and I think it shouldn’t be this easy and somewhere inside me I know that it’s not.
I’ve got no fingernails for it—nervous habit, I should quit soon—so I’m digging out trenches in his face with just the nubs and the little ridges of my fingertips.
I know he’s saying something, but not to me—he’s talking the language that my grandpa talked in the moments before and only angels can hear him now.
I can hear the crowd screaming and I know they’re trampling each other as they’re trying to get out and I know one of them is just good enough a person to be on the phone with the cops.
I’m going back to jail.
This time forever.
But I’m not listening to that.
Not to him screaming as I pinch his eyelids and twist. Not to them screaming as they think about what they’re going to tell the newspaper reporters. Not to me screaming as I’m looking at a man whose face is a jilted bride’s wedding dress: dirty, tattered and in a heap of scraps cupped in my hands.
No, I’m only hearing her voice.
She’s talking so loud. What’s that she’s saying? Something about a gun?
I feel it a moment later, a bullet inviting itself into my torso and stopping to take off its hat and coat before kissing my kidney with lips made out of burning hot lead. He’s finally home. And he’s brought friends.
Some of them get lost, fly through my neck and my chest and my arms and my head. Some of them bump into each other. Some just stop by and go whizzing out my back in a fine red mist. Sixteen shots later, the party’s over.
And I’m so tired I can’t stand up.
Sirens in the distance. Coroner’s hearing it on the news, thinking he can probably finish his sandwich before me and him are wheeled into his office. Or is it him and I? Should’ve paid more attention to the editors.
And I’m not hearing that thought. And I’m not hearing my life splashing onto the floor. And I’m not hearing the wind whistle through my neck.
I’m dead on the floor.
A man’s face in my hands. His body is three feet away from my hands.
And she’s talking to me, still.
“For you, baby. All for you.”
Ain’t that the goddamn truth.
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