Sunday, April 24, 2016

Cruor et Caedis Chapter IX

Earlier chapters:
Chapter I
Chapter II
Chapter III
Chapter IV
Chapter V
Chapter VI
Chapter VII
Chapter VIII



And madness.

He was Jack Saturn, the ringmaster of world renown circus Cruor et Caedis.

He was... nothing. At least that's what his father would have said before. Not so much any longer. Not even when Jack saw him in his dreams or ghastly apparitions of troubling nature while awake. Constant high pitched shriek from the inanimate Siamese head of his brother had ceased to be a terrible reminder of nightmarish past. Rather it was an acknowledgement of triumph over their father.

Recent experiences had brought the crew's ability to greatly surpass any artistic merit his father had ever been able to make Cruor et Caedis achieve. The circus didn't perform their numbers any more, nor establish their carnival wherever they arrived. They lived art. They breathed art. They ate art. Hell, they even shat art. And when it came down to it, even their death was art.

And the world followed.

Something had been set loose upon the world in the sinister area that had been surging with strange power that had attracted many... gifted individuals to the same place at the same time. And now the dead were walking upon the earth in their current state of decay, creatures that were neither beast nor human had awakened and were traversing the same broken streets of the once great city as Cruor et Caedis was. Even time and space were on the verge of collapse, as not all doors were guaranteed to lead to next chamber.


And delirium.

And Jack knew very well how to navigate insanity.

If they had been humans once, this was no longer the case. They were Cruor et Caedis. When they became stranded in the frozen city, they needed to consume the flesh of the undead to keep themselves nourished. At first that had not been a very healthy thing to do. They also ate their fallen; this way no member of Cruor et Caedis would truly leave the crew. They were a continuous unity. Jack had needed to bolster the mental resilience of the circus so often with powers from beyond the mortal realm that others had grown nearly as great attunement to sinister presence in their mind and in their body as Jack had cultivated during his time as the ringmaster.

Getting possessed and re-possessed over and over again with or without willingness had left their souls leaking. This caused many kinds of unexpected and unnatural side effects. The acrobat twin brothers could no longer tell which one was which. Occasionally other members would find themselves looking through wrong pair of eyes. All thoughts were not their own. Sometimes they were coming from the person closest to them, if they were coming from any person at all. After cannibalizing their own dead, memories and thoughts of the deceased could briefly enter the attention of participants of the banquet. During their sleep, their identities and personalities were drifting through one physical vessel to another.

A true unison emerged from the shattering of the mind, a crack in the soul. How beautiful was that?

All of this, in turn, lead to a bodily unification. Though demonic powers were knitting wounds unnaturally fast, many of their brethren had received mortal wounds on stage. Somehow they had survived as long as they weren't too far from their kin. It was marvelous. And it was painful. To test the limits of their coherency, Jack had ordered himself to be flayed alive. That might be a terrific new circus freak number in the future - a man without a skin.

Resulting pain had been tolerable. Everyone else had tolerated and felt it as well. This had happened yesterday.

In this brief moment of respite Jack was smiling masochistically. Or maybe it was sadistic. Nobody would be able to tell.

And he didn't stop smiling until he encountered his brother and his other head, Ís. For Ís was smiling sadistically. Or maybe masochistically. Jack was not able to tell.

And Ís spoke: "Darling"

And Jack attacked Ís. That voice was no longer part of his life. He had killed that voice once, and would do so again if need be.

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