Hey y’all, here’s Chapter Ten of our epic switchblade-and-sorcery e-novel, Those Who Create and Destroy. The novel’s almost finished and expected to come in at around 250,000 words. While we’re putting finishing touches on Parts 2 and 3, we’ll continue releasing Part 1 in weekly installments on Wednesdays, with audiobook and e-reader formats coming soon.
—Mabel & Cass
“Sorry, Dudes. My Bad.”
story by Mabel Harper & Cassidy Webb
written by Cassidy Webb
Content Warning: TORTURE
Elisha, still in Caliban guise, stood alone in the darkened basement of an abandoned baked-goods factory off the highway four miles outside Delphi city limits. The air stank of machine oil and ancient yeast.
The Prefect whispered the words of a common cantrip, and a gobbet of heatless white fire bloomed to life above his open palm. It hovered near his shoulder like a familiar, lighting his way as he crossed the empty space with dull footsteps, toward a small maintenance office in the back.
The door gave a shriek of protest as he eased it open. A soft pool of white light spilled into the office within.
Duncan Harper was there, as the mercs had promised, duct-taped to a beat-up metal chair, his head drooping listlessly to one side.
Elisha lifted the young man’s face and ripped off the piece of tape that covered his mouth, then pulled up a folding chair and waited in funereal silence.
A few minutes later, his captive stirred with a groan.
“Mr. Harper,” said Elisha, in his Caliban growl.
Duncan blinked his eyes open, squinted against the garish fluorescent lighting. “Where am I?” he croaked.
“That’s not important,” said Elisha. His assistant’s eyes focused on him, and the younger man started visibly at the sight of his hideous face. “The question that matters,” the Prefect went on, “is whether you want to do this the easy way or the hard way.”
“Do what, exactly?” There was a tremor in Duncan’s voice.
Elisha stood and strolled over to him, hands in pockets. Leaned down close to his ear. Duncan grimaced and flinched away. “Talk to me about May 14th.”
Duncan was silent a moment. “What about it?” he whispered finally. His eyes were glued to the floor, his breaths coming evenly but roughly through his nose.
“Don’t be coy.” Elisha took Duncan’s chin in his hand and tilted his head up toward him. Duncan whimpered at the nearness of Caliban’s face. “Tell me everything you did that day, and maybe, just maybe, I won’t pulp your nuts and force-feed them to you through a straw.”
Duncan made a gagging sound in the back of his throat. A lone tear slid down the side of his nose. Elisha studied his sad, goofy, boyish face and felt a wave of real revulsion. It’s true, isn’t it, you little shit? You’re acting shady as fuck.
When he spun around and overturned an old metal desk with his foot, it wasn’t a performance. “Talk, you little pissant!” He straddled the chair and bunched Duncan’s shirtfront in his fist. “Or I swear to Christ I’ll knock your fucking teeth through the back of your skull. Your own goddamn wife won’t be able to ID your body when I’m through with you.” He cocked his fist, sweating with rage.