Small Worlds Part 173

Taking care of sleep had been easy for Horus. By the time he had dragged himself into his nanoverse, he was so tired he’d keeled over before properly forming a bed. Don’t think I’ve ever come that close to dying and survived, he thought, taking another bite out of a cold steak with the delicate refinement of a starving hound. Don’t think I want to ever again.

He swallowed the last bit of steak. That’s four Hungers down. There was just the fifth to take care of. Horus glanced over at his collection. Books he’d not gotten around to reading, movies he’d not yet seen, the standard ways to take care of that particular Hunger when there wasn’t companionship available.

Except there was someone who’s Company was available. Someone who was very close by, and someone who Horus dearly wanted to enjoy the company of. You should read a book, he told himself as he stood up. Or put in one of the movies, he thought as he walked out of his Nanoverse. They were good thoughts. They were rational thoughts.

Horus wasn’t feeling particularly rational at the moment.

Underneath those thoughts was a nastier line of thinking, an uglier one. One that had nothing to do with rationality, and everything to do with the primal, the base. A part of his mind that he was tired of ignoring, tired of letting slide.

He found her in what was once a clocktower, looking through the splintered glass and broken numerals to stare over the island. The wind was strong up here, whipping her hair back and pressing her loose fitting dress tight against one side as it billowed out on the other. She saw him coming, and with a gesture brought stillness to the air. “You recovered already,” Bast said simply. She took stock of him, glancing up and down, seeing the skin still red and white with burns and the way he swayed where he stood, still weak with the unfulfilled Hunger. “Or at least, you’re walking.”

Horus’ nostrils flared. “I nearly died, and that’s all you have to say to me?”

Bast laughed, a cold sound. He remembered her laughter once being warm, remembered it once set a shiver down his spine. Had her laughter changed so much? Or had the centuries of refusal soured his reaction? “What do you want me to say?” She brought a wrist up to her forehead dramatically, “oh thank you Horus, for saving me from the vile fiend!”

“I deserve something better than that!” Horus bellowed, and Bast’s smile faded, hard lines replacing mocker. “You’re not some fainting damsel, Bast, but you needed me to kill him for you!”

“Hardly,” Bast said with a dismissive wave of her hand. “I wanted assurance he would fall. Two on one are odds that are favorable, and you gave me an opening to land the coup de grace. If there had been a better option, I would have gone with that. Now, as always Horus, you are a tool.”

Horus nearly screamed in rage. “That’s not what you said beforehand! You said you needed me. Hours of Night, Bast, what will it take?”

“What will what take?” she asked, her voice level.

“You know what I want,” he nearly spat. “I want it even when I have no Hunger to drive me, but right now I’m half mad with want of you. With need for you.”

Bast pursed her lips. “Say it, Horus. If you want it so bad, say it.”

“I want you, Bast. I want you so badly it tears at me. I’ve wanted you for millennia, for countless centuries. You have spurned me at every opportunity, but today you gave me a quest. I fought the dragon for you. I stood against the monster. I was your knight in shining armor. And still you spurn me!

“So I owe you?” Bast said, gesturing to herself. “What is it of me you want, Hours? My mind, my heart, my body?”

“All of them,” Horus whispered, stepping closer. His voice was hoarse.

She didn’t step away. “And what do you offer?”

“My devotion,” he said, taking another step closer.

Again, she stood her ground, regarding him. “You have already given me that.”

Emboldened, he took another step. “My Hunger.”

She laughed, and now he found the sound warm again, warm and sweet and inviting. “You’re already begging me to fill that, Horus. Try again.”

“I will give you whatever you want.” They were almost face to face now, her peering up at him, close enough where he could practically feel her breath. He felt his hand tremble in anticipation. Yes. Finally, yes. “My love,  my live, my heart.”

Bast reached up and brushed her fingers against his chest. “Are you certain?”

“Yes,” Horus whispered.

“I accept,” Bast whispered, leaning in. Horus leaned towards her, his lips puckering, and just before they touched he had a moment where he and Bast plunged her fingers through his damaged skin. Horus let out a scream of sudden agony as he felt her shatter ribs and tear muscle with a single gesture, a scream that cut off in a ragged gasp as he felt her fingers close around his heart. She didn’t tear it out, not yet, instead holding it gently enough it could still beat. “What’s wrong?” she cooed in his ears. “Is this not what you meant?”

Horus could only gasp, flecks of blood flying from his lips.

“Don’t worry, Horus,” she said, her hand still halfway through his chest. The pain was immense, and Horus wasn’t sure how he managed to maintain consciousness. If he’d stopped to fill his need for Company, he would have had the power to fight this. With his Hungers not completely filled, however, he could do nothing. “You’re going to resurrect. I promise you that. Over. And over. And over. I think I’ll feed your heart to Cassandra next time. A constant, never ending food supply. Won’t that be wonderful?

Before Horus could speak, even to curse her name, Bast ripped his heart from his chest. The last thing he saw was her shudder with delight as she bit into it. Vision was fading but hearing remained just long enough to hear her mocking voice. “It’s funny, in away. In the end, you finally did get inside me.”

Then, darkness.


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