Cranium Insanium is a short story inspired by and based upon characters from The Orphan Killer by Matt Farnsworth.
Imagine, if you will, waking up caked in the cerebral fluid of the most renowned and uncompromising butcher to ply their bloody trade in decades. It would surely be too inhospitable a place to even contemplate inhabiting, even fleetingly. Right? To be that close to the savage engine that sends such dark transmissions through every ventricle, every fiber. The bloody hub of New Jersey juggernaut, Marcus Miller, is a particularly cavernous hellhole, free from the likes of compassion, empathy or even the vaguest hope. A place where nothing pure could possibly exist; for any such light would be snuffed out in an instant by perpetual darkness. And that is precisely where I find myself presently.
Like a newborn, I unfurl from my fetal position and acclimatize to my ominous surroundings. I must find fellow survivors Audrey and Mike within this multifarious labyrinth; only they can supply the answers to the predicament I find myself balls-deep within. Should I be tardy, then the ramifications will be far too extreme to ever conceptualize; my soul would become snake-bitten and I would die from the inside out, slowly and agonizingly. While this would admittedly provide an intoxicating end to my lifetime pursuits; I have no intention to fall by the wayside. You see, I am here for a reason. My persistence has been necessitated as only I can reach the bloody heart of the beast from within my current surroundings. It is my destiny and danger was my second choice for middle name so, if the shoe fits, then fuck all ten toes, that’s what I say.
I can feel his frontal lobe perilously pulsating beneath my feet, presumably from memorizing his Baby Sister Audrey’s movements. Should he track her down before I acquire her coordinates; then there will be an inescapable bloodbath and that’s just for entrée. While Audrey has proven her mettle in the past, a second encounter would surely spell her termination and absolute decimation. What obscene pleasure could he ever desire to extract from snuffing out our true señorita, our Katherine Hepburn, our Marilyn Monroe? I must summon every scrap of my stamina, might and endurance to throw a gory spanner in his relentless machinery, or else suffer the most heinous of consequences. Suffice to say, I have a niggling feeling I will suffer them regardless.
Where do I even contemplate beginning? This place ain’t the Hilton, that’s for damn sure. There’s no concierge to juggle my belongings, no matching his and hers bath robes or signature hand-towels. Just a whole fucking mass of messed up! The stench of despair is all around me, enveloping me in its pungent decay, whilst gnawing away at my failing sanity, which hangs by the frailest of threads after the events of the past few months. How much more can I feasibly endure? I’m pulled taut and preparing to snap like a compromised hymen.
I commence to trek, tailing the crimson stream as it flows southward from my ominous position. I’m already aware that, in order to solve this latest riddle, I must travel deeper into the darkest depths of torment and suffering. My physical shell is weary; I’m so frightfully fatigued that it would be all too easy easy to just curl up into a ball once more and wait for the death rattle.
Thing is, I’m the Keeper of the Crimson Quill. There are people counting on my scoop and besides, I simply have to locate Audrey and Mike before they perish at the hands of their tormentor. There is only one option available at this juncture, that being to press on. So press on I shall, with all-encompassing trepidation.
After what seems like beyond an eternity; I stumble across my first significant sanctuary. It’s a clearing; tucked away behind a network of tight crawl spaces. Have scurried through enough of them thus far to require a quick time-out. I’m more than aware time is not my friend right now; just another passing acquaintance. The sands are shifting to the lower glass at a speed more alarming than calming. However, if I don’t catch breath now, I’ll be unable to proceed any further; wading through sludged cruor takes its toll when you have no map to work with or great wish to continue through the sinew.
No sooner have I settled, than a siren-like chant beckons me toward a dark recess just out of plain sight. It is like a bittersweet symphony to my soul, the soft and gentile wispy welcome of Dark Queen, Audrey Miller. I have cum many times with this salacious siren curled around my rigid cock, milking it for every last drop, but right now I must focus on matters far more pressing. As her prestigious First Knight, I am tasked with the good lady’s protection and cannot allow harm to befall my liege, or else all this entire pilgrimage would have been for nothing.
With that, she emerges from what appears to be a bloody gestation sac to my left. Stretching her limber limbs seductively, Audrey now stands before me, in splendour unmatched. Many in my place would convulse uncontrollably and my racing heart suggests that a coronary may well still be on the cards, but I simply cannot let this moment pass. Perhaps it wouldn’t hurt just to run my eyes across her wares just as a recap, you understand.
Mmhmm. Every inch of her supple skin is a delight, with not a blemish on her pelt, nor a hair out of place. Even drenched in darkness, light dances around her flawless face with the precision of a sniper’s pellet. This woman was clearly crafted by angels, long before they fell, and every single nerve ending is ablaze right now at the consideration of but a single bloody kiss.
Her cheeks glow with constancy, in turn enabling every interconnecting feature to fancifully flourish. The features in question include eyes that could persuade a man to murder his own brother in cold blood, and luscious lips literally bursting with flavour. Said lips part to reveal playful incisors which would snack furiously on my remaining defenses, were I to have any. Pressing against them is the tongue of a seraph, possessing serpent-like venom which, when called into play, can lunge with conviction and purpose.
Then there’s her neck; like a stairway to heaven, furnished with a blanket of skin cut from the finest tailored cloth. It sits sentinel-esque between her luxurious shoulder-blades exquisitely, trailing down to her delectable sternum, bearing succulent fruits at the height of season. Her chest is a dream, as if the rest of her ain’t, proportioned to perfection, and topped with the ripest of cherries. One touch could send a man straight to hell; one taste could fuck his ashes.
The navel is one particular sweet spot to the Keeper and she wears hers with majesty. It is its own kingdom, benign for the most part but with a pinpoint incision, a button hole in its centre, which you desire to sip sanguine fluids from perpetually. A little further south is the haunch and this is as close to pure heaven as I am ever likely to come.
Her clit beneath, meanwhile, is a throbbing nerve centre of tantalizing torment. One would imagine it to feel like fine silk, and taste like the tenderest cut of venison, medium rare and bleeding with salacious sauces. Flip to reverse and her buttocks will send a sane man doolally. Symmetrical rounded peaches, glistening with vitality and possessing a seductive prose all of their own. To the feet, capable of maintaining her delightful framework and dancing with the grace of a haunted ballerina. Each toe is a delicacy and her soft heels are deceivingly inviting, capable of crushing a larynx effortlessly. One last note; her aroma. The inside of Marcus Miller’s cranium never professed to being all washed linen and perfumed oils but set against such a fresh scent, even under perspiration I might add, it just heightens the intoxication. The Keeper of the Crimson Quill, loyal First Knight and soul-sibling at her beck and call, is ready for their second encounter and there is much work afoot.
“He is coming isn’t he?”
I barely open my mouth and her words are spoken.
“You shouldn’t be here Keeper.”
I am in total agreement on that front.
“He is searching for you Baby Sister.”
I expect her face to alter to accommodate consternation but it doesn’t happen.
“He won’t find me.”
She spouts her response with surprising nonchalance, almost flippancy.
“He cannot track me here, in his earliest childhood memories.”
I feel considerable relief, albeit laced with dire trepidation. Since our communion, I have felt a distinct feeling that he can access my deepest imaginings, and can feel him in my cranium, writhing like a serpent. Which would mean he’d be fully aware of where I stand. I’m like a walking tracking device which suggests we’re not at all safe, not by a long chalk.
“Baby Sister, I must push on.”
I ignore the large percentage of me which desires to continue gawping at her luscious pelt and depart, back through the crawlspace from whence I came. Only this time, take the direction of his blackened heart. It is my only shot at finding my bloody brother, Mike.
If ever a journey was fraught with peril and unkind odds then it is this one. Not only does it involve rappelling down Marcus’ esophagus, a dicey endeavor at the best of times, but it is a far more exposed meeting place. There will be precious little time for idle chit-chat; as Marcus will soon be alerted my trail, if he isn’t already.
I can tell I’m close as I can feel the rhythmic throbbing of the darkest of hearts reverberate around me. And I’m not kept waiting as brother is already present, standing like a Roman statue before me. As was Audrey, he is bare naked, clad only in intricate painted designs. His mohawk represents readiness for melee; it stood aloft akin to an unsheathed sword, preparing to do battle at any given moment.
Those baby blues sparkle like precious jewels and observe all around him with constancy. They glare with harsh intent, counter-balanced with dazzling beauty capable of moistening a quim with the most fleeting of glances. His encompassing face is angelic yet strong and masculine. His nobility is represented with a chiseled jawline and this is merely the tip of this fiery iceberg.
Sub-aqua, as it were, it just goes loco. Muscular and toned yet perfectly proportioned, he has the chest of a monarch. Pectorals, biceps and, lower down, abs all tell a tale; that being that no expense is spared in remaining battle-hardened, the masterful war paint furnishings attest to that.
It is my inclination never to voyage below the navel as that’s not really my bag, but the sisters of mercy would banish me to a purgatory if I cop out here, so I make a special exception. Jesus H. Christ! It’s a good job I squinted, that’s all I’m gonna say. Not only hung, but drawn and fucking quartered to boot. An absolute beast, too burly to keep restrained, one envisages no muzzle capable of restraining this particular beast.
My eyes refocus on the Herculean task at hand and I open my mouth to bear the bad news, although this proves entirely unnecessary as Mike breaks the deafening silence.
“He’s coming brother, I can feel it.”
Despite the warning, Mike seems unusually unflustered, almost indifferent to the threat. However, his next retort snatches me away from any false sense of security I’ve been lulled into and drags me kicking and screaming towards Def-Con 5.
“There’s not a lot we can do now, the guy’s a fucking titan.”
That dreaded realization sets in that he may already have conceded defeat. The prospect of brutal reckoning must’ve knocked the wind from his fine sails. Wrong again.
“He’ll find us here but when he does he’s walking into a shitstorm.”
Reassurance. Great. Now we’re fucking talking. Bring it Marcus! Of course, underneath that petulant bravado, I still feel a sickness that stretches down to the pit of my abdomen and claws my intestines as I bid my bloody brother adieu and head off into the eye of the storm once more.
While my faith is partially renewed, that all too familiar nagging feeling is still rife within me. Meandering around with no apparent clue as to what my direction should be is about the best I can do right now. My head is hung at half-mast as I really do fear most sincerely my aggressor.
It’s not his size, which is virtually equivalent to mine. Not the mask on his face or the bloody weapon he wields either. The reason my gizzards are so knotted is simple: Marcus Miller is just like you and I, breathes the same air, skulks the same streets. While that should be of some consolation right now, it just makes him all the more menacing a threat.
When I first honed in on this vicious beast, I put myself squarely on his radar. Sure, he has made it clear that he has bigger fish to fry, Audrey and Matt are the hors d’eouvre, I’m just entrée and that’s fine and dandy with me. But I think he’s spotted something in the Keeper of the Crimson Quill which has assured him of my use, that is also clear. Maybe that should dissipate some of the dread I feel but, alas no dice. If there is anything I have learned the past fistful of months, then it is that I possess strength where once there was frailty, belief where before there was skepticism, and love which has transmogrified from blind hatred.
It is channeled brute I talk about; life isn’t for spreading bitterness and spewing forth rage or, worse still, indifference. Channel it into something sacred and intimate to you; if you are handy with a brush – paint, sound good in the shower – sing, be particularly good at the naked rumba – fuck. Whatever your gift, use it. Don’t let your life pass you by as it will, should you allow such. Put that negative shit in a receptacle, label it up, then turn it into something phenomenal.
That’s it, I’m charged. I’m the Keeper of The Crimson Fucking Quill. Audrey and Matt once told me nobody slays better and that kind of endorsement makes my dick swell. They have empowered me, bequeathed me their First Knight. I can puff out my chest and hold my chin aloft. It is time to believe that prophecized and bleed the Crimson Quill its very reddest.
Suddenly and forcefully, I topple from the pedestal, as I feel a sharp pain stabbing in my gut. Indeed at the precise coordinates of the fissure crafted by Marcus during our last lively union. I tug my jockeys down to reveal the exact locale and feel myself starting to wretch. Spitting out pure crimson now, I glance down at my navel and projectile vomit as my wound recommences weeping. It’s as though he still bubbles under the blubber, teasing me to gush. I believe it is not altogether safe to say, he hath arrived.
Marcus Miller. The thorniest of brambles in my side, the owner of my dreamscapes, and admiral of my anguish. Evil in three dimensions; there are no minced words when stating his vile intentions. Pure distilled evil in a festering flesh mask. He stands before me now, sharpened axe glistening at the prospect of forthcoming grind. Indeed, you could rest a spirit level between us, so close are our quarters. Instantly, I’m greeted by the aroma of unprocessed meat laced with a wisp of death. It’s a far cry from the delectable scent of Baby Sister’s sweet center.
I’ve been here once before in another place and time and my former wound has now entirely reopened, bleeding through any remaining dressing and seeping through with urgency. My midriff feels cold and, in turn, blazing hot, and even the numbness smarts like all hell. Faced with my worst fears personified, my bladder has relinquished all fluids, which run down my inner thighs, fused with free-flowing deep red. My grimace is impossible to disguise; I’m clearly halfway down shit street and about to get pulled for jaywalking.
My pungent fear is akin to fresh morning dew to those dead eyes. It gets Marcus off to watch me squirm like an ant beneath a magnifying glass. I’m assuming he took additional delight from dissecting that frog during biology lectures; likely ran his tongue along its precisely cleaved underbelly. Imagine the most grotesque beast imaginable and then multiply by a hundred, and now you’re in the ball park. The apple consequently dropped far from its tree although his Baby Sister has displayed many of his traits during their bloody exchanges, so presumably there’s a fucked up gene present in both siblings.
Right now, Audrey is the least of my concerns. Maintaining my fading life-force is vital and looking less likely by the second. I dodged a bullet during our previous communion, which appears to have ricocheted as it hurtles towards my spleen where I stand, intent on shattering my frame like a glass pelvis. I believe his plan is to fashion a fresh orifice through my heaving torso large enough to slide a bible through, both damn testaments!
Take it like a man Keeper.
My inner monologue delivers this deadpan retort as it is concerned for my safe-keeping at this point. I hold eye-contact, or at least, gaze into the two inky chasms which show no remorse or mercy. I just hope he makes this swift and relatively pain free; curiosity may well kill this particular cat as part of me does crave the taste of his lunged weapon against my separating skin. Once the nerve endings have been severed, it’ll be plain sailing, although I’m assured Marcus would simply refocus his attentions on a previously unsullied area to further desecrate instead.
For the first time during our current face off; I blink. This affords all the encouragement that he has me well and truly psyched out, and he commences his carnage. First up is my left arm, from the shoulder-blade, and it takes three hacks to release the appendage from its bloodied nub. If I desired agonizing pain then agonizing pain has been faithfully provided and I instantaneously puke up what’s left of my stomach lining. Fuck! That really needles! I have to wait for the second swipe as he fetches a screwdriver from his back pocket. His unique brand of D.I.Y. doesn’t appeal and I attempt to turn and flee. No such bleeding luck as the tool is rammed into the back of my throat, straight through my beloved Keeper tattoo. As it is tugged unceremoniously free, backed-up blood jettisons from the gaping cavity. My shell begins to slacken and is further defiled by a second swing of the ax.
This time it only takes one hack and my entire leg drops to the ground like loose change. Any feeble attempts to recoil only serve to widen his trajectory and allow for a more punishing rejoinder. Knocked wholly off balance, I sink like human excrement, landing face down in cerebral secretions and the like. Clawing frantically, I then feel a further excruciating twinge, this time courtesy of his trusty rusted machete, as the elongated blade glides through the flesh behind my knee as though sun-baked butter.
While I may have requested a little suffering back at primary introduction, I now regret that to the nth degree, as the weapon carves through my screaming flesh, only slowing to negotiate the marrow. The whites of my eyes are blood red now, which delights Marcus enough to flip me over like a stubborn pancake. I have no discernible limbs left to sever; my right leg hangs by the most slender of threads and I’m bleeding out faster than a menstrual gnat.
“Finish me Marcus”
This is all I can muster, gargled through a windpipe flooded with thick cruor. Marcus is not feeling charitable however.
The blunt edge of the screwdriver is used next as it jostles my eyeball way back into my rapidly hemorrhaging brain. It bursts like an airborne colostomy satchel, adding retinal fluids to the broth. No release is yet forecast for the Keeper, although he vacates momentarily to prepare his ultimate smackdown. With grimy boot raised six inches above my head, the curb-stomping begins. The first two stamps only push me deeper into the squelching pillow of matter I am sprawled out across. It’s third time lucky for Marcus as he realigns to directly above the screwdriver, which protrudes from my yawning eye socket. Then, with one conclusive stamp, he ends the game. Indeed, the sheer force of his final attack is enough to split my skull like a honeydew, while the last few droplets of life-force seep out of me. Then it all goes black.
With a considerable jolt, I reawaken, having been out for a what I would presume to be a day, maybe longer. I check myself hysterically and there’s no sign of forced entry to my body other than the stitches along my abdomen which are healing just fine. A dream? It’s the only feasible explanation for my continued existence. I sit forward and turn to look in the bedside mirror and, at that point the dread washes back over me. My reflection is of a crudely masked head with two dead eyes staring right through me. Turns out my own head ain’t quite the safe place it once was. I guess all that is left is for me to play the part of hospitable host and prepare for an eternity of suffering.
Welcome home, Marcus.
Richard Charles Stevens
Keeper of The Crimson Quill
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