Suggested Audio Jukebox:
 George Fenton The Company of Wolves
 Junkie XL Storm is Coming
 Hirax Hellion Rising
 The Dillinger Escape Plan One Of Us is The Killer
Once upon a time, there were a pair of hopelessly devoted lovers by the names Audrey and Mike. They were deeply committed to one another but the course of true rarely runs smoothly and they met resistance from Audrey’s foster parents, who had disapproved of their courtship from the very start and pledged to come between them but to no avail. She had been orphaned at a tender age and, after years of being moved from pillar to post, had unwittingly ended up in the very worst care conceivable. Family life had never been particularly charitable but she simply didn’t know any different as her whole life she had been neglected and the only person in the world who had treated her with any real kindness was Mike. However, she had absolutely no idea how low her so-called carers would stoop to make their callous point.
One afternoon, her guardians astonished both of them by suggesting a picnic in the woodlands a few kilometers from their house and it appeared as though they may have been having a change of heart. However, once deep within the forest, they demonstrated their lack of family values in no uncertain terms. While Audrey and Mike went off to pick berries from the bushes nearby, they snuck away, leaving the lovers to fend for themselves with absolutely no food or provisions. Numerous backpackers had failed to return from the vast expanse of woods over the past few years and not a solitary set of remains had ever been recovered, which locals had put down to jackals and other scavengers. The scheming pair had every intention of adding to that tally.
Initially, there appeared to be no cause for alarm and Audrey and Mike huddled together to keep warm as they awaited their imminent return. However, as the hours passed and night began closing in, the penny finally dropped and the grim realization dawned on Audrey that skullduggery was indeed afoot. Suddenly, survival became paramount and they huddled together to concoct a plan for escape before last light became totally depleted. They had to find a sanctuary, at least until daybreak, but had no idea of their current coordinates or which way they would be required to travel to locate the exit. Luckily, Mike always carried his switch blade wherever he went and this proved invaluable for the journey ahead. They pricked each of their fingers in turn to supply a trail of blood through the foliage and offer them a route back should things turn awry and, for a time, this method appeared to be working well.
After an hour or so of trekking, they came across the famed Rivers of Grue and, as they marveled at the refreshing crimson waters, a quick dip seemed far too inviting a prospect to pass up. Unable to resist the river’s allure any longer, they derobed and waded into the cruor to refresh themselves before setting off once again. Momentarily, Mike forgot their dilemma, as the sight of Audrey up to her navel in deep red had him totally preoccupied. Sub-aqua, the cruel currents whistled suggestively around her hub, causing instant swelling between her thighs.
Nothing delighted her more than being caked in sanguine fluid and she continued to submerge herself in its tepid seduction. Her nipples were at full mast akin to two delicious fleshy sentinels and he soon became powerless to resist taking their lead. Just as their moonlight masquerade was about to commence, Mike spotted something moving at the edge of his peripheral vision and stopped dead in his tracks. As he squinted his eyes to ascertain what had distracted him at such an inopportune moment, he was relieved to learn that it wasn’t a ravenous jackal as initially feared but, in fact, a man. The congenial stranger smiled at them both warmly and wasted no time in making himself known.
“There’s a storm coming, you know.” He broke the silence and, in turn, created another longer silence. Eventually Mike responded “and who are you?” at which point the mysterious stranger offered up his identity willingly. “I am the Keeper of the Crimson Quill, Responsible for the rivers you ogle and an ally in the darkness, rest assured. If you head any deeper you’ll wind up at the cabin…..HIS cabin. You don’t wanna go there.” That was sufficient to chill both of them to their very marrow but Audrey took control, thanking the man for his warning, in order to nip the conversation in its bud and make their excuses. She paddled back to dry land with Mike closely in tow and the pair had made it all of ten yards before the man spoke for the final time. “Whatever you do, don’t follow the crimson jaybird.” Neither of them heard his parting words as they were too busy gathering their belongings.
Audrey and Mike continued for around an hour before, as forecast by their strange associate, it commenced to rain. This was no light shower and it poured for a solid hour before subsiding so they huddled beneath a nearby fallen log until the storm passed. Then, as the rhythmic patter finally began to slow, they scrambled out of their cramped sanctuary with the intention of pressing on. Both looked frantically for their trail markings but the downpour had removed any remnants of these bloody breadcrumbs. Mike was frantic but Audrey’s grief was far more fleeting and, after a few moments of consolidation, she took his hands in hers. He knew right away that she had the answer as he had witnessed that look in her eyes many times before. She was barely wrong in such scenarios and he trusted that.
“I know what we must do now. See that crimson jaybird sitting over by that willow tree?” Mike turned his head and there was indeed a feathered visitor strutting around by the river bank. “What about it?” he replied. “We have to follow it to have any chance of making it out of here Mike” she continued. Despite the fact that he had a creeping dread deep in his abdomen, Mike couldn’t think of a better idea so he agreed to follow this mysterious bird. It was as though it was aware of their decision before they were and instantly commenced leading them through the dense shrubbery. They followed closely, Mike more reluctantly, as a stupid bird wasn’t the solution he had hoped for. Eventually it led them to a clearing and neither were prepared for the sight which greeted them deep within that wood.
Without the safety net of their carefully placed blood trail, there had been no choice but to follow the jaybird, and they now found themselves in an even more precarious position. Neither commented for a few brief moments as their eyes reluctantly drank in the hideous exhibit before them. Eventually, Mike broke the silence but all he could muster was “What the fuck Audrey?!” They were stood aside a cabin, but not one constructed with wood, this structure was built from the ground up using various body parts, all woven together using cruor as adhesive to bind it all together. It was ghastly, truly the work of a very sick little puppy, but was so intricately designed that it smacked of dark genius. Audrey felt a rumble deep in her quim and could no longer contain herself, stepping forward to touch the grim surface.
She run her palm across a mesh of disembodied limbs, plucked out eyeballs, and the like and a slight moan was teased out. Her panties were moist at the gusset and something about this resonated with her deeply and most sensually. Her loins throbbed with forbidden pleasure but she was still very much conscious of their dire predicament. Nevertheless, she continued to probe, blood oozing between each of her beautifully manicured digits.
However, Mike remained more wary. He loved the red coulis as much as the next man and was still caked in dried blood from their swim in the crimson river, but he was also particularly protective of Audrey and had no interest in placing her in peril. It was evident to him that Audrey was mesmerized and he wished to know of her motivation. “Audrey? AUDREY?” After gazing for a few more stolen seconds, she turned around and, in a reassuring tone, convinced Mike that their pilgrimage had not been in vain. “It’s alright, he wants us to go inside” she delivered with a nonchalance which unsettled Mike no end.
He started “you think I’m stepping one foot in there and…” but she was already advancing to the door which was fashioned from thickened pelt and strewn with weeping ventricles. He followed her, once again hesitantly, as she grasped the handle of the door, which was embroidered from skull fragments. After breathing in the gush of tepid air which rushed out to meet her, she entered, followed a second later by her frustrated beau.
The interior was relatively welcoming in comparison. While bloody entrails adorned the walls, the remnants of a regular shack remained in tact. A sofa, bed and shower would provide all the creature comforts they’d craved after hours wandering aimlessly about the woodlands. “I’m gonna take a shower” Audrey informed him and slid, once more, out of her blood-spattered garments. This distracted Mike from his consternation, momentarily at least, as her silken skin was like a blanket of yearning splendor which he couldn’t help but appreciate.
Those long legs, delectable buttocks holding them up like sexual scaffolding, and the subtle curvature of her spine, were enough to make a normal man’s resolve dissipate in a picosecond and he struggled to regain focus as he admired the precious diamond of light between the top of her legs and felt his ample member begin to stiffen. Eventually he conceded defeat and followed her into the shower.
While all of this was going on, something stirred below. A dingy basement, sparingly lit, had been housing a particularly vile offender all the while. This shadowy figure was more than mindful of the visitation he had received and also aware of the personnel. You see, Audrey had an older sibling named Marcus and the pair had been practically inseparable from birth until their father buckled to his wife’s incessant demands and shipped him off to the reformatory. Bad things had happened within those supposedly sacred walls and her brother had been wired for pain and anguish as a result of constant neglect and, more critically, both emotional and physical abuse from those charged with his care. This was the first time in many years that he had been so close to Audrey and he had known of her attendance before she even stepped inside the cabin.
Marcus sat stroking his axe and biding his time until the desire to act became too overwhelming. He could hear every sound above him, his younger sibling and her lover were a few loose boards away and, worse yet, even had the gall to copulate in his very vicinity. This filled him with unparalleled fury. How dare they commit these acts in his own personal space? Whether aware of his presence or not, the fact remained, they were disrespecting him under his own roof and this filled him with swirling rage.
He had long been the forgotten big brother, led into these woods years prior by members of the clergy who had spent years crushing his spirit, he had learned to exist on his own terms. The occasional wayward traveler had provided the epidermal insulation for his dwelling and he had decorated this abode with the glue and marrow of such trespassers. Every moment he spent imagining what he would do should Audrey come looking for her estranged blood brother and now that he was faced with the reality, it just made his filthy dick hard.
Eventually, the breathless panting from above became too much for him to bear and he rose to his feet, axe swinging in one hand and machete in the other, as he ventured up the rickety cellar steps, towards the unsuspecting pair. Neither had spotted the trap door upon entry. Concealed beneath a deep red rug formed of numerous patches of callously grafted skin, his access route to the cabin had remained ambiguous to this point and, as he opened it and pushed aside this blanket of ravaged souls, light seeped in for the first time in months. Marcus despised light and was far more at ease in darkness. He had purposely designed his homestead so as to not allow in any illumination whatsoever and was less than amused by the rays that greeted him.
As he clambered topside, he did so with only one thing in mind, that being to cease the very existence of these ignorant interlopers and cut the bloodline with his sister once and for all. Cruel blood still bound the siblings but, whereas Marcus was more inclined towards the tenebrous, Audrey was still more than content to bask in light from time to time. The fact that she had forsaken him, albeit having been too young to even have an opinion, still needled him and, for that, she simply had to go.
The shower was filled with coarse steam, causing condensation to drip from the ceiling and providing a thin veil of perspiration for both its inhabitants. After the third of a trilogy of intense orgasms in rapid succession, Mike strolled out of the vapors fully quenched and still very much erect to take a short breather. Meanwhile, Audrey regained her bearings under the warm jets after one hell of a rigorous workout. The pair were wild lovers, primal and animalistic and the act of coitus was a most regular engagement but this particular union had taken pleasure to new levels of spectacular.
A sense of danger can act as a decidedly potent aphrodisiac. Certain exclusive endorphins are released from the knowledge that you’re trying your luck and both had been aware that this was the case under a roof thatched using human surplus. Consequently their love-making had known absolutely no boundaries on this occasion and it also helped that Audrey was midway through her menstrual cycle and feeling positively rampant. Many couples take a rain check once ovulation commences but this rule didn’t apply to Audrey and Mike and their reward had been incalculable for engaging in such feral endeavor.
Mike grabbed a towel, tied it loosely around his lower abs, then strode into the main living area so content that he didn’t spot his shadowy assailant lurking with intent in the dark recess to his left. As he dried himself thoroughly, Marcus was content just to watch his prey for a moment, contemplating how many ribs he would shatter and which part of his bronzed body to carve off first. Mike was still totally oblivious to his presence and, while, something still troubled him deeply about the whole affair, he had been temporarily sidetracked by such glorious intercourse. This left his opposite number clutching the full deck of cards. Once satisfied with his action plan, he began to move stealthily behind his target, axe now fully elevated and prepared to strike.
Audrey was still tingling from their lovemaking exploits but, as the blood returned to her head, she stepped from the steamy walk-in shower to join her significant other and recommence their union. She turned off the red jets and rubbed the mirror with her forearm to allow for a moment of quiet reflection. Her glow was most heavenly, particularly after the pair’s magnanimous unified release, and the entire bathroom lit up around her as she reached between her legs to retrieve a little of the excess honey she had just relinquished. She then placed her bloody finger between her plumpened lips and sucked hard on the metallic nectar just to prime herself for the next exchange. Her blonde locks crashed like flaxen waves against her delicate shoulders as she shuddered with delight and each nerve ending caught fire in unison.
She padded out to locate her love, leaving a trail of dainty red footprints across the floorboards. There was no sign of Mike and, even more disconcertingly, she discerned a faint rattling coming from outside the cabin. Still naked, she made her way to the source of this audio, feeling increasingly unsettled by the vague chimes which were growing more pronounced by the second. It was daytime now and dawn rays seeped through any gaps between the trees, each one dancing off her bare flesh tantalizingly.
She glanced to her right to witness the cause of the ominous audio and was greeted by the sight of her soul mate in the worst kind of compromised position. Mike was cooped up inside a rusted cage barely large enough to accommodate his burly frame. He’d been desperately attempting to alert her to his quandary and also to the fact that they were no longer alone. There was no apparent key to release her sweetheart and, had there have been, she wouldn’t have utilized it at this juncture until she knew categorically that he was out of harm’s way. Instead she turned her back on him, not out of callousness, but to ensure his safekeeping while she faced her ultimate demon. Deep down, she knew precisely who this demon was and had been expectant of this moment for her entire adult life. That made it no less disparaging a reality.
Audrey crept back inside with fleetness of foot, observing the key to the cage on a bedside dresser, and deciding to leave it where it was perched temporarily. She lifted the fleshy eiderdown and the rickety trap door, commencing down the flight of corroded stairs to take her long overdue communion with her older sibling. Marcus was there, fully aware of her presence but with his back turned, as he stood in front of his vast flickering furnace. He had been warming it up in preparation of grinding Mike’s bones and, while ordinarily he was more than happy to feast on rare meat, this time he favored a little slow-roasting for the additional suffering it would provide.
Audrey conceded that her presence was known and felt it necessary to break the deafening silence. Gulping down the bile which had been percolating within her gullet since she had been reminded of her unresolved childhood trauma, she made her first offering. “Hello Brother.” After a few painfully protracted moments, Marcus decided to tease things out no more. “The prodigal daughter.” His words hung in the air like a dense black mist and his sibling exhaled a breath of sheer discomposure as he turned to face her darkest fear for the first time since she was barely out of diapers.
He was suited for the occasion in shirt, tie, and trousers and, from the neck down, resembled a man who took pride in his appearance. Having said this, his Sunday best had long since been compromised by the dried surplus of dozens of wayward travellers, each of which had met with a decidedly crude demise. His identity was concealed behind a grimy mask but there was no absolutely mistaking that this was Marcus. She’d known for many years that her big brother was rotten to the pulp and the same cruel blood flowed through her veins also. Where she had learned how to stifle her sickness and lead a relatively normal existence, his madness spewed forth from every single pore in a thousand distressing tongues, each speaking to her directly without any requirement for words. However, she had no inclination whatsoever to flee and this presented her one opportunity for closure.
“I thought I’d find you here big brother.” Audrey willingly wriggled into the barbed wire shackles which dangled above her suggestively, as though conceding defeat. After violating her personal space, he spent a few seconds familiarizing himself with her sweet aroma. Then, after sniffing one side of her face, he prodded his blackened tongue through the mask and began to gratefully lap up every last drop of her consternation, tantalizingly slathering her rosy red cheek with his burly licker. Finally, Marcus commenced his vile sermon. “My baby sister. You know precisely why you’re here. You chose to forsake me when I needed you most.” He began to circle his ensnared sibling, while she choked back her tears and frantically searched for an upside which was nowhere to be seen. Again, he seized the initiative to vocalize further. “The time has come for you to repent. Now it is time for you to have something precious taken.”
Audrey was only too aware that he meant Mike. She could not allow such so began to muster every ounce of inner-resolve. “You love him and don’t wish to see harm befall your true love. Your commitment to his cause is very touching. It makes me want to vomit. It is time now for you to feel my wrath and suffer the same pain I felt.” He stood glaring into her eyes with harsh intent but, despite his harsh words, there was evidently still a dash of underlying affection. Audrey spotted her one opening and used every ounce of her resolve to lunge forward, knocking him back on his heels. Her hands may have been restrained but both legs were free and, in one agonizing motion, she raised both feet from the floor, planted them against his chest, and pushed with all her remaining might. Her attack caught Marcus unaware and, as struggled not to lose his footing, he ended up doing exactly that and stumbled back into the raging furnace.
Knowing that time was of the absolute essence, Audrey tackled her cruel shackles, wriggling both wrists in an attempt to free herself and end her torment before he could regain the upper hand. This was beyond excruciating as the barbed wire was embedded deep enough to puncture both her tendons, but she used her bleed to her advantage and this convenient lubricant allowed her to shake herself free, leaving strands of sheared flesh dangling from her razor-sharp cuffs.
This wasn’t the time for procrastination and her pain no longer registered as the more pressing concern was stopping this menace from inflicting more torment and rescuing Mike from his cramped prison. The furnace door was decorated with years of decay and it took all of her strength to budge the iron slammer but she managed to on adrenaline alone and slid the latch firmly into place to finalize her sibling’s fiery incarceration before taking off up the stairwell. Audrey dared not glance back as she knew only too well that one day she would see this face again, if only in her nightmares. He had inhabited every last one of dreamscapes since as far back as she could recall and she accepted that this was unlikely to ever change, despite her current advantageous positioning.
Once topside, she stooped to collect the key from the dresser, heading straight outside to free Mike from his chamber. The pair wasted no time vacating the premises and set off to find their way back to the entrance of the forest despite no longer having the trail of crimson breadcrumbs to highlight the route forward. Audrey led the way based entirely on the pangs within her twisted gut and, as the cabin became more distant, so her discomfort finally began to subside. However, something still didn’t feel right and Mike too began to pick up on this. After several hours of trekking, they still hadn’t appeared to have made any headway and things were starting to appear somewhat desperate although Audrey now seemed markedly less concerned about their plight.
“This is all looking familiar Audrey. I think we’ve taken a wrong turn” he explained, to which her response was swift and assured. “This is the right way. We’re almost there now” she replied, pointing out a clearing a hundred or so yards in front. Relief washed over him instantaneously as her orienteering skills had seemingly seen them good. However, any comfort was fleeting, as he looked up to discern the same crimson jaybird they had tailed earlier. As they reached the open space and were presented with the very same shack they had absconded from hours before, their reactions couldn’t have been more different.
“What the fuck Audrey. We’ve got to get out of here right now.” Unfortunately for Mike, his words fell on deaf ears as she flat ignored his pleas and began making her way back inside. “What are you doing? Audrey?”Again, she offered no acknowledgment and, instead, opened the fleshy door wide and disappeared back into the bitter darkness within. This time she was gone for mere moments and, when she returned, she did so grasping her big brother’s grimy machete and pointing it directly at her lover with single-minded intent. “Okay, now you’re freaking me out. Put it down. NOW!” he hollered but his words couldn’t reach beyond the black mist that now enveloped her entirely. Just then she stopped in her tracks, mere inches from his face, and her chilling response spoke volumes for her allegiance. “I’m finally home Mike. Home sweet home.” Perched above her on a chimney stack comprising human innards was that single crimson jaybird and, as Mike’s guttural screams commenced to ring out through the forest, it didn’t so much as shake a tail feather.
Truly, Really, Clearly, Sincerely,
Keeper of the Crimson Quill
First Knight of TOK
Copyright: Crimson Quill: Savage Vault Enterprises 2013 (Director’s Cut 2015)