There’s more to be afraid of on All Hallows’ Eve than the dark. When a distant world’s Hall of Heroes falls, Corey Cooper comes face to face with a malevolence that even he cannot overcome.

WARNING: This story is not for the faint of heart. Although direct violence is not depicted, the carnage resulting from it is. Proceed with caution as this story contains depictions of gore and torture.

Eugene Grave clutched the dusty old book against his chest. His suit was torn in places, and somewhere along the line, he’d managed to lose his boots. The worn leather cover was so smooth and slippery that he could barely manage to hold on to it. He had to keep adjusting his grip.

As he stumbled out of the smoldering remains of what was once the entrance to the Hall of Heroes, Gene managed to stabilize the book in his arms. His right index finger was tucked just inside the front cover, barely touching the too-smooth vellum of the first page.

Just touching the interior of the book was enough to raise goosebumps all along the length of Gene’s arm. It felt alien—unnatural. Like the tendrils of an irate spirit, occasional wisps of reddish-orange light seeped through the gaps between the aged vellum pages. The book pulsed and throbbed like the beating of a sinister heart.

Whatever evils were contained within kept bound by three broad iron bands, each tightly wound three times around the thickness of the book. Gene could feel the ridges of the jagged angular runes scratched into the metal with the tips of his fingers and they felt profoundly, fundamentally wrong.

Gene shook his head. He had to set aside the revulsion he was feeling. The asphalt was coarse and abrasive under the soles of his bare feet as he stole away from the building that had once been the cornerstone of his life.

The beautiful city Gene had vowed to protect lay darkened and desolate in front of him. Hardly a whisper of wind stirred the air and every breath he took, every too-loud splash of his feet in a puddle, felt like a death knell echoing in the eerie silence. To say nothing of the unmoving figures sprawled across every street, as far as Gene could see.

Gene blinked away the tears in his eyes. CASSANDRA’s last words were still ringing in his ears. "Protect this with your life. He must not have it, not until sunrise" said CASSANDRA, after he broke into the archives at her behest to retrieve the artifact.

Because of the fighting and all of the damage that had already been done to the Hall at the time, CASSANDRA’s power reserves were already running low. It took the majority of the charge remaining in her system for the AI to deliver one last warning to Gene. "The Witching Hour fast approaches. That is when He is at his most powerful. You had best find somewhere safe before then."

CASSANDRA had foretold everything years ago. If only the Hall had understood what they had in her; if only someone had listened.

At first, CASSANDRA was the AI put in charge of the day-to-day affairs of the Hall but made a few critical errors. It was chalked up to a fundamental flaw in her design, but now Gene wondered if it was because CASSANDRA was responding to stimulus from future events.

SIBYL was conceived to replace CASSANDRA, and the latter was relegated mostly to supportive and archival duties. And yet, despite the vast gulf between the two AIs’ capabilities, CASSANDRA managed to glean something out of the torrent of data that they handled on a day-to-day basis that SIBYL could not.

Gene shivered. CASSANDRA had foretold everything years in advance, but the notion had sounded so outlandish that hardly anyone paid attention. Not even the worst villains in Earth’s history could stand against the combined might of the Hall of Heroes. A single villain coming to wipe them all out was supposed to be impossible.

Some had been just paranoid enough to believe CASSANDRA a little. They worked to improve security for the Hall but clearly, it wasn’t enough. The rest conjured a mocking rhyme out of CASSANDRA’s prediction and never failed to bring it up whenever Halloween passed and nothing happened.

A twisted villain, of Autumn born,
Shall cruel and vicious plot conceive.
The Hall shall be asunder torn,
On crimson night, come Hallows’ Eve.

Now was not the time to reminisce. Gene had to focus on the mission. He had no idea where to go, but he could think of where to start. The basement levels of the Tether were comprised of enormous warehouse complexes. Even the most sophisticated tracking technologies would have trouble finding someone hiding in there. It was a labyrinth, but all that Gene had to do was buy time.

As he made his way through the deserted streets, Gene couldn’t help but notice how cold and still the air was. It had been raining for a while before all hell broke loose, so the asphalt was damp between his toes.

Silence hung over the city like an oppressive blanket. The only sign there was anything alive other than Gene was the sound of pained moaning in the distance. Beyond that, all he could hear was the intermittent splashing of his feet whenever he stepped into a puddle, and the sound of blood rushing in his ears.

If not for the light seeping from the book, it would have been nigh-impossible to navigate through the darkness. The giant nanoalloy-reinforced polyglass dome that rose overhead was sealed shut. Without power, the artificial sky was disabled, plunging the city into pitch-black starless night.

The angry red emergency lights interspersed across the vertices of the honeycomb lattice that held up the dome were the only other source of light. They bathed the city in a dim, blood-red glow, just as CASSANDRA had predicted.

Gene’s hands were clammy. He slowed down for a moment and adjusted his grip on the book. His fingers slipped across the smooth, worn leather of the cover. It was difficult to keep a good grip. It was too smooth. Too slippery. It didn’t help that it was soaked.

Turning the book a few times in his arms, Gene finally managed to get it back into a manageable position. He held it tightly against his chest with all the strength he could muster. Gene wanted to retch. The coppery tang of the blood smeared across it was aggressive.

Gene gritted his teeth. He’d been through worse. He had to convince himself that he had been. It was the only way he could focus on the mission at hand.

With a deep breath, Gene tried to tune out the cold air prickling at his skin. He stepped over the unmoving corpse of yet another victim sprawled across the asphalt but couldn’t avoid the puddle that was pooling around it.

Every window on every building that Gene passed looked like one of two things: a bottomless abyss mocking him with its emptiness, or a gaping maw lined with jagged teeth hungry to shed his blood. He nearly tripped over another corpse, and as he gingerly stepped around it he tried to ignore the halo soaking into the concrete around its head, glistening silver-black in the dim red light.

When he went around the corner, Gene recoiled. He thought someone was coming after him. His foot hit the edge of the curb and he nearly flung himself down onto the concrete.

It turned out Gene had nothing to be afraid of. The silhouetted figure he’d thought was lumbering toward him wasn’t. Its feet weren’t even on the ground. The corpse was just kept upright by the broken lamppost sticking up its back and through its sternum.

Gene didn’t believe in any god, less so given what he’d witnessed in the last few minutes, but he still whispered a prayer for the poor soul hanging from the broken lamppost. He readjusted the book in his arms and ducked his head, trying not to look at the gruesome sight again as he hurried past.

A strangled, bloodcurdling scream from nearby made Gene’s heart hammer in his chest. It put a little urgency in him. He picked up the pace. All he had to do was make it until morning. He just didn’t know which morning. Actual lunar morning was still three days away.

After hurriedly walking down the street and feeling like he was getting nowhere, Gene broke into a run. His bare feet slapped against the asphalt, making wet slurping sounds every time his they plunged halfway into puddles of something too thick to be water.

The space elevator was practically invisible in the darkness, but the outline of the Tether, the largest building in downtown Selene City, was at least illuminated by the overhead lights. Gene used it to find his way down the streets, dodging corpses, cars, and whatever else was scattered on the roads.

A faint breath of air, brushing against his cheek, stopped Gene dead in his tracks. He froze, his blood running cold in his veins. He looked around, searching for his pursuer, but he saw no one. It wasn’t until he looked up and saw a shadow briefly pass over one of the lights overhead that the real dread of the situation sank into him.

Blood thundered in Gene’s ears. Survival instinct guided his actions. Fighting wasn’t an option, so flight was the only thing he could do. He whirled around, searching for a narrow alleyway, and dashed down the first one that he could find.

Gene was being pursued from overhead, which made the main streets more dangerous than they were worth. At least in the narrow spaces between buildings, he had some cover from an eye in the sky.

Legs burning and chest heaving, Gene had to stop in the bend of an alley to catch his breath. He jumped when he heard the sound of a metal bin crashing to the ground. He dismissed it at first but felt his heart drop straight into his stomach as corpses slumped against the narrow mouth of the alleyway jerked and twitched back to a twisted facsimile of life.

Gene took a step back toward the way he’d come as the dead rose to their feet. Their backs straightened in sharp steps until they were partially leaning back, their arms twitching as they shambled forward with their hands twisted into misshapen, spasming claws.

It wasn’t until the corpses’ heads jerked up that Gene understood the true meaning of terror. The very breath froze in his throat as his gaze fell upon the faces of the dead.

The corpses’ eyes were like bottomless pits. They seemed to suck the light in and snuff it out. Strands of gore dangled from the smoldering holes, tracks of liquid burned onto the skin of their face, the sockets themselves ringed by forking web-like scorch marks.

A voice, so soft that it was barely louder than a whisper, spoke from behind Gene. It sent an involuntary shiver up his spine. "There you are," it said, as the gentlest breath of wind. "I’ve been looking for you."

Gene tried to run, but he couldn’t. Not one muscle obeyed him. Instead, his legs locked together and he turned on his heel to face the cause of all this misery.

"Aww…" said the villain, lightly tracing a single, slender finger along the top edge of the book that, at least so far, Gene was still clutching to his chest. "Is this for me? For li’l old Harrow? That’s so sweet"

Looking at Harrow, it was hard to comprehend that he was a villain. His smooth, honeyed tone and handsome face didn’t at all suit the boundless evil that dwelled behind his beautiful eyes. The way that Harrow looked at Gene was entirely devoid of empathy. It was cold, calculating, the look of someone that had already decided he was more akin to property than anything even resembling an equal.

However much Gene tried to resist, to bend his own body to his will, it was futile. He wasn’t in control, at least, not anymore, and certainly not of the parts that mattered. His hands gripped the book tightly of their own accord as his arms folded themselves outward to present the thick volume to the one person who wasn’t supposed to even come near it.

A quiet, almost-blissful sigh escaped Harrow’s parted lips as he stroked the smooth leather cover of the book with his right hand. He brought his hand up to his face and, without breaking eye contact, sucked the blood from his fingertips.

Harrow plucked the book from Gene’s hands and cradled it in his arm. Black lightning arced from the tip of his thumb, effortlessly cutting through the metal bands that each let out a cacophonous dying screech as they snapped.

Once the last band was removed, the book snapped open. Pages flipped in a non-existent wind as angry red light and tendrils of glimmering crimson mist erupted from the aged vellum. The tendrils swept around Harrow, caressing him as an old lover would, before coalescing into a tall, roiling oval behind him.

"I think… I might play with you before I go," said Harrow, with a cold and mirthless giggle that turned the blood in Gene’s veins to ice. Harrow leaned in, gently touched Gene’s cheek with two fingers, and turned Gene’s head to face the animated corpses twitching at the mouth of the alleyway. "Just don’t tell them… They might get jealous."

"What to do… What to do?" Harrow mused, his eyes roaming up and down Gene’s body, which still refused to move according to Gene’s will. Harrow’s eyes glinted and he clapped. The sharp sound rang down the length of the alleyway, resonating with a strange finality. "I want you to dance," said Harrow.

The way Harrow said that last word, that one syllable just dripping with casual malice, sent a tremor down Gene’s spine. "You can do that for me can’t you, my sweet?" said Harrow.

A strange pressure that Gene hadn’t even felt on his shoulders was suddenly lifted. He blinked, realizing that he could move of his own accord again. He had no idea what was going on, only that he had clearly failed his mission and that he likely didn’t want to stay around to find out what Harrow meant by making him dance.

Gene turned to run, but he’d barely made it three steps before he realized that something was horribly wrong. At first, he thought it was just nervousness that made him forget to breathe, but he just… couldn’t.

Panic wound around Gene’s heart with a vice-like grip. Bile rose in the back of his throat. He tried to breathe again but to no avail. He held a hand over his stomach and tried again for the third time. Still, he couldn’t. His diaphragm simply refused to move.

Tears pricked at the corners of Gene’s eyes. He at least had some breath left in him, but no matter how wide he opened his mouth and his throat, the air wasn’t going to get in without his diaphragm to push the old air out and draw the new air in.

Gene felt that strange influence return. His body was no longer his, though he still had some modicum of control this time. He turned to face Harrow, who now wore an unsettlingly wide grin on his face, his otherwise pearly white teeth stained red with blood.

"Dance for me, poppet," said Harrow, sweetly. Gene was starting to feel lightheaded from the lack of oxygen. His body felt weak. Even though his legs felt like they were going to give way any moment, he somehow managed to remain standing.

Gradually, a strange sensation came to the forefront of Gene’s mind. Pain prickled at the soles of his feet like someone was pushing little needles right at the nerve endings under his skin. At first, it was just the right, and he shifted his weight onto the left to avoid the discomfort, but it started there, too.

As the sensation got worse, Gene couldn’t help but hop from one foot to the other. He felt like he was traipsing over burning embers. "Yes… Yes… Just like that…" murmured Harrow, as red-hot searing agony lanced up from the sole of Gene’s foot to his thigh. He would have screamed if he could have, but the sound died in his throat.

The corners of Gene’s vision went fuzzy. Between the pain and the lack of oxygen, he didn’t know how long he was going to last. It felt like thousands of jagged shards of glass were being stabbed into his legs, and the only relief he could get was in that brief moment he had while switching his weight from one to the other.

Pain, unlike anything Gene had ever felt before, as if every inch of his skin was on fire, washed over him. His fingers contorted into claws as he pulled his arms into himself, trying to retreat from the sensation. It was no use. It was everywhere. There was no escape.

Tears poured freely from Gene’s eyes as the agony overwhelmed him. He wanted nothing more than to lie on the floor, curl up, and die. His lungs were burning. He felt like he was going to explode. The edges of his vision were starting to go black and his mind struggled more and more and more to even string the most basic of thoughts together.

Gene lasted only a few seconds through the mental fog. His brain focused on the only thing it could. As the consciousness departed from Gene’s body, his last thoughts were dominated by Harrow’s wide, bloody grin.

Somehow, at some point in the last three months, Castor managed to talk Corey into going trick-or-treating with him and Pollux. He wasn’t complaining, exactly, but he wished he’d known more than a week in advance where they were going to make the rounds.

In the grand scheme of things, Hyacinth Village was just a small neighborhood in Tranquility. Tonight, however, the streets were packed with throngs of trick-or-treaters, and every house in the small community was gussied-up for the festivities.

Looking around at the rippled abs and garish costumes on display, anyone with even a passing knowledge of Greek mythology could probably guess why the place was called Hyacinth Village. There were other places around the city specifically tailored to gay men, but Hyacinth Village, to Corey’s knowledge, was the only residential area of its kind.

By most standards, it was a perfectly normal Halloween evening. The only difference was, no one under the age of 18 was on the streets. If Corey was being honest, Hyacinth Village looked like a pride parade with all the hot guys and bare asses around.

Not that Corey himself wasn’t contributing to the overall impression. He was wearing very little which, considering the rest of the party-goers, seemed about an appropriate level of undress. His costume had been planned as a couple’s costume with Marcus but the Master had gotten called off at the last minute to attend a meeting at the Hall of Heroes.

At the very least, Corey was glad that Marcus had seen him in the costume. Marcus was the one who clasped the solid iron collar around his neck, and he found the weight reassuring.

Corey was wearing a pair of tight red bikini briefs with a window in front to show off the top half of his locked cock, and a window in the back to provide easy access like a jockstrap would. Castor was wearing something very similar and for the past fifteen minutes, Pollux had been casually groping both boys through their underwear as they made their way down the street.

The rest of Corey’s outfit was comprised of a red leather harness with three straps connected at both ends to metal rings. One strap went over his shoulder, while the other two wrapped around his sides, just under his armpits.

Nestled between Corey’s ass cheeks was a small buttplug. It was very similar to the rubber pup tails he’d worn in the past. What made this one unique was that it could be set to vibrate via a remote-controlled app, was red, and was arrow-tipped like a devil’s tail.

A small quiver was strapped across Corey’s back, integrated somehow with the harness. As far as footwear went, he was wearing red canvas shoes with black laces. A surprisingly realistic toy bow in his right hand, a pumpkin pail in his left, fingerless red gloves with an integrated communicator around his right wrist, and a headband with two little red horns sticking out of it rounded out the whole outfit.

On Corey’s right, between him and the slutty bunny boy that was Castor, was Pollux. Pollux was dressed like a bid bad wolf and had such a great costume he somehow attracted more attention than the scantily clad boys on either side of him.

Since the Halloween celebrations in Hyacinth Village weren’t exactly conventional, trick-or-treating ended up being more like a giant block party with gays from all over the city attending. As such, no candy really exchanged hands until the organizers said so. For all his misgivings, Corey had to admit he was a little excited to participate for the first time in a Hyacinth Village Halloween.

It didn’t take long before the message went out, blared through the public announcement system of Hyacinth Village. "Alright, boys! It’s that time of the year again! Go wild! Have fun! Make sure you give our gracious hosts a proper trick-or-treating!"

"Come on, come on, come on!" said Castor, practically bouncing. He had been practically vibrating from the moment they left the manor, and Corey didn’t think he’d ever seen his friend wear a more appropriate costume. "I don’t want to miss out!"

Corey laughed as Castor grabbed Pollux by the arm and dragged him with surprising strength toward the nearest house. Corey wasn’t laughing for long because soon he was stumbling after the pair as Pollux had grabbed him by the wrist, too. They came up to the line in front of the house giggling and out of breath.

The three didn’t have to wait more than a minute before they made it to the front of the line. Standing just inside the door was a handsome older gentleman dressed in what looked to be ornate wizard robes with a pumpkin pail tucked under one arm. "Oh. You boys are adorable!" he said, tapping both Castor and Corey on the cheek.

"Treats, please!" said Castor, holding out his pumpkin pail expectantly.

Corey glanced at his friend, smiled at the old man, and held out his pail, too. "Oh-ho!" said the old man. He grinned toothily at the two boys. He placed a chocolate bar each into Castor and Corey’s pails.

"Thank you!" said Corey. The chocolate wasn’t exactly his favorite brand, but chocolate was chocolate was chocolate and he hadn’t known he was craving it until he was faced with the reality of how much he was going to be getting through the evening.

As Castor and Corey were about to step aside to let Pollux get his turn, the old man reached out and placed a hand on Corey’s shoulder. "I think I should at least get something more than thanks for giving you such a powerful piece of magical candy, young man," said the wizard. "If I didn’t ask pretty young things like you to pay me, I’d be destitute!"

Corey blushed. "H-How can we pay you, sir?" he said.

The old man gently pulled his robe to the side. He was wearing nothing underneath, and his soft cock was slowly rising between his legs. "Why don’t you give this old wizard a quick li’l suck and we’ll call it even, huh?" said the old man. Castor was already on his knees before the old man had even finished speaking.

Corey followed suit. He and Castor were well-versed in sucking a man’s cock at the same time. Pollux liked to make them fight for his cock, and occasionally Marcus did, too. They pressed their lips up against the spongy cock head and slowly made out with the old man’s cock until it was rock-hard and leaking.

"Fuck," said the wizard. Corey glanced up and watched as the old man gave Pollux a big handful of candy. "Two cute boys on my cock at the same time? Now, that is a treat," he said.

"Oh I know, sir," said Pollux. "It certainly is." Castor beamed at the praise and redoubled his efforts, kissing and sucking and licking along the length of the throbbing shaft at the same time as Corey. It didn’t take them long to have the older man gently bucking his hips.

"Ah, ah," said the wizard, placing a hand on Corey’s head. "That’s enough. I’ve got a whole night to get through. Maybe you can come back later for some cream to go with your chocolate, huh?"

Castor grinned. "I hope we can, sir!" he said, as he clambered back up to his feet.

Corey followed suit. "That might have been better than the chocolate, sir. Honest," he said, with a wink.

"Oh go on, git with you, making an old man blush," said the wizard, shooing the three off his porch with a laugh.

Corey was exhausted by the end of the night. About halfway through the village, the three of them had to stop taking candy because it simply wouldn’t fit in their pails anymore. Corey’s pail felt like it weighed a ton, and the chocolate bar he’d gotten from the old wizard at the first house had probably been crushed flat by the rest of the candy stuffed into it.

Even though they didn’t have any reason to, the three still visited all the other houses. Castor and Corey got to play with a few more cocks, while Pollux got his played with a few times along the way.

With all the sucking and jerking going around, the air pretty quickly got charged with a sensual sort of energy. More than a few guys came up to both Corey and Castor to cop a feel, and by the time that they went to the last house on their itinerary, both had soaked through the front of their briefs with pre-cum.

Midnight just around the corner though, and the trick-or-treating frenzy was starting to slow down. The crowd wasn’t as large anymore and was made up primarily of locals. People were leaving, most likely because it was the middle of the week and no one wanted to go to work with a hangover. The braver few were sticking around for the "after-party," which promised to be wild.

Corey was anxious to go home and get back to Marcus but Castor and Pollux seemed eager to find out what the "after-party" was all about. He briefly considered waiting for them, but he really just wanted to go home. He knew the way, and he was far from defenseless, so neither Castor nor Pollux complained when he took his leave.

Just as Corey was about to exit Hyacinth Village, he felt a peculiar fluctuation in the ambient electric field. One by one houses and streetlamps outside Hyacinth Village lost power, creating a wave of darkness that was quickly encroaching on the little community.

Naturally, the power outage didn’t stop just because it encountered the shoulder-height wall that surrounded Hyacinth Village. It blasted right past, plunging the street Corey was walking down into darkness. In the distance, he managed to hear the sounds of people freaking out as the blackout worked its way deeper into Hyacinth Village.

Without the pounding music radiating from the center of the village, an almost-oppressive silence fell upon the neighborhood moments after the last lights winked out. Hardly anyone else was on the streets, and the darkness just made them look all the more desolate. It was rather eerie, how quickly Hyacinth Village turned into a ghost town just because the power had gone out.

Corey closed his eyes and concentrated. He could still feel residual electricity flowing through the overhead lines, but there wasn’t much. He’d managed to improve his electro-sensory perception enough that he could extend the range outward by about a mile but even that far out he couldn’t feel more than the slightest tingle.

Whatever the issue was, it was bigger than Hyacinth Village and the surrounding homes. It at least looked like Selene City proper wasn’t affected. Corey could still make out the haze of its light off in the distance.

He was about to let go of his concentration when he became aware of a strange anomaly building up in intensity nearby. There was a strong buildup of charges going on, swirling erratically in the shape of an oval. It was close enough that Corey was sure he would be able to see it, so he opened his eyes and sure enough, there was a faint reddish glow coming from the direction of the anomaly.

Using the darkness as a cover, Corey got off the street and made his way toward the light. He tried using his wrist communicator to ping Castor and Pollux, but the signal wasn’t getting through. In all likelihood, he was close enough to the anomaly that the interference was too much for the device to handle.

It didn’t matter that much. Corey was confident that he’d be able to handle the situation himself.

When he got close enough to the anomalous thing he had been sensing, Corey struggled to comprehend what he was seeing. A flat oval shape made of tendrils of roiling red mist hovered a few inches off the ground in someone’s backyard. The mist was swirling around the interior of the oval, black lightning arcing from one tendril to the next like normal lighting would along the bottom of a thundercloud.

Corey could only assume that what he had in front of him was a portal. He didn’t know where it led, but he imagined given the general color scheme that it likely wasn’t anywhere good.

There were two choices, as far as Corey could see it. He could attempt to stabilize the portal, or he could force it shut. Either way required at least a modicum of control over it and since he didn’t know any formal magic, he tried to seize the lightning crackling through the mist.

Corey was so focused on getting the reins on the lightning that he almost forgot to breathe. It didn’t dawn on him until he tried to breathe that he couldn’t. His lungs just wouldn’t respond.

Before he could calm himself down, Corey’s right hand flew to his throat. His pail of candy fell to the perfectly manicured grass and tipped over, sending a few mints scattering across the ground. Trying not to do anything else rash, Corey closed his eyes and counted to three before making another attempt at breathing.

Corey’s diaphragm refused to work with him. His lungs were starting to burn. He was running out of air. He was left with no other choice but to try and turn his powers inward to force his muscles to obey. It didn’t work.

Just to make sure it wasn’t because he was in a power dampener, Corey shot off a bolt of lightning into the air. That worked. But when he tried turning his powers within, it was like something was stopping him from taking control.

Light-headed from the lack of oxygen, there was little more that Corey could do than sink to his knees and sway as the edges of his vision went blurry and dark. He futilely tried to send another call through his wrist communicator, but that last glimmer of hope failed him too. He slumped to the ground, just in time to watch a pair of black-clad feet step out of the portal.

Corey woke with a gasp. A cold sweat trickled down his spine as he sat up. He was in a strange room, on a strange bed, and he had no idea how he got there. The last thing he remembered before passing out was not being able to breathe.

It took Corey a moment to realize that there were other people in the room with him. They were flanking the door. "W-Where am I?" he said, holding a hand to his head. There was a throbbing pain right behind his eyes that made it difficult to think.

The only response he got from the other people in the room was a hollow, rasping gasp. It was only when he looked closer that what he thought was a matching husband-and-wife zombie costume wasn’t a costume at all.

Terror gripped Corey’s heart. He scrambled as far away from the two corpses as he could. The wife had a gaping hole in her chest, while the husband’s mouth was a blackened hole leaking tendrils of pungent, acrid smoke. "W-What the fuck?!" Corey shouted, forgetting for a moment that he even had powers.

Corey had to stifle a scream as the door swung open and smashed the wife into the wall. A man walked into the room, dressed in a slick, all-black suit with blood-red accents. Corey felt his heart sink into his stomach when he glanced up and came face to face with… himself.

Well, it wasn’t exactly himself. While the stranger had Corey’s face, his eyes were different. They were cold and merciless. His gaze gleamed with such cruel light that Corey couldn’t help but shiver when their eyes met. "Good morning, you pretty thing," said the stranger. "Oh, you’re going to make such a treat."

Corey tore his eyes away from the stranger and pointed at the corpses standing by the door. "What… What did you do to them?" he said. He felt cold all over, as if the blood in his veins had frozen solid. He didn’t think he’d ever been so terrified in his life.

"Oh, them? Don’t mind them. They just made so much noise when I was making them dance." The stranger let out a sadistic little giggle. "I just made sure they won’t make a peep the next time I make them dance for me," he said.

"You… You made them dance?" said Corey. The stranger’s words seemed so out of line with the reality of what he was seeing. The incongruity was making the pain behind his eyes worse. "W-What do you mean?"

"Oh," said the stranger, a quiet and almost eager note in his voice. The stranger grinned as he clambered onto the bed. Corey shrank away from his doppelganger but there wasn’t nearly enough space to maneuver. The stranger caught up to him and placed a hand on his upper left arm. "You mean you can’t do this?" he said.

For an instant, Corey was pulled into a cold, clammy darkness. The emptiness was so profound he felt like he was going to come apart at the seams just by being there, a violation of the nothingness in that void. He was shaking when he returned to his body, but even worse, he was now acutely aware of what the stranger was doing.

It was something Corey had conjectured was possible in the past, but he’d never put it into practice because of how gruesome it was. This stranger, his doppelganger, the demon who wore his face, was inducing electrical currents in the corpse’s body to make it move.

"W-Who… Who are you?" Corey whispered though in truth, he was afraid of the answer.

"I’m you, of course, silly!" said the stranger. "Gosh, you’re so cute when you’re scared out of your wits," he said, leaning in to lick a long wet stripe up the side of Corey’s face. "You can call me Harrow."

Corey shivered as Harrow’s fingers traced down the side of his arm. Harrow’s touch was feather-light, making his skin tingle. He jumped when the corpse of the husband collapsed to the floor with a thud, and trembled when Harrow leaned in to whisper in his ear. "Now you give it a try. Make him dance!" he said.

In an instant, the gears in Corey’s mind ground to a screeching halt. Harrow wanted him to do what, now? he couldn’t even begin to stomach the thought of manipulating a lifeless body like that. "I-I don’t think I can…"

"Of course you can, darling," said Harrow, sweetly. As disarming as his voice was, the unchanged, frigid look in his eyes only made the sound that much more unsettling. Harrow pouted. "I showed you how, so you should! Unless… You’re saying I’m a bad teacher?"

"No… No… I’m not saying that at all," Corey whimpered. Even though he was a super in his own right, there was just something about Harrow that told him he didn’t want to see the guy’s bad side. "I-I’m just saying it’s not the thing for me…"

"But it can’t hurt to try, can it?" said Harrow, his fingers digging into Corey’s wrist. It hurt. But it didn’t hurt nearly as much as when he hesitated and for a split second it felt like every square millimeter of his skin was being exposed to an inferno. "Can it?" said Harrow, this time forcing the words through gritted teeth.

"N-N-No! It can’t! You’re right!" Corey whimpered. He called on his powers. Though he didn’t have the fine control that Harrow had, he still managed to make the corpse sit up and wave its arm.

"Close enough," said Harrow, voice jumping from threatening to cheery in an instant as he let go of Corey’s wrist. He leaned in and cupped a hand around Corey’s ear. "Let me tell you a secret, twinsie," said Harrow. "They’re a bit useless once they’re like this… But at least the guys are sometimes good for playing with."

Corey shivered at the utter madness in Harrow’s voice as he giggled. "See? Watch," said Harrow, grabbing the underside of Corey’s face, squeezing his cheeks, to force him to watch as the corpse of the husband rose to its feet. A sizable lump formed in the front of its pants, and then, a few moments later, a wet spot formed at the tip of the outline. "Not so useless at all, right? At least, while warm."

"What… What are you going to do to me?" said Corey. His doppelganger was demented, utterly and completely insane. He dreaded to think what it meant that he was now Harrow’s captive. He didn’t want to think about it. Nothing could be quite so horrible as his imaginations.

"Aww… Don’t be too scared, princess," said Harrow, tracing the side of Corey’s face with a gentle touch. "I need you, so I promise I won’t make you quiet like I made them quiet."

"I’m going to take you with me when I’m done here," said Harrow. His lips were surprisingly warm as they pressed against Corey’s cheek. "But for now, I’ve always wondered what a weaker version of me would taste like…"

Corey gulped. He didn’t need to think too much about what that meant. He’d always wondered what it would feel like to get fucked by himself. Not only was his doppelganger seemingly the most twisted villain he’d ever had the misfortune of knowing, but his doppelganger was apparently also a top.

"Get on your hands and knees, princess," said Harrow, his voice smooth and slick like crude oil. Corey shivered. His body was reacting, his cock twitching in its cage. "I want to treat you properly… I wouldn’t want to have to treat you badly…" murmured Harrow.

Corey couldn’t move. Even if he wanted to do what Harrow was telling him to, he was so terrified he couldn’t move. "Aww… You’re scared… That’s cute," said Harrow, the corner of his lips twitching into a small smirk. "Let me help you with that."

Sharp pain lanced through Corey’s body as Harrow asserted control over him. He was once again a prisoner in his own skin as his arms and legs moved of their own accord. He scrambled onto his hands and knees, as Harrow wanted him to. He kept his chest down, close to the bed, while he laid the side of his cheek against the mattress.

As Harrow’s weight shifted from beside him to behind him, Corey felt his legs inch apart to give the villain easy access to his hole. As a final touch, Harrow placed his fingers on Corey’s lower back and made him arch like a bitch in heat.

Every breath, every movement, every beat of Corey’s heart wracked his body with agony until Harrow relinquished control. "I didn’t have to make it hurt," said Harrow, tenderly running his fingers up and down Corey’s bare side, tracing the waistband of his jock-brief. "But I wanted you to learn that it will be so much more pleasant if you just do what I tell you to."

Corey bit back a whimper as Harrow’s thumb traced down the crack of his ass, rubbing along the base of the buttplug still buried inside of him. "This is cute," Harrow giggled, his voice devoid of mirth, as he gently tapped the tail part of the plug with a finger.

An involuntary groan tore free of Corey’s throat as Harrow gripped the tail and pulled. The plug wasn’t particularly large, but it was big enough that the process couldn’t be hurried.

Corey’s fingers tangled in the sheets, his knuckles turning white as his hole stretched over the bulb of the plug. His ass burned as he was forced open, and it didn’t stop until the widest part slipped past his hole. From there, the plug slid out with a quiet pop.

As he was trying his best not to freak out, Corey caught a glimpse of his wrist communicator. Since the lights were on in the room, the power had to be back, which meant that he could probably get a message out.

The problem was Harrow. The villain demonstrated the same powers as Corey, though they were somehow vastly superior to his. There was a chance that Harrow could garble the message so much as to render it useless. Risks aside, it was the only chance that Corey had to get out of the situation.

A quiet gasp escaped Corey’s lips as Harrow’s fingers plied his ass cheeks apart. Cool air met his exposed hole for a moment, before being replaced by Harrow’s hot breath ghosting over his crack. He could feel his pucker twitch, even more as Harrow tapped it with a finger.

A chill raced up Corey’s spine as Harrow licked a hot, wet stripe up the middle of his ass cheeks. He moaned out loud, his cock straining in its cage, as Harrow’s tongue swirled around his pucker. It made him feel so dirty and so violated, but at the same time, the idea that he was being rimmed by his own doppelganger was so hot that he could barely contain himself.

It felt good. So good. But Corey couldn’t afford to lose sight of his one chance at freedom. Seeing the opportunity, he reached for the communicator. At the last moment, just before his skin touched the glossy surface, a single spark of black lightning arced from the device to his finger.

Pain. Indescribable, all-consuming, white-hot searing pain traveled up Corey’s arm like a raging wildfire. The scream was strangled halfway out of his throat as his body locked up, giving him not even the minor relief of writhing from the agony of it all.

The pain spread gradually, creeping inch by inch across Corey’s skin, seeping inch by inch into his very flesh until he felt like he was being incinerated inside and out. For however briefly the pain lasted, Corey felt like he was being forced through multiple eternities until he forgot what it felt like to be without pain.

It took a while for Corey’s mind to return to him once the pain had faded. Harrow hadn’t stopped. He was jabbing his tongue in and out of Corey’s hole. He said nothing, but he didn’t have to. Corey heard the message loud and clear. There would be no escape.

Tears streamed out of Corey’s eyes as Harrow pulled away from his ass. Harrow inserted three fingers into Corey’s hole without any warning, and although it burned like sin, it was so miniscule compared to the pain Corey had just had to live through that he barely even felt it.

Harrow fucked Corey’s ass with his three fingers for what felt like hours. He had the corpse of the husband fetch lard from the kitchen to use as lube as he inserted a fourth finger and worked Corey’s ass wider than it had ever been before.

Corey could only buck and moan, giving into the base, primal instincts of his body to avoid the crushing despair that he would have otherwise had to deal with. Every brush of Harrow’s fingers against his prostate sent a shock of electric pleasure through his body and he let himself get lost in those intermittent, occasional rewards.

Harrow managed to fit a fifth finger into Corey. Corey felt so full, so open. But he knew it wasn’t going to stop there. Slowly, Harrow clenched his fingers into a fist, making Corey’s ass and cock jump every time the knuckles slipped past his poor, abused hole.

Harrow’s hand slipped in and out of Corey with ease. He didn’t stop. He didn’t slow down. He only went faster, and harder. He increased the pace gradually until he was outright punching his fist in and out of Corey’s sloppy, ruined hole. He slipped a second hand in, alternating putting his left fist into Corey with his right fist. In and out. In and out. Like he was using Corey as a perverse punching glove.

The sensation was so intense, so filthy, so wrong, that Corey just couldn’t. He surrendered to the void. It was the only way he could deal with the shame, the guilt, the crushing hopelessness. He stared blankly at the wall as Harrow fucked up his hole and made a mess of his body.

Only a sharp shock to his system brought Corey back from his dissociated state. Searing agony sent him crashing back to reality. Harrow pulled his fist out of Corey’s ass with a wet sucking sound.

"Mmm… That’s nice," said Harrow, as he rubbed his lard-slicked hands all over Corey’s ass. To his horror, Corey realized that the strange sensation he was feeling was his insides hanging partially out of his body. Harrow stroked the rosebud, sending a shiver of pleasure and shame and humiliation through Corey’s pain-wracked body. It was so wrong, so demented, and yet somehow it also still felt so good.

"Oh yeah, that’s more like it," said Harrow. "It barely feels like I’m fucking a hole. Look how loose you are." Corey whimpered. He could barely feel Harrow’s cock sawing in and out of his hole. If not for the rhythmic slap of Harrow’s hips against his, he would have never even guessed the villain as fucking him.

Corey had to stifle a sob. He was ruined. Ruined. And yet his cock was still hard in its cage. "I’m gonna cum," breathed Harrow, after a few minutes, and if he was being honest, Corey knew that he was going to, soon after.

Harrow pulled Corey’s hips back onto his and grunted. Corey felt nothing but a white-hot pain spreading from his insides out. Again he felt like every last molecule of his body was being incinerated and threaded through that pure agony was rapturous bliss.

Corey moaned as his cock exploded. Cum shot out through the filigree of his gilded cage. The pain and the pleasure mixed into sheer madness. Pure, blissful, exquisite, agonizing madness. Something inside of him broke in that moment, and as the last of the pleasure began to fade away, he felt as if he was falling into a bottomless dark pit from which there was no escape.

When Corey regained consciousness, the room was dark. The only light was streaming in through the window, dim and red, shining down from the emergency fixtures on the honeycomb lattice of the dome’s reinforcing structure.

"Ah, good, you’re still here," said Harrow, as he walked into the room. There was a faint bit of blood splatter across his face, but otherwise, he seemed as impeccably groomed as the first moment Corey had laid eyes on him. "Come along, now. I’m done here. It’s time to go."

Unable to even conceive of disobeying, unwilling to even consider risking the pain he’d felt every time he did something displeasing to Harrow, Corey accepted the hand held out to him and slid out of bed. They made their way down to the backyard, where there was a leather-bound book just lying on the grass.

Harrow tapped the worn cover and took a step back as the pages snapped open, releasing an angry red light that reformed the portal that Corey had seen at the beginning of it all. "Don’t let go," said Harrow.

Without another word, Harrow picked up the book and stepped through the portal. He pulled Corey along behind him, and the two of them disappeared to parts unknown. The portal shrank until it was but a pinprick of red light and disappeared. In its wake, Selene City was left in utter silence.

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