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Her nails are always painted red. There’s no other colour for her. The hues vary; some days she sports a dull, velvety shade and others a vibrant, bloody crimson but Bum realises he’s never seen the bare paleness of her cuticles. It’s a strange, trivial impulse but it gnaws at him day in and out. There’s a thin line between desire and necessity.

The basement floor is cold underneath his bare skin. Clad only in thin cotton boxers, he shivers against the concrete, hoping thoughts of Sangwoo will warm him. They don’t. He resigns himself to staring up at the flickering ceiling lights (Oh, I should tell her about that. Tomorrow. Breakfast should be a good time, she’ll be tired—less likely to get mad.)

”Good night.” Bum whispers to no one in particular and closes his eyes. He dreams of blonde hair, red nails and sound of flesh tearing apart.


She’s surprisingly jovial, the following morning. Her hair is tied neatly in a bun so he can he can her dimpled cheeks better, rows of perfect, pointed teeth gleaming as she smiles.

”You look pretty.” He murmurs, wringing his hands together.

Raising a brow teasingly, she places his breakfast down onto the table. It’s an omelet today, with crispy bacon on the side.

As usual, breakfast is a quiet affair with Sangwoo being lost in her own head and Bum watching her. Occasionally, she mulls over her textbooks while eating and asks Bum to quiz her on the content. Smart thing, she is. Always has the answer to everything. Bum smiles a little too pridefully at the thought.

“Bum, I’m thinking of changing my nail colour.” She begins, peering over at him from a glass over orange juice.

”Oh?” He isn’t quite sure of what to say.

”Would you like to help me?” She smiles, saccharine as ever, and Bum beams at thought of being able to help her—being of any significance to her— so he nods and quickly finishes up his food.

She has a peculiarly large assortment of nail polishes. The stretch across two whole shelves and all of them are in varying shades of red, the differences in tone being barely noticeable until he stands a little to close to her collection.

”Bum.” She calls him and instantaneously, he’s snapped out of his thoughts.

”Pick a shade.”

The abductee feels an absurd amount of apprehension at her words. Her ability to patronise him at any given moment borders on talent. Turning his attention back onto the array of polishes, Bum decides there are more pressing matters at hand.

He can tell Sangwoo’s patience is running out when her slippers begin to tap tap tap against the floor. A chill runs down his spine. An inconvenienced Sangwoo, is a soon to-be enraged Sangwoo and that doesn’t bode well for mangled, ugly, crippled Bum.

Snatching up the first shade he notices, he prays silently that he has made the right decision.

Sangwoo stares at it, with frighteningly critical eyes and Bum tries not to think about how reminiscent they are of when she watched him wriggle and writhe on her basement floor the day he broke in.


He crouches down and stifles a hiss. Bum’s legs are a spindly, twisted reminder not only what has been, but what could have been. The future, bleak as it was, still held more promise than his present. Unattractive protrusions bulge from his calves— he wonders if they’ll shatter once more under the pressure of his position.

Unscrewing the cap, Bum wastes no time. He paints meticulously, as though he's working on the masterpiece that will grant him fame and fortune, containing the tremor in his fingers. Sangwoo wonders if he’d ever been artistically inclined in school but doesn’t bother asking.

Then he fucks up.

A minuscule drop of nail polish drips down her thumb and his world collapses around him.

The air in his lungs hitches uncomfortably, a sensation akin to nausea crashes into him and he wonders if he can survive punishment this time.

”Oh no,” she clicks her tongue disappointedly. “What have you done?”

Bum scrambles for an answers, stuttering and stammering and fuck—

”I’m sorry, Sangwoo! I can fix it, I really can, it’s only small...”

She stares from above him with cool, calculated eyes.

”Can you? Can you do anything right, Bummie?” She sighs sharply, drawing both hands back.

”—I took you into my home with good intentions. I want to love you, I’m forcing myself to love you. Do you have any idea what that’s like?” Her voice is paper thin, so hauntingly clear that it contains a sonorous quality.

Stunned speechless, he can only pick at his fingernails in response. Mouth cotton dry; tongue lying limp and words dying before they’ve even come to form.

Gripping his chin with an abrupt viciousness, she forces his eyes back to her own.

“I asked you a fucking question.”

”N-no Sangwoo, I don’t know what it’s like.” He wheezes out but it’s too late. The damage is done.

Flinging him haphazardly, she smiles. He feels sick at the sight of it. “Of course, you don’t.”

”You don’t know how much I’ve sacrificed just to accommodate you and the one time I ask you to do something for me, this is what I get?” She chuckles but the sound is scratchy, like metal scraping against metal.

”Sangwoo...” Tears blur his vision, they spill onto his cheeks and collide with the cool laminating of Sangwoo’s vanity room.

”Get out of my sight. I can’t even look at you.”

She mutters about how once again, men have disappointed her. How Bum will never be the man of her dreams because he’s simply not strong enough. He’s not beautiful enough. He’s not athletic enough. She’d rip her own tongue out with a pair of pliers before ever even considering loving him and all the while Bum sobs to himself, trying not to scream the words:

’I’m trying.’


He awakens to the sound of slurping.

Sangwoo is licking at his semi-hard cock and and all he can do is gawp. She takes him whole, gagging and drooling. The flickering of the basement lights allows him to see her face in ugly, broken fragments. Bum strains to see more.

”Sangwoo...” he breathes out but she refuses to acknowledge him.

There’s a distinct heat that builds in his balls, like spring ready to snap. Panting, heaving, he cries out a warning.

”I-I’m...I can’t take it...”

She doesn’t remove her mouth. When he comes, she swallows his seed eagerly; lapping away as though this is what she’s thirsted for all her life. Him, his cock, his cum and fuck, just the thought of her belly rounding with maternity is enough to make him spill over again.

”Don’t look so shy. This is what you want, isn’t it?”

She removes her pyjama shorts lazily, never breaking eye contact from the shivering, shaking mess before her.

”Strip,” she orders and Bum cocks his head in confusion. Submerged under the wave of pleasure from his climax, all rational thought has been washed away.

Her own fingers jerks his shirt open when she notes his sexually-induced indolence, rolling her eyes and clicking her tongue as usual. A wet, hot tongue traces the curve of his neck, mapping down all those deathly sensitive spots that make him gasp just that little bit louder. Kissing her way down his chest, Sangwoo, in her viciously passionate way, straddles him.

”Feels good, doesn’t it?”

”Y-yes...” he whines at the sweet friction of her bare pussy against his cock.

Sangwoo, above all things, is merciful. She watches Bum break apart, his eyes water with ravenous, desperate lust and silent cries for release. Expertly, she lines herself up with his member and a gnawing malaise chips away at his manhood. How many times has she done this?

How many of them survived?

He’s special, he knows he is. This isn’t the time to be—

”Fuck!” He moans out as she sinks down, rocking her hips fiercely. Like her mouth, it’s warm, wet and welcoming. He could spend eternity stuck in his very position.

”Who would’ve thought... the day you crawled into my basement...we would’ve ended up like this?” She grits out, feeling Bum snap his hips.

”It was my dream.” He smiles with hazy, naive bliss surging through him.

Swooping down, she captures his lips and bites as if to mock him (“Your dream is submission, your dream is torture, your dream is to live under my thumb— in my basement— until I tire of you and slit your throat.”)

Iron creeps down his chin.

She stares at him with a strange, disquieting pride. Likes he’s a project that has finally come to fruition, a culmination of rotting body parts stitched back to together and under the stroke of lightening allows her to shout “It's alive!” It scares him, this look.

”You’re a good fuck, I’ll give you that...” she pants out. “But you’re just a man. Nothing more and nothing less.”

“—You’re all the same, with you’re stupid fucking saviour complexes. I know it. You probably crawled in here thinking you were the answer to all my life’s problems. Where. Did. It. Get. You?” She impales herself on his cock, clenching tightly and he wonders how she’s not in pain. Her words hurt him, they burn him from the inside out and all he can do is moan.

”Here. With you.” He allows the words to roll from his tongue, acidity unfiltered. She doesn’t hear him over the sound of skin slapping, her own moans filling the cool air of the basement.

”You mean nothing to me.” Her hands wrap around his throat. He sees stars upon climax.

When he opens his eyes, he sees red nails glint under fluorescent lights and the basement door slams shut.