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The Butchering of Saint Bartholomew

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“Fascinating...”


That’s how it began... really, with a morbid curiosity. A passing comment. An oddly well maintained body for all that he endured. It was no wonder that Jonah Magus, dear Jonah, should have found himself at the doorstep of one Jonathan Fanshawe. 


Letters of various length detailed macabre experiments carried out through candlelight, and secrecy could provide very little when not performed under the scrutiny of a properly trained medical professional. However sweetly Jonah had scrawled the parchment stained with merlot droplets of blood, it was not enough. Sincerely, how could Jonathan know the full extend of these supposed healing powers without proper firsthand knowledge? Given the dearth of cadavers in the area, well... it was no small burden when Jonah offered his own body to experimentation.


Jonathan welcomed him in with open arms, offering a hand to his bags and a place to store his coat.


“Ever the gentleman, Jonathan. You do know how to greet a guest.” Jonah chuckled, humored by the doctor’s overenthusiastic demeanor.


“You would be one to speak Jonah, sending such risqué letters...”A faint blush dusted color across Jonathan's cheeks. “Surely you might expect me to believe even a fraction of what you’ve written me no? No person alive could survive the accounts you've written.”


Jonah turned, standing straighter, and with an air of confidence replied, “Did you send your staff away as I had requested?”


It was hard to describe the chill that seemed to seep into Jonathan’s body at that moment. It felt as if all the humors of his body were replaced with ice water. A glacial chill encased his entire being, and somehow— somehow it felt as if Jonah was the cause. 


The silence between them grew, a terse moment of recognition. They had history, there was no denying that. Jonathan could recount without compulsion the many flings and romps that Jonah and himself had enjoyed. Countless summer nights spent collecting the linens from the floor, lest the servants gossip even more. Even more fall evenings spent in somber reflection, labored post-coital breathing filling the silence. 


Finally, he answered, “Yes. I informed them that I would be conducting a series of experiments, and needed the utmost privacy to ensure success.”


And there began that hunt, of lush beryllium pouring over him from head to toe, searching for a tell. Finding none, Jonah nodded and slipped his coat on the nearby rack. “I take it you’ll desire me in your workspace then? While you know I’m quite open to exploration in a public space...” 


Jonah licked his lips and gave Jonathan a proper once-over. 


“I desire your full attention. In private.”


With that, he sauntered up the ornate staircase, a refined stride fit for one of his upbringing. Jonah always seemed to carry himself with a weight of importance, much to Jonathan’s annoyance. 


“Truly, he couldn’t have been serious in his correspondence,” Jonathan thought to himself. “Jonah will find himself practically begging for forgiveness, and correct himself for his falsehoods, and we’ll both be on our merry way.”


He shook himself from his thoughts as Jonah called out. 


“Will you be joining me, or must I begin without you, dear Doctor?”

 
He grinned cattishly and slipped down the corridor to Jonathan’s office space, and soon enough Jonathan found himself in front of the door, truly and completely unprepared for the night ahead of him. 


Jonah had, of course, taken the liberty of freeing himself from most of his clothing, leaving himself an undershirt and pants, though not much else, to the imagination or to that of any morally upstanding soul. Maybe that was why he was being subjected to this, Jonathan thought idly. “Some form of cosmic intervention for the life I’ve lead...surely there’s no other reason.”


It began slow enough: a leather-tipped crop, cleaned and inspected after being plucked from the stables. With each firm strike, brilliant scarlet red welts arose, geometric birds of paradise summiting the alabaster skin of their owner. Jonathan began to track them, a pocket watch in hand and an open journal on the desk, one column for times, another for observational notes. 


If only it continued to be that simple. Twenty minutes gave way to ten minutes, and then five minutes. Soon enough he could barely find a mark on Jonah’s body after repeated strikes, firm and sharp as the crop snapped his exposed arms and legs.


“...Fascinating.”


“Oh, do tell? I’m sure that scientific part of your mind is reeling from this new discovery, is it not?”


“Now Jonah, you are aware I prefer your silence when I’m working.”


“Is that any way to treat a guest in your home? Especially one who has done nothing but provide you a wealth of knowledge and information.”


“More like a wealth of headaches and ulcers,” Jonathan snipped back, setting the crop aside to document his findings. 


Jonah laid back, his skin slick with the dew of his sweat, crotch dripping and mind slowing. The quiet hum of pain filled his thoughts with pleasure and drowned out the noise of the world. 


“What next? Don’t tell me you’ve worn yourself out already, Jonathan. It would be a pity to leave me here when I’m clearly so serviceable.”


A groan escaped his lips before he had time to register the thought. It would be that simple, wouldn’t it? Shutting Jonah up, releasing his frustration and ensuring that man’s silence all in one motion? It sounded too good to be true.


Jonah’s lips curved upwards in a smirk. 


“Join me in my state of undress. Use me and see just how far your implements can go.” He punctuated his point with a spread of his legs, the damp undergarments clinging to his form, outlining his lips. 


Calculating fingers grasped instead for a scalpel. Sharp. Much sharper than Jonah’s wagging tongue, that much Jonathan was sure. But, careful consideration had to be taken. Too high along his neck would create quite a mess to clean up, and too low would still leave him functional. 


Jonathan’s hand pressed forth, pocket watch now long forgotten as he split the bare flesh of Jonah’s chest apart.

 
“O-oh... that is a sensation...” Jonah's voice quavered with mixed pleasure and pain. Like the sea his chest rose and fell, steady breathing cresting and crashing upon the shores of Jonathan’s neck. His body was so close, so inviting. All at once, his skin began to bloom, a wellspring of ruby rivers beading up and racing away from the steel tipped tool. It took everything Jonathan had not to slip his fingers into the blood that began to collect under Jonah’s supple breasts-- to sign his work in his lover’s ink, the mark of some sadist should word get out.  


As short lived as a summer’s day, the prickled pink edges of Jonah's skin knit together, locking away once more the mysteries of his body. 


Jonathan cleared his throat. 


“I-I do believe I will require some more time reviewing this— this healing factor of yours.”

 
Hazy, half lidded eyes flick up and meet the doctor without hesitation.

 
“I am yours to deconstruct. Though if you continue to second-guess your hand, I will end you.”

From there, the rest of their actions blurred. 


Jonathan thinks back and past the full aches in the recesses of his mind, flashes of grotesque flesh flayed wide, split skin spread open, living leather coating wet and writhing muscles. He cannot place why these images feel distant, torn from his conscious-- a gaudy wallpaper shredded and plastered over with suggestive frames. They come to him slowly: Jonah’s wet hole dripping and drawing in his cock, the bliss of his silence when Barnabas is stood in the doorway, petrified in his vantage point. The smell of bitter iron and salted sweat hanging heavy, mixing among the musk of their bodies. 


Some images... some feel too bizarre to be real. At least, that is why Jonathan accredits them to his dreams. They haunts him still: Jonah laid out across his work table, lungs forcing themselves to the surface beneath the birdcage of his ribs. A meshwork of spongy tissue, colonies of living systems dispersed for Jonathan's view, and yet... just above him, just beyond the corners of his periphery, the lingering feeling of being watched. 


 Above the slamming of Jonah’s heart, ventricles shuddering like a beggar in the desolate winter, came a vision. An eye, no smaller than a dinner plate, with an iris of the purest emerald green. It crept along the room, a spectral and silent participant of the debauchery at hand. Though it never spoke, Jonathan knows it took in all of it and more, taunting and enigmatic in its existence. It seemed to gloat, even, seeing and knowing things he could scant remember. 


Thankfully, after plying him with one too many drinks, Barnabas proves to be more useful than his own memory. 


Tumbled words trip clumsily over his tongue, recounting the scene. Barnabas recalls it was the smell that hit him first, that pungent bite of blood... and then, he claims, he was bewitched! 


 Another long drink before he continues. 


“It felt-- you’ll laugh, as I know you to be a man of science-- as if Jonah compelled me forward. Forced my hand to his throat and encouraged my—"

Jonathan raises his hand, needing no more details from there. Another long and fitful sleep had revealed his companion’s role. A second cock to fill the ever-insatiable Jonah Magnus. If ever there was a way to kill the man, it would have been through sex. Through brutal and unrelenting torture of every myopic portion of his body, battered and destroyed beyond recognition. Covered and filled with fluids and fingers-- and bred. Oh, how he loved to be bred.

 
“Tell me... when you lay your head to downy dreams, are you plagued by anything?”


With a shaky sigh, Barnabas continues. 


“I have known no peace since that night. Everything I do, no matter the effort, all of my dreams lead back to him.”


They let the statement hang in the air between them, unspoken and understood. Jonathan pours himself a drink.

 
“May we both find our silent sleep at the bottom of these glasses.”


 A meager nod and a clink of their glasses leave both men quiet in the contemplation of their actions. All the choices that lead them to here, that lead them to now-- and at the very epicenter sits Jonah, the one and true king of depravity. 


 Long may he reign.