Oct 18, 2019 3:10 AM
some herbs go to hell
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"Would you believe me if I told you?"

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"No."

She drags herself to her feet – she's managed to get her high heels off – and stumbles towards the bathroom.

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He leans against a wall and waits for the inevitable.

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There's a noise from the bathroom, a horrible wounded-animal cry of despair and rage and pain, sustained until it chokes off from lack of air.

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Yes, so he imagines.

He's not going anywhere.

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It takes a minute.

When she emerges, dress wet all down the front and hands dripping, face streaked with tears, she stalks straight towards him with surprising stability given her advanced state of poisoning.

"You let him die!"

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"My dear lady, I'm afraid my rôle is more that of a concierge or compère than a medical professional. Even if I had been able to treat your friend, I would not have been permitted to do so."

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"You could have told me. You could have told him. You can't take him away and give him back to me dead–"

He can.

"You can't–"

He can.

She stops in front of him, trying to steady herself, swaying.

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His smile is polished smooth as river rocks.

"Will that be all?"

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For anyone else, for anything else, she wouldn't have enough of herself left.

For him, she has exactly enough to take one hard swing at the demon's face.

She doesn't know what happens if you die in hell. She doesn't know anything about this place. She has no power and no resources and her last bargaining chip is already theirs. At least she might be able to bloody that perfect fucking smile.

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She connects squarely, knocking him back against the wall.

 

He touches the corner of his mouth as he stands back upright, looks with mild interest at the fingers that come away bloody.

"If you want to do that again, you'll need to pay. My rates are quite reasonable."

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She collapses on the floor and weeps.

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He stands over her, silent, for several minutes, before he leaves.

The door clicks softly shut behind him.

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Downstairs (in a manner of speaking) –

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Sky collects his latest little pile of coins from the dish, stows them in his card, and spins again.

He hasn't even gotten wet yet!

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Fourteen nothing spins, and then another happy little pile of coins.

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And into the card they go!

Sky is having a very good day.

He adjusts the seatbelt and pulls again.

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Nothing -- nothing -- another, larger rain of coins.

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Another!

He scoops up some of the coins in his hands before he vanishes them, this time, just to feel the weight.

He's accumulated quite a sizable sum, at this point. Maybe he'll try for just one more. Then he can go explore his other options.

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Another long string of pointless spins, until his arm's starting to get tired from pulling the lever --

 

-- and then the seat swings out from under him and he's flung bodily into the water, and it's alive with electric current.

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He can't scream loud enough, when he's underwater. At least it means nobody's going to hear.

It's horrible, his whole body is seizing and shaking and he chokes and almost gasps in water and it feels good and he doesn't want it, he doesn't like it, make it stop he wants it to stop –

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When the shock stops he barely manages to pull himself up in time to gasp for air.

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When it stops, it stops entirely. The water ripples against him, stirred by his movement, then stills.

No one appears to be taking any particular interest.

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...it's not like he wanted anyone to see that, but nobody watching is almost worse.

He dredges himself up out of the water, limbs still shaking.

When he's out of the tank and dripping on the floor, sullenly attempting to wring out his shirt, he decides that that's more than enough of this machine. He's going to go find something more interesting to do with his money and time.

He looks up, looks around, then heads for the neon sign that he saw coming in – BOYS GIRLS & MORE.

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The bar is as Dorothy and Kyou left it, long and sparsely occupied and assiduously tended.

As promised, BOYS GIRLS & MORE cavort on the stage, in various degrees of undress. The demons aren't hard to tell from the humans, if you care to stop and look; they're lither, lovelier, more perfect, and their eyes are gold when they catch the light.

A figure swings around a pole; a bra hits the floor; a scattering of gold coins shower onto the stage from the patrons clustered about it.

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