He who Bleeds

by Shrimp King

another round of He who Follows

“What the fuck is this, Tomas?” Special investigator Khan said as his assistant intruded into his office, a flush of embarrassment on the young man’s freckled face as he crossed the gap between the doorway and Khan’s desk.

Khan glanced down at the pad of papers that Tomas just handed off to him. It laid atop piles and piles of notes, journals with coffee stains, and small muslin cloth bags full of odds and ends and probably evidence he forgot to turn in. Old cups of half-consumed coffee crowded for space, and pencils in various states of extinction made their home above the bed of chaos. It was a practical garden of years of misuse and inattention, a fitting shrine for a disengaged civil servant to worship each morning.

A single name is attached to the top of the pile of papers – a name Khan didn’t want to see.

“The Fernwood case?” he asked. He ran a hand through his slicked back dark hair, rubbing the back of his neck. His assistant stood in perfect posture, his ginger curls falling into his warm brown eyes as he stuttered out an explanation. The round glasses on his face gave him an owl-like quality, and if Tomas were to be an owl, then Khan surely would be a vulture. The two couldn’t have looked more different, in the strained light of the mid-morning sun. 

“I’m sorry, but the courier said this came from headquarters – said it was your wheelhouse –” Khan didn’t even let Tomas finish.

“How the fuck is a careless housefire caused by a bunch of grieving rich people my wheelhouse, Tomas?” he replied. He was a large, intimidating man, and it didn’t help when he was in a poor mood. He was asking Tomas questions far beyond the boy’s knowledge, but it hardly mattered. He raised one of his hands and waved the boy away, muttering a string of curses under his breath while he begrudgingly lifted up the pile of papers brought to his attention. A parcel from headquarters when he wasn’t expecting one was never good news in his experience. Usually it was garbage he didn’t want to deal with. All his best leads always came from his own efforts, his network of other conspiracists and mystics that somehow survived on the fringes of a country that had made believing in anything but the power of law a crime.

Tomas bumped his narrow hips on the way out, apologizing just as incoherently. Khan started shifting through the papers, cracking the file open as he spread out the contents across his cluttered desk. A note was tucked inside the file, the first thing to draw his eye due to the familiar letterhead marking it as an internal communication from one department to another.

L. Khan –

Not an accident. Name and address attached of key witness to be questioned.

Primary Suspect: 

Thiago Clemente

Suspected Status:

Missing, Fleeing

Known Associates/Co-offenders:

Cecil Lait, Known Deviant, Class 1

Potential Motives: 

This is where you come in, Khan. Enjoy the hunt.

Khan put his head into his hand, as his fingertips dug into the space between his eye and brow.

Special Investigator Khan was the sole remaining member of the Council’s task force for cults, mysticism, paranormal phenomenon, and hoaxes. His career had been a mixture of a few fascinating, travel-laden cases, but more commonly, it consisted of mere bureaucracy and wasted time at his desk.

He worked out of a small office connected to the local services center for Kellsgrand, where he served as both a special consultant for his areas of expertise as well as the functional Intervention agent for his city. When he wasn’t being called upon to look into the strange and unusual, he dealt with petty crime and property debates. His role, unfortunately, required a great deal of collaboration with the Committee for Uniformity, a group of enforcement personnel that policed most of the kingdom of Eiswyr to ensure that the Council’s vision of his homeland matched up to the reality. 

If Khan couldn’t solve something related to the issues the citizens of Kellsgrand bring to him, then the issue was escalated to the Committee, but that was a rare occurrence. Usually the mere invocation of the Committee’s name was enough to make problems magically resolve themselves. Nobody wanted the C.U. anywhere near their family or their homes. Khan was grateful for this – he didn’t want to have to clean up his shit or put on his nice shirt for their visit, either.

Their relationship was symbiotic in a way. When the C.U. sniffed even the faintest whiff of the supernatural or unexplained, they wrapped up everything they were working on with a neat little bow and shoved it over to Khan’s side of the country and made it his problem. In his twenty years of service, he’s only had about a dozen of such cases, only a few of which he felt were anything to be proud of. Human horrors – greed, lust, and anger – were usually the explanation behind even the most heinous of crimes, not the forces of the supernatural that he had spent so long chasing.

He was half sure that when he finally retired, his entire role would be eliminated and replaced with something with a far more broad reach and title, but he clung to the career he’d built with the only grip strength he had left, even if he was stuck in a small remote office with a useless assistant and petty crimes to solve on a good day. 

In his nearly forty years of life, and twenty years of time logged in service to the Council and the aristocrats that powered it, he had never seen a disaster swept under the rug as fast or as sloppily as the situation at the Fernwood Estate in Dustwell. The whole thing stank of senseless sensationalizing from the moment it caught the ears and mouths of the general public, and all manner of rumors were spread about the lavish, expansive, historical estate burning to the ground right after the fading wife of Harmon Fernwood was found dead. 

The passing of such useless, washed-up blue bloods would have stayed local gossip if not for the spectacular blaze and the subsequent possession of assets. The entire situation was a stinking, smoking shitshow. As far as Khan was concerned in his seasoned career it was nothing more than the tragic errors of the wealthy and grieving. He didn’t believe for one minute any of the rumors that the Council had done the deed just to get possession of the family’s land and wealth, and it would take quite the grudge to wipe out an entire bloodline if this was just a crime of passion or greed. Such acts of extreme violence were increasingly rare since the Council’s interventions had begun promoting the incarceration of any criminals and the institutionalization of those who were deemed unstable. It was far easier to pin this tragedy on drunken hands fumbling candles than a bloodthirsty arsonist or political scheme, but yet here that file was, on his desk.

The real question Khan had – as he scanned his eyes, one brown, one a murky green – over the file was simply what this had to do with him.

Just who was Thiago Clemente? Cecil Lait?

He was about to start finding out.


Far beyond the reach of the Council, in a place new to Thiago Clemente and Cecil Lait, a small gas lamp flickered in the corner of a boarding house room. 

In one corner, folded over a table and craned around a book, was the willowy, pale body of Cecil Lait. In his hand and scattered next to him were books on the local cuisine that the chef was studying with rapt attention.  His bold brows were wrinkled in concentration, while his thin, twisted lips hinted at a sardonic nature held at bay by the focus evident in his gaze.

On the bed shrouded in lamplight were two other figures. One was the wiry, scarred, feral body of Thiago Clemente, his knees pressed into the boarding house mattress, his hands fisted in a quilted blanket. His head was tilted to one side, his golden eyes staring dully into space, as a skeletal finger slid gently in and out of his mouth, toying with his tongue. His cheeks were flushed and had Cecil been any less focused, he would have noticed the slickness between his lover’s thighs as he arched his back and moaned against the touch of the god that haunts him.

He who Follows spilled across the bed, his dark, sludge-like form gliding against the bedding beneath him. A gray skeleton with a strange, animalistic jaw full of teeth and a long, pink tongue sat enrobed in a shifting, oily sludge of black matter, slowly undulating and curling around everything in reach. The tendrils of his form crept around Thiago, wrapping around his ankles, his wrists, and snaking across his body, caressing him from a dozen inhuman angles. 

Thiago cried out in pleasure as He who Follows ran his tongue across his scarred chest, and Cecil finally flicked his gaze up from the book in his hands towards his two lovers, a fire in his cold eyes as he watched them taste each other.

He closed the book with a soft thud, before rising from his seat to join them.


Investigator Khan stood in front of the door to an apartment about a fifteen minute carriage ride away from his office. The gray stone sat quietly in the slow drizzle of the misty, windy day, a long trail of ivy curved across its face. Khan sucked in a deep breath, dropped his cigarette to the ground and used the toe of his boot to rub it into the dirt.  It was pure luck that this woman – Lucille Welte- had taken up residence so close to him.  It could have been a lot longer, far more frustrating trip if she hadn’t relocated in the past year to his humble town.

His long emerald green jacket and polished shoes lent him an air of authority. He was too lazy to send a courier before making a house visit, that or he just wanted this whole investigation to fail at launch. The longer he was out in the field, the longer Tomas was watching the desk by himself, and that boy was useless. 

He raised a fist and knocked – a simple greeting – two knocks for each moon, and one last one for the sun. He hoped for a moment she isn’t home, but that hope was dashed when the door swung open, revealing a frail older woman with long braids down to her waist and the black clothes of a mourner.

“Hello?” She asked. Her cheeks were stained with tears. Khan sighed. Nothing he’s was there to ask about would probably help with that.

“Hello,” he returned. She didn’t say anything for a moment, and then before he knew it they’re talking over each other.

“Who are you and –” she started.

“I’m Investigator Khan –” he attempted.

They started over after she pressed her lips closed and fixed him with a stare.

“I’m Investigator Lane Khan, appointed by the Council. You can think of me as part of the C.U. though, it’s easier even if it’s not technically correct. Do you know why I’m here, Lucille?”

Khan reached into his pocket, pulled out a journal and a well abused pencil before Lucille even had time to vocally react. Her large, sad eyes widened anxiously as he finished introducing himself. “Is this about what happened at Fernwood?” she asked.

Khan nodded. “Sounds like you know something about it,” he offered.

He wasn’t wrong.

The story that Lucille spun for him started slow, but managed to pique his interest. She was once a tutor for the Clemente family, and worked for them for about eight years. She relocated a year ago after the death of her husband, and found herself falling apart once the news of the Fernwood tragedy broke two weeks ago. She couldn’t bear to think that the family that she had worked for for all those years – who still sent her letters on holidays – were all gone. In her own words, an entire bloodline wiped out. 

“I always thought that something like this might happen,” she finally said. Something about the look in her eyes got Khan’s attention. There was more there than just the sadness of a mourner. He tasted… guilt.

“What do you mean, Lucille?” he asked calmly. He tilted his head to the side, leaning his bulky body forward, poised in a way that was meant to be calming, considerate.

Something in her demeanor changed. He supposed even after all this time sitting around pushing papers, he still had it. That investigational instinct. He could always tell when someone was holding something back.

“She made me swear never to talk,” Lucille began.

Khan found the best stories started that way. “What good is a promise to a dead woman?” Khan asked, before he slipped a cigarette out of his coatpocket. A lighter quickly followed, and he took a long drag. A cloud of smoke escaped his lips, a momentary separation of his mismatched gaze to her sad eyes. When the smoke cleared, he got to what he came here for. “I need to know what you know about Thiago Clemente.” He saw no need to play coy any longer. He’d listened to enough of her pathetic crying and nostalgic whimpering. He wanted the meat, not the bone.

Even if the truth was more than he could swallow, it wouldn’t be the first time he choked.


Cecil was naked, sweaty, and flushed. His normally neat center part had become a mess with all the hands that ran through it. Thiago’s warm hands held his face, the tips of their noses nearly touching as Thiago traced his lips with his tongue before he pushedhis way inside Cecil’s gasping mouth. Thiago’s hot breath on Cecil’s face sends a thrill up the chef’s spine. Cecil’s dick was almost painfully hard with arousal. Thiago was so beautiful, Cecil couldn’t help but drink it in. The blurry, fleeting glimpses he got of Thiago as they contorted together stained his mind like tea spilling across paper, changing him.

Thiago’s face and neck were propped up on pillows as they devoured each other, Cecil’s hard cock pressed against Thiago’s soft belly, dripping precum into his navel. The pink head of Cecil’s cock felt so good against the other boy’s skin, but all Cecil could think of is how much he wanted to pump his cum deep inside of Thiago. He didn’t even care for any consequences, he just needed to claim him, to experience Thiago fully and without restraint. 

There are days that Thiago is so tormented by the way he can’t tell his borrowed, inherited memories from his reality, days that Thiago is possessed by that ghost that lives inside him – He who Bleeds. Days when Cecil can’t reach him. So days like this – when Cecil is home from the restaurant he now works in, Thiago has taken a day off of working at the infirmary, and He who Follows seems alight with energy, it’s almost a sin not to spend the day fucking his love into Thiago as many times as he can get away with.

Cecil breathed in the smell of his lover deeply, before he felt  the skeletal arms of a god on his back. They traced  down his hips and over his ass as he moaned. He had never felt so good in his life as he did in that moment, he thought. It was enough to make a man forget the trauma of dying, of resurrection. That day in Cecil’s childhood home – where he met his end before the Follower brought him back – seemed a million miles away. All Cecil could feel was the pleasure that built in his body as a hot, wet tongue pressed against his asshole.


Lucille knew Thiago for most of his adolescence.

The story she provided matched up with many of the documents and notes that Khan had already reviewed. The Clemente child wasn’t born Thiago at all, but another name altogether. Around age twelve, his records were all altered to reflect a male child and the new name. This kind of procedure was highly unusual in Eiswyr, but hardly anything that Khan was preoccupied with. He didn’t understand such topics – it was beyond his scope. However, the real strangeness was in the quality and completeness of the records update. Usually something like this would leave more obvious traces of change behind, but the family had clearly paid good money to have the situation and the records neatly tidied up to avoid any discovery. The Council placed great emphasis on the accuracy of records, so it meant that someone in the Clemente family cared a great deal for this matter being attended to so completely. He didn’t know what that meant, if anything, but he would be holding onto that fact in case it unlocked some crucial detail later.

The child that Lucille described was a strange one. She told stories of him staring out windows for hours, as if lost in a story that played in his mind that the rest of them weren’t privy to. He knew things that she felt he shouldn’t, and he had a love of blood and pain that disturbed her. 

He would change his outfits often, sometimes five or six times a day. He had a habit of cutting his hair if left with scissors, which didn’t happen often, because he would use them to harm himself, too. He would set up his toys and put on shows of strange rituals and violent murders, and every stuffed creature that his mother brought home for him eventually met a dark end. He would be found in the hallways at night, crawling on all fours and hissing. When he got older, he began to lose touch with reality in worse ways, and his mother began to isolate him in his room, sending for any and every doctor that promised they could heal him.

“He sounds like he had a difficult life,” Khan replied to her story. “I’ve heard of kids like him – such a shame. I’m sure a family like the Clementes struggled with an heir like that. They had no other children, right?” 

Lucille shook her head. 

“They were scared …” She started, but stopped.

Khan didn’t need her to say the rest. They were worried instead of one problem, they’d have two. Bad blood was bad blood, after all.

“I wasn’t scared of him myself, though. Not until he …murdered that nice doctor that came to see him,” Lucille admitted quietly.

Khan raised an eyebrow. “The official report says due to the condition of the bodies and the building, that the attack was attributed to a wild animal, a story corroborated by eye witness reports including your own,” Khan pointed out, his grip on his pencil tightening.

The hollow look in her eyes matched the tone of her voice entirely when she responded. “He may as well have been a feral animal. I don’t know what came over him. He ripped them apart with just his hands, I swear. I’m not sure what he used, if anything, all I could see was violence. I fainted. He spared me, but I don’t know why. I woke up to him curled up in my arms like a cat, my shirt soaked in blood. His mother begged me not to tell anyone, she couldn’t bear for her son to be taken away or humiliated ….” Lucille recounted. “I protected her, I protected him. It haunted me, so after he was taken to the Fernwood Manor I had to leave. I stayed behind for a little while, but when my husband died I had no reason to remain there. I couldn’t bear to think of what happened, so I came here. I thought it was all over, but then I heard the news about Fernwood and I …I just can’t help but think it was him,” she continued.

They chatted for a bit longer, after that. Well, that certainly changed things. He had been hoping to come here and listen to the sad sobs of a damaged woman who had attached herself to an aristocratic family that was no more, but the revelation that she had lied to the Council and protected Thiago Clemente after his violent outburst at his home and that she suspected he was behind the fire at Fernwood certainly added new dimensions to his assessment of the situation.

Khan thanked her for her time, and left with a strange feeling in his chest. He would have to draft a letter to the C.U. as soon as he got back to his office. After all, a lie like that would result in serious penalties. Lucille should have chosen to protect herself, instead of that boy. A boy who seemed to lose touch with space, time and reality. A boy who was written into existence by his family. A boy who Khan’s file said was not one of the bodies located at the Fernwood Estate.

Thiago was a living, misplaced heir. Khan wondered what it was the Council was more worried about. A killer on the loose? Or a threat to their image? Or a block to their claim on the fortune and more importantly, the expansive grounds of the Fernwoods and the Clementes?

These were questions above his paygrade. Right now what he had to do was get just a little more information, and more importantly, a location. He felt the speed of his steps pick up with his renewed enthusiasm. After all, there was a reason the Committee needed him to talk to Lucille Welte, a reason that this wasn’t just a simple open-and–shut case but one that needed a consultant of his kind. Something was off about this after all, even if Khan himself had written this situation off a long time ago.

Lucille said during his interview that when Thiago was a child he used to say a phrase, over and over, especially as he slept. A name, but one that warranted a fresh trip to the archives. It was a name that had been burned into Khan’s memory during his studies, a piece of old, forbidden lore that Thiago had no reason to grasp between his pampered little murderous hands. That was the start of the real mystery – where would a boy like Thiago hear a name like Alcander, the name of an ancient god of devotion? The legend says that He who Follows, once called Alcander, followed his exiled love across space and time, but the specifics had gone fuzzy after years of censorship and revision.

Khan thought back to the file on his desk, and the reason for referral provided.

Reason for Referral:

Thiago Clemente, the missing suspect, is thought to have escaped with Cecil Lait, who is suspected by former peers to be involved in mystic rituals. Sources reported frequent trips into the woods at night and a strange relationship with T.C. after suspect’s arrival to the manor. 

Anecdotal reports include descriptions of bizarre behavior leading up to and after the death of Jocasta Fernwood. 

Further reports describe rampant sexual and deviant behavior including a sense that a third party was present in the house that could not be seen by other staff who terminated their association with the estate before the events of the fire. Former staff described the pair as highly unusual, and superstitious. Per the regulations in section 14b paragraph 11 this case

must be transferred to a special consultant. This writer regrets that this will delay pursuing the suspect and his alleged associates. 

In the Council we trust,

Senior Review Team for the C.U. Realignment Operations Department


He who Follows remembered when he was human.

As he craned his freakish body over Thiago and Cecil, he felt at peace. Two of his arms raked down Cecil’s back, leaving gentle, red marks on his pale skin. He was rewarded with a soft moan of pleasure. He threaded his third hand into Cecil’s hair, pulled softly, then rubbed the raw bone of his skull against the other man’s cheek lovingly.

His fourth hand held Thiago’s leg to the side, as Cecil moved to slide his cock deep into Thiago. The Follower held his love so perfectly in position, watched the place where Cecil and Thiago’s bodies met with multiple keen and interested eyes. Thiago’s face was a portrait of pleasure and arousal with his hips thrusting into Cecil. He who Follows extended his influence over to Cecil, where he dipped into the other man’s thoughts, his consciousness, and every bit of ecstasy that the other man felt.

Though his body was made of decaying divinity, he slipped into Cecil’s mind easily and felt everything that the other man did. They connected fully, and that alone satisfied He who Follows in a way that no mortal could ever experience. His hands were Cecil’s hands, his hips were Cecil’s hips as they pistoned in and out of Thiago’s tight cunt. He felt the way the soft quilt pressed against the skin of his legs, the waves of arousal as he gazed, enraptured, into Thiago’s eyes. He felt the warmth of living skin, the thin sheen of sweat from the effort, and the desire to breed. He moaned before he wandered into Thiago’s mind. He felt what it was to be filled by someone he cared for so deeply. The Follower orgasmed as Thiago did, the mortal’s cunt milking Cecil dry of every drop he had. It was so nice to play the game for so long. The Follower felt nothing but gratitude for Cecil as they panted in the aftermath of their debauchery. The touch of another was such an exotic, and pleasurable experience.

For a moment, he pretended that he wasn’t fading. Instead, he was Cecil, spent and panting. Instead, he was Thiago, full of Cecil’s cum, his cunt twitching around the emptiness of his lover’s cock being pulled away. 

He who Follows leaned forward, and started licking Thiago’s cunt clean as he relished in the feeling of it.


“Tomas?” Khan yelled out as he returned to the office. He pried open the damn door that stuck the moment any moisture entered the atmosphere. He had come to intimately hate this building, after so much time in it.

“I’m leaving for a few days. Draft a letter to the head archivist at headquarters. Let them know I need everything they have on early deities, banned religion, reincarnation, and more importantly anything related to the word ‘Alcander.’” He quickly dictated a set of instructions to Tomas. He knew without having to look that the other man was writing everything down like his life depended on it.

“Yes, sir!” Tomas replied, as his glasses slipped down his nose just a bit.

“Oh – and a letter to the Committee about Lucille Welte. She admitted to lying to the Council and impeding an investigation. She’ll need to be arrested. See to it that goes in the mail tonight. I don’t want her getting enough time to have ideas of leaving town.” He is glad he remembered to put this on Tomas’s agenda as well. Saved him the trouble.

“Did you get any information about the reported supernatural involvement?” Tomas asked timidly, pausing to look at Khan’s face as the investigator started packing his briefcase.

“I found out the boy’s been whispering the name of a dead god in his sleep since he was a child. The same name that was found written all over the bedroom of the ‘Silent Death’ of Kretche case. You know that one, don’t you Tomas? I gave you the briefs to study a month ago. Uncanny timing. That name, and those records, are quite restricted. Anything related to old religion has been banned since my grandfather’s time without special access. This could be something big after all,” Khan barely noticed he was rambling, and instead slammed his briefcase shut and turned towards the door.

Tomas brightened at this. After all, he had always wanted to touch the face of what shouldn’t be real, but is. A true believer, Tomas was a rare sort. It was shame it didn’t make Khan like him more.


The Archivist was once like He who Follows. It was a long time ago, but she  knew him by his name – by his power. Alcander, the god of devotion.

First they were mortals, then they were gods. She remembered the human faces of He who Follows, He who Bleeds. She remembered the spark of divinity that changed her from a woman to a god. She remembered reshaping entire valleys to her whim, gardens bursting with life at her touch. She remembered so many talents that have since been lost to her.

It doesn’t matter now, though, not really. These days she was called by simple names. Miss, my lady, Gwendolyn. She liked this body. It was old, and saggy, and wrinkled, but kind. She had grown into it well.

Like Alcander, she gave up too much of herself for a mortal, and found herself withering away. The only way to save herself was to find a host body, and like a parasite, she had continued to survive. No mountains moved for her now, no rains parted the skies. Her powers were small and limited and conserved, her daily routine focused on not losing what she had left of herself, not on making the world shake beneath her.

Eventually, this body would fall apart, as had all the others. Perhaps in a year, she’d start scouting a new one. She wasn’t ready to face the void, even though the mortal she had given up her divinity for had come and gone so long ago. Until she was ready, there was no shortage of mortals that she could use as her house, her home. 

She was proud of Gwendolyn. When the Archivist found this mortal, she was a mournful widow. The Archivist had taken pity on her. The Archivist remembered the pain of her mortal lover passing too well. That same pain sat in the human Gwendolyn’s chest like a heavy rock, weighing her down. The Archivist had taken that all away, and now “Gwendolyn” was a perfect employee, the head librarian of the biggest library in Eiswyr. The Archivist had lived in other lands before, in other bodies, but she found Eiswyr most curious. It was the land that had banned and outlawed all mention of gods, all mentions of herself.

She loved to study the progress of humans without gods. She loved to watch them unravel mysteries that she and her peers had solved in lifetimes past. She dedicated each time she helped a stranger to her lost love, and lived in his world as fully as she could. It had changed so much since her ascension, had changed so much since her partner passed. She wasn’t sure what he would have thought of the Council. It was a concept that had evolved far beyond his time, she thinks.

When the courier brought the letter stating that a human investigator named Lane Khan was requesting literature on Alcander, all the old memories came flooding back.

Her memories of Alcander when he was human were faint, but alive. He had been tall, with a smile like sunshine. She remembered him as a healer. He was never seen without He who Bleeds. Back then He who Bleeds was called Keir. He was a competent soldier, skilled on the battlefield. The two of them were inseparable. The Archivist had been jealous of their bond.

When He who Bleeds was cast out from the seat of divinity and cursed by his fellow gods, the Follower was never the same. The Archivist still regretted not intervening in their drama, but what did gods have to do other than war with each other? What lines and sides had she really wanted to draw, in a conflict that she knew better than to think she could win?

It was for this reason, for this guilt, that she used a small bit of the power she had left to send a message. She focused inward, and found the thread that connected her to other gods. So many of them were faded and broken. There were not many of their kind left.

Alcander’s was just alive enough to pull.

Come quickly, she told him. Someone’s looking for you.


It was the small, quiet hours of morning when Thiago stirred. He reached out for the warmth of Cecil beside him, but found the bed empty. A jolt of confusion hit him, in his half-asleep state, before his awareness extended to the room around him, and the soft voices of Cecil and He who Follows that filled the room.

“You can’t just leave, Fol,” Cecil hissed, and Thiago could feel his anger. 

“I must, Cecil,” the Follower said. He is  still learning how to indicate emotion in his tone. Thiago was teaching him, when they had the time, or more accurately, the focus.

“I killed Jocasta, burned down my entire life, and died while you watched my murderer kill me.” Cecil was still processing the recent events that lead the trio to this little boarding house on the edge of a foreign land, a place they were all still adjusting to. “I think you owe me some gods-damned answers when I ask, Fol. Just because you put me back in this world doesn’t mean you never have to explain yourself. We’re all part of this together, you can’t just abandon us here.”

Thiago slowly rose in the bed, brushing the hair out of his eyes. Cecil and He who Follows turned towards him as he did, neither looking like they knew what to say. “What’s happening?” Thiago asked.

“I have to attend to some business back in Eiswyr,” Fol replied.

Cecil was sitting with his back against the chair, one leg crossed over the other, chin pointed upwards towards the ceiling. He was avoiding both of their gazes, looking regal and elegant in his silk pajamas that he stole from Jocasta’s wardrobe.

“What will Cecil and I do without you? When will you be back?” Thiago felt his heartbeat race, and a sense of being heavy in his body started to slip over him. That sensation of losing time crept up his spine, and he fought a flashback, trying desperately to be present for whatever was happening here. He didn’t need to see what his last lifetime felt when they were let down. He just needed to know that everything here, and now, was going to be okay. He winced, and both of his lovers put their anger aside to come closer.

“Thiago…” Cecil said his name so gently, reaching out for his shoulder.

“Love…” He who Follows always called him that: love, my heart, my treasure. It bothered him when the god couldn’t seem to remember he had a name, that he was Thiago, even if he was also someone else. He brushed that aside for now, too focused on the answer to his questions.

“When will you be back?” He asked again.

“A few days, a week, perhaps,” Fol replied. “Another deity  alerted me of a concern. She called him an investigator. He’s looking for me, but really he’s looking for you, and maybe even Cecil. I need to ensure that this stops here. Please let me take care of you.”

Thiago tried to look at Cecil to gauge how he should feel about this. Cecil seemed to be more worried about him.

And what? If he begged Fol to stay, then what would happen? He wouldn’t have to be apart from him, but the tension would be there, of what may happen if this stranger goes poking into their business. Thiago wanted to be free, that was all he had ever wanted. Fol just wanted to ensure that he was able to be.

“Kiss me before you go?” Thiago finally asked, reaching for his monster.


“Did you pull the records? The texts? Anything?” Lane Khan didn’t care if the Archivist had a name. She was just another useless cog in between him and his next lead. He tossed his badge onto the desk as insurance that she understood he meant business. It was a two day trip to Roat from Kellsgrand, and he would need to be by the reimbursement office before he started back home to cover his travel, lodging, and meals.

“They should be in the restricted section. Did you set up a work table for me there? I’ll need no distractions.”

Gwendolyn smiled faintly at this man. She wasn’t sure what she expected. The man before her had a river of dark hair that fell behind his ears, and tickled the nape of his neck. His eyes were fascinating, an oddity. One was a deep, dark brown, and the other was a murky, swamp green. She thought perhaps it was because of a dual-sided nature, but that is just romanticism. He was a large man, muscular but soft, in his forties, and with large, hairy hands. Even so, he was very handsome, and Gwendolyn thinks perhaps if her next body was younger, she may even find him worth taking to bed.

Today though, she only found him extremely annoying.

“I’ve gathered something quite illuminating just for you, Mr. Khan,” she promised.

She rose from her chair, dressed in soft purple and pearls. She fidgeted with her collection of keys, before walking down from her platform and towards Khan. She nodded at him before leading him in through the familiar entrance to the library. It was wide and grand and academic, with shelves of books hugging every corner of the large space. Paintings and sculpture decorated the open spaces, while expensive rugs and crystal bookends made it a truly fascinating place to consider sitting and reading anything, much less forbidden books of magic and the divine.

When they came across the double doors to the banned religions section, she twisted her key into the lock and smiled gleefully.

“Are you ready to see what I’ve got prepared for you, Mr. Khan?” She asked with almost too much satisfaction in her tone. She wondered if he would catch onto her if her face gave too much away. After all, she heard he was quite sharp about that sort of thing.

He pushed right past her into the section, muttering under his breath.

“I’ll take it from here, thank you,” he said without paying her much mind.

The Archivist found that to be quite satisfactory. She locked the door after Khan entered, from the outside, just as black ooze began to drip from under the door frame. If he screamed, she didn’t hear it. Alcander was always one for discretion. He didn’t have anything much in common with Keir when it came to that sort of thing, did he?

She supposed that if she got back to her desk quickly enough, she would be just in time to flirt with the afternoon courier.


When He who Follows returned, it’s not in the way that either of them expected.

If not for the radiant aura of decay, Cecil and Thiago wouldn’t have realized it was their beloved Follower at all. He stood like a statue in their boarding house room, dressed in ragged clothes that appeared to be unwashed for several days. His movements were stiff, as if he was not used to walking. It became quite clear to Cecil and Thiago quite quickly that their beloved god had possessed someone.

“Interesting choice,” Cecil remarked. The emerald green coat that matched one of the new body’s two mismatched eyes was well made, at least.

“Useful body,” He who Follows replied. He lifted his arms as if to show off what he meant.

“He’s an investigator for the Council in Eiswyr. His memories were so delicious. He was quite smart. He knows many people of importance. I can use him. I am him now. I needed a host… I lost too much when I brought Cecil back. This is the best option for everyone,” He who Follows explained.

“He’s hot.” Thiago looked quite pleased, now that he knew everything was okay.  “But it’s a little weird, Fol. I kind of miss your old self.”

Was it wrong to be disappointed that his monster wore a human face now?

“I’ll always be your devoted Follower, Thiago,” the god promised. “In this body, or none. In this life, or the next.”

Cecil was the first to approach He who Follows. The pale man reached out and grabbed the god by the tie, pulling him into a kiss.

“Good job getting back here in one piece,” the newly re-employed chef said. “We love you.”

He who Follows touched his boys with human sensitivity for the first time. He didn’t need to get into their minds to feel their pleasure, to feel their touch. He let their mouths glide over him, let their hands paw at his new flesh, their fingertips brush over his new cock. He felt more alive than he had in a hundred years. He enjoyed testing the limits of his new body. He enjoyed it even more knowing that he would live long enough to follow Cecil and Thiago through the rest of their mortal lives.

“I love you as well, Cecil …Thiago,” he sighed, as their hands roamed across each other. “In this life, and the next.”


Tomas hadn’t seen his boss in a week and a half, and to be quite fucking honest, he was losing it.

He thought that Khan would be back from Roat days ago. The inquiries about property line disputes and missed carriage payments were starting to make Tomas’s desk look like Khan’s. Tomas hadn’t sent any correspondence about Lucille or the case, too nervous that Khan would show up and drop something new on him that would make his last letters look like an embarrassment. And worst of all, he couldn’t even ask Khan what to put on the order form for new office supplies and they were running dangerously low on file folders because he kept having to use his backstock to sort the new requests that were coming in every day.

He was considering abandoning ship and starting over in another city when a courier finally arrived to the office  with two letters.

Dear Tomas,

It’s Khan. You’re a great assistant, and you’ll do great things in life. All those times I was mean to you was just because you’re so great I was afraid if I was soft on you, you’d turn out soft. I am a very loving and grateful boss and wish you well and encourage you to take over my position. Also, please do not turn in that letter about Lucille Welte. If you already sent it, send a follow up. That is an order. Also please put the other letter attached in the box labeled ‘internal review’ in my office. Thanks.

Lane Khan

 P.S. I have decided to quit my job and you’ll never see me again. Really sorry about that. I hope this letter makes it less hard. Please give all of my savings in the box behind my desk to Lucille Welte and attached are papers to transfer my house title into your name. I hope it allows you to live rent free while you pursue your dreams. Do not look for me. 

Tomas didn’t read the letter. Instead, he put it into the internal review box. He was too busy crying and trying to make sense of the letter in his hand.

It was a good thing Tomas left the envelope closed, as when it was finally opened, it was revealed to be the single most terrifying thing that anyone in the Committee for Uniformity had ever read. The C.U. took possession of the Clemente and Fernwood fortunes, and all charges against Cecil Lait and Thiago Clemente were dropped without comment within a day. 

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2 thoughts on “He who Bleeds

  1. That was not what I was expecting for a sequel to He who follows, and then it didn’t go the way I expected, but perhaps it went the way I should have been expecting, since Khan was rather inattentive for all he thought otherwise. Enjoyed it!

  2. You’ve probably done something right when, upon introducing a whole new POV character in a follow-up to a previous darker work, my initial response is “uh oh.” A fun exploration of what happens when people actually notice important families disappearing under suspicious circumstances, and how things can go when those circumstances are far beyond anything they could have expected!

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