Michael Afton's Step by Step Guide to Killing Your Abusive Dad and Getting a Boyfriend in the Same Night - Chapter 5 - gummysharksupremacy (2024)

Chapter Text

Michael wakes up to the sound of an argument.

What it's about, he can’t figure out. By the time consciousness fully returns to him, it’s over, and he hadn’t been able to even figure out who had been arguing. Michael briefly considers raising his head from the pillow to see what is going on, but decides against it. No, he’s much better off here. Maybe he can go back to sleep if he just remains still for a little longer. The pillow underneath him isn't the most comfortable, but it does in a pinch—and wait, why had they brought a pillow with them? When did that happen? No sooner has the thought left his mind does the pillow shift, turning to the side and bringing Michael with it.

Oh. Not a pillow. It’s Jeremy. Of course it is. Michael’s head is against his shoulder, and then it’s in his lap as Michael falls forward.

“You’re awake?” Jeremy asks from above him.


“I am now,” he grumbles. “I don’t wanna be.”

“You can go back to sleep. We’ll wake you up when we get to the farmhouse.”

Michael considers it. Only briefly, though. “Nah. I’m not tired anymore. I can be bored with the rest of you. What was the fighting about?”

“What fighting?”

“Someone was arguing,” Michael says as he sits up and rubs his face. Ugh. “Couldn’t make out what it is about.”

“Oh. Yeah, that was the dumbasses in the front seat. They were having the egg argument again.”

Again? ” Michael glares at Dean in the front seat, who’s very pointedly avoiding eye contact. “I thought we settled that last month.”

“We did,” Jeremy confirms. “I specifically forbade anyone from bringing it up again. Besides, we have other things to worry about…”

“Agreed,” Dean says quickly. “Like your dad in the backseat. You’ve been out for about an hour, and the dude still hasn’t stopped weeping. It’s kind of funny, actually.”

Michael feels a sharp kick to the back of his seat. He looks over it and sees his father, still tied up and lips sewn shut, giving him a death glare. The effect is significantly weakened by the wet eyelashes and tear tracks on his bloodied cheeks. Michael feels a surge of contempt at the sight. Disgusting. William is a coward, through and through. Here he is, terrified at the prospect of his own death when he caused so many without a shred of remorse in the past. How can he lie there, silently sobbing and suffering, not realizing that he deserves this? That’s probably the worst part of it, Michael realizes. Even now, when the end is so close, his father probably feels no remorse. He would still do it in a heartbeat. A small part of Michael lights up with joy at that, though. It means they can go through with this completely guilt-free.

“Coward,” Michael laughs. “Is there a way we can shut him up?”

“We already did everything we could. Until we reach the farmhouse, there’s not much more we can do. Honestly, I don’t mind it that much. It’s kind of getting me going.”

“Please don’t talk about how you wanna f*ck my dad.”

“I want to f*ck him up,” Dean clarifies, which does not help at all. “I’m going to bash his stupid face in and I’m going to have a lot of fun doing it.”

“One day, you and I are going to have a serious talk about how much violence gets you going,” Mark sighs, gripping the wheel tighter. “That sh*t cannot be healthy.”


“It hasn’t killed anyone yet,” Dean waves him away. “I mean, give it an hour. But until then, let me pretend I’m innocent.”

No.

“I have an idea,” Jeremy proclaims suddenly. “Let’s stop talking about this.”

“Agreed. Please,” Michael begs. “Let’s talk about anything else.”


“Cowards,” Dean whines.

Jeremy reaches over the middle console and turns the volume dial up until Stayin’ Alive drowns out the sounds of everyone’s voices.

-___-

They reach the farmhouse an hour later.

Michael doesn’t go back to sleep. Instead, after a few songs at an uncomfortably ear-splitting level, Dean turns the music down to begin another argument (“Discussion,” he claims) about the ethics of monster-f*cking. Mark swears profusely at him the second it’s brought up, but after Michael and Jeremy enthusiastically join the conversation, Mark spends the next ten minutes trying to strangle the wheel and looking like he wants to crash the car into the nearest tree before he finally gives in and agrees with Jeremy on everything for the sole purpose of pissing off Dean. Michael likes to think that his father, forced to listen to the entire thing, is having a very bad time right now. It soothes an ache in his soul.

Once the farmhouse comes into sight, Dean puts a hand up to silence the car. “Okay, so first off, we should probably discuss the layout of the place again. We can just go through the front door. I have an extra key Aunt Cora gave me. She and her girlfriend are in Miami for the week, so we have the place to ourselves. The kitchen table is pretty big, ‘cause, you know, it’s where she cuts up the meat. It should definitely be big enough to hold your dad. Only problem is, the restraints it comes with are meant for animals, not people, so it’s going to take some work to make them fit. The pig pen is in the back, obviously, but we’re going to need to chop the body up first and transport it to the back. It’s going to be a bit of a walk, so it’s gonna be tough. I believe in us though. Any other questions?”

“Is that it?” Michael asks. “I thought you said you had everything figured out.”

“I have everything else figured out. Of course, we’ve already discussed at length what we’re going to do to him. We haven’t talked about what order we should do it, though.”

“We can discuss that inside, can’t we? I think right now we should focus on how we’re gonna get him inside,” Mark points out. “Dude’s going to struggle.”

“Yeah,” Dean groans. “It’s going to take all four of us. This is going to be the second hardest part of the plan. I don’t suppose you’re going to make it easy for us, Willy?”

No response from the back. None of them really expect one.

“Yeah. That’s what I thought.”

The car falls silent again until the house is right in front of them. The sound of the gravel crunching under the tires as Mark pulls into the driveway sends a horrible chill up Michael’s spine. So this is it. This is really happening. Now that the hour is upon them, it doesn’t feel quite real. It’s almost like he’s sleepwalking, or in a sort of daze. Will the rest of the night be like this?

“Alright,” Mark says after a minute of silence. The car has stopped, and he has unlocked the doors. “Everyone out. We have our marching orders.”

Dean is the first to move, slamming the car door shut behind him and standing to the side of the car. Mark follows, turning the car off and coming around to the side to pull Michael’s door open. Michael gratefully takes his hand, letting himself be helped out of the car. Jeremy is last, placing a hand on Michael’s shoulder and using him as leverage to climb out.

“Who wants to open the trunk?” Jeremy asks.

“I’ll do it,” Dean volunteers. “If I get to punch him.”

“Actually, that’s not a bad idea. We could knock him unconscious…” Jeremy muses. “Any thoughts?”

“Well, how long is it going to last?” Mark asks.

“Not sure. But it should be enough time to get him inside. If it lasts longer, we can just wake him up before we begin.”

“Okay, fair enough. Let’s get going then.”

-___-

They manage to drag William’s unconscious body into the farmhouse and set him on the kitchen table. It turns out the table is just barely big enough to hold his entire body, a big metal slab that already has plenty of deep cuts from a butcher’s knife carved into it. Dean had said it would hide the evidence—after all, plenty of pigs have been butchered here before. The new cuts would blend it perfectly. No one will suspect a thing if they’re careful enough. Dean goes back to the car to retrieve the toolbox and their other supplies while the rest of them quickly untie William’s hands, legs, and ankles. They secure him in the leather restraints attached to the table, which takes some maneuvering but they manage to make it work.

When Dean comes back, he and Mark set to work. They begin setting up on a nearby table, pulling out the duct tape, pliers, good rope, sturdy wire, sandpaper, a curling iron, and the sewing supplies from earlier out of the toolbox. From the second bag of supplies, there are small towels, hydrogen peroxide, bleach, ammonia, gasoline, matches, and other materials they will need to get rid of the evidence. That will come later, of course. Michael watches with anxious anticipation.

“When can we start?” he asks them.

“As soon as we finish setting up. Does someone want to wake him up?” Dean shrugs in response. “Mark, maybe you want to do the honors?”

“Sure. Do I slap him, or…?”

“You could, or you could splash cold water on his face, or, you know. Whatever you wanna do.”

“Sounds good to me.” Mark leaves Dean’s side, walking over to William’s head and narrowing his eyes. A moment later, he brought his hand up and gave an abrupt, sharp tug to William’s broken nose.

William jerks awake with a pained, muffled scream. His eyes focus on Mark’s face, face contorting in rage before he turns his head and tries to look around the room. Once he sees the others finishing their setup, he freezes, eyes darting wildly from Mark to Dean to Jeremy, finally settling on Michael. Michael only stares coldly back at him. When William tries to jerk free of the restraints, Dean laughs.

“Oh, honey. That’s not going to work. My Uncle Darren tried that, too. He was far bigger than you. Struggle if you want. It didn’t save him. It won’t save you.”

“How should we start?” Michael asks. “You never really expanded on that, Jeremy. You’re the expert here…”

“Well, I’d suggest we cut open his mouth first. That way we can hear him. After that, we need to cut him out of his shirt and perform a Y-shaped incision. We’ll need the curling iron, of course, for the cauterization, but after that, it should be smooth sailing. We’ll want to go from least vital to most vital. If we want to do organ strangulation, that’ll hurt more, but it’ll take some time. We did bring sturdy wire for that, but it’s up to you, Michael. Anyways. The human body contains five organs that are considered vital for survival: the heart, brain, kidneys, liver, and lungs. Those five need to go last. I would also add the stomach later on in the game. It's a bit tricky to get out because it’s filled to the brim with battery acid. We’ve also got the gallbladder, pancreas, stomach, large and small intestine, and the appendix. That’s not all of them, only some of the ones that can be removed easily without much harm. I’d suggest we start with those later ones. You guys ready?”

“As we’ll ever be.” Michael holds out a hand to accept the knife Dean offers him. “Okay, Father. Are you ready for me to teach you a lesson?”

William squirms on the table, trying again to wrestle out of the leather straps. When that doesn’t work, he settles for glaring at his son.

“Don’t worry. We’ll make sure you’re able to scream. Let me fix that for you…” Michael reaches over and cuts the stitches off his father’s mouth, reveling in the scream that follows. “See, I knew you were a screamer.”

“Do you think he’ll ever stop screaming?”

“Mm. I don’t know,” Mark wonders aloud. “My bet is on…well, never, honestly. We are going to be cutting him up, after all. If he falls unconscious, we’ll just wake him up again. We’ll be lucky if we don’t get ringing in our ears after this.”

“Worth it,” Dean says. “Can we start now?”

“We’re waiting on you,” Michael gestures to William. He’s gratified to notice how pale his father’s face has become, and the terrified look in his eyes. “Don’t tell me you’re actually afraid, Father. After all, it’s like you said—we’re just a bunch of children . How could we ever hurt you? Don’t worry. I’m sure this won’t hurt at all.” After savoring the hateful look his father gives him, he grins, holding up the knife and beginning to cut William’s shirt off his body. Once that’s done, he turns to Dean questioningly. “Do we need a specific tool to make the incision?”

“Yeah, Jeremy stole a scalpel from the hospital. That should do the trick. Jeremy, you wanna get in there?”

“On it,” he nods, grabbing the scalpel from the table and heading over to William. “Now, hold still. This is going to hurt you far more than it’s going to hurt me …” Jeremy slowly digs the knife into the skin of his right shoulder, drawing a line to the center of his sternum before repeating the motion on the opposite side. After that, he places the knife at the point where the lines connected and draws another incision down to the stomach area.


The other three watch in morbid fascination as William’s body opens up in front of them, exposing the intricacies of the human body in all their bloody glory. Strangely, Michael feels… revulsion at the sight. Disgust and horror. Curiosity and fascination are there, too—those, and where they will begin their self-assigned task. He can hear Dean’s labored breathing directly behind him, and resists the urge to roll his eyes. Mark is right—they really need to have that talk with Dean. Now isn't the best time, unfortunately, but there will be plenty of time tomorrow morning. Jeremy has a hand on Michael’s bicep, gripping tightly enough that Michael is sure there will be a bruise there later. He finds he doesn’t mind the idea of Jeremy’s handprint on him. In fact, when he allows himself to think about it for longer than a second, he finds that he very much doesn’t mind the idea. Dude. Now is not the time to think about that. Your father is getting cut up right in front of you.

Maybe they need to have that conversation with more than just Dean.

“You guys ready?” Jeremy asks, interrupting his thoughts before they go too far. Thank you. “Who wants to go first?”

“We’re doing organ strangulation first, right? You wanna explain to us how that works?”

“Do you actually want to know how it works or just how to do it?”

“Both.”

Jeremy grins. “Okay, first and foremost I have to thank you for letting me explain this beautiful process. This will not be forgotten. Secondly, the actual science behind it is pretty simple. By stopping blood flow to the organs, you inflict necrosis, meaning the organs die and stop properly functioning. It hurts a lot . Your organs need blood flow to work, obviously, because without blood flow they get no oxygen and nutrients. Without those, they'll die pretty quickly, within a few minutes. As for how we’re going to do it, we brought tough string, wire, and wire cutters. We’re going to use the string or wire to tie off the blood vessels and wait for the organs to start decaying—which they’re doing because again, they're getting strangled. Then we remove the organ once it's dead. Any questions?”

“Are you free later?” Dean jokes, earning a groan from all three of them.

“Very funny,” Jeremy rolls his eyes. “Okay, any serious questions?”

“Yeah,” Mark raises his hands, casting a dubious look at Dean. “Can we get started?”

Please.” Jeremy waves a hand over William’s open body, bowing slightly. “Be my guest. Everyone, grab a bit of wire and wrap them around the main blood vessels of each organ to strangle them. Mark’ll show you where they are. We’ll want to do this one at a time. Let’s start with…hm, I pick the spleen. Does anyone have any preference?”

“You’re the expert,” Dean shrugs. “We’ll follow your lead.”

“Okay. Mark? You remember what I explained to you earlier?”

“Yep. Dean, come over here. I’ll show you where to put the wire…” Mark places his hands over Dean’s and guides them towards the blood vessels. Michael thinks that’s a bit unnecessary—why not just point them out and make sure Dean knows where to go? They’re having a moment, he supposes, but now is hardly the time. Still, Dean does have that issue. It looks like Mark does, too. That makes three of them. What the f*ck is wrong with them?

Well, they are cutting up a body and planning to strangle his organs and remove them once they die. That isn't something mentally stable people do. Who says they’re mentally stable people, though? Given that, a little bloodlust seems almost unworthy of a mention. Another thing to think about later.

William’s piercing screams tear Michael out of his thoughts. Oh, right. His father is being tortured. He almost forgot about that. Should he feel bad about that? Probably not. Does it really matter? Again, probably not. Michael watches as William writhes frantically on the table, trying to wrestle out of the restraints. He sounds like he’s trying to say something, but without his tongue, it’s mostly unintelligible. Probably another insult or threat. Michael’s suddenly very glad they cut out his tongue earlier instead of waiting. This would be much more unpleasant if they hadn’t. Or maybe it would be more fun.

Dean cackles as Mark gives a vicious grin to the man underneath them. He whispers something in Dean’s ear, who nods enthusiastically. Michael turns his gaze to his father’s face, contorted in pain and rage, and when their eyes meet, Michael smiles smugly.


“Are you having fun yet?”

William’s response is to spit blood in his face. Michael winces when it splatters across his cheek, and at the man’s resulting howl of laughter.

“I’ll take that as a yes.”

fa*g,” his father manages to choke out.

“Boring,” Jeremy laments, coming up behind Michael and sliding his arms around his waist from behind. Michael barely catches his next words, his mind immediately going blank as he feels steady fingers gripping the fabric of his shirt. There has to be a better time for this, but I am not about to complain. “We’ve heard that one like ten times already tonight. When are you going to get better material?” Jeremy leans forward, resting his chin on Michael’s shoulder and continuing softly, but loud enough for William to hear, “You’re not wrong, though. We are fa*gs. And co*cksuckers, and fairies, and whatever else you want to call us. I wasn't kiddin’ earlier, you know. We’re going to kill you right here, and then I’m going to make out with him all over your gravestone.”

It takes a moment for the words to register in Michael’s mind. Oh, if Jeremy is only saying this to f*ck with his father, he is going to regret it. His ears go hot—his cheeks are burning—his spine feels electrified—oh, he can’t breathe, he can’t think, he can’t function when Jeremy is there, pulling Michael’s back flush against his chest, his breath ghosting against his neck. Michael wants so badly for this to never end.

Jeremy nips at his ear then. This time, Michael doesn’t bother to smother the sharp gasp that follows. Oh, whatever this is between them—strange and confusing and sweeter than anything he’d ever experienced in his life —it might not survive the night, but that’s okay. All he needs is tonight. Michael would be perfectly content to die tonight, if not for…well, everything that waits for them at home. They all have responsibilities after this, some more than others. Michael thinks about Evan, still recovering in the hospital, alone and afraid without anyone there to comfort him. The thought is instantly sobering. Michael tears his mind away from other thoughts and focuses back on the matter at hand.

Until Jeremy hugs him tighter, pressing a tender kiss to his temple with a smile. “Oh, you don’t like that, huh? Shame. You’re not gonna like what else I have planned, then. You know, I’ve been in love with your son since the third grade. I still can’t believe someone so kind and wonderful came from someone like you. I’m never going to let him go, you know that? We’re going to have such an amazing future together.” Jeremy presses gentle, sweet kisses to his hair and his cheek. “I already have everything planned out, you know. Oh, all the things Michael and I are going to do together when we grow up.”

This isn’t what he’d expected. These aren’t the racy, frantic fantasies Michael had envisioned in the car earlier, but soft, domestic dreams. Michael listens, lovestruck, as Jeremy continues, “We’ll move in together, once we've turned eighteen and moved far, far away from this tiny, sh*tty town in Utah. We’ll rent an apartment, then buy a house one day. We’ll go to university together. We’ll get a dog. We’ll get married, in secret—or maybe the world will change by then, and we’ll get to have only our friends and close family in attendance. Maybe we’ll even adopt children, just to really rub it in your face that your stupid lessons hadn’t worked and Michael will be a better parent than you and Clara ever were.”

Somehow, Dean and Mark are too preoccupied with their whispering and organ strangulation to notice what is happening only a few feet away from them. How the f*ck is that possible? What is Jeremy thinking? Surely he doesn't mean any of that. Michael tries not to feel disappointed as he realizes what’s going on. Of course. Jeremy’s only saying this to get a reaction out of William. Why would Jeremy think Michael , of all people, is worth paying attention to? Worth his time and effort? The thought makes his stomach drop and his throat tighten. Why are you disappointed? This is for the best. You’re all going your separate ways after this, anyway. Best to quit while you’re ahead…

Oh, but it’s so hard to quit when Jeremy’s breath ghosts against the shell of his ear, his lips lightly brushing against the skin, his words quiet and steady and full of promise, meant more for Michael than anyone else. Michael’s hands come to rest on top of Jeremy’s, linking their fingers together with a tight squeeze. Jeremy’s chest is against his back, rising and falling with the effort of keeping his words powerful and steady. The scent of citrus, overwhelmingly powerful and overtaking all his other senses. After tonight, he’ll never be able to even think about citrus without thinking about this moment, about him.

Jeremy silences his thoughts once more, and this time, Michael is very glad Jeremy has such a tight grip on him, because if left for his own devices, he absolutely would have collapsed. Jeremy presses a long, soft kiss to his temple again, his smile evident against his skin. Michael clenches his teeth, steadying his breathing, trying to think about anything else to prevent himself from melting into the touch. Now is not the time.

It seems like Jeremy is completely aware of the effect he’s having on Michael. You’re such an asshole. Please don’t stop touching me. Ever. “Your son is beautiful in every way, and while you failed to appreciate just how amazing he is, I'm going to make damn sure he knows how much I appreciate him.”

If he doesn't stop talking right this second, Michael is going to turn around and make him . Preferably by aggressively making out with him and asking him to make good on his promises before they even start killing his father.

“Now, then,” and it seems like he’s finally finished as he pulls away from Michael. Come back. Please come back. Nothing could ever be as important as this. “Dean, Mark, how are those organs coming along?”

“His spleen just went through necrosis.”

“That means we can remove it now. It’s still going to hurt like a bitch, don’t worry. You wanna do the honors?”

“Hm.” Mark turns slightly to gaze at Michael from beside his father. “What do you think? Do you want to do it?”

“You can go ahead,” Michael says, the rollercoaster of emotions he just experienced screeching to a halt as he thinks about cutting his father open again. Can he handle that right now? Oh, knock it off. This is what you wanted, isn’t it? Stop being such a baby.

“Right here,” Jeremy replies. Damn. He leans over William’s body, handing it to him. “I’ll go heat up the curling iron. Don’t start without me.”

“We won’t,” Mark promises. “Do we need to do anything while we’re waiting?”

“Nah. Just keep taunting him. That should be fun.”

“It is,” Dean assures him. “Can I have a go now?”


“Absolutely.” Jeremy waves his hand at William in a go ahead gesture. “I don’t think he’s mad enough, and it’s not like he’s going anywhere.”

Dean grins victoriously before turning his attention to William’s face. William looks even paler than before, all the color draining from his face the longer Jeremy talks. His face twists in disgust and thinly veiled agony—whether at the previous one-sided conversation or at the fact that Jeremy has begun to prep the curling iron by the counter. Blood starts seeping into his clothes, collecting in small pools on the table, and the scent of copper fills the air. Michael swallows down his nausea. William whines pathetically as Dean leans forward, resting his weight on William’s forearm.

“Jeremy, how long is that going to take?”

“About two minutes, probably. Why?”

“I wanna play with my food a bit before I eat it, but I don’t want to get too into it if we don’t have long.”

“Get into it. We have all night.”

“Bitchin’.” Dean turns his attention back to William. “So… Willy . Now that we’ve got you here, and there’s no way to escape this conversation, I’d like to ask you a few questions. Specifically about Henry Emily. You got a few minutes?” Dean doesn’t wait for a response, plowing right ahead. “You seem awfully concerned about Michael and Jeremy’s loving, healthy relationship. Like, obsessively so. It’s weird to care that much about who your kid is seeing if they’re not even remotely a bad person or influence. Have we all done dumb sh*t? Sure. I’ve done plenty of crazy things, including dating Mark. It’s part of being a person, which fair enough, you would know nothing about. But why do you care so much? It doesn’t hurt you. It doesn’t affect you. It’s none of your business. You seem awfully knowledgeable about it, in fact. Is there something you’d like to tell the class?”

William only stares at the ceiling. For once, his mouth is shut, and he refuses to make eye contact with anyone. Is his face red from the pain and exertion, or is that a f*cking blush on his cheeks? Michael’s still reeling from the implication that Dean and Mark got together at some point and didn’t tell them , and now he has to consider the possibility that his father is f*cking his own best friend? Why the hell, then, is he so against the idea of Jeremy and Michael? What a jackass. What a hypocrite .

“I’m going to take that as a no . Well, then, I guess I’ll have to draw my own conclusions. You wanna know what I think, Willy? I think you’re a f*cking hypocrite. I think you and Henry are having a little tryst of your own, and you’re too ashamed to admit it because that would mean you don’t have a good reason to hate your son, because if you hate Michael for that then you’re only projecting, baby. I , on the other hand, cannot imagine what you did to get not one, but two of the finest specimens I have ever seen into your bed. We know you don’t have a winning personality or the looks, so what gives? Were they just that impressed with your killer robots and child abusing hobbies? No, seriously, I wanna know. If you could get Clara and Henry, there’s hope for us all.”

“Maybe don’t talk about how hot you think my mother is?”

“I’m just saying, okay? Your dad looks like a diseased rat that crawled out of the sewer. I don’t know what they saw in him. Do they just have terrible taste in men, or is his dick game really that strong?”

Okay, ” Michael grimaces in disgust, raising his hands in surrender. “Dean, if you talk about wanting to f*ck my father one more time —”

“f*ck him up ,” Dean clarifies, but he’s grinning impishly. “I told you, violence gets me going. You all know this, why are you surprised? But understood. Jeremy, how is the curling iron?”

“Just about done,” Jeremy says, trying to keep the amusem*nt from his voice. “Who’s got the knife again? Michael?”

“Yeah, but Dean’s gonna have it in his chest in a second if he doesn’t shut up.”

Okay, I’ll shut up.”

“Dude, we have got to get you to a therapist,” Mark shakes his head. “This sh*t isn’t right.”

“You’re telling me this while I’m standing over a man we just cut open and whose spleen we just killed and are about to remove. Trust me, my bloodlust is the least concerning thing here.”

“I know what will make you feel better, Michael,” Mark suddenly changes the subject, pointedly looking away from Dean. “While Jeremy’s finishing up, why don’t you cut out your dad’s eye? Since he took one of yours. Or do you want to wait until later?”

“Why wait? He’s going to lose it anyway. Who wants to hold him still?”

“Oh, me —”

“Dean, after what you just said, I don’t think we should let you anywhere near his face. God forbid you try to lick the blood off,” Jeremy calls from the kitchen counter.

“I mean…”

“Jeremy,” Michael says desperately. “Please?”

“Anything for you,” Jeremy smiles, the gesture so genuine and warm despite the situation that Michael’s heart skips a beat. Jeremy makes his way to stand beside William’s head (Dean instead going to watch the curling iron), grasping the sides of his face in a vice grip. “Get ‘em, baby.”


Michael is going to scream. But then he sees his father’s lips twitch into a scowl, and he realizes that actually, he wants Jeremy to call him every name in the book just to piss off his father. His very hom*ophobic and apparently closeted father. How is this the strangest thing that happened today? Oh, whatever. They’re all going to hell anyway. Might as well enjoy the ride, right?

“What is it you said, Father?” he asks, raising the knife above his head. “ An eye for an eye. Pure symmetry. ” Michael revels in the terror on his father’s face before he slashes the knife across his face. Did he scream like that when his father ruined his eye? It’s almost too good to be true. Michael’s heart surges and his blood pumps as a speck of blood lands on his cheek. Father wailes in terror as he registers the blinding pain. For a moment, everything is wonderful. Then reality sets back in, and as he watches his father writhe in pain, a sickening feeling creeps into his gut. What is wrong with him? Shouldn’t he be enjoying this, after all that his father put him through? His earlier nausea comes back in full force, and he has to swallow it down again.

“Hey, do you think he’ll be able to answer questions while we torture him?” Dean asks, trading places with Jeremy again, suddenly curious. “We should ask him where he put the bodies of the 1980 kids. They deserve a proper burial.”

Beside him, Mark nods. “Yeah. Who wants to do the honors?”


“I’ve got the pliers. Now that his tongue is out of the way, it’ll be much easier to pull his teeth out. So, Willy, what’ll it be? You want to make this easier for yourself or do we have to teach you another lesson?” Dean grabs the pliers from Mark’s outstretched hand, waving them in William’s bloody face. “No? Shame.”

William quickly spits something out, causing all four of them to pause and look at him. Panic mixes with the terror on his face as he tries again, the words no less garbled. Michael marvels at the change in him. This man, whom he’s feared since he was six years old, who towered over him and gave him every kind of abuse and manipulated him in every way possible, now lays here on this table, knowing he’s about to die and terrified . It’s actually quite pathetic. What a coward. All of his horrible actions, and the one thing he fears is his own death, because he knows he’ll get exactly what he deserves. Will he beg, Michael wonders? Beg for his pathetic, worthless life, even though he surely knows by now that it will do no good? Will he try to bargain? Will he turn back to threats and promises of revenge?

“Basem*nt,” William gasps, his head lifting off the table.

“That was…way easier than I thought it would be,” Dean mumbles, disappointed. “Damn.”

“What basem*nt?” Michael asks. “The…basem*nt in our house? The one you never let me or Evan go near?” That door. The stab wound in his lower abdomen pulses in pain at the memory. I was only twelve.

William nods, then winces in pain at the motion.

“There have been dead bodies underneath our house all this time,” Michael repeats, staring in horror when William only looks back up at the ceiling. “You have got to be joking. You mean to tell me that our house has been above a tomb this whole time? For how long?”

William doesn’t respond. Has he gone into shock, or is he just being difficult?

“Answer me. Or I’m going to take your other eye.”

“Basem*nt,” he says immediately, twitching in pain. “In the basem*nt.”

Where?

“Hidden. Workshop. Code 8569.”

August 5th, 1969. “My birthday. Are you f*cking serious? Why?”

William’s head lolls to the side, single bloodshot eye staring directly into Michael’s soul. Michael’s stomach drops at the sorrowful look on his face. His father is not capable of sorrow, of remorse, of any human emotion, because he isn't human. He is a monster. He always has been. But that look…it’s genuine . Michael just knows. “I loved you once, you know,” he murmurs distantly, as if lost in thought. His words are garbled, almost incomprehensible thanks to the loss of his tongue, but they still hit like a punch to the gut.

Michael swallows back the tears suddenly forming in his throat. God, but his father really is an asshole. He’d only been four years old. What did he do to deserve his father’s hatred? It isn't fair. None of this is. William means the words, he knows—they aren't only meant to cause pain, make him lose his focus. They’re true. Michael isn't sure if that makes it better or worse. Worse. So much worse.

“Why did you stop?” The words are out of his mouth before he can stop them. Michael grimaces as he hears them. Does he really want the answer to that? Didn’t his father give him the answer earlier, back in the diner? That Michael had the audacity to be born and be a decent person? What other answer is he expecting? “What did I do to deserve what you did to me?”

“Michael—” Dean starts softly, reaching out a hand to touch his shoulder.

Michael shrugs it off with more force than he meant. “No, I want to know. Tell me, what horrible sin did I commit at six years old to deserve the beatings, the burnings, the verbal and emotional abuse I’ve endured every f*cking day for years? Is it really just that I was an okay person? Is it because I was born first? Is it because you have anger issues and I made an easy target? Why?” Please let there be a reason. There has to be a reason. I had to have deserved it. I must have done something wrong. If he ever loved me, then I must have made him stop loving me, because I messed up. That’s what I do, right? That’s what I’ve always done. That has to be it. There needs to be a reason. It can’t have been for nothing. All of that suffering, all of that trauma I endured, can’t have been for nothing. Please. Give me a reason.

“I don’t know.”

“What do you mean , you don’t know? That’s not a f*cking answer. I demand an actual reason. You don’t know why you stabbed your own f*cking son at twelve years old? Why you started putting your cigarettes out on my back when I was six? Why you started whipping me with a belt when I was seven? Why you constantly, incessantly, talked down to me, insulted me, made me feel worthless , like I didn’t deserve to be alive at just eight years old ? You don’t know. I was four. I deserve a lot of things, but I don’t deserve that . I never did. So tell me, Father , what did I do so wrong that I made you stop loving me?” Tell me so that I can fix it. So that no one ever hurts me the way you hurt me again. So that no one ever leaves like you did. Like Mother. Like Evan. “Tell me!”

William doesn’t say anything at first, his eye becoming unfocused the longer he stares at Michael. Michael knows he’s crying now—the tears wet and hot on his cheeks, his breath shaky, his hands trembling and his head dizzy. He doesn’t care. His father is going to die anyway. He won’t be able to hold this over him in the future.

“You are…a good person,” William finally says, slowly, the words distorted through his lack of tongue. “You always have been. I tried to…fix you. When you were younger. You would protect your sister whenever I tried to teach her a lesson. Your brother too. Always so heroic . It started with Elizabeth, when she was two, and then after Evan was born it only got worse. It was nauseating. I had to do something. If I could teach you the lessons I wanted to teach them, maybe it would rub off. You were their big brother, after all. It worked a little. Not as much as I wanted it to, but your siblings hate you now. They’ll hate you forever. Evan hated you as he died. I did it. ” William doesn’t look as prideful as Michael expected. Instead, the expression on his face is almost… mournful , as if he actually feels a little remorse over what he’s done. Michael knows that’s a lie. It has to be. His father is a monster, and monsters don't have emotions. “You really did take after me…”

“No, I didn’t . I’m doing this for Evan. Evan is still alive , and he’s going to be okay. Just because you don’t want him anymore doesn’t mean he isn’t worthy of being alive. I’m doing this for Charlie. I’m doing this for all those children you’ve killed, and all those children you were going to kill. You won’t get a chance now, because I’m going to f*cking kill you. I will make it hurt , and I will make it last . I will make you suffer . Suffer like so many of the others.” Micahel bares his teeth viciously, letting the righteous fury and bloodlust wash over him like a salve on his aching soul. It doesn’t work. He has to fight to keep his dinner down as he walks to stand directly over his father’s face, titling his head and holding the butcher’s knife aloft. So this is power. This is what it feels like to be big. This is what it feels like to win . I finally won. So why do I feel sick? I just want to go home. Can I go home now?

“Hm.” Michael brings the tip of the knife down to rest underneath his father’s left eye, enjoying the way it twitches nervously as it eyes the weapon. “You were right about one thing, though. You see, you taught me a lesson after all. Turns out I’ve learned a lot from you over the years. This isn’t justice. It’s vengeance. This is vengeance for the children you have killed. This is for your children. My siblings. Elizabeth. Evan. And me. I am the one you should not have f*cked with. And now, you are mine.” Michael can taste the fear in his breath as he inches closer, their identical noses only centimeters apart. It’s nauseating. The tip of the knife digs deeper into his skin, creating a pinprick of blood that drips down his cheek. “Tell me, Father. Do monsters feel fear? Are you afraid?”

William sobs , an awful and piercing thing, full of terror and dread. “Good. You should be. Open wide, Father. Let’s see how many times you can be pulled apart and put back together again.”

Dean offers him the pliers in exchange for the knife. Michael makes sure to drag the tip of the weapon across his father’s cheek as he hands it off. It’s easy, really, to pull someone’s teeth. Maybe it’s only easy because Michael doesn’t care about the pain he’s causing. It’s hard to care when his own father howls beneath him, bloody and desperate like a wild animal, trying to bite his fingers and failing miserably. Dean holds his head still to minimize the thrashing, but he cackles the whole time. Jeremy stands between them, holding a bowl in one hand and Michael’s lighter in the other for when it’s needed. He’d said they wouldn't need to cauterize the wound, but it would hurt like a bitch, so of course they all agreed to it. Mark is somewhere behind them all, unwrapping the wire around the spleen area.

It takes around five minutes to remove all his teeth. As each tooth gets pulled, Michael drops them in the bowl Jeremy holds out for him, both carefully avoiding Dean, who has started trying to steal some. When it’s over, Michael hands the pliers back to Dean, and steps away to allow Jeremy access to William’s mouth. As his father starts screaming again, Michael peers over Mark’s shoulder to watch as he finishes removing the last of the wire.

“We about ready?” Mark asks, dropping the wire to the floor.

“Are you doing okay?” Jeremy whispers to Michael as he approaches. “That was…intense.”

“It was,” Michael agrees. “It was…I don’t know. I’ve always wanted to stand up to him. But now that it’s actually happening…I don’t feel so great. I kinda feel sick. I—I know we have to do this. I know we need to finish what we started. I just thought I’d have more fun tearing my father apart. We’re really doing this, huh?”

“Yeah. Yeah, I guess we are.” Jeremy hesitates for a moment, reaching up to fidget with his sunglasses. “I know how you feel, I think. I’m just trying to get through the night so I can forget any of this ever happened. We’ll be okay. I promise. That wasn't okay. Are you alright?”

“I don’t know. I…I think so. I can do this. I just…need a minute.”

“Okay. Sure. Do you want me to tell the others to get started, then?”

Michael can only nod numbly.

“Okay.” Jeremy presses another kiss to his hair. Michael manages a small smile. “Hey, guys, Mike says it’s about time we begin,” he calls to the others, looking towards Dean and Mark. “You guys done over there?”

Yes, ” Mark frowns at Dean. “I am not letting you take his teeth, Dean. What would you even need them for?”

“They’re cool. We’re gonna destroy them anyway! What’s the harm in letting me take a few?”

“It’s called evidence, dumbass. We need to destroy them so the f*cking cops don’t catch us. Is that really worth a couple of teeth to you?”

Yes.

“You are so f*cking weird—

“Guys,” Jeremy called, trying not to laugh, “we’re about to cut the spleen out without you. Get over here, and bring the supplies.”

“Roger that. Dean, I’m gonna put this bowl down over here on the counter. I know exactly how many teeth are in here. If I come back later, and any are missing, you and I are not sharing a bed tonight.”

Lame.

Alright, ” Michael interrupts. “Who’s got the tools?”

“I’ll get them,” Mark frowns. “Who has the knife?”

“I do—”

“Of course you do,” he sighs, glaring at Dean’s bright grin. “You’re a menace, you know that?”

“God, I hope so. Here.”

Great. Michael, you want to go first?”

“Uhm.” The panic surges in Michael’s chest at the mere thought . His panic attack from earlier suddenly springs to mind, the image of him cutting out his father’s tongue and then immediately throwing up, begging to get this over with and go home. But that doesn’t make sense . This was Michael’s idea, wasn’t it? Murdering his father, at least—the actual torture had been Mark and Jeremy’s idea. Michael agreed to it, though. Didn’t he? So why is he hesitating now ? “Actually, Mark, I think you should do the honors,” he offers, thinking quickly. “Since he’s been so awful to you…you know…”

If the others notice how weak his voice sounds, none of them bother to mention it. Mark nods approvingly, taking the knife from Dean’s hand and following Jeremy to the table. “Alright. Jeremy, tell me what to do.”

“Right on. All you have to do is cut where it’s dead and cauterize. I’ve got the lighter and the curling iron. I don’t think there’s much fluid left in this thing, so we’ll just use this until it runs out. I unplugged the curling iron, don’t worry. Are we ready?”

Mark’s answering smile is that of a predator finally capturing their prey. It sends chills down Michael’s spine, and not the fun kind Jeremy had given him earlier. This…this is different. This is dangerous. This is…what is this? He doesn’t know, but he knows he doesn’t like it.

Jeremy guides him through the process. First, cut the blood vessels, then cauterize them, then it’s finally time to remove the spleen. Jeremy hands Mark the salad tongs, and he shoves it inside the body. As William screams in agony, Mark lifts up the organ, holding it aloft for everyone to see. Michael feels sick . Why does he feel sick? You wanted this. This is your fault. You can’t back out now. It’s too late. They’ll never forgive you.

“Now this is a fine specimen, wouldn’t you say, Jeremy?” Mark asks, looking at Jeremy. “Oh, look at that beauty. Have you ever seen anything more magnificent ?”

Jeremy is staring at the organ, face pale and jaw clenched. Dean, too, looks uncomfortable with the sheer glee on Mark’s face as he continues to hold the organ above William’s body. So Michael isn't the only one having second thoughts about this. That comforts him a bit.

Is he having second thoughts about this? He shouldn’t be. His father is a monster. He deserves to suffer for everything he has done. He deserves to have his death drawn out for as long as possible, suffering with the knowledge that his end is his own doing and unable to stop it. But do they deserve the consequences this will reap? The stain on their souls, the horrific trauma of the event, the knowledge of what they did tonight haunting them forever? Willam has to be killed. They all know that. But is this part necessary? To Michael, Jeremy, and Dean, the answer seems to be no . They had gone too far already, and they had barely begun. This isn't right. They shouldn’t be doing this. Not for William’s sake, but for theirs . They should stop, kill his father now and get it over with. They should go home . Michael just wants to go home.

It seems like Jeremy and Dean reached similar conclusions. They share an uncomfortable glance, then look at Michael, who returns the look. They all turn back to Mark, who still smiles viciously and holds the organ in the air, turning it this way and that to inspect it.

“You know, I’ve never actually seen a human organ before,” Mark continues, as if the most damning revelation of the evening hasn’t just taken place in everyone’s mind but his. “This is fascinating . I can’t wait to carve you up and see what the rest of you looks like. And to think, we’ve only just begun! There’s so much more of you to tear apart. I hope you’re enjoying this. I hope those children were worth it. This is how it feels, and now you get to experience it over, and over, and over again…forever. I will never let you leave. I will hold you here, I will keep you here, no matter how many times you beg for your pathetic f*cking life. No matter how loud you scream, no matter how much you whine, or cry, or beg and moan, I will never let you go. I will never let you rest. You won’t get tired , will you?”

William says nothing, only watching Mark’s movements as he finally lowers the f*cking spleen and drops it into the salad bowl Dean holds in his hands. Michael can’t help but notice how badly Dean’s hands shake. Michael finds his own hands are shaking, too.

“Tell me something, Willy ,” Mark begins coldly, tilting his head in the direction of William’s head. “Those children you murdered. Do you even remember their names?”

“Yes,” William whispers. “All of them.”

Good. It’s the least you could f*cking do.” Mark swivels to Jeremy, who winces when Mark’s eyes fall on him. “What’s next?”

“I…” Jeremy shoots a pleading look at Michael and Dean before returning his gaze to Mark. He anxiously twists his fingers together as he stumbles through his next words, the panic evident from the first syllable. “Actually, I—I think maybe we should wait for a little bit, you know, because this is, uh, gonna take a while, anyway, so really, there’s no need to rush through it, you know? Yeah. We should, uh, we—we should—wait. Yeah. Give it a few minutes. Hours. No, minutes. Yeah. That’s the one.” Jeremy nods enthusiastically, as if he’s successfully managed to convince any of them that he isn't on the verge of a panic attack. Michael’s heart aches for him. Dean looks close to a breakdown himself, his lip wobbling as unshed tears glisten in his eyes. What have they gotten themselves into?

Mark scoffs, looking at Jeremy incredulously. “Are you serious? Please tell me you’re joking. This was your idea, dude. Don’t tell me you’re backing out now. I thought you were better than that.”

“I’m not! Not backing out, I mean,” Jeremy holds up his hands in surrender. “I’m still on board. We all are. It’s just. You know, maybe we should take a break?”

“A break. For what? We’ve only done his spleen. Come on, what’s next?”

“The—the gallbladder,” Jeremy manages to get out. Again, he glances helplessly at Dean and Michael, silently begging for one of them to save him. “But—”

“Okay. Show me where that is. I’ll get the wires.”

Wait! ” Dean shouts, then tenses as everyone’s eyes fall on him. “Jeremy’s right,” he explains quickly. “We should think about this.”

What’s there to think about? ” Mark never raises his voice, especially at them, and the sudden rise in volume and intensity startles them. Michael blinks, trying to dispel the sudden memory of the last time someone yelled like that at someone he cared about. William. But Mark isn't his father…is he? Mark is kind. Mark is compassionate, loyal, easygoing. Honest and good all the way through. Sure, he has some anger issues, but everyone has their flaws. Michael definitely does. But this…

This is something else. This is new. This is bad. Whatever they’ve just done, it’s done something to their friend. Something has snapped inside of the person standing in front of him, who waves a knife at Dean and causes him to start sobbing. It takes so much to make their usually carefree friend break down. The fact it was one of them that finally did it makes things so much worse. Mark wouldn’t do that. But this isn't Mark. This isn't one of his best friends. This is something else. Michael hates him.

“Don’t talk to him that way,” Michael snarls back. Mark’s eyes snap to him, and the fire in them lessens as their eyes meet. Michael doesn’t care. “What the f*ck is your problem, dude? They’re right. Weren’t you the one who wanted to drag this out? It’s fine. My father is going to die anyway. There’s no need to start screaming at people. We should take a break.”

“You’re on their side?” How dare he. How dare he sound betrayed at the prospect that Michael isn't okay with him hurting their f*cking friends. “Michael—”

“No, f*ck you!” Michael folds his arms to hide their trembling. “What are you doing? What’s so wrong with taking a f*cking break? Are you really that pumped to torture my dad?”

“Of course I am! Your father is a piece of sh*t who deserves way worse than what we’re giving him. You know he does. He hurt you. I can’t just—”

“Who gives a f*ck about me? What about the others? What about his other victims, past and future? What about Evan and Charlie? You know, the people I’m doing this for? You don’t care about them?”

“Of course I do—”

“Then f*cking act like it. I’m not important. What’s important is that my father dies tonight. I don’t care how it gets done, as long as it gets done. I agree with Dean and Jeremy. We should take a break. It’s not like he’s going anywhere.”

Mark’s nostrils flare and his eyes narrow in a way that curls his gut. But after a few moments of looking disdainfully down at Michael, he groans. “ Fine. You win. We’ll take a f*cking break.” Mark opens his hand, letting the knife drop to the floor with a loud clatter. Everyone except for Mark jumps. “Sure, why not?” he muttered to himself as he turned on his heel, heading away from the others and into the main area of the kitchen. “ It’s not like he’s going anywhere, ” he mocks in a high-pitched voice. “ Assholes.

Before anyone can offer up a retort, a sudden bang catches everyone’s attention. All four of them turn to William as he slams the back of his head against the table again, making sure all eyes are on him.

“What do you want, old man?” Mark asks from afar, exasperated. “We’re kind of busy…”

William only stares at first, his remaining eye looking pleadingly at his son. When he does speak, the words are garbled by his missing tongue and having to force the words through the sobs wracking his throat. “ Michael… please. Stop this. You can help me. Please.

“Please what?” Michael arches an eyebrow, hoping the confident gesture would mask his apprehension. This is new. He’d joked about his father begging before, but he hadn’t actually expected anything to come of it. What is he playing at?

Please. Stop . I’ll do…I’ll do anything. Anything at all. Don’t do this. You’re making the worst mistake of your f*cking life. How could you do this to your own father?

When Michael doesn’t respond, he growls again, completely changing tactics. “I’m going to get out,” he swears, making sure his son’s eyes never left his. “I’m going to find you. I’m going to make it hurt . But you can stop this. Just let me go, and I’ll leave you alone. I’ll leave Evan alone. Poor little useless baby, all alone and rotting in that awful hospital bed where you put him. You did that to him. Look what you’re doing to me now. You say you aren’t like me. That you’ll never become me. But you already have. You are just like me. Heh. I’m finally proud of you, boy. Congratulations.”

“I’m sorry, are you begging for your life, or are you begging for us to take it? We can do either.” Mark folds his arms across his chest, nails digging into the skin of his biceps. He walks back over to them, curling his lip as he glares down at William. “Don’t you dare talk to him that way. That’s the whole reason you’re in this mess. If you’d kept your whor* mouth shut, maybe you would have gotten away with it, if it weren't for us meddling kids.”

Please, Michael. You want to prove you’re better than me? You want to prove you’re not the same as your dear old father? Let me out of here. Let me go. You’ll regret this for the rest of your life if you go through with this. Could you live with that, Michael? Are you a killer? I don’t think so. You couldn’t even kill your brother properly. You were sloppy. But if you really want to follow in my footsteps, I can teach you. I wasn't kidding before, you know. You really would be the perfect assistant. A real father-son duo. You’ve got the guts, I’ll give you that. All you need is the skills. Just let me go. I’m begging you.”

“Did you stop when those children begged? When they begged you to let them go, to let them live? Or did you laugh in their faces as you slaughtered them? Did you stop when your own son begged? I think we both know the answer.” Mark is angrier than any of them have ever seen him, fists balled at his sides and shoulders tense. His jaw is clenched, his nostrils flare, and the look in his eyes is… familiar . All too familiar. For a moment, it isn't Mark that Michael is cowering in fear of—it’s William , standing over him with his belt in hand and promising hours of punishment for his latest f*ckup. “I will never let you go. I will never let you leave. Beg if you want. It didn’t save the others. It won’t save you.

William laughs. “Oh, you little brat. No wonder you’re friends with my son. Everything I ever did to you, Michael…I’m going to be thinking about it as I die. How I miss the way you used to cry and beg when I hurt you. I’ll come back. I always come back. And when I do, I’ll give you a real reason to cry. You deserved it. It shows.”

This isn’t happening. This can’t be happening. I was right. I can’t do this. We should just kill him now. I don’t want to torture him. He deserves it, but I can’t do it. I want to go home. Please. Michael’s jaw tightens, his shallow breaths shaky as he furiously blinks back the tears forming in his eyes.

Jeremy is the first to speak, shattering the tense silence with a shaky voice that tries to be tough. “You’re really bad at begging for your life. Why did you think that would work?”

William tries to shrug, but given the restraints, it proves challenging. “It used to work all the time. Figured it couldn’t hurt. Would you like to tell them about that, Michael, or should I go ahead?”

“Shut up , dude. Do we need to stitch your mouth back up?” Dean growls, fingers balling into fists.

“You won’t,” he sneered, spitting blood in Michael’s direction. Michael is going to be sick . “You said it yourselves. You wanted to hear me scream. Do you not like what you’re getting? What’s the matter, Sofia? Is the torture getting to be too much for a respectable young lady such as yourself? How do you plan to mutilate your own body to fit your ridiculous, perverse fantasy if you can’t even handle cutting me open? Go back to your dolls and dresses, little girl. You aren’t meant to be here. After all, proper women should be seen and not heard.”

You shut your f*cking mouth! ” Dean starts, but Mark cuts him off.

“Ignore him, guys,” he says, placing a gentle hand on Dean’s shoulder. Dean wrenches himself away from his boyfriend’s grip, hugging himself tightly as he grimaces . “We’re about to take out his gallbladder anyway. A few more hours of this, he won’t be thinking clearly enough to talk sh*t.”

“Shut up, Mark,” Dean bites back, taking another few steps back from the teen. “This isn’t about you. William isn’t being a sexist jackass to you. I f*cking hate this asshole. Don’t you dare talk to me, to any of us, that way. Didn’t you learn your lesson before? I guess it didn’t stick. I guess we’ll have to teach you again. You think I’m f*cking playing? Where did the knife go? I’m going to rip out his f*cking throat. Just give me a minute.”

“I’ll help,” Jeremy offers darkly.

“Until then,” William continues, looking straight at Michael. “What should we talk about? Should I tell them about the burns? Those are always your favorite. Quick and easy, you used to say. When did you start doing those yourself? I know I stopped around then, but it’s always nice to revisit old favorites. Oh, how about the whippings? Has your back healed yet from the last time? Any new scars? I’d be surprised if there are. There’s not much untarnished skin back there anymore. How about that time I stabbed you for being too nosy? That was a fun one. I’d like to do that again someday…fun times.”

Everyone is too stunned to speak, every single person’s attention focused solely on William as he cackles. They can hear the pure joy in his mangled words as he continues.

“What about all the times I screamed at you until you cried? All the times I heard you crying yourself to sleep in your room, even into your teens? You call Evan a crybaby, but you’re just as bad. He must have learned it from you. Ugh. Another thing you’ve ruined about him. Shame. He had such potential…but now I’m starting to see things in a new light. Oh, Michael, you’ve opened my eyes to the possibilities. The things we could accomplish together. Such great things. I could really teach you a thing or two. You and the blond one. Oh, yes, him, ” William’s eye focused on Jeremy, who blanched and stepped away. Dean tensed, eyes darting from William to his boyfriend, but Jeremy’s eyes remained laser focused on the man strapped to the table.

“What the f*ck are you talking about?” Jeremy asks, his voice much smaller than he’d probably intended. “Stay away from me.”

“What did they say your name was, boy? Jeremy. Oh, I like you. Yes, you’ll do quite nicely. Michael could learn a thing or two from you…such intricate knowledge of the human body, and such focus and dedication. You’re perfect. Tell me, have you ever killed anyone? This can’t be your first time. You’re too skilled for that. Oh, how I want to study you. You’d be a wonderful protege. You have the brains, Michael has the brawn. A perfect duo. You really chose the right whor*, Michael. This one is perfectly suited to your talents. You both have so much potential. You two could really be something. You just need someone to cultivate it. Someone like me.

Jeremy’s face has gone pale, eyes darting from William to Michael. Dean looks like he wants to throw something. Mark, on the other hand, looks like he wants to punch something, preferably William’s already mangled face. As the stunned silence stretches on, Jeremy begins to hyperventilate, tears beginning to fall down his cheeks and his hands convulsing violently.

Michael feels nauseous. No. Anything but that. I’ll die before I let that happen. Someone should say something. Someone should do something. Anyone. Anything. Please. He stirs as he feels someone come up next to him, grabbing his bicep and digging their nails into the skin hard enough to draw blood. His eyes stay focused on his father, but he sees the blond tousled mop of hair that distinguishes Jeremy.

“It’s okay,” Dean says, voice tight. “Your dad can’t hurt you anymore. He’s not gonna be able to make good on that promise. We’re ending this tonight.”

“You’ll try ,” William snaps. “You won’t succeed. I’ll take you all down with me. Somehow, someway, all of you will suffer .”

“Yeah, yeah,” Mark rolls his eyes, but the casual gesture is ruined by the tense expression on his face and his hostile body language. “We get it. You always come back. You hate your children. You hate everyone. You’re a psychopath. Get over yourself, man.” Mark comes to stand on the other side of Dean. A hand reaches out to rest against the small of his back, but Dean stumbles away as if he’s been burned. “Hey, what the hell? Are you okay?”

“Yeah,” Dean manages. Michael has never seen him so scared before. “Just gotta get through tonight.”

“That’s right.” Mark’s lips turn up in a tiny, soft smile. Dean manages one back, but it isn't real. It’s more for show and for Mark’s own comfort than anything else. Everyone except Mark can see that. “What can I do to help?”

“I don’t know. I need him to shut up . Do you think you can manage that?”

“Coming right up. Jeremy, grab the rag. Do we have anything we can soak it in to make it more unpleasant?”

“We…” Jeremy bites his lip, trying to mask his suddenly shaky breathing. It doesn’t work. They all hear it anyway, and Mark is the only one who doesn’t care . How can he not care? This is Mark . Mark cares about everyone. “I think we, uh, have ammonia and hydrogen peroxide? To clean up the blood later.” Jeremy swallows, eyes darting nervously between the three of them. Again, Mark either doesn’t notice or doesn't comment on it. “You can shove it in his mouth and stitch it back up. Would that be okay?”

Dean can only nod numbly. Beside him, Jeremy whimpers.

“Hey, it’s okay, Jeremy. We’re gonna be okay. We’re gonna get through this. That motherf*cker won’t be able to do anything . I promise,” Mark reassures him, placing a hand on his shoulder. “Neither of you are anything like him. You won’t be. Don’t listen to him, okay?”

Jeremy doesn’t respond, his whole body now shaking as bad as his hands had been, and he stumbles, catching himself on Michael’s arm.

“Jeremy?” Dean asks, panic evident in his voice as he looks wildly between everyone, searching for anyone that could help. “ Mark!

“Oh, God. Hey—” and suddenly Mark is rushing to his side, grabbing his arm and helping to support him as Jeremy’s knees buckle underneath him. “Hey. It’s gonna be okay. Breathe. It’s okay.”

No, ” Jeremy sobs, reaching up to clutch at Mark’s arm in a vicious death grip. “No no no. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe . I’m going to die. Mark. Mark. Mark. Help. Help. Help. Please, please do something. Do something!

“Jeremy—”

Jeremy screams, the sound startling Michael and causing Dean to start crying as well. Dean is still standing on the other side of the table, face pale and body completely frozen as he watches the scene in front of them. Michael feels awful . Poor Jeremy. Poor Dean. Poor Mark, who always had to be the most responsible and level-headed member of the group all the time, who never got to break down like the rest of them because if he did, everything would fall apart . They need him. Michael needs him. He watches helplessly as Mark crouches down next to Jeremy, placing a soothing hand on his back and rubbing slow circles.

“I can’t. I can’t. Oh my God. He’s right. We can’t do this. What the f*ck. What are we doing? We can’t kill him. We aren’t murderers. Not like him. We can’t be like him. I don’t want to be like him. I don’t want to be a monster. I’m horrible. We’re all horrible. We’re all going to die. Oh, Mark. Mark. Mark. Do something. Help me. Please, ” and Jeremy’s strangled pleas devolve into a mess of desperate sobs and heaving breaths as he breaks down. Mark wraps an arm around his shoulders, squeezing and whispering words of encouragement in his ear. Michael can’t make out what words are being said, but it’s Mark . Of course it’s working. Jeremy’s breathing slowly evens out, his grip loosening on Mark’s arm after several minutes.

“I can’t do it. You can’t do it again,” he manages, searching frantically around the room until his eyes land on Dean. Dean looks helplessly back at him, hands wrapped tightly around the bowl still in his hands. “ Dean. Please. You can’t do it again. You can’t kill someone again. I have to get out of here. I have to leave. You have to get me out of here. You promised no one would know. You promised you’d be safe. You promised. Dean, Mark, please, please, help me —”

“What is he talking about?” Michael asks, reluctantly looking from Jeremy to Dean. Dean only shakes his head slowly, staring into space. There are tears in his eyes. Michael’s stomach drops . “ Dean. Answer me. Who did you kill?”

“I…” Dean blinks, sending fresh tears down his cheeks. For a moment, the room is still, the only sound Jermey’s panicked breathing as he clings to Mark.

Dean, ” Jeremy gasped, snapping Dean out of it. “Tell him. Or I will. Please.

There’s silence for several long, painful moments before Dean speaks, voice quiet and reluctant. “It was my uncle.” His eyes focus on Jeremy’s, glassy with tears and full of panic and regret. “This past summer. My Aunt Cora was never married to a man. She’s a lesbian. She and my other Aunt Lucy have been together for years. My uncle is her and my mother’s brother. Their family wanted them to come back. They’d left, because aside from my mom and my aunt, everyone is a real piece of sh*t. They sent my uncle to bring them back, and the asshole threatened them if they didn’t comply.”

Dean takes a deep breath, eyes never leaving Jeremy’s. Jeremy had started to calm down as his friend talked, never breaking eye contact. It’s a few moments before Dean speaks again, body shaking and voice unsteady and hesitant. “My mom wasn't taking his sh*t. He didn’t like that, so he threatened me instead. She told him to get out and not come back. So he hunted me down and beat the sh*t out of me, to teach her a lesson . I told you guys I would kill him. I told you. You didn’t listen. You didn’t believe me. Mark was the only one who did. Mark helped me. Mark was the only person in this f*cking room who ever cared. But Jeremy found out, and he freaked out because we were sloppy, apparently, and he was worried we were going to get caught.”

“Dean, stop,” Mark rolls his eyes. “I swear to God, if you are half as good at listening as running your mouth, we wouldn’t get into half as much trouble. I’ve told you before and I’ll tell you again, I never wanted to kill your Uncle Darren. I just wanted to help you out with whatever you needed. Don’t drag me into this. I’m innocent.”

Oh, that’s the wrong thing to say. Dean’s compassionate eyes turn on Mark, suddenly narrowing with fury. His grip tightens around the bowl still in his hands. His jaw clenches, his nose scrunches, and his lips twist in a snarl as he spat, “Oh, of course you are, you f*cking Boy Scout. You always want to play things by the book, always want to follow the letter of the law because that’s what your mama taught you.” A string of Spanish insults and curses follow. Mark winces, and even though neither he nor Michael could understand the language, they don’t need to—Dean’s face and rapid words tell them all they needed to know. “Michael had an excuse. I couldn’t ask that of him. Not when he was already dealing with so much. You, though. You’re the one that started all this. You’re the one that suggested we torture the bastard before we finish him off. Michael only wanted to kill him, to save him and his brother, and any of his dad’s future victims. You’re the one who suggested we rip him to pieces before we did it. What is it you said? Something about making sure he suffered as much and as long as possible before we killed him? Yeah, that was all you. Don’t you f*cking dare try to pretend like I’m some monster for protecting my familia. I didn’t enjoy it. But it had to be done.”

“Oh, please, ” and Mark sounds pissed now. Oh, this is going to be messy. It takes a lot for Marcus Shaw to lose his cool, and none of them had ever managed to be the catalyst before. Well, tonight is a night of firsts. “We are all complicit in this. I may have been the one to suggest the torture, but you all went along with it. Mike is the one who brought up killing his dad. Jeremy is the one to suggest organ strangulation and removal, and he’s the one that’s been guiding us this whole time on what to do. Dean, if I recall correctly, it was you who offered your aunt’s pig farm for us to use. You are not innocent in this. None of us are.”

“So I’m the bad guy for figuring out how to get rid of the body? I’m the bad guy for suggesting a place to do it? I’m the bad guy for wanting to make sure one of my best friends doesn’t get f*cking murdered by his own father? That’s the only role I had in this. I only offered the farmhouse because I thought we were just going to kill him here and feed his body to the pigs. You were the one that suggested the torture. Of f*cking course Mike wanted to kill his dad. Jeremy only suggested a few methods. You were going to do it anyway, with or without his help. With or without our help. We all know that. You want to talk about how messed up I am, and how I need to get into therapy? Okay, let’s talk about it!” Dean finally slams the bowl down on the table. The spleen makes a sickening squelching noise as it jiggles inside the bowl. Michael winces at the noise. Jeremy startles. Mark doesn’t react, his dark eyes solely focused on Dean.

“Let’s talk about your anger issues! Let’s talk about how you act like you’re such a f*cking saint all the time, yet you’re the most aggressive and vindictive out of all of us. Let’s talk about that stupid self-righteous attitude you always have, and how it crumbles the second anyone pushes your buttons too much.” Dean is shouting now, his knuckles white as his hands grip the edge of the table. He’s still crying. Dean is an angry crier, Michael remembers. They hadn't seen him cry in years . He’d always hid the tougher emotions underneath a flashy grin or a quick joke. Dean is definitely not joking now. His friend looks more serious than Michael ever remembers seeing him. It’s terrifying .

“How about we talk about how these issues have been a giant f*cking problem for this friend group for years? ” Dean continues, grinding his teeth. “Why don’t we discuss how much violence gets you going, how you go out of your way to start fights and cause arguments just because you want to throw some punches? How about we talk about all the times you’ve nearly gotten arrested by my dad because you started a fight you couldn’t finish or pissed off the wrong person? How many times have you almost gotten the rest of us arrested because of it? You’re a dick, Marcus, and I’m f*cking tired of everyone pretending like you’re the best of us. You’re just as f*cked up as we are. You aren’t better because you’re smarter, or you’re taller, or your mom is a rich bitch lawyer and your dad is some fancy therapist who knows all the right words to say. I’m f*cking sick of it. Get your sh*t together.”

“Don’t talk about my mom like that!” Now Mark is yelling. Great. They’d all gotten used to the sound of Mark’s screaming over the course of their friendship, given his issues— but this is the first time his rage had ever been directed at one of them . “How f*cking dare you—”

“Dean’s right,” Jeremy interrupts, wrenching himself out of Mark’s grasp and scooting backwards. Away from Mark, away from both of them. Closer to Michael. “I’m sick of it too. You always act so high and mighty, and yet who was the one who started this whole thing?”

Michael did,” Mark scoffs, rolling his eyes. “This is all his fault—

“No the f*ck it isn’t!” Jeremy protests, standing up to glower down at him. “Mike is the one who started this, sure. I’ll admit that. He’s the one who brought up the idea of killing his dad. But can you blame him? We’re not just doing this for fun. We’re doing this to save people, to avenge his past victims. This is the only option. Michael only wanted to kill him. Quick, easy, efficient. That’s what we were all on board with until you f*cked it up. Until you mentioned it, none of us had even thought of torture. None of us wanted that. You have anger issues, which you refuse to acknowledge and therefore refuse to deal with, making them even worse. Those issues have caused a ton of problems for this friend group in the past, but I think this takes the f*cking cake. You’ve been so high on righteous fury that you haven’t thought of anything but.” Now Jeremy is angry, ears and face red with rage and his fists curled at his sides, ready to punch whoever is stupid enough to come close.

“From the beginning, you’re the one who has been encouraging the torture, encouraging us all to not let him get away with it so easily and telling us how much he deserves to suffer like we don’t already f*cking know,” and Jeremy is gesturing wildly with his hands now like he always does when he gets really worked up about something. Oh, this is serious. This is bad . “You didn’t think about the consequences of kidnapping and torturing a man for hours on end. You didn’t think about how that would affect Dean and me, who didn’t want any of this in the first place. You didn’t think about how this would affect Michael .”

Everyone’s eyes turn on him now. Michael feels so small underneath their gazes. Even though they aren't mad at him , this is still awful. “This is for him. Did you forget that? We agreed to do this for him. Because he’s our friend, and we care about him, and we want him to be safe and happy. He can’t do that if his father is here. Nobody is safe while William Afton is still alive. We needed to kill him, but we never needed to torture him. He’s going to suffer enough in hell.”

“Why didn’t you stop me, then, if this is all my fault? If I’m such a problem, why didn’t you guys ever say anything? Why didn’t you say no to my idea?”

“Because—ugh, Mark, come on. We’re scared of you. We’re scared of saying no to you, or going against you, because it’s you. We’ve always seen you as the best of us, the smartest, the most level-headed, the most rational. The rest of us are aware of our flaws. If you say it’s a good idea, we should usually listen to you. But you went too far this time. We can’t do this. We can’t continue. We just…we can’t.”

“We should have stopped before we even began,” Dean chokes out around his sobs. “In the car, after we cut out his tongue? Michael was right. Jeremy was right. This is your fault, Mark. You were the one that suggested the torture, and you were the one who said we should tear him apart. We heard your conversation outside of the car. Mike wanted us to stop . He begged you to take us home. He told you he’d changed his mind and that he didn’t want to be like his dad. He told you that we should just kill him quickly and get it over with, which is what he wanted to do in the first place . You were the one who told him that we needed to keep going, and talked him out of it. This is for Mike. We should have listened to him. What the f*ck are we doing? We can’t do this. We aren’t strong enough. We’re fourteen, for God’s sake. This is so f*cked up…what’s wrong with us…oh God…”

Dean removes his hands from the table’s edge and wraps them around his biceps instead. He crosses his arms and holds them tightly against his chest. “I don’t regret helping you, Mike. I won’t regret helping you kill your dad. But I regret ever agreeing to this torture stuff. I…I know I have a reputation, okay? I know I’m crazy. I love all the illegal sh*t, and I know a ton of ways to just barely break the law and get away with it. But this… I’ve…I’ve never tortured anyone before. When we killed my uncle, it was quick. Not painless, but it didn’t take too long. We cut out his tongue, and we pulled all his teeth, but that’s it. Beginner stuff. We just…chopped him up, afterwards. Right here, on this table, with the restraints and everything. But we didn’t…we didn’t do this.

Dean swallows hard, choking on another sob. He shakes his head to dispel it, his black curls bouncing frantically with the motion. “We didn’t do anything like this. I don’t want to hurt anyone. I like the fun stuff, like arson and tax evasion. I didn’t like killing my uncle. I don’t enjoy this either. Michael…I’m so sorry. I can’t…I can’t… I can’t. ” He takes a deep breath, screwing his eyes shut and shuddering violently. “I told you, I only want to protect my family. You guys are my family too. All of you, even if we fight sometimes. A lot of times…but I’d do anything for you. Yeah, I killed my uncle. He was a piece of sh*t and he deserved it. I didn’t like it, but it needed to be done. My family is safe because of me. Michael, your father is the same. I’ll help you kill him. But I won’t do this anymore.”

“Neither will I,” Jeremy agrees, meeting Dean’s eyes. They nod once at each other before Jeremy turns to Michael. “Michael…you should come with us. I know you don’t want this either. Let Mark handle it.”

“Oh, no the f*ck you don’t— ” Mark begins furiously, but Jeremy ignores him.

“I’m sorry, Mark, but you know he’s right. I’ve never done anything like this before. I’m just a dork who watches way too many crime and medical shows. Until now, all the sh*t I’ve learned has only been theoretical to me. Now that I’ve actually done some of it…I don’t think I’ll be able to sleep at night. I want to go home. Once it’s…once you're done with this part, come get us. We’ll be upstairs. Mike, you coming with us?”

Michael nods furiously, trying desperately to dispel the tears that had begun to run down his face. “Yeah. Yeah. I want to leave. I’m coming with you. You’re both right. I never wanted this. I…I thought I did. I thought I could be strong. I thought I could be like him. But I can’t. I’m not. I won’t be. I don’t want to do this. I just wanted to kill him. I just wanted to keep everyone safe. Now I just…I just want to go home. I want to see Evan. Let’s go home… I’m so sorry…

“It’s not your fault,” Jeremy says, offering his hand and a tender smile. “We know you aren’t to blame. At least, not alone. We all are. We should have listened to you in the car. You were right all along. Dean and I got a bit carried away. We should be apologizing to you. One of us should have stopped this insane plan before it got out of hand. We should have stood up for you. Come on, let’s go upstairs. I’ll check your stitches again, and we can check on Dean’s ear. If Mark wants to torture your dad so bad, he can do it himself.” Jeremy’s arm had come to rest across his best friend’s shoulders, squeezing soothingly. His unoccupied hand comes to rest on the shoulder he’d been leaning against. “I’ll help you up the stairs. Dean, drop the spleen and let’s get out of here.”

“Yeah.” Dean doesn’t seem capable of saying anything else, picking up the salad bowl with the spleen still inside and dumping the contents in the black bag they’d prepared. Dean shudders as the organ quickly slides out, making a splat as it lands at the bottom of the empty bag. “I’m gonna be sick.”

“Me too. It’s okay. Help me with Michael?”

“Yeah. It’s gonna be okay, Mike,” Dean soothes, coming over to Jeremy and Michael and placing a gentle hand on the teen’s back. “You’re gonna be okay. We’re gonna leave. You know what, actually—Jeremy, we should probably take him to the hospital. If we’re getting out of the way anyway, we should definitely get him some medical attention. That eye is gonna get infected or something, right? Not to mention his stab wound. That’s gonna be fun to explain…”

“f*ck, you’re right. Okay. I don’t know where the nearest hospital is, so you’re gonna have to guide me while I drive. Do we need to grab anything before we leave?”

“I don’t think so—”

Wait. ” Mark rushes to his feet, swaying unsteadily and moving towards them. “Hold on. I’m coming with you.”

“No, you aren’t .” If looks could kill, Mark would be even more f*cked up than William right now. Mark stumbles back in surprise at the icy expression on his friend’s face. “I don’t want you anywhere near me. Not after all of that. They’re right. I didn’t…I didn’t want this. I just wanted him gone. I wanted it to hurt, but I didn’t want it to last this long. I know he deserves it. I know he deserves worse. But I’m not that kind of person. I’m… I’m not like him. I can’t be. You wanted me to be. You need to stay away. ” Michael isn't sure who the words hurt more—himself, or Mark, who’s clearly trying so hard not to break down.

“Michael…”

“Mike is right. You’ve done more than enough damage for one night, don’t you think? Don’t make this worse for us. No one wants you around right now,” Dean spits viciously.

“That’s not fair—”

“I think it’s completely fair,” Jeremy interjects, grip tightening on Michael, protecting him. “Dude. You are out of control. I don’t know who the hell you are, but you’re not my friend. You’re not Mark. I know Mark, and this isn’t him. You need to get your sh*t together and figure out what the f*ck is going on. You need to calm down. Hopefully, that’ll happen before we come back. But you aren’t coming with us. I think we all need a break from you.”

Mark is sobbing now, although it’s clear he’s trying desperately not to. His front locs sway as he slowly shakes his head, disbelief evident on his face. “Guys. Come on. It’s me. You know…I wouldn’t…I wouldn’t hurt you.”

“Do we? You were brandishing a knife at your boyfriend and I, so forgive me if I don’t really believe you right now.” Jeremy’s voice makes it obvious that he’s trying very hard to stay calm in the face of his friend’s breakdown. If Jeremy buckles now, Mark will manage to come with them, and Michael can’t handle that right now. Maybe not ever again.

“Look, Mark…just take a break for the next few hours, okay?” Dean pleads, stepping in front of Michael. “Please. For me. Take a breath, stay away from William, and try to get a clear head. Calm down. We’ll be back soon. Okay? We can all talk later. When you’re done with this. But we can’t be here. I can’t do this again. William is right. We aren’t killers. We aren’t like him.”

Mark opens his mouth as if to argue, then thinks better of it and closes it again. “...Okay. I respect your choice. Just…please be safe. I’ll watch your dad while you’re gone. We can…talk, when you guys get back?”

Dean nods, Jeremy and Michael following after a moment of hesitation. They begin to guide Michael out of the kitchen, through the main level of the farmhouse and out the front door. They’re in the car and pulling out of the driveway before Michael passes out from the stress and exhaustion.

Michael Afton's Step by Step Guide to Killing Your Abusive Dad and Getting a Boyfriend in the Same Night - Chapter 5 - gummysharksupremacy (2024)
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