Author: Guede Mazaka
It was a nice conversation. Outwards, anyway. Inwards-wise, Sands thinks it's scratching at his skin, under his skin, flaying off bits of him that he'd forgotten were there, old peeling dangling scabs on cuts and missing pieces that he wishes weren't there, or were there. Hard to remember, it's been so long. And that's the point. He didn't want to remember, and that's why he forgot.
Doesn't help any that he can feel the strips of El's skin rolling up beneath his nails, bloody and drippy because the man's kind of a drip, but not really, and that's what's fucking with Sands, that he can't even see now and he still knows that things are changing, that his skin is shifting or maybe being replaced. And fucking transplants-he's never bought that weird sci-fi nerd shit about transplant personality traces, but now he's thinking Mexico and El are getting to him, and that's why it is such a fucking relief when the bells crazy-sing through him, and: "El, give me my goddamn-"
--except no completion needed there, because that motherfucking mariachi's already throwing him the gun, metal whistling through the air to smack right hard down in Sands' palm, and the doors and windows are whispering. No, they're not-it's the creak of tendon pulling on bone, the squelch of sweat-soaked Armani collar, and hell, yes, gentlemen, let's go-
Bangbangbangbang. Baby, let me in.
Sure. With holes in, or out?
Not like Sands bothers to stop and wait for a reply; those cuntbag Italian-soled soulless pissants are too busy playing catch-up to be nice and let cripples go first, so Sands jabs his gun like the biggest obscenity ever in the air and pre-empts 'em. Up the fucking creek, my dear, because-
wallsglass shatter window
And the trigger slides so easy against his finger, tingle-caress multiplied to killing speed by the great Asian gift to the stinking southern barbarians. Gunpowder, Genghis Khan, pretty cheongsam whores in Chinatown. Sands bends into the smoke so the cordite burn whips up his nose, heat prickles over his cheek. Just barely notices because everything's coming up roses, gliding bullets past him, nicking his clothes and his shirt's slipping 'cause it's not even buttoned. Sorry, not dressed for this, but--
--it's a dance, dig it? Swing right, shot four-five-six and duck low. He can't remember the fucking layout-of course not, he wasn't conscious when El dragged him in. But El's not dragging now-he's twirling like a fairy, from the sound of things. Blows and muttered curses slip-glide up Sands' neck, dip into his ears, and whoo-he shoves his hand down to the floor, splinters fucking his skin, and comes up with two fresh guns, newly cast off and fancy-free just like-
His mouth's so wide in its grin he's doing a rictus, say hello to the skeleton and that's a lousy response, pain creasing shallow over his arms and legs. Not deep enough to scar, and yet goes far down, rattle playing along his bones like death's taken up the xylophone. And Sands crouches and rolls to the middle that he knows is clear, spinning right round to hit the constant scream-snarl-crash. The guns are slamming back into his hands, slamming them back into his wrists-
shaking shaking marrow thrum down to core and reverberate through skull
hold on hold on ride it catch hold on the pain and the ache and feel it
Stretch. Stretching, baby. It's a firefight, and it's invisible flames of exertion and murdering tiptapping up every nerve, stringing them out. He's whipping his arms about to keep track of the live ones, the wires that burn the air and make his sweat rise and run down his face so he's got to lick his lips. Wants to swipe his forehead, too, but his hands are caught-
--held down by the weight of his guns, still firing. And when they snap empty, he melts down, shimmies on rough floor-
grit teeth against the rough wood the silk-wet blood and just follow the friction go with the flow
--finds more guns, welcoming his fingers with bucks and kicks that shoot straight down and come back up to blow out his brain, singe it screw it to pieces. He's in the grip of a brutal whirlwind, feeling it tease into his hair and yank his head back-whoa, bit of burn past his throat, there-and fucking God, it feels so-
further higher faster farther goddamn it give it to me push it push it burn it up upupupupUP
--his left hand's all ready to put red-hot lead through one dumb groaning prick-come-lately, and then it jerks.
Left. Six inches. He fires.
"Fuck!" It's El. It's El and he was where the shot would've gone, only it didn't because Sands-
dancing dancing swing your partner round and do-si-do
--feels the silver links sear his flesh from across the room, feels a scar that isn't there pull his one hand even tighter around the gun. They're still fighting, tearing up the room and the building and the world while they shatter themselves apart, only everything's breaking first and they can't find anything hard enough. Sands stays put, partly because he's got his groove and partly because he still has no fucking idea where the chairs or the bed or even the goddamn pisshole toilet is, and partly because that's what he does. Always did. Stay and wait for the action to come his way, drape friendly arm over his shoulder and rake air down his back like that one would-be punch from behind, which-
--doesn't connect. He drops his empty gun and grabs that fist, slips sideways and lets the arm skim through his loose-curled fingers, almost lover-like. And then he brings his other gun about to smash bones and feed on brains. Too easy to get more guns-
Mexico, says the 'duh' voice
--Sands shoots and shoots, pivoting and back-spinning until his head is rising off his shoulders, throwing back in screams, which is all theory because he can't hear shit for all the firing. Except for El, who's swirling about Sands' center, shooting and kicking and punching so the jingles come every so often through the loud whipping storm-howl. Mariachi's working his way in, feet working that spiral, and he's spinning the fight around Sands, winding its hotfuckrage around Sands' flesh and blood and bones. Forget about the mind; that's long gone because-
--tight, tight, oh, fuck, it's getting so tight and thick he can't breath, he can't hear, he can't he can't he fucking can't--
--then they run out of enemies. Sands can't believe it. He starts to keen, twisting back on himself-
--but El's gun stops him by virtue of colliding with the side of his face, and the metal's past egg-frying, scalding, incinerating, but Sands is already hotter and he's panting and he tastes salt-copper-acid-death-blood, and he feels it even worse because his gun's up against El's cheekbone, running over what Sands bets his fucking soul is a fucking ugly bruise, but El ain't shifting away, ain't wincing, and it's so, so fucking hot.