Tangible Schizophrenia


The Proverbial

Author: Guede Mazaka
Rating: R for disturbing imagery.
Pairing: Sands/El
Fandom: Once Upon a Time in Mexico
Feedback: Whatever you like, at your preferred length.
Disclaimer: Belongs to R. Rodriguez and Co.
Notes: Sands has had eye-reconstruction surgery, as per here. //words// in Spanish. Psychic!El.
Summary: El has an interesting way of making his decisions. For the contrelamontre 'proverb' challenge, with proverbs taken from here. Done in 54 minutes.


"An eye for an eye, El--that's all I want."

Shaking off the grasping hand, he did his best to pretend the filth-faced American wasn't there. El cradled his guitar back into its case, then flipped the lid shut. He began to snap the clasps, but a splinter-thin set of fingers interrupted him, sliding across his knuckles to feel worn leather. Slapping them away, he furiously shook his head.

"Transactions in hell also depend on money, you superior fuckass, and you know I can pay," Sands hissed, latching onto El's shoulder.

Certainly. Pay with blood, with spirit, with sight…

Snarling, El kicked his case to safety and ripped himself into the wall, hoping to ward off the growing pinch in his mind, but it refused to diminish. Bloomed instead, digging roots deep into his eyes and flaring out into white grey black black--


Desert. He was standing ankle-deep in sucking sand, staring out at broad sweep of brutally crystal blue that bordered the lands. Narrowing his eyes against the clear white glare of light, El took in his surroundings.

No graveyards this time, no smoky bars with mysterious audiences. Nothing but the essence of Mexico, stripped down to its skeleton. Twisted dry remnants of hair straggling into desiccated trees, rotten teeth rearing up from the skull-colored ground to form mountains. The only living thing a burning glaring eye, set high up in the sky's socket. It parched El, sucking out the sweet liquid of life from his veins and leaving the ever more concentrated vitriol behind to etch his bones out of his flesh.

Made him stagger and fall, throwing out palms just in time to catch himself on the grit ground. The grains and pebbles ripped into his skin, spilling out red, red blood. Scarlet as his wife's lips, as the open-lipped wounds still gaping within his hardened shell. El raised up his hands to the light, watching the crimson stains shrivel to blackened dull rust. Stigmata here and gone. That which can be given can be taken away.

Something skittered near his knee, flapping wrong and weak. Turning warily about, El suddenly found himself with a bird in hand. Sleek once, and sleek still under its draggled feathers of chalk and charcoal. Bright diamond eyes met his gaze, unashamedly fierce.

No pupils. Frowning, he tried to calm the wild thing, to steady the dragging bent wing, but it refused him. Though its movements gradually grew slower and smaller, it still refused. Pecked randomly till it hit his palm, then dove down and tore.

Hissing, El froze. He watched it pull up the strips, flopping the jagged ruby gobbets down its slender throat. Saw his hands bleed afresh, dripping red rain into the thirsty dust. Felt the crackle and snap of his nerves awakening to the savaging, felt the tiny fluttering heartbeat settle into a content rhythm, tapping against his fingers.

Finally finishing its meal, the bird fluffed out its motley feathers, nestling in the pool of blood that had collected in his cupped palms. El was lightheaded, with every soft brush of down over his lacerated skin seeming to stroke him inside out. He fell backward, holding the blank-eyed bird high up as he descended.

And then he saw the other two birds, spiraling so far up above him. Unrelieved black, silent and appalling, the smaller having no less presence than its much larger counterpart. When they flew over the sun, the day had a moment of night.

Stooping, the bigger of the two made a questioning pass over El. Did he want passage? Transport beyond the sun, into the sinking west?

Sharp pain startled him out of his thoughts, jerking his attention back to his other companion. Feebly wriggling, the small bird had nevertheless managed to coat itself in vivid scarlet, shining like the newborn dawn.

One in hand is worth-


Curling his wrists about, El seized the hands roughly flapping over him and wrenched them up, pinning them to a heaving chest. Slammed his own back against the wall, then slammed his legs down over Sands'. He tried to collect his thoughts, but the constant noise always shattered them, leaving him to boil with frustration. Unthinkingly, he snapped his head around and smashed his lips down on the other man's mouth, forcing it to stop emitting sounds.

But that only turned it from one kind of movement to another. El swallowed words, tasting their bile, and then a gasp, coated in biting lime. And after that, a low soft mewl, accompanied by soft pushing lips and a hesitant tongue. Deceptive in its delicacy, it wound round El's breath and stole it into another pair of lungs, making him yank away and pant.

"So that's how you like it: put your money where your mouth is," Sands muttered, shaking. Not moving away. Moving toward.

//When death comes, the rich man has no money and the poor man no debt,// El replied absently, still half-woven into the vision. //But it seems that the worst life is still better than the best death.//

Sands didn't respond. With words, at least. He shifted sideways, laying his head against El's shoulder, long sweaty hair feathering over El's neck. Extended one finger and eased out one of El's guns, flickering nails over the metal.

Deep in the tendons, the maimed hand began to throb, the ache blowing away the obscuring dream-wisps from the mariachi's mind. Carefully watching those long-eyelashed scars, El let Sands take the pistol and heft it. Let the American fire off a round at a pigeon clucking a few feet away.

Sands missed. But only by a few inches. By the time the next vision came, El knew the shot would be dead-center.