I’m diggin’ my way
Yes, I’m diggin’ my way to somethin’
I’m diggin’ my way to somethin’ better
I’m pushin’ to stay
Yes, I’m pushin’ to stay with somethin’
I’m pushin’ to stay with something better
I’m sowin’ the seeds, yes
Yes, I’m sowin’ the seeds I’ve taken
Sowin’ the seeds I take for granted
This thorn in my side
Yes, this thorn in my side is from the tree
This thorn in my side is from the tree I’ve planted
It tears me and I bleed … and I bleed
I am the beast that feeds the beast
I am the blood, I am release
Come make me pure, bleed me a cure
I’m caught, I’m caught, I’m caught under
Caught under wheel’s roll
I take the leech, I’m bleeding me
Can’t stop to save my soul
I take the leash that’s leading me
I’m bleeding me … oh, I can’t take it
I can’t take it, I can’t take it
Oh, oh the bleeding of me
~ Bleeding Me (Metallica)
Chicago seemed devoid of any predators quite like him; the city was glutted with game and there was almost nothing to keep the numbers down, until now.
Victor crouched and bristled, hackles stiff as his growl filled the air with the fear stench of the prey. Long and tightly braided, his blonde hair hung from his nude body, as streaked red and stiff with blood as the rest of his fur.
Before him, three young males held their ground with chains, blades, and a pipe to protect them. Behind him, their prey had fallen against a concrete wall of the abandoned warehouse.
“What the hell is it?”
“That has to be a fucking mutie. Check out all that blood…”
“It’s packing after all, man – look at that fucking monster dick! That’s a damn cartoon.”
“Hey, mutie,” the first one spoke again, “you want to fuck that creepy faggot with that creepy dick?”
The second one began to back up. “You guys want to take that on? Those … claws, teeth… Count me out…”
Victor hissed and jumped. His large hands grabbed the heads of the ones who were still standing there. Five three-inch Adamantium claws each stabbed into their skulls. He leapt over them where they had dropped, twitching, and pounced on the last one before it had the chance to run more than a few feet. It was the smallest, but still far stronger than the prey they had been beating bloody.
“Oh shit, please no!”
Victor dropped his jaw and set the teeth at the temples on either side of the face. The scream was cut away seconds before the face was sheared off of the head in two irregular hunks of flesh and skull.
With a snarl, he let the pieces fall from his mouth and began to cut into the torso through the clothes. He carved out what he wanted and began to eat as a fierce hunger thrashed in his belly. Beyond his prey, the last living thing in the place tried to move, attempting and failing to be quiet. Focused on the meat, he ignored it.
Taking all he wanted from the first, he moved to the next, cutting loose the rich organs and consuming them. The last one was the biggest. After leaving the torso a bloody half-empty shell, he used claws to tear the denim away from the thick thighs. Snarling again at another sound behind him, he opened his jaw. As he bent low over the prey and bit saliva-coated fangs into the meat, the wounded witness choked and threw up.
His fangs and bite force easily crushed the heavy femur to suck at the marrow inside. Soon, both of the thighs were hollowed out and consumed.
Victor pivoted in his crouch to face the witness, seeing a person in a rumpled dress and blonde wig who looked very much like a female but smelled like a male. On knees and staring at him in horror, the face was bloody, the nose possibly broken, and one eye was beginning to swell and darken. Injuries that did not instantly heal on others fascinated him and he watched the flesh grow more swollen before he remembered that the stench of terror was because of him.
He settled on his knees and haunches, placing his hands, with bloody claws retracting, on his furry blood-smeared thighs. “Won’t harm ya,” he spoke in a rasping whisper. “If ya find that hard t’ process, I’ll understand. There’s a hospital not too far away – ya wanna go there?”
“I… Yes. You can talk.”
“Yup, but I sing like a toad. Unclench, darlin’. Can ya stand? Gonna get even more blood on that pretty frock if I hafta carry ya. How’d ya end up in here with tha three bears, Goldilocks?”
“They wanted … to rape me. Then they found out…”
“Figured.” Victor rose to his feet, leaned down, and offered a hand. “Come on. I should get back to my clothes, but it’s on the way.”
“You know – you don’t care?”
“Nope.” Victor smirked when his assistance was accepted. Steadying the pretty thing on her feet, he added, “I swing both ways, myself – most any way there is, if tha fancy strikes.”
“Do you normally go around rescuing people like me?”
“I ‘spose I’ve saved a few damsels, here an’ there. T’night yer just lucky – this meat caught my eye two blocks back an’ I was hungry ‘nuff t’ track ‘em in here.”
“So now you … aren’t hungry anymore – right?”
“Actually, I am,” Victor answered, but then gave her a wink. “Only way I’d eat tha likes o’ ya is if ya lemme buy ya coffee when yer feelin’ better, an’ we hit it off ‘nuff t’ go somewhere private.” The startled and uncomfortable expression that won him made him chuckle. “Just kiddin’. Better get yer freaked out looks in fast – way yer face is swellin’ up, won’t be able t’ soon ‘nuff. Gonna escort ya t’ tha ER an’ threaten ‘em t’ be nice t’ ya, an’ then I’ll go my merry way an’ get back t’ huntin’.”
“The ER… I can’t … afford that. I can just walk home, it isn’t far.”
“Ya need a doc, an’ that’s where yer goin’.”
His damsel was silent, sure proof she had some brains. She followed him as he retraced his trail to his boots, clothes, and coat. Victor put the long black coat over her shoulders before he began to dress.
“It’ll drag on the ground…”
“Won’t matter none.” Not caring about what a mess he was, he pulled the clothes on, stomped into the boots, and straightened.
“This is all … very strange.”
“Don’t faint on me.”
“The Grateful Dead?”
Smirking, Victor touched the hem of his black t-shirt. It was covered with colorful stylized bears forming a conga line in a spiral under the band’s logo. “It counts as ironic whimsy, maybe? Good tunes.”
“Obviously, you’re a mutant. Who are you?”
“Ya can call me Victor.”
Before they left the building, Victor did pick her up and carry her. She passed out on the way to the hospital. He stayed in the ER and was there with the doctor when she was looked over.
“Sir?” the man asked. “Your … girlfriend … has…”
“A penis? Yeah, I did notice that. She’s still decidin’ whether or not t’ take tha plunge. Just make sure she gets ‘er pretty back, doc; tha rest ain’t yer prob. Stick with callin’ ‘er ‘she’, too – so’s I ain’t gotta come back here an’ give ya lessons in queer manners.”
“I’m gonna call ‘er ma t’ come an’ get ‘er when she can be released. I wanna nurse watchin’ over ‘er nonstop t’night. We were mugged, it got bloody, an’ I need t’ make a statement t’ tha cops. Here,” he added, and handed the man a business card, “tha bills get sent there, got it? Tell ‘er it’s bein’ paid fer by ‘er grump o’ a boyfriend who said not t’ give ‘er ma no lip.”
Before he left, he checked the pocketbook inside her purse for a driver’s license and found an I.D. card, but no credit cards.
Less’n twenty bucks, too. So Goldilocks is Frederick Williams, fer now. Noting the address, he got into his own wallet and tucked a wad of presidents into hers, along with another of Obinata’s business cards. Tucking the purse back under her arm, he leaned in and pressed a chaste kiss to her forehead over the swollen eye. “Get well, Goldilocks.”
Retrieving his coat from a chair, he stopped for coffee and drank it as he walked out, ignoring the rumble of his stomach. In a city like this, that would be quickly resolved.
~ ~ ~
From inside the Loop, to along the shore of Lake Michigan, and back to the South Side, he left broken, slashed, and mutilated corpses in his wake. The cops would be stirred up like wasp nests soon enough. He had always ignored them; killing in different jurisdictions was more for entertainment than trying to avoid being caught.
They would find no fingerprints on his discarded prey – he’d worn his gloves since leaving the hospital. Any trace of body fur he might have left behind would only confuse them more, or finally tell them what they didn’t want to know: it wasn’t an escaped zoo animal slaughtering their sheep, or a human serial killer – it was a mutant apex predator that they simply had no way to fight or defend against.
Ready for the next ambush, he smirked over the horror he was leaving in his wake as he absently rubbed the slight distension of his stomach. The body count had gone so high and so fast that it was left to gamely try to digest and metabolize it all, and the skin there was hot to the touch. The healing factor was a furnace: burning, gathering, storing – readying his body for survival. Yet this hunt went beyond need – it was the bloodlust that sang in his veins now, and that hunger was rarely sated.
Bet it hits tha international news by mornin’ – def gonna worsen human an’ mutant relations. Consider it a love letter, Cueball – signed with tha bloody claw on my middle finger.
The night wind whipped his hair into his face as he climbed down the framework under the L, just as a train on the Green Line rattled overhead. East 25th street on the South Side around him looked like a demilitarized zone, so he felt right at home.
Clinging to metal beams several feet off of the ground near the overpass, he heard opportunity heading his way in the form of three people running. They would pass right by him, capping off his hunt just right.
He let the first one pass by. It was older, wheezing, and running as fast as it could to get away from the younger pair. When they reached him, he roared and jumped.
The first, a blonde human male, was smashed down by his weight. His companion skidded to a stop on the sidewalk and looked back, his eyes going wide before he screamed obscenities and fled for his life.
Victor let the brunette run; a couple of eye-witnesses always got the best media explosion even if the high-risk group they belonged to would never be believed.
Stabbing his claws into the back of the blonde, he hauled the quivering and shrieking lump up to his face.
“Oh shit, oh God, no, no, no, take anything, man, please, whatcha want?”
With a grin spreading to show all of his pointed teeth, Victor pressed his prey to his chest and dragged it off into the weeds a little way back from the road.
He laid it down, bending its back so that the throat was exposed. Sniffing at it, he purred at the stench of its fear. He removed one hand’s claws from the back. Ripping the cotton hoodie and shirt to shreds, the claws poised over the heart.
“Still hungry,” he murmured, a growl rumbling up in his throat.
“I got money, please, please!”
“Yeah? So do I.”
He plunged the claws in fast, the Adamantium razors slicing the breastbone in seconds, allowing him to grab and tear free what he wanted. The human’s scream was sharp and short as the glistening organ was pulled free through the ruin of bone and meat. His other hand dropped the corpse, amber eyes watching the red muscle as it convulsed a precious few more beats.
Raising it up, Victor tilted his head back and squeezed the blood into his open mouth, heedless of the droplets that struck his face. Turning his head and biting into the pulp, his sharp carnassial teeth sheared it away in warm chunks until it was gone. He licked blood from the leather gloves on his fingers, before kneeling in the weeds and dirt to open the rest of the meat sack. He quickly selected and ate one by one the best morsels: thymus, pancreas, and liver.
Senses wallowing in the kill, he let the blood take him over. The more nutrient-rich organ meat he ingested, the stronger the healing factor became, until it finally felt replete.
He crouched there for some time after, listening to the wind and small night noises hidden underneath the din of thrumming tracks and the thunderous clatter of passing trains that made his ears pin down. The toes of his heavy boots dug into the hard-packed dirt under the vegetation, his body growing restless again so quickly.
Blood in his veins and in his swollen stomach were different harmonious notes to the hum of life, of survival. Yet the stomach was sated – so it was time to feed his other addiction. It was already building, fed by the blood on his hands, on his face, down his throat. The blood coursed and moved, and sharpened in his groin.
As he rose, the hem of his coat painted the pooling blood on the weeds and concrete into a wide smear. Leaving the remains of the kill, he loped away to his new goal, one of the reasons he had come here again. It was a place where he wouldn’t be hurried, harassed, or shot at, and the bounty of things he could fuck was unmatched.
Wonder if Claudette still leaves a candle in tha window fer me?
Author’s Note: This story is part 4 of my series Equilibrium: of Cruelty and Pain. It is the sequel to Redemption and The Hunt: Three Our Fathers. If you haven’t read parts 1 through 3, there are some spoilers in here. As one may imagine, Sabretooth on a heartbroken bender in a big city can be very violent and cruel. For a person who can’t really get drunk (and doesn’t see the point in trying because it would take a few truckloads of booze to get there) his escape drug of choice is sex, the hunt, blood, terror, and death – and sometimes he likes to mix and match those options to horrifying effect. He’s also being driven into the red zone by PTSD level nightmares that leave him coping with sleep deprivation. Therefore, this will be a rather bloody and violent story – like most of my Sabey tales, LOL.
In the canon Sabretooth limited series, Mary Shelley Overdrive (Nov. 2002), a character named Bonnie Hale seduced Victor and ended up working her way into his obsessions. Mary Shelley Overdrive is my favorite Sabey story and it influences my Sabey tales quite a bit, here and there. I highly recommend it as an excellent read. Also, my Sabey tales are often chock-full of spoilers about that story, so fair warning, if you haven’t read it yet. Thanks for reading! – AnonGrimm (@MET_Fic)