Anyone who's read ArkNorth's fanfiction "Moon Child" in its entirety may rememember something similar from the chapter "Dream Master." That was a guest-chapter that I wrote for ArkNorth's fic. This story borrows a great deal from what I did with that guest-chapter, but is expanded... and more...gorey.
Vash has a nightmare. Rated R for gore and nastiness. This IS a horror story. You have been warned.
He stood on an open plain, the wind whistling all around him. It was too neat, impossibly clean. Legato laid there, a smirk on his face, a terribly peaceful look, too content, too pleased. People were not supposed to be happy to die. It was that which they were most afraid of, the pain, the journey into the unknown, the end of existence. It is what he protected people from. He had to save the girls, as well as the townspeople. There was no other way. He could hear Rem crying from somewhere, but there was no other way.
At least, that is what he told himself.
Vash looked down at Legato’s body. Silky blue hair swayed in the wind over the entry-wound. A tiny hole, it was too clean. Dark blood stained the young man’s hair, turning the blue into the color of a deep bruise. Gelatinous crimson soaked into the sand beneath him. The blood-muddy earth was spangled with fatty bits – grayish-pink gobbets of brain.
Vash looked down at his hand and dropped his gun. It fell to the ground with a dull, dusty thump. Legato’s smile crept into him, a sad, dark presence devouring his soul. He could not erase this. He had done this with his own hand.
He shook and looked to the group of townspeople. They lay scattered on the ground, Milly and Meryl among them. Blood darkened the sand here and there. His limbs felt heavy as he bent down. His heart felt like a huge hand was holding it, squeezing it.
“Are-Are you....you... okay?” he said, shaking. He cupped Meryl’s cheek in his right hand. Her cheek was cold. No puff or whistle of breath issued through her nose. Vash looked down. She was bleeding very badly. Something was poking through her chest and stomach. “No...N-n-no!” he cried, standing up.
Meryl had a pitchfork speared through her. Milly lay pale and motionless, a large kitchen knife in her throat. The girls were dead... he had failed. The townspeople were dead, as well, all of them. He had shot Legato. He had killed – for nothing.
Vash didn’t even have the strength to scream.
He heard crying behind him, within him – moaning. The voice was familiar. He turned around.
“You killed him,” the woman said. Her hair hung lank on her shoulders. Her cheeks were red from crying.
“Rem...I...” Vash struggled. “Rem... please understand... I was forced... I had to, I tried to save them.”
Rem stared at him. “Vash... you killed him, and them.”
“No, Rem! I...I...”
Rem’s hair started falling away from her scalp. Long strands blew away in the wind.
“Rem! No!” Vash cried, reaching out. He touched her hand. Pale pieces of flesh fell from it, leaving dark gray bone.
“You forgot me, Vash...” Rem said. The tears that streamed from her eyes were now dark, oozing rotting blood. Her eyes were no longer there. She stared at Vash with empty sockets lined with black-brown gel in which wriggled pale yellowish shapes. “You killed me...”
“No, Rem.. I...”
He looked back at Legato. Stray cats were lapping up his blood. Stench filled the air, horrific and choking. Legato’s skin and clothing rippled.
“You killed him...” Rem whispered. “You killed him, and destroyed me.”
Vash was holding Rem. He heard a churning sound, thick, juicy, pulpy. Her skin slid beneath him, wriggling, writhing. It split.
The maggots came streaming down over his legs. They crawled over his arms and to his face. He screamed, but no sound issued from his mouth, and the maggots entered. He heard Legato’s voice echo on the wind.
“Always a part of you, Vash the Stampede. Me, you shall always remember.”
Vash woke up, slick with sweat. He grabbed his blanket and a handful of sand. He panted and regained his bearings.
“Brother?” he heard next to him. Knives lay a few feet from him, his features silvered by the moons’ light.
Vash sat up. The cold night wind hit him, making him shiver under the moisture on his skin. He curled up, knees to chest.
“That nightmare again...” Knives muttered. “Get over it. When will you learn that it will all be for the best?” The Plant rolled over and resolved to go back to sleep.
Vash sat up, staring at the Fifth Moon. Meryl used to comfort him when he awoke in the night like this. He’d left her a month ago, fearing for her and Milly’s safety ever since Knives had awakened and started healing. He had not told them where he was going, where he was taking Knives, who still could not move much on his own. He didn’t know himself.
His brother was no comfort. His only friend was the cold night wind. Vash would be alone, haunted by his memories forever.
S.E. Nordwall, 10/2004