13 screamed.

Glass sparkled as 13 was hurtled through the window, wind whipping his choppy, moppish black hair about. His dark eyes, normally wild and intense, were unfocused and filled with terror as he plummeted into open air, screaming all the way as he plunged at an angle away from the super-skyscraper.

Meat Cleaver tumbled about and gleamed, singing as it slashed through the air barely out of reach. He scrabbled and flailed in an attempt to close the distance, his tattered coat and grimy rags fluttering where they weren't drawn taut against his lithely muscled form due to the freefall. 13's brand burned, his neck a smoking mess as he spun around in the air, his finger snagging the ring of cold iron set at the end of the pommel, pulling the clever Cleaver into his hand as if it was a long-lost lover instead of an old friend come back to him.  Meat Cleaver, named for what it was just as he was named 13, after the brand that burned slightly off-kilter of his Adam's apple.

Meat Cleaver, the strangest knife he had ever seen.  Meat Cleaver, which wasn't exactly a normal knife but broad and flat, the sharp edge usually duller than a normal blade yet could become sharper than any razor he had ever known when swung, singing as it slashed through the air itself.  Meat Cleaver, with its pommel and ring of cold iron, the blade flashing a brighter silver then he had ever known, the spine of the blade thick enough to crush the bones of those he killed with abandon.

Just as he secured Meat Cleaver, the golden spirals in his dark eyes flashing the same color as the "XIII" brand on his neck, something humongous and twisted blocked out the omnipresent sun overhead.

The creature he had been fighting had followed him, not willing to simply let him die but pushed on by its masters to ensure he stayed dead.

13, upside-down, craned his neck back and gazed down at the cloud cover far below the superstructure, knowing it'd be useless to try and look up at the sky itself - the sheer vast blue, turned as wicked and wrong as the abomination which chased him and roared its fury from the largest maw set dead in the center of its chest, would only serve to disorient and draw him upwards into the vast abyss.  The sand was constant danger and violent death, but at least it was one he could face when compared to the monstrous end of the sky.

Besides, he had been up there once, and it still bothered him when he walked the edge of the stratosphere with the ground so far below him, inverted so that up became down and gravity meant nothing.

He spun through the air once and righted himself, spread-eagled as his clothes and ragged cloak caught the wind.  It was almost 1 p.m. according to his internal sense of time, and that represented his one chance at killing the damned thing.

The damned thing, The Damned Thing, "THE DAMNED THIIIIIIING!!!!!!!"  13 roared, switching from thought to shouting without realizing he wasn't shouting to begin with.

The brand on his neck flared further, burning brightly with the fires of his madness and rage.  His body grew in muscle mass as he roared back at the monstrosity, seeing it for the first time without the glamor concealing it:

Easily thrice his height and mass, the creature was a gloriously winged humanoid creature...but only in that it was humanoid shaped.  It had four limbs, each ending in a massive, thick octopoid tendril, the suckers razor-sharp where they would've clung to his skin had the brand not burned it horribly.

Set in its chest was a massive, keening mouth, the lips humanoid, filled with razor sharp teeth.  Where the "face" was supposed to be was a simple gray mass with only the vaguest suggestions of a humans face.  Underneath the gray, rubbery flesh the "face" moved, its "mouth" always open in a constant scream with no sound.  From behind the creature the black, feathered wings, once usable but now chopped up and torn asunder from his first assault, trailed uselessly behind it, the only vestige of their previously beautiful form flying aloft within the stilled breeze of the vast sky.

In a flash, he remember what the name of these creatures were, the denizens of the deep waste, these horrid monstrosities, twisted mockeries of hungry sentience and life.


The voice reverberated within his mind until the pressure grew too great, forcing him to scream it lest his mind explode from the force.