Eyes Without a Face

by theycallmejub

Chapter 13: Daughters Without a Father, Part 3

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Chapter XIII: Daughters Without a Father, Part 3

A star gathers at the tip of a horn.

Heat rises.

Ruby red snot gushes from a busted muzzle.

Four legs tremble.

A pair of deep-set eyes haunt a face made ugly by boiling water and blue flame. The eyes blink—then focus. Fierce. Sharp. Passionate. Deep like a lover’s stare. Longing. Longing for me. Wanting me. Needing me…

Temporal is standing behind the coffee table; and a star is gathering at the tip of her horn; and heat is rising; and her legs are shaking; and she is looking at me as if there were nothing else in the world to see.

She wants me to know it’s going to hurt. That there won’t be any holding back. It’s going to be loud and messy and gritty and rough, and it won't to stop till one of us is sprawled on the floor beside Junebug. She wants me to know it’ll hurt, and that she’ll be to enjoying every wild, hateful, hot-and-heavy moment of it. Temporal wants me. She wants me: mind, body, and soul.

And normally I’d want her too—except Junebug is dead, and Daisy and Lily are still dead, and Dee hates me, and I haven’t felt the warmth of Redheart’s forehead against mine in what seems like ages. Except there’s a sour memory hanging around my neck that I’ve been pawing at for the past few days like a scab. Like a burn on the roof of my mouth that would heal if only I could just stop tonguing it. The fight’s gone out of me. I don’t want her. I don’t want any of this anymore.

A star gathers and I stand silently in the doorway, waiting for it. Some part of me wants to die. Wants to lie down and make myself cozy on the floor beside Junebug. To shut my eyes and sleep that never-waking sleep and dream of the night Daisy and Lily were taken from me. Dream that same never ending nightmare until eternity gets bored and calls it quits. I wait for it, hoping Temporal takes her time with me. I want it slow. I want to feel it. Want it to hurt. Need it to.

Solar flares leap violently from the star. The tremor in her legs worsens. Blood pours from her nose. Her eyes lose focus. Dim. Then she collapses, knocking over the lamp as she falls and banging her head against the edge of the coffee table.

I watch her as if in a daze, still waiting for a painful death that isn’t coming. She tries to stand but stumbles and falls again. Tries to ignite her horn but it flares sporadically, throwing useless beams of light about the room. I keep watching. Keep waiting for her to stop messing around and kill me. I watch. Wait. When standing doesn’t work, Temporal tries crawling toward me. Her nose still bleeding. Legs still shaking. Horn still tossing beams of light. Eyes losing focus, then finding it again. Losing focus, then finding it. Losing, then finding. Losing. Finding…Losing…Finding…Losing…Losing…Finding…



“Stop it!” I say, sick to my stomach from watching her and needing to say something. “Just, please stop it.”

Temporal doesn’t listen. She doesn’t stop. Her legs are scraping at the ground now. She’s crawling in place, looking like a corpse that’s too stubborn or too stupid to know that dead things are supposed to lie still.

"Stop it. You've been drugged," I say, remembering what Junebug told me. Remembering that whatever she was injecting into Temporal was to keep her from using her magic when she woke up. "I don't know how long it'll last, but I'll be gone before it wears off—so just stop it already.”

“…Going to kill you…monster…” she wheezes.

“Of course you will,” I say, shaking my head and almost laughing in her face. “Look, I’m getting the hay out of here. When you’ve come to your senses I suggest you do the same. See that mare on the floor there?” Temporal’s eyes flick to where Junebug is lying on the floor, lose focus, then find me again. “She was important to some very dangerous ponies. If they come looking for her and find you lying beside her corpse, they won’t give you a chance to explain yourself. They’ll turn you inside out.”

“You can’t go,” she groans.

I slide the door open and a rush of frozen air hits me in the chest that nearly floors me. The world beyond Junebug’s shanty is white and virginal and new.

“Wait… Don’t…” Temporal says between labored breaths. “I know where they are.”

“What?” I say, glancing over my shoulder. Temporal’s ears perk up when she notices she has my attention again. She tries to stand, but a dizzy spell puts her back down on the floor.

“The ponies who killed Scope—you’re looking for them, aren’t you?” she says hurriedly.

“How do you know that?” I ask, not sure I really want to hear the answer. Temporal’s head rolls to one side. Her eyes shut. She tries to right herself. Fails. Sighs. Mumbles curses. Takes a deep breath before answering my question.

“Twilight Sparkle,” she says. It’s the only thing she needs to say.

“And you’re saying you found them? You found Scope’s murderers? How?” I ask. “And if I think you’re lying to me—” I finish the thought with a swift jab to Temporal’s throat. Let her know I’m serious. Let her know who’s in charge. She twists around on the floor for a couple seconds, choking and clutching her neck with both hooves. When Temporal finally regains her composure she talks. Tells me that she and her brother used to work for Filthy Rich and that a few weeks before I killed him, two mares paid the poor bastard a visit. Temporal says the pair broke into Filthy’s home. Smacked him around. Murdered his wife outright. Kidnapped his daughter.

“Kid’s name is Diamond Tiara,” Temporal tells me. “Filthy hired me to find the foal. I picked up a few leads. Squeezed info out of the right ponies. Eventually I found out where the mares where hiding. Same two that killed the Doc.”

“Bullshit,” I snort. “You’re a Fed on the payroll of one of the most powerful bosses in Manehattan. You must have connections. Resources. If you knew where they were, you’d have them strung up by their tails by now.”

“I got sidetracked,” Temporal says, her eyes flashing. Boring into me. Wanting me. “During my investigation I stole a few peeks at Twilight’s personal files to see if she had anything on the killers’ whereabouts. Turns out she didn’t have too much on them, but she’s got plenty on you, vigilante. Names of relatives. Close friends.”

That bucking cunt Sparkle! I scream inside my own skull. Something that must be anger rubs itself against the inside of my cheeks and turns them red hot. I knew it! Let her off easy. Next time I see her…

“I take it that’s how you found Dee,” I say, taking a deep breath and trying calm down.

“Figured she’d lead me right to you if I tailed her for long enough,” says Temporal. “I was going to follow your marefriend, but she—”

I jab Temporal in the throat again. She rolls over on her side, hacking and coughing.

“Careful, unicorn,” I warn her. “Wouldn’t want to say something you might regret later.” I roll her onto her back. Stomp her chest. Pin her. “Just give me the killers’ names. Where they’re hiding. And don’t forget what I said about lying?”

Temporal doesn’t answer me.

“Names,” I repeat. “Now.”

Temporal hesitates. “I don’t know,” she says, trying to keep her voice steady. Hoping I don’t notice the pinch of fear in her eyes hiding behind the all the bloodlust and the longing. Temporal hesitates. Makes that same face she made when I walked by her table at Peachy’s Pies. When I let her know it was going to hurt. Temporal’s afraid of me. I’m the biggest, meanest shark in the tank, and there’s blood in the water. She’s afraid. I can smell it on her. I can almost taste it.

“Lie to me again,” I say, liking the way I say it. “Go on, lie to me again. Give me an excuse. I’ll sleep a lot better if you give me an excuse.”

“I told you, I don’t know,” she says.

“But you do know where they are, right?” I ask.

“Yes,” she answers. “But I’ll only tell you on one condition.”

“No conditions. Talk.” I kneel down and look Temporal dead in the eye. I kneel down until we are practically nose to nose.

Temporal stays quiet. Tries to turn away from me. I smack her in the mouth. Cup her chin. Make her look at me.

“I really don’t want to hurt you, but you’re making it difficult not to. Now we’ve both been having a rough time lately, and this morning isn’t going much better—I get that,” I say. “A lot has happened, so I’m going to be understanding and give you one more chance to tell me what I want to hear. One chance. But if you keep bucking with me, it’s going to get real loud real quick.”

Temporal spits in my face. Hawks a sloppy red wad that lands on my cheek just under the eye.

She spit in my face. I offered her an out and the cunt spit in my face.

My temper flares. Jumps up and explodes like a firecracker. I grab Temporal by the mane, hoist her onto her hind legs, and slam her nose first into the coffee table. I’m so pissed I almost overdo it. I slam her hard enough to put a deep crack in the wood. Almost knock her out cold. Almost overdo do it.

“You want a condition, huh? How’s this for a condition,” I growl. “You tell me where they are, and I don’t rip off your horn and ass-rape you with it.”

Temporal doesn’t say anything at first. She’s still woozy from the bit of head trauma I just dealt her. I press her face into the wood. Drag it across the tabletop like chalk across a chalkboard, smearing the smooth surface an ugly shade of red. Temporal groans. Doesn’t talk.

“Where are they?” I snarl, slapping the back of her head. She doesn’t answer. My cheeks catch fire. I breathe smoke. Then I scare the shit out of myself when I lean forward and sink my teeth into Temporal’s ear like the starved animal she knows I am. Warm blood gushes in my mouth. Temporal wails.

“Get off me!” she shouts, squirming under my weight. “Get off me, you bucking animal!”

I don’t. Instead I tear off a chunk of her ear. She wails. Struggles harder. Then she starts crying, and I’d be lying through my teeth if I said the sound of her sobbing like a filly with a bruised flank doesn’t get me just a little hot.

I spit out the chunk of flesh, missing the taste of it as it flies from my mouth and lands noiselessly on the floor. Temporal tries to shove me away but I keep her pinned to the tabletop. I listen to her agony-laden cries, and I feel the muscles in her back strain as I lean my full weight on her.

“Get off me,” she groans, her breath short. It drives me wild. The closeness. Her weak voice. Her heavy panting. The sweat beading on her back, and the crisp stink of her blood, and the plush feathery texture of her mane in my hooves. It drives me wild. I want her. Temporal moans for me. Pants and sweats and struggles for me. I want her. I forget the rest. Forget about Junebug lying dead in her own home. Forget the two little shits who killed her husband, and the supposed filly they kidnapped and are doing Celestia knows what to right now. I forget all that meaningless shit. There’s nothing else. Just me and Temporal and nothing else.

I smack her flank. Hard. I smack her flank. Spank her. Slip a hoof between her hind legs. Grab her crotch. Temporal squirms like mad, but she’s too weak to stop me. I grab her crotch, and I force her thighs apart, and she’s dryer than scorched earth down there. I can barely control myself, and Temporal here is bone-dry.

“What’s wrong, you don’t like me?” I taunt, having fun now. Most fun I’ve had since me and Temporal’s first round in that kitchen.

“Buck you!” she shouts into the tabletop.

“That’s the idea, sweetheart,” I purr, giving her flank another hard smack. “You and me—we’re going have a good time.” Suddenly I feel light. High again. My heart is pounding, and my lungs are working too hard, and the blood in my limbs is rushing and swirling and promising I’ll never be tired again.

I must be cackling like a madmare because Temporal twists in my grip and shouts, “The buck is so funny, you sick piece of shit!” She struggles as hard as she can. She twists and squirms and kicks and it drives me wild. “I swear to Celestia, when I get up I’m going kill you! You hear me! I’m going kill you!”

“That’s it, that’s it! Tell me,” I purr, leaning in close and blowing the words into her torn ear. “Tell me it’s going to hurt. Promise me. You have to promise me, okay.” I twist Temporal’s head to one side. Press her cheek against the tabletop so I can see the look on her face. So I can make her look at me.

“Promise me. You have to promise me it’s going to hurt,” I plead, my voice burning with arousal. Temporal winces. I trace the bottom of her jaw with my lips, and she tries to bite me.

“Get off me!” she shouts.

I lick her horn. Take the length of it in my mouth, lapping and sucking greedily. Liking the taste of it. Of her.

“Get off, you sick…” the words are lost, muffled by the hoof now covering her mouth. I lay her down flat across the table and crawl on top of her. Her struggling weakens. Her tight flank bucks against my crotch, and I almost lose it right there and then.

A hoof covers a mouth, smothering its cries.

Another goes to work between a pair of hind legs.

A moan escapes: Not of pain, but pleasure. Sloppy and shameless and wet and completely mad.

My lips leave Temporal’s horn and find the back of her neck. She swoons under my touch. Mumbles curses into my hoof. I free her mouth, wanting to hear them.

“I swear I’m going to…” she huffs.

I kiss the back of her neck. “Yes…”

“…Going to gut you…”

I breathe in the scent of her mane. Her blood. “Yes, yes…”

“…Break every bone in…”

I taste her bruises. Her burns and lacerations. “Mmm, what else…tell me what else?”

“…Pluck out your eyes…and…”

“Will it hurt? Promise me it’ll hurt.”

“It will…”

“Promise me you’ll do it slow. Take your time. Promise me.”

“I’ll take all the time in the world. I’ll hurt you forever… I’ll never stop hurting you…”

“Promise me.”

“Of course. I promise…”

Our voices become indistinguishable. My lips move, and I hear the words, but I can’t tell which are Temporal’s and which belong to me. Our voices become one. Our bodies too. We are so close I can’t tell where Temporal ends and I begin.

I close my mouth around hers, and she bites my tongue until it bleeds. Feels like she might bite clean through it. Like she might rip it from between my lips and spit it on the floor beside her chunk of ear. It’s a bloody, gritty kiss we share. Drives me wild.

I think about what old Storm Chaser told me once, about the intimacy we share we share with our enemies—and I think of Sparkle, wishing it was her trying to bite off my tongue right now—and think of Junebug and the beating we endured together—and I think of Daisy’s happy, lifeless stare, and I wonder if I ever really loved her before the night that noose slipped around her neck. Pleasure and pain. Violence and intimacy. Love. Hate. I bleed into Temporal’s mouth and I wonder if the difference matters.

Then I think of Redheart, and the last sane part of my mind screams for me to stop.

Our lips come apart with a gasp. “I’m gonna buck you,” I hiss, sucking in a lungful of the frigid air wafting in from the open door. “Then I think maybe I’ll bounce you off these walls, huh? You were twins, right? Funny that you should die in the same way.” I hiss. Suck the frigid air.

Then Temporal’s horn ignites and I realize I’ve made a mistake. Lost myself. Got too caught up in the moment. I mention Temporal’s brother, and her horn ignites. Goes off like a bomb, and I realize I’ve made a mistake.

Hot needles stab my eyes, blinding me.

Something weightless coils around my throat, squeezing and burning my neck like a snake made of fire.

A spear pierces my shoulder and I fall backwards—am falling backwards—and something that must be Temporal is falling with me. We are tumbling to the floor, embracing one another like clumsy, drunken lovers. Temporal’s breath is on my face, and my name is on her lips, and I am holding her, and she is holding me, choking me with something that isn’t there.

We are falling. Falling slowly—as if the ground were very far away—and my eyes must be shut, because the noose is slipping around Daisy’s neck, and it is tightening, and I am watching her die the whole way down.

I land on something soft and fleshy, and Temporal lands on me, and together we become a pile of frayed manes and flailing limbs as we wrestle on the floor.

For the longest instant of my life, I have no idea what is going on. My body is hot and aching. I can’t see. Can hardly breathe. Hardly even move. Temporal is on me, or under me, or beside me; I’m so disoriented I can’t tell.

We wrestle. Bite. Kick. Butt heads.

We are wrestling—or maybe we are making love. I can’t tell. We are biting or kissing, and kicking or caressing, and butting heads or… Or maybe I am pressing my forehead against Temporal’s and she is doing the same. Maybe our foreheads are pressed together and I am thinking about kissing her, and secretly I am hoping she will kiss me. I don’t know. Can’t tell. For one long instant, I have no idea what is happening.

Then something strong and bone-hard whips across my bottom jaw, and I know I’m in a fight. I know the caresses are actually kicks, because Temporal digs into my midsection with a beauty of a kick. I scramble back to my hooves. Another kick finds my neck that nearly puts me on my ass.

Another kick finds my chest. Knocks the air out of me. I try to get it back, but the burning snake is still coiled around my neck.

Another kick. Pain rises. I still can’t see, but Temporal makes plenty of noise for me. Telegraphs her next move. I sidestep and feel the ghost of a limb graze my ear as it passes. The next one hits me in the chest. A glancing blow. The next one I roll off my shoulder, and the one after that misses my nose by inches.

Temporal grunts in frustration. Sucks the air. Pants. She’s exhausted and so am I. I rush her head on. Take her next kick right on the chin because I know I can. It’s a clean hit, but the steam has gone out of her kicks.

I rush her head on. Take the kick. Spring up on my front legs. Spin. My boots connect with something soft, and It wails, and I press the attack. My front hoof bites into bone. Feels like a sternum. I press. Bite into bone. Then nothing. Bone. Cartilage. Nothing. Muscle. Bone. Nothing. Nothing.

Then something that must be the lamp shatters over my skull just as my vision starts to come back. I go down hard, and then somepony that seems too heavy to be Temporal is sitting on me—and the noose is the color of sand—and something bone-hard and flat is bludgeoning my muzzle—and the life is draining out of Daisy’s eyes—and my mouth is wet and leaking at the corners—and the noose is tightening—and the burning snake is coiling around my neck—and in a few more seconds Daisy will be dead.

It’s not until I hear Lily scream that I realize my eyes are closed. When I open them I see dancing neon spots and blurry shapes, and somewhere behind the spots and blurs I see Temporal. She is sitting on me, and her horn is glowing, and her nose is bleeding profusely as she smashes me in the face again and again with a hoof made of lead. I squint under the blows; my teeth rattling as I involuntarily gulp down a mouthful of my own blood. Swallowing it. Choking on it. Choking.

With the last of my strength, I grab Temporal’s head with both hooves and pull her down with a sharp jerk. The bridge of her nose meets my forehead, and the star at the end of her horn dies, and the burning snake around my neck dies, and the heat from the supernova singes my cheeks.

Temporal falls off my chest, while I roll over and…and I…

…I roll over and I am face to face with Junebug. She is lying on her back and I am lying on her.

I leap away like a frightened cat, my fur standing on end. Temporal tries to stand but only gets as far as her knees. We stare at one another, panting. I’m beat to hell. Temporal looks half dead. Junebug is lying on the floor between us. I glance down at her, then back up at Temporal. All the fight’s gone out of me. Temporal too. We stare at each for a long time and suddenly, I can’t remember why I’m fighting.

“Okay,” I say breathlessly. “Okay. Alright, fine. You win. Is that what you wanted? You beat me. You win. Let’s just…stop, okay. Let’s stop this.”

“Not until one of us is dead,” says Temporal. She’s so tired and beat up she can’t even lift her head to look at me, but that doesn’t stop her from trying to stand. “That’s the condition. I tell you were you can find Scope’s murderers, but only if you give me a chance to kill you.”

“What?!” I hear myself say, sounding genuinely astounded.

“Give me a real chance. Let me heal up for a week or two, and then we do this again, and we do it right. Me and you. No weapons. No magic. A fair fight. A real chance.”

“That’s crazy!” I shout. “Why, Temporal? Why keep doing this? I let you go. Sparkle was going to kill you, but I stopped her. I gave you an out.”

“You killed my brother, Rose,” she says plainly. “Don’t pretend we can settle this another way.”

“But…” I start slowly. Doubtfully. Finding the words is difficult. “But… I’ll kill you. It could be now. Tomorrow. A month from now. A year. Whenever it is, I’ll kill you. Every time we’ve fought, I’ve won.”

“I know,” she says, her voice suddenly airy. Dove-like.

“Even with your magic, you wouldn’t stand a chance.”

“I know.”

“Then why agree to fight without it? Why, Temporal? Why not just walk away?” I plead, practically in tears myself. “I’m letting you walk. That’s twice now I’ve let you walk. I don’t understand.”

“I think you do, Rose,” she says. A strange, sad sort of smile appears on her bloodied and bruised face. “I think you understand perfectly.”

I start to say something but the words never leave my mouth. Silence descends on the edge of Manehattan. Frigid white air whistles in through the open door, stinging my lungs with every labored breath.

Silence descends. It falls on the shoulders of everypony in Shanty Alley, and for a while I’m sitting on the floor beside Junebug, and I can’t think of anything to do other than listen to my own breathing.

“I thought about you all the time, Rose,” says Temporal. The sound of her voice startles me. Pulls me away from my daydreaming.

“Stop it!” I shout, unable to control myself a second longer. “Stop it! Stop it right now!”

“All the time,” she continues, her voice still airy. Dove-like. Sounding like an echo. Like it’s coming from someplace far away. “Ever since you killed my brother. I remember you looking down at me before everything went black. You looked…almost sorry then. Do you remember?”

“Damn it, Temporal, I said stop it! This is crazy. You’re talking crazy.”

“My brother and I did everything together,” she says, refusing to hear a word I say. “I was so depressed when he died, I… I don’t know…I guess I wanted to die too. But it was thoughts of you that kept me going.”

“Temporal, don’t...”

“You’re my whole reason for living, Rose. You’re my purpose.”

“Temporal, please…”

“That’s why you have to give me a chance. Killing you is all I have, Rose. You’re all I have. You have to give me a chance.”

I sit down and bury my face in my hooves, wanting to cry but discovering I don’t have any tears left. Junebug is dead, and Daisy and Lily are still dead, and Dee hates me, and I haven’t felt Redheart’s forehead warm against mine in what seems like ages. I don’t have any tears.

Temporal gingerly pulls my hooves from my face. Her wanting eyes find me and I feel something for her I know isn’t there. Isn’t even real.

“Please, Rose.”

“Okay,” I say, thoroughly exhausted. “You get your chance.”

“If I lose, you have to promise you’ll kill me.”

“I can’t,” I say looking away. “I don’t…that’s not who I am anymore.”

Temporal’s expression softens. Her ears wilt and hang at the sides of her head. She squeezes my hoof. “Please, Rose. You have to promise me.” Her expression softens. Hard to believe this is the same mare from a few minutes ago. Hard believe she’s one of Manehattan’s criminals.

“I promise,” I say, laughing weakly on the inside. I must be out of my mind. I must finally be completely gone.

The room is quiet again, and for a while it’s just the three of us and the wind. Just three corpses enjoying each other’s company, only one smart enough to know she’s dead.

“Was she special to you?” asks Temporal, gesturing toward Junebug.

“No,” I say, shaking my head, not sure if I’m lying or not. “No… She was just somepony.”

“Just somepony, huh?” she asks.

“Yeah. Just somepony…”

Temporal doesn’t believe me. She’s so emotional. So easy to read. I suppose I am too. Temporal doesn’t believe me and I’m not sure I believe myself either.

“Does it ever get easier?” she asks, looking away now. “Dealing with all the suffering? I’ve spent most of my life doing bad things. Making ponies suffer. Does it ever get easier?”

“It can,” I say, looking down at Junebug. She is still smiling. Despite it all she is still smiling. “We just don’t let it. We don’t know when to walk away.” Temporal and I share a laugh.

“No, I guess we don’t,” she says, still smiling her strange, sad smile.


A week later I kill Temporal. I let her pick the time and place, and she chooses a nameless backstreet on a frozen winter night in Shanty Alley. The kids up in the weather factory shake snow out of the clouds for us. The cold numbs some of the pain. Takes the edge off.

I try to be quick about it. See that she doesn’t suffer too much. I wish I could say she died bravely, but there’s no bravery in what we do. I wish I could say she at least put up a good fight, but without her magic she goes to pieces under my hooves like a dandelion caught in a strong breeze.

In the very end she looks up at me from where she’s lying broken on the sidewalk, smiling her strange, sad smile. In the very end she’s not afraid to die. Not afraid of me. I suppose she wins in her own way. In a harsh way that only ponies like us can understand, Temporal beats me. She doesn’t kill me, and she doesn’t avenge her brother’s death, and I split her skull open on the sidewalk, and she bleeds out like a wounded stray dog behind an alley dumpster. She dies in the street like an animal, but she beats me that night. She wins. In her own way, she wins.

At the very end of it, she looks up at me and I look down at her, and it’s me who’s scared out my mind. It’s me who needs to be reminded why we do it.

I look down at her. Rear up on my hind legs. Listen to my breathing. Feel the sting of winter swirling in my chest. I take a moment to remember why we do it. Why I do it. Why I don’t just walk away.

I shut my eyes.

The noose slips around Daisy’s neck.

Lily screams.

And the rest is easy.

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Eyes Without a Face

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