Others, 54

Before You Put A Monster in A Cage, You’d Better Be Very Sure the Cage Will Hold it

My Patrons voted to see this new character in January! Warning for gore and cannibalism.

Ao3 Link

The tall man came in with a long pole, which meant he didn’t plan to take Otho out of his cage today. Otho watched him move slowly through the room, swinging his legs back and forth rhythmically as the tall man put food in the cage his five brothers were in.

His five remaining brothers.

“Did Orange answer you yet?” Otho asked the tall man, making his voice appear right next to his ear just as he was pouring Ozymandias’s water, which spilled everywhere.

The tall man ignored him, which was boring. At least the one-legged man talked back to Otho sometimes. “I’ll take that as a no. It’s never actually coming back, right?”

The tall man ignored that too, pouring more water. Otho rolled his eyes around in his hand, and then tossed them at the tall man’s lantern, which he’d set on a small table. It fell over and the oil spilled out, but the fire also went out before it could burn the table.

The tall man turned around in the middle of giving Orthus his bowl. “Stop that,” he hissed at Otho, going over and fixing the lantern. He pulled a match out and lit it again, hanging it from a hook near the door.

The door was built into the cave wall, and Otho didn’t know where it led because the wards on it and the cave walls blocked his power so he couldn’t leave. “I’m bored,” Otho told him. “Let me out.”

“No, you’re too dangerous.”

At least he was talking now. “I know, that’s why you should let me out,” Otho explained. All his brothers got to live down there in the big cage, and he was stuck up here hanging from the ceiling like a bird. “I can’t do anything up here, it’s so boring.”

“That’s the point,” the tall man muttered, turning back to give the rest of Otho’s brothers their food. “The cage contains your powers.”

Otho punched one of the bars, and the empty blackness of his hand started to fade away. Ugh. It barely even hurt. “But what if you just didn’t contain my powers? That would be fun too, right?”

“What’s fun for you would get your brothers killed.”

“Oh, for Orange’s sake,” Otho said, leaning back as far as he could. “Their lives don’t even matter. Orion, does your life matter?”

“N-no, Otho.”

“See?” Otho asked. “Osiris, do you care if I come down and rip your skin off?”

Osiris shifted in place, moving closer to Orthus. “No, Otho.”

“See?” Otho asked the tall man. “They don’t care. Where do you get off depriving them of close contact with their favourite brother when they’re all begging for it? It’s all they talk about when you’re not here. Tell him you want me back down there with you, Octavian.”


“That’s enough,” said the tall man, voice curt. “None of you need to be afraid of him as long as he’s in there, and we’ve no intention of taking him down until we can find Orange.”

“Oh,” said Otho, sitting back up. “So you don’t know where it is.”

Orange had been their jailer for their whole lives. An ethereal ball of hot light that communicated in colours and had kept all their powers in check, it had vanished a hundred and seventeen days ago and not come back.

A hundred and seventeen days ago, Otho had had twelve brothers.

“We are very close to bringing it back,” the tall man said. “And then your lessons can resume. Safely.”

Otho smiled so wide his mouth left his face. “I can’t wait,” he said.

The tall man didn’t say anything else, just feeding Otho’s brothers before putting Otho’s meal in a small cage and using the long pole to hoist it up to Otho. Otho took the cage, then grabbed the pole.

Ozymandias whimpered. He was weak. Otho would keep him alive for a while before eating him, though, because he was the best cocksucker in the family and he did what Otho told him.

“No games, Otho,” the tall man warned.

“Okay,” Otho said, and he pulled the pole up, then thrust it down, right into the tall man’s throat.

The darkness of Otho’s body crept down the pole, tickling into the tall man’s wound, exploring the inside of his body just for fun as the tall man gurgled and tried to scream. Otho flowed down that darkness, and, with an incision in the tall man’s stomach, stepped out into the cave. He took a breath of stale cave air, and looked at his brothers. All of them, like him, were dark things that seemed to be an emptiness. The tall man hadn’t been like that, he hadn’t even had emptiness inside him. The one-legged man wasn’t like that. Otho knew that normal people weren’t like that.

They weren’t normal people. They were better. Someone had made them better. And he was very grateful to that person. It had been very nice of them.

His coward brothers were all cowering in the cage, all except Orion, who stood up to face Otho through the bars. “You didn’t have to kill him,” he said.

“Of course I didn’t,” Otho agreed with a smile as he let tendrils of himself go through the tall man’s clothing. “I wanted to kill him.” He hadn’t actually wanted to kill the tall man. It had just seemed easier.

“You could have escaped without killing him. Now they’re going to be looking for us right away,” Orion told him, crossing his arms fluidly, letting them merge with his chest. “We could have had a full day’s head start.”

Otho shrugged, coming up with two keys. He absorbed the smaller one and forced it into the skin under Orion’s hand. “We don’t need one. If anyone chases us, we’ll kill them too.”

“But we don’t know who will be chasing us,” said Octavian, sullen. “They made us. Orange worked for them. They’re super powerful.”

“Everyone seems powerful from where you’re hiding,” Otho told him, which made him shrink. “They made us to be tools. That means we can do things they can’t. I’m not afraid of them.”

“That’s because you’re stupid,” Orion said. Otho could feel their other brothers freaking out. He understood why. They mostly liked Orion and Orion was doing his best to get decapitated. “We have no idea what’s out there. Maybe we’re not powerful at all compared to the rest of the world.”

Otho laughed, slid forward, and pulled Orion close. He kissed his brother, tasting void. “I should kill you.”

“Yeah, but you won’t.”


“How bored would you be if there was nobody left who stood up to you?”

Otho thought about that, and stepped back. “Maybe we’re not the most powerful,” Otho agreed. “But think about how funny that would be, if we finally earned our freedom and then immediately got dismembered and eaten.”

Otho didn’t think that would happen. But he’d been the strong one his whole life. If it turned out that he was the weak one outside this cave, he’d rather die quickly and in excruciating pain.

Excruciating pain sounded like fun, actually. “Anyone want to stab me before we go out?” he asked.

They all raised their hands, and Otho smiled. Orion opened the cage door. “Good boys. But let’s eat lunch first while it’s still fresh, okay?”

Orion was right, Otho would be bored if he died. Right now all of his brothers had the potential to be fun. He didn’t know how any of them would act in the outside world, but he knew he was looking forward to finding out. He could always kill them later.

Maybe he’d even un-kill the others, just to make it extra fun.

The six of them fell on the tall man’s corpse together, eating their first proper meal as a family in the last hundred and seventeen days. Otho would make sure they ate together every day from now on.

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