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Literature / Valentine Man

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A story part of The Never Mythos. It can be found here.

Henri Barrow walked into Bacio before Valentine's Day in 1969, and narrowly escaped as something less than human. Near-penniless, his dark stories laughed off, and the first anniversary of his escape approaching, Henri is about to lose hope until a cheerfully-maladjusted boy named Bruno appears to Henri with a request: kill his mother, Helen Valentine, the mayor of Bacio. A direct sequel to Valentine.

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Tropes:

  • Apocalyptic Log: The first chapter dates back to 1525 in Bacio when Helen has come to the ton and twisted its people into monsters. The log is the journal of a priest in the final days before Helen's madness consumes it.
  • Asexuality: Henri all but confirms he's asexual, never having had a single relationship or physical encounter in nearly thirty years, not caring about or wanting any, and finding himself woefully out of depth trying to teach Bruno about healthy sexuality.
  • Batman Gambit: Henri lures Helen into a trap to allow the Padre to all but destroy her, utilizing its true feelings and Helen's own perverse desires to trick her.
  • Because You Were Nice to Me: Bruno bonds with Henri because Henri is the first person to treat him one a "someone" instead of "something".
  • Big Damn Heroes: When Henri is captured, Bruno attacks the church in Bacio with pure fire to save the day.
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  • Body Horror: Henri's body has transformed quite a bit as a result of his experiences in Bacio, melting against a bed in gruesome fashion.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Henri is extremely mournful and cognizant over what Helen did to his friends Anita and Doug, brainwashing them into torture and sex dolls like she had so many others in Bacio.
  • Brother–Sister Incest: Helen "encourages" this among her children to condition and dominate them further.
  • Cain and Abel: Bruno rejects Helen and Padre's cult and seeks to kill them, while his various siblings commit numerous atrocities under their orders.
  • Cassandra Truth: Henri's warnings about Bacio fall on deaf ears. Even he acknowledges how insane it sounds.
  • Cheerful Child: Bruno Valentine is all smiles and extremely cheery, even in terrible situations.
  • Cynic–Idealist Duo: Bruno is cheerful and optimistic to a fault. Henri is jaded and harsh after all he's experienced.
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  • A Date with Rosie Palms: Henri catches Bruno doing this under the covers at one point with Bruno having zero idea why it might be a touch awkward.
  • Dynamic Entry: Bruno's way of introducing himself to Henri? Smash through his window and say hello.
  • Eldritch Abomination: The Padre, Helen's husband, is the source of Bacio's twisted religion; a mass of viscera and twisted flesh.
  • Eldritch Location: Bacio, as a result of Helen's infections, is a twisted place that affects all those who set foot there.
  • Foreshadowing: A detail that continues into the next installment: Helen has mouths on her palms, a telltale sign her true loyalties are with the Defiler, Y'golonac, who debuted in Only A Lonely Heart.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: Helen's child, Lampreda, the Lamprey-Man is nude and Henri finds it showing that off to be quite unnerving.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Y'golonac, the Defiler, is retroactively revealed to be this in Children of Valentine. Helen was entirely willing to turn the world over to Y'gy and feed her "husband" to it the second it stopped being of use.
  • Groin Attack: Henri wins his fight with Lampreda by going for the groin before tearing into his guts.
  • He Knows Too Much: Helen sends some of her more monstrous children to deal with Henri for this reason.
  • Hijacking Cthulhu: Helen has enslaved Il Padre
  • Horror Doesn't Settle for Simple Tuesday: It's Valentine's day again, and Henri is preparing to return to face Helen again.
  • Humanoid Abomination: Henri himself is much more than human now, with his body twisting about against his will.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Bruno and Henri both. Henri would rather not be a Body Horror hero stuck against a depraved incest sex cult Body Horror queen. Bruno wants to learn how to be "normal" after realizing his old existence was wrong.
  • It's Personal: Henri's motive against Helen is good old fashioned revenge for what she did to Doug and Anita.
  • Karmic Death: Henri helps to turn the Padre against Helen so it drains her of blood, before Bruno savagely wounds her, ending as Henri kicks her to her death in the Padre's guts.
  • Kill It with Fire: Bruno uses molotov cocktails to great effect against some of his siblings and Bacio itself.
  • Mercy Kill: Upon seeing what's left of Anita, Henri is forced to put her down along with the other people suffering in the "animal pen" Helen created.
  • Nightmare Fetishist: Helen seems to reach incredible arousal by having blood gush down upon her.
  • No Social Skills: Bruno has zero idea of how to behave or act normally, which causes Henri little end of grief. Particularly when Bruno meets him and is relieved he found the right guy since otherwise he would've "broken into a random stranger's house again!"
  • Offing the Offspring: Helen inevitably disposes of all her children in the Padre's stomach and intends to make Bruno a new sacrifice.
  • Parental Incest: It's all but outright stated Helen uses her brainwashed children as her personal toys, Bruno only realizing how wrong it was after his father's control over him was broken.
  • Police Are Useless: Henri's stories about Bacio are seen as just that by the police who do nothing to investigate.
  • Power Incontinence: Henri's abilities sometimes run from him, like his trachea becoming a fanged monster that attacks a mugger without him meaning to.
  • Pyromaniac: Bruno has a focus on and fascination with fire, constantly flicking his lighter and longing to burn things.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Helen is no different than she was in 1525.
  • Red Right Hand: Played with. Bruno's right hand is hideously scarred, up to the elbow. He's actually the most benevolent of the Valentines and thinks his mutilated hand is quite cool.
  • Self-Made Orphan: Bruno aspires to this, claiming he wants to help Henri destroy his mother.
  • Taught by Experience: Henri's powers are self-learned and he's only managed to get better via applying them as he goes.
  • The End of the World as We Know It: Helen's ultimate goal is to unleash the Padre's 'rivers', corrupting the whole of the world into a nightmarish orgy of death and violence.
  • Tongue Trauma: Helen bites out Bruno's tongue in a kiss toward the climax before eating it.
  • Too Spicy for Yog-Sothoth: The Padre is Helen's Sex Slave, considers her nuts and wants nothing to do with her.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: Bacio, a quaint little Italian town follows a mysterious festival called the "Benedizione del Padre." It may seem nice, but there's something dark and creepy within.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Helen snaps with disbelief and shock as her plans utterly collapse.
  • White Sheep: Bruno Valentine is a skinny little teenager and one of Helen's children. He's also the one who wants to stop his nightmarish mother.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Helen had a habit of trafficking her children to pedophiles, Bruno included as he recounts about the "trips" she took them on.
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