"Please, Ken!" Hugo said, dropping to his knees, put forth his hands together as if beseeching an angry god. "You've done enough. Stop!"
About them, though the walls muffled them, they heard the crises of the slain as Ken's allies cut them down with disciplined fire and the terror of flame.
"Hugo, you know better than that. You've published my stories for 25 years. You know how this ends."
Ken put a gas can on the floor, hitting with a clear THUMP! to show it to be full.
"What gets me is why, Hugo. You did the very stupid things that you've heard me talk about, made your fortune writing about, became famous for publishing. You did it. Why?"
"Why?" Hugo said, his hands now balled into fists and slamming the floor, "Because I never got any respect! No one took me seriously until I got on board with this. I went from endless mockery in the literary press to getting Hollywood studios burning up my phone. My original fiction finally got some fucking notice, and it got pushed!"
"So, all you had to do was to stab me in the back and renounce what made you great and now you had the good word of a bunch of useless parasites and some two-faced whore in your bed."
"I had to grow up, Ken! So do you."
Ken shook his head as he drew a lighter from a pocket. "You are beyond saving."
Hugo looked up as Ken popped the cap on the gas can. "No, Ken. No. No, no, no..."
"I never needed you, Hugo." Ken said as he poured the gasoline over Hugo. "You needed me. Your decline after betraying me shows that clearly. This is not the first betrayal for me, but it is the last for you."
"Just fucking shoot me!"
"No. You shall be the example for others to avoid. Burn, traitor."
Ken poured out a line across the room from Hugo and stood at that end. He held up the lighter, waited until Hugo looked up at him, and bent down to light the gasoline. Moments later, Hugo lit up and Ken used his phone to stream it live.
"You should have listened to The Dark Lord, Hugo. He is merciful. I am not."
Hugo burned to death as Ken turned his back and walked away.
- Ken is a dick. This is intentional. It's what leads to his post-apocalyptic transformation into Ken the Zombie-Eater.
- Ken and Hugo have had a long personal and business relationship. This is what allowed Ken to operate as he has. Hugo got rich telling people Ken's stories, which in genre terms is "Men's Adventure" and thoroughly disrespected by both the Literati in Academia and in Big Publishing. Hugo, like many college-educated writers, is status-obsessed and anxious to the point of dysfunction. Ken not be around for months at a time is why it took a betrayal for him to notice.
- Ken's life is a serial of revenge-taking. His events are as predictable as an action movie, and therefore by this time he's already killed enough people to equal the great heroes of antiquity across all continents. Hugo resents this because the reliable income doesn't translate to the respect he desires.
- Hugo got lovebombed into a cult rather easily, and the cult's leaders (dead by this point at Ken's hands), one that dominated his field and thus wielded major influence (e.g. Scientology). They kept him on a leash as a money spigot by handing him a woman, in classic Honeypot manner.
- "Stabbed in the back" is metaphorical; the cult used Ken's previous enemies as catspaws. "Left to die" is literal, and is why The Dark Lord intervened.
- This is at the cult's annual convention. The rest of the cult's core members are slaughtered by Ken's allies.
I expect a few more goes at this until it's right.