Jul 27 2013

A very nice Succubus WIP YouTube…

I found a really lovely work in progress YouTube that, by the end of it, reveals a Succubus that I think is really something special…

And if you cannot see it here on the Tale:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=syOe6nvR8oI

And, of course in case the video disappears, the completed piece of art:

Succubus by CatKicka

Succubus by CatKicka

This art is by an artist on YouTube called CatKicka, who’s page you can find here. This particular piece of art is their tenth day of creations in a series of Monster Girls they made last year and is one of my favourites from their series.

I like the underlying hint of sexuality in this art quite a lot. It isn’t overwhelming, and I like that concept. Her wings being torn I don’t care much for, but then she is a Succubus, a evil one probably, and so that appearance is a given really.

I’m also pleased that she has normal legs and feet, hooves wouldn’t have looked nice, I do wonder a little about the size of her horns and the jewelry in her hair though…

Could be a story in that mebby…

 

Tera

Jul 26 2013

A Review of Just A Taste by J.C. Holly

Just A Taste by J.C. Holly

Just A Taste by J.C. Holly

What does it mean to be a Succubus? It is simply the sex? The means to have that from anyone, anytime, anywhere? I don’t believe it is. No one thing defines any one person, or being, or kind of being. What does define them is who they are when all of the other descriptions, all of the things that they seem to be, are taken away and all that is left is their soul.

And then the question becomes, is that then what they truly are?

The story tells of:

Jenna is a succubus, a creature that feeds upon lust and sexual energy. And she’s good at her job. Who wouldn’t be after 700 years? When Terry tries to pick her up in a bar, she takes him back to her place for a night literally straight out of his dreams.

A hot flash about a Succubus named Jenna who takes a man back to her place and then fulfills one of his fantasies in order to feed from his sexual energies. Overall that is an interesting start to a story, but the problem becomes that the story suffers for getting to the sex to be told.

Jenna is, most certainly, a Succubus, though there are no descriptions of horns or a tail to tell that for certain. Still, the author describes her as a Succubus, she feeds from sex, and she has the ability to make dreams real. She has obviously been a Succubus for some time as the use of her powers is barely an distraction to her. I thought that her casual attitude was interesting, though some more background on her past would have been nice.

She is, at least in this story, very dominant in nature and her prey falls to her powers very quickly which then immediately leads to the sex scene, which is hot, with a little bit of bondage and BDSM which follows it. I have problems with stories that have Succubi appearing as a means to a sex scene rather than characters in their own right with a history.

Jenna treads the line for me. On the one hand there is a history to her which is hinted at, but we learn nothing of it really. Then we have her performing all kinds of sex acts on her prey, but there isn’t a lot of heat in that for her and her attitude shows that.

The writing is good, nothing in the story really took me out of it, though I wanted more than this little moment. I suppose that makes the title quite apt really…

Three pitchforks out of five.

More story, because there are things to tell, and it would have been nice to see that.

 

Tera

Jul 25 2013

Succubi Image of the Week 290

This week’s Succubus is, in fact, an styled version of an avatar that an artist uses on gaia online. I think she’s a wonderful Succubus and I think that she has inspired a story that I hope to share soon…

Succubus by C3NTRIC

Succubus by C3NTRIC

This is called, simply, Succubus and is by an artist on DeviantArt that calls themselves C3NTRIC. I found this work on their site on DeviantArt here and their artist’s page is here as well.

The artist has a wonderful style to their art, I like the what light and dark are mixed into her form, clothing, and hair. The bit of smoke below her is a nice touch as well as it gives this art a bit of depth that I think was needed. The snake on her shoulder is a little odd, and I don’t quite understand why she has one, but it almost looks as if it is coming out of her hair in a way.

The tears in her wings are interesting, they show I think that she hasn’t had the easiest of times as a Succubus, but, it also means that she has a history and that I find to be a fascinating thing to think about.

The artist has created other works that have a Devil or Succubus theme to them, such as this one, and this one on their DeviantArt page.

Please do visit and see more of their wonderful art!

 

Tera

Jul 24 2013

What exactly is an X-Devil costume anyway?

Sometimes the names they use for Devil Girl or Succubus costumes bother me some. Occasionally the name makes no sense, or isn’t quite right, or is a use of the English language that just is incredible.

And then, then there are costumes with names like this…

X-Devil Sheer Sexy Devil Costume

This is called the X-Devil Sheer Sexy Devil Costume. I’ll get to that in a little bit I promise. It comes with the sheer sequin mesh dress with boa trim, a pair of sequin horns and the pitchfork that the model is holding.

No other accessories are included, nor are the shoes, and, of course, the costume does not come with a tail either…

It sells for $80 US.

So, the horns are ugly, the pitchfork is the one that I hate most of all, but I have a lot more problems with this. I don’t see how a feather boa, or feather trimming for that matter has anything to do with Succubi. Really, take away the accessories and you have a red dress with some feathers and that’s about it.

But the real problem is the name of this costume. If it is an X-Devil Devil Costume then doesn’t that make this not a devil costume then?

I mean, imagine trying to explain that to someone when they ask you where you bought this and what it is called?

They’ll look at you like you are a bit… off.

Anyway, putting aside the nits and picks, overall I suppose that replacing the horns and pitchfork would make this at least partially palatable. Not completely mind you, but a little bit…

I’ll give this two pitchforks out of five.

It’s really not horrid, which is saying something I suppose…

 

Tera

Jul 23 2013

Desires 87

A pause, a thought, a consideration… But also a decision is made…

________________

Desires – Beginnings

By BStyles and Tera S

Part Twenty-Three

 

He let out a soft sigh of contentment. It marveled him a little, how well the curves of her body seemed to fit so perfectly in his embrace. The tight hold of her tail on his leg made his wings twitch a little, spreading even more tickling feathers over her back.

Had he held anyone like this before? “…you would be the first…” he whispered. It seemed she was quite the privileged one. He sighed softly as her leg rubbed up against him, enjoying the sensations. After a moment he pulled out of their hug – enough that he could look into her eyes. Her tail really didn’t allow him to go too far – his wings returning to their rest position behind him.

A slight pulse of light flickered from his halo, and his remaining clothes faded away. “I do want this, Tera…” he said, flushing a little as his excitement was made all too well-known. “…I just…don’t really know all of the steps to this dance…”

_______________

Then we shall learn together won’t we?

 

 

Tera

Jul 22 2013

Storm Clouds 199 – An ongoing Succubi Story

This is the continuing story of the Succubi called Storm Clouds…

If you want to read previous chapters, please click here…

Well… Next week will be the 200th post or so the count goes… Mebby I’ll have something for it…  I hope so…

_______________________

Storm Clouds 199

Chapter 29

By TeraS

The Dark was not omniscient. It was intelligent: It schemed and planned, It moved pieces around a board of its own choosing … most of the time. However, the one whom it battled against regularly knew how to make it even less connected to its plans. When that one had destroyed Its view of the only piece that mattered, there was nothing to be done except what It had done.

It had taken control of a pawn. There was no choice in this; but in doing so It isolated itself from all of its other pawns. It was like having cotton in your ears and dark glasses on. You might have heard something, but not clearly. You might have seen something, but not know what it was perfectly.

This was, for It, intolerable.

But what was more intolerable was that It could not simply be where It wanted because It needed this pawn to gain access to the place, to form a new eye, and to have again what it needed most of all: information.

The accursed of the Realm, they understood that more than any other beings, and that was their advantage, an advantage that the Dark wanted for itself. That was Its purpose behind all that had led to this point: to have what they knew, and to be able to use it.

This was the thing that It could not understand. They had to know … everything. This was the worrisome thing, for the question was what they knew about It most of all. What weakness could they use against It? Could they … end It? For one of the few times in eons, It felt something that could be described as being fear, although It would dismiss that as being part of the pawn It held at the moment and not itself. If It was omniscient, or even more than minimally self-aware, It might have realized its folly … perhaps.

The travel took, according to the pawn’s perception, well over an hour, but Its prize had to be in a place where they would not easily find it. The small, out-of-the-way trailer park, along with the one lodging of the pawn that was in it, surrounded by misfortune, grief, and helplessness, masked Its prize and protected it.

The Dark was comforted by all of the dark emotions that surrounded this place, gaining some power from it and giving a fraction of it to Its pawn. This was the agreement: the pawn wanted power; the Dark was willing to give it … for a price.

The Dark was still amused by how little the pawn understood about the agreement. Eventually, It would see that the pawn understood fully. For now, It needed him, and so it fulfilled what he desired without actually giving more than what he could have gotten on his own. Humans were, It well knew, so easily distracted.

The pawn removed the traps, broke the sigils, and lastly turned the key it held to open the door and reveal the space where the prize was. And, in doing so, it failed completely to notice the shadow that had followed It from the moment It had taken over Its pawn …

From within the shadow that fell across a nearby tree, a purple hand with pink nails rested itself against the bark. For a few moments one finger tapped against the bark as if the owner of that hand was considering something, or more accurately, planning something.

Considering who this was, it wasn’t surprising that she was here and watching It carefully. The tapping stopped as she felt the viewing portal begin to form and waited patiently for would happen next.

There was a snap of energy that only those of magical ability would ever notice and then there came a rumble as the trailer itself vibrated, then stopped. Then the curse came from within. It never should have left the door open really; It was becoming sloppy and, in that, more dangerous. Then she watched as Its pawn was thrown from the trailer and the door slammed behind him as he lay stunned on the grass.

She considered removing the pawn from the field, to stick another pin into It’s hide and make It more angry than before. But she had a use for him, as well, if not yet, so she left him alone and continued to watch from where she was safely hidden. The problem was that she didn’t know exactly what was going on within the trailer, and that stayed her hand.

Within the trailer, the Dark was pleased that the tail was still in its jar, trapped, and held from her kin. It lifted the jar from the floor and looked inside, shaking the jar slightly before gloating. “There you are, still safe and secure. You have no hope except to give in to me. Do so, and I’ll end your pain. What hold does your precious Realm have on you now?”

The Dark finished ranting and then the tail in the jar … moved. The tip rose out of the coils of itself like the head of a snake. It pushed against the lid just once before the heart shaped tip turned to look at the one holding it. A moment passed, as if it was not looking at the Dark, but through it. Then a tired woman’s voice answered it, “No. I will not give you what you want. You have done everything save end my existence. Do so, if you dare.”

The tip turned away, almost dismissively, and then sunk back out of sight, seemingly having said its peace and finished with It.

“What if I gave you new life?”

A pause, then the answer: “I know your tricks and your boons are nothing but traps.”

“Then I’ll find an innocent and force you to join with them.”

“Please do try.”

The Dark paused at that. The tone was not dismissive, but was instead challenging. It understood how Tails were joined, or It thought It did; the information was so tightly guarded that only hints and theories were really known outside of their world.

“You are not Tera. You cannot trick me.”

“No. I’m not. But I am of her Daughters. Do your worst, if you dare.”

“Why not turn to me, to where you came from?”

The laugh this time was certain and strong. “You never made us. You only wish you did.”

The Dark shook the jar once violently and then set it back on the floor: “You will, all of your kind, bow to me.”

The tail answered: “Better luck next time. Now go away and leave me be.”

Everything the tail did and said was exactly how every one of their kind had responded to It in the past. Denial, resistance, and then they just turned away from It because they could. But this tail couldn’t. It had trapped it, imprisoned it, and It held all of the cards in this case. But still It was denied, refused, and, more angering of all, laughed at for Its efforts.

The Dark turned It’s efforts back to making the viewing portal again, for some reason it didn’t form the first time, and so It focused itself on making it again. Again it formed and then collapsed. Twice more It tried, and then the portal formed in the far corner of the space the tail was held in. As the place was unprotected now, It moved towards It’s own place in the darkness to confirm all was well before commanding the pawn to again protect the place. It gave the tail one more look and then swirled away into nothingness.

And then the Dark made a mistake. It left the door wide open and unprotected. In the silence that came after It left, there was the sound of something running through the grass outside … and then it stopped. Then a small, grey calico cat peered inside the trailer, as if checking out the place.

When the cat saw the jar with the tail in it, its eyes narrowed and then it leaped inside. It took but a few seconds to rush to the space under the viewing portal, scratch three times on the floor there, and then flee outside once more. As the cat ran back outside the pawn began to stir. The cat saw this and, before the pawn regained all of his senses, darted into the shadow of the tree, where a pair of purple hands caught and then pulled the cat out of sight.

Before the pawn could gather his mind and sense for her being there, she vanished, taking the cat with her. She promised a favor for help and this she would do … unlike a certain arrogant being of darkness.

It had pawns. She had friends. Something the Dark would never be able to understand …

The Dark, in the meantime had returned to its lair, the remnants of what once had been it’s means of watching its plans unfold. It would take time, much time, to repair the damage, and there was no doubt that she was planning something. The destruction she had left in her wake was not important in the grand scheme of things, however. All that mattered was that one tail It held. Losing the view of It’s pawns was less important, after all; pawns could be replaced, if need be. They were nothing compared to the prize It wanted … no, needed.

It regarded the mirror, and the tail sitting there, with some satisfaction. This one piece of the plan could not be allowed to be free to return to her kind. It knew well that, should what it had done come to be known … the repercussions would be universe shaking.

At least, that was It’s plan.

It was very good at building traps, and to trap Tera and her kind would be the pinnacle of It’s work. To have them all in It’s control would feed the Dark for eons to come. So, It had been planning and scheming for eons before this, looking for a means to enter their Realm, to influence, to take everything apart from within. But every time It tried, something stopped it at the edge. No matter how it tried, whether by possessing, inhabiting, or means even darker, nothing it tried allowed It to pass through. Why could others enter and not It? What held It at bay, and how? This was the question that needed to be resolved, regardless of the cost.

The cost had been high. It seemed as if it would be even more so. But the rewards where tempting and many, and so it continued on it’s path towards …

It’s thoughts were stopped by a partial image in one of the broken mirrors. The image was unclear but it appeared as if one of Tera’s had been in It’s grasp and then tried to flee. It watched as they and … some other being … had been killed by It’s protections.

The Dark would have to punish some of Its pawns, but that was acceptable to have caused Tera more grief at the loss of another of her kind. Perhaps enough that, taunting her or others of her kind, would make it easier for It’s plans to come to fruition.

It returned back to the pawn near the tail and had it set the traps back into place, giving it a measure of power for doing so. It needed this one for a time longer, not much more, but long enough to be sure that this went correctly.

Once the pawn was finished, the Dark moved to leave—It had others to teach how wrong they were not to obey It’s wishes—but paused a moment. If It had been human, It might have explained that it felt as if someone had walked on Its grave. Instead, It felt … uneasy. It scanned the place, looking for a reason to do so, but found nothing. Dismissing it as being echoes of the pawn It had possessed, It vanished.

It had two pawns to deal with, and so It did.

 

 

Storm Clouds

Chapter 30

By TeraS

“Where the hell are we?”

The frustration in Tom’s voice was very evident for two reasons: one was that Nina hadn’t told him what she was going to do, and the other was … she blindfolded him, again not telling him she was going to.

“You’re safe, Tom.”

Tom considered that. On the one hand he wasn’t crushed by a window washer platform, so there was that point for her. He was, however, sitting flat on his ass, didn’t have a clue where he was, and wasn’t happy about it. “This has to be a definition of the word that I haven’t been acquainted with before.”

He could hear the smirk in her voice, “What? You don’t like learning new things?”

“I have issues with not being able to know what the heck is going on, Nina.”

He felt a hand—he assumed it was Nina’s—on his arm, “I’ll give you the Reader’s Digest version: you are in a place where, if you could see, it would probably break your mind, and I don’t want to have to explain that to Camilla … or Tera, for that matter.”

“I’m not that fragile.”

She laughed, “Maybe. And maybe you need to trust me like you do Camilla.”

He thought about that, only for a moment, “She’s …”

“… proved herself to you. Yes, I got that. I just saved your bacon … and eggs … and hash browns … so how about you give me the benefit of the doubt and …”

The break in Nina’s rant was disturbing

Tom didn’t like it, “And what?”

Then Nina, more seriously than any time Tom had heard her before, said, “Tom, be quiet and don’t say anything no matter what happens.”

The grip that Nina had on his arm tightened, as if she had seen something that was a threat. Tom began to move his hand to the blindfold to remove it, but he felt what seemed like Nina’s hand, or tail, or something, bat his hand away and she hissed “Shhh!”

Then things got … weird.

There was a … presence. Tom couldn’t see it, didn’t know what it was, but there was suddenly someone … or something … else nearby. Nina’s grasp relented and she seemed almost overwhelmed when she spoke …

“I’m sorry. I know he’s not supposed to be here. I didn’t have anywhere else to go that I could think of.” Tom listened for an answer trying to figure out who was there, but he didn’t hear a single word spoken by anyone other than Nina. “He can’t see where he is. He won’t be able to tell anyone.”

The presence came close. Almost touched Tom, but he didn’t flinch from whatever it was … whoever it was. There was light, or he thought there was, around him, around them … and he wasn’t afraid of it. He should have been; there could have been a threat. But it didn’t feel like it. It could have been dangerous, but that little voice in the back of his head that told him to duck before something bad happened … didn’t.

“No, he isn’t. I mean … he could be … Couldn’t he?”

Tom was trying to figure out what that meant when he felt something brush against his cheek and a voice echoed in his mind softly, “I’ll see you again, Thomas.” He heard Nina gasp—again he wasn’t sure why—followed by a whisper of, “I promise … always.”

Then the presence was gone and Nina spoke with an odd tremor in her voice, “That’s never happened before.”

Tom didn’t say anything—he wasn’t sure he could—so he did the next best thing. He pointed at his lips and then turned his head towards Nina’s voice and starting mouthing words.

Nina seemed sad, “Sorry, Tom. You can talk. They’re gone.”

“Who … or what, was that?”

“Can’t say right now. Not allowed to.”

“Is this a thing with your kind, Nina? Riddles and hints? Not giving out information?”

“You aren’t supposed to know. Only our kind does and it’s something we don’t talk about.”

“Family secret?”

Nina actually laughed, “Oh, it’s a big one. Even bigger than Tera’s age. Don’t ask because I won’t be telling that, either.”

“So, now what?”

“Now we’re continuing on, and then you can take off that blindfold.”

Tom didn’t know what to make of that, either, and then be felt his stomach lurch and twist just like it did when he passed into what Camilla called their Realm before a warm breeze blew through his hair and he heard the sound of birds around him.

“Okay. We’re home now, Tom. You can take it off.”

Tom removed the blindfold and found himself standing in a well maintained courtyard, the grass trimmed to within an inch of its life, the flowers in their beds in precise rows, and not one leaf from one tree falling from a branch.

“Nice gardening. Who’s place is this?”

“Mine. Haven’t been home … for a while.”

Tom considered her as he stuffed the blindfold in a pocket, “Don’t come home much?”

Nina was looking at a building: a simple side-split home in orange brick with a dark brown wood door in front, the door itself oddly marked with what looked to be a symbol that reminded him of the shape … and color … of Nina’s tail.

“Not since I died. Want to come in?”

Tom didn’t know how to answer that and, when he didn’t, Nina just took his hand and pulled him towards the front door.

“Remember I said that I’m a tail? We need to talk about that, I don’t have a lot of time left to do so, and you’ll need to know some stuff when Camilla comes back.” She took hold of the doorknob and, as she turned it, added, “And you can never, no matter what, tell anyone about this. Or I’ll kill you, Tom.”

In spite of his confusion, Tom didn’t doubt she would.

Tom found himself looking at a home that hadn’t been lived in for a long time. Little motes of dust floated in the sunbeams that came through the windows. The light revealed protective sheets covering furniture, the true forms shielded both from dirt and from prying eyes.

This actually made Tom think about Nina more than anything else. All Tom knew was that she was part of Camilla, but he really didn’t know anything else about her. Tom didn’t like mysteries, and here was one of the most complicated ones he had ever seen.

Nina didn’t say anything for some time once they entered the house. Tom watched as she seemed to be transfixed by the stairs that led to the second floor, and by a particular chair in the sitting room next to the door they came in through. Tom glanced around, looking for some sense of who lived here, but, where there should have been pictures, all that remained were nails in the walls and the space here and there on a table where it was obvious a picture should be, but wasn’t.

When Nina just didn’t say a word as she moved from place to place, Tom asked quietly, “How long haven’t you been home Nina?”

She shook herself before answering, “Oh, at least a few centuries, probably longer. Time really means very little to me anymore.”

Tom was going to make a flippant comment, but stopped as Nina pulled a black sheet from a sofa sitting next to the bay windows of the sitting room. She dropped the sheet to the floor and then turned to Tom, “You might as well sit down, Tom.”

He shook his head, “Ladies first. You can have that end, I’ll take this one.”

“Chivalry, Tom?”

He watched her settle in, her legs drawn underneath her and then took the other end of the sofa and sat facing her, “Manners, sure; one of my better points.”

Nina chuckled at that. Tom was pleased that she did. What followed next wasn’t as amusing …

“I think I’ll start by asking what you know about the succubus myth.”

“They take people’s lives, and souls. They are evil. Those are the highlights.”

“I’m a succubus. Or was, once.”

Tom frowned, “You’ve killed, then.”

Nina didn’t look pleased with herself, “Yes. Many times. I’ve done things that are awful, horrible, and evil.”

Tom just looked at her, saying nothing, and, when he didn’t, Nina continued to talk, her hands in her lap with her looking at them and not Tom as she did so. “I cannot make up for all of the things I have done, Tom. I know that I can’t. I can’t bring them back, I can’t do anything to make the past not happen.”

Again, not a word from Tom; just his eyes on her; nothing more.

“I exist as I do now to atone for what I did. I am a reminder to Camilla that … if she isn’t aware of what she does … she’ll …” Nina’s voice trailed off, the rest of the sentence leaving Tom never sure of what she said, if she said anything.

“Camilla doesn’t strike me as the kind to do that. Neither do you. You’re a pain-in-the-ass, Nina, no doubt …”

Nina looked at him and smiled, “Thanks. I’ve had a long time to perfect that.”

“… but stop the self pity, will you?”

The shock on Nina’s face was very plain to see.

“It doesn’t suit you and you are tougher than that. Don’t sugar coat it for me; if you want to dump on me, then do it. Otherwise, we’re playing a game, Nina, and, frankly, neither one of us has the time for it.”

Nina nodded, then stood up and walked out of the room leaving Tom alone for a few minutes before she returned carrying a picture frame. “Here.”

Tom looked at it while Nina settled back in and talked, “That’s me. The real me, or at least the me that existed when I was here. To be honest, I’ve forgotten what I look like. I think that’s part of being a Tail. You lose who you were for who you are joined with.”

Tom looked at the picture, then at Nina before setting it face down on the sofa: “Let me see you.”

“What do you mean?”

“The myths say you can look like anyone. Is that true?”

“Yes.”

“Then let me see you: the real you.”

“Tom, I can’t do that.”

“Why? Are you scared, or is it something else?”

“My life is done, Tom.”

“Doesn’t seem to be from my point of view. I can talk to you, so either you are a figment of my imagination or you are here. Which is it?”

“It’s complicated.”

“You keep saying that. Explain it to me as Nina, not as Nina in Camilla’s body.”

“I … can’t.”

“No, you don’t want to. There’s a difference. Look, you said you are running out of time. Just do it, Nina. Camilla won’t mind.”

“How do you know?”

“Easy. She’s not the kind to hold a grudge.”

“She will, Tom.”

“Then I’ll explain it to her.”

Tom picked up the picture frame and handed to Nina, “Show me who you really are.”

 

 

Storm Clouds

Chapter 31

By TeraS

 

“Looking for Mister Right. Are you he?”

The question wasn’t one that John had expected. To be honest, he didn’t expect her to be with things enough to be able to ask anything at all. Normally, there would be screaming or yelling, tears, pain …

… and that’s when the pain pushed through the adrenaline and he gasped loudly in surprise: “This isn’t the time for a date, lady.”

She squirmed beside him—whether she was trying to get out from under the rubble or not he wasn’t sure—“Stop … moving.”

The tone, even through the pain, was firm, and Jane stopped before pleading, “I … want … OUT!” Jane had one secret that he hadn’t shared with anyone save her sister: she was very claustrophobic. The fear that came with being crushed into such a small space made her feel as if all of the weight of all of the rubble was on top of her … she was starting to find it hard to breathe …

“Nowhere to go. We’re both stuck here until they dig us out or something worse happens.”

Her laugh was raspy. “You are such an optimist, aren’t you?”

His answer was not, however: “I’m optimistic that they might not have to amputate my leg.”

Jane had forgotten that this was all in John’s memories and that she was trying to help him. For an instant, she began to change, so she could use her power to simply bampf the two of them out from under the wreckage and to safety. Then she could heal John’s leg and …

… and completely mess everything up. She had to stay, had to allow his memories to move forward into the space the Dark had taken.

She hoped that she could do that.

“They won’t have to.”

“How do you know?”

“You seem like a cane kind of guy to me.”

He did, at least, chuckle a little bit at that: “My old man voice sucks.”

Jane managed to turn her head enough to look at him, or at least look at where the sound of his voice was: “I’m … Jane.”

There. It was done. He would know her name and this moment would connect with when he rescued her from the brownstone in what his memories would call the future from now.

Jane didn’t want to think how messed up that was going to be.

She wasn’t sure if he was looking at her, but, for the longest moment, he said nothing. Another groan—dammit, she didn’t want him to have to suffer through all of this again—and then, finally: “John.”

“Yes? Well, John, when we get out of here, you owe me.”

“I owe you?”

“Absolutely.”

“Lady, you are something else, you know that?”

“Damn right I am. I’m pissed off at this building.”

He sighed, Jane imagining that if he could, he would he shaking his head as well: “If you want to blame someone, how about yourself?”

“Me?”

“What the hell are you doing here?”

Jane thought quickly, she really didn’t have a plan, then told the truth: “My Sister comes here. I was looking for her. Next thing I know, you’re here and we’re under a desk.”

“Better than being under a wall or worse.”

“This is bad enough.”

John was quiet … and then something beeped: “That’s my beacon. They’ll be able to find us.”

“How long?”

“What’s the rush? You have a date or something?”

While Jane appreciated the levity, she explained, “I’m claustrophobic.”

“Ah. Well.”

“Well what?”

He grunted and then took in a sharp breath before he answered: “Me, too, actually. This isn’t a lot of fun for me, either.”

Jane didn’t believe him, “You are so full of it. Is that some kind of fire department training you learned?”

“No, really; I am.”

The tone in those four words told Jane he wasn’t lying to her.

“Sorry. I mean …”

“S’okay. It’s something I don’t think about often. Better, really, as this sort of thing”—he tapped the rubble—“is what they call an ‘occupational hazard.’”

“You are crazy.”

“Thank you. I also like ballroom dancing, curling up with a book, and coffee.”

“Are you hitting on me, John?”

“Me? You’re the one that started asking.”

It took the fire department just over two hours to dig their way through to them. While the beacon did tell them were John was, they found it was just as easy to follow the argument that came from under the rubble. That continued as they were pulled out and put on stretchers …

“And another thing, you are the most frustrating pain-in-the-ass I have ever met.”

“Lady, you need to look in a mirror … seriously.”

“So do you! Better, you need to shave, have a haircut, and learn some manners, you dumb ape!”

The fighting continued as they were carried out of the building and then placed into an ambulance … together. The fighting only stopped when they both were jabbed with needles to knock them out when the paramedics had enough of it all.

But, after they got to the hospital, Jane would wander into his room and berate him for being lazy, not to mention trying to get out of the date that he owed her.

When he could walk—with a cane, mind you—John turned the tables on Jane and walked to her room to chew her out for being stupid enough to get caught in the fire in the first place. This went on for a time, until Jane was discharged, but John would have to remain to recover for a long time, they said.

He found, to his surprise, that he walked the same path to the room where Jane had been several times a day without thinking about it. He claimed it was just exercise and the nurses accepted it, even if they didn’t believe it.

When he didn’t see her for three days, John found that he … missed her.

On the fourth day, after another walk around the floor, he came into his room and found Jane leaning against the window, her body silhouetted there.

“Hi.”

“Hi, yourself.”

She started to walk towards him, “I wanted to see how Mister Right was doing.”

Leaning against his cane, John was going to reply with sarcasm, but stopped himself, “You look … nice.”

She walked up to him and looked into his eyes, “Thank you. They told me that you are not improving as they thought you would.”

“And how, exactly, did you get that info?”

Jane touched his hand, the one that held the cane: “I told them I’m your girlfriend. They believed it because we argue so much.”

John looked down at her hand, then back at her again, “Lady, you aren’t my girlfriend.”

“I can be.”

“Don’t need pity from you or anyone else!”

John was surprised at how strong Jane was. He found himself bouncing on the edge of his bed in the next moment, Jane standing in font of him, both of her hands on his thighs, looking at him with … really … really green eyes: “How about we start over? Hi. I’m Jane. I like reading in bed, I’m lousy at making coffee, I’m a lousy dancer, but I’m stunning in a little black dress.”

As she said the words, Jane couldn’t understand why she was being so forward with him. He was a pain … he drove her around the bend … he had wonderful eyes, though … still, he was a pain … but he did have a nice smile … dammit, this was all so confusing …

John smirked, just a little, “Are you, now?”

Jane continued, “As I understand it, you have a fireman’s ball coming up in three months. The guys at the station tell me that you never go.”

“I don’t.”

“Why?”

The smirk became a smile, “Been looking for Miss Right. You her?”

“That depends.”

“On?”

“On how fast you heal with me kicking your ass every day and how good a teacher you are when it comes to dancing.”

“No stilettos.”

“Only while I kick your ass, John.”

“That a promise?”

The kiss certainly was … but Jane didn’t keep the promise about the shoes.

When John woke up the next morning, Jane was sitting nearby drinking a cup of coffee and watching him.

“What are you doing here?”

“I told you. I’m going to kick your ass and you are going to teach me how to dance.”

John sat up and looked at her, “Are you always this stubborn?”

“Are you?”

John knew the answer to that question, but he didn’t give her the satisfaction. Jane stood up and tossed her cup into a waste bin before she tossed a calendar at John, which landed on his lap.

“So, it’s less than three months until that dance.”

“I’ll never be …”

Jane stood next to John, looking down at him with frustration in her eyes, “Why? Why are you so damn negative, John?”

He shrugged and pushed the calendar to the side, “Because that’s how things are, Jane. The docs have told me that I won’t walk right, won’t be right. There’s nothing that they can do to help.”

Jane took a spot on the bed beside him and then placed a hand on his bad leg. “They don’t know everything. How about having a little faith that miracles can happen.”

“I gave up on the tooth fairy when I was eight.”

“I’ll be sure to tell her that. She’ll be miffed.”

John was going to laugh, but there was something in Jane’s voice that gave him pause … or was it the warmth he felt through the bed sheets from her hand touching his leg. His eyes went from her hand to her eyes before he continued: “You are the eternal optimist, aren’t you?”

This time it was Jane’s turn to pause. He couldn’t possibly be. Could he? “… Someone has to be.”

John complained and grouched throughout the day as Jane pushed him through his physical therapy. He didn’t feel like he managed anything by the end of the day and told Jane so very clearly when she got him back to his room. She poked a finger into his chest and told him that she would see him after dinner.

John really didn’t know what to expect, and, when Jane came back, he decided that he wasn’t going to lose her… even if she drove him crazy every single day. It wouldn’t be easy, but he wasn’t going to let go of her.

Jane stood there, wearing a little black dress looking like a million dollars. She wasn’t joking when she said that she was stunning in one.

“Nothing to say?”

“You promised no stilettos.”

“I lied. Deal with it.”

“That’s going to be really hard to do.”

It was Jane’s turn to smirk, “Oh, I hope so.”

She crossed the room to him and helped John to stand up with her. For a moment, time stopped and he wondered about finding a black tux for her next dance lesson.

“How bad a dancer are you?”

“The worst. But I’ll learn.”

The half dozen prods of her heels onto his slippers put the exclamation point to that.

“You really do have two left feet, you know.”

“Be happy they aren’t hooves, smartypants.”

“Oh I am. Trust me. Now, from the top, and this time step with me, not on me.”

Jane’s smile was nice. He found himself wanting to see it every morning …

 

Storm Clouds

Chapter 32

By TeraS

 

The Receptionist was, as always, at her desk. If you asked any of those in the Realm if they ever saw her not being there, the answer, after a time, would be a slightly confused “no.”

Not everyone understood what her place was, though there were many opinions. Some thought she was just there to manage things. However, what those things were was never really well explained. Some thought she was there for her looks, but they never said that to her, or even anywhere within several dimensions of where she was.

As for herself, she knew why she was there. In the end, that was all that really mattered.

She had greeted Donna, and did smile when Billy introduced himself, as awkward as it was. She herself did not have time for such things, but the young did, and that was the important thing.

She noticed the almost pleading look in Donna’s eyes when she presented herself and Billy. It would have been impossible not to see it, even for one of the less observant of the Realm.

“Ummm … I’d … Well …”

The fidgeting was cute, to be honest, and normally she might have made the two of them sweat things out for a time. But she was a good judge of character and there were two obvious things she saw. One was that Billy might to bolt for the front door because he was embarrassed, for Donna more than himself. The other was that he would defend Donna. Having him run wouldn’t have done either him or Donna any good at all, and making him think that she was being mean to Donna wouldn’t be much better.

So she smiled—which shocked Donna—and greeted him: “It’s nice to meet you, Billy.”

Billy honestly didn’t know what to say, but did manage a quiet “Hello, Ma’am,” before he drew a bit closer to Donna.

The Receptionist had an odd smile as she continued: “Thank you for helping Donna.”

“Ma’am?”

Donna gave her a look and then explained: “She has cameras to watch the front doors, Billy.”

That wasn’t true, but it was a good excuse and so she nodded.

There was another uncomfortable pause, which there shouldn’t have been. But she wasn’t going to tell Donna what to do and Billy was deferring to Donna. Finally Donna asked: “Is the lounge being used?”

“No, not at the moment. I believe most of the … staff … Is in the coffee room waiting for a certain person to return?”

There was a moment of panic in Donna’s eyes: “Oh. Oh!”

The young were fun to tease at times, really …

After they had left—which was not before Donna left a cruller and a cup of tea with her—she settled in to do some paperwork. There always was paperwork to be done. For the umpteenth time she allowed herself a small snort of derision at the two beings that had made such things part of the universe.

It was when she was reaching for her tea that she looked towards the front doors of the building … her building. While to anyone’s perception she would still be at her desk, in truth she was … elsewhere. On another plane of existence, in the same space where the brownstone stood in the city, there stood an archway, stone with wisps of ethereal, eternal mists, clouds, and fog around it. Within the archway were a pair of seemingly fragile wood doors that could seal off whatever lay behind them from prying eyes.

At this moment the pair of eyes were that of the Dark, regarding the archway again and again, as It had countless times before, trying to find a way in.

“Are you quite finished?”

It turned to see the Receptionist there, leaning against the doors looking almost bored … and she was a red tail, just like her Queen.

“I will pass.”

She walked from one side of the arch to the other and then rested her right hand just above one of the door handles before turning towards It and crossing her arms over her chest.

“No. Would you like to try again?”

“You cannot keep me out forever.”

She chuckled as her tail brushed against the door.

“I have all the time in the universes.”

“Insolent.”

She shook her head and then looked at It again, “You know, I have a lovely tea and cruller on my desk which have a far better chance of succeeding than you do.”

“Perhaps I should destroy your home there.”

“Oh, please try. As I recall, that will make the hundredth attempt. You know, at two hundred, I’ll be sure to send a lovely potted plant as a consolation prize.”

“Wouldn’t you rather be Queen instead of serving her?”

For a moment, a very long one, she didn’t answer that question. She seemed as if considering the offer, in exchange for what the Dark wanted most of all.

In the next she was standing in front of the Dark, just out of It’s reach, a silver broadsword in her hands and the tip pressed against It’s chest. The flippant attitude was gone, and her words were calm … much too calm. “Are we done? Because then I can cut you in half, again, and scatter your remains over a dozen universes. How long did it take last time to pull yourself together?”

The Dark answered her by vanishing.

The Receptionist rather enjoyed her tea and cruller.

And, on her desk, a small photograph of a newborn Succubi with her red tail wrapped around a feminine hand, held her attention and made her smile until she returned to her paperwork once more …

… and that smile didn’t leave her for the rest of the day.

Jul 21 2013

A Review of The Deal by Amanda M. Holt

The Deal by Amanda M. Holt

The Deal by Amanda M. Holt

Another short book this week with an Incubus as one of the main characters. I have heard, from some authors that they would sell their souls for a book contract, fame and fortune… So what happens when an Incubus appears and gives one writer no choice in the matter? What does that mean in the grand scheme of things anyway?

The story tells of:

Alessandra had an unwelcome visitor last night. The incubus, Daragon, was intent on forcing the author into a soul-binding contract that she has no intention of agreeing to. Last night, she resisted his temptations and his torments, but only just…

When Daragon comes to Alessandra for the second night in a row, he puts the same deal before her. Will Alessandra be able to deny him a second time? If she’s able to decline, will he give up and move on to another victim?

Her very soul is in jeopardy if she gives in to…The Deal.

The thing about this story is that we don’t actually come into the story until it has been going on for a while. That is to say we don’t see when Alessandra first encounters Daragon, we don’t find out what he has done to her, save for marks and scrapes. We just have a woman in obvious discomfort facing her attacker for the second time and knowing that she can’t hold out forever.

Daragon is a classic Incubus to me at least. He fishes into Alessandra’s mind, discovers her secrets and then uses them against her… over and over again. There is no kindness, no love, no warmth from him at all. For him it is simply business. He has always won and expects to again with Alessandra.

As for looking like an Incubus, Daragon really doesn’t show much of that save for his eyes having flames within them and of course his ability to shift through different forms to tempt Alessandra. He also has the ability to play with her body, not just sexually, but emotionally and in how it acts.

This of course places all of the power in his hands and he is not shy about using it. And for what purpose you might ask? To claim Alessandra’s soul and have her write best sellers for another’s purposes. Considering that she is an author, it surprises me that other temptations wouldn’t have worked better.

While Daragon appears throughout the story, there is a mention of Succubi and of Lilith at one point which I wanted to know more about, but it is only a passing reference and so wasn’t explored at all.

Overall it is a good read, one or two little grammar mistakes, but nothing major to speak of. My main problem was the overwhelming force that Daragon attacks Alessandra with. He claims that she has free will, but then tells her that she either relents to him or he will return again and again until she does. Why is that? Normally in stories like this, if someone resists an Incubus once, then they are free of them. It is of course the author’s choice in this story how things work, but it makes for a sad commentary I think as well.

I think that seeing the events unfold from the beginning would have made for a better story. I believe that the ending was unsatisfying and needed to go a bit further as well. It ended at a point where Alessandra was being forced into a change of direction, a purpose and a future that wasn’t what she expected. More than the person she was going to have to deal with now left me with questions unanswered, though I have my thoughts about that as well…

But we’ll never know.

Three and a half pitchforks out of five.

Didn’t like the bullying theme all that much, the concept is a good one of how sometimes you can get what you want, but the cost is more than you can possibly imagine. Not enough back story, and I would have liked to know more about how this all turns out for Alessandra in the end…

 

Tera

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