I’m going to be trying something different in a lot of ways this October on the Tale. I have a story to tell; it isn’t really part of the Realm, mind you. Still, I have been nudged by some to “try and write something more evil”, for whatever that might be worth considering. However, my idea of “evil” and theirs, I think, are two completely different things.
Still, I have an idea, it is October, and Halloween is fast approaching. What follows is a story that I intend to complete by Halloween, if all goes well and if … other things allow me to do so.
It’s different, as I have mentioned, but … as in all things I write, I suppose … We’ll see …
There are some things in the universe that should never be allowed to have what might be called …
The Second Coming
There are some sounds which are unmistakable. The sound of someone crying out in passion is one of them. Of crying out as they orgasm, their bodies covered in sweat, their breath, if they can catch it, taken away … or stolen … or worse still.
“Harder, you worthless worm!”
For those that called this particular little four story brownstone apartment complex home, such sounds were very uncommon, at least up until the last few months or so as some recalled things. The place hadn’t been known for wild parties, loud neighbours, or, really, anything untoward or bothersome to anyone.
“Give me your hot spunk!”
Even when the mousey twenty-something had moved in, there was no sign at all that she was anything other than a respectable woman starting out in the world. Rather bookish, nothing flashy about her, she’d been quite friendly to everyone there. Many of the more mature individuals had thought her to be more than pleasant and were happy to see that the calmness of their little slice of the city would remain the same.
“Fuck me harder! Oh fuck yes!”
Something changed about her, what it was exactly no one was really sure when they thought about it. Her eyes seemed different; she changed her hair colour. The most apparent change was the pornstar cleavage that she must have been hiding under those baggy sweaters of hers became very prominent in the corsets and leather she was suddenly wearing.
“You’re mine, slave.”
Most had turned their eyes away from what started to happen. At least most were able to ignore the thumping sounds at first, assuming she was moving furniture or something. However, the occasional boyfriend—though in many cases that was questionable—who came to her apartment, then left in the middle of the night, was something many couldn’t ignore.
“Use your tongue!”
One of the other tenants had confronted her about the noise and the seemingly endless stream of men and women that came to her. Afterwards, they didn’t seem to mind very much about her, the noise, or anything else, for that matter.
“You fucking slut! On your knees!”
It was the weekend before Halloween that one tenant in the building was speaking—in confession, of course, as such things that were happening weren’t the sort of thing spoken about in polite company—with her pastor. She told of her concerns about the young woman, how strange things had become, the sights and sounds they had heard.
“Join us! Oh my fuck, yes!”
The good man explained that times had changed and sex was not evil. The parishioner left, worries calmed, for the moment. However the same couldn’t be said about him. There was one particular comment made which brought a frown.
“Gawd, you’re a hot fuck!”
It was meant as a joke, a commentary on the sexual frenzy the young woman seemed to be capable of now. How almost otherworldly her sexual appetites were, how those that entered her domain didn’t seem to be quite right afterwards. How she didn’t, for lack of a better term, seem right somehow. Almost as if she wasn’t quite human.
“What the hell’s that?”
There are some secrets held in places that few are able to see. Knowledge of the past, of legends and things thought to be legends, but actually very real. Some are shared among the trusted, to act as tripwires in the world, to warn of impending dangers, beings coming to this world. To attempt, if possible, to stop such things long before they can do harm.
In the past, such reports were carried by messenger, taking months to engender a response. In the modern world, such reports, when they were made, took but moments to find their way to those that could understand such things. A report transcribed, pictures attached—one in particular very concerning for what it showed. A click of a mouse and it was away, leaving the sender to pray for the soul of the young woman and hope for the best.
“mmmm. Fuck … yesssss …”
Elsewhere, in a place that simply didn’t exist to the world at large, a soft chime sounded, announcing the receipt of an email. The computer waited, patiently—for it was a computer, after all, and couldn’t do much else without someone using it as the tool it was. It wouldn’t matter if it was hours; the email would sit there waiting. A creaking sound gave notice that a door had opened, the sound of feet shuffling across the room making it clear that someone had entered. A slim hand reached out, shook the mouse attached to the computer, and set about reading the email.
She had heard of many things in her time, been taught about the comings and goings of spirits, angels, and devils in this world. Things that the world in general didn’t believe in, or, when they came to see such things, if rarely, they ignored or obfuscated, save on those occasions when they went mad.
Sometimes she envied the ones that had gone mad. She traced a finger along the glowing text, her frown deepening and her concern growing. Finding the attached pictures, she clicked through them, one by one, until she stopped at the very last one.
“Well, damn us all.”
With another click a printer started to make whirring noises, putting the report to paper. She mulled things over in her mind as it did so, her thoughts not as they usually were about why the bureaucracy of the Church needed to have everything on paper. She hadn’t been needed; her role had been changed from dealing with demons and the like to dealing with bureaucrats. It had been ages since the last time she’d had to face this. She remembered what happened then, the threat she had faced, what she had been forced to do. More ominously, she remembered the promise made to her …
“You will be mine.”
As the last sheet of paper came out of the printer, she gathered the sheets up and made her way across the room to her desk. It seemed that she was needed again, whether those above her liked it or not—likely not. The threat was clear; at least the report made it so. Now the problem was to overcome the inertia of those around her. Settling into an old, well-worn leather chair, a stray lock of ash-brown hair fell out of place and she blew it away from her nose.
“You look happy, Cleo.”
Cleo looked across the room as she tucked her hair into place and frowned: “I’m not. Come in, Mandy. Close the door.”
Mandy, proper name Miranda, frowned: “Okay, if you’re not calling me by my proper name, whatever it is has to be a ball of suck.”
The sigh was a long one: “Oh … it is.”
Cleo watched as her protegé, née assistant, closed the door and locked it. An idle thought, one she had had many times, passed: “Young, confident, attractive. Who did she piss off to be here?” She had always wondered about her: how she came to be involved with the church, how she wound up being assigned to Cleo’s own little personal hell. It seemed to her that a vibrant young woman like Miranda should be out in the world acting in a public relations role, possibly on television, being interviewed about the church and dealing with the many issues it faced. Her thoughts were interrupted by Miranda settling into the other chair in the room, after putting a stack of papers that were in her way on the floor.
Miranda didn’t look like the typical nun. Cleo had never seen her looking anything but casual. She liked running shoes, blue jeans, and T-shirts with sayings written on them. Today’s shirt was no exception: “All I need today is a little coffee and a whole lot of faith.”
Cleo smiled, she couldn’t help it. Mandy winked, her blue eyes sparkling as she gathered her hair into a ponytail with a scrunchie: “You like?”
“I think it’s very apt.”
Her brown eyes narrowed slightly as she replied: “How well do you know me?”
Mandy paused in the midst of getting her hair under control: “Professionally or personally?”
Finishing gathering her hair, Mandy picked up a pair of Cleo’s glasses off her desk and put them on. “Professionally, you have been director of the catacombs since 1991. Your guidance has taken what had been a loose collection of scrolls and books whose contents were unknown to the world and made it a wealth of information about the legends of the past.”
Resting a hand against her cheek, Cleo sighed as she thought, “I wish I could keep you thinking that.”
Miranda continued: “By 2000, the collected wisdom and teachings had been collated and sorted into what is the largest collection of lore on Earth. Following that marvel, you pressed onwards and drove into a ten-year long personal project to examine every artifact held here, entering them all into the database and cross-connecting them to the texts involved.”
Another breath of air directed at that lock of hair covered up her shiver at remembering one particular artifact and what happened late one might when she was left alone with it.
“Currently, you are … teaching …”—the pause was telling, as was the look Mandy was giving—“… Miranda Meyer to take over your role here when you retire, sometime in the distant future.”
She smiled: “Nice summary.”
The glasses went back on the table as Mandy took the scrunchie out of her hair, allowing it to fall in waves around her petty features.
“Personally … well, that’s something neither of us has quite figured out yet, but … I’m having fun.”
Cleo’s mood brightened: “Tease.”
A blue-tipped fingernail was poked in her direction: “I’d say the same about you, but then you are my boss, so I’d better not.”
Taking a sip of coffee, Cleo replied: “I still don’t know why I put up with you.”
Mandy returned to putting her hair back into a ponytail, her thoughts betraying that she wanted to know what was bothering her friend, if not quite lover: “So. What’s crawled into your panties and can I be the one to … pull them down and take care of it?”
The reply was unexpected and the choking fit went on for a few minutes, Mandy sitting there and looking as innocent as she could. Cleo was older, yes, but to Mandy that only meant she was more experienced, in a lot of ways. Yes, she had a crush on her—she wasn’t exactly hiding it either. Still, the flirting didn’t go much further than that and the one kiss they’d shared left Mandy wondering what it would be like if Cleo was her age. That particular thought was the source of a lot of daydreams that she wasn’t all that sorry about.
Wiping tears from her eyes, Cleo sighed: “Ah yes, now I remember. It’s your sparkling personality and all of the times you’ve told people to … what was it …”
“… go and fuck themselves when they wanted to get in your way?”
The reply to that was a raised coffee mug and a nod. Mandy was very good at running interference, but at the same time she was more than capable of dealing with the bureaucracy and keeping Cleo out of it.
Mandy’s expression turned earnest: “Okay. Spill it. What’s going on?”
Cleo put the mug down and gathered the report into her hands: “This morning a report came in from a diocese. It tells of … well …” She handed the report over: “… you read it.”
The earnest expression turned from Cleo towards the papers, becoming quizzical. With a shrug, Mandy started to read the report, skimming over it at first, then suddenly stopping when she came to the middle of the second page and starting over again. When she was done, her eyes returned to Cleo: “Okay. A girl’s on a sex kick, screwing left, right, and centre, and someone didn’t like it, complained about it in confession and then … this appears in your box.”
“What do you make of it?”
“Nothing. She sounds like a randy tramp that’ll fuck anything in sight.”
Reading the report again, Mandy pursed her lips when she came upon it: “That’s … impossible.”
Cleo handed over the picture that sealed things for her: “No, it isn’t.”
Mandy stared at the picture in disbelief: “Cosplayer or something … has to be some kind of fetish.”
“No. I wish that was true, but … no.”
Her eyes flicking from Cleo to the picture, Mandy asked: “You’re seriously telling me that she’s some kind of devil?”
Learning back, her blue eyes watered: “No, she’s human, mostly. It looks like she’s been possessed by a succubus.”
“How do you know?”
Still looking at the ceiling, Cleo didn’t dare look at Mandy: “Ever wonder why there’s that sealed-up section of the catacombs?”
“Not really. The signs say it’s unsafe, structurally unsound.”
Cleo’s voice lowered: “It isn’t. It contains … things that should never have been found.”
“Cleo … What are you saying exactly?”
“You know all of those legends? The stories about devils and angels, possession and so on?”
Leaning forwards, she looked across the desk: “I was there, around the witching hour one Halloween. I found a locked chest in which there were … things. Dark things.”
Mandy started to laugh, but when she saw the look in Cleo’s eyes she choked it away: “You’re serious?”
“There are two kinds of sex demons. Name them.”
Mandy’s reply was by rote: “They are the succubus and the incubus. They seduce mortals, take their souls and … are you telling me you encountered one of them?”
A short nod was the answer.
Cleo’s eyes wandered around the room: “I found myself at the mercy of an incubus. He wanted … a succubus mate. Needed one to start his conquest of the world. I was … handy …”
“I came within a soul’s breath of being made a succubus. He had everything needed save one thing. I didn’t know what he was talking about, he searched, trying to find it. He ran out of time, was banished back to where he came from when his time was up. When I came to my senses, I got out of there. The next day I had the place sealed off.”
Mandy put the picture on the desk between them: “And this?”
Cleo looked at the picture again: “She seems to have come into possession of what he was looking for, and then been possessed.”
Her finger tapped the picture. It showed what might well be the most sexually alluring women either of them had ever seen: deep cleavage, a wild mane of hair. That wasn’t strange; there were a lot of beautiful people in the world after all. What were haunting were her red eyes and the green emerald that was nestled above her cleavage, one that was glowing, seemingly merged with her body, tendrils of similar green spending out from it under her skin.
“She’s the host for a succubus.”
Mandy didn’t say anything for a long time, the shadows in the room moving slowly as the light of the day turned slightly darker.
“Assuming you’re right … what happens next?”
Cleo’s answer made Mandy shiver: “I … don’t know.”
“Okay, where do we start then?”
“Have to gather some things from the artifacts. I’m … going to deal with this.”
Cleo’s expression turned sour: “As my … penance … for what happened … this is my responsibility.”
Cleo had never heard Mandy rant before, but there was always a first time: “Bullshit! Whatever happened wasn’t your fault! They can go and fuck themselves! You? Against this? Bullshit!”
“I know what to expect; she’s a succubus, she won’t affect me like an incubus would. There’s a way to banish them.”
Cleo’s thoughts betrayed her confidence: “Never have, though … no idea what happens if I try.”
Mandy pushed the report and the picture aside: “You’re not going alone. I’m coming.”
“No, you aren’t. I’m not going to risk …”
“Stop. Just … stop. I’m not going to stand aside and do nothing. You can’t do this alone, you aren’t going to. You and I both know you aren’t as young as you were. Let me help you … please?”
Cleo looked very small there in her old, worn leather chair: “Miranda …”
“If this goes badly …”
“It won’t. You’ll see.”
“If it does …”
“… I’ll … take care of you.”
Cleo smiled softly: “Thank you.”
The phone rang in the next moment, the two women looking at it. Picking up the phone, Cleo sighed: “Yes, your Grace?”
The conversation was very one sided, Cleo not saying another word until she put the phone down again.
“I’m expected to be on a plane in the next few hours.”
Mandy smiled as she stood up to leave: “We’re expected. You know … this might be a great chance to do some shopping. I’ve never been over there before.”
Cleo shook her head: “More T-shirts?”
A pair of blue eyes sparkled: “Darn right.”
Five hours later and Cleo found herself sitting onboard a private airplane. It was a new experience for her, one she found delightful, all things considered. Security was a breeze, no fighting for the armrests either. The only thing she didn’t care for was having to wear what made her look like a university professor, 1960s era glasses included. Tweed jackets were not her thing. No matter; she wasn’t a fashion plate, anyway, and appearances had to be taken into account.
There was no sign of Mandy as she heard the pilots warn they would be leaving shortly. She relaxed slightly. She had what she needed in her sealed case. Mandy wasn’t here and she’d be safely away from what might …
“Hey. Sorry I’m late.”
Standing there, a backpack slung over her shoulder, was Mandy … but a far more sexually charged Mandy than Cleo had ever seen. A wild mane of red hair was the first shock, the second was the low riding hip-hugger jeans and the pair of cork-wedge heels she was wearing. But the one thing that made it clear that, no matter what she was wearing, no matter how shocking the change, one thing made it clear it was Mandy: the baby-doll T-shirt, which revealed her underboobs and her cute navel. Or rather what was written on it: Blink if you want me
Mandy smiled as the door closed and the plane started to move. Tossing the backpack onto an empty seat, she settled beside Cleo: “Eight hours plus on a plane, just you and me.”
Cleo managed to blink before the plane took off.
“Cat got your tongue?”
What happened after that involved a lot of blinking, and a lot of tongue . . .
. . . and something nagging at the back of Cleo’s mind.