May 19 2013

A Review of Izzy’s Incubus by Leila Brown

Izzy's Incubus by Leila Brown

Izzy’s Incubus by Leila Brown

One of the things that never seems to appear in stories about Succubi and Incubi much is… what their families are like, what they want, and what happens when humans get involved. Even if that is by accident…

The story tells of:

Sex on her own terms. That’s all Izzy wants for her birthday. A night of no strings attached loving — and no way she’s going to a bar to get laid. No thank you. Then her IM friends talk her into the craziest plan ever — casting a spell to trap a demon lover for the night.

The last thing Izzy expects is for the summons to actually work! But when she tries to reverse the spell on Tall, Dark and Demony, something goes terribly wrong. So how do you get rid of a sex demon once you’ve called him from the other side?

Izzy, properly known as Isabella, has some problems in her life. One is a complete lack of pride in herself, the other is a boss that is a twit, uses her, and thinks nothing of making her work for him during her vacation time. So, in short, she’s miserable, she has no sex life, and she wants to change that.

And, of course, the best way to do that is to summon an Incubus, use them, and them make them leave. But things don’t quite work out that way….

There is a lot not to like about Izzy to be honest. She’s unsure, she doesn’t believe in herself very much, and most of all, she thinks that being a woman with some curves on her makes her undesirable. In the world now, of course, the thinner you are, that seems to make you sexier, which I think is a lousy means to look at one’s self. It’s unhealthy for one, and to me it just isn’t right in a lot of ways.

The problem is, when she meets Amar, the Incubus of the story, Izzy makes so many mistakes, trips up over her own view of herself, and assumes that a question asked of her is a rejection, that her walls come up, Amar is stonewalled, and pushed away… over and over again.

It takes so much for her to believe that he wants her for who she is, that even in the deliciously sensual moments between them, the voice in Izzy’s mind keeps telling her that Amar doesn’t want her. That becomes a bit old by the end of the story for me at least, though through it there is a good deal of character development at the very end of the story which seemed a bit rushed to me as well.

Amar is the Incubus of the story as I have mentioned. He is very dominant in his personality, and at first he is, for the most part, a very gruff, typical Incubus. That disappointed me at first, but, for him, there was a lot more development through the story which pleased me a lot. He is not, by far, the same person he was at the beginning of the story. We don’t see any horns or tail on him, just some interesting purple eyes, which is interesting, but otherwise he’s very much the sex demon as Izzy finds out through the story.

The character that I wanted to know more about however was Amar’s mother. We never know her name, and I wish that was revealed, but she is a mother, and I love her personality so very much. She cares about her children and her response to Amar and Izzy’s relationship was wonderful. It was the right mix of a mother’s love of her son and the planning of a demoness of gaining more power in their domain.

I’m not sure she is a Succubus however. While she appears and we see her reactions, there isn’t a clear description of her, what she is, or much else about her. I would have liked to know, I have my suspicious, but I’ll never know for certain…

Written well, there were no huge errors in the story style or content wise, and it is a complete story which was also nice to see. I felt that the ending was a bit rushed however, it could have been about eight pages longer I think just to tie up some loose ends. Otherwise it was overall a nice hot read…

I’ll give this story four pitchforks out of five.

Loved Amar’s mother, she reminds me of someone… Amar was more than a simple incubus, which was nice to see as well… Izzy… Izzy needed a bit more explained which I think would have pushed this work closer to a five…

Perhaps there will be a part two sometime, but I doubt that will happen…



May 18 2013

The Succubus Dance YouTube

Not a lot of choreographed dance that has even a little bit to do with Succubi in it. I found this YouTube recently called The Succubus Dance, which is five minutes of an interesting concept of Succubi I think…

And if you can’t see it here on the Tale:

The choreographers of this dance are Mario Vara and Rosie Torrez according to the information found on the YouTube page of this video.

The music is, at least for me personally, a bit too sharp and violent to represent Succubi in their more seductive forms. As a means to project the more evil or violent side of their existence, I can see it being a good match for that. Still, I have to wonder, as I watched the dancers perform, if another more classical tune wouldn’t have worked as well over the dancer’s movements.

The dance itself I felt had a good mix of control, submission, and the barest hint of sexuality in it. It is, of course, not meant to be erotic in nature itself I would imagine, however some of the poses and interactions between the dancers were quite daring from time to time.

Quite well done and I felt the performers and the choreographers came together well  in the performance as a whole. I have to wonder about the music though, as I’ve said…



May 17 2013

A Review of Succubus and Sinner by JB Richards

Succubus and Sinner by JB Richards

Succubus and Sinner by JB Richards

I do realize that, for the most part, Succubi are seen as being evil. That is, of course, what the legends call them, how they act, and present themselves. To me, that very much is a stereotype for Succubi.

And that’s where I have a problem with a lot of stories about them. It’s not that I have an issue with what they are, but who they are. A Succubus that is evil for the sake of being evil really doesn’t interest me all that much. A Succubus that is not so much seductive as simply cruel bothers me a lot more…

  • Title: Succubus and Sinner
  • Author: JB Richards
  • Publishing Date: June 27, 2012
  • ISBN: 9781476250861
  • Length: 10 Pages
  • This work at Smashwords

It tells the story of:

Kara is a demon of hell, a succubus that changes to become the object of one’s desire, sent to test mortals and their faith. Her next target is Jacob, a man claiming to be strong in his faith, but can she seduce him and have him freely give up his immortal soul?

Kara is a succubus and she finds someone to tempt with her whiles. She transforms herself into what he desires and then the sex begins. I realize that’s a very short comment on the story, but that does cover just about the entire work.

Kara is a Succubus, there is little doubt of that, but she is so very much a stereotypical one. There’s little in the way of seduction to be seen from her, there is actually little sign of her being a Succubus save for her transformation at the beginning and the amazing ability of Jacob to realize that she is a Succubus. Mind you, she gave him enough hints from the moment she sees him.

What follows is really a game of cat and mouse, Kara playing with Jacob the entire time and gloating over her control or temptation, of him while Jacob tries to resist her and loses himself piece by piece as the story continues.

The work is very short, moving from introducing Kara, changing her to tempt Jacob and then, almost immediately, moving into the sex scenes. They really didn’t have all that much heat in them for me, but then I don’t like the sort of domination and humiliation that happens in this work. There is very little seduction and Kara’s method of claiming souls is basically to force herself on others and then, when they are close to orgasm, telling them to try not to.

It just seems like entrapment, but then that’s the point I think overall. But that doesn’t mean that I have to like the story… and to be honest I don’t all that much.

There are a number of mistakes in the story, one of the most jarring ones is referring to Jacob as a “she” at one point and as well the use of words that sound similar to another the writer meant. A bit of proof reading would have been of some help here.

I’m giving this work two out of five pitchforks.

It just didn’t appeal to me very much and i think a lot of that had to do with all of the stereotypes and the focus in sex above story… More story please? I think that would have helped me at least to enjoy it more…



May 16 2013

Succubi Image of the Week 280

Something really different as the Succubi of the Week this time on the Tale, mostly because it is a striking image and that alone makes it interesting to me…

Succubus by Ckyeli

Succubus by Ckyeli

This work is called Succubus and is by an artist on DeviantArt named Ckyeli. I found this work here on DeviantArt and you can find the artist’s home page on DeviantArt here as well.

It’s kind of a Succubus emerging from a portal image I think. She isn’t the classic Succubus of course, but the artist’s style is interesting in that there is a lot of softness in what seems like she is a harder being. There is a lot of definition her in chest and so on, and so that mirroring of soft with hard is… different.

She has interesting ears and horns, not the usual sort of thing you see Succubi having by far. I do wonder about her hair, it seems more technological than natural… Perhaps she is kind of an avatar?

That could be a story…

Please visit the artist’s page on DeviantArt for more of their art!



May 15 2013

Sparkly costumes do not a Succubus make…

The one thing that I cannot quite understand is how a flashy costume can be defined as being something that is “hot” and more so, how it can be seen to make anyone that wears it look anything other than trashy.

This week’s costume is a prime example of that I think.

Hot Devil Babe Costume

This is called the Hot Devil Babe Costume and it comes with the horns, the dress, the pitchfork and, according to the costume description, it even comes with a detachable tail as well.

Which makes this one of the few costumes that actually has a tail and that was a surprise when I read that point.

The shoes are not included.

It sells for, and this is the disappointing part, $90 US on the sites that I have found this on.

I can’t quite see that this costume is worth that much really. Yes the sequins would make the costume more expensive, I understand that much, but overall, is this worth that much?

It sort of falls into the same category as last week’s costume where there are other, more amazingly sexy and well done costumes for about the same cost.

I will say that, if I ignore the cost, I do like this style wise, which counts for something at least.

The pitchfork and horns don’t do much for me, but they do match the costume, so there are points to be given for that attention to detail for one.

For the other, it comes with a semi-decent tail which, again, adds more to this costume than I otherwise would have expected it to be.

I would have liked the shoes to be included as well, as they match everything else so well too.

But then the cost comes into play, and adding the shoes, which are another $40 US on top of the costume itself?

I can’t quite bring myself to give this as high a rating as I would otherwise want to.

Two and a half pitchforks out of five.

If it was around fifty dollars I would give it a three for the cute most of all…



May 14 2013

Desires 77

Being empathic can be a gift, a curse, and more. But it isn’t who you are…


Desires – Beginnings

By BStyles and Tera S

Part Thirteen


Martin couldn’t help but grin, hearing the happy sound of her laughter. His empathic nature also felt the release of her negative emotion, the dark feelings replaced so quickly by such a simple moment of joy…

His smile faded slightly, as her words were mulled over in his mind. “Happy…” he mused. “I am happy to hear you laugh, there’s no denying that.” But that was not what she had asked. It was not an easy question for anyone, let alone one such as he to answer. He sighed softly, glancing out over the ‘house’s scattering patronage. “Such a simple question, yet it is always the hardest to answer…people think it has to be complicated, involved…”

His eyes fell onto that young couple again, the pair smiling and holding hands as they left the coffeehouse to possibly pursue greater affections. “Hmm…in truth, I wish for something more simple…pure…yet at the same time beyond my reach…”


Isn’t it worth reaching for what you believe to be impossible and yet might not be?



May 13 2013

Storm Clouds 191 – 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…

Chapter 30 continues this week, Nina tells Tom some things that he didn’t know…


Storm Clouds 191

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?”


“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.”