This is the continuing story of the Succubi called Storm Clouds…
Editing this week, prolly more next week…
Storm Clouds 111
After Camilla left, Tom spent the next thirty minutes grilling Bill over what he had done, what he was doing, and whether anyone in his company might have taken it upon themselves to attack Brent and his wife. He came to the conclusion that, while Bill wasn’t directly involved in what happened, Tom could not dismiss the possibility that someone who worked for Bill had done the deed … or that Bill was hiding something from him.
That bothered him.
It wasn’t that he didn’t believe what Bill had said; it was the sheer stupidity of Bill blowing up and going off on a tirade over the injustice that he perceived had been done to him.
Tom didn’t enjoy pushing his old friend that way. Worse was trying to break all of his explanations and reasons why he wasn’t responsible for what had happened. Most of the reasons made sense—most of them—but one exchange just about pushed Bill over the edge, and that worried him.
Tom sighed and paced in front of the offices again. He was sure that the workers inside were looking at him oddly, but he didn’t care: Bill was not quite cleared; that one piece of evidence would damn him in court if it came to that.
Tom hoped that it wouldn’t.
It wasn’t much evidence, but it was enough that fingers could be pointed, witnesses found, and, in the end, Bill could be sent to jail for a long time. But when you are seen threatening someone with death, and promising to harm his family … that is too much to ignore.
Bill had explained that he was madder than hell. That something had snapped inside of him when Brent was nearby. “Something ’bout that guy rubs me the wrong way. He’s just so damn smug, knows all of the secrets, stuff that you don’t want out. I dunno how he does it, but he knows where to be and what to look for. Damn frustratin’. He’d be a great spy. Wonder if he is one.”
Tom continued to pace around for a while. He didn’t know where Camilla had gone; he assumed she would return to the office when she was done talking to Billy. He assumed that she would, at least. She seemed like a responsible woman, if a bit irritating. It hit him, then, why Bill would be driven crazy by Brent.
Tom wondered if that was part of those people’s nature.
He watched Bill’s staff run their errands in and out of the office, most of them ignoring his pacing as he waited for Camilla to return. In his mind, Tom was putting together the questions that needed to be put to Bill next. He was, after all, and by his own admission, someone Tom needed to grill for information.
Coming to the end of one of his walks down the corridor, he turned without looking and walked head-on into someone: a short, blonde, Asian someone. She stood in front of him, a pile of files and papers surrounding her scattered on the floor. For a moment, her dark brown eyes regarded him, and then a flush of embarrassment passed over her and she knelt to the floor, beginning to gather what she had dropped moments before.
Tom knelt with her: “I’m sorry, please, let me help you.”
She didn’t reply, save for a slight nod, her focus for the moment on the mess around her rather than Tom beside her.
After a few minutes, Tom handed her the last file and, as she finally looked at him again, said, “I’m Tom.”
The blush was still there as she replied, “Tenshi. Please forgive my clumsiness.”
“It was my fault; should have been paying attention instead of being a hazard to women.”
That made her smile just slightly, “I … thank you for the help.”
“You’re welcome. Have you been with Bill long?”
Clutching the files to her chest as she stood she managed, “A year now. Please excuse me. I must attend to my duties …”
She then rushed off again on whatever errand she was on, leaving Tom standing there alone again, pondering what she had said to him, and, more importantly, why she was so shook up over what had happened.
Camilla came into view soon after, her heels clicking on the concrete floor of the warehouse. Tom noticed that Billy wasn’t there, and he wasn’t too pleased about that. He had been intending to grill Billy next, thanks to his father’s admission, but would now have to hunt him down and corner him. Filing away the thoughts on his old friend, he called out to Camilla, “Where’s Billy? Have to talk to him.”
“No, you don’t. He’s not to blame for this: he nor his father.”
Tom rubbed his chin a moment, then said, “You got a feeling or something?”
She looked around, then nodded and explained, “Let’s just say that my … ‘feelings’ … are pretty accurate.”
Turning away, he replied, “You’ll have to explain that to me sometime. Soon would be great. You know, before I have to toss them both in jail.”
Camilla looked at him curiously, then followed behind. Tom seemed to be in a rush to get out of the warehouse, and she found herself running a bit to keep up with him. Then she asked, “Do you have something to charge them with?”
“Enough to charge Bill: making threats. He was foolish in front of a lot of people. That’s a big no-no in things like this.”
“Passions of the heart can make us all say silly things we don’t mean at the moment they are said.”
“Passions can and have killed in the past, you know.”
Camilla had finally caught up to him, and, as she walked beside, started to lecture Tom a bit, “Those are not passions. Those are misguided beliefs and desires that pull one away from what is important, pull one inward, toward oneself. It is easier to fall to darker desires and temptations than it is to hold onto the more important things within.”
“You know, I don’t understand all of that stuff. I’m just a simple man. I haven’t got the time to deal with theories and wishes. I deal with facts. Give me some of those and I’ll be able to deal with ‘em.”
“All right, then. Fact: Bill said that he would never harm a lady. Fact: you agree that he would not either. Therefore, he cannot be the one to have done the deed nor order it done.”
“Okay; see, that’s not a fact. That is conjecture.”
“Is it? I don’t think so. I have …”
“A feeling? You said that before. What does that mean?”
The pair exited the warehouse, but Camilla did not speak until she was quite sure that no one else would hear them talk.
“I … We … know people by their souls, Thomas. When I touched your hand, I knew that you were a good man. I also knew that you have a troubled past and that you have lost someone close to you.”
Tom’s look was a mix of shock and concern, but, before he could say anything, she continued: “I did not look deeply into you. I did not look into your memories; I could have, but, because I respect you, and you did not give me permission, I did not. All I knew was that you cared about what happened to Patricia, for whatever reason you had, and so …”
“And so that was your lure to get me involved in this …”
“You did not have to.”
He stopped walking: “You know, I feel like I was pushed into this. That you and Tera conspired to get me involved and make me stay in it.”
“No. We did not. I gave you the card. I gave you the chance to walk away. You decided that you needed to find out more and you came into our world. Do not confuse the sight of an open door with walking through it. You had the choice. You made it.”
Tom wanted to rant at her, but her logic was sound. He did poke his nose in, and he was deep in it now. With a sigh, he asked, “How much do you know about Bill and his son?”
“Enough to know that Bill has not killed anyone, ever. I can say the same for Billy, as well.”
“Okay, explain that … in simple words so that my mind doesn’t break.”
Camilla laced her hands together and explained, “If you are dark, or have been touched by the dark, if you have killed or done something that serves the dark and makes it gain power, you are marked, in your soul. If I touch someone like that, I’ll know. The same is true of someone who has been touched by the light, but it is different.”
“Weird. Sort of sounds like you are a divining rod.”
She giggled a bit and pointed at her forehead: “Divine I am not. Or at least I do not appear to be.”
Tom couldn’t help the smile, “Right. I forgot about that.’
“What most people are, generally, are shades of grey. That’s normal, and what we expect. But there are always exceptions to that rule. If either of them had killed, they would not be grey; they would be dark. I don’t sense that in either of them.”
“So, you give them a pass?”
“I give them more than a pass: there is nothing in them that even hints they are involved. But …”
“I asked Billy for a favor.”
That stopped Tom in his tracks. Pinching the bridge of his nose, he asked, “What kind of favor?”
“I can’t say.”
“Oh come on. He’s a suspect in spite of your feelings about him. You can’t just go and trust someone because …”
“I can and I did. In the end I gave him some comfort and, in response to that, he agreed to do something for me. He will. He’s as honourable as his father.”
“Did you tell him anything more than what Bill knows?”
“No. We did talk about his mother a while. He misses her. He does not want to lose his father as well.”
Tom stared off into space for a time before ending the conversation with, “We don’t have the evidence to clear Bill. Right now, he’s the only suspect we’ve got.”
“Then we should find more.”
Tom smiled again, “Right. Look Camilla, I know that you … work … differently then we do. I get that. But you have to see that we have rules and laws here and I have to enforce them. That means that without a piece of paper, a videotape, a confession … hell, anything at all that points me away from Bill, I’m going to arrest him real soon.”
“You will be wrong then.”
“I’ll have to live with that.”
“You will not be able to. I can see that.”
“I know. But that’s part of the job. Sometimes, I think that I sold my soul for the job.”
With that confession, Tom whistled for a cab. It didn’t take long for one to pull up to the curb. He opened the door and let her go in first. As she did so, Camilla told him, with a serious tone in her voice, “You cannot sell that which is held by another, Thomas.”
He climbed into the cab, gave their destination and, as the taxi drove them away, Tom’s memories came back to haunt him again … as they always did.
As they departed, Billy watched from one of the windows in the upper floor of the warehouse. He liked Camilla, liked her a lot. After they had left, he stood there by the window, watching the traffic pass by, and thought about what Camilla had asked him to do. He didn’t know why exactly he had agreed to it, maybe it was just wanting to do something when, so far, there was nothing he could do for his father.
With a sigh he rummaged in his pockets until he found his phone, opened it, and made a call.
“It’s me. Yah. No, no they didn’t arrest Dad. I … trust them. Have to trust someone, don’t I? Anyway, I need somethin’ done … today.”
Billy turned away from the window and walked off into the gloom around him, doing what he hoped would help his father in the end …
Jane awoke to hissing. For a moment, she thought it was a snake or something similar; she startled and tried to move, but then heard a voice.
“No, don’t move. Just lay there a minute, whoever you are.”
It took another moment for her memories to come rushing back to her; then she recognized the voice. It was John, that guy that she had talked to before … before everything went black. From the sound of his voice, Jane assumed that she didn’t look like that girl who was on his mind when she first met him.
In the next moment, she tried to move her hands towards her face and the source of that hissing sound, which she now realized was an oxygen mask. A firm hand pushed her hands back down, and she opened her eyes to see John standing above her: “Look. Just stay there and don’t move.”
He looked around for a moment and then, to Jane’s surprise, flicked one of her horns with a finger, the “thunk” of that echoing in her mind for a moment. Jane started to panic; if someone could see her horns … His next words to her didn’t help a lot, either.
“I know you’re not who you look like. I called Jenni. She’s at her office. You aren’t her. You look like her, but you aren’t her. Now, listen carefully to me: if you try to run, people will see you. Jenni is on her way down here right now. If someone sees you, there will be questions that you probably don’t want to answer. Besides, you have smoke inhalation, you’re weak, and you aren’t going to get very far. Now, nod if you understand me.”
Jane did so.
“Okay. You’re in the back seat of my car. You have an oxygen mask on, and you are under a blanket so no one can see you right now. Just stay there and I’ll get you out of here, all right?”
Another nod, then Jane closed her eyes again.
The next time she opened them, the oxygen mask was gone, but the blanket was still there, and she was still moving. Sitting up gingerly, she held her head in her hands while she managed a question: “Where am I?”
“Still in my car; I’m trying to decide what to do with you.”
Jane then looked up and found herself looking at … Jenni; with horns … green horns. The only thing she managed was a soft, “Damn” before she fell back into the seat with a thud.
“So tell me: What’s your name, anyway? You know mine already, so I’ll skip the introduction.”
“Jane … Jenni … I can see how I could be confused. No, wait, you were Jenni when we first met. Now, you are Jenni with horns.” He looked in the mirror at her, “So. Are they real? The horns, I mean. And is that what you look like or is it all makeup or something?”
Jane’s first instinct was to lie and tell him that was all it was. But then she recognized the problem with that lie: he’d ask to see the horns come off or the makeup be pulled away. Then another thing came to her: she had been out cold for a while. He could have checked and seen that it was all real. Lying to him would be a mistake.
So she said the only thing she could say at that moment: “You’d never believe me even if I tried to explain it to you.” Gaining a little bit of confidence, she added, “So. What are you going to do, then; police or something?”
John smiled thinly, replying with a flat, “Or something,” as he continued to drive, leaving them both with their own thoughts …
Jane’s were spinning around one thing: it would be disastrous if beings like her, the ones that were thought of as being legends, were discovered to be quite real. Her next thought was that Tera was going to kill her … or, even worse, be disappointed in her, and that thought was much worse than the first one she’d found. But the one that she held onto was: how she could get out of this mess she found herself in?
She looked out the window of the car and watched the city passing by. She didn’t say anything else for the moment, in part because she wasn’t sure that John wouldn’t hurt her, but mainly because she needed to get focused again and try to make herself not look like Jenni any longer.
John’s thoughts, on the other hand, were slightly more focused. He wanted to know exactly what the hell was going on. The shock he felt when he touched those … horns? … on Jenni’s … no, Jane’s … head told him that something was seriously wrong here. He didn’t believe in legends or tales of the beyond. No, what he believed in was logic and proof. Thing was that here he had proof that there were–and even now he found this impossible to believe–demons in his world. That still didn’t sit right with him.
Then he made a decision and turned the car to follow it. He needed a doctor: someone to tell him if Jane really was what she seemed to be or if it was just a fluke or some cosmetic surgery or something like that. He found himself liking that possibility, as that idea would fit into his world a hell of a lot better than the other one, which kept prodding him as being the truth. Looking once more in the mirror, he said, “Better put your seatbelt on. You’re going to be there for a while.” John made a hard right and continued to drive, occasionally looking in the mirror at Jane.
Jane did so, not so much out of caution, but to try and lull him into what she hoped would be a false sense of security. The pair didn’t say another word to each other for the rest of the drive, but Jane was curious about where they were going and what John was planning.
Their destination was clear when he made a left and drove down a ramp into an underground garage. They dropped down four floors and then came to a stop in front of a garage door. John pressed a button on an intercom and just said his name to it. The door rolled up, they entered, and Jane looked behind to see the door close again.
After parking in one of several spaces there, John helped Jane out of the car. “Don’t try to run. You can’t get out, and there are cameras watching us. Just stay calm, all right?”
Jane didn’t feel calm, but she nodded her head in understanding when he took a hold of her arm and guided her away from the car.
Two sets of double doors, one short elevator ride, and Jane found herself in an examination room. After she was offered a chair there, John left the room and Jane heard the door lock behind him as he left.
Jane tried to figure out a way to escape before he came back, but there were no windows, no exits but the one they had come through. She tried to teleport from the room … but nothing happened.
With a sigh she walked over to a small mirror that hung on one wall and looked herself over. The horns she recognized as her own, but everything else wasn’t her. She found herself missing the familiar eyes, face, and body that she had known for centuries … and wondering if she would ever see them again.
John hadn’t returned, and she found herself trying to figure out what trap she had sprung back in that house. It was a magic trap, obviously, a powerful one if it had locked her into this form and taken away her powers … She couldn’t change her appearance, couldn’t teleport, couldn’t cast a spell or use her powers of seduction …
Or could she? Running a finger over her lips, she considered whether or not she should try to seduce John, try to confuse him long enough to make her escape. It seemed like an option.
Then the door opened, and John walked in with someone else …
“Well there she is, Doc. What do you think?”
Jane turned to see John standing there with another man, who was obviously “Doc.” This older man with thick glasses and a gruff voice answered, “Well, she’s alive, John; something I don’t see a lot of anymore.” Then he walked over to her, looked her over for a minute, and then said, “So, you want to tell us who you are and why you look like someone he knows? Oh, and, if you want, tell us how it is that you have horns on your head?”
Jane shrugged, “He knows my name.”
Doc nodded, “Right. Jane. You have a last name?”
She shrugged again, “Call me Jane Doe.” She paused and then, remembering the description of the person whom Camilla had met when claiming Patricia, bit her lip. For a moment, she considered thanking him for looking after her sister, but decided that would be too much information to give them. Then she said, “You’ve seen enough of us, haven’t you?”
Doc pulled back a bit from that comment and softened his approach slightly: “Look, just because I work in a morgue doesn’t mean that I’m not a doctor, okay?”
She rubbed her hands together a moment and then said, “I’m sorry. That was uncalled for.”
Doc then turned around and pushed John out the door. Then he tossed a gown to her. “Get dressed in that. I’ll have a nurse in here to examine you in a few minutes.”
Jane watched him leave, watched the door close, and heard it lock again, and then she smiled.
Outside the room, Doc and John waited patiently for a nurse to arrive to actually perform the physical. Regulations were that such things had to be done by a woman–for various legal reasons nether of them cared to try to figure out. It was a lot less stress to just do it and avoid the investigations, should they come.
The sound of footsteps on tile made them both look to see a redhead in a nurse’s uniform come around the corner. Doc nodded at her, “Good day, Patti. Sorry to keep you here at work, but I need you to do something for me.”
She gave a nod, “Sure, Doc. What’s going on?”
He pointed a finger in the direction of the room that Jane was in, “Do a physical on the woman in there, please. Her name’s Jane Doe.”
She looked at Doc oddly, but nodded and walked away from the pair, who turned to the other side of the corridor and entered Doc’s office. Doc opened a drawer of one of the filing cabinets and pulled out a bottle of whisky. When he offered it to John, the reply was a shake of his head.
Doc, nonetheless, opened the bottle and poured some into a coffee cup, “So, you got a mystery, don’t you? She tell you anything yet? I mean, other than a name that can’t possibly be her name?”
“Nothing much. I mean, she looks like Jenni, but it’s not her. I know that for certain, because Jenni is at headquarters. Otherwise, I don’t have a damn clue what is going on here, Doc.”
There were two quick knocks, and Doc didn’t even look up as a muffled voice came through the door, “All ready for you, Doctor; report is in your inbox, the door is locked, and she’s safe there. If you don’t need me, I’m running late and want to take off.”
Doc called out, “Go home, Patti. Thanks.”
They both heard the sound of her walking away. Doc finished his drink, and then the two of them left the office, Doc grabbing the report as he led the way. Opening the folder, he mumbled to himself about height, weight, and other various things. Then John asked, “What about the horns?”
Doc stopped in mid-stride, “There’s nothing here about horns.” He looked at the edge of the folder, cursed, and ran down the hallway.
They opened the door to the examining room to find Jane lying on the table, a sheet over her body, face turned towards the wall. Doc walked over and touched her on the shoulder. She rolled back towards them …
… and it wasn’t Jane.
It was Patti, a blessed-out expression on her face as she sighed, softly…
Doc took hold of her shoulders, shook her and yelled, “What happened, Patti?”
What happened was Jane.
As Doc and John realized that she was gone, Jane was exiting the building wearing Patti’s nursing uniform. Quickly walking to the curb, she hailed a cab and drove away, a satisfied smile on her lips as she recalled what had happened with the nurse moments before …
The taxi carrying Tom and Camilla pulled up to a small newspaper stand on the corner of Broadway and Lakeshore Boulevard. From the outside, it didn’t look remarkable in any real way. The sides of it were old sheets of plywood nailed together ages ago, hooks and shelves holding various magazines and newspapers, attempting to get the attention of the passersby, that they might have a look and see what was offered.
The pair got out of the cab and it left, leaving them looking at the person who was running the stand. A frail-looking man sat on a milk crate surrounded by his wares, a pair of dark glasses over his eyes and a white cane in his right hand, a working man’s pair of jeans and a sweater keeping him warm in the breeze around the place. Camilla asked Tom, “This is a suspect?”
Tom nodded and mumbled, “Sort of,” then just walked over to the stand. Without saying a word, he reached out a hand towards one of the more adult magazines that sat on a shelf just behind the proprietor. His fingers were about to touch the pages when a gruff voice barked, “Listen buddy, you pay and then you play with yourself. Not the other way around.”
Tom chuckled, “Not my style, Charlie. So, where’s your wife?”
“Well, I’ll be darned; the fuzz himself. You haven’t been around here in years, cop.”
“You’ve managed to keep your nose clean, so I haven’t had a reason to bust you. Now your wife, on the other hand … what has she been up to? Anything that I should know about?”
Charlie pointed a thumb to the building behind him, “Not my business and you know it. She’s got her thing, I got mine. If you want to know, go ask her. And leave the magazine here or pay for it.”
Tom dug into a pocket, pulled out a twenty, and put it into Charlie’s hand, “Still don’t know why you stay with her.”
“Love makes you do stupid things, kid. Now git! You standing here is messing with my business.”
Tom tucked the magazine under an arm and then motioned to Camilla to follow him. They approached a tall glass-and-steel skyscraper with a nameplate that read “TFX Incorporated” above the main doors. Camilla didn’t say anything to Tom until they were in the elevator, but then the questions started …
“What’s going on, Thomas?”
“Welcome to TFX Incorporated, the country’s biggest purveyor of porn magazines, videos, and toys of all descriptions, with a side business of laundering money for the mob–at least they did in the past. I haven’t heard anything illegal about them for about three years now. They got their fingers burned back then; the CEO paid a huge fine and then was pushed out of the company in favour of his wife.”
“Who is that?”
“You just met him: Charlie Drake. Took a lot out of the guy and he cut himself loose from the company to keep out of jail. Plea bargains and so on.”
“Is he really blind?”
“Nope. I’m sure he was trying to look up your skirt while we were talking. He’s not a bad guy, really; circumstances took him down this road and so, now, the place is run by his wife.” Tom looked at his watch, “About now, she’ll know we’re coming up to see her.”
“What’s she like?”
Tom answered by handing Camilla the magazine and saying, “That’s her on the cover. She’s got an exhibitionist streak in her a mile wide.”
Camilla looked at the magazine in amazement. On the cover was a platinum blonde Barbie doll of a woman who looked as if she had been dipped in black liquid latex and then allowed to dry. For a moment, Camilla tried to remember if any of her Sisters looked like this, but she drew a blank. Then she realized that not even a pink tail would be that over-the-top in her appearance for whatever reason there was.
They did, after all, have a reputation.
Then there was the sound of a bell, and the doors opened to reveal the company lobby. To one side, a young blonde girl in pigtails sat at a clear plastic desk that revealed she was wearing a schoolgirl’s outfit, if over-sexualized. She was chewing bubblegum to complete the look. To the other side of the space stood eleven men in three-piece suits, holding briefcases and cell phones, their eyes hidden behind mirrored sunglasses. And, in the middle of the room, only a few short steps away from Camilla and Tom, the woman from the magazine stood.
She had traded in her black latex come-fuck-me look for her hair in a bun, a red, woman’s business suit–if well-open at the front to display her chest quite clearly–and a miniskirt that stopped only a finger’s width below outrageous, paired with cruel-looking red heels.
Tom looked over his shoulder at Camilla, “Say hello to Ginger.”
Camilla couldn’t help the words that came out as the elevator doors closed behind them: “If that’s Ginger, I don’t want to meet Mary Ann, thank you.”
Tom gave a slight nod to the blonde behind the desk and a grunt, “That’s Mary Ann.”
Camilla rolled her eyes but didn’t say anything else.
Ginger closed the distance between them and then with a cruel smirk on her lips purred, “Hello Dick; are you here to put me in cuffs, or are you looking for a hot three-way with your doll?”
Tom could almost feel the burn coming from Camilla at those words, but continued, “Sorry, slut. Business is business and I can’t afford the ticket to ride.”
“Well I could give you a freebie, I like the babe with you … She must be a lot of fun when you get her screaming …”
Camilla just continued to remain quiet while the two talked, her eyes looking Ginger over, but nothing more.
Tom just smiled, “You have no idea, Ginger. Now, you want to call off your dogs so we all can have a nice chat in your office?”
She shook her head, “Nuh-uh, Dick. The boys tell me that I need them there to make sure you don’t weasel stuff out of me.”
Tom was about to press her a little harder when Camilla moved in front of him: “Oh come on, Ginger honey … If you are nice to us, you might get something from me in return …” Then she reached out a hand to stroke Ginger’s right forearm.
Camilla paused in mid-stroke and her eyes hardened. Then she focused all of her attention on Ginger, ignoring Tom for the moment.
Ginger’s eyes fluttered and then she purred, “mmm … Like what?”
Camilla moved closer, one hand now pressing the small of Ginger’s back as she purred in response, “Your pussy is all wet and needy right now, isn’t that right, slut? You would love me to be on my knees licking your twat and making you cum so hard, wouldn’t you?”
Tom moved to break the two women apart, but a sharp look from Camilla brought him up short for the moment. Something was happening, but he didn’t have any idea of what it was.
Ginger shivered as she caught her breath: “You … you make me cum and then the Dick can ask his questions … nnnnn … not before …”
A lick over Ginger’s right earlobe: “Call off your boys, slut, and I’ll have you cumming for hours …” At the same time, Camilla shifted a hand to slip under Ginger’s skirt, her fingertips drawing against her shaven, panty-less pussy.
For the barest instant, as Camilla’s fingers slipped inside, Ginger’s eyes turned completely white and she spoke in an unsteady voice, “Fuck off, boys. Don’t need you.”
The assembled men looked as if they weren’t going to leave for a moment, and then approached Ginger, Camilla, and Tom. Tom was reaching into his jacket for his gun when he heard Camilla’s voice change …
“That’s a good idea. You all need to do what she told you.”
Then, the group of lawyers turned away stiffly before scurrying into the depths of the office. Camilla then looked at Mary Ann and purred, “Mary Ann, sweetie … You stay right there and finger yourself until we return … and nobody gets in to see Ginger …”
Tom’s worries shot up another notch at Camilla’s voice. It wasn’t the pleasant sunny voice he was used to. It had changed somehow into something that reached deep inside of you and took hold of your thoughts. Shaping them. Changing them.
But while they were effecting everyone around him, Tom was only barely aware of something being wrong. He didn’t find the need to do what Camilla was telling the others.
Camilla then told Ginger, “Now, my hot wet slut, take us all to your office.”
Tom followed the two women past the reception area, down a long hallway, to a pair of doors that, when opened, didn’t reveal so much an executive office as a private sex room. Once inside, he closed the door, locked and then leaned against them watching what was happening.
Camilla guided Ginger to a leather chair next to the door, making her sit in it before straddling her legs and trapping Ginger beneath her.
He was about to ask Camilla what was going on when she put a finger to her lips to keep him quiet, then returned her attention to Ginger: “Are there cameras in here, slut? Is there any way that anyone can see what is going on?”
The answer was a long whine of “noooooo.”
Then, to Tom’s surprise, Camilla’s black horns and tail appeared, as her clothing turned to the latex-like material he had seen before back in her world. She gave Tom a wink and then cupped Ginger’s chin with one hand before putting a finger over her prey’s lips, “You are a horny little slut, so wet and needy that your pussy aches for release … All of those thoughts in your silly little mind are draining away, slut … You can’t help it, because you are a weak little slut that needs someone to tell her what to do …”
Worried that something was terribly wrong, Tom reached under his jacket again for his weapon. He still was not totally sure of Camilla, but he was sure that he didn’t know what she was capable of.
Ginger’s moans became louder as the smell of arousal began to fill the air. She started to pant in need, and the occasional mewl of lust and desire escaped her mouth before Camilla pressed her lips against Ginger’s tightly, her hands now entwined in her subject’s hair.
Tom watched almost mesmerized as Ginger’s body shook and shivered underneath Camilla. And then, to Tom’s shock, Camilla’s body shimmered and seemed to melt for an instant. In the next moment, there were two Gingers there in front of him: one of them in the latex suit from the magazine he had given Camilla, but with the same black horns and tail he had seen Camilla with earlier.
The original Ginger was no longer in her business suit, but nude, save for a green metal collar around her neck. But what were truly unsettling were the white eyes that stared up almost lifelessly and the little whispers of, “I Obey” that came out in a needy voice. The latex Ginger turned to Tom and said, with Ginger’s purring voice, “Sometimes sex is the best weapon, isn’t that right, Dick?”
Tom had, by that point, finally gotten his gun out of its holster and was pointing it at the floor. “Camilla, just what is going on?”
She remained where she was and began to stroke the real Ginger’s cheek, “What’s going on is Ginger’s innermost fantasy. She’s so in love with herself that she’d do anything to be able to fuck herself. So …” Her fingers took hold of Ginger’s hair and pulled her to the floor beside her. “So she is in the middle of her fondest wish: submitting to the only person that she sees as strong enough to control her and bring her to heel.” Another pull of hair and Ginger was forced to look upwards, “Isn’t that right, slut?”
The answer was a whine of need and Ginger’s stroking of fingers over the latex-covered legs of her new Mistress.
Tom still wasn’t convinced, “Camilla. Step away from her. This is wrong, and I can’t let you continue.”
She looked at Tom, her hand still holding Ginger’s hair, “Oh no. There you are wrong. You see, Ginger has all sorts of secrets to share. Like Mary Ann, outside: she’s very interesting so far as bimbos go. But the most interesting thing is how Ginger is aware of what I am, Thomas. That is something I would like to know.”
Tom considered that, “What do you mean she knows what you are?”
“Somehow she has knowledge of our kind. Someone told her about us. I know that because, when I touched her, the first thing she thought was: ‘a Succubi.’ How would she know what I was unless one of my kind had touched her before, or, perhaps, someone has told her about us …”
She gripped Ginger by the chin, making the thrall look up as her long black tail swished back and forth, “… and I want to know which of those it is. She will tell me what I want to know.”
Jane had been very quiet since she left in the cab. At first, she had been quite pleased with herself: she had managed to get away from John and his friend, and she didn’t do any real harm to the nurse in order to do that. But she knew full well that she hadn’t been as neat and tidy as Tera would have wanted. She had been taught that it just wasn’t well enough to make an exit; it was important to cover one’s tracks, too.
Jane knew she really hadn’t done that. She wasn’t worried about the cabbie: he was, after all, a troll, and so the sight of her horns resulted in a raised eyebrow and nothing more. And directing him back to their home in this world wouldn’t be a surprise, either; the trolls had been there often enough that simply asking to be taken home would result in her being taken there.
No, the problem was that John and his friend had seen her . . . with horns, too. She looked at herself in the rear view mirror of the cab for the umpteenth time. It wasn’t her: not what she should look like, not who she was. But her grey horns were there, and that gave her a little comfort, at least.
She rubbed a finger against one of them and wondered how she had been forced into this form, why she couldn’t shift from it but could still use her powers to persuade others to do what she wanted them to.
It was confusing, and that bothered her more than anything else. For an instant, she cursed the fact she was a grey tail and all that meant. She had been moody before she became a succubi, but, since then, her Tail had also made her very cool towards others. That wasn’t a plus most of the time; she hadn’t found an Eternal, and she blamed her Tail for that problem.
She sighed and pushed that thought from her when she realized that the cab had arrived back at the brownstone she called home. Then she realized that she didn’t have any money to pay for the cab ride. Knowing that the troll wouldn’t let her leave within paying she explained, “The Realm office will pay your fare. Come inside and the Receptionist will take care of it.”
The troll—a short, squat man with a long, black beard—just grunted, turned off the cab, and got out. Jane followed a moment later and they entered the building. And there she was: the succubi they all knew only as “The Receptionist.” She was in her usual place, not by the main doors, but at the bottom of the staircase that led to Tera’s office. She had a red tail and horns like Tera’s, raven hair too, but in a short cut rather than Tera’s longer mane. Her green eyes were puzzled as Jane approached. For a moment, Jane was worried that she wouldn’t be recognized; that would be very bad for her.
They looked at each other for a moment, and then, without a word, the Receptionist opened a drawer in her desk. The troll was handed an envelope, then a dismissive wave sent him away. Jane didn’t move from where she stood, knowing full well that angering this succubi would mean nothing but bad things for her.
The Receptionist calmly observed, “Jane, you’ve changed.”
This was the part that Jane worried about more than anything. If she was refused now, there was no way she would ever be able to see Tera or the Realm or anyone else she knew again. And that made her eyes glisten as the thought of being alone sent a shiver up her spine.
“Where is your tail?”
“I … I can’t change from what you see.”
The Receptionist’s tapping of a fingernail against the surface of her desk was worrying. Jane knew that was a sign that a decision had been made about her; good or bad, she didn’t know, but she knew that, whatever else happened, that wouldn’t change.
“Was it your fault?”
“I was overconfident … and stupid.”
The tapping stopped. “At least you learned something. Make sure you tell Tera that …”
Then the Receptionist turned away, her focus now on some papers on her desk. Jane rushed by and climbed the stairs, hoping that Tera would be as understanding …
She opened the door and was about to speak when she saw Tera sitting in a red leather chair next to a ancient phonograph player that rested upon an oak table next to her. Tera had her eyes closed, resting her head on her right hand, and seemed to be listening to the music that was drifting through the room. Jane considered interrupting, but thought better of it and gently closed the door behind her, then rested against it to wait and watch Tera…
The music came from a large, ornately decorated horn hovering above the disc that was being turned by the player, an odd, scratchy-sounding reproduction of music coming from it. Jane, being used to the more modern and better sounding players of the day, could never figure out why Tera would rather listen to music in this way than others. She probably never would understand it, she realized.
Jane, having nothing else to do, listened to the music as well, and thought about everything that had happened so far to her: the loss of her twin, the frustration in not doing anything to make someone pay for that, how she felt so powerless against the world and, moreover, how Tera could possibly manage to keep from extracting revenge on whoever did this. Then Jane remembered that she didn’t know as yet who was responsible, and that just made her frustrations come to the fore once more.
When the recording came to its end, there was a scratch that repeated every few seconds. Jane saw that Tera didn’t make a move to stop the player. After about a minute of this, Jane couldn’t stand it any longer, walked to the player and reached for the stylus to remove it.
“Let it be, Jane.”
The tone of Tera’s voice was firm and, to be honest, frightened Jane more than she would have liked to admit. Tera opened her eyes and regarded Jane standing there for a time, saying nothing. All that Jane had to accompany her in this moment was the scratching noise and nothing more.
Then Tera asked, “Tell me exactly what happened to you, Daughter …”
Jane took her hand away and then told Tera everything that had happened to her, from the moment she left Tera to the point she once again returned to her. When she was done, Tera still hadn’t moved at all, but there was a certain amount of tension in her body that Jane could easily see.
“I believe that I told you that it was important not to leave a mess behind you, Jane, whatever else might happen. Now you have at least three humans who know that you are different, one of whom you have touched and controlled in order to escape. And what is more unfortunate is that you now look like someone they know, and so will likely have that person involved in this as well very soon. Sloppy, Jane, quite sloppy, you know…”
Jane looked at the floor and managed, “I know. I’m sorry, but I didn’t expect that things would go so wrong.”
Tera then stood up and began to circle Jane, looking her over from the top of her horns to the bottoms of the shoes she wore. Tera did this twice and then asked, “So, you cannot change from this form at all? Have you tried?”
“Yes … I have.”
“What does your Tail have to say about it?”
Jane cupped her hands over her nose and mouth before answering, “She hasn’t talked to me since … since Patricia died …”
Tera stopped in mid-stride at that admission: “And you felt that this was not important to mention? What were you thinking? You know full well that your Tail is important to you and the both of you need to talk to each other! Why didn’t you tell me this?”
“What could be done? She’s not talking to me, not answering at all. It’s like she’s decided to turn her back on everything and everyone … including me! How am I supposed to tell you that, Tera?”
She walked up to Jane and rested a hand on her shoulder, “You start with the words, ‘I have a problem and need some help.’ Jane, you aren’t alone, you never are … you just need to see that and understand that.”
Tera drew her left hand through her hair and then explained, “I have never seen this sort of thing before, Jane. It is, obviously, dark magic, and so that will have to be investigated to see why it is doing what it is. Besides not being able to shift your form, is there anything else that …”
“I can’t teleport. I can control people. That, at least, does still work … the rest of it I haven’t tried.”
“That’s bad enough.”
“I know. I’m … I’m sorry, Tera … I really am …”
With a wave of her left hand, Tera continued, “At least you are here and we can try to figure out how this all works and why it does what it does …”
She looked over Jane once more and then said, “Go down the hall and change into something less nurse-like before somebody comes by and decides that they need medical attention, Daughter …”
Jane nodded and moved to the door. She took hold of the handle, but, before she opened it, she said, “Tera … I know now how incredibly stupid I was … I am … I am sorry …”
Tera smiled wistfully, “To know oneself is to know the universe. Go on. I’ll be here when you look more presentable …”
With that, Jane left the room. Tera turned away from the door and regarded the phonograph player as it continued to make its scratching noise over and over again. She made no move to stop it, but instead just watched the record turn around and around endlessly. Finally, her tail moved around from behind her and with a flick against the stylus, brought the sound to an end.
She then moved over to the doorway that led to the balcony where, not so long ago, she had tried to make Jane understand what was important and what wasn’t. The sigh that escaped her reflected the frustration she felt with the young ones in her Realm. Some thought they were indestructible.
Tera understood the mistakes of the young: she had been young a long time ago … Time and time again, she tried to explain to them, to freely give them knowledge that would serve them well in their lives … she could not wrap her mind around why they wouldn’t take that which was freely given to them …
Elsewhere, the Dark was becoming increasingly frustrated.
It continued to watch many of the pawns in this game from its perch overlooking the worlds, a place where the evil within it was reflected by the utter blackness of the fabric of worlds that had created it, that spawned what the Dark called its home. It thrived upon the darkness that was in all beings, the smallest piece of evil that made them do things that would, the Dark knew, lead to its own power growing further and expanding over the places and creatures that it did not yet wholly control.
Such as Tera and her kind.
That was the point to all of what it had set into motion there. To make them, all of them, move over the line of what they believed to be “Right” and make them do Wrong. Whether out of scorn, hate, or some other dark emotion, it did not matter: the end result would remake them all into something that the Dark could use to further its own plans.
Plans that increasingly angered the Dark because they did not proceed as quickly as expected. Still, the one pawn was moving into place and that would provide a suitable diversion; of that the Dark was sure. It had trapped another in amber, to be held in place for a time. There was little chance that Tera would realize what the solution was or how to defuse it.
As it considered Tera, it attempted, for the umpteenth time, to open a portal into her Realm and was simply … not able. The Dark was able to go anywhere it wished, to see into places that were barred to all others … but not into that Realm. The why of it escaped the Dark even now, for there was no reason it could see for its inability to enter and taint that world as it had so many others. Its meagre understanding of that plane of existence was fleeting, at best. But the Realm existed, and thus there should a way in.
Finding the key was only a matter of time.
As the Dark continued to pick at whatever was protecting it, one of the other portals showed the image of the pawn that the Dark had used in the past, and its attention turned towards watching that unfold. It was an image of the severed Tail, hidden away until the moment when it would become very useful in bringing the last part of the Dark’s plan to fruition.
Or would have save for the voice that told him, “If you keep picking, you might be unpleased at the result.”
Without looking at where the voice came from, the Dark replied, “There is a way in. I will find it.”
“Or you will discover the folly of your ways. Which is better? Finding out why you are wrong or betting taught that? You have always been so one-minded, haven’t you?”
“You are nothing here. I can easily remove you from existence if need be.”
“Oh, I don’t think so. You do remember what I did to you before, don’t you?”
The slight ache in the Dark’s forearm was a clear reminder.
“Taunting will only result in more pain and suffering for all of them … and you, eventually.”
“Perhaps. Or perhaps it will result in you missing something …”
The Dark turned to look at the interloper and found her standing in front of one of the portals, blocking what was there from its view. It approached her, raising a hand dangerously at the same time: “What are you hiding from me?”
“That would be telling, would it not?”
For a moment, just a moment, the Dark paused. This creature was insufferably placing itself in front of plans that had been taking years to develop, and it would have to be removed at some point … soon. Then it realized what the creature had been doing, and spun back around to see the portal watching the severed tail was … gone.
The Dark roared in anger and turned back to take out its frustrations on this damnable creature …
But it was gone, as well. And, with it, the one piece of this plan that the Dark absolutely needed to watch.
Seething with anger, the Dark knew it now had to become personally involved with that world to find out what was happening there.
Back in Tom’s world, across the street from where they were dealing with Ginger, the Dark’s most precious pawn waited for them to leave the building. He stroked a finger against the dark blade he carried and imagined the scream that both of his victims, soom to be scarified to the Dark, would cry as they fell to him.
Suddenly, he stiffened, and his eyes turned completely black before he abruptly turned away from his watch and disappeared into the shadows of the city …