Jan 24 2016

A Review of Angels and Succubi by Carl East

Angels and Succubi by Carl East

Angels and Succubi by Carl East

I have written many times about the Succubi stories that the author Carl East has published. Many of them I have really enjoyed and it was nice to find that a collection of these works had been published.

The majority of these stories have been reviewed on the Tale in depth, so for this review I will be summarizing my thoughts on each of the works and then giving an overall review of the work as a whole.

But most important of all… there are many stories about Succubi to enjoy…

The story is of:

A collection of all of the Succubi and Angel stories written by Carl East. The collection includes:

  • The Angel: He found her on the side of the road and went to her aid. Sometimes there are angels in the dark and they come again and again.
  • The Succubus Next Door: When the girl next door needs some help, Amy asks what’s wrong. When she’s told that without that help, the girl next door will die, Amy doesn’t believe. At least until the girl next door turns out to be a Succubus that is.
  • Soul Mates: When Arianna (an angel in training) has to go out into the world to earn her wings, by saving a soul, she has no idea what awaits her. Brandy is a succubus and she’s on the run. She disobeyed Satan’s orders. When they both find one another, the strangest alliance you can ever imagine forms and a friendship is born.
  • Daughters of the Night: In the night there are vampires. In one coven a vampire named Rebecca gains the powers of a Succubus in an experiment that changes her world and that of her coven forever.
  • Almost Good: Clair has an unusual gift, she can detect strange. Yvonne’s as strange as they come, because she’s the first Vision Walker Clair’s ever known. With the power Yvonne possesses along with a Succubus, a Fallen Angel and a shape Shifter, the bad guys better watch their backs.
  • The House on the Hill: After discovering that the house they want to buy is supposed to be haunted, Sandy and Mike decide to take it anyway. It’s just too good a deal to pass up. However, when they move in, they discover that the house does indeed have another tenant it’s just not a ghost.
  • The House on the Hill 2: The Succubus, Serena, is stuck in limbo and when she is freed, she is more than appreciative. In fact, she’s so thankful she’s willing to show her rescuers a few of the hidden talents that the Succubae possess. By the time she’s finished showing off her abilities the new owners are going to wish that she would stay.
  • Bound to Hell: Dale is struggling to get through college, but something is about to happen that will make college irrelevant. With the aid of a Succubus he’s about to take on the role of the monster killing Reaper and his life will never be the same again.

The first two works in this collection are new ones, at least to me:

The Angel: The fog brings with it a woman and a mystery. Nothing said, nothing explained, but the moment comes and those questions matter little in the end. Not really a Succubus story, and it is, as a whole, the only story to focus on what seems to be an Angel-like character. There is quite a lot of mystery wrapped around this work, and there are, by the end, a lot of questions left about what exactly was going on with the characters.

There’s a Twilight Zone feeling to the work at the end, and I don’t think it worked well with the rest of the story. It felt disconnected with everything else that happened and I think there could have been a better ending somehow. As well, I wasn’t really convinced that the female character was, exactly, an Angel. It’s more a given based on the title of the work and in that came some doubt in my thoughts.

The work as a bit of a hot flash within, which was interesting in its own right. A bit confusing at times, a little misdirected at moments, but the heat was, as a whole, well done.

Three out of five pitchforks.

The Succubus Next Door: Amy’s neighbour banged on the wall for hours. After confronting her, Amy finds that Dale is a Succubus, and now Amy is ‘banging’ anything that moves in return for keeping Dale alive.

This work reads very much like the opening two chapters in a novel. There’s a good deal of setting up, of explaining Dale’s situation and she proving to Amy what she is. A scattering of hot flashes follows before the work comes to an abrupt ending. As a whole, the thing about this work mainly comes to the questions about Dale, how she got into the situation she finds herself, and what she and Amy do together. Dale claims to be a succubus, really there’s not much more proof than she can cause lust in others, for one, and for another she is a futa as well, though she shifts in that often in the work.

The work reads very quickly, getting to the point of things in a very short time, telling about the characters as quickly as possible and then, immediately moves onto some heat between Amy and Dale. Past that, Amy tries out a gift that Dale gave her, which isn’t really unexpected, and then the aftermath of that follows. The ending however is the part that really bothered me. Dale’s explanation of why she can’t leave her apartment makes sense, but in another way it also really seems to limit the characters in a lot of ways. I would have liked more time spent on the ending, perhaps a little more character development, and more focus on Dale, at least as much as was given to Amy at least.

Three out of five pitchforks.

The rest of the collection I have reviewed on the Tale before, so what follows are very short summations of my thoughts from those reviews.

Soul Mates: Arianna isn’t quite an Angel just yet and she is sent to Earth to become one. A meeting with Brandy, a Succubus on the run and she discovers that Brandy is the key to her becoming an Angel. But the truth, for them both, is something more amazing to discover. Overall this is a story about self-discovery, about findings someone to care about and to tell what one would do for them in the moments when all would be lost. I liked this story for this, but also for how well the lives of Arianna and Brandy are told, then joined together. There’s a good deal of innocence from Arianna, which I loved dearly. But I liked Brandy being an old soul and how that played off against Arianna and what that transformed their relationship into.

The last few pages of the story where the author lost me completely. The work ends on a note that just doesn’t ring true with all else that happened. It is abrupt and sadly of all, it ends on a point where these two lovers seem to be going towards having to face each other on different sides. That just didn’t set well with me. To end the story that was about love, about understanding, about being together by taking that and tossing it away just didn’t work at all.

Three pitchforks out of five.

Daughters of the Night: The story of a coven of vampires who find their world changes as they come into contact with the Succubi. A sharing of blood brings about changes unexpected and with them the one thing they thought was impossible to see again returns. The writing is a bit rough around the edges, some of the minor characters speak in a monotone, almost sleepwalking through the work. Part of this may well be the fault of this work being told in a series of short stories that aren’t quite linked together well. Perhaps connecting them together more fully would have helped in that. There are quite a lot of little hot flashes of erotica in the work, and as a whole I think that was a bit overdone really. Some of them seemed to happen for the sake of having some erotica to get past a dull part of the story, and that didn’t quite work well.

A well told story, some interesting concepts, and I liked the characters overall. I just couldn’t quite get past the concept of mixing up Succubi and vampires as a whole.

Two and a half out of five pitchforks.

Almost Good: Clair has a motley crew of friends, or almost friends, with supernatural powers. Together they help who they can, but want to, somehow, do more. They rescue Yvonne from a bad situation and through her their adventures really begin.

The cast of characters in this work are interesting in their own rights and each really could be the focus of a single work on their own. There is background hinted at for each of them, but only hinted at and that leaves a lot of questions to be wondered about. The Succubus of this work, Candy, for one really interests me in that, by what is told about her, she decided that she didn’t like what “they” wanted her to do and she left, finding a place to hide with Clair and starting their group. While Candy is a Succubus, and there are some very hot scenes with her, she’s also, if not the leader of the group, certainly the brains in a lot of ways.

It all makes for what could be an opening to a series with these characters, one that I would read and follow not just for Cindy who fascinates me as a Succubus, but all of the characters. There are a lot of tales to be told about them all, never mind all of the different couplings that could happen. But the story needs to slow down a little, gain traction to tell more story and a bit less sexual situations would I think make for a better story than there is here.

Three and a half out of five pitchforks.

The House on the Hill: Sandy and Mike are a young couple looking for their first house. They eventually find out a little bit out of town that has a lot going for it, but, just before they agree to buy it, the find out the truth… It’s haunted. I liked the story for the most part really… I thought that all three characters, Mike, Sandy and Serena, who is the Succubus of the story, were really well fleshed out, had a history and seemed very real as a result. I enjoyed Serena using her powers on the couple, and the mind control that seemed to be part of that was really well done and I enjoyed it. The sex was hot, lots of heat to be seen and nicely described I thought as well.

My problem comes from the beginning of the story. I don’t quite understand why the author had to write so much about the house. We learn about the kitchen, the hallways, and so on, but all of that really isn’t important to the overall story I thought. It also make the beginning of the story very tedious to read through… it sort of felt like I was reading a home improvement magazine and that just sat wrong with me.

Three pitchforks out of five.

The House on the Hill 2: Serena the Succubus returns, the attempt to release her from her curse didn’t work and once more the owners of the house discover the fun and games that having a Succubus can bring. It’s a much better overall story than the first book was. It isn’t really just about the erotica, which is a welcome change from the first work. There is more about the powers of a Succubus, what she and do, what the experience is, and what that transforms the relationship of the main characters of the story. It becomes a story of learning about secal experiences, what they bring to relationahips, and how, if you take the chance to explore sexually who you are, you discover things about yourself and the one you love that you never would have expected.

I felt the expanded background of Serena added a lot that was missing from her personality in the first work. There are also moments of her using her powers which I thought were intersting use of the Succubus legends towards what they are capable of.

Four out of five pitchforks.

Bound to Hell: Dale is a college student, bored out of his mind in class. At least he is until a Succubus named Cindy enters and changes his life forever. Dale finds out that what he thought was reality isn’t quite as simple as it seemed to be, and having Cindy in his life promises to make his life more complicated than he could imagine.

I think the one thing that bothered me the most in this story was that the way the characters spoke was monotonous. By that I mean it was hard sometimes to tell if Cindy was talking or Dale or any of the other characters when they appear. Reading their thoughts, what they say, it seemed to be a lot of nothing with the occasional important bit of information to be shared. I understand that Dale is young, but Cindy is a Succubus, she is supposed to have been around for a long time and I expected much more out of her that was seen.

Two and a half pitchforks out of five.

Obviously the collection ran hot and cold for me, but overall there was really quite a lot to enjoy, to smile over, and most of all, the majority of the Succubi where interesting, were more than sex toys and that I always like to see.

I’ll give the collection as a whole three and a half out of five pitchforks.

One of my favourite writers about Succubi and a collection of their works is a nice thing to have even with the ups and downs that the stories carry with them.



Jan 23 2016

A neat Succubus Speedpaint YouTube

Many times I have said that I adore cute Succubi. It’s nice, I think, to see them because there’s more to them, in personality and form, than many other kinds of Succubi. I found a neat YouTube of such a piece of art being created recently…


And if you cannot see the video here on the Tale, please try this link:


The artist also posted this work on their DeviantArt site and you can find that page here.

And, as YouTube seems to remove the art that I like often, here’s the completed artwork as well…

Victoria by Ruzuri

Victoria by Ruzuri

She’s just simply cute and really in an amazing way too. I adore her outfit, her hair, and her wings, tail, eyes and horns being purple just makes me smile…

I think she’s about the cutest Succubi that I’ve seen in a long while now and she makes me smile…



Jan 22 2016

A Review of Daughters of the Night by Carl East

Daughters of the Night by Carl East

Daughters of the Night by Carl East

One of the story concepts that I have had the most problems with has been the idea that vampires and Succubi are seen as being the same kind of being. That, at least for me, isn’t right because there are a lot of differences between them. Not the least being that vampires are “dead” and Succubi are “alive” to put things at their most basic level.

Quite some time ago, one of the authors who’s stories about Succubi I do like from time to time wrote a work in which the worlds of the vampire and the Succubi collide. I wasn’t sure exactly how much I would enjoy this work in the beginning, but I found that by the end there was something within the pages that appealed to me. The idea of change, of becoming more, and doing something with that change.

  • Title: Daughters of the Night
  • Author: Carl East
  • Length: 109 Pages
  • ASIN: B00AI0LLO6
  • Publishing Date: December 3, 2012
  • This work at Amazon.com

The story is of:

In the night there are vampires. In one coven a vampire named Rebecca gains the powers of a Succubus in an experiment that changes her world and that of her coven forever.

The story of a coven of vampires who find their world changes as they come into contact with the Succubi. A sharing of blood brings about changes unexpected and with them the one thing they thought was impossible to see again returns.

The main Succubus of this work is Brandy, and she’s really not stereotypically presented in the story. She’s intelligent, she has a heart, and she cares very much about Rebecca and the rest of her coven. Brandy as most of the normal Succubus abilities, and a few more, one of which is that she can shift her gender as well. The most interesting part is when she teaches Rebecca about her powers and how to use them. There is almost a mother’s attention to her daughter learning and I thought that worked well overall.

Rebecca, the main focus of the work, is a vampire, but again she isn’t stereotypical, is told in a way that makes her more than she might be expected to be and I liked that. As she comes into her own succubus-like powers, there is moment when she realizes that she can do something that no other vampire can do as a result of her changes and that moment is possibly the most emotionally telling in the work.

However, the writing is a bit rough around the edges, some of the minor characters speak in a monotone, almost sleepwalking through the work. Part of this may well be the fault of this work being told in a series of short stories that aren’t quite linked together well. Perhaps connecting them together more fully would have helped in that.

There are quite a lot of little hot flashes of erotica in the work, and as a whole I think that was a bit overdone really. Some of them seemed to happen for the sake of having some erotica to get past a dull part of the story, and that didn’t quite work well.

I think that the author might want to go back and have another look at this work, rewrite things as this really is I think one of the weaker works they have written and it need not be. A better flow to the story, to the words is needed. Adding more emotion, more connections to the characters would be nice as well.

I’ll give this work two and a half out of five pitchforks.

A well told story, some interesting concepts, and I liked the characters overall. I just couldn’t quite get past the concept of mixing up Succubi and vampires as a whole.



Jan 21 2016

Succubi Image of the Week 418

Some of the Succubi art that I find takes a different look of Succubi. They have, to an extent, the overall look of being one of the Succubi, but then there are some differences, some quirks, something that’s just enough to give them a style that’s really interesting and different which I think makes them something more.

Succubus Queen by FatSlacker

Succubus Queen by FatSlacker

This work is called Succubus Queen and is by an artist on DeviantArt called FatSlacker. You can find the original page on DeviantArt with this work here and this artist’s page can be found here.

It’s really quite the unique styling of this character being a Succubus Queen that caught my attention. The only real overall hint of her being a Succubus are her wings, but otherwise her nature is somewhat hidden underneath the rich and complex clothing that she wears here.

It is that clothing that interests me the most here as it is, as a whole, very “royal” in appearance and it does place a certain air about her. It gives her that look, an important one really, and in doing so creating one of the more unique Succubus Queens that I have found.



Jan 20 2016

Vinyl isn’t enough for a costume really

Vinyl Flame Top CorsetSometimes the costume ideas that I find are simply beyond tacky. It becomes very clear at first glance and as such it isn’t all that much a surprise when the costume in question “magically” disappears from the scene. Really, in this case, it was the best thing that could have happened.

This is from Leg Avenue and it is a three piece Vinyl Flame Costume. which comes with the corset, gloves and a G-string. I have no idea what it sold for originally, but I found it on eBay for $30 US.

Obviously this doesn’t come with horns or a tail… or any kind of fashion sense whatsoever. As I think about all of the costumes that I have looked at over the years, this actually might be the worst. I’m not sure of that of course, but I cringed when I first saw this disaster and as such, that’s not a very good sign in the first place.

When I look at the “flames” somehow I see the hands of someone standing behind the model and groping her. As for the gloves, those look to be almost like some kind of fighting armour or something and I shudder to think what kind of damage they could cause in a “compromising” situation.

It just looks very cheap, very tacky, uncomfortable and even if this is, as it is described, an adult costume, there is better. In fact I could easily take a pair of my horns and put them with almost anything in my closet, including a fuzzy oversized sweater, and look sexier than this.

Sadly another zero out of five pitchforks.

Even that might be generous…



Jan 19 2016

A Review of Hell and Back by Anthony Quill

Hell and Back by Anthony Quill

Hell and Back by Anthony Quill

There are some story themes which I find to be the most interesting. One of these comes to how an author tells of someone being transformed into a succubus. The more unique that is, the more I adore things because, as I have said many times, I do not like stereotypical themes and characters.

To see an author make mention that Succubi have a soul, and more importantly for me, that they aren’t quite what most expect them to be is for me wonderful. Telling the story of how that all comes… or rather cums… together can be enthralling.

  • Title: Hell and Back
  • Author: Anthony Quill
  • Length: 33 Pages
  • IBSN: 9781311916525
  • Publishing Date: December 15, 2014
  • This work at Smashwords.com – No Longer Available

The story tells of:

A modern day, bisexual magician in London. After Blaze had been missing for nearly two months, his former lover – a werewolf by the name of Sal – comes looking for him for help, despite being furious with Blaze. But Blaze wants his lover back…

Blaze is a magician. That in itself wouldn’t be too strange save that magic is real, he knows much of it and along with that comes the supernatural world that hides in the shadows. A werewolf for a lover, a woman possessed by a Succubus. Things are never boring in Blaze’s life.

The work was billed as the beginning of a series and it did continue onwards for a total of four works. Based on this one alone, I never managed to read the rest of the series, it is smart, funny, the characters are amazing and most of all… There is a Succubus who I found to be the most amazingly fun thing by far.

Shelley finds herself pulled out of her body and a Succubus takes her place. Blaze goes about finding Shelley in Hell, brings her back and then has the most interesting way to make both the Succubus and Shelley happy. He’ll just merge their souls together into one body. The overall story of finding Shelley’s soul isn’t told, save in passing and that was a bit of a shame. I think that would have been interesting to read. What was told was Shelley sharing Blaze’s body, she coming, and cumming, along for the right as he has fun with the Succubus.

It’s an amazingly hot scene, I especially liked that the Succubus was described as looking human, save for her wings and tail, and afterwards the reactions of the Succubus and Shelley, what changes occur and the last little comments by Blaze and Shelley made me laugh out loud.

But most of all, this was really the most amazing piece of writing in a work that was fun, had so much promise and delivered on every bit of that from the first word. All of the characters, Blaze, Shelley and Sal are just wonderful and so full of expression and life that it was a joy to read their thoughts, words and actions in the story.

The work has two very hot flashes within it, one with Shelley/The Succubus and Blaze, the other with Sal. They are, in their own ways, well done, the latter being a bit more harshly BDSM than I really like as a whole. Nonetheless, there is lovely heat, the scenes make sense and I really enjoyed them both dearly.

The one part of the story that did give me a bit of pause was how Blaze kept referring to normal people as “Norm” and “Norma” which got a bit old after a time. It turned into a sort of running gag, one that I just didn’t feel matched up with the rest of the work and how Blaze spoke otherwise in the story.

Simply a wonderful read, characters that I cared about and wanted to know more about. Hot in the right way, smart as well. A work that I will remember for quite some time as it is, in many ways, unforgettable in its tone, story, and more.

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

Sadly, this work is no longer available. More so as the author made note that Shelley would be returning in the future in this series. I never managed to find that series, to see what happened to her. I really wanted to see Shelley being a succubus, being something more than she was before.

Perhaps someday this series will return and I’ll be able to know the rest of the story…



Jan 18 2016

Someone There By JHB

The words “My Heart” are not simply two words. They cannot express how, so often, my Heart knows, he sees, he understands. It is something I’ve never been able to express well enough. To give some kind of meaning to his words, how they are, more times than I can count, the right thing said in the right way.

This is one of the moments when his words tell a story that means something more…


Someone There


Cassiopeia, friend of Tera’s since childhood, tended to be fun-loving, flirtatious, and very much in-and-of-the moment. She was bright, vivacious, sparkling, and there was no doubt that her favorite part of being a succubi was the ongoing exploration of carnal pleasures. She liked tantalizing, seducing, and enthralling various men, women, and other beings she met. She tingled at their moans, gasps, flushed skin, and every moment of growing arousal. Her pulse quickened and her nipples swelled and stiffened when she was caressed in the right places. And, when she was properly aroused, walls shook, lights flickered for miles around, and the whole Realm shook with her ecstatic cries.

Nobody ever accused Cassie of being subtle.

One of the things that the Succubi Queen always marveled about was her chum’s ability to spread effortless joy wherever she went. She was the first one in their succu-scout troop to earn her group flirt merit badge. At the end of her junior year, the pattern of the ovals on her SAT answer sheet caused the scoring computer to have hot flashes for a week and give everyone in her class a 1600 . . . except Tera somehow managed a 1750. In her first field assignment, she simultaneously converted four Olympic gymnastics teams at the Montreal games. And, when she left the Paris opera house one night while humming a tune from “Rigoletto,” the entire city was engaged in an orgy within the hour.

Yes, Cassie was a bit of a party girl.

The greatest gift of Her Majesty’s BFF seemed to be her ability to get those around her to loosen up and be playful, even at the most somber occasions. Tera’s Eternal, Keith, had lost count of the times and places where the nearly-irresistible silver-tail had surprised him in all her naked glory.

At one year’s annual address to the first families of the Realm, the Queen found that someone had, somehow, secreted a tail massager into her royal robes. As she struggled to maintain a sense of decorum, she could see her friend, delighted, barely containing giggles. Decorum was abandoned afterward, as was their formal attire, as Tera exacted some lustful revenge that included dozens of the other attendees by the time it was done the following Thursday.

And then there was the day when Cassie left a surprise in Lil’s yarn skeins. By the time the two were finished with each other, three construction crews were needed to restore the cracked plaster and plumbing, not to mention setting the knitter’s cottage back on its foundation . . . and, for whatever reason, the silver-tail could not remember large bits of her encounter with the older succubi, whose stamina was impressive, to say the least.

There was not a single resident of any Realm whom Cassiopeia didn’t see as an object for fun and games . . . save one: Miss Browning, who had been hired by her parents to tutor the young succubi in literature. Browning, whom Cassie came to call “Elizabeth,” also taught the budding adult about romance, about the deepest motivations of human and succubish hearts, and about the simple joys of quieter amorous encounters. The silver tail was, in many ways, ushered into adulthood by her tutor, and, with her, was always quiet, contemplative, and attentive.

But, while succubi live for eons, Elizabeth wasn’t from the Realm. One day Cassie received a most distressing note, and bampfed away without even a word to Tera, who was expecting her best friend for lunch. For days, she kept somber vigil in a human hospital, her horns and tail hidden away, her normally sparkling, curly mane tucked into a tight bun, and her clothing conservatively cut in muted pastels. She was even about five inches shorter than usual, the result of wearing simple, flat shoes—nobody who knew her would even believe that she knew shoes came without spiked heels.

In the room, visiting with her mentor, she would smile, read favorite poetry, smuggle in special foods, and help her be as clean and comfortable as possible. Outside of the room—in the moments when she was shooed out by nurses, aides, doctors, and phlebotomists trying to give her care—the succubi sat in corners, crying, feeling utterly bereft. Her best friend had a little human plaything who believed in spiritual things, as humans were wont to do, and Cassie was convinced that Tera’s fondness for the odd fellow had caused her to feign the human habit called “prayer.” But Succubi were more evolved creatures, and she knew better.

Still, in the middle of one night, a couple of weeks in, Cassiopeia found herself alone in a dark hospital waiting room, allowing her silver succubi attributes to become visible as her tail lashed out with her temper. “Gods! What ridiculous claptrap!” the seductress fumed. “If there was some sort of a divine being that was in any small way benevolent, how could she—or probably HE, since males are only good for one thing, and it isn’t running the universe—allow someone as lovely, as sweet, as wise, as precious as Elizabeth waste away like this? What sort of an ass of a deity would you have to be? How in the Realm are you looking out for either of us? Why would anybody believe you answer any prayers?”

“Because she has been answering mine, looking out for you.” Cassie heard the soft, warm, familiar voice behind her as she felt a tail she knew as well as her own twine around hers. She saw a bit of red as she turned to see a familiar smile, a cascade of raven curls, a red sweater, jeans, and ankle boots. Before another word could be said, arms that the silver-tail had known all her life pulled her into a close embrace. For many minutes, there was silence, more than a few tears, and finally just a few soft kisses.

Finally, the red-tail whispered, “It is so interesting, you in flats, shorter than me for once.”

“How did you find me here?”

“I have known, all along. You don’t think I would really leave you truly by yourself, do you? I felt in my heart where you were, and it didn’t take long to find out what was going on.”

“But you’re only here now . . .”

“You needed your space, sweetie. I could feel your presence, as I can with all my sisters and daughters, but I didn’t come until I felt like you really needed me.”

“But, I still don’t understand how . . .”

“I truly do believe there is a Goddess. I know you don’t trust the idea of divinity, but I have come to trust that there are powers greater than us, who look out for us. For me, ‘Goddess’ feels like the right word. Others are different.”

“Then why aren’t prayers being answered? Not just mine, but most of the people in this horrible place.”

Tera kissed Cassie’s tears: “Just what would answered prayers be like? Do you really believe that everybody here would be better off kept alive, in such pain? No matter what we do, no matter what we want, the beings of this realm are not as long-lived or resilient as we. Sometimes it is an answer to prayer to give them a peaceful transition.”

“A transition to nothing? To death?”

“A transition, some believe, to another stage of life. I am sure I have felt the life of my Mother and Father with me. I’d like to believe it is possible. And I know that I feel Goddess giving me peace about things . . . and I think she has been looking out for you.”

There was a small but genuine smile: “You really think so?”

“I do . . . At the very least, there are always . . . possibilities.”

“Well, Elizabeth actually seemed a bit stronger tonight.”

“Then there might just be a chance. There might well be some good days ahead. I suggest that you be thankful for every one of them.”

“I suppose you are right. That might be good advice for any of us, every day.”

There were no words in the response, only a small smile and a deep, tender kiss. Then Cassie was alone again . . . but remembering that she was never alone. “So, Tera says you’re there. I’m not sure I believe, but I trust my friend. So I hope you’ll have my back.”

Elizabeth did have some good days left, many of them at home. She continued to move closer to death . . . and Cassiopeia, who had learned so much from this teacher, learned about this, and walked with her friend every step of the way, cherishing every good day, but never running from the not-so-good.

And, along the way, Cassiopeia had many conversations, perhaps one-sided, with somebody she could never see. She also had a morning when a vibrator was inside her panties, but she suspected that was a certain red-tailed monarch rather than a divine presence.

Even so, even though she was never sure, Cassie had the strongest feeling at quieter, more solemn, more frightening times that she could be at peace. Somehow, somewhere, she was sure of someone there.