Part Three of the ongoing story I’ve been working on for Halloween this October on the Tale. If you’d like to read the prior two parts of this story, you can find them here on the Tale.
Sometimes we do things that, at the moment they happen, we believe to be the right thing. We make a choice and pray that the best happens. However, there are those that set events into motion where knowing what will happen and looking forward to the result. Because not all things are as they seem, and many of them can turn out to be the worst things of all …
The Second Coming
The hotel was a speck in the distance as Mandy fumed, time ticking away from her. The cab was stuck in traffic, and it was taking ages to get to Cleo, time that she feared she couldn’t afford to waste.
It did, however, allow her to think about what she’d learned about her Cleo. Thinking of Cleo as being her’s, even if that wasn’t exactly true, caused a smile to appear. She loved Cleo, really had from the moment they’d met, ages ago. The guilty wish that she made with shocking regularity came to her thoughts once more: “If only …”
The rest was between herself and those above that might be listening.
The smile ebbed away as the apprentice put the pieces together as best she could. Cleo and … whomever he was—damn him for not saying his name—had been caught in the whims of otherworldly beings and had suffered for that. Somehow, and she didn’t know how, exactly, they’d both managed to get free, cover up the mess and moved on.
At least Cleo seemed to. He, on the other hand, Mandy wasn’t so sure about. She scanned the buildings around her as the cab started to move again, her thoughts now picking apart his story. Was he the one to be possessed first, or was it Cleo? Did she take him, or vice versa? The story she had didn’t say one way or the other.
Either way, in the end it didn’t seem to matter all that much. He’d become the incubus and Cleo had been transformed … probably … it was so unclear … into a succubus. Mandy couldn’t help but pull on her hair in frustration over that, wondering why it had failed, how they had become themselves again. But most troubling of all: how was it that someone else had been possessed by a succubus, and what did she want? Something in all of this didn’t make any sense, and it was bothering her.
The rumbling of the cab over a curb finally announced that she’d arrived at her destination. Throwing more money at the cabbie than the ride could have possibly cost, Mandy shoved the door open, rushing into the hotel in the next moment.
It wasn’t the most modern of hotels, and, if Mandy had cared, she might even be somewhat surprised at the “old world” charm of the place. But she didn’t, her focus being on the young receptionist. Idly, in passing, Mandy thought she looked a bit stern for her age, but then she supposed that was more a reflection of the hotel than the woman herself. “Room key for Sister Miranda, please?”
There was a palatable pause as the holder of the keys looked Mandy over, considering that the young nun didn’t exactly look like she was “religious”—whatever that meant. But Cleo’s assistant she had already slung the backpack onto the desk before pulling a card out of her pocket and handing across the oak tabletop. The pause continued a bit further, as Mandy wondered if, had she appeared in a habit, there’d be half as much delay. Her temper got the better of her: “Is there a problem? Shall we call Sister Cléophée?”
Her card vanished behind the desk and a bronze key attached to a plastic fob was placed in front of her. “Sorry, Sister. You …” again there was a pause, a delay, “… don’t look like what I expected.”
“How do you mean?”
The answer was, in its own way, telling: “I was expecting someone much older.”
And there it was, the entire issue between Mandy and Cleo: their ages.
“Of course you were. Sorry to disappoint.”
What came next was … confusing. The strawberry blonde smiled: “Oh … so not disappointed.” That smile followed Mandy right to the elevators … and it made her shiver.
Many floors above, Cleo was sitting beside the bay window in her room, not seeing the view outside—which only consisted of another building’s brickwork and a sliver of light that was heating the bricks. She had been considering what to do, and she didn’t particularly like where her studies had taken her. The case she had brought was resting between her chair and the window, the seals broken and one item from within the case now laid on the table in front of her. An ancient work, telling of banishing spells, orders of control, and more darker things that were, so it was told, the only means to overcome a succubus, or incubus for that matter.
Sacrifices would have to be made.
That thought was interrupted by a key rattling in the door: “Damn it, Cleo! You’d better be in there!”
Mandy? So soon? Cleo hadn’t expected her, wasn’t prepared for her. Her eyes fell upon the open page and, as Mandy threw the door open, she closed the book, hiding away what she knew she had to do.
Time came to a crawl. Mandy was framed in the doorway, her expression a mixture of worry, concern, and something approaching terror. Cleo’s hand rested on the book, her expression as neutral as she could make it … until Mandy spoke: “In God’s name, Cleo. I want the truth no matter what, and I want it right now!”
Cleo’s eyes turned away: “You met him. How … is he?”
She didn’t look as the door was slammed shut, nor as she heard the sound of Mandy’s backpack being thrown into a corner of the room. Cleo did look—she didn’t have a choice—when her cheek was touched by Mandy’s fingers.
Mandy stood there, her red hair wild, her expression pained and hurt. The saying on her shirt, asking for cuddles, made Cleo sigh: “Is … he …?”
“He’s there. Said to say ‘Hi’ … among other things.”
The senior partner brought her hand to touch her junior’s, carefully moving it aside: “Mandy …”
“No! Just … Damn it, Cleo, tell me what the hell’s going on!”
She didn’t want to. She was certain that telling Mandy everything would likely get her young lover damned. She’d be as cursed as Cleo was … and she wasn’t going to do that. This was her burden, and she’d make things right no matter the cost.
“He and I were … attracted to each other, a long time ago.”
Mandy nodded as she took the other chair by the table and focused her attention on Cleo: “I figured that.”
“Does that upset you?”
Mandy’s expression was hurt: “No! Why would it? I wasn’t around then, so how can I be upset about you being happy? For fuck’s sake, Cleo, haven’t you figured out that I just want you to be happy?”
“I’m … too old. You’ve got your entire life ahead of you, and …”
“… and it’s my choice who I want to be with, to care about, and yes, believe it or not, Cleo, you don’t get the right to tell me who I want to fuck, either.”
Cleo’s eyes were wide as she peered through her glasses, her voice being lost in that admission. But they got larger still as the redhead continued: “I don’t care about your age or mine. I don’t care who’s older. What I do care about is that I love you.” The dark-haired scholar was going to protest, but Mandy’s hand covered her own resting on top of the book: “You care about me, Cleo, I know that. You don’t have to say you love me back, but I am telling you I love you.” The passionate novice nodded at the book: “I want you to know that. I know you well enough to know that you, dearest Cléophée, are about to do something incredibly stupid. But, before you do, you’re going to know that I need you, that I’m not leaving you, and that I’ll do whatever I have to.”
The room was silent for a time, the two looking at each other for several moments before Cleo answered: “It is incredibly stupid.”
Mandy shook her head: “Of course it is.”
“She’s possessed by the succubus. This book explains that she’s a vessel, not in control of what she does. The succubus uses her body, growing in power, feeding. She’s building a nest for her thralls to protect her. That takes time. She probably has at least one by now. She probably has her hooks into a lot of others.”
Mandy’s thoughts turned to the receptionist downstairs: “How can you tell?”
“We can’t. There’s nothing, really, that would be obvious to us. Oh, they might be more sexually active, their sexual congress being a means for the succubus to feed faster.” Cleo nodded at the case: “There’s an item in there that warns when one is close by.”
“Have you checked?”
“I did when I arrived. It seems like we’re safe enough.”
Mandy’s tension ebbed slightly. That woman downstairs must have a thing for redheads or something. “Okay. What’s your plan, then?”
“We go to her.”
“That’s bad idea number one.”
“I have to get in the same room with her.”
“That’s bad idea number two.”
“I’ll have to be touching her when I recite the hymn to banish her back into the emerald she was imprisoned in.”
“Annnd that’s number three.”
There had been little conflict between them in all of the years they’d know each other, but this time there was going to be some. “Who else is going to do this? You? You haven’t a clue what to do!”
“I’ll learn! Cleo! Listen to yourself!”
“No! You are not! I will not let you!”
“Fuck that, Cleo! I’m not going to lose you because of some bitch from hell!”
“I won’t be lost!”
“Bullshit! You’re going to be a martyr, and I know what that means!”
Cleo’s next words were a whisper: “Miranda … I do love you.”
“Then … why?”
Cleo looked almost ancient as she replied: “I’ve been through this. I know what she’s feeling, trapped inside, not being able to act, to do anything to stop … it. Even if I had to kill the soul trapped. It’s what I would do if it was you that was possessed.”
“You cannot understand what it’s like … The … need … how strong it is, what you’d do to feed it.”
“No, I can’t. Please …”
“I wasn’t possessed by a succubus, I was the succubus. I was—every part of me—a succubus in all ways that mattered. I threw him to the ground, rode him, fucked him, and made him cum over and over.”
Mandy’s eyes widened at Cleo’s admission. She’d never talked like this often, if at all.
“I craved his lusts, I suckled on his needs. I drove myself on his cock relentlessly. I was sex incarnate. I wanted more and more, but I couldn’t reach that perfect orgasm that I knew was there, just out of reach.”
“What … stopped you?”
Cleo laughed a bitter laugh: “I couldn’t have the orgasm that would complete me. Not that I didn’t try, not that he didn’t try. We fucked in the catacombs for hours, every possible and impossible way you can’t imagine.”
“What happened when it was over?”
“We were a sweaty mound of flesh, covered in dirt. Anything that I cared about him wasn’t there any more: a … pound of flesh for my not becoming the succubus that he wanted. We couldn’t even look at each other. We sealed up the damned place and went our separate ways.”
Not the complete truth, but good enough that Mandy nodded, accepting it: “Which explains why he went where he did, but not why this succubus appeared near him. Why not you?”
Cleo thought for a moment: “I think that Amber, the girl possessed, found the emerald somewhere on her travels; she’s an archaeology assistant. Her home’s here, the apartment the succubus is using as her nest. She might have come into physical contact with it at the university. The succubus would know that he was nearby and tried to draw him to her.”
“Instead, he called.”
“Yes. He did.”
“And now you’re here.”
“You do realize that this is a trap?”
“I know. I still have to stop this.”
Mandy’s eyes fell upon the book: “Wonderful. When do we …”
“The tomes say that we have to catch her feeding.”
“After midnight … before three in the morning.”
Mandy looked at her phone: “A lot of time till then.”
“Better get some rest.”
Neither did, if they were honest with themselves, but sometimes sleep isn’t as important as being.
They arrived at the apartment at one in the morning. The entire building was silent, lights out or dimmed. The hallways weren’t lit up, but why would they be? Sane people weren’t creeping around at one in the morning, after all.
The only light that was seen outside was coming from Amber’s apartment. But even if there hadn’t been a light on, the moans were calling out to Cleo and Mandy as the two made their way upwards.
Amber, or what had become her, was very much awake … and feeding … loudly. It should have been enough to keep the entire building awake, someone making that much noise would wake the dead, Mandy thought.
“The place is under her spell. She’s feeding off their dreams and the one she’s …”
Mandy nodded: “I get it.”
The rest didn’t need to be explained.
The door to her apartment opened easily. It wasn’t locked; why would it be? The succubus controlled Amber, she controlled the building. There was no reason for it to lock the door. Once inside, they found a typical university post-grad’s meager apartment: put-together furniture, books for tables, a living room was strewn with take-out boxes, some empty, some not so much so. Clothing was strung here and there, some women’s, some men’s. It was clear that nothing really mattered around them.
Save for whatever was going on in the bedroom. Cleo held the book in her hands, a finger marking the page she needed in case she forgot the words. Mandy was beside her, waiting for the moment to rush in with Cleo. They hadn’t noticed the change when they came in, but it suddenly struck Mandy. The screaming and moaning had stopped. The apartment was as still as a tomb: “Fuck. She knows we’re here.”
Cleo nodded as they approached the bedroom door. Cleo motioned to Mandy to stay behind her as she looked around the corner. She hoped, dearly, that it wasn’t going to be how she remembered things from so long ago.
It wasn’t. But it was worse in so many ways.
Amber—what had been Amber—was hovering over her victim, who had a glazed look in his eyes. Her hair was red, so amazingly red, cascading down her back in a mangled wave of curls. But it wasn’t as red as Mandy’s. Somehow that thought made Cleo nibble her lip and catch her breath.
Amber bent over at her waist, her hands on either side of him. Cleo couldn’t see exactly what the succubus was doing, but the sound of her thrall sucking in a breath made it clear. She’d wrapped her lips around his cock, taking him deeply. Cleo was mesmerized by her back undulating as she caressed his shaft with her tongue and lips. He bucked every time her lips bottomed out on him.
Cleo tried to look away, but Amber’s hand, her long red nails appearing between her legs then starting to toy with her clit, held her. Cleo shuddered, her vision held by the scene, her ears hearing nothing but the slurping and needful moaning of her thrall.
It took Mandy pulling Cleo back to break the spell. Even so, the sounds didn’t stop now. Amber’s moans mixing with her thrall’s as she continued to take him deeply. Mandy looked at Cleo with worry. Cleo nodded and managed a wan smile, even as her sex trembled and weeped from what she’d seen. Mandy pushed her way around Cleo, then looked herself to see what was going on.
The assistant found the succubus’ host stoking her thrall’s shaft, it being slick and wet with her saliva. She licked the tip, he cried in need, and she pushed him back on the bed. Many watched the succubus tie her victim up with scarfs, holding him fast, before she straddled him and his cock, which was pointing upward. He tried to thrust himself upwards, to envelope his need in her slick hot sex. but she refused him.
He was hers. Not the other way around.
Mandy looked back to her mentor, she reading the page in the book, mouthing the words to herself in preparation. The succubus wasn’t feeding, just yet. Cleo had explained what that moment was. When she looked again, Mandy found Amber playing with her food. She lowered herself, achingly slowly, onto him. No human could possibly have managed what Mandy witnessed, as it took almost an entire minute for Amber to edge him slowly within her sex. Inch by inch she took him until with a lustful cackle of pleasure. She had trapped him beneath her.
As Mandy watched, Cleo stifled a moan in surprise. She could feel it. She felt every bump and ridge as Amber lowered herself upon him. It became far worse when the succubus started to ride him, her glistening folds gripping his shaft, milking him, drawing from him what she desired. The elder nun’s hips bucked in time as the succubus screamed in pleasure as she came … as she fed.
That realization broke the spell, and Cleo rushed past Mandy before she could react. The door slammed shut the moment Cleo was inside and all that Mandy could do was beat her hands against it, screaming Cleo’s name.
The succubus didn’t turn to look: “Cléophée.”
In spite of the slickness of her sex, Cleo managed a growl of anger: “Demon spawn.”
Amber laughed: “It takes one to know one.” A grunt of pleasure came, then Amber turned to look at her visitor, her wild mane of red framed seduction. Her curves were mesmerizing, and there, in the middle of her cleavage, was that damned piece of jewelry, bound to Amber’s body, warping her.
Cleo’s hands gripped the book tighter: “Release her.”
Amber giggled, then looked at her thrall and purred: “Cum.”
His scream was ecstasy, pain, and submission mixed into one unforgettable sound. Amber licked her lips and savoured the taste: “mmm … Never. So deliciously wanton they are. So easily corrupted to serve … me.”
The wave of his soul that washed through the room drove Cleo to her knees. The book fell to her side, one hand on top of it, the other desperately searching for her clit, trying to make herself orgasm in spite of herself. Her breath caught, her vision blurred.
“Nnnnnooo … I … I won’t let you.”
Outside of the room, Mandy heard the screams, and her banging on the door became more and more frantic. Seeing no other choice, she ran outside of the apartment. A fire axe was nearby and, in the next moment, she was trying to smash through the door, screaming Cleo’s name at the top of her lungs. The pastor’s warning echoed in her mind: “Do not leave her alone with the succubus.”
Cleo stumbled to her feet, the book left on the floor. Her legs wobbled, her sex drooled, her mind was awash in the pleasure the succubus was taking. As her fingers took hold of Amber’s hair, Cleo’s thoughts were of Mandy.
Then, she spoke the words. Words of banishment, her other hand taking hold of Amber’s arm. Words of damnation, her body pressed against Amber’s back. The Word as her hand moved from Amber’s hair to touch the jewel above her cleavage from which the succubus had come.
Mandy smashed the door open as a wave of red light exploded from within and threw her away from the door, leaving her crumpled in the middle of the living room. She looked at the open doorway, the room dark, the red light vanquished. She groaned in pain, crawling over to see within, fearing, praying.
The scene within was nothing that she expected. On the bed was the man Amber had been feeding from, out cold, but alive. draped over him was … Amber … Amber from before the succubus came into her life. Mandy stumbled over to them both, checking to be sure they were breathing. Amber was face down on the bed and Mandy turned her over. Amber was just another ordinary girl, nothing more. Between Amber and the man lay the emerald. It looked harmless, ordinary, nothing like the threat it was holding within itself.
Then she saw Cleo’s legs on the far side of the bed. It was but a moment before she was holding Cleo in her arms, her body like a rag doll. Mandy said a prayer as she watched Cleo’s chest rise and fall.
They’d won. They’d saved Amber, Cleo was alive, and things were going to be okay. She hugged Cleo’s body to her own, her hands stroking through Cleo’s hair aimlessly. Cleo looked to be asleep, she didn’t seem to have any broken bones, and there weren’t any bumps or bruises.
Mandy smiled softly as she pushed some of Cleo’s hair, with its enchanting red highlights, away from her forehead, which she kissed gently.
Then something brought her up short: Cleo’s hair had never had any red in it.
But this red was almost as brilliant as her own.