Authors: Morgan Blayde
Tags: #Dark Fantasy, #Horror, #Literature & Fiction, #Genre Fiction
“Damn you,” she said. “Too … powerful. I can’t fight … free!”
“Yeah, I hate it when that happens.”
I tore the cloth from chin to crotch, laying nubile flesh bare.
She gasped, loudly. “Oh, whatever will become of me?”
I gripped a rosy-nippled tit and squeezed firmly, managing another sinister laugh. “Oh, you’ll get accustomed to me, if you survive the first dozen orgasms.”
Then Holy was back, a stool raised high to bash out my brains. “You beast!” she cried.
“Hey, that’s my line.” Christie said.
“Playing with fire is always fun,
until the Fire Department arrives.”
The ass-destined end of the stool dropped toward my head. I punched the seat with dragon strength, imprinting my knuckles in the metal. There was an explosive pop of impact followed by the stool flying over Holy’s head.
” Christie yelled, adding a sound effect of her own.
The stool hit high on the far wall, half embedded there. I heard drywall breaking, pieces of it splattering to the floor.
Holy staggered back and fell on her ass. “Ouch!”
I hissed at her. “This is role play, idiot. Get a grip and get outside the door. See that I’m not disturbed by people who might have heard the ruckus.”
“Yeah,” Power Ranger Christie said. “I don’t mind being raped, but doing it in front of people is icky.”
I figured—without the protective barrier of the mask—Christie would have reverted to customary shyness already. Anonymity was her brand of courage.
Staring at Christy, Holy looked like a puppy that had just been kicked. “Sorry, I thought … I thought...”
I sighed. “Just go.”
Holy picked herself up and scurried away. And I still didn’t hear the damn floorboards creak or groan under her feet. The girl walked like a ninja; she was the one who needed the Ranger costume.
I put my hands on the bed and leaned in to stare into Christie’s eyes through the holes in her mask. The snake-fang necklace swung between us. I smiled. “Now, where were we?”
I couldn’t see her smile, but I heard teasing in the tone of her voice as she pulled my lips to her exposed breasts. “I’ll let you figure that out, you vile beast.”
* * *
For some reason, I dreamed of hot molten cream drizzling from the heavens. Fluffy whiteness splattered to the ground as if the Mother of all Pigeons were seeding the clouds. One huge glob hit the haunted mansion, covering a third of the roof, creeping down the back of the building in gooey runnels, adding a sugary flavor to the night winds.
I wondered if there were a giant ark nearby where
would be loading aboard animals of every kind, hoping to survive the Marshmallow Apocalypse. Yeah, I knew this was a dream. What else? And, no, knowing it was a dream didn’t kick me out. Most of my dreams were nightmares and they never—easily—gave me up.
Pleasured moans emanated from the nearby chapel. Apparently I was revisiting the site in my sleep; only this chapel was in perfect condition. The stained glass filled every window, dark eyes that returned my stare. The outer walls were intact, smoothly coated with white paint. That meant that I was not only asleep, but occupying a vision of the distant past.
This was what I had hoped might happen. The same psychic mechanism had provided answers in Santa Fe where a ghost girl had put me on the trail of a serial killer. I was a long way off from making this ability reliable, but for now, I’d take what I could get.
Note to self: talk to Thorn about how I can develop this power more fully.
I approached the side door. It opened by itself as I reached it. I crossed the threshold and stood listening in the gloom of night.
A young woman spoke, “Giles, did you hear something?”
“Only the pounding of my heart, love.”
“Are you sure you locked the door?”
Yeah, but this is my dream.
I closed the door behind me, taking in the scents of the room: furniture polish, bee’s wax, and horny teenagers. I heard the sound of fumbling fingers and rustling cloth. The girl said, “Wait, I’m not sure I’m ready.”
“But you know I love you, Rhonda. I want you. I need you, honey. You’re everything to me. Tell me you believe in us, too. I know you want this as badly as I do.”
“But what if I get pregnant?”
“Oh, that can’t happen the first time. It will be okay. I’ll just pull out before I cum.”
I snorted softly to myself.
Yeah, that never goes wrong.
I ghosted along the wall, passing the stained glass windows as I headed toward the stage. The sounds were coming from the choir benches, near the baptistery.
An interesting choice for fornication.
I stopped at the front pew. Surely voyeurism wasn’t the reason for this dream, not when I could be reliving memories of my own legendary conquests. On a hunch, I went on. An inside door and a short passageway took me to the back hallway. That in turn led me to the basement door.
I found it open a crack. Young female voices spilled out, a droning cadence.
“Puer nobis ad inferos. Ipsaeque matres et daemonium habes.”
Opening the door wider, I tested the air from below. Despite the ritual chanting, I didn’t smell magic. That meant that either the girls were playing at being witches, or they really sucked at it. Good thing too; from what Latin I remembered, they were calling forth an incubus.
Descending the stairs, I entered a pagan temple of sorts. Ridged, plaster columns, painted white, were spaced along the left and right walls. They supported red cloth banners the color of fresh arterial blood. On top of every third column were red candles that struggled to push back the darkness. The space was the same size as the sanctuary above.
I walked past where the old false wall had been. At this point in time, nothing had been walled away; no bodies—or secret temple—were concealed. I followed a red runner on the concrete floor. The chanting grew louder as I approached five girls in white sheets.
At least it’s not a meeting of White Lives Matter More.
The girls paraded around a couple of crates that supported a twin mattress with a brown blanket: an impromptu altar. Another girl lay there, naked, hands tied, a cloth across her mouth. She was wide-eyed and mouthing guttural sounds. Somehow, I didn’t think she’d volunteered for this choice assignment.
One of the girls was a little taller than the others. She let her sheet fall, showing off a insubstantial chest and a long cascade of midnight-black hair. Their leader, she carried a Latin primer with handwritten cheat sheets inside that she frequently consulted, throwing out phrases that the others mindlessly echoed. Their pronunciation nearly made my ears bleed.
“Daemonium in colubrum, Lamia alumni exaudivit nos!”
Damn, she’s invoking Lilith, Queen of Demons, Adam’s wife before Eve. This will so not end well.
These amateurs were one grammatical error away from opening a gate to hell, or Pittsburgh maybe. I had a
bad feeling. There are spells that professional magic users aren’t insane enough to try, spells that the stupid rattle off like their own Last Rites. These girls were just that stupid; calling up a demon to share its blood and make them demon queens, too.
Idiots. There are no shortcuts to that kind of power.
The other girls dropped their sheets but the endless circling continued. Despite the nakedness, I wasn’t turned on. These girls were barely budding. They needed more time on the vine.
Moving closer, I tried to get a better look at the girl on the make-shift altar. It seemed likely that she was the mother-to-be of the nagi child; at least, that’s where the ceremony seemed headed.
The moving bodies kept blocking my view.
I willed myself to rise in the air, and found myself floating languidly several feet in the air. In better light I thought the girl on the altar might turn out to be strawberry-blond. She had a stubby nose and freckles, maybe a year younger than the other girls. And there appeared to be some kind of brace on her lower right leg, maybe polio, or a congenital birth defect.
The chanting finished. The circling stopped.
The leader of the coven leaned over the altar to whisper, an evil smile on her face. “Don’t worry, Kayleigh. I’m going to keep my promise. Your leg will be fixed. You’ll be the queen of the ball. Giles will be smitten by your grace; true love will conquer. Having a demon baby is a small enough price to pay for all that. Tell my brother the child is his and he may even marry you, if he doesn’t run for the hills.”
Giles? Ah, yes. The Romeo upstairs, putting another notch on his pew. A sordid tale of lust, magic, and betrayal on so many levels. I wonder if Kayleigh knows he’s up there.
Something moved in the shadows along the far wall, something that hadn’t been there a moment before. A tall black man with a shaved head and very thin eyebrows glided through the shadows, approaching the altar. He was naked, human from the waist up, snake down below. His stomach descended into beige bands of muscle. His sides were patterned with dusty green, olive, and black scales. I saw no reproductive organs. Probably sheathed safely inside his body until needed—some things are better not dragged on the ground.
Wide-eyed, several of the girls gasped in surprise, stumbling aside. A few of them shrieked, trembling. I guess they hadn’t really expected the spell to work, just a dark-of-night thrill; an out with the girls party. The weak magic probably wouldn’t have brought a response if the naga hadn’t already been in the area.
He stopped at the altar, his green-lit gaze stabbing the sacrificial offering with interest. His gravelly, deep voice emerged. “Hello, little sparrow.”
One of the girls snatched up her sheet and bolted, hauling her wiggling ass toward the stairs. It started a chain-reaction. In a moment, only the leader, the intended victim, and the naga remained to entertain me.
The naga lifted his face to where I hovered like a wingless angel. His green eyes flared brighter. His lips stretched in a travesty of a smile with no warmth. A flicker of garnet, his serpentine tongue tasted the air, seeking prey.
He sees me?
Time stopped for the girls, but not for Snake-Eyes and me. The naga spoke. “This is not your time and place. Be gone, little demon. We shall meet soon enough.”
Little, huh? Little?
“Fuck you,” I said.
“You’re not my type.” He raised a clawed hand and made a dismissive gesture. Suddenly I smelled his demon magic, the bitter melon scent of wormwood. A savage wind kicked up from nowhere. The girls remained statues, but I was hurled backwards, slammed across the basement, into a wall. Pain stole my breath as I sank into the wall, my turn to be buried alive.
* * *
I came awake gasping for breath, feeling icy cold, like death
warmed over. I couldn’t move my legs. Staring at the ceiling, I tried to roll off my back. It was like swimming with concrete galoshes. My heart pounded, desperate to break out and fly free.
“What the freakin’ hell?”
Half turned in the bed, I noticed Christie was gone. Her scent was stale; she’d been gone a while. On the plus side, the basket with the fey wine bottles was there. But first… I looked down my body. My legs were white with a bluish tinge.
“Fuck! A poison-magic attack? From a dream?”
No, more than a dream. The naga and I had been spirit-walking in the same pocket of disjointed time. I wondered where he really was, and how often he revisited that dream. It had been a lot more his than mine.
We’ll meet again, Snake-Eyes, on my terms, and I’ll be ready for you.
I could taste his cold blood already.
Golden eyes opened in the back shadows of my mind. My inner dragon bared white fangs and fanned leathery wings. He was fully awake—and pissed. He roared at me.
What the hell did you get us into this time? Without my dragon blood, you’d be dead. We’d be dead.
“Shut up,” I told myself. “A lot of help you were, anyway.”
I looked in the basket and one bottle was missing. The remaining two were green glass with homemade labels pasted on with a cute logo: pictures of a little pixie with tiny bumble-bee wings. She stood on a dandelion core that bled fluff into the wind, green saw-tooth leaves behind her. She had the same kind of white fluff for hair. The bottles were crowned with gold foil screw-caps. I broke the seal on a bottle, hearing a soft snap along the perforations. The herbaceous scent of dandelion wine flavored with raisins escaped the bottle.
My inner dragon stared.
We’re half-paralyzed. Is this really the time to get drunk?
“Can you think of a better time?”
There was silence in my head for a few seconds, then an answer came.