Welcome to Day Five of the Demon Interrupted Holiday Marathon!
The Holiday Season is the season for TV and film marathons. Who doesn’t like to sit in front of the telly with a bowl of popcorn, their fave drink and totally veg out over blissful hours of telly favourites? The holidays are also the time when we love to curl up with a good read. With that in mind, I thought it was an excellent time for a marathon reading of my paranormal erotic novella, Demon Interrupted, which I wrote and ran as a serial on my blog over six months earlier this year. BUT at that time, I could only manage an episode every three weeks, so I thought it would be fun to make it more easily accessible.
For those of you who don’t know, Demon Interrupted is a Lakeland Witches spin-off story set in the fabulous landscape of the Lake District with the witches of the Elemental Coven. With the completion of Elemental Fire, I left my witches with so many stories untold, and they left me with so many mysteries I wanted to know the answer to that I felt compelled to return.
Starting today, for the next nine days I’ll be running a sizzling, chilling instalment of Demon Interrupted for your reading pleasure. Today I’d like to share with you chapters 9 and 10 of Demon Interrupted. I hope you have as much fun reading it as I had writing it. Thanks for joining for this Work in Progress. And if you want to know more about the Elemental Coven’s sexy adventures, check out the Lakeland Heatwave Trilogy: Body Temperature and Rising, Riding the Ether and Elemental Fire. Enjoy!
A small rivulet of perspiration trickled down Marie’s back as she looked down into the scrying mirror that had belonged to Serina Ravenmoor, the scrying mirror that contained the ethereal prison that had held Deacon. None of the memories involving the infernal thing were pleasant ones.
‘The arrangement is not to my liking either.’ Anderson spoke next to her. ‘But it is important that we have a way to keep the coven safe from Ferris and Ferris safe from himself.’ He took her hand and squeezed it gently.
‘They’ve been in there too long,’ Marie whispered.
‘Do not worry, Marie. Cassandra knows what it is she does, and she has only to will herself to return, and you have only to will the prison door closed behind her, though I do not think that it shall be necessary at this point.’
‘We’re all right,’ Cassandra called up from inside the mirror as though she had heard their concern. Ferris figured she well might have, since he had no problem hearing them. Voices from outside the mirror prison seemed to carry down to its occupants almost as though they were amplified. Though he assumed when the prison was shut and locked all sounds from above, all contact with the outside world would cease. He shivered at the thought.
‘The space inside is secure, as it’s ever been.’ Ferris spoke softly. He wondered if those above could so easily hear his voice. ‘Once Marie shuts the door, so to speak, I won’t be going anywhere.’ And now that he was no longer focused on the couple above, he heard the soft chatters of Anderson and Marie as though he were listening to them from inside a deep well and, indeed, the scrying mirror prison was much like a deep well, a deep well filled with a tiny slice of the Ether. It had been created as a prison for demons. For creatures such as himself, he thought bitterly. Of all that he had suspected of his past, that he might be a demon had never occurred to him. With a start, he felt Cassandra lace her fingers through his.
‘Don’t borrow, trouble, Ferris. I know your heart. We all know your heart, and all of us, every one of us, has a past we’re not fond of.’
‘Demons don’t have hearts,’ he replied, sounding far more bitter than he intended.
‘I’m not so sure about that. Spending quality time with my mother has caused me to question all things I know about demons, and the truth is, none of us knows all that much about them. Besides Lucia says you’re not exactly a demon.’ Before he could respond, she raised a hand and placed two fingers across his lips. ‘I know who you are, Ferris. I know what you sacrificed to protect me, to be there for me, and that’s not something evil would do.’
‘Perhaps I had no choice.’
She studied his face for a moment, than ran her hand along his cheek. ‘Perhaps not.’
‘And that doesn’t worry you?’
For a long time she said nothing and when he was convinced her lack of an answer was the answer he dreaded, she said, ‘Often things we’re forced to do end up being exactly the things we would have gladly done if we’d only understood at the beginning how they would affect us.’ Then she took him into her arms and held him. ‘You’ve been my family and my friend for a very long time, Ferris. When there was no one else, you were there, and me … well I wasn’t easy to get close to. It must have been lonely for you.’
‘Surely you know that it was not. Surly you know that Lucia made it very simple for me to live from day to day with little forethought and little reflection.’
‘Perhaps that’s true,’ Cassandra said, pulling away to look into his eyes, ‘but time and situations bring about changes we never anticipated, not even a demon like Lucia. And no one else could have been to me what you were in all those empty years.’
This time he pulled her into his arms and held her close. ‘I must ask you a favour Cassandra.’
‘Of course. Anything.’
‘There is a question no one has asked, and yet one that must be answered if, perchance, the worst happens.’
She stepped back, a look of suspicion settling lightly on her face.
‘Find out from Lucia if there is a way to …’ He turned away and paced in the emptiness, unable to meet her gaze. ‘You need to know. The coven needs to know if there’s a way to … end my existence, should things become too difficult, should I lose myself completely in the hallucinations.’ Before she could protest, he continued, raising his hands and looking around. ‘I know that you can keep me in this space indefinitely, and that is preferable to the alternatives, but if I am unable to find my way back to myself, if I am only safe when locked away in this little slice of the Ether, then … then it’s best for everyone if I am … destroyed.’
He could see the muscles along her jaw tighten. The misting of her eyes did not hide the dilation of pupils and the lightening in colour that meant the succubus within her was angry. She swallowed hard, raked her teeth over her bottom lip and said, ‘it won’t come to that. This coven will not give up on its own. If they didn’t give up on me, then they won’t give up on you and you shouldn’t –’
‘I’m not you, Cassandra, and this coven has been through enough at the hands of demons.’
‘This coven has been restored in part at the hand of a demon,’ she snapped.
‘That may be, but I need your promise, and if you don’t give it to me, I’ll simply approach Lucia directly. I would rather not do that. I would rather trust myself to you.’
She cursed out loud. ‘All right! All right. I’ll do what you ask. But I promise you it won’t come to that.’
He felt the tension drain away from his shoulders. ‘Good. And there is then one more favour I must ask you, darling Cassandra.’
She folded her arms across her chest and said nothing.
‘I need to know that Elaine will be taken care of if … if the worst happens. It’ll be hard for her, and having people who can care for her, comfort her will facilitate her healing.’
‘Goddamn it, Ferris! You know we would do that anyway, whether or not the worst happens, but I’m sick of you borrowing trouble. Now, this place gives me the creeps. Let’s get the fuck out of here so Fiori and Sky can prepare the room of reflection for dream magic.’
It was evening before the circle convened. Tara and Kennet had spent a good portion of the day coaching Elaine on dream magic. That she was a witch had been clear almost immediately, but the sex magic practiced by the Elemental Coven was unique and the dream magic rooted in sex even more specific. Fortunately she seem caught on fast. Also, because of the specific nature of the task at hand, special precautions had to be taken and powerful protection spells had to be cast. Normally dream magic would have been done in the Dream Cave, but because the scrying mirror prison never left the alter, and the mirrors that surrounded the Room of Reflection added to the type of magic necessary should the coven need to imprison Ferris in the mirror, the Room of Reflection would be the place where the dream magic took place.
That Ferris didn’t dream, that he had chosen not to dream since he was released from the pact with Lucia, complicated the magic even further and also made the inclusion of Elaine in the circle essential. Elaine seemed to have touched Ferris in an emotional way no one else in the Elemental Coven had, therefore Tara felt she might well be the key to the success of the magic they were about to perform.
When, at last, the circle was cast, Ferris and Elaine lay upon the central dream pallet, surrounded by the strongest dreamers. Tara and Kennet lay on the pallet to their right and Cassandra and Tim lay on a pallet to their left. Anderson and Marie held the mirror at the ready because Anderson was the best at Ethereal magic and Marie was gifted at scrying, and she had a history and a connection with the mirror.
Alice joined Fiori and Sky as a witness. That there were three of them made their efforts magically stronger for observing Ferris’s dreams as well as encouraging him into the dream, and he feared he’d need all of the encouragement he could get. It would also be their job to guide him safely back if he were overwhelmed by the dream. Before the coven gathered in the Room of Reflection, Sky had guided Ferris in meditation and given him herbs to thin the boundaries between the Dream World and the Waking World, and he had done everything he could to be calm and prepared. Still, he felt as though something cold and dark breathed on him from just outside his field of vision, awaiting the approach of sleep so that it could reveal itself to him in all its horror. Better that than putting those he loved at risk, he reminded himself.
With a catch of his breath, and a squaring of his shoulders, he began the ritual. He eased the robe down off Elaine’s shoulders and cupped her breasts, focusing on her body and the comfort and the pleasure it gave him. She shrugged out of the robe and lay down next to him; opening her legs so that, in the dance of the candlelight, he could see the Gateway she offered him into the Dream World and, at its apex, the Key Stone that would help him focus. In his peripheral vision, not entirely in physical form, but more than just a vapour, Lucia hovered, watching over the ritual, watching over him. Her presence was strangely reassuring, and at the moment, he needed all of the reassurance he could get.
‘It’ll be all right, my darling,’ Elaine whispered against his ear, as she pulled him down to her. I have you here in my arms, and I won’t let you go. I’ll companion you, and I’ll come back to this place with you when you’ve found what you need to know.’ Her slender fingers slid between them and caressed the weight of his testicles and the length of his penis, anxiously hardening in against her touch.
Desire for her washed over him in heavy, pounding waves, she was his companion, she was his path, she was his breath, she was his life force, and he needed her. He kissed his way down the tetchy muscles of her belly, lingering to caress her navel, before descending to the Key Stone. He felt her buck against him and her body quivered at his touch as he tongued her clit and tugged at it with his lips. Below the pebbled swell of her, he fingered her open, probing and thrusting up into the silky mother of pearl wetness slickening against his touch. She was tight and her grip made him feel as though a heavy weight burgeoned between his legs. To his right, Tara wrapped her legs around Kennet’s waist and her hips undulated beneath him. Cassandra and Tim mirrored their lovemaking to the left, and far off he could feel the magic Marie and Anderson were raising like heat waves shimmering off a fire. Then the room slipped into a background haze like a mist on the high fells.
‘You’re ready.’ He heard her voice with the clarity of a black bird singing in high summer. ‘Enter the dream with me, Ferris. Let me help you find your way.’
As he thrust up into her once, and the sound of running water filled his ears, like the fast moving streams that tumbled down the mountainsides. He thrust again, deep and desperate. From far off, he heard her moan softly, calling is name, and then there was wind, drowning out her voice, drowning out everything. With the third thrust, his name on her lips became a mantra on the wind and he found himself floating high above Derwent Water, away from Keswick. He could see the traffic on the A66 like a trail of ants far below him. He could see the rising saddle of Blencathera and the dragon spine of Sharp
Edge. One final thrust and the landscape below swirled, blurred, and moved past him at dizzying speed. The roar in his ears intensified like a storm at sea and then howled like an angry beast. Then he fell from a high place. He thought the sound he heard might have been his own cry of terror as he fell and fell, endlessly fell.
And sometime, an eternity later, he landed with a bruising impact that took his breath away, that left him
blinded and shivering. ‘Elaine? Elaine, where are you?’ He woke to the sound of his own voice. His teeth chattered from cold and body ached and felt raw as though he had been flayed. It was dark, except for the heavy moon shining in the window. Carefully, he sat up and looked around. He found himself in the study at Storm Croft. On the desk next to him sat the basket with what remained of the gourmet treats Fiori had packed for him and for his visit to Storm Croft. His hand still rested against his open fly and his spent cock. There was no sign of Elaine.
‘Elaine? Elaine, where are you?’ It was long past midnight when Ferris made his way into the garden. He had searched for her through all the rooms in Storm Croft remembering that she had once lived here, and thinking that she might have her favourite places in which to retreat if she were overwhelmed by the dream magic that had happened in the Room of Reflection. But then, if he wasn’t in the Room of Reflection, if he was still here in Storm Croft … He scrubbed a hand over his face trying to make sense of it all. Had he been in Storm Croft all along? Had he simply fallen back asleep after he had made love with Elaine? Had she left than only him to his rest? Surely this wasn’t a dream. His head hurt too bad for this to be a dream. But then again, how would he know what a dream felt like?
On the other hand, how could he have dreamed the last two days at Elemental Cottage? He didn’t dream. He didn’t! ‘Lucia,’ he called in a voice that felt like gravel against his raw throat. ‘Lucia, I need you.’ He knew better than to get huffy with the demon. Her agenda was her own, and her concern for humans and their struggles was limited. But then again, he reminded himself, he wasn’t human, was he? Or was even his lack of humanity a dream? He walked into the overgrown garden behind the stone wall where he had spent time with Elaine, where he had first realised he lived in a stolen body. But even that might have been a dream. Sweat broke on his forehead as he tried for the dozenth time to leave his flesh and take whatever form it was that he had taken, to become the thing that Lucia insisted he was, the thing that Elaine preferred over his flesh, he reminded himself. Unless he had only dreamed Elaine.
That thought left a surprising emptiness below his heart. It was a thing he had never felt before. Even in his caring for Cassandra, even when he was most concerned for her, it had never felt like this. He rubbed his chest with the heel of his hand as though he could somehow ease an ache that was not physical. The ache intensified as he struggled in vane not to think about the obvious. Hallucinations, Lucia had said. If he didn’t deal with his past, he would suffer from hallucinations. Dear goddess, surely Elaine was more than a hallucination. She had to be. Surely he could never have imagined such a woman who could move him as she had.
His thoughts were interrupted by the unmistakeable grunts and moans of sex. Overhead clouds scudded across the surface of the nearly full moon and floated away leaving the garden bathed in shades of sliver and grey. From behind the oak tree, he caught the movement of shadows and the whimper of a woman in lust. With his heart hammering in his chest, he moved on silent feet until his view was no longer obscured, and his stomach turned to ice. It was a hallucination, then, surely it had to be. His conviction at such should have made him feel better, but it didn’t.
Before him, he saw the broad back of an enormous man in a waistcoat and a dark shirt. His leather trousers were shoved down low and obviously open as the man grunted and thrust into a woman, who was hidden between the tree and the man’s large body so that Ferris could see only her pale arms around the man’s neck, and on bare thigh, hooked over his hip.
The fine hairs on the back of Ferris’ neck rose and the summer breeze felt as though it blew off the arctic. Surely this couldn’t be. Surely…
Ferris felt the man’s deep-chested chuckle like a low rumble making his bones ache. It wasn’t possible. It couldn’t be.
‘Oh I assure you, it’s completely possible, my dear Mr. Ryder.’ Just then the woman keened out a desperate orgasm, and Ferris held his breath, knowing what he would see, but hoping against hope he was wrong. As the sounds of orgasm dissipated, the man pulled free, and shielded the woman’s modesty from view with his enormous body. Ferris watched in horror as shadow gave way to silver moonlight revealing in its glint the face of all the nightmares Ferris would have had if he’d dreamed. Tall and broad and as impossibly beautiful and he was horrible, Deacon turned to face him, making no effort to tuck away his enormous wet cock.
For a second, Ferris thought he’d be sick, he who could not remember illness. But his memories of fighting Deacon beside the Elemental Coven were a reminder that there were worse things than illness – much worse. He swallowed back bile and struggled to stand up straight under the weight of the demon’s powerful presence.
‘You look as though you’ve seen a ghost, Mr. Ryder.’ Deacon’s eyes were obsidian black in the moonlight and his smile sent a shiver up Ferris’s spine. ‘Well, I suppose you have in a way, haven’t you – ghost, demon, magical flesh, honestly one such as I defies description, wouldn’t you say, my dear man?’ His smile fell, and the sudden look of concern on his face was obscene in its parody. ‘You don’t look well, Ferris. Though I’m not surprised, not once you’ve found out that all you’ve believed about yourself, about those you love, is nothing more than an illusion. A bit difficult to stomach, I should imagine.’
Involuntarily, Ferris took a step back. Behind Deacon, the woman whimpered and mumbled something that Ferris couldn’t quite make out. The demon didn’t move, only watched with a bemused smile. ‘Oh that bitch, Lucia, is absolutely right about your … predicament. She was right about the hallucinations, and about you pulling the Elemental Coven into those hallucinations right a long with you.’ He took a step closer still holding the woman behind his back. ‘But the slut was just a little confused on the timing, that’s all. Typical of Lucia, really. Shush, my darling,’ he called over his shoulder to the woman, whose moaning had grown louder. ‘I know that you need me to fuck you again, but all in good time, my dear, all in good time.’ He absently stroked his erection as he turned his attention back to Ferris.
‘You remember my destruction, don’t you, dear Ferris? Of course you do. You remember your precious succubus imprisoning me in that infernal mirror the Elemental Coven latched on to? You remember happily fucking everyone in that cottage, don’t you? I’m sure for one such as you that was quite memorable.’ He clucked his tongue. ‘Oh yes, indeed, you have good memories of your time with the Elemental Coven, don’t you? And wasn’t it such a boost for the ego you didn’t even know you had to feel like you could help them a little in their quest to destroy me, to feel like maybe in just a tiny way you were a hero and that they all happily invited you to their beds.’ His laugh was loud and rough-edged, causing Ferris to take another step back.
‘You? Honestly Ferris Ryder. Look at yourself – living out your life in a stolen body, hiding behind weak, puny flesh and assuming anything those Elemental sluts might offer you would be anything other than, what is it they call it these days, oh yes, a sympathy fuck. But the real you, the rider, well, now that’s something different, isn’t it?’ Deacon moved to circle him, still stroking his cock with one hand while keeping the whimpering woman obscured behind him with the other. ‘Yes, that’s right, I know what you are. I know exactly what you are, and the truth is, my dear Mr. Ryder, you were magnificent.’ He shook his head. ‘I can’t tell you how saddened I was when you made your little bargain with Lucia. Oh, the delicious destruction you would have wrought if she hadn’t interfered. Ah, but then we live in a world where men are way too often pussy-whipped, as they say. It saddens me terribly to see such a powerful creature as you residing within the weak decay of human flesh, a beautiful, irresistible creature, a powerful creature, a creature filled with carnal lusts not unlike my own. I don’t understand, my dear Ferris, why you would not want to shrug off Patrick Faraday’s miserable flesh as quickly as possible and embrace your true nature. Look at you. Even dear Elaine cannot bare to look upon the flesh you wear. Even she longs for the creature you truly are.’
With those words, he stepped aside revealing the woman, who had now dropped to her knees, both arms wrapped around one of Deacon’s tree trunk thighs. ‘Please milord, please,’ she begged in breathless sobs. ‘I need it so badly. I need it inside me. Please …’
Her words died away in a strangled gasp as Deacon fisted the lead to the noose around her neck tightly into his hand, forcing her cheek against his leg. ‘Quiet, Elaine. I’ll fuck your slut of a hole when I’m done with this one. Unless perhaps you would prefer his cock.’
With an anguished groan, Ferris stepped forward and reached out his hand. But Elaine let out a high pitched yelp and tightened her grip onto Deacon’s leg, trembling so hard that Ferris feared she would injure herself. ‘No milord, please no! It’s you I want. It’s you I need. He frightens me.’
With all his strength, Ferris tried to leave Patrick Faraday’s body, but to no avail. Deacon watched, still stroking his cock, his rope-fisted hand, now rubbing an angry red abrasion against the exposed flesh of Elaine’s breasts, an act that made her writhe against him and shove a trembling hand up under her torn skirt. To his horror, Ferris’ cock hardened at the sight of her lust, and he found himself wanting to take her while he offered himself to Deacon at the same time. He shook his head and fell to his knees in an anguished groan ‘No! This is the illusion. This is a dream, that’s all. This isn’t how it happened. Elaine would never let you –’
Deacon practically roared with laughter. ‘Elaine had no more choice in the matter than you will when I am tired of toying with her and decided to use up your lust now that you’re tied to that horrid little body. And you’ll be as anxious for my cock as Elaine is, as your succubus was, as Tara Stone and all of the pathetic Elemental Coven were. Oh yes, Ferris Ryder, your hallucination has been a very long, very complex one, one that I must say, I’ve enjoyed immensely.’
He took a step forward, yanking the rope and forcing Elaine to stumble next to him. ‘Shall I tell you what’s real, my dear Mr. Ryder? Shall I tell you what you’ve missed while you’ve been lost in your own illusions?
‘As soon as that whore, Lucia, freed you from her hold, the hallucinations began, just as she knew they would. But she had no further need of you. She cared not for your plight. She never cared for your plight, Ferris. She cared only for the succubus, but then you knew that, didn’t you? Still,’ he heaved a dramatic sigh, ‘you had hoped, as one would, that the Elemental Coven, or at the very least the succubus, would have stood by you, tried to help you find your way back to yourself, but alas, my dear man, you were … expendable. Do you even think this place is real?’ He waved a hand and suddenly the three of them were inside Serina Ravenmoor’s scrying mirror prison. ‘I’ve only just now discovered that you were here. They put you here almost immediately when you were of no further use to them, when they feared what you might become without the demon’s pact. But my dear Ferris, even your imprisonment wasn’t enough to protect them from your hallucinations.’
Deacon looked around at the grey, horizonless emptiness. ‘All of the events of which I speak, they happened quite some time ago, I’m sorry to say, but I so enjoyed them. As for the Elemental Coven, I have long since –’ he chuckled lewdly ‘—used them all up, ghosts, succubus, witches all gone, every last one. Mind you, I savoured every moment. I am nothing if not a master when it comes to … foreplay.’ He gave an extra hard thrust into his fist. ‘And your lovely little succubus was a very delectable treat, just as I expected.’ He held Ferris in a gaze that made if feel like the earth beneath him tilted like a ship on the waves. ‘Of course I have you to thank for such an exhilarating triumph, my dear Mr. Ryder. Your hallucinations so easily pulled the whole coven into your private little insanity, that I simply waltzed in and took what I wanted.’ He leaned forward offering a smile that could have never been human. ‘Like the proverbial fox in the hen house.’
‘No!’ Ferris shook his head so hard that his vision blurred. ‘None of this is real. This is the dream! It has to be! It’s a dream! Lucia!’ He called out. ‘Lucia, please! I’ll do whatever it takes, please!’ He called until his throat ached, until he had no voice left, but Deacon paid no attention. With some slight of hand Ferris had not seen, they were once again back in the overgrown garden and Deacon had thrown the end of the rope over a low-hanging branch of the oak and given the hanging noose just enough slack that, though Elaine hung from her neck, she could still wrap her legs around Deacon’s waist while he thrust into her endlessly. Periodically, he pulled out and gave her body a hard shove as though she were a child in a macabre swing, then he entered her again, and again, with her always, desperately whimpering and begging for more. All the while, Ferris called for Lucia until at last, Deacon swung the hanging Elaine in Ferris’ direction. ‘Oh do shut up. Lucia’s not going to come to you. Surely you know that. Here, why don’t you have a go at Elaine? That aught to cheer you up,’ the demon called out jauntily. ‘I’m not a selfish man, and I promise you, even if she is a ghost, there’s a lot of good use in her cunt yet.
Elaine swung into his arms clawing and screaming in terror. ‘Don’t let him touch me, don’t let him touch me, don’t let him touch me,’ she cried, as Ferris struggled to hold her, to calm her.
‘Guess she doesn’t want to fuck you, Mr. Ryder. Bad luck that,’ the demon said, grabbing the rope to pull her back to him.
But before he did, Elaine grabbed Ferris’ face between her hands and for the briefest moment held his gaze. ‘It’s not real,’ she mouthed. ‘He’s not real. Follow the dream and come back to me. I’ll guide you.’ The ground gave way beneath him, and he found himself falling endlessly, falling for an age, falling through the night sky as the moon waxed and waned and waxed again, falling through the cold emptiness of the Ether, through the graveyard Deacon had created to hold him and Alice prisoner there, falling through the dark woods of Raven Crag where Serina Ravenwood’s ghost had guided them to her scrying mirror, falling into the deserted Dream Cave where he had always witnessed but never dreamed. Until now.