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In The Flesh Episode 13: Story in Progress. Enjoy!

In the Flesh 11880534_1463650103936599_545702979581425574_nIt’s time for Part 13 of  In The Flesh. And yes, 13 is my lucky number, because the fabulously talented Kev Bliss has created a fantastic cover for In The Flesh. As the plot thickens and things get darker, I can’t help but wonder if Kev was reading my mind when he created it, and possibly even seeing the story before I did! Thank you, Kev!

 

Enjoy Part 13 in which Susan explores the crypt as well as some disturbing memories of a drunken celebration and strange dreams.

 

In the Flesh  is very dark paranormal erotica. When Susan Innes comes to visit her friend, Annie Rivers, in Chapel House, the deconsecrated church that Annie is renovating into a home, she discovers her outgoing friend changed, reclusive, secretive, and completely enthralled by a mysterious lover, whose presence is always felt, but never seen, a lover whom she claims is god. As her holiday turns into a nightmare, Susan must come to grips with the fact that her friend’s lover is neither imaginary nor is he human, and even worse, he’s turned his wandering eye on Susan, and he won’t be denied his prize. If Susan is to fight an inhuman stalker intent on having her as his own, she’ll need a little inhuman help.

 

 

To read the story in its entirety up to this point, follow these links to  Part 1  Part 2  Part 3  Part 4 Part 5Part 6Part 7Part 8Part 9Part 10Part 11, Part 12

 

 

In The Flesh Part 13

Once the panic passed and I was sure I wasn’t going to hyperventilate, pass out, or lapse into hysterics; once I’d stopped calling the bitch Michael worked for every name I could think of for not getting me the hell out of here, I crawled forward, as carefully as I could, one hand outstretched in front of me until I found the wall. Then I slowly followed it around making my way toward where I hoped the door would be. I didn’t know why I bothered. It wasn’t like I could get out, and even if I could, it wasn’t like I could just give Him the slip, was it? That was assuming I’d even have the will power to try. In spite of feeling like I’d had one helluva beating, in spite of being scared witless, my whole body still buzzed with a desire for Him that hurt almost as badly as the burn above my breast. Still, finding the door gave me something creative to do, something to think about other than the fact that I was trapped in a place created to inter the dead. Of course the estate agent had assured us that all of the sarcophagi had been removed along with any human remains, ages ago. All that had been left when Annie took possession was an empty space perfect for a wine cellar, the agent assured her.

‘Wine cellar my arse.’ The sound of my disembodied voice in the thick dark was startlingly loud, so I kept the rest of my ruminations to myself, as I felt my way along the bare rock, banging elbows and scraping knuckles. I was exhausted by the time I found the even-edged crack between the wall of the crypt and the stone that had served as a door for who knew how many generations. I could have cried with relief, as I inserted my fingers along the vertical axis and slid them up until I was certain what I’d found was, indeed, the door and not just some ancient crack in the stone wall. It was such a small victory, but any victory that was something to hang on to, that was something to keep the panic at bay, was a good one.

I tried to recall what I remembered about the crypt when Annie had taken me on the grand tour right after she 2015-06-30 11.27.42took possession of Chapel House. But we’d been so excited about her future home that while she speculated about the place’s gruesome past, or at least the way she imagined it, I hadn’t paid a huge amount of attention to detail, being, I’m ashamed to admit, more than a little creeped out by the place. In truth, there hadn’t been many details to pay attention to. There were no carvings, no sculptures, no grave goods of any kind, not even a stone vase for flowers. The walls were smooth stone without so much as catacomb-like niches for shrouded bodies. Truly, it wasn’t all that interesting as far as inspiration for good horror stories went. That was probably a good thing, considering my present circumstances. But still, it was a crypt. There had been corpses, lots of corpses over a long period of time. Best not think about that at the moment. Ghosts and ghouls I could do nothing about, but then again, I could do nothing about Him either, and what was He but a ghoul, all be it an outrageously sexy one.

As I recalled the crypt was long and rectangular, narrowing at the back to a tunnel that was barely high enough for me to stand in hunched in over. It was closed off at the narrowest end by rusted iron gate that was heavily padlocked. Beyond the bars, I had no idea where the tunnel led, and neither did Annie. If there were any existing maps or drawings of the crypt, she’d not been able to find them in her research of the place. Perhaps it was some kind of sinister escape route leading to a rendezvous point far beyond the churchyard walls, she speculated – possibly pirates, thieves, murderers or even clandestine lovers.

That night over way too much wine and double chocolate fudge ice cream, safe in her flat, safe away from the creepiness of the crypt of Chapel House, I’d done some speculation of my own, my imagination running wild with a story about monks and nuns and scholars and bishops frantic, not to escape through the tunnel in the crypt, but instead, desperate to keep something out. But just exactly what they were trying to keep out, my inebriated brain couldn’t quite sort. Still, Annie listened wide-eyed and squealed with delight, goose bumps rising on her arms, as I told her how the most powerful bishops and brightest scholars alike all tried to block the entrance to the tunnel to keep out the evil beyond, and all died horrible deaths for their efforts along with the poor monks and nuns who served Chapel House, and a fair few parishioners as well. All of this information, of course, was stricken from the records and kept secret, considered knowledge too dangerous for public consumption. She asked me if it was the tunnel to hell. But by that time I was way too drunk and had way too much of a chocolate buzz to imagine just where that tunnel led, or why it had been closed off. I had all sorts of ideas swirling in my head, though, like I always did when I was inspired, and Chapel House had inspired me as much as it had creeped me out. In fact it probably inspired me exactly because it had creeped me out. And while I was interested in all of Annie’s plans for renovation, I admitted to her, as we laughed and giggled that night, that I kind of liked the place just the way it was, though, I quickly added, I wouldn’t want to live there. As we both stumbled off to bed, I promised myself I’d write down all those intriguing ideas in the morning when I sobered up a bit, but I never did.

As I sat with my head pressed to the door of the crypt, my mind was suddenly flooded with memories of that 2015-06-30 10.12.08night after Annie first brought me here. The place had been officially deconsecrated. Chapel House and its surrounds were no longer holy ground, and yet who can really say what that means? That day while exploring the crypt, we had no sense of sacred or profane, no sense that we might be desecrating something, or that we might have treated anything with disrespect. In the evening we’d celebrated her closing on Chapel House and we made up stories, mad, insane stories. It was the first time we’d ever done that, but it meant nothing really. We were drunk and we simply followed our imaginations into the dark and let them run wild while we hung out in the safety of her very posh flat. But that night I had disturbing dreams. I didn’t remember the details, but I woke shivering as though from a nightmare, body slick with sweat, expensive sheets tangled around me. And yet somewhere in the midst of my dreaming, I’d slid my fingers between my thighs, and I woke as desperate with need as I was desperate to escape the nightmare. I had lain there writhing, breathing hard, aching all over as though a lover had brought me to the brink and left me unfulfilled. All I could remember was that in the dream, I opened the door, and once I’d opened the door, I couldn’t close it again, no matter how hard I tried.

But then the alarm went off and I was dragged hung-over, dry mouthed and head pounding, into the waking world. The dream had faded by the time I’d prop myself against the shower wall until the hot water was all gone. By the time we’d poured enough coffee down our throats and popped enough Paracetamol to take the edge off enough so we could hit the shops, I had totally forgotten it happened. Honestly, the dream never entered my mind again until this moment. That wasn’t like me at all. I kept a dream journal. I sometimes spent hours writing down every minute detail of the most troublesome and the most powerful dreams because I believed that they helped me understand myself. But on a more mercenary level, I also did it because my dream were quite often the inspiration for my stories. Like so many writers, I found dreams and their wild array of symbols and improper behaviors to be a treasure trove of creativity. Occasionally I even borrowed other people’s dreams if they were willing to share.

Before I knew what I was doing, I was hunched over nearly double, one hand resting on the stone wall, the other stretched in front of me to guard against obstacles I couldn’t see. I made my way into the tight space at the back of the crypt, heart pounding, stomach knotted, and cold sweat stinging my sightless eyes. What? Was I out of my mind? Christ, why couldn’t I just leave well enough alone? But there was no goddam well enough, was there? I was screwed and so was Annie if I couldn’t figure out how to get us out of here and away from Him. The space tightened still further. My thighs cramped. My knees ached, and I might have been more claustrophobic than I already was if I could have actually seen just how tight fitting the tunnel was. I didn’t remember it being so far to the end. But then we hadn’t actually gone into the crawl space. Annie had just shown her Maglite down the narrow passage and the beam had glinted off the metal bars dissipating in the darkness beyond.

I was just contemplating whether to drop to a crawl and continue on or to admit defeat and turn back when I
suddenly felt the air change. The musty thickness of the crypt gave way to a metallic chill that reminded me of high altitudes where it never got warm, where the wind always blew. The thought had barely entered my mind before an icy breeze hit me in the face and, had the shock of it not given me pause, I would have surely fallen. Cautiously I extended my foot and found nothing beneath it but emptiness. I yelped and jumped back, falling on my arse as the wind quite Graveyard angel 2da8f31cc622c5a47d15ff0c4f1e114abliterally howled over me.

Once I’d stopped shaking and got the bounce of my pulse in my throat back in control, I lay down on my belly
and extended my hands, blinking hard, light-starved eyes desperate to see something, to see anything. I inched my way forward until my arms and then my head and shoulders leaned out into emptiness. My skin prickled, and I fought back thoughts of demons or corpses reaching up from the pit to grab me and pull me down. There were times when a good imagination was not a plus. The wind stole my breath and whipped my hair like a flag around my face. I was just about to crawl away and move back into the crypt, when the cold iron smell of altitude was overwhelmed by the scent of roses. This time, I felt strangely calm at His approach. I would hardly say that I was glad for His presence, but then it beat the hell out of the alternatives at the moment. “What do you want?” I asked, my voice sounding unusually steady under the circumstances.

 

In The Flesh Part 12: Free Story In Progress. Enjoy!

psyche_et_lamour_327x567It’s time for Part 12 of  In The Flesh.

This time it’s Susan who needs rescuing, but will she survive the rescue as help comes from strange places? Welcome to part 12 of my dark paranormal story, In the Flesh. Angels and demons, gods and monsters, sex and terror; when the boundaries are not clear, the journey can be deadly. But can the price be worth the paying?

In the Flesh  is very dark paranormal erotica. When Susan Innes comes to visit her friend, Annie Rivers, in Chapel House, the deconsecrated church that Annie is renovating into a home, she discovers her outgoing friend changed, reclusive, secretive, and completely enthralled by a mysterious lover, whose presence is always felt, but never seen, a lover whom she claims is god. As her holiday turns into a nightmare, Susan must come to grips with the fact that her friend’s lover is neither imaginary nor is he human, and even worse, he’s turned his wandering eye on Susan, and he won’t be denied his prize. If Susan is to fight an inhuman stalker intent on having her as his own, she’ll need a little inhuman help.

 

Episode 12 in which Susan finds help in strange places, but is it the kind of help that can be trusted? Happy Reading! 

 

To read the story in its entirety up to this point, follow these links to  Part 1  Part 2  Part 3  Part 4 Part 5Part 6Part 7Part 8Part 9Part 10, Part 11.

 

In The Flesh: Part 12

The fight or flight instinct had been short circuited, and I could do nothing but kneel over Annie’s sleeping form while the scent of roses grew stronger and stronger and the impotent terror inside me remained trapped like ice just beneath my sternum. I don’t know how long I stayed that way. Time never ran the same when He took control, but it was the feel of His hand tightening against my throat that brought everything back into sharp focus, along with the shocking awareness that I could no longer breathe. Panic rose up my spine as the pressure increased around my neck, a caress just tight enough to constrict the flow of oxygen. The world around me shimmered and effervesced as I struggled not to lose consciousness.

“If you relax it won’t hurt, and you might actually enjoy it.” I couldn’t tell if His voice was coming from in the dark moon image_xl_6338206room next to me or if it were in my head, but the cascade of goose bumps over my body left me in no doubt that it was His voice, and His hand at my throat. “You strike me as a woman who might just enjoy a little pain with her pleasure, Susan.” His chuckle was like soft fur against naked flesh. “Oh don’t worry, my darling. You’re safe with me now, and I protect my own.”

It was a total surprised to find I had unbuttoned my blouse and reached behind to unhook my bra, my hands moving of their own volition, my whole body desperate to be exposed to Him, desperate to feel His touch, even as the danger I was in spiked my pulse and flooded my body with adrenaline with which I could do nothing, trapped as I was.

“I promise I’ll keep you safe from harm,” came the velvety purr next to my ear. “I do not, however, promise that I won’t make you pay for running away from me.” Then he brushed my left nipple with invisible fingers, and suddenly Michael’s love bite, just above the areola, burned like a branding iron fresh from the flames, and I screamed.

I must have lost consciousness, because when I came back to myself, my breast still stinging like fire, I was stumbling through the brambles and ivy of the garden, as though someone were pushing and shoving and herding me against my will. But then that was exactly what was happening, wasn’t it? I was moving in jerky, shambling steps like a marionette with an amateur puppeteer at the strings. To my horror, I had no control of any part of my body, least of all the arousal that should have been the last thing I felt at that moment. The small part of me that was still me, hiding in some tiny place in my brain, pushed and cursed and shoved her way to the forefront, reminding me that I was still there, that I couldn’t afford for one minute to lose control. I couldn’t afford to let fear, or worse yet, lust take over. In spite of the shit situation in which I clearly found myself, it was still a shock when I became aware of the heat of His body – the body that wasn’t real, I struggled to remind myself — pressed tightly against my back, pushing me forward.

He spoke next to my ear. ‘Surely you didn’t think Michael’s mark could protect you, did you?’ The soft breeze of his voice lifted a wispy strand of my hair, and I shuddered. ‘He can’t even protect himself without the help of that bitch, who owns him now.’ As His words turned bitter, I tasted them like bile at the back of my throat, along with cold terror from the realization that what I both most feared and most longed for was as much inside me as it was out. Frantically I sought the tiny part of me I could still access, and found it there, holding strong. That should have come as no surprise. After all, what would be the point, where would His victory be if He drove me from myself, drove me from my own sanity before I gave Him what He wanted?

The next moment, I was being shoved at the foot of Michael’s statue. As He released His marionette-like control, I lost my footing and banged my cheekbone hard against the edge of the plinth before catching my balance as the world around me erupted in an explosion of stars and pain that seemed somehow both closer than my own flesh, and yet distant, as though it didn’t matter, as though it no longer truly belonged to me.

“Oh, he’ll come for you, of course he will.” He spoke as though we were having a light conversation at the local Bernini Hades and Persephone close uptumblr_lg4h59T3z31qe2nvuo1_500pub over drinks and nibbles. “He’s very heroic, our Michael.” He mantled me now from behind, undoing my jeans with nimble fingers and sliding his hand inside. In my peripheral vision, I was certain I could now make out the shape of bicep and shoulder in the grey dawn, the shadow of muscular thighs pressed on either side of me, but then perhaps that was just in my head too. “The dear boy is also very delusional, my darling.’ His kiss was warm against my ear, his words humid. “In his heart of hearts, he knows he’s coming for me as much as he’s coming for you. Yes, delusional like you are, Susan. You came at my calling, no matter what you tried to convince yourself about poor dear Annie, who’s now sleeping peacefully while I punish you.’ He clucked his tongue. ‘The darling girl needs a lot of sleep these days. Insatiable though, my Annie, just as Michael is, just as I’m sure you will be too.’ He pushed my hair aside and possessively kissed and nibbled the back of my neck until I quivered beneath him, my hands fisted against the marble of Michael’s feet, nails digging into my palms to keep focus on the part of me still present enough not to want to rut like a beast.

‘And when Michael has come for you,’ my attention was drawn back to the sound of his voice, to the fact that I was grunting and moaning like some animal desperate for relief, desperate for His touch, ‘when Michael realizes he can no more take you from me than you can take Annie, oh, I think that we shall have a delightful time together, the three of us. We’ll have to make it quick of course,’ I felt His erection pressing up against the back of my jeans, and I struggled in a sudden wave of panic that He barely noticed, so complete was His control of the situation. “That bitch will come for him, and take him from me, but she won’t be pleased, she won’t be pleased at all about his … relapse.’ There was another bitter chuckle and I caught a slight whiff of burning rubbish. He cupped my left breast and this time I cursed loudly and profusely as He hurt me, the feel of Michael’s mark like an abraded blister against my skin. And still I wanted Him. No matter what He did to me, no matter how he hurt me, I wanted him, I needed him to fuck me, I needed Him never, never to stop fucking me until I was weak and used up and there was nothing left, until I ended up just like Annie. The less-than-subtle reminder of my no-win situation really pissed me off.

‘So you’re going to rape me then, instead of being a real man about it? Oh I forgot, you’re not a real man at all, are you? A real man would …”

I don’t know what I said after that. I don’t know what He did after that. All I know is that it hurt. It hurt a helluva a lot, and he made it hurt long enough to feel like an eternity. Just before I passed out He spoke against my ear. “I take no one by force, Susan, but I promise you, when I do take you, you’ll beg me to give you the release you need. You’ll beg me as you’ve never begged before. And in time, in good time, I’ll give you what you need.’ Then I lost consciousness wanting Him more than I ever wanted anything in my life and hating myself for it.

 

“Oh my poor little naïve scribe. Such a terrible way to learn the truth, but at least now you know. It is possible to want the very thing that’ll destroy you, and to want it so badly that your own destruction means nothing to you.”

It was a woman’s voice I heard in my dreams through a haze of pain and lust so tightly linked that I wasn’t sure which might kill me and I didn’t care as long as I got relief from my suffering. A cool feminine hand came to rest on my forehead, and I tried to open my eyes, but that hand slid down like a blindfold.

“Best you don’t do that right now. You might not like what you see. Keep your eyes shut for me, darling, and let Psyche and Erosme check how badly that bastard has damaged you.” The accent was strange, nothing I could place, and just barely there, just enough to make me hang on her every word. Though I wasn’t entirely sure that had anything to do with the accent. “I’m not dreaming?” I managed, before she placed a bottle of water to my parched lips and tilted it until I choked, sputtered and then drank.

“Hardly, Hon.” Her laugh was like warm honey, but when I attempted to open my eyes for a peek, she shoved the hand back over them none too gently. “I said keep your eyes closed, now if I have to tell you again, I’ll blindfold you and you won’t like that one bit.”

“Who the hell are you?” I asked shoving the bottle away and clenching my eyes shut tightly as she removed her hand.

Another disembodied laugh. “I would have though you bright enough to figure that one out. I’m the bitch.”

“You’re the thief?”

There was a girlish giggle. “Is that what Michael’s calling me these days? Well it’s better than some of the other things I’ve been called, and some of those even by him. People can be so hurtful at times, can’t they? Well, never mind, sticks and stones and all that, but yes, I am the thief.”

“Where’s Michael?” I tried to force myself to a sitting position, but she pushed me back with decidedly more strength than I was expecting.

“Michael’s still at home, fast asleep, which is exactly where I want him, where we both need him, at the moment.” As she spoke, I felt her gentle examination not in the way I’d felt His touch, but in the way I’d felt the water against my lips. As she moved her hands over me, I could also feel her buttoning buttons and snapping snaps, effectively making me decent, for all the good it would do.

“Oh, don’t worry, he’ll come for you when he can do some good. I’m not about to risk him and lose both of you. These things have to be timed just right, darling.”

“He’s asleep because of you?”

She shoved the bottle back to my lips, and I was surprised at just how thirsty I was. “Well, actually, he’s asleep because of you. If he’d awakened when you left, he’d not have let you come alone. The boy has some strange sense of honor that’s not always very practical.”

“Then you came to rescue me?” I asked, shoving the water bottle aside.

“No, of course not.” With her thumb, she wiped a dribble of water from my chin as though I were a sloppy child. “I came to make sure you weren’t damaged too badly, to make sure that rat bastard doesn’t hurt you beyond repair before it’s time to do what we have to.”

I felt the chill just behind my sternum deepen. “I’m the bate then, to distract Him while you and Michael get whatever it is that you’re trying to steal.”

This time the laugh was damn near a belly laugh. “Oh no, Sweetie! You’re not the bate at all. He is.”

“What do you mean, he is? Who is?”

“The asshole who terrorizes this place. Who else?”

‘What? Jesus! Are you serious? How the hell can he be the bate?”

“Shshsh!” She placed a cool finger to my lips. “Afraid you’ll have to trust me on this one, Sweetie. Now I have to go before he gets back. If he finds me here that would spoil everything.” She grabbed the bottle away from me, leaned in and kissed me on the cheek and I felt a waterfall of silky soft hair fall around my face as she did so. “Oh, and Sweetie, 2015-06-30 11.27.42best you don’t tell the bastard I was here. Though I do enjoy watching a good temper-tantrum, it’s not in my best interest at the moment, and certainly not in yours.”

As she turned to go, I could hear the sound of soft footfalls and the whisper and swish of fabric against skin. I
risked a peek. The shape of her in the darkness was golden and nearly blinding. I blinked hard and my light-starved eyes teared. I saw only her back as she opened the door to leave. Her hair was long and bright like living flames. She
was light on her feet, like Michael’s statue, just touching down from a heavenly flight, but I was as sure as I was of my own name that whoever she was, she was no angel.

It was only as she shut a heavy door behind her, only at the sound of stone scraping stone, at the sudden plunge into total darkness, that I realized where I was. I was in the crypt beneath Chapel House. I could panic. I could scream. I could thrash all I wanted, but no one would ever hear me. No one would ever know I was there.

 

In The Flesh Part 11: Free Story in Progress. Enjoy!

psyche_et_lamour_327x567I’m off to Eroticon this weekend with the lovely Lily Harlem, where we’ll be teaching our Crafting Creativity workshop. I hope to see you there, but whether you’re joining us or not, I’ve left you a little snippet of my own creativity. It’s time for more In The Flesh. It’s time for Part 11, and the plot definitely thickens.

Called from the depths of disturbingly sexy dreams, will Susan survive an ill-fated rescue mission? Welcome to part 11 of my dark paranormal story, In the Flesh. Angels and demons, gods and monsters, sex and terror; when the boundaries are not clear, the journey can be deadly. But can the price be worth the paying?

In the Flesh  is very dark paranormal erotica. When Susan Innes comes to visit her friend, Annie Rivers, in Chapel House, the deconsecrated church that Annie is renovating into a home, she discovers her outgoing friend changed, reclusive, secretive, and completely enthralled by a mysterious lover, whose presence is always felt, but never seen, a lover whom she claims is god. As her holiday turns into a nightmare, Susan must come to grips with the fact that her friend’s lover is neither imaginary nor is he human, and even worse, he’s turned his wandering eye on Susan, and he won’t be denied his prize. If Susan is to fight an inhuman stalker intent on having her as his own, she’ll need a little inhuman help.

 

Episode 11 in which there is a call for help in the middle of the night. Happy Reading! 

 

To read the story in its entirety up to this point, follow these links to  Part 1  Part 2  Part 3  Part 4 Part 5Part 6Part 7Part 8Part 9, Part 10.

 

In The Flesh: Part 11

In that space between sleep and wakefulness, in that place where you’re never really sure what’s real and what you’re dark moon image_xl_6338206dreaming, I became conscious of someone fondling my breasts, someone with large hands, someone with very warm, expressive lips, someone who was both deliciously sloppy and yet surgically precise in eliciting desire far removed from both mouth and breasts. The love bite above my left nipple ached and tingled with the stimulation, and I arched and groaned and reached out in the darkness for Michael, in whose arms I’d fallen asleep after way more ravishing than I would have thought either of us could survive considering the day we’d just had. Then the buzzing of my phone dragged me into the waking world. I rolled over and fell out onto the floor, biting my tongue and cursing under my breath trying not to wake Michael and, at the same time, surprised that he was still sound asleep. I grabbed my handbag from where it sat on the floor next to the nightstand and fumbled for the phone, slipping into the bathroom to answer.

“Susan! Thank God I got you. I’m so sorry, I’m so, so sorry, Susan. I don’t know what happened, I can’t explain it, I was asleep by the altar one minute and then the next thing I knew I had a knife and I …” Annie’s voice on the other end of the device dissolved into wracking sobs, with me stupidly trying to calm her, trying to convince her that it was nothing, that it was no big deal that my best friend had come at me with a butcher knife. At last there was silence except for her breathing and snuffling. I sat naked on the commode, shaking as though I’d been out in the cold. It was nerves, I told myself, just nerves. She couldn’t get to me on the phone. He couldn’t get to me on the phone. And then Annie dropped the bomb.

“Susan, I need you to come get me. I need your help. I’m a mess, I know that now, and I need to leave. I need to get out of Chapel House for good before it’s too late.”

“All right.” My voice sounded breathless, unsteady, like it belonged to someone else. Christ, what was I saying? What was I agreeing to? Was I nuts? “Just let me wake up Michael and we’ll be there as soon as we can.”

There was silence on the other end of the phone, and for a second, I thought she had disconnected. “No, please don’t bring that man. You mustn’t. He’s dangerous, Susan. I know he’s charming and sexy, but he’s dangerous.” Her voice was wet with tears again, rising in desperation as she spoke. “He’ll hurt you. He’ll hurt us both. He isn’t who he says he is. Please, you have to come alone. It’s the only way I can get away from here.”

“Annie,” I drew a deep breath as much to calm the shakes as anything, “My car’s still at Chapel House. When rose imagesyou chased us away I had to leave it there. I can’t come for you without Michael’s help.”

“Yes you can! Take his lorry. I know you can drive it, at least as well as he can. Please! He’s got another car. He can come later and get it. Please, Susan, please! There’s no one else I can turn to.”

There was another long silence in which I could hear her crying in helpless gasps. I never could stand to hear her cry. “Look, I don’t even know where I am. I slept the whole way to Michael’s after we left Chapel House. My phone has a good GPS. I’ll set it and then let you know how soon I can be there. There shouldn’t be any traffic at this hour. Oh, and Annie, you meet me outside. I’m not going into that place again, do you understand? You meet me around by my car ready to go, or I’m not waiting. I’ll text you as soon as I’m close. OK? OK!”

“Yes! I’ll be there, I promise. Oh, Susan, thank you so much. And Susan, please hurry.” The line went dead.

I should have realized something was wrong that Michael had slept through even that much of a disturbance, but I wasn’t at my best. And when I rifled through the basket on his nightstand where he kept his keys then stumbled into my clothes and he still didn’t wake up, I should have suspected something wasn’t right. I should have. But how the hell did I know how soundly the man slept? And though I half hoped my less than quiet efforts would wake him and force the issue, when they didn’t I found myself in his lorry alone driving south on the M40 toward Manchester, Chapel House programmed into the GPS on his dashboard. I remembered when I got in that I’d seen him stash it under the passenger seat when we went to the Little Chef. Annie was right. I could drive a small lorry with no problems. I’d driven a delivery van to help put myself through Uni. I stopped long enough to get a large coffee at an all-night petrol station and then it was a straight shot in the wee hours to Chapel House.

I tried not to think about that fact too much. I planned to park the lorry a few blocks away so Michael wouldn’t be at risk when he came for it. Then I would meet Annie at my car, shove her in, rev the engine and get the hell out of Dodge. There was no contingency plan. I could barely get my head around the idea that I was going back to that horrid place at all. But I was not, under any circumstances, going back inside, or into that damn maze of a garden either. I didn’t dare. Even thinking about it made the bite above my breast tingle and my nipples harden inside my bra. Michael’s mark. Would He find Michael’s mark offensive? Would it make any difference to Him. I had no intention of finding out. I gulped coffee, burnt my tongue and drove on with the radio cranked to keep me awake and to keep me from thinking about Him, about what I would do if He came for me, about what I would do if Annie showed up with a knife. Fuck, I didn’t even have Michael’s mobile number. But he would know. He would know where I’d gone, and I would come back as soon as I’d scooped up Annie, whether she liked it or not. I wasn’t sure how much I trusted Michael, knowing that he was an ex-angel and a thief, knowing his connection to Him, but at the moment, whether Annie liked it or not, he was my only ally.

I found a quiet place two blocks from Chapel House and parked the lorry just as intimations of dawn were St Teresa BerniniEl-extasis-de-Santa-Teresa4graying the night sky. I left the keys in the truck bed just beneath the edge of a toolbox under a tarp. It wasn’t a good sign when I called Annie and she didn’t answer. I left a message and a text that I would be at my car in two minutes. I would wait for her in the car no longer than five minutes, and then I was out of there. Best live to fight another day, I thought, shoving the phone into the pocket of my jeans and knuckling my car keys at the ready.

Chapel House was dark and silent, at least what little I could make out from beyond the overgrown garden where I’d parked my car what seemed like a hundred years ago now. I had already pulled up Annie’s number again by the time the car came into view with her nowhere in sight. “You’ve got five minutes to get your arse out here. Do you hear me? Five, starting now!” I disconnected and punched in a text with the same message. When I got to the car she still wasn’t there, and I wasn’t surprised. It took every ounce of self-control to keep from checking over my shoulder toward the garden gate. I felt certain I was being watched. I felt like my skin would crawl off of me as I got into the car and locked all the doors. Fat lot of good that would do, I was sure, but it still made me feel like I was doing something. Then I waited. Five minutes came and went then ten. Chapel House remained dark and there was no sign of my friend. I called again and texted. I had just started the engine to make my getaway and regroup when the phone rang. I yelped and jerked so hard that my neck popped like gun shot. I answered without greeting. “Annie, for fuck sake, where are you? I’m waiting. You have to come now.”

At first there was just sobbing, and I broke into goose flesh suspecting the worst. “Annie?”

She sniffled and I could hear her heavy breathing. “Susan, I’m sorry, I hurt my ankle. I can’t walk. I need you to come, please. I just want out of here, please come get me. I’m so, so sorry.”

“Sonovabitch,” I whispered beneath my breath. “What the hell did you do?”

“I was in a hurry to meet you and I missed a step, came down wrong. I think I broke it.”Graveyard angel 1

“All right. All right! Tell me where you’re at and I’ll come get you.” If I were a praying woman, I would have been saying every prayer I knew. I was anyway, and making up a fair few as I shoved out of the car and headed into the lion’s den. She said she had left the front door unlocked. She said she was just inside. But she wasn’t. Fortunately the ambient light of the coming dawn and the fact that I’d had time to let my night vision adjust to the dark interior meant I could see all the way up the nave to the transept. There the pale glow of the setting moon shown off Annie’s hair, her frail body barely visible beneath the blankets of her pallet next to the altar. I held my breath and moved on tiptoes up the isle all the while feeling as though I were being watched from just beyond my peripheral vision. I sniffed quietly. There was no smell of burning garbage, no scent of jasmine or roses, just the smell of dust on aging stone, both overpowered by the smell of sleep and sex as I drew nearer where Annie lay.

For a terrifying moment, I thought she was dead. It was only as I knelt next to her and touched her cheek, which was unusually cold, that I saw the rise and fall of her chest beneath the duvet. Annie was sound asleep, her mobile phone clutched in one hand. I carefully pried it from her fingers and checked her calls. Sure enough, mine was the last number she’d called less than five minutes ago, I would guess, and yet she now slept like the dead, tracks of tears on her cheeks still visible in the anemic light of her mobile.

With goose bumps rippling over my arms and up my spine I leaned forward and shook her none too gently. “Annie! Annie wake up,” I whispered, “We have to go, now.” But she only moaned, rolled over and pulled the duvet tight around her. For a moment I knelt next to her wondering what the hell to do now. I couldn’t just leave her. I’d come all this way, and she was within my grasp. There didn’t seem to be any threat at the moment. Maybe there were times when He wasn’t paying attention, times when one could sneak in beneath His radar, so to speak, and if this were one of those times, I couldn’t afford not to take advantage.

“Annie!” I shook her again, harder. Still nothing. As an afterthought, I lifted the duvet and looked at her ankles beneath the light of my own mobile. Her feet were bare and dirty, ankles stick thin, but there was no bruising, no swelling, no trauma at all that I could see. I threw off the duvet entirely and saw that she wore a summer dress that fell below her knees. On the floor, she lay sprawled on a wrinkled sheet. Maybe I could drag her. She couldn’t weigh much now, and I was strong and well-muscled. I glanced behind me down the length of the nave. Surely I could make it, and then there was just pavement to the car. I could do it if I had to, and it certainly looked like I would have to.

I was just smoothing the sheet beneath her to ease my efforts when she grabbed my wrist in a vice grip and I yelped, the sound of my voice echoing across the transept. “What the hell are you doing here?” she asked. Her eyes were wide and black in the low light, as though they were empty.

“Jesus, Annie,” I tried to pull away but she held me tightly. “You know what I’m doing here. You fucking called 2015-06-30 11.27.42me to come get you.”

Even in the dim light, I could see the confusion clouding her expressive face. “Why would I do that?” she asked, still clenching my wrist with a hold I was certain would leave bruises. Then her lips curved into a beatific smile and she chuckled softly. “Oh yes, now I remember. He asked me to call you. He said when you got here, I could rest and he would punish you for your interference, and then he promised that when I woke up, when he’d finished with you, everything would be OK again.” Without another word, she released her hold on me, rolled over and was instantly sound asleep. I was left kneeling next to her not knowing whether to try and complete my task or to run like hell. A cool breeze ruffled the plastic sheeting over the altar, catching the frail moonlight like a ghost rising from the grave. The space around me was suddenly awash in the scent of roses, and I realized I was too late to do either.

 

In The Flesh Part 10: Free Story in Progress. Enjoy!

psyche_et_lamour_327x567How can Susan and Michael come to grips with the fact that they both want the same lover, a lover whose attentions are as deadly as they are intoxicating? Welcome to part 10 of my dark paranormal story, In the Flesh. Angels and demons, gods and monsters, sex and terror; when the boundaries are not clear, the journey can be deadly. But can the price be worth the paying?

In the Flesh  is very dark paranormal erotica. When Susan Innes comes to visit her friend, Annie Rivers, in Chapel House, the deconsecrated church that Annie is renovating into a home, she discovers her outgoing friend changed, reclusive, secretive, and completely enthralled by a mysterious lover, whose presence is always felt, but never seen, a lover whom she claims is god. As her holiday turns into a nightmare, Susan must come to grips with the fact that her friend’s lover is neither imaginary nor is he human, and even worse, he’s turned his wandering eye on Susan, and he won’t be denied his prize. If Susan is to fight an inhuman stalker intent on having her as his own, she’ll need a little inhuman help.

Episode 10 in which lovers must come to terms with their jealousy and stand together. Happy Reading! 

 

 

 

To read the story in its entirety up to this point, follow these links to  Part 1  Part 2  Part 3  Part 4 Part 5Part 6Part 7Part 8, Part 9.

 

In the Flesh Part 10

“Wait a minute.” I jerked my hand away from Michael’s. “Let me get this straight, you gave up being an angel not because you were angry at god or the gods or whoever the hell it was you worked for. You gave up being an angel because you loved Him?”

“Oh, I stand completely by what I said earlier; all gods are bastards, and to serve them is folly. They have no loyalty but to their own pride.” He reached to push a strand of hair behind my ears and I shoved his hand away. He simply shrugged and continued. “I felt that way when I was sent off to babysit Him. Well that’s how I saw it at the time – me being sent off to serve a lesser being. I was a bit of an arrogant prick back then.” He offered a twitch of a smile. “Guess I learned a thing or two about who was the lesser being, didn’t I?”

“But you said you became human because you loved Him. Care to explain that?”

“Fuck, Susan, you make it sound like I’m a cheating husband or something. Yes, I became human because I loved Him, but if I hadn’t believed that I was giving him a gift, if I hadn’t believed that it was what he wanted more than anything, I don’t know if I would have done it, OK? I … I just don’t know.”

For a moment we sat in silence, him twisting the edge of the duvet between his fingers. At last he spoke, avoiding my rose imagesgaze. “I’m not sorry now. But for a long time … Well let’s just say it was a high price I paid.” Then he added, as though I needed further explanation, which I suppose I did, “He was so genuine, so unassuming with me. I was completely taken in, completely unaware of His deception until it was too late.”

I felt like I was invading his privacy. I felt like I was asking questions that were none of my business, and yet, my life was in this man’s hands, this ex-angel’s hands. So I asked anyway. “Why did He want you to become human? I would have thought as an angel you’d be able to … you know … a whole lot longer and you’d not … I don’t know … you’d not get tired. As an angel you’d have the stamina to keep up with Him.”

This time the laugh was bitter enough to make goose bumps rise on my arms. “He wanted the feel of humanity, He wanted the touch of flesh and blood, even though he could only have it vicariously. No matter how often he took me, no matter that I was as insatiable as he was, I still wasn’t flesh and blood. I didn’t know it at the time, but he’d already developed a dangerous lust for mortals. Later, much later, after the woman I work for had freed me from him, I came to realize that he fed off the humanity of his lovers.” The straight line of his jaw hardened like iron and his fists clenched. “He … He got off on using them up. It was only really good for him if he knew that in the end they would sacrifice themselves for him. A god complex, I suppose, but then who could argue with Him?” He glanced up at me then looked away. “I guess he finds human mortality more arousing than any other part of being corporeal. Probably because the bastard never has to experience it.”

“Jesus, this just keeps getting more and more convoluted,” I said. “Did you just say the woman you work for, the one you steal for, she saved you from him?”

Michael shoved to his feet and pulled me up off the bed too. “Look, can we continue this conversation later? I’m starving. For now why don’t you get dressed,” he nodded to my bag sitting next to the bathroom door. “You need to eat. We both do. When you’re ready, join me in the kitchen and I’ll tell you whatever you want to know. As much as I can anyway.” He turned and left without another word.

In the kitchen, I found him dumping spaghetti into a pot of boiling water. He looked up and offered a smile that belied
the serious situation in which we found ourselves. “Hope you like carbonara. I’m not a chef, but I don’t do bad with pasta.” He poured a glass of pinot grigio and handed it to me. Then he put me to work on a salad while he sautéed the pancetta. We worked in companionable silence, maybe both of us trying to pretend that we were just ordinary lovers with the munchies after hot sex, and the sex had been hot. My stomach bottomed at the thought of the mark he’s left above my breast, and then just as quickly I felt an overwhelming chill at the sight of the bruises on my biceps. I grabbed up the blue hoodie he had left carelessly draped over the back of a kitchen chair and wriggled into it. He shot me a pleased smile. He liked the idea of me wearing his clothes. I liked it too, but it was way less satisfying to know I wore them to cover bruises left by another would-be lover.

I didn’t want to talk about it. I wished we could both just forget it. I liked Michael. I liked the way he shot me admiring glances when he thought I wasn’t looking. I liked the way he brushed by me to get the strainer, casually resting a hand low on my back, a hand that lingered slightly longer than absolutely necessary, just long enough to become a fleeting caress, just long enough to make my pulse race and my nipples tighten. I liked the outdoorsy woodsy scent of him. I liked the heat of him, the solid feel of muscle and bone. I liked the presence of him close by, and I liked that we could be silent together without having to clutter the atmosphere with mindless drivel. But then again, when the time came to talk, as it most definitely would, I might actually have preferred that it should be mindless drivel instead of the topic that hung in the air like a dark cloud.

We made it through dinner with talk of his work and mine, with laughter and a few shy smiles and passing glances, Bernini Hades and Persephone close uptumblr_lg4h59T3z31qe2nvuo1_500with a brush of knees and ankles beneath the table. By the time he pulled the chocolate chip ice cream out of the freezer, I was already hoping for round two between the sheets. Then I opened my mouth and blew it. “If you fuck me enough, will it make me forget about Him?” I hadn’t intended to say anything, but there it was, what I wanted and what I didn’t want all rolled into one ill-timed question.

He spoke around a large mouthful of ice cream. “Wouldn’t that be great? That’s a cure I could happily live with.”
I laid down my spoon, suddenly no longer hungry. “Are you talking about a cure for me or a cure for you?”
He held my gaze in a look that was anything but angelic, and for a second I could believe that there really wasn’t that much difference between angels and demons. Of course he was human now, Michael was. Wasn’t he? “I want you very much, Susan. I’m sure you haven’t missed the signs. But just like you, I want Him more, damn him to hell, but I do.”
I fought down the lump in my throat, surprised to find myself feeling hurt by such an admission. Surprised to find myself dangerously close to tears. But how could it really come as any surprise? “Then you’re not … over him?” It was a stupid question, and yet, I hoped I’d simply missed the cues.

He moved his chair closer to mine, the legs scraping across the slate floor, and very gently he chafed my arm. “I told you, Susan, no on gets over Him. If I had been only human, if I’d not had … help, I wouldn’t have survived. But surviving, living without Him is not the same thing as getting over Him.”

I pulled my arm away a bit more brusquely than I’d intended and forced a laugh I didn’t feel. “So we’re rivals then, are we?”

“I’d rather not think of us that way.”

I gulped the rest of my wine for courage and poured another glass. “I find it really strange that your … partner in crime would send you into the mouth of the dragon to steal whatever it is you’re supposed to steal. How does she expect you to survive it and walk away with her prize? You did tell her, didn’t you? I mean you did say she helped you get away from him.”

He cleared his throat and sat back in his chair. “Oh she knows, and yes, I’d be dead if she hadn’t helped me, but to be honest, I don’t think she cares all that much if I survive it or not.”

“Fuck,” I said under my breath. “Well then maybe you should let her go in after the plunder instead; maybe you should let her go up against Him, see how she likes it.”

This time he chuckled, and it was genuine. “As interesting as that might be to see, but I don’t think there’s even the slightest spark of attraction between the two of them. Haven’t you ever met someone that everyone else fancied like crazy, but you just couldn’t see why? Well, I’m pretty sure it would be like that between them. Remember, she’s the one who got me away from him.”

I shrugged. “Then it seems to me she’d be the perfect one for the job.”

“Trust me, she chose wisely in sending me.” He stood and took my hand. “But it doesn’t matter if we’re both hot for himGraveyard angel 1 or not. Right now, Susan, what matters is that I’m hot for you, and if I’m not mistaking, the feeling is mutual. Though it won’t make either of us forget Him, it’ll make us both stronger, and the bond between us stonger, and we both need all the strength we can get. Besides,” he ran a large hand through his hair and left it standing in soft spiky peaks I couldn’t resist reaching out to smooth, “I don’t want to think about Him, or her.” He pulled my hand to his lips and kissed my palm. “I’ve already had my ice cream.” He raked me with hungry eyes. “Now I want my dessert.” Without another word, he led me back upstairs, pausing at the bedroom door to kiss me thoroughly while ridding me of the hoodie and all items of clothing beneath, a favor I returned in kind, then kissing and groping and giggling, we stumbled to the bed. In the leisurely explorations that followed, it was a long time before either of us spoke, and besides our mouths were well occupied with tasks much more pleasant.

When at last my brain engaged through the thick fog of arousal, I remembered how to speak again. “This must be what sex before going to battle feels like,” I managed between efforts to breath. Michael didn’t answer. His tongue was well occupied between my legs. This time there would be no forcing the issue. This time I knew that he would make me beg for it before he took me, and he’d make it well worth the wait. This time I could be patient too and revel in the feel of him exploring me, pleasuring me, driving me to the point of no return. I tried to push the idea that this might just be a revenge fuck out of my head, but some thoughts push back harder than others. Did I really want to make Him jealous, I wondered. What would He do to me if I did? Was Michael thinking the same thing? “Am I your revenge fuck?” Damn it, why couldn’t I keep my mouth shut? He bit the inside of my upper thigh and I yelped as he came up, face shining with my wetness. “Possibly.” He wiped a forearm across his mouth, then gave each of my nipples a hard suck, wriggling in between my thighs with his knees before he thrust up into me and rose above me on his elbows to look down into my eyes. “But that shouldn’t worry you much. If we’re each others’ revenge fucks, then won’t we both go out of our way to make it so damn good that He’ll truly have something to be jealous over?”

I laughed in spite of myself and his kiss muffled the sound to a giggle that ended in a soft moan twinned by his own Psyche and Erosdeep-chested sounds of pleasure as he began to move inside me. And suddenly I wasn’t laughing, suddenly I was moving with him, thrusting up to meet his body, hands fisted against his hard shoulders, thighs straining to grip him tighter. Muscle. We were one giant muscle tensing and pumping and pushing with one goal – release. And as I convulsed against him, and he growled out his own orgasm, I realized that at the end of the day, the mutual release we sought was not from each other but from Him. The real question was whether or not we wanted that release bad enough to let go of what we both felt for Him and to do what had to be done. Was that even possible? As I lay there in his arms struggling to catch my breath, I suddenly realized that what neither of us could do alone, we just might be able to accomplish working together. But that thought was for after, after we’d both had some much-needed sleep.

 

In The Flesh Part 9: Free Story in Progress. Enjoy!

psyche_et_lamour_327x567Happy Friday Everyone! And secrets are uncovered with part 9 of my dark paranormal story. Angels and demons, gods and monsters, sex and terror; when the boundaries are not clear, the journey can be deadly. But can the price be worth the paying?

In the Flesh  is very dark paranormal erotica. When Susan Innes comes to visit her friend, Annie Rivers, in Chapel House, the deconsecrated church that Annie is renovating into a home, she discovers her outgoing friend changed, reclusive, secretive, and completely enthralled by a mysterious lover, whose presence is always felt, but never seen, a lover whom she claims is god. As her holiday turns into a nightmare, Susan must come to grips with the fact that her friend’s lover is neither imaginary nor is he human, and even worse, he’s turned his wandering eye on Susan, and he won’t be denied his prize. If Susan is to fight an inhuman stalker intent on having her as his own, she’ll need a little inhuman help.

Episode 9 is full of secrets revealed and jealousy. Happy Reading! 

 

To read the story in its entirety up to this point, follow these links to  Part 1  Part 2  Part 3  Part 4 Part 5Part 6Part 7, Part 8.

 

In The Flesh: Part 9

For a long moment I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t speak. I felt cold to my core, and there was a strange ringing in my ears, but worst of all I felt jealous. “You were his lover? How’s that possible,” I managed, forcing the words up through my throat, which threatened to close. “How the hell is that even possible?”

“What do you mean how’s that possible? You and I just made love, same general principles.”

“Same general principles my arse.” I pushed up off the bed, grabbed the towel and wrapped it around me feeling suddenly very naked, indeed. I paced at the foot of the bed, jealousy just at the edge of my consciousness like the irritating buzz of a mosquito seeking a place to bite.

“What? Do you think an angel can’t be vulnerable, can’t want the same things you want?” The smile that curved his lips was almost a grimace. “I was a lot more beautiful then than I am now. But beauty’s a fleeting thing.” He waved his hand absently, still not looking at me. “I knew that was a part of the price, and I didn’t care. I would have done anything.”

“Well if it’s beauty he’s after, he sure as hell doesn’t want me. Annie’s the one with the looks. Not me.”

Suddenly he stood and pulled me to him, the look on his face shifting from confusion to complete understanding. “You’re jealous.”

I said nothing. It was no use denying what had to be written all over my face. That Michael had been with Him, that Annie was with Him, and that I still wanted to be, in spite of everything messed with my mind.Bernini Hades and Persephone close uptumblr_lg4h59T3z31qe2nvuo1_500

“I understand your jealousy,” Michael said. “Once he’s touched you in some way, in any way, you can’t help but want him. You can’t help but want him to want you and only you. That’s his power.”

I didn’t reply. What could I say? Instead I turned my back on him, trying to focus, trying to be logical. I didn’t want to be jealous, and I didn’t want to want Him. I knew what the result of wanting Him, of giving into that want, would be, and yet, I still wanted.

He grabbed my arm in a grip that was none too gentle and pulled me back to him. “Susan, it has nothing to do with beauty, what he wants. Beauty is far more fleeting than … other things.” He lifted my chin with a thick curled finger, forcing me to meet his gaze. “That he wants you, I can completely understand.” He pulled me close against his still naked body, making sure I was fully aware of his desire for me, then he took my mouth in a kiss distracting enough that I would have been perfectly happy to linger in a lip-lock with him for twenty years or so. But then he released me, guided me back to sit on the bed, and pulled his jeans up over his hips, commando, I noticed.

“Tell me,” I said, watching in fascination as he zipped his substantial self into the tight fit of denim. “Tell what happened.”

He shoved another log onto the fire then plopped down into the wingback chair. For a long time he stared into the flames, so long that I thought maybe he’d chosen not to answer; maybe it wasn’t something he could talk about. But at last he took a deep breath and spoke. “I thought it would be easier being human.” He lifted a shoulder in a lop-sided shrug. “I suppose we all romanticize the things we wish for before we actually have them. We don’t know the pitfalls and the difficulties until we’re faced with them, and then they’re such a shock, sometimes it’s too late.” He forced a laugh. “You’d think someone who had spent eons as a being only slightly less than divinity would have been aware of the threat of demons and spirits and such things that do a whole lot more than go bump in the night. I’d even met demons and incubi and spirits of the land. They never seemed all that threatening to me, but then I wasn’t human, was I? I know it’s insane to think that I could forget, I mean after all, it was a part of my job to protect humans, to ease their suffering from such beings.” He grabbed the poker and gave the log he’d just put on the fire a hard shove that resulted in a shower of popping and crackling sparks. For another long moment of gazing into the flames as though he sought wisdom there, he continued. “They were never any threat to me as an angelic being. I just assumed that would be true when I became human. I knew how things were, after all. I understood, and I was still me, at the end of the day. Surely I was safe from such things. But I wasn’t, was I?”

“How did it happen?” I asked. A part of me didn’t really want to know. A part of me couldn’t bear the thought rose images
of anyone else being with Him. But He was a monster, I reminded myself. He was bad news, very bad news. Even as I thought it I couldn’t keep from thinking about how it felt when he touched me, how it felt when he spoke to me, almost like his voice was inside my heart.

“A part of my job was to be the guardian of sacred spaces.” He smiled and shook his head, “Sorry to disappoint, but I wasn’t that Michael, not the archangel. I was just a Michael, and I was one of many whose job was to safeguard sacred spaces and the people who worship therein.” He chuckled softly “I suppose you could say I was the divine version of a security guard. Not very glamorous, is it?”

“And you were sent to protect people from … Him?”

“Sort of,” he replied. “There are lots of beings attracted to sacred spaces because they are sacred. They shine like beacons to supernatural eyes. And because mortals come to those spaces open and vulnerable than they are in more mundane spaces, they can be the perfect places for these divine parasites, for lack of a better term, to attach themselves to a human.”

“Are you saying He’s a parasite?” The idea made me squirm. I liked the idea of some divine monster, some misbehaving godling wanting to seduce me, but I wasn’t so keen on the idea of a parasite attaching itself to me.”

“More than likely he was the original guardian spirit set to protect the place and its worshipers. Stability isn’t any more a given with protective and guardian spirits,” he shrugged, “with any kind of divinity at all, actually, than it is with mortals. And the truth is no one really knows what will drive them over the edge and when.”

“And is the same true of angels?” I asked.

“If your asking me how stable I am, well, I’m probably not the one to ask, but I think it’s pretty safe to say I’m a lot more stable than I was back in the day.”

“Back in the day?”

This time it was his turn to pace, staring straight ahead as though he could see into the distant past, as though he could see what had been as easily as what was. Maybe he could. “In the beginning, I was sent to help him, sent because the powers that be observed a growing instability in him, and they thought he was just overly tired. Some guardian spirits attached to places are content to serve and protect their place, pretty much in total anonymity, and pretty much for all eternity, without so much as ever wavering. They’re so connected with the place, they seldom have need for contact with the mortals who hold that place sacred.

“But He,” I could see a shiver run up his spine and over his broad shoulders, “He became fascinated with the mortals who worshiped in his space, and since that space had been a Christian place of worship for several hundred years, it fell to those who served the Christian god to set things right. It should have been easy for an angel. It should have been a walk in the park.”

The silence stretched between us, broken only by distant thunder. It took a second for me to realize I’d been holding my breath. He moved to slip the throw from the back of the chair over my shoulders and I realized not only was I was still clad in just the towel but I was shivering. I inhaled with a shudder and found my voice. “But it wasn’t.”

“It wasn’t.” He returned to pacing in front of the fire. “You see, the thing was, that I didn’t realize that something was amiss. I didn’t realize anything at all. In fact, it seemed almost the opposite to me. It seemed like everything was exactly as it should be and that he was …”

“He was what?”

Michael stopped mid-stride and stared into the flames as though seeking answers there. “It seemed as though he was the only sane thing about the place, and even more than that, it seemed like he was a kindred spirit. He loved humanity. He was fascinated by their tenacity, their ability to be both strong and vulnerable. And he was particularly fascinated by their ability to live in the physical world. Oh, that was a weakness, of course it was. Mortality always is
and always has been a weakness, the ultimate weakness, and yet to live in the flesh to feel pain and suffering and joy and love and lust and tenderness, to experience the five senses – how could any non-corporeal being not crave that? How could any god think that to exist without flesh was superior to blood and bone and all the passion and trauma and chaos that went along with it?”

“And clearly you shared His opinion,” I observed, nodding to his body.

St Teresa BerniniEl-extasis-de-Santa-Teresa4               “I did.” He came to sit beside me on the bed and took my hand, chafing my cold fingers. “Though had I had any idea the cost back before I made the decision, back before I chose the path of no return, I might have been too terrified to do what had to be done.”

“You mean that once you became human, you succumbed to him and became his lover?”

Michael shook his head slowly, and the chafing of my hand became a death grip. “Oh no, it wasn’t that at all. I became his lover long before I became mortal. In fact, I became mortal because I loved him.”

 
© 2017 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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