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In The Flesh Part 16: Dark Paranormal Romance In Progress. Enjoy!

In the Flesh 11880534_1463650103936599_545702979581425574_nIn episode 16 of In The Flesh, whisked away from Chapel House by Michael and the mysterious Maggie, Susan finds herself tucked away in the High Fells of the Lake District, where help comes from an old friend — one not particularly happy to see Maggie, and the help he offers may be as bad as the problem itself.

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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 11Part 12Part 13, Part 14, Part 15.

 

Chapter 16

It was deep night when I woke up with my heart hammering in my chest. I was groggy, disoriented and completely naked. It took me a few seconds to convince myself that I was no longer in the crypt at Chapel House. Then I recalled the events of the past – what was it anyway, twelve hours? Twenty-four hours? Maybe more. I remembered Michael quite literally carrying me away from Chapel House. I remembered Annie’s screams, and I remembered waking up in the arms of some man named Alonso, who clearly wasn’t happy at having unexpected guests in the middle of the night … or at least I thought it had been night. Nothing was very clear to me at the moment. The past few days were an insane blur that I still hoped against hope to wake up from and find it had all been just a bad dream.

Once my eyes had adjusted to the ambient light, the room was far from dark. The heavily carved wooden bed I was in looked ancient and battered. Next to the bed a trunk, no less battered, served as a bedside table, with a bare-bulbed lamp on top, cord disappearing over the edge into the dark. The other furnishings in the room looked to be a double-doored wardrobe and more trunks, lots more trunks and wooden crates. Clearly the room had been thrown together in a hurry to accommodate me, though as I turned onto my side it was easy to feel that the sheets and bedding were not only clean, but of the highest quality, possibly even brand new. The bed faced a large curtainless window, which opened to the night, to the light coming from the waning moon and the star-filled sky.

Without turning on the lamp, I stood and moved to the window, nearly tripping over my bag, which I had no memory of Michael grabbing before sweeping me away, but then I had not much memory of anything but fear and lust and anger. There was quite a bit of anger thrown into the pot when I found out Michael had kept the truth from me. The thing was, I had no memory of the truth myself. Could everyone be lying to me? None of it made sense. How could I have ever released a demon spirit from his prison beneath the crypt of Chapel House and set Him loose on my friend with the plan of returning to claim Him as my lover? I was a lot of things, and like most writers, I had a fair-sized streak of self-absorption, but I wasn’t vicious or cruel, and I considered myself a fairly decent human being in spite of all my neuroses and foibles. Of the two of us, Annie had always been far more self-absorbed, and I figured that was a part of her gift, a part of what made her as successful as she was. Not that I wasn’t successful, but my idea of success was quite different from hers.

As I moved toward the window, I had an overwhelming need to breath fresh air and was surprised to find that though the glass in the window itself seemed ancient, it opened with very little effort on my part. The air was that of high places, bracing and sweet, cold enough to raise chill bumps across my bare arms and delicious enough that I was reluctant to shut out the chill. After inhaling several lungsful of the intoxicating fell air and gazing up at more stars than I had any idea could be in a night sky, I made a more coherent effort to take in my surroundings. The bare slate floors were covered with a path of what looked to be very old Turkish carpets that ran from the bed to the window, in front of the wardrobe, and then to a door across the room, behind which I discovered a well-equipped bathroom – far more modern and luxurious than the rest of the room. I splashed my face with cold water, ignoring the urge to have a wallow in a very large claw-footed tub. From somewhere in the house, I heard the sound of voices, or thought I did anyway. I found my clothes neatly folded on a large trunk at the foot of the bed and slipped into them, now shivering from the cold breeze coming in the window I was not yet willing to shut. If someone was up in the house, perhaps they could answer some of my questions. Would Michael be here? What about this Maggie woman? Oh, I had a thing or two I wanted to say to her alright, don’t think I didn’t!

I pushed open the door that looked new and unvarnished and, on tiptoes, made my way down a long hall, my 2015-06-24 12.46.27feet silent on the slate floor. The place was not totally unlike the crypt at Chapel House, the walls were bare stone and the windows along one side were deep as though they belonged in some Medieval castle, and certainly the view out the window from my bedroom had done little to diminish that notion. I half expected the staircase to be narrow and winding down the inside of a tower, but I didn’t make it to the stairs, wherever they were. Just down the hall next to my room, a set of open French doors led into a darkened study. There was an open set of identical doors across the room, which led out onto a balcony. It was from there I heard voices carrying on the night air from down below. I couldn’t make out the conversation, but I did make out my name, so I eased my way across the room and out onto the balcony. Below, I could see a narrowly terraced garden above a beck running steeply down the hunched back of the fell. In the garden on a stone bench sat two men in quiet conversation. Neither of them was Michael, but I recognized the bigger of the two as Alonso. He sat with his arm around the shoulder of the other. The tone of their speech was soft and conversational, and I leaned forward over the stone railing holding my breath to hear something, anything that might give me a clue as to what was going on and where I was. Alonso was speaking to his companion, who offered a soft laugh at whatever the man had said. It was as Alonso slid his hand down the man’s back to rest low on his hips and drew him close that I realized what I was watching, what I was listening to, had become intimate and no longer had anything to do with me. Just as I turned to go back into the study and back to my room, Alonso pivoted on the bench and looked up at me. I swallowed back a yelp, and stumbled away from the railing, not terribly subtle, but it was dark, and I’d managed neither to fall nor cry out. I certainly had done nothing wrong. The doors to the study had been open and inviting. If Alonso had not wanted me there, all he would have had to do was close the door. But then again, supposedly I was notorious for opening doors not meant to be opened.

I made it halfway across the study, heading back to my room when Alonso’s large form blocked the door in front of me, and this time I did yelp.

His full lips twisted in a wicked smile, then he offered me a very formal bow. “Alonso Darlington, at your service, Madame.” The man was not quite as big as Michael – nearly as tall, but of a more slender build. Still, he gave the illusion that he was much larger than even the angel. “I’m sorry for startling you, Ms. Innes. I forget sometimes to make noise when I approach. I have startled Reese terribly more times than I care to admit. Though the other members of my staff and my colleagues are used to my … unusual ways, for Reese’s sake, I truly am trying.”

It wasn’t so much his silence as it was his speed that startled me. No human could have moved from the garden below so quickly. “Reese is the one you were with?” I asked, steadying myself on the edge of a large antique desk that dominated the room, willing my pulse to slow to a gallop. If this Alonso wasn’t human, the last thing I wanted was to anger him by saying the wrong thing.

“The one you saw me with.” His face lit with a smile that I knew full well was reserved for thoughts of one’s lover. “Yes, that’s Reese.”

“I … I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to intrude.”

“You intrusion, my dear, is hardly your fault, and I do apologize for the state of the room you have been forced to endure. High View is being renovated at the moment, and we are in a shambles. And of course, I’m deeply sorry for my less than cordial welcome.”

“You don’t like Maggie, whoever the hell she is. I got that. Frankly, I don’t like her very much either, so no need to apologize.”

“It isn’t so much that I don’t like her. I have a great deal of respect for the woman, and in truth, I owe her much.” He moved to stand next to me, and I could feel him studying me, but looking into his eyes made me feel ever so slightly off balance, so I looked away, taking in the surroundings of what was not a study at all, but a lovely library that would have fit right into any stately home I’d ever toured. “It’s just that whenever Magda shows up, things get more complicated than I’d like them to be, and I try very hard to keep things simple and to not draw attention to myself.” As if he anticipated my next questions, he added. “Your friend is sleeping peacefully. Magda and your angel are with her at the moment.”

“He’s not my angel,” I snapped.

Alonso offered a low, throaty chuckle. “Oh I think that he is, my dear.” Before I could protest, he pulled an iPhone from the pocket of his black jeans, punched in a number and waited for a second, then I heard a woman answer.

He offered me a quick, reassuring smile that was nearly as hypnotic as my first glance into his eyes. “Talia, darling, if you’re finished, our guest is awake and we have need of you in the library.” He returned the cell phone to his pocket and motioned me to the leather sofa in front of his desk. I happily obliged, my legs still feeling none to steady. “You must be hungry. I’ve had Cook prepare something for you, figuring that the monstrosity who held you prisoner would have had little forethought for your creature comfort.” Then he added, “no doubt your angel has encouraged you to eat. Food is always essential in the presence of magic or one can find oneself in serious trouble.”

I didn’t bother to tell Alonso that the monstrosity he referred to had, indeed seen to my creature comfort, though I had no idea how long ago it had been. It bothered me that I found myself wanting to defend Him.

Alonso sat on the edge of the desk and crossed his legs at the ankles. I noticed he wore scuffed hiking boots, but then that was to be expected in the fells. “You say you have no memory of releasing this … entity into the world?”

“I have … sketchy recollections of dreams I had that night, the night it must have happened, but honestly, I Bernini Hades and Persephone close uptumblr_lg4h59T3z31qe2nvuo1_500don’t know how I could have done such a thing. I couldn’t even find my way around the shamble of a garden at Chapel House, and I had no idea where the key was to the place where He was apparently kept prisoner. I seriously doubt if Annie did either.”

“He … yes, well it would have been easy enough for him to guide you and for him to give you the location of the key if a physical key were necessary. I’m inclined, however, to believe that the key was magical, and you, being a Scribe, would indeed have the imagination to figure out what was needed to release … him.”

“But why would I do that? Why?” I asked.

Almost before I knew he had moved, Alonso sat next to me and took my hand into his, which was large, slightly calloused and cold. My first urge at the rush of current up through my arm and straight to my heart was to pull away, but his grip was firm, and I was afraid to move, feeling like a rabbit in the headlights. Then he spoke, and I found myself relaxing into the hypnotic lilt of his voice, with its slightly strange accent and its deep-chested baritone. “For the love of your craft, Ms. Innes, for the love of your craft is reason enough. Surely you know that by now.” He stroked the back of my hand with his thumb, and I found myself calming still further. “Were you not inspired by the crypt at Chapel House, by the tangle of the garden, by the fact that it was once holy ground? I’m certainly no writer, and yet such places stimulate my imagination. Do you not think that such an entity as the one you’ve released would have recognized your urge to tell a story, your imagination so stimulated and taken advantage if it were at all possible.” Then he leaned close, holding my gaze, and I felt as though I were falling. “Does not the Bible itself say that ‘the word became flesh and dwelt among us, that the word is living and active and sharper than any double edged sword?’ Words have power, my dear woman, power that nothing else in the history of human culture, nothing else in the history of our human nature have. The storytellers of old were revered. They sat in the presence of kings and queens as their equals.” With a sweeping gesture, he took in the bookshelves that rose from floor to ceiling all around us. “Some of the words in this room were written thousands of years ago, those who penned them have long ago turned to dust, and yet we read their words, their stories, and we’re transported, at times transformed by the minds of men and women long dead. Surely you don’t think that an entity who has existed as long as the one connected to Chapel House would not know this, would not seize the opportunity to take advantage of the magic of the mind of a Scribe and the stories she can create?”

“But it was never my intention. I didn’t mean to. I only … We were drunk, excited about Annie’s new home. We were celebrating, telling stories. I …”

Alonso smoothed the hair away from my face and held my gaze. “You underestimate the power of your magic. I understand my darling. You’re not the first Scribe to have done so, nor are you the first to have paid a high price for such a mistake. You’re among the greats in that.” He glanced around the room at the myriad books, and then offered me a reassuring smile. “Never mind. First you must eat, and then we shall see what we can do to aid your memory.”

Almost if by magic, a man dressed in full livery arrived with a silver tray and sat it on a table near the window. Alonso took my hand and guided me to sit in front of eggs, toast and porridge all washed down by rich dark French roast coffee. He watched me eat silently making no effort to join me. But then it was the middle of the night.

I had just finished the last of the toast with homemade raspberry jam when a tall woman in a form-fitting turquoise dress knocked softly on the open door and let herself in. I couldn’t take my eyes off of her. She was — well for lack of a better word, she was beautiful. She had dark, thick hair, startling blue eyes, and she had that way about her that made more ordinary people, myself included, want to be close to her so that they could look at her, just constantly look at her because surely this kind of beauty couldn’t be real. Then I was reminded of Alonso’s sudden movement, of his all but admitting he wasn’t human, and I suddenly wasn’t so sure about the woman either.

Alonso stood and embraced her, kissing her on the cheek. The two mumbled softly for a few seconds, glancing dark moon image_xl_6338206occasionally over their shoulders at me. Then he took her hand and led her forward. “Ms Innes, I’d like you to meet Talia. She’s a colleague and a dear friend of mine. She knows your problem and recovering lost memories and understanding people’s dreams is her specialty.” He shrugged. “Well, one of them, anyway.”

The woman studied me for a second, then smiled and nodded her greeting. I seemed incapable of doing anything more than smiling and nodding back.

“Now that introductions have been made,” I forced my gaze away form her and back to Alonso, “if you’ve had enough to eat, me dear Ms. Innes, and you’re ready, Talia is going to sleep with you.”

 

Vintage Grace: Wet Dreams Part 1 FREE STORY

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WARNING! This story contains ADULT CONTENT!

Summer is almost over, but I like to keep the sizzle going as long as possible, keeping that in mind, I thought I’d make this a story sort of weekend and prime you for the next instalment of IN THE FLESH with something really filthy vintage K D Grace. Wet Dreams is one of the first stories I had published and, like a lot of my early stories, WET DREAMS is very filthy and not for the faint of heart. It is erotica … XXX all the way.  As some of you are aware of my attitude about condoms in erotica, especially when it’s very strictly fantasy, be warned, even without a condom, this story is safe sex because IT IS FICTION! Please enjoy it for what it is.

Part 2 will be up next week. 

 

 

Dr. Joe Nevins jerked to wakefulness nearly falling off the control room chair. He yawned, rubbed his burning eyes and returned his attention to the bank of monitors, which were attached to cameras designed for low light and placed strategically about the sleep room. Almost all of the test subjects under the camera’s watchful eye were in REM sleep. The stuff dreams are made of, he thought. He could tell by the EEG of their brain waves and by the rapid movement of their eyes beneath closed lids that they were dreaming. He wished he could join them. The early hours of the morning were always the hardest, the time when he was completely alone, the only waking soul in a world of dreamers, longing to share in their slumbers.

At six thirty in the morning, the alarm would go off; everyone would rise, write down what they remembered of their dreams and return to life in the waking world.

Life in the waking world — not something a sleep researcher saw an awful lot of, Joe thought morosely. Once his subjects left, he reviewed their dream journals, correlated his data and made notes. Then he tried to catch a few hours of REM sleep himself, though it was never enough. When he was working with a test group, he seldom left the facility. It had everything his apartment had, plus state of the art equipment. Hopefully these test subjects and one more batch would give him a large enough sample to prove the validity of his data.

He yawned again and his head fell to his chest. Somehow attempting to study dreams from the waking world seemed fundamentally wrong at this hour. Movement on one of the monitors caught his eye. Subject number three was sitting on the edge of her bed. It wasn’t unusual for subjects to wake in the night. Portable EEGs made it possible for them to visit the bathroom, get a drink of water, or even have a midnight snack in the canteen next door. The facility was designed to allow subjects to emulate their normal sleep patterns.

He blinked and rubbed his eyes again to make sure, but subject number three was definitely standing by the side of her bed unbuttoning her nightie. He nearly fell off his chair as the woman, who looked to be in her late twenties with short dark hair and lovely cheekbones, shoved the nightie off her shoulders and began to caress her breasts. They were small firm breasts with large dark nipples, growing larger as she rolled them between her thumbs and forefingers.

Her EEG seemed to be malfunctioning, but adjusting its monitor didn’t help. He switched on the microphone, allowing him to hear sounds coming from the sleep room. There was the usual mix of deep breathing and light snoring along with the soft moans of subject three. One hand left the caressing of her breasts and snaked down her belly to shove aside the nightie. With little grunts of frustration, she wriggled out of miniscule panties, and her hand went to work between her legs.

There were no sleep disorders among the test subjects, he’d made certain of that. Surely the woman was awake. But another glance at the EEG proved inconclusive. The front of Joe’s trousers pressed hard against his expanding cock. Damn it! He wasn’t a sex crazed teenager jacking off to women’s underwear ads. He was a scientist doing important research, research that could improve people’s lives, research that could…

Suddenly Subject Three slipped under the blankets with the woman in the next bed. Joe held his breath.

“What the? What’s going …,” subject four mumbled, waking up.

Three stopped her words with a deep kiss involving plenty of tongue. For a tense second, Joe feared the two women would wake up the rest of his subjects, but as Three pulled away, she placed a silencing finger to her lips. Four seemed happy to comply. Three’s EEG was completely off line now, yet everyone else’s was functioning perfectly.

She pushed up Four’s night shirt to reveal large breasts, expansive areole rising and falling with the woman’s accelerated breathing. Then she suckled and kneaded her way into Four’s deep cleavage, flicking a pink tongue over the contours like a cat licking a kitten.

Joe fumbled with the controls, zooming in on Three’s tongue, on Four’s heavy breasts, on Three’s hand slipping into Four’s panties.

“Come for me,” Three whispered as she pulled away from Four’s engorged nipple to kiss her ear. “Please come for me.” Then there was only the sound of heavy breathing and muffled moans. And the sound of a zipper.

dark moon image_xl_6338206It took Joe a second to realize the zipper was that of his own fly, which he had opened to give his expanding cock some relief. Easing his penis free, he stifled a groan as his fingers closed around his growing girth. My God, he really was like a teenager.

“Let me see you. Let me look at you down there.” Three pealed the panties over Four’s full hips and ample buttocks. This time, Joe got the zoom just right. Four’s vulva filled the monitor as she shifted, opening her legs to reveal a well trimmed pubis with thick, swollen lips, open and responsive to Three’s exploring fingers. Three whimpered softly, then lowered her head. And suddenly it was Three’s vulva and her whole heart-shaped bottom that filled the monitor as she positioned herself on hands and knees, nightie shoved high over her hips, ass raised like a bitch in heat. She licked Four’s cunt in long lingering slurps, pausing to suckle and nip at her clit.

Joe watched in fascination as Three wriggle two deft fingers into her own swollen slit, and the wet, slippery sounds of pleasure filled the sleep room. With each stroke of his cock, he imagined his erection replacing Three’s fingers, thrusting in and out of that exquisite grip. The weight of his engorged balls shifted heavily in the cupping caress of one hand. This was so wrong. But the thought of his bad behavior only served to make his cock stiffer, make him pump even harder, until his muscles ached and tensed, and his buttocks clenched tighter with each thrust.

Orgasm began as a ripple up Four’s body. The ripple erupted into a spasm, and Four gasped and bucked against Three’s insinuating tongue, struggling not to wake the other sleepers. Then Three gave a little sigh and collapsed on top of her, Four’s moisture still glistening on her mouth and chin. “You came?” She whispered, stroking Four’s nipples.

“Yes.”

“I’m glad.” She kissed the other woman’s breasts in turn then went to her own bed, stopping to slip into her panties, giving Joe one last glistening view of her cunt.

He awoke, cock in hand, with just enough time to pull out his handkerchief before he squirted it full. He thought he’d never stop coming, his cock convulsing again and again into soft white cotton. As the pheromonal tang of ejaculate and male sweat displaced the disinfectant smell of the control room, he collapsed in the chair feeling a strange combination of confusion and post coital drowsiness. What the hell happened?

A quick look at the monitor and the perfectly functioning EEG revealed that both women were in their own beds, both in REM sleep. A glance at the clock told him he had only just dozed briefly, and yet it had been enough for him to dream vividly, extricate his cock from his trousers and come. How could this be? He knew he was under slept, but even when he wasn’t, he seldom remembered his dreams. Strange that, considering he made his living studying dreams.

 

Dream Journal

Subject # 3

February 18

I’m with a woman I don’t know. We are admiring each other’s tits. Hers are big and heavy. She agrees to let me touch
hers if she can touch mine. Then we’re at my house, in my bed. We take off our tops. She’s wearing a black lace bra that caresses and cups her deep cleavage. She lets me take it off her. I’m astounded at how full she is, how swollen her nipples are. I’m sucking her like she’s somebody’s yummy mummy, whose engorged titties need to be nursed on. Her hand is in my panties fingering my fat, slippery cunt. Just when it’s getting good, we realize there’s a man watching us. He’s stroking his cock hard, about to ejaculate.

Then I’m in a park walking. I see a woman sitting on a bench masturbating. She has her skirt up. I can see her pussy. It’s such a beautiful pussy, it’s nice and hairy — I like hairy cunts — with big dark lips all wet and pouting. She’s crying. I ask her what’s wrong. She says she needs to come so badly that her pussy hurts. She asks me if I’ll help her. Then we’re lying on the grass and I’m licking her pussy. She’s sweet and salty and so turned on that her tight quinny kisses me back while I tongue her. She’s moaning and bucking against my mouth, telling me she’s about to come. My own pussy aches too, and I’m suddenly desperate to orgasm.

The man is watching us again. It’s like he’s everywhere. He sees everything. He has his cock out, and his balls are so full. I want to watch him, I want him to watch me, so I start playing with my own cunt, while I lick. He pumps his cock harder and harder until it erupts like a fountain, and he keeps coming and coming, like he’ll never stop.

I woke up feeling horny.

 

Breathing hard, Joe put down the journal and quick-stepped to the bathroom in the back of his office. Standing over the toilet, he fumbled with his fly, feeling a quiver down his spine at the freeing of his cock. In one hand he cupped balls that felt like they were loaded with lead and with the other, he stroked the thick length of his erection hard and fast, only a half a dozen strokes or so. That was all he needed after reading Three’s journal. There was no making it last. He came in great shuddering spasms, grunting hard with the intensity of his release.

When he could breathe again, when his balls were well emptied and his cock was more manageable, he tucked himself in and went back to work. Dream journals were confidential. The subjects were asked to write in present tense with no comments. At the end of each entry, they wrote a sentence or two about how they felt that morning. Before now none of the dreams had been blatantly sexual. There were the expected scenarios of being caught in the office naked, or being caught taking a dump in public. But Joe knew that people in general weren’t very good at telling the truth. Three was brave to be so honest.

A look at subject four’s journal revealed only a short ‘late for work’ dream.

Nothing had happened between the two women. The EEGs were proof. Yet how could Three’s dream be so similar to his?

From the files, he looked through the extensive questionnaire Three had filled out her first day. There was nothing out Sleeping woman reading181340322466666994_IswNAb85_bof the ordinary. In fact he had chosen subjects particularly for their normal sleep patterns. A look at Three’s EEGs revealed normal REM sleep cycles, as he would have expected. That meant the only person with unusual sleep patterns was him.

He half hoped that when he made it to bed mid afternoon, he’d dream about Three again. Normally he didn’t want to know his subjects’ names. The less he knew the better. Still he couldn’t help thinking it would be nice to call her name in his dreams just before he made her come, just before he came inside her. But he hadn’t managed to get to sleep that afternoon. There was too much to do.

Tune in for the conclusion of Wet Dreams next week!

 

In The Flesh Part 6: Free Story in Progress. Enjoy!

Happy Friday Everyone! Time for more chills and thrills with part 6 of my dark paranormal story, In The Flesh.  psyche_et_lamour_327x567

In the Flesh is a dark and sexy story that has had several incarnations in its shorter form, but never quite worked because it needed space to grow. I couldn’t think of a better place for it to grow. In the Flesh is a blend of paranormal erotica and almost, but not quite … okay, quite possibly … horror. What I’m sharing with you, this version, is an expanding work in progress. You get it just shortly after I write it, and as far as what happens next, well … we’ll see. 

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 5.

 

Part 6

If I had been lost in the garden trying to get to the kitchen door of Chapel House, I was even more so trying to get away. rose images
In my panic, there was no being quiet and, with each snapping of twig and rustling of undergrowth, I was certain someone was following me, certain I could hear footsteps right behind me. I had been attacked under the sculpture of the angel. Christ, had it been Michael after me all along? Though my own breathing sounded like a rush of wind, and the hammer of my pulse thrummed like thunder, still I was certain I heard the breath of another just behind me. Frantically I glanced over my shoulder, seeing nothing but the sway of the brambles and overgrown lilacs I’d just shoved my way through. Too late, I turned my attention back to the path. My foot caught on the upturned edge of a paving stone disturbed by an ancient hawthorn root that resembled a thick serpent shoving it’s way up from the depths. I did a belly flop, an outstretched bramble scratching my cheek as I went down. For an instant the world went black, flashes of colour exploded behind my eyelids, and then my vision returned. I would have screamed as the sudden scent of roses overwhelmed me, but there was no breath left for it, and stunned as I was, I couldn’t quite remember how to move. It was that same sense of paralysis I’d experienced in nightmares when I needed desperately to run away, to flee some horrible danger, and yet my body refused to respond.

Though my body refused to respond to the need to run, parts of it responded perfectly to the touch down my spine, the kneading caress of my bottom, the heat of muscle and sinew and heavy maleness stretched out alongside me, an insinuating knee between my legs making room for further exploration of fingers I could feel on bare skin in spite of knowing full well that I was still completely clothed. Another hand curled in my hair, pushing the tangle aside to expose my nape and the back of my neck, to clear a path for lips and teeth and tongue. I think I might have said ‘please don’t,’ but then I might have simply said ‘please.’ Wherever I was, it was not in my head. But I was most definitely in my body, nipples aching, hips shifting, oblivious to the hard rock of the path bruising ribs and belly, responding only to the fingers that had found me embarrassingly wet and needy. A little voice somewhere so far off that I could barely hear it kept whispering that I should fight back, that I should run away, but it was hard to listen to that voice when I felt like my whole body would burst into flame with longing for more of whatever it was, whoever it was teasing me so exquisitely. It was hard to listen to that small voice inside myself when something outside me whispered louder, whispered words I didn’t understand at first, all the while nibbling my ear lobe and trailing kisses down along my shoulder now somehow exposed. I must have gotten lost in the voice. I don’t know how long. It could have been a second, it could have been an eternity, but my next conscious thought was that I had been maneuvered onto my hands and knees, bottom raised, legs open, that my jeans and panties were down around my thighs and a body much larger than my own, mantled me, warm, naked, smelling of male lust, dark and heavy and primordial-thick as the fecund vegetation around me. No matter how good my imagination, I was certain the weight of an erection rubbing low against my spine was real, becoming more real with each passing moment as it slid up the cleft of my buttocks, seeking me out like a stag in rut.

“No one can give you what I can, Susan.’ This time I understood every word, felt the shape of warm lips against2015-06-24 12.43.56 my ear. ‘I can show you such ecstasy, such beauty. I can show you the meaning of the universe and everything in it. I know your longings, your dreams, the depth of your heart, and I want you. To be wanted, to be possessed by a god. Is that not everyone’s deepest desire? And yet you, my beauty, you want more than that, don’t you? You want to possess god. Just like Lucifer before you, you want what god has. You want me to open myself to you, to pour my wisdom into you, my creative force as surely as I pour my lust into you.’ The hands had become insistent, groping breasts and belly, fingering me open, touching every part of me in ways even I didn’t know I wanted to be touched. The voice, the whisper, became so intimate that I could feel it inside my head, inside the blood pounding at my temples. ‘And then you want to take the mind of god and translate it, write it down with your gift of words and share it with the rest of humanity. Oh, I know you, my darling, and I know your deepest longing. You are the object of my lust, Susan, and the object of my love. I want no other. I desire only to make you my lover, and in doing so I will give you the mind of god.’

“But you’re not god.” The words erupted from my parched throat feeling as though I had vomited them from the depths just as the scent of roses gave way to burning garbage, and I gasped for air, shoving and clawing at the pavement against the weight on top of me. A gust of wind whipped my hair around in my face as I managed to pull myself into a sitting position. Suddenly free from the heaviness of the masculine body that had not really been there, at least not in the flesh, I fumbled my jeans up over my arse, embarrassed, angry and frustrated, but mostly just really, really scared. The flash of a knife was my only warning before Annie was on top of me, shoving me back down onto the jagged paving stones.

‘I told you to get out!’ She screamed, jamming a knee in my ribs. I caught her wrist and rolled just in time to keep her from plunging the knife into my stomach. ‘Your stuff, I threw it over the fence. You should have taken it and left. I don’t want you here. I never wanted you here. Now you’ve ruined it all. I’ll kill you! I will. I need him, and he needs me. He’ll understand that once you’re dead.’ She tried again to bring the knife down, but this time a large hand grabbed hold of her arm and yanked her off, tossing her into a bed of overgrown geraniums as though she weighed nothing, all the while she screamed and raged and cursed me. The next thing I knew, Michael jerked me to my feet and flung me over his shoulder like I was a sack of grain. I screamed and did my best to squirm free making useless attempts to knee him in the stomach. “You lied to me! It’s you! It was you all along, you sonovabitch! It was you all along!” The air reeked of burning rubbish and my lungs burned like fire. The wind had risen to near gale force and I could do nothing but close my streaming eyes and hang on as Michael shoved through the rank vegetation, slammed open the wrought iron gate and shoved me into the passenger seat of the lorry. ‘Let me out,’ I managed around a hacking cough. ‘You lied to me! Let me out now!’ But instead, he belted me in the seat and locked the door.

‘It wasn’t me, goddammit! Now shut up and sit still until I can get us out of here or it’s it’ll be all over.’

2015-06-24 12.46.27               I didn’t argue further. I knew he was right. We needed to leave now. The wind rattled the truck as though it would turn it over, and for a terrifying moment I though it might. The air, even inside the cab was foul enough to make breathing secondary to not asphyxiating. Michael had pulled the collar of his t-shirt up over his mouth and nose, and I did the same with his jacket, stiff-legging the floorboard and bracing against the dash with the flat of my palm as Michael revved the engine and downshifted, shoving his way through a brutal headwind. He cursed, stomped hard on the gas pedal, and we sped toward the street. With a screech of tires on pavement and a quick swerve into traffic, the wind died completely away and the air cleared as though nothing out of the ordinary had happened. To everyone around us it was just a normal summer day.

“What about Annie? We can’t just leave her. He’ll kill her,” I said when I could speak again.

“He won’t kill her.” Michael kept both eyes on the road, but I didn’t miss the frequent glances in the rear-view mirror. “He’ll punish her by fucking her until she’s too weak to move, all the while telling her that she’s his only love, that his heart’s broken that she could be jealous, that she could think he’d want anyone else.”

I fought down panic at the thought. “She’s already weak. She’s just skin and bones, and she can hardly function now.”

“It won’t matter,” he replied. “ He knows just how close to the edge to take her. He’ll never kill her, and he’ll never let her die while she’s with him. Even when he replaces her with someone else, he never kills his lovers once he’s through with them. He doesn’t have to. He’s become their reason for living. Without his attentions, they’re all more than willing to sacrifice themselves to him. Look,” he said, glancing at me then back through the mirror, “right now there really is nothing you can do, and by going back you put yourself in danger. Don’t let her weakened condition fool you. She’d kill you in a heartbeat, and you’d be surprised just how strong her jealously, her lust for him will make her.”

“There has to be something we can do.”

“Not right now there isn’t. Not after what you’ve just been through, and not when both his attention and hers is fully on you. Now get some rest. You’re exhausted.”

Rest wasn’t my intention, forcing him to turn the truck right back around so I could go get my car and get the St Teresa BerniniEl-extasis-de-Santa-Teresa4hell out of Dodge until I could figure what to do was my intention. I sure as hell had no reason to trust him now. But I did rest. That’s exactly what I did. I slept the sleep of exhaustion, blissful and dreamless with no room for thoughts of what might have happened if things had played out uninterrupted by a crazy friend with a sharp knife and man who might be an angel, or could possibly be even worse than what he’d rescued me from. Christ, sleep was the safest place for me. None of those thoughts needed to be visited, especially not when everything in me felt like an open wound too tender to even touch.

 

When I woke up, I was in a large bed down between midnight blue sheets that smelled slightly woody. From the angle of the sun it was clear most of the day had passed without my knowledge, which suited me just fine under the circumstances. I was still in that state of blurred consciousness I often had when waking. I was no longer in the oblivion of the unconscious, but not fully aware of the goings on in the waking world either. There’s something to be said for not being fully aware. My unconscious struggled to pull me back down into the dark cushioning layers of sleep, and the part of myself that was conscious made a heroic effort to comply. Not wanting to wake up became an imperative, one that my body would have been completely willing to obey had I not noticed Michael standing on the balcony beyond open French doors, silhouetted in the mauve and melon tones of the setting sun. “You’re awake,” he said, turning to face me. I could tell he was fresh from the shower. He was naked to the waist, dark hair curling around his ears. The white gauze curtains billowed on a breeze around his body obscuring and revealing and obscuring again. Beyond him I could make out the hunched backs and rocky outcroppings of the fells thrust up against the horizon. I thought we were in the Lake District, but I wasn’t sure. What was it, an hour by car, forty-five minutes? How long had I slept? I had no memory of him bringing me into the house or putting me into bed. That I was still fully clothed eased my fears a little bit, but then whatever it was that had attacked me in the gardens at Chapel House hadn’t needed to remove my clothing to take his jollies, nor to make me want him. I shivered in spite of the thick duvet spread over me, keeping my eyes on Michael, whom I still didn’t trust whether he had undressed me or not.

For an instant, with the curtains obscuring his legs and groin, with his hand outreached to push them aside revealing the curve of bicep and the straight broad expanse of chest and shoulders he could have passed for the statue in the ruined garden. Suddenly I was wide awake. Panic rose up my spine. I bolted from the bed and was halfway to the door before he caught me by the arm and gently steered me back into the room, settling me into a large wing-backed chair in front of a stone fireplace with no more effort than if I’d been an errant child. “It’s alright. You’re safe.”

“Safe, am I? Safe?” In spite of my best efforts to calm down, my voice rose with each word.

“You didn’t dream, did you?” He asked, pushing a strand of hair away from my face with the curl of a finger.

I shook my head. “How did you know?”

He shrugged one well-muscled shoulder and offered me a self-deprecating smile. “You were exhausted, and I knew if I could get you to sleep, I could keep you from dreaming.”

“You? You got me to sleep? Jesus!’ I whispered. “How?”

“Just the power of suggestion. Nothing magical or anything.” He looked away, suddenly unable to meet my Graveyard angel 1gaze. “Not really anyway.”

With a flash of memory, I recalled my first encounter with the angel in the overgrown garden, the inviting hand, the look of longing. The encroaching evening went silent around me, or maybe the thought, the impossible thought forcing its way front and center in my mind had simply blocked out everything else, everything not relevant to the situation. It was a thought I really would have preferred not to have, but there it was filling my brain, refusing to go away. I braced my feet hard against the floor to keep my legs from shaking, took a deep breath and gave that thought substance. “You’re an angel, aren’t you?” And just like that, I slid deeper into the rabbit hole.

 

In The Flesh Part 5: Free Story in Progress. Enjoy!

Happy Friday Everyone! And to start your weekend off with a thrill and a chill, enjoy Part 5 of my dark paranormal story, In The Flesh.  psyche_et_lamour_327x567

In the Flesh is a dark and sexy story that has had several incarnations in its shorter form, but never quite worked because it needed space to grow. I couldn’t think of a better place for it to grow. In the Flesh is a blend of paranormal erotica and almost, but not quite … okay, quite possibly … horror. What I’m sharing with you, this version, is an expanding work in progress. You get it just shortly after I write it, and as far as what happens next, well … we’ll see. 

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.

 

In The Flesh Part Five

It was a trickle of sweat under my arms and along my ribs that brought me back to myself. My arse ached from sitting rose imageson the hard cement of the pavement. The sun baked down on my back and a large hand gently stroked between my shoulder blades. At some point, Michael had joined me. I couldn’t say when.

“You’re all right. You’ll be fine. It’ll be okay.” His voice was barely more than a whisper, but his touch was solid and comforting. “I know it’s a lot to take in, but better you know. If you don’t know, you can’t fight.” He stood and offered me his hand. “Come on back inside. I’ve had Izzy keep the food warm. You need to eat.”

Back in the Little Chef, Izzy delivered the reheated plates offering me a look of sympathy. Then she nodded at Michael, refreshed our coffee cups and left. He gestured to my plate. Grudgingly, I forced the first bite of eggs past my gag reflex only to discover that they tasted pretty damn good.

Michael watched as I gulped two more bites, stuffed half a piece of toast in my mouth and washed it down with coffee. He raised his own cup and held my gaze. “When was the last time you ate?”

“I don’t know.” I thought about it while I polished off a rasher of bacon. “I guess the last real meal I had was the takeaway I ordered my first night at Chapel House.”

His gaze was beginning to make me squirm. “That’s a long time between meals.”

“I had a lot on my mind, what with Annie behaving so strangely and all.” But even as I said it, I felt the skin on my arms prickle. I wasn’t known for my lack of appetite, I, who never missed a meal augmented by several snacks in between. The only time I wasn’t hungry was when I was asleep, and even then sometimes I dreamed of food.

His own meal barely touched, he sipped his coffee, then leaned across the table, still holding me in blue scrutiny. “Susan, tell me about the dream.”

I’d eaten my breakfast and half of his and sat shivering in his jacket by the time I’d finished telling him about last night, struggling to keep the details to a minimum and the whole experience at a safe distance. We waited for Izzy to fill the cups again, and then I plucked up my courage, rubbing my arms, now tender where the bruises bloomed and darkened. “It wasn’t a dream, then.”

“Some of it was, fortunately.” He nodded to where I still chafed my arms. “Those are evidence that it wasn’t all a dream, but the fact that you woke up in your own bed… Well, something interrupted his efforts, I’d say.”

“But how could that be,” I said, remembering the feel of being battered, being invaded, falling through the bottom of the world, remembering the empty eyes of the angel, his hand extended to me in invitation.

He leaned closer across the table until his forehead nearly touched mine. I was struck by how large he really was. I was tall and well muscled, but he made me feel petite, delicate. Why hadn’t I noticed that before? His large hand came to rest on mine and his voice was a soft rumble I felt deep between my hipbones almost like the first intimations of a storm. And fuck, if he didn’t quote John Donne!

Bernini's Hades and PersephoneBatter my heart, three-person’d God, for you

As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;

That I may rise and stand, o’erthrow me, and bend

Your force to break, blow, burn, and make me new.

*****

Take me to you, imprison me, for I,

Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,

Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.

By the time he was finished, I was shivering uncontrollably, and I would have laughed if I hadn’t been so frightened. “So he’s not God, this imaginary lover who seduced my friend and nearly raped me, but the rape part was a dream because God rescued me from this devil or demon or whatever the fuck he is before he could do the deed? Is that what you’re trying to tell me?”

He downed the last of his coffee and pushed his plate aside. “I’m only trying to tell you that nothing that’s happening to Annie or to you is straight forward. Things are always way more complicated than the stories in the mythology books, and even in the Christian Bible, make them out to be.”

We sat in silence for a long moment, watching a young couple try to settle two small children and a toddler into a booth nearby. “It was a seduction, not a rape,” he said absently watching the man settle the squirming child into a high chair. “He doesn’t want to take you by force. He wants you to come to him willingly. He’s not above hurting you if you don’t, but it’s your free will he wants most. He wants you to want him like you’ve never wanted anything in life. Your lust, your desire for him, that’s the thing that empowers him most, you see?”

Even the thought of my experience in the bathtub made my nipples tense, and that the sensation low in my belly wasn’t entirely fear made me flush with anger. “No. No I don’t see. I don’t see at all. Is he a demon?” I spoke the word through my teeth, the shape of it the bitter pip at the center of sweet, ripe fruit. “Or … maybe an incubus? I mean he did come to me in a dream, didn’t he?”

“He’s neither, but he has characteristics of both. He’s what he needs to be. He has no definition, not really, and
he’s attached to the place, you see? That place, the place where Chapel House was built, was a site of power long before Christianity came to Britain, long before there was even a name for the ancient powers, the forces that command the changing of the seasons and the ebb and flow of the tides. Back when people lived in fear of the dark, and offered sacrifice to drive back the forces they didn’t understand, the forces that led to famine, starvation, death. He was always there. That place, it’s his place, and he’s happy to share it, needs to share it, actually, but his hunger is as bottomless now as it was when the blood of virgins and young warriors stained the altar stone.”

“How the hell does a builder know all this stuff?” I asked, still shivering into the leather of his jacket.

He shrugged. “I make my living doing renovations of listed buildings mostly. I do a lot of old barn conversions as well, and church and chapel conversions, of course. I specialized in that area because I find the history of the places I renovate fascinating. I know just enough archeology to understand that old buildings often have a history older than the building itself, and that history often connects them with the space where they’re built. When your friend hired me to renovate Chapel House, I jumped at the chance. I got more than I bargained for,” he added as an afterthought.

P1020065               There was another long silence while the little family discussed the menu and the toddler fussed and wriggled. “I have to get my stuff,” I said.

“He won’t let you go easily,” Michael replied, slapping down money for the bill. “Especially if what Annie said is true, and he had her send for you. You’re the one he wants. You’re the one he’s chosen.”

I pulled the jacket tight around me. “You said he wanted me willing. Well I’m not.”

He held my gaze. “You weren’t even tempted?’

I felt colour rush to my face and the bruises on my arms tingled as though they had just been caressed tenderly. He didn’t wait for my reply. It was obvious, I guess. “Susan, you have no idea just how persuasive he can be. If you wanted him, if you were tempted even a little bit, he’s already found a way in. The only way to keep him from getting what he wants is to get as far away from him as possible, and even then he won’t make it easy.”

“Jesus,” I murmured, clenching my eyes tightly.

Michael said nothing, only sat watching me.

“And Annie?” I asked, at last.

He looked down at his hands now folded on the table as though he were about to say a prayer.

“What about Annie?” I asked again. Feeling my chest tighten and my throat constrict.

“I don’t know.” His voice was barely audible. “If he’s had her call you. If he’s already grooming you.”

“He’s not grooming me,” I said, a little louder than I intended. “I’m not his for the taking, and I want my friend out of there.”

He said nothing. Only sat looking at his hands. “I have to get my stuff.” I said again. “My phone, my car keys, my computer. All my stuff is there. I want it back.”

This time he did look up at me and smiled. “Yes, she told me you were a writer.” Then he added quickly. “In the beginning, when she first hired me, she told me, and I know enough about writers to know that the tools of their trade are their treasure. Especially in this day and age.” Then before I could respond, he stood and offered me his hand. “Come on. Let’s get your stuff back.”

 

Twenty minutes later we stood together at the front door of Chapel House, our knocks unanswered. My calling through the door that I just wanted my stuff drew some suspicious looks from passers by, but no response from inside.

“She’s in there,” Michael said, before I could ask. “She’s just not responding.”

“So what should we do? Call the police?”

“I don’t think so,” he said, taking me gently by the elbow and turning me about. “I know another way in. You were staying in the makeshift guest room? I’ll get your stuff. You wait in the truck.”

We walked in silence back to the alley where he’d parked and he helped me up into the cab. “Wait here. I’ll be right back.”

“Hold it” I grabbed him by the arm. “My phone. I dropped it in the transept last night when I … when she was 2015-06-17 09.32.13-2with him … when he came after me.”

He placed a hand on my shoulder and squeezed gently. “Don’t worry. I’ll get it.”

“Be careful, Michael,” I called behind him as he headed through the wrought iron gate.

It felt like I waited ages for him to come back. I was just about to get out of the truck and see if I could find him when I noticed a splash of colour under a bramble thicket on the alley side of the fence. I slid from the seat, leaving the door open in case I wanted to return in a hurry. Reminded of the bruises on my arms, I wondered just what good I though that would do.

Sure enough, there under the brambles were my things, as thought someone had tossed them in a heap over the fence. Mindless of the prick of the brambles and the sting of nettles, I tugged and pulled both my travel bag and my shoulder bag free. Holding my breath, heart pounding, prickle flesh climbing my spine, I dragged everything back into the truck then slammed and locked the door behind me. My computer was safe in its sheath inside the shoulder bag, right where I always carried it. And slid into the little side pouch next to my car keys, I found my cell phone and my wallet. Everything in place. The clothes in the travel bag, my toiletries, everything had been neatly packed before it had been tossed over the fence. The relief of having my stuff back was short lived, my thoughts returned to Michael. What the hell was taking him so long?

Once again I slid out of the truck and closed the door carefully behind me. The alley was deserted. I smelled neither roses nor burning garbage. Perhaps Annie was occupied with her lover and neither of them noticed me. Or perhaps they were occupied with Michael and he was in trouble. As an afterthought, I opened the door again and pawed through the space behind the seat until I found a screwdriver, not a big one, but big enough to do some damage if I needed to. But then, what was I going to do, use it in my friend? Clearly it would do no good on this lover of hers. Nevertheless, I gripped it tightly, shut the door behind me and headed through the wrought iron gate.

Almost immediately I found myself engulfed in the overgrown garden. With heart pounding in my chest, I stood for a moment trying to get my bearings. It seemed like a straight shot from the back door to the gate this morning when Annie kicked me out. Surely I would have remembered the way. Surely it wasn’t so complicated. I squared my shoulders and moved forward into the garden, convincing myself that all I had to do was follow the main path. Ten minutes later, I realized the folly of my decision as I pushed and shoved through ivy and overgrown hawthorn, adding new scrapes and scratches to those already stinging from recovering my bags. I smelled neither roses nor garbage, only the thick, rank scent of summer vegetation. Surely I’d be okay. Surely I’d not drawn any unwanted attention, but where the hell was Michael? What was taking him so long? Christ! What if something had happened to him? Annie clearly Graveyard angel 1wasn’t herself. What if she’d taken the butcher knife to him? What if he was somewhere inside Chapel House wounded and bleeding while I was out here wandering around in the garden unable to get to him. Once again I wished desperately to wake up from the bad dream and find myself safe and secure in my own flat in my own bed. Instead I was brought up short, coming face to face once again with the stone angel, empty eyes locked on me, outstretched hand beckoning me, as though he might lead me to safety. But it was the sculpted face so full of concern, so focused on me, that held my attention. The face, suddenly familiar, suddenly recognizable. Though the eyes were empty, aged marble and not stunning blue, there was no mistaking the strong lines of the face, the square jaw. Even the broad shoulders, the posture of strength and determination, all familiar to me.

“Michael?’ My strangled whisper sounded like a shout in the deep silence. But then again, I might have yelped. I might have even screamed just before I turned to run.

 

In The Flesh Part 2: A FREE Story in Progress. Enjoy!

If you’ll recall, a few months ago, I posted a promise to myself to have more fun with my writing. As a part of psyche_et_lamour_327x567keeping that promise, I started a new online serial last week called In The Flesh. Today I’m very happy to post Part 2 of In The Flesh. I said last week that one of the things I love to do most on this blog is share stories that you won’t find anywhere else. Writing stories for my blog rather than just sharing observations or navel-gazes always feels much more personal, and much more like I’m sharing more of myself with my readers. Plus, it’s just flat-out fun for me!

In the Flesh is a dark and sexy story that has had several incarnations in its shorter form, but never quite worked because it needed space to grow. I couldn’t think of a better place for it to grow. In the Flesh is a blend of paranormal erotica and almost, but not quite … okay, quite possibly … horror. What I’m sharing with you, this version, is an expanding work in progress. You get it just shortly after I write it, and as far as what happens next, well … we’ll see.

I hope you enjoy it! 

KDG/GM

 

 

Follow this link to Part 1 in its entirety  

 

 

In the Flesh: Part 2

“He knows everything, Susan. He knows what we’re saying now, what we’re thinking, what we’re feeling.”

“What the fuck is he, a mind reader?”

In the growing gloom, she seemed as unsubstantial as the plastic on the altar. She pulled the blanket close around her with tightly fisted hands, knuckles chalk pale. “Susan,” her voice was a thin whisper that I might not have heard in a place less silent. “This is going to sound completely barking, but I think he might be God.”

We sat for a long time, me waiting for the punch line, or for some comment about the size of Shag Boy’s cock. When sherose images said nothing, I felt obliged to fill the silence. “Most men want you to think they’re God,” my voice echoed nervously in the empty transept, “but the first time he forgets to put the toilet seat down, you’ll know it ain’t so.”

I suddenly felt as though someone was breathing softly against the back of my neck. My skin prickled and went cold. The odour of burning garbage was consumed in the scent of jasmine. And just like that, Annie was fast asleep.

I didn’t want to wake her. She seemed so exhausted, and as uncomfortable as it made me, I would just have to wait until morning to hear why my best friend thought she was shagging God. Surely she was just having a laugh.

Alone, and with nothing to do on what I thought would be a girl’s night out, I opted for a good wallow while I finished the rest of the chardonnay. The last group that had used the church before it was deconsecrated was evangelical and believed in adult baptism by immersion. They had installed a large bathtub in what had been a storage room between the two toilets.

A quick check through the cupboards revealed no bubbles or bath oils. I found it hard to believe that Annie, the spa queen, wasn’t taking full advantage of such a tub. But other than washing up liquid and my shampoo, there was nothing, and the dust in the bottom of the tub was proof Annie wasn’t using it. Undaunted, I cleaned it and filled it with water up to my chin. Then I lay back, wishing I’d thought to bring my rose bath gel.

The combination of wine and warm water was just beginning to relax muscles that had been clenched tight
since my arrival at Chapel House when the room was suddenly awash with the scent of roses. I opened my eyes with a start, certain I’d caught a glimpse of a reflection flashing past the steamy mirror above the sink.

“Annie? Is that you?”

leda Cornelis_Bos_-_Leda_and_the_Swan_-_WGA2486There was no response. I sniffed the air. Perhaps there were roses in bloom somewhere close by. The whole evening
had made me jumpy, and though living in a deconsecrated church suited Annie down to the ground, it didn’t make me feel great. I’m a writer, my imagination was far too vivid to want to stay in a place with a back garden that had been a churchyard from which who knew how many bodies had been exhumed and reburied. Annie had told me that with the twisted smile of someone who happily watched horror films alone with a big bowl of popcorn and a bar of chocolate and thought nothing of it. I, on the other hand, felt even the air around me crawl over my skin and threaten to crush the jackhammering of my heart as I saw ghouls and ghosts and serial killers in every corner. That was only while I was awake. When I managed to sleep, IF I managed to sleep, the real fun began in the dream world.

The creep factor aside, I couldn’t keep from wondering if Annie had shagged lover boy there on the altar. Annie was just irreverent enough to do such a thing. Maybe she’d even asked him to pretend he was God and she was his sacrifice. I sipped my wine, then closed my eyes again, settling back into the silence.

The scent of roses grew stronger. I arched back against the tub feeling warmth flood my torso. Gooseflesh spread down my chest tightening my nipples and tracking a heavy path low over my belly. With a sigh, I shifted my hips and opened my knees, feeling the warm, liquid caress as I sank lower into the tub, into the heat rocking slowly, rhythmically against the resulting ebb and flow of the water as the space around me contracted into a tight embrace pulling me downward and away from myself.

With a little yelp, I jumped and opened my eyes, splashing water onto the tiled floor and barely avoiding a
mouthful. I must have drifted off to sleep and dreamed, though I couldn’t remember what. I could only recall the rise of goose flesh beneath a feather touch, the exhalation of humid breath whispered against my ear, but if there had been words, I didn’t remember them.

Bernini's Hades and PersephoneI lay there in a rising cloud of steam, holding my breath, listening, trying to hear something other than the hammering of my pulse. The scent of roses receded and with it the urge to linger. Suddenly I felt tired. I dried myself and stumbled to my makeshift bedroom. Barely noticing that there was no sheet on the mattress, I fell into bed and was instantly asleep.

 *****

In the morning I awoke to the smell of a fry-up, which was a good thing, because I was ravenous. I dressed quickly and found Annie in the kitchen looking fragile, but better.

She smiled up at me from cooking eggs. “Good morning. Sorry about last night. I forget sometimes how much stamina it takes to…” She blushed and returned her attention to

the eggs.

“Quite an animal, is he?”

She chuckled softly as she scooped breakfast onto plates and brought them to the table. “Let’s just say he’s…”

“Insatiable? I mean last night you said you thought he was God, so I figured he must be really amazing in bed.”

While I shoveled down my breakfast, she only held her tea mug between cupped hands and smiled down into the steam. “I said that?”

“Don’t you remember?”

She didn’t answer, only clenched her jaw and stared into her cup.

Annie was the queen of too-much-information when it came to her love life, and her reluctance to talk frightened me, St Teresa BerniniEl-extasis-de-Santa-Teresa4so I quickly changed the subject.

“What’s the plan for today? Retail therapy? I hear there’s a handbag sale at Debenhams.”

She picked up her plate and scraped her untouched food into the rubbish bin, careful to avoid my gaze. “Susan, I honestly don’t feel up to going out today. I just really need to rest. Would you mind going without me? I’ll be alright,” she added quickly. “I’m just tired, that’s all.”

By the time I finished my breakfast and was ready to go, Annie was already fast asleep, curled in her nest at the foot of the altar. Outside, the smell of burning rubbish stung my eyes and the back of my throat.

I had little enthusiasm for the handbag sale, nor for lingering at the make-up counter. Instead I found myself at an internet café researching God’s love life, which turned out to be a long history of seducing humans.

Zeus visited Danae in a shower of gold. He seduced Leda in the form of a swan. Eros came to Psyche in the dead ofnight forbidding her to look upon his face. Hades dragged Persephone down to the Underworld. The Virgin Mary was impregnated by the god of the Bible. In the New Testament, Christ is the bridegroom, and the church his bride. And the list went on and on. Perhaps even the indwelling of the Holy Spirit was just another way for divinity to experience flesh.

I had always loved mythology, and I’d read all these stories before. I’d just never put them together to get the whole picture. And though I was seeing an aspect of divinity that I found rather disturbing, I couldn’t help feeling there was still a piece of the puzzle missing.    I suppose I should have felt relieved. Annie wasn’t as unusual as I’d thought. God was the ultimate stalker, and he didn’t seem to be very faithful to his lovers. Just Annie’s type. I tried not to think about the implications of my experience in the bath last night. After all, it was just mythology, and I’d had a lot of wine. And there’s never any accounting for my vivid imagination. After all, I was a writer. I made my living as a teller of tales.

“What are you reading?”Graveyard angel 1

I jumped at the sound of Annie’s voice and quickly minimized the page. “Didn’t expect to see you here.”

“I’m feeling better.”

“How did you know where to find me?”

She leaned down and whispered next to my ear. “My lover’s God, remember? You can’t hide from him.” I barely had time to register shock before she reached down and restored the page.

“Trying to learn a little bit more about him, are we?” She smiled at the monitor and nodded knowingly. “None of this does him justice. He’s the Hound of Heaven. He’s always pursuing those he loves, and there’s no escaping. Once he’s set his eyes on you, he’ll do whatever it takes to make you his own.”

I suddenly felt cold.

 
© 2018 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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