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The Psychology of Dreams 101 Ch 6

f7c97536836dc44ea7a1faaa02ab1a6aIn Part 6 of The Psychology of Dreams, Leah and Al are saved by the smoke alarm. But saved from what?

What if you got punished when you didn’t get your dreams right? That’s the dilemma our heroin, Leah, and her psychology of dreams teacher, Al. The Psychology of Dreams 101 is a romp into the sexy unconscious as Leah Kent takes a Psychology of Dreams adult education class, only to discover that the required Dream Journal leads to some seriously kinky night journeys.

No, I didn’t dream it, and I’m seriously hoping I don’t get punished like Leah and Al do if I don’t get it quite right, but The Psychology of Dreams did bubble up from somewhere in my unconscious and I had to share it. Since then,the Muse has been back knocking around in my imagination in some pretty unusual ways, and never taking the path I’d expect, but then dreams are like that, aren’t they? Enjoy episode 6!

 

I have no idea how long this little ditty will be, nor where it will lead, but I’m willing if you are. Please, read and enjoy The Psychology of Dreams 101.

 

If you’ve missed Episode 5, find it here. 

 

WARNING ADULT CONTENT! It occurred to me halfway through writing this episode of The Psychology of Dreams that this little tale might be a bit of a shock for those who just finished reading In The Flesh. While In The Flesh is dark paranormal romance, The Psychology of Dreams is just raunchy, fun erotica, a bit of light relief after Magda and her Consortium. Be warned, light it may be, but filthy it most certainly is. Enjoy!

 

Chapter 6 Now what?

“So what do we do now,” Al said. “We can’t go on like this.” He glanced down at his overworked fly, and Leah nodded her frustrated agreement, standing as she was, with her trousers down over her hips and one blazing ass cheek exposed from her red panties.

“Well,” the good doctor rubbed his chin and glanced around the room. “We could continue here. We’re clearly still all in Leah’s dream,” He nodded to his desk top, “I suppose the location doesn’t matter – at least not unless we’re going to analyze the dream, but I hardly think we can even consider that while we’re in it.”

“I don’t care about analyzing it,” Leah said. “I just want to get it over with. Besides, your office is a lot nicer that Al’s classroom.”

As Doctor Clyde cleared off his desk, Leah noted, as she hurried her trousers and panties down over her hips, that she could see her reflection in the polished glow of the dark wood.

“I want to look at you,” Al said, helping her out of her clothes.

Writing pen and birds 1_xl_20156020            Leah was about to ask the doctor to see if the mirror they’d been using might be in his desk, after all if they were still in her dream, everything they might need should be tucked away nicely. Certainly there was a lot more room for dream paraphernalia in his huge desk. The two men, however, had something else in mind, as they hurried her out of the rest of her clothes and, when she started to bend over the desk, now completely naked, it was Doctor Clyde who stopped her. “Not like that, not yet anyway,” he gave her breasts a grope and then together he and Al turned her until her back was to the desk. Al kneed her legs apart … wide apart, until she had to grab onto his arm to keep from losing her balance.

“Now this may sting just for a moment, but trust me, it’ll be worth a tiny bit of pain,” the doctor said.

Both men reached beneath her legs and lifted her in a seated two-person fireman carry so that they supported her beneath the knees and high on the ass, effectively forcing her to spread herself wide open as they settled her, girlie bits first, onto the cool shiny surface. At first there was a sharply inhaled breath, and then she forgot all about the pain in her bottom and gave a little sigh of surprise as she got it, she totally got it! Making a damp spot on the good doctor’s pristine desk was exactly what they had in mind. She spread her legs a little farther and gave a little wriggle and a moan — a moan which the men echoed as they waited expectantly. Then they lifted her off the desk and they all three turned anxiously to admire the print of her, splayed, swollen, and more than ready for some serious relief, but as the doctor led her to the other end of the desk, not wanting to disturb her artwork, and bent her over, as Al slipped his belt from its loops, still admiring her self-portrait on the desk, she remembered again that the punishment had to be completed before she got any relief.

She groaned. “All right, then, lets get on with it, shall we?” It came as a total surprise when Doctor Clyde fumbled out of his paisley tie and bound her hands behind her back. She was just about to panic, just about to tell him that she didn’t like being tied up when she suddenly realized that … actually she liked it just fine. If anything it made her even more aroused, a thing she would have thought well-on impossible at this stage of the game. A breathless groan from Al clued her in that he liked it too. Then he quickly added. “It’s your dream, Leah. Do you want to be bound?”

“Of course she does,” the doctor answered for her, “Can’t you tell by her breathing, by the way she squirms. If all else fails just give her a little feel.” He wriggled a thick finger up into her wetness, and she struggled not to groan. You’re the Dom, Al, you don’t ask, you pay attention to your sub’s body language. You are the one who gets to choose, besides,” he brought his finger away from her and popped it into his mouth as though it had just been in the cookie dough, “a little restraint can be such a turn on in these situations, and of course the dream symbolism … well I quiver to think. Now then,” he nodded to Al, “Time to tackle the rest of that luscious ass.”

Al took a deep breath, and Leah held hers and closed her eyes, her heart racing in anticipation, her brain doing what it could to mentally prepare her for the sting. The fucking doctor stopped the action again!

“Hold it! Hold it! If you do it like that, Al, you’re going to hurt her other butt cheek just as badly, and we’ll never get this punishment sorted.

“Well fuck, Derrick!” Al exploded. “How the hell am I supposed to know what to do? I’ve never done this sort of thing before.”

Doctor Clyde took the belt from his clenched fist and half whispered in his ear, “not even in your dreams? Come on, Al, admit it, you’re a teacher, haven’t you ever wanted to spank a misbehaving student on her little bare bottom?” As he spoke, his free hand came to rest on Leah’s unmarred buttock, which he began to stroke and knead until she could no longer keep from grinding against the hard wood surface, easing her legs apart with each wriggle and shift as the doctor’s thumb came dangerously close to her back hole. She was just doing her best to raise her bottom, so his fingers would slide home where she really needed them when, with a motion so fast is was over almost before she could do more than give a little cry of shock — one in which Al joined her, the belt came down sharp and crisp, like the strike of a snake and, while the sting was still there, it translated almost immediately into something quite different than pain down deep in between her legs. “Oh … Oh!” came her almost involuntary response.

“Now there, you see, Al?” The doctor said. “Don’t come,” he addressed Leah, then turned his attention back to Al. “She’s close, Al, here feel,” He guided Al’s fingers down to the evidence, and Leah bit back a curse. “See, she’s close, but she’s being punished, remember?” He handed the belt back to Al and added, “don’t you come either. A Dom has to have even more self-control than he expects from his sub if the results are to be satisfactory, or so I’ve heard. Now then,” he rubbed his hands together in anticipation, “I think we’re making progress here, though it is a shame about the sandwich, I mean the one the three of us were about to make back in Al’s classroom, but that’s dreams for you, isn’t it?” Before he could do more than wave Al on, the next sharp thwak came expertly administered to the wounded left butt cheek, but just enough to the outside that the sting was exquisite way down deep where Al had not bothered to withdraw his stroking fingers.

“Oh that’s a nice touch, Al. Well done. Raise the steaks by making her hurt so good all over your fingers. You’re getting the hang of this now.” With that the good doctor unzipped his fly and pulled out his erection just as Al gave her right cheek another smack, then trailed the length of the belt down her spine and teasingly along the cleft of her ass, and she moaned.

Al gathered Leah’s hair into his fist like she was a horse and he was the rider, then he began a rhythmic smack, smack, 7401867966b49d9e25e799def0c09dae
smacking of her upper thighs in turn just enough to sting, just enough to stimulate, while he pulled her hair back just enough to make her arch up off the desk, just enough to lift her nipples off the desk while driving her pubic bone hard and tight against the wood. It was hypnotic, it might have even been meditative if she hadn’t needed to come so badly, if she hadn’t been clenching tight, holding herself right on the very edge, waiting for it … waiting for it … Waiting for what? How the hell would she know when her punishment was over and she could get on with it? Get on with what? Was there something that was supposed to happen after they’d both been punished? Certainly they’d assumed so and so did Dr. Clyde, but how could they know? This was only a dream, wasn’t it?

“And now I’m going to put her mouth to good use,” the doctor said, “Turn her head just a little bit this way, Al. It would be a shame to waste one nice wet hole just because the other one is being punished.”

The relentless ringing of her doorbell brought Leah up from a sound sleep in a startled jerk that landed her on the floor with a breath jarring kathunk and a yelp trailed by several breathless expletives. Who the hell would be ringing her doorbell at this hour? She drug herself to her feet and cinched her robe around her waist, all the while the doorbell kept brrring, brrring, brrringing. From beside her bed, she grabbed the baseball bat she always kept handy just in case and, with heart hammering, made her way on tiptoes through the darkened house to the front door. In her efforts to be quiet, she miscalculated the distance from the coffee table to her little toe, and there was no stifling the resulting yowl of pain well laced in foul language.

The doorbell went silent. “Leah?” Came the hissed voice from the other side.

“…Al? Is that you?”

“It’s me, yes.”

She hobbled to the door slid the deadbolt and opened to her bleary-looking instructor, who stood in complete dishabille. Bed head didn’t begin to describe his wild hair. His shirt was buttoned crooked and untucked from his jeans,
and he wore no socks. “Did I wake you? I did, didn’t I?”

“Yes. I was dreaming.” She nodded him in.Sleeping woman reading181340322466666994_IswNAb85_b

“I know. So was I. Listen, about that. I need to talk to you.”

“Now?” She looked down at her watch. “It was nearly three in the morning.”

“And thank heaven my smoke detector went off,” he said, then he waved a dismissive hand. “Oh it was nothing, just low battery, but it was enough to get me out of the dream and make me realize what’s happening. As soon as I figured it out, I knew I had to warn you or we’d be stuck in the dream unpunished and unsatisfied.”

 

The Psychology of Dreams 101 Chapter 4

f7c97536836dc44ea7a1faaa02ab1a6aIn Part 4 of The Psychology of Dreams, Dr. Clyde becomes Leah and Al’s dream advisor by default.

What if you got punished when you didn’t get your dreams right? That’s the dilemma our heroin, Leah, and her psychology of dreams teacher, Al, in The Psychology of Dreams 101.

No, I didn’t dream it, and I’m seriously hoping I don’t get punished like Leah and Al do if I don’t get it quite right, but The Psychology of Dreams did bubble up from somewhere in my unconscious and I had to share it. Since then,the Muse has been back knocking around in my imagination in some pretty unusual ways, and never taking the path I’d expect, but then dreams are like that, aren’t they? Enjoy episode 4!

The Psychology of Dreams 101, is a romp into the sexy unconscious as Leah Kent takes a Psychology of Dreams adult education class, only to discover that the required Dream Journal leads to some seriously kinky night journeys.

I have no idea how long this little ditty will be, nor where it will lead, but I’m willing if you are. Please, read and enjoy The Psychology of Dreams 101.

 

If you’ve missed Episode 3, Find it here. 

 

 

Chapter 4 In Command of the Dream

“It didn’t work,” Leah said as she sat down next to Al on the cordovan leather sofa in Dr. Clyde’s office.

The good doctor looked up from the legal pad on which he’d been taking notes and gave a wide-eyed blink as though he’d been completely unaware of their presence until just this second. He laid the pen down on the pad and glanced from one of them to the other. “Tell me what happened.”

“Nothing happened,” Leah said. “I went to Al’s classroom, but it was locked and empty.”

“Nothing happened for me either,” Al said. “I just knelt naked on the floor of the dungeon, but no one ever came to bind me and … use me.”

“There was no word,” Leah continued, “At least not one I’m aware of. The dream was less satisfying than ever, because this time I knew what was supposed to happen. This time I had expectations, and now I’m even more frustrated than I was before.”

“Nothing happened,” they both protested at the same time, and as they did so, Dr. Clyde picked up the pen on his pad and wrote in big square letters. NOTHING HAPPENED, and suddenly they were all three back in Al’s classroom. Al sat in the chair with his belt in his hand, Leah stood before him in her transparent red underwear, and Dr. Clyde sat cross-legged on top of Al’s desk, pad and pen at the ready.

“Sometimes even recurring dreams take unexpected twists and turns.” He nodded to Al and gave Leah a little shooing motion with his pen. “Well, get on with it.” He glanced down at his watch. “There’s a lot more to get through before dawn if the two of you are serious about finishing the dream before you wake up. Oh, and Al, I would suggest that when Leah begins to squirm and get restless, you finger her snatch a bit, you know, change the game plan, hold her attention in the dream with a little enticement other than pain. Nothing’s quite as enticing as just the right mix of pleasure and pain, I bet you didn’t think about it when you were spanking her before, did you?”

“It’s not my dream,” Al said, as he pulled Leah down across his knees and raised the belt.

“Well in that case you can be forgiven, I suppose, but Leah, when it’s gets all squirmy for you and you don’t know whether to cry or come, tell him. Tell Al how his smacking of your little bare bottom is making you horny; remind him that he doesn’t have to be so single-minded with your punishment. It’s all right for him to be creative. It’s your dream, as he says. You tell him what you want from it.”

whisky-630x383“Can I do that?” she asked. “Is this supposed to happen? Are you even supposed to be here?”

“It’s your dream,” he replied with a little shrug. “If you want me to leave, just say the word.”

“No. No it’s all right. You can stay.” Leah found that the idea of the ever so dapper Dr. Clyde watching her get spanked made her transparent underpants even wetter, but as she bent back over Al’s lap and once again Al raised his belt, Dr. Clyde interrupted again.

“Wait, wait, wait! Al, haven’t you ever done this before? Pull her panties down, at least; or if not, pull them to one side and expose the round little buttock you’re about to smack. Better yet, expose them one at a time as you smack them in turn. Yeah, that’s better still, don’t you think, Leah.”

Leah’s planned comment of agreement came out as a little yelp and a moan as Al wriggled fingers into the leg of her panties and slid the crotch aside.

“Oh he likes that, Leah, doesn’t he like that?” Dr. Clyde said.

When she glanced up at him, confused and red-faced from the blood rushing to her head, he shook his head and made a derisive sound at the back of his throat. “Well, give a little wriggle. Surely you can feel his hard-on. You are hard, aren’t you, Al? Hell, I’m hard as a rock, and I’m just watching.”

Leah did as he said and the resulting gasp from her and groan and squirm from Al made comment unnecessary. Once again Dr. Clyde motioned for them to get on with it.

But as the first blow fell and Leah’s world flashed bright with red hot pain and there was nothing at all sexy about what she was feeling, it was the good doctor’s stopping of the action that gave her blazing ass a temporary reprieve. “No, no, no! Not like that, Al. You’re spanking her, for fuck sake, not tenderizing a steak with a hammer. Christ! Haven’t you ever spanked a woman before?”

“No! I haven’t. Why would I? It’s not my fucking dream.” Al’s voice rose defensively, then he added quickly. “Leah, I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you.” Leah was all but in tears when the doctor helped her up off Al’s lap, while Al apologized profusely.

“Well it’s certainly no wonder the two of you can’t seem to get through your dream punishments, talk
about a couple of true blue vanilla beans.” Before either could protest, he pulled a bottle of Glenmorangie from the bottom desk drawer along with three finely cut crystal glass and poured a generous tot in each. “What?” he replied to their shocked stares. “It’s a dream, for fuck sake, and sometimes you need a little liquid courage even in a dream.” He handed them each a glass. Once they’d all had a good solid sip, he sat his drink down, rubbed his hands together and gave the two of them a good sizing-up. “Right, first of all, let’s do something about your poor little stinging bottom, Leah, and then we’ll try again.” He moved the bottle and his glass aside and nodded her to bend over the desk. When she balked, he said, “oh don’t worry. I’m not going to spank it, I’m just going to make it feel better.”

She shot Al a glance, but he only shrugged, so she downed her whisky for courage, handed the glass to Al and did as the good doctor said. The red panties had ridden up into her butt crack with the first disastrous smack of the belt and she hadn’t noticed until Dr. Clyde carefully slid fingers into the waistband and peeled them down around her knees, leaving them there, almost as s reminder that at the end of the day this was still a punishment and she was a captive audience in this dream, if Dr. Clyde’s hypnotism had worked as he claimed. For some reason, that made her squirm against the desk with added excitment.

“Now let’s see what we have here.” Leah could feel his warm breath against her bare ass, which made her Sleeping woman reading181340322466666994_IswNAb85_bsquirm even more. He let out a low whistle. “Oh my! You did leave a mark, Al. Would you like to see, Hon?” He addressed Leah ignoring Al’s awkward attempts at an apology as he produced a large square mirror from the desk drawer. It was way too big to fit into the drawer. It reminded Leah of the vanity mirror in her bedroom. Come to think of it, the thing was exactly like her vanity mirror, but then it was her dream, after all. She strained to look over her shoulder as the doctor positioned the mirror to reflect her glowing red left butt cheek, the sight of which had her squirming against the desktop again. Dr. Clyde chuckled knowingly. “Sometimes it’s worth the pain to see the end result,” he said. “However, all things in good time, and Al was a little heavy-handed a little too soon. Oh do shut up, Al! A Dom does not apologize for doling out deserved punishment, and yes, my lad, in this dream, you are a Dom, so get used to it and do it right or we may never get out of this dream.”

 

 

In the Flesh Part 7: Free Story in Progress. Enjoy!

psyche_et_lamour_327x567Happy Friday Everyone! And the plot thickens with part 7 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 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 than on my blog. In the Flesh is a blend of paranormal erotica and almost, but not quite … okay, quite possibly … horror. It’s had seven exciting weeks to unfold now, and it’s as much an adventure for me as I hope it is for my readers.  I know what’s happening only slightly before you do. Episode 7 is both the most chilling and the most sexy to date. That’s the writer’s humble opinion, of course. Read it for yourself and you decide! 

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 6

 

In The Flesh Part 7

“You’re an angel. The sculpture in the garden at Chapel House, it’s you, isn’t it?” The fact that the question sounded rose imagestotally insane seemed irrelevant considering the way the weekend had gone so far.

He shrugged and I watched as a blush climbed his throat spread across the tightening of his jaw and up his cheeks. “I’m retired,” he replied without looking at me. Then he added quickly, “The sculpture’s old. A friend of mine did it a long time ago, taking the piss really — especially by putting it there in that particular garden.” He ran a large hand through the fall of damp hair. “It’s her way of reminding me that I’m grounded now, tied to the earth just like every other mortal. No matter what I was, at the end of the day, I’m dust, and I’ll return to dust, if I’m lucky.”

“Wait a minute, angels can retire?’

He shot me a quick glance. “Well, it’s all a matter of semantics, isn’t it?”

“Then you’re not a builder?”

“Oh I’m a builder alright, and a damn good one,’ then he added as an afterthought, “Jesus was a carpenter, after all.”

I squinted hard in the fading light studying the lines of his face, the plane and slope of his strong upper body, the slow, deep rise and fall of his chest as he took in and released each breath. But I could find no distinction, nothing that would give away the fact that he was an angel and not an ordinary man. Oh he was nice to look at, he was interesting to look at, but he wasn’t beautiful, as I thought an angel would be. Obviously the nose had been broken since the sculpture was made, and he seemed thicker through the shoulders and chest. Perhaps that was all down to hard physical labor in lieu of playing a harp and mooching his way around the pearly gates. There were several white puckered scars just below his ribs. Two looked to be puncture wounds of some kind. The other was an angry gash that surely must have all but eviscerated him. Without thinking I reached out and traced the long pale arc of scar tissue that followed the shape of his lower left rib and disappeared in the shadow under his arm. He tensed beneath my touch and the skin along the path of my finger goose fleshed. “I had to force the issue of my retirement.” His words were barely more than a whisper, and his gaze was locked on the logs in the fireplace, laid, yet unlit.

“Christ,” I whispered. “Why? I mean why the hell would you give up immortality to be one of us?’

He covered my hand with his and held it against his side. At last he raised his gaze to meet mine. “I would have done anything to get away, and at that point, I didn’t care if I lived or died. It felt like it was all the same.”

“Are you a fallen angel then?”

This time he laughed out loud. “Stupid term, fallen angel. Truth be told, gods are bastards – all of them, any religion, any mythology, they’re all arrogant, megalomaniacal bastards. They want control, and when they don’t get it, well, they’re even worse bastards. The woman who made the sculpture, she knows that at least as well as I do.”

“Is she an angel too?”

He shook his head and looked away again, the smile slipping slightly from his face. “No angel, a pawn really. At least she started out that way.” His eyes flashed bright in the fading light and the smile returned. “But sometimes even the pawns thumb their noses at the gods and get away with it. It cost her. It cost her dearly, but no one controls her now.”

“So what, she was a sculptor, and the gods didn’t like her work, was that it?”Graveyard angel 1

He released my hand and knelt to light the fire. With the sun setting the chill of evening came on fast. “Oh she’s not actually a sculptor. That’s just a part of her cover. She’s a thief, stealing back things the gods have taken that don’t belong to them.”

Every question he answered raised a dozen more. That what we were discussing sounded totally nuts wasn’t lost on me either, and yet neither was the fact that it was all either very real or I was still asleep dreaming in my bed, a cherished possibility diminishing with each passing moment. We both watched as the logs caught fire from the kindling, and flame blossomed turning shadows of ordinary things into ghouls and ghosts that writhed and dance on the walls. Once he was sure of the fire, he stood to close the balcony doors. “I work for her sometimes. When she needs me. She uses me when what I do as a builder dovetails with whatever job she’s on at the moment.”

I shifted in my seat to look up at him as he returned to settle back on the chair arm. “So you’re trying to steal something from Chapel House? What is it, a flaming sword?”

He laughed. “Not anything that obvious. Chapel House and I have a long history, as you might have guessed from the sculpture.”

“Annie really did hire you to do the renovations at Chapel House?”

He nodded. “All a part of the plan.”

“It must have thrown a monkey wrench into your scheming when she fell in love with a demon, or whatever he is, and told you to bugger off.”

He shrugged, raising one well-muscled shoulder. “Doesn’t matter. I seldom let something like that stop me.” He pulled a shirt from a peg next to the door and slipped into it. “I’ve brought your things in, and I would imagine you’d like a shower. Then we’ll see what we can scrounge for dinner. If that’s alright.”

The shower was more of a wet room really, big and luxurious, clearly designed to fit the man who used it. I wondered if he’d built the house himself, planned it all exactly like he wanted it. The bed was big, the rooms I’d seen high ceilinged and spacious, all with views of the fells. The shower was built of large sandstone tiles that made me feel more like I was standing under a waterfall on a wild river in some hidden desert canyon. Ghosted fossils of fern leaves made lacy patterns on the rough dun slabs. He must have selected each slab of sandstone carefully. The shower, with its stoney artwork and it’s multiple heads, even its ledged seat that looked as though it were only a rocky outcropping in a cave, were all well thought out, beautifully designed by someone who loved and appreciated the out of doors. Yes, Jesus was a carpenter. Perhaps building and creating was a part of the psyche of divine beings. Was Michael still a divine being, or had it been necessary for him to learn his craft by practice and training, like ordinary mortals did? He’d said the sculpture of him in the garden was very old. Perhaps he’d had a long, long time to perfect his craft.

I shivered at the thought and reached for the soap. It was slightly rough like the sandstone surface and felt Bernini Hades and Persephone close uptumblr_lg4h59T3z31qe2nvuo1_500
good against my skin, reminding me of the gentle scritch, scritch of a lover’s fingernails over bare flesh. It had that same woody scent I woke up to in his bed, down between his sheets, though it lacked the base notes of clean perspiration and sleeping, dreaming male. I wondered if angels – retired angels, that is – did dream, and were those dreams ever the kind that brought the pungent earth and ozone scent of male lust to the forefront in that masculine olfactory cocktail. I breathed in the smell, fresh and woodsy, and moaned at the soft rough scritching against my naked skin, wondering if Michael’s hands would feel such. He was a builder after all, surely those calloused hands were rough enough to make delicious shivers up my spine, and any place else he touched me. I imagined the feel of Michael against my flesh, the feel of his large hands moving over me, cupping and exploring, the feel of his mouth tasting mine. That he had created such a sensual space, and I was now certain that he had, made my imagination wild with images of the two of us beneath the waterfall, and the smell of my own lust peaked.

At some point in my ruminations about Michael, my fertile imagination sent me seeking pleasure with my own hand, fingers moving of their own volition while I lathered my breasts with the rough scritch, scritch of the soap pebbling my nipples and making my tender heaviness tingle and ache. The realization of just how needy I was came as a surprise after the experiences of the last twenty-four hours, but then it shouldn’t have, should it? I’d practically lived the whole weekend in a state of arousal — at least when I wasn’t terrified out of my mind. And really, almost every horror film I’d ever seen coupled sex and terror, even orgasm and death, so closely that the two bled into each other. One always expected the couple’s sexy encounter in a horror film to end in gruesome bloodshed or worse. In the garden this afternoon, even as terrified as I was, I was just seconds away from orgasm. I shivered in spite of the cloud of steam rising around me. I had researched stories of the gods seducing mortals and taking them as lovers. That was certainly an archetype, but what I had failed to consider was that the monsters also sought out mortal lovers. Hadn’t Frankenstein’s monster wanted a bride? Didn’t King Kong steal away Faye Ray? Didn’t Dracula seek out his Mina? Beauty came to love the Beast. Even Psyche herself was taken to the domain of the monster she was told never to look upon for fear of certain death. The revelation that the monster was the god of love himself cost her dearly. But it was a price she was willing to pay.

At the end of the day, maybe there really wasn’t that much difference between the gods and the monsters. Even Graveyard angel 2da8f31cc622c5a47d15ff0c4f1e114abin the horror films more often than not, terror gave way to a different kind of lust, a much more deeply rooted lust, a lust as closely connected to death as it is to procreation and pleasure, a lust lost in time and well connected to monsters and demons and blood and the fear of childbirth, at the same time, all bound up with the desperate need to form the monster with two backs. Christ! The lust for the monster was as much a part of our psyche as was our terror of him! I wondered, would I have been able to hold off, would I have been able to resist the monster’s advances, if Annie hadn’t chosen that moment to use me for knife practice, if Michael hadn’t shown up when he did and whisked me away? And would I have cared if they hadn’t? Would I have been perfectly happy if I’d been left to rut against the paving stones with such a powerful being, who was maybe both monster and god? He had promised me the mind of god, the ultimate creative force that was the absolute Holy Grail for every writer. He knew exactly who I was, what I needed. I was reminded in a rush of heat that he could take me to places sexually I couldn’t even imagine. Monsters could do that, and their lovers were willing to pay any cost for the experience.

I rinsed off quickly and stepped out of the shower unsteady on my feet and still unsatisfied. As I picked up the towel to dry a wave of anguished lust clawed its way up from my center and spread like fire over my chest all the way to the crown of my head. In an instant it burned everything away but raw aching hunger, leaving an abyss that surly could never be filled. How the hell would I survive this? Surely Annie would not, could not, and I hated her for having him, even as he used her up and tossed her aside. I hated her for having what should be mine, what was mine. No one could appreciate what his affections could offer like I could; no one could translate his lust, his power like I could. He knew it, and I knew it. For a terrifying moment, I pictured myself with the butcher knife. I pictured myself sneaking into Chapel House while Annie was in a post coital stupor. It would be easy to do, and I knew he wouldn’t stop me. In fact, he would welcome me, help me do away with the body, help me escape the suspicions of the police and the investigations that would follow.

I caught my breath in a gasp, only just remembering my need for oxygen, and I relaxed the white-knuckled fist clenched painfully around the hilt of the knife I imagined using. I came back to myself standing in front of the mirror. The towel had fallen to the floor at my feet; water still pearled on my hot skin. My reflection was obscured by the steam. The image on the other side of that thin film of condensation could be anyone. I could be looking at his face, not mine, the face I’d never seen and yet, like Psyche, suddenly, desperately longed to see. I should have stayed. I shouldn’t have questioned when he wanted me. I should have taken his gift. I could have taken the knife from Annie, as weak as she was, and Michael had said himself he was just dust. The scars proved he bled just like anyone else. I could have finished it right there, and if I had, if I’d had the courage, it would be me in his arms now, me lying beneath him, letting him fill me with the wisdom of the ages, with the creative power I hungered for. I ached to know what it felt like. I longed to know who he was. I staggered, and nearly fell against the sink, and then I was myself again. With a curse that felt gut deep and a quick swipe of my hand, I cleared the mist from the mirror and yelped and nearly jumped out of my skin at the reflection of Michael standing behind me.

“You were crying,” he said, “I called out. I pounded on the door, but you didn’t answer.”

“I … I couldn’t hear you.’ The room tilted slightly, then righted itself. “Oh Christ, Michael, he was here, how canSt Teresa BerniniEl-extasis-de-Santa-Teresa4
he be here? I wanted to be with him. I wanted to do things, horrible things.”

“He wasn’t here.” He bent and picked up the towel, swaddled me in it and lifted me into his arms, which was just as well, I’d completely lost the will to move, or even to stand. With me clinging to his neck, sobbing against his shoulder, he carried me to the wing back chair, settling in it himself holding me on his lap like a child. “He wasn’t here, Susan. Trust me, he wasn’t.’ He pushed the damp tendrils of hair away from my cheek and wiped tears with a large, rough thumb. ‘But you were with him, he’s touched you, been inside your head. You’re now connected to him, and you feel the pull of his lust.’

I sat for a long time nestled against Michael’s broad chest listening to his heartbeat, like an anchor keeping me in my body, keeping me in my right mind. I wondered how an angel’s heart differed from my own. I wondered how his struggles and his desires differed from those I lived with. At last I found my voice “I feel … so empty.” I felt the tears sliding down my cheeks again, tears that I’d barely been aware of while I was in the bathroom, as though they were such a small representation of the way I felt His absence that they were barely worth my attention.

“I know. That’s exactly what he wants you to feel.”

“He said that he’d show me the mind of god, that he’d share all he knows, that he’d be my inspiration and help me write it all down.”

“He knows your deepest desire. That’s the first thing he ever finds out about those he seduces. He learns their darkest secrets, their most private longings, and their deepest fears. Anything he promised you, he’ll deliver, Susan, but what he doesn’t tell you is that once he’s has you, once you’ve been with him, everything that mattered to you before will be meaningless. You live for him, and you burn with emptiness when you’re not with him, as though you’ll die if you don’t have him.’

I wiped viciously at my eyes. “Oh god, Michael, what am I going to do? What the hell am I going to do?”

“You’re going to fight him, that’s what you’re going to do, and I’m going to help you.” His lips brushed my ear as he spoke, and involuntarily I squirmed to get closer to him, realizing with a start, that I was still horny as hell. But I couldn’t take advantage this way. I couldn’t. It was lust of such magnitude as I’d never felt before, and it was dark and horrible and terrifying and, fucking hell, I wanted to be consumed by it. But that wasn’t Michael’s problem. To drag him into it was not an option. Besides, I barely knew the man.

“I … I should get dressed,” My voice sounded breathless and distant. I tried to push my way off his lap, but he held me there, hands gentle but firm. It was then that I felt him, hard pressed with his own lust. He sat very still. I held Psyche and Erosmy breath.

At last he spoke, still careful not to move, even his lips barely formed the words. “Susan, I know what you’re feeling right now. I understand it, believe me, I do.” His gaze met mine in the firelight. “I know what you need, and unless you’re completely daft, you have to know my response.” This time he shifted slightly and I caught my breath in a tight little gasp and with it inhaled the scent of his lust, lightning and ozone, dark damp earth. He slid the flat of his palm down to rest on the small of my back and the towel fell away. “If you let me,’ his breath came heavy and quick against my cheek, ‘I can make it easier for you.’ He moved a splayed calloused hand up over my ribs, and we both groaned. ‘If you let me, I can help.’

 

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.

 
© 2018 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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