14th Instalment DEMON INTERRUPTED: A Lakeland Witches Story
As you may have noticed, there has been more than one episode of Demon Interrupted, every three weeks recently. That’s because, like most stories, DI, took on a life of its own and would not be wrapped up quite as quickly and as easily as I planned at the beginning. That means that instead of the fourteen episodes I had planned for this serial, there will be seventeen. The series will still end on Halloween, the last day of Things that Go Hump in the Night, but you’ll be getting more of Ferris and Elaine’s story before then, so sit back and enjoy episode fourteen.
And remember, all through the month of October, A Hopeful Romantic will be celebrating all things paranormal and all Things that Go Hump in the Night. There’ll be lots of your favourite authors stopping by bringing with them lots of paranormal fun. There’ll be lots of great giveaways and lots of scary, sexy, excitement, so be sure to put Things that Go Hump in the Night on your calendar. Remember, the fun begins October 1st. More on that in a later post.
If you’ve missed the previous episodes of Demon Interrupted, find the links at the bottom of this instalment.
Enjoy Chapter fourteen, and thanks for joining the fun with this Work in Progress. If you want to know more about the Elemental Coven’s sexy adventures, check out the Lakeland Witches Trilogy: Body Temperature and Rising, Riding the Ether and Elemental Fire. Happy, reading!
‘You cannot stay here and continue as though nothing is wrong, my darling Elaine.’ Ferris took form behind her and wrapped her in his arms. ‘I fear for your life. Surely you had not anticipated the suspicion Farringdon’s … sudden illness would cast upon you. The accusations are no longer veiled. Though there is no loss of love for Farringdon, him they loath, but you they fear. And fear drives mortals to do unspeakable things.’
Elaine leaned back against his chest and he tightened his embrace. ‘I anticipated everything, my dear Ferris. Surely you were not expecting that I would survive the choices I have made without paying a price. It is a price I have always been willing to pay.’
Perhaps it was. And in the beginning, perhaps it was a price he could have also accepted. It was a fair trade, her life sacrificed to him for his riding of Farringdon’s soul and the evil creature’s demise, but now Ferris found he did not want her death. He did not want to ride her soul. He wanted her as she was, and he wanted her to know happiness that had not been a part of her life. He took her hand and guided her deeper into the overgrown garden. ‘There is another way, my darling, a way that will silence the accusations of the villagers, a way that will fulfil my promise to you and yours to me.’ He settled onto a lichen-covered stone bench and pulled her onto his lap.
‘And what is that way, my dear rider, that would silence the mob and leave me hale and hearty to do your bidding?’
He lifted her fingers to his lips and kissed them. ‘Farringdon battles me day and night, but he weakens. I have only drawn out his suffering this long because you have asked it of me. I know the route that will take him swiftly and painfully to death’s door. But, my dear little witch, these superstitious villagers will lay the blame at your feet, and you will be tried for his death.’
She nodded. ‘I expected nothing less. But you are the demon, we have made a pact. My death belongs to you. The power is yours to claim your prize even as the flames lash at my skirts, is that not so?’
‘It is so, and when our pact was first made, I cared not about the suffering of my prize as long as in the end the prize was mine to claim. But now …’
He took her face in his hands and held her gaze. ‘I do not wish your suffering, Elaine. I do not wish you to know the grip of a soul rider and the madness it brings.’
She studied him quietly for a moment, then her delicate shoulders rose and fell in a shrug. ‘Then you do not wish to … possess me?’
The embrace with which he surrounded her was hard enough to cause a gasp of breath. ‘More than anything I wish to possess you, my darling Elaine – body and soul.’ He kissed her fervently. ‘And heart.’
Her eyes misted and she swallowed hard. ‘My darling Ferris, all of those things, you already possess, and you have almost from the beginning.’ She nodded behind them to the great house. ‘But I cannot undo what has happened, and never in a thousand lifetimes could I go back to Patrick if we called off our agreement, not after being with you.’
‘But what if you could? What if you could make them all see what a loving, deserving wife you are, how you have taken the ne’r-do-well who is their master and turned his heart to the loving devoted husband he should be? Do you think they would call you witch then? Do you think they would shout for you blood then?’
‘You are suffering from your own hallucinations, my dear rider,’ she said, smoothing his hair from his face.
‘No, I am not.’ He held her hand to his cheek. ‘Listen to me, Elaine, if you could but see the flesh of Patrick Farringdon as only a tool, if you could trust me to chase from his flesh all that was that vile creature and leave only the vessel, I could wear that flesh. I could assume his role as your husband and no one,’ he squeezed her hand, ‘no one would ever know otherwise. He would be gone, and you would be safe and esteemed and loved as you should be, and I would be at your side.’
She began shaking her head before he could finish, so he spoke faster, ‘In our chamber, in our bed, in the private places I could wear this body if you would prefer it, my darling, but you would not have to fear for your life as you do now.’
‘No! I will not consider this path, demon. I know that what you speak is true but you do not know the suffering he has caused. If you did, you could not so easily look upon his flesh as just a vessel.’ She raised her hand to keep him silence. ‘Yes! I know that you speak the truth, and what you say makes sense, but I cannot abide even the vessel of him, and that you would wear it would defile you, my love. I cannot consider such a thing.’
‘Even if I treat you like a queen and take for you a palace in some distant land, you will still be a fugitive. Is this what you wish?’
‘I do not see how my legal status could be of concern to a demon.’
‘Your legal status is less a concern to me, my dear little witch, than your happiness, and once Farringdon has been destroyed and you are a fugitive with me, the time will come when you will crave what other mortal women have, things that I cannot give you.’
She pushed herself to her feet and turned toward the path back to the great house. ‘I am not other mortal women, my demon. Surely this you know by now. Finish what you have begun swiftly before I am the fuel for the fire, then take me and all shall be well.’
He relinquished corporeal form and followed her, making himself as a caress of spring sunshine wrapping around her, hovering close to her soft flesh, enfolding her, he whispered against her ear. ‘I beg you to reconsider, my love.’
She gave a little gasp at his presence. Her eyelids fluttered and her nipples hardened with the pleasure he gave, moving in places only a rider could reach. ‘And I beg you to understand why I cannot.’
The silence between them stretched, but the storm inside of him raged, and she felt his agitation with a prickle of goose flesh and a rising of fine hair. Human flesh was fragile, surely she, who had been injured and abused by the horrid creature who had been forced upon her knew this better than most. He would not have her so broken by those who did not understand her suffering
Without the hindrance of flesh, he could hear the rush of her blood in her veins and the acceleration of her breath like the wind on the moors. He could feel the tingle of nerve-endings aware of his presence and the pleasure, as well as the danger, it might carry. At last she spoke. ‘End it soon and take me away from here, Ferris.’
‘Very well, then –’ he took physical form again and she yelped at his sudden appearance ‘– you leave me little choice but to bring him back to himself.’
‘What?’ She scrambled away from him as he reached for her but she was not so fast as a demon. He caught her hand and pulled her back to him.
‘It is only a temporary respite for him, my little witch, and only to silence the accusations.’
The tension in her shoulders dissipated, but even in the darkness, even with his limited corporeal vision, he could see the shudder of her pulse in her throat. ‘Then what?’ She asked.
She blinked. ‘I do not understand how that will help me. I want him dead.
‘Oh do not you worry, my little one. I shall be the one controlling his vessel, and he will know, and understand exactly what is happening to him as I do. I will not take him to Edinburgh. There is a shepherd’s bothy I have seen on my night prowlings in an isolated place in the hills. I will take him there, and when I am done with him, he will believe fiends from hell have chased him and dragged him to meet their master. His body will be found along the Edinburgh road, robbed and murdered, set upon by ruthless bandits.
‘And then I shall come for what is mine.’
She released a long, shaky breath. ‘How long will you need?’
‘Two days; no more. I can take him sooner, but since you wish me to ride his soul until his mind breaks, then it is a task best savoured.’ And he would enjoy this one’s end immensely. ‘I will make sure that his body is swiftly found and that there is no doubt to your innocence, my darling Elaine. In the meantime, you must be seen in public places. You can use the excuse of your bleeding time no longer. You must do your best to go about as you did before you summoned me to you.’
Later in the night, he took flesh and slid down next to her under the blanket on the cot, where she lay curled on her side. He moved close until his body pressed against her and she moaned in her sleep. He hoped that her sojourn in the Dream World was a pleasant one. It had been his plan simply to watch her while she slept, but as he hovered above her, his urge to touch her drove him to take flesh and, in corporeal form, watching was not nearly enough to satisfy his need for her. Almost of its own volition, his hand went exploring, first to cup her breasts and then to slide down and caress the centre of her pleasure until it hardened to his touch and she squirmed against him and awoke to the feel of his manhood distended and stiff against her bottom. ‘Ferris?’ Her voice caught in her throat and her body jerked against him as he tweaked her.
‘It is I, my little witch. I could not stay away from you knowing that I would be deprived of your exquisite company for two endless days.’ He worried his hand between the press of her thighs, and she lifted her leg and bent her knee and trembled as he opened her folds and stroked. ‘Oh, my wicked little sorceress, your treasure is wet with the dew of your lust. Were you, perhaps, dreaming of me?’
‘Always,’ she sighed, sleepily. Then she reached behind her and fisted the length of his manhood. ‘And if the dream alone has not left me aching for the magic of your staff, then your fondling most definitely has, my love.’ She lifted her bottom and shifted until the valley of her gaped for him, and with a thrust of his hips, he pushed up into her from behind. He slid into her easier now, though the tightness of her sheath still astounded him.
She was always ready for his touch, always receptive to his cock, and he was ever amazed at the loveliness of her in the depths of her pleasure. She was beauty incarnate. She was the goddess herself, and she was his – he, a demon who had never been possessive in the way some demons were, certainly not in the way mortals were, but she was his heart, the heart he did not have, and now feared he could not live without. Her clenching and thrusting back against him brought him fully into the moment they shared. The ache of his load was heavy, at the very threshold of bursting. The bud of her pleasure tightened and stiffened against his tweaking. Her breath, her beating heart, her heat, her passion, her flesh — the most beautiful he had ever beheld, were, all in the present moment the simple eternity he wished for, an eternity with her. And when she clenched and convulsed against his cock, he could hold back no longer, and he filled her with his lust, grown heavy for her.
Outside the tower’s big window, an owl trilled and the sky paled with intimations of dawn. ‘I must go soon, my love,’ he said, kissing the nape of her neck.
‘Yes, little witch.’
She turned in his arms to face him. ‘When you have finished what you must do, when you return for me …’
‘What will you do to me, once I am yours?’
He gathered her to him so tightly that her breath rushed from her in a little sob. ‘When I return for you, little one, I will possess you, all parts of you,’ he gave her a hard fast kiss just to demonstrate, ‘And I will do such things to you as you can scarcely imagine, wicked things, filthy wet things, things that will make you mindless with lust. I will make you writhe and tremble. I will make you beg and pant, and I will take you again and again and again until you are lost on the sea of my lust with only me to keep you from the tempest, with only me to keep you from the waves.’ He bent and bit her nipple enough to make her flinch, and then to sigh softly. ‘And I assure you, my dearest little witch, I will protect you from none of it.’
She wriggled in his arms and rolled until she was on top of him and the covers fell away so that he could see her exquisite nakedness in the greying light, as she lifted the rounded pillows of her bottom and squatted over his cock, which throbbed once again with his need for her. As she sheathed him, she spoke in a thick voice. ‘I would expect you to give no quarter, my demon,’ she said, ‘for I owe you a great debt.’ She rocked against him, guiding his hands to her breasts. ‘Use me as you see fit.’
‘Elaine! My beautiful little witch. Elaine … Elaine … Elaine…’ Ferris awoke in his bed in Elemental Cottage calling out for her name.
‘Welcome back.’ Cassandra’s voice was nearly a sob. She sat on the edge of his bed clenching his hand in a white knuckled grip and bathing his face with a cool cloth.
‘I assume you’re making up for lost time?’ He squinted in the morning brightness streaming through the window to find Tara standing at the foot of the bed smiling down at him. ‘Either that or you just enjoy the Dream World so much you decided to stay for awhile.’
‘Elaine?’ He croaked. His voice felt as though it hadn’t been used in an age.
‘Still no sign of her,’ Cassandra said, offering him a glass of water, which he drank back thirstily.
‘Well then I have to go back. I have to go back to the Dream World. I was with her only just a few seconds ago. I was there to … Her husband … he deserved to die. He was a monster who deserved to die. He hurt her. Where’s Lucia? I have to go back.’ As he pushed himself into a sitting position, he caught sight of his reflection in the mirror, and the world spun and bucked around him, and for a second, he thought he would vomit. ‘Him! How can I be him?’ He shoved his way from the bed and stumbled to the mirror, running his hands over his face, the face of Patrick Farringdon. ‘I promised her I wouldn’t. I had a plan. How could this have happened? Why would I do this to her? I understand! I understand why she didn’t want me to wear his flesh, his hideous flesh!’ He fisted his hands in his hair and roared. ‘I can’t be him. I can’t! I promised her. I promised!’
‘Come now, my dear fellow. You can help no one in this state. Come back to bed. Fiori has made you some soup, and once you have regained your strength, you can tell us everything.’ Anderson slipped an arm around him and tried to pull him away from the mirror, and before he could fight the man off, Kennet joined him. Together, with strong, but gentle coaxing, they eased him back under the duvet just as Fiori arrived with a tray. He would have refused it in his torment but for the arrival of Alice and Marie right behind her.
‘We’ve found your Elaine, Ferris,’ Marie said. ‘No wonder we couldn’t find her at Storm Croft. She lived on the Scottish boarder.’ She paused and glanced at Alice, then at Tara, as though she were looking for permission, then she bit her lip. ‘Over three hundred years ago.’
Here are the links to the previous episodes in case you missed them:
Chapter 6 Beneath the Weight of Shadow
Chapter 7 Possessions
Chapter 8 Necessities and Inconveniences
Chapter 9 Demon Dreams
Chapter 10 Backlash
Chapter 11 Chasing the Dream
Chapter 12 The Summoning
Chapter 13 Tenuous Threads