This time it’s Susan who needs rescuing, but will she survive the rescue as help comes from strange places? Welcome to part 12 of my dark paranormal story, In the Flesh. Angels and demons, gods and monsters, sex and terror; when the boundaries are not clear, the journey can be deadly. But can the price be worth the paying?
In the Flesh is very dark paranormal erotica. When Susan Innes comes to visit her friend, Annie Rivers, in Chapel House, the deconsecrated church that Annie is renovating into a home, she discovers her outgoing friend changed, reclusive, secretive, and completely enthralled by a mysterious lover, whose presence is always felt, but never seen, a lover whom she claims is god. As her holiday turns into a nightmare, Susan must come to grips with the fact that her friend’s lover is neither imaginary nor is he human, and even worse, he’s turned his wandering eye on Susan, and he won’t be denied his prize. If Susan is to fight an inhuman stalker intent on having her as his own, she’ll need a little inhuman help.
Episode 12 in which Susan finds help in strange places, but is it the kind of help that can be trusted? Happy Reading!
In The Flesh: Part 12
The fight or flight instinct had been short circuited, and I could do nothing but kneel over Annie’s sleeping form while the scent of roses grew stronger and stronger and the impotent terror inside me remained trapped like ice just beneath my sternum. I don’t know how long I stayed that way. Time never ran the same when He took control, but it was the feel of His hand tightening against my throat that brought everything back into sharp focus, along with the shocking awareness that I could no longer breathe. Panic rose up my spine as the pressure increased around my neck, a caress just tight enough to constrict the flow of oxygen. The world around me shimmered and effervesced as I struggled not to lose consciousness.
“If you relax it won’t hurt, and you might actually enjoy it.” I couldn’t tell if His voice was coming from in the room next to me or if it were in my head, but the cascade of goose bumps over my body left me in no doubt that it was His voice, and His hand at my throat. “You strike me as a woman who might just enjoy a little pain with her pleasure, Susan.” His chuckle was like soft fur against naked flesh. “Oh don’t worry, my darling. You’re safe with me now, and I protect my own.”
It was a total surprised to find I had unbuttoned my blouse and reached behind to unhook my bra, my hands moving of their own volition, my whole body desperate to be exposed to Him, desperate to feel His touch, even as the danger I was in spiked my pulse and flooded my body with adrenaline with which I could do nothing, trapped as I was.
“I promise I’ll keep you safe from harm,” came the velvety purr next to my ear. “I do not, however, promise that I won’t make you pay for running away from me.” Then he brushed my left nipple with invisible fingers, and suddenly Michael’s love bite, just above the areola, burned like a branding iron fresh from the flames, and I screamed.
I must have lost consciousness, because when I came back to myself, my breast still stinging like fire, I was stumbling through the brambles and ivy of the garden, as though someone were pushing and shoving and herding me against my will. But then that was exactly what was happening, wasn’t it? I was moving in jerky, shambling steps like a marionette with an amateur puppeteer at the strings. To my horror, I had no control of any part of my body, least of all the arousal that should have been the last thing I felt at that moment. The small part of me that was still me, hiding in some tiny place in my brain, pushed and cursed and shoved her way to the forefront, reminding me that I was still there, that I couldn’t afford for one minute to lose control. I couldn’t afford to let fear, or worse yet, lust take over. In spite of the shit situation in which I clearly found myself, it was still a shock when I became aware of the heat of His body – the body that wasn’t real, I struggled to remind myself — pressed tightly against my back, pushing me forward.
He spoke next to my ear. ‘Surely you didn’t think Michael’s mark could protect you, did you?’ The soft breeze of his voice lifted a wispy strand of my hair, and I shuddered. ‘He can’t even protect himself without the help of that bitch, who owns him now.’ As His words turned bitter, I tasted them like bile at the back of my throat, along with cold terror from the realization that what I both most feared and most longed for was as much inside me as it was out. Frantically I sought the tiny part of me I could still access, and found it there, holding strong. That should have come as no surprise. After all, what would be the point, where would His victory be if He drove me from myself, drove me from my own sanity before I gave Him what He wanted?
The next moment, I was being shoved at the foot of Michael’s statue. As He released His marionette-like control, I lost my footing and banged my cheekbone hard against the edge of the plinth before catching my balance as the world around me erupted in an explosion of stars and pain that seemed somehow both closer than my own flesh, and yet distant, as though it didn’t matter, as though it no longer truly belonged to me.
“Oh, he’ll come for you, of course he will.” He spoke as though we were having a light conversation at the local pub over drinks and nibbles. “He’s very heroic, our Michael.” He mantled me now from behind, undoing my jeans with nimble fingers and sliding his hand inside. In my peripheral vision, I was certain I could now make out the shape of bicep and shoulder in the grey dawn, the shadow of muscular thighs pressed on either side of me, but then perhaps that was just in my head too. “The dear boy is also very delusional, my darling.’ His kiss was warm against my ear, his words humid. “In his heart of hearts, he knows he’s coming for me as much as he’s coming for you. Yes, delusional like you are, Susan. You came at my calling, no matter what you tried to convince yourself about poor dear Annie, who’s now sleeping peacefully while I punish you.’ He clucked his tongue. ‘The darling girl needs a lot of sleep these days. Insatiable though, my Annie, just as Michael is, just as I’m sure you will be too.’ He pushed my hair aside and possessively kissed and nibbled the back of my neck until I quivered beneath him, my hands fisted against the marble of Michael’s feet, nails digging into my palms to keep focus on the part of me still present enough not to want to rut like a beast.
‘And when Michael has come for you,’ my attention was drawn back to the sound of his voice, to the fact that I was grunting and moaning like some animal desperate for relief, desperate for His touch, ‘when Michael realizes he can no more take you from me than you can take Annie, oh, I think that we shall have a delightful time together, the three of us. We’ll have to make it quick of course,’ I felt His erection pressing up against the back of my jeans, and I struggled in a sudden wave of panic that He barely noticed, so complete was His control of the situation. “That bitch will come for him, and take him from me, but she won’t be pleased, she won’t be pleased at all about his … relapse.’ There was another bitter chuckle and I caught a slight whiff of burning rubbish. He cupped my left breast and this time I cursed loudly and profusely as He hurt me, the feel of Michael’s mark like an abraded blister against my skin. And still I wanted Him. No matter what He did to me, no matter how he hurt me, I wanted him, I needed him to fuck me, I needed Him never, never to stop fucking me until I was weak and used up and there was nothing left, until I ended up just like Annie. The less-than-subtle reminder of my no-win situation really pissed me off.
‘So you’re going to rape me then, instead of being a real man about it? Oh I forgot, you’re not a real man at all, are you? A real man would …”
I don’t know what I said after that. I don’t know what He did after that. All I know is that it hurt. It hurt a helluva a lot, and he made it hurt long enough to feel like an eternity. Just before I passed out He spoke against my ear. “I take no one by force, Susan, but I promise you, when I do take you, you’ll beg me to give you the release you need. You’ll beg me as you’ve never begged before. And in time, in good time, I’ll give you what you need.’ Then I lost consciousness wanting Him more than I ever wanted anything in my life and hating myself for it.
“Oh my poor little naïve scribe. Such a terrible way to learn the truth, but at least now you know. It is possible to want the very thing that’ll destroy you, and to want it so badly that your own destruction means nothing to you.”
It was a woman’s voice I heard in my dreams through a haze of pain and lust so tightly linked that I wasn’t sure which might kill me and I didn’t care as long as I got relief from my suffering. A cool feminine hand came to rest on my forehead, and I tried to open my eyes, but that hand slid down like a blindfold.
“Best you don’t do that right now. You might not like what you see. Keep your eyes shut for me, darling, and let me check how badly that bastard has damaged you.” The accent was strange, nothing I could place, and just barely there, just enough to make me hang on her every word. Though I wasn’t entirely sure that had anything to do with the accent. “I’m not dreaming?” I managed, before she placed a bottle of water to my parched lips and tilted it until I choked, sputtered and then drank.
“Hardly, Hon.” Her laugh was like warm honey, but when I attempted to open my eyes for a peek, she shoved the hand back over them none too gently. “I said keep your eyes closed, now if I have to tell you again, I’ll blindfold you and you won’t like that one bit.”
“Who the hell are you?” I asked shoving the bottle away and clenching my eyes shut tightly as she removed her hand.
Another disembodied laugh. “I would have though you bright enough to figure that one out. I’m the bitch.”
“You’re the thief?”
There was a girlish giggle. “Is that what Michael’s calling me these days? Well it’s better than some of the other things I’ve been called, and some of those even by him. People can be so hurtful at times, can’t they? Well, never mind, sticks and stones and all that, but yes, I am the thief.”
“Where’s Michael?” I tried to force myself to a sitting position, but she pushed me back with decidedly more strength than I was expecting.
“Michael’s still at home, fast asleep, which is exactly where I want him, where we both need him, at the moment.” As she spoke, I felt her gentle examination not in the way I’d felt His touch, but in the way I’d felt the water against my lips. As she moved her hands over me, I could also feel her buttoning buttons and snapping snaps, effectively making me decent, for all the good it would do.
“Oh, don’t worry, he’ll come for you when he can do some good. I’m not about to risk him and lose both of you. These things have to be timed just right, darling.”
“He’s asleep because of you?”
She shoved the bottle back to my lips, and I was surprised at just how thirsty I was. “Well, actually, he’s asleep because of you. If he’d awakened when you left, he’d not have let you come alone. The boy has some strange sense of honor that’s not always very practical.”
“Then you came to rescue me?” I asked, shoving the water bottle aside.
“No, of course not.” With her thumb, she wiped a dribble of water from my chin as though I were a sloppy child. “I came to make sure you weren’t damaged too badly, to make sure that rat bastard doesn’t hurt you beyond repair before it’s time to do what we have to.”
I felt the chill just behind my sternum deepen. “I’m the bate then, to distract Him while you and Michael get whatever it is that you’re trying to steal.”
This time the laugh was damn near a belly laugh. “Oh no, Sweetie! You’re not the bate at all. He is.”
“What do you mean, he is? Who is?”
“The asshole who terrorizes this place. Who else?”
‘What? Jesus! Are you serious? How the hell can he be the bate?”
“Shshsh!” She placed a cool finger to my lips. “Afraid you’ll have to trust me on this one, Sweetie. Now I have to go before he gets back. If he finds me here that would spoil everything.” She grabbed the bottle away from me, leaned in and kissed me on the cheek and I felt a waterfall of silky soft hair fall around my face as she did so. “Oh, and Sweetie, best you don’t tell the bastard I was here. Though I do enjoy watching a good temper-tantrum, it’s not in my best interest at the moment, and certainly not in yours.”
As she turned to go, I could hear the sound of soft footfalls and the whisper and swish of fabric against skin. I
risked a peek. The shape of her in the darkness was golden and nearly blinding. I blinked hard and my light-starved eyes teared. I saw only her back as she opened the door to leave. Her hair was long and bright like living flames. She
was light on her feet, like Michael’s statue, just touching down from a heavenly flight, but I was as sure as I was of my own name that whoever she was, she was no angel.
It was only as she shut a heavy door behind her, only at the sound of stone scraping stone, at the sudden plunge into total darkness, that I realized where I was. I was in the crypt beneath Chapel House. I could panic. I could scream. I could thrash all I wanted, but no one would ever hear me. No one would ever know I was there.