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Interview with a Demon: Instalment 10

Chapter 10 Choices and Connections

(Links to the rest of the interview at the bottom of the post)

 

The Guardian was silent, lost in thought. I waited, holding my breath, for the part of the story I knew changed everything, changed the lives of all those involved and so many more besides, including my own. I was just about to be very rude and prompt him, like a child waiting for the ending to a bedtime story, when he released a long, unnecessary breath and spoke.

 

“There are pivotal moments, K D, moments to which we can look back with the understanding that but for what at the time, might have seemed the most logical of choices, we could have changed everything by simply making a different choice, or perhaps no choice at all.”

 

“You’re speaking of the choice Susan made?” I asked tentatively.

 

“Of course I’m not speaking of the choice Susan made.” There was an edge of irritation in his voice that made the fine hair along the back of my neck bristle. “Have I not already said, Susan had no choice? This much you must understand if you’re to ever comprehend the story I’m telling you. Susan had no choice, no more than Annie did nor any of those who came before her, no more than Michael himself did, and he an angel fully clothed in the grace of his god. You see, my power has always been to be the maker of choices. Or viewed in a different way, the remover of choices. Yes, that perhaps is a better description of who I am, of what I’ve done.

 

“When Susan came to me that night in the crypt at Chapel House, she could have done nothing else. Her arrival was fated to her from the very moment she set foot on the premises. What I didn’t then understand, and certainly she didn’t until much later, was how she would free me. For you see when she arrived at the crypt, she brought her laptop. I thought at the time it was a strange thing to have done, though it truly didn’t matter. She seated herself on the floor, with her back against the wall. Her poor body shook as though she were a blade of grass caught up in a storm. I drank in her terror and her determination as she wrote, fingers trembling over the keyboard, and I read her words.

 

The narrative unfolding before me was a wonder I could have scarcely imagined. You see, there was no magical key, no hocus pocus she was obliged to speak, no potion or incantation that would set me free. My jailor had been very thorough in securing my bonds. But what my dear Susan did was a thing Magda Gardener – oh she went by a different name back then – could not have imagined when she imprisoned me. Susan simply wrote the opening of the rusted narrow gate that blocked off the lower, more treacherous, passage at the back of the crypt. She wrote herself into that narrative making herself both figuratively and literally my liberator. I lingered close to her, my excitement rising, with the realization of who she was, of what she was. Oh, of course I was not physically bound behind that gate. Such a thing could have never held me, but Susan had, in her magic, used the opening of that gate in her tale as the method of my release. You see, hers was the power of the written word, a power she could not yet completely comprehend.”

 

Here the Guardian paused only briefly. I was startled to discover he was breathing heavily, as though the excitement of the tale he told might overcome him. I quickly reminded myself that he didn’t need breath, that once again I was assigning to him human characteristics. Then with a tremor up my spine as I realized the assigning to him of human traits was the very trap all of his lovers, his victims, had fallen into. That brought with it the realization that he was suddenly much closer to me, and I felt his presence moving over my skin like fingers caressing.

“Stop it,” I managed, my own breathing suddenly accelerated nearly to hyperventilation. “Please stop it.”

 

His withdrawal was so sudden that I felt as though my skin were being ripped off. The groan which he offered was one of pain, not one of arousal. Once again his image became visible. He turned his back on me and walked to the edge of the beck, then sat down abruptly, cupping his head in his hands.

 

My own feelings were a roil of confusion, arousal, sadness and fear. I waited, struggling to catch my breath quietly, unobtrusively. But when he didn’t return his attention to me, I gathered my courage and asked in a very small voice, “Do you want me to leave?” His response was abrupt, startling.

 

            “Susan said later that what I did to her, what I did to all of them was … rape,” he spoke the word as though it were bitter on his tongue, and my insides clenched tight at its speaking and all it conjured in my head. It disturbed me deeply to realize that not long ago, I might have agreed with her, and now I was no longer sure. But what he said next made me even more uncomfortable. “It was, you know? The way I took her, the way I took them all. What else could it have been?”

 

“Isn’t that a … human response?” I couldn’t keep my voice from quivering as I spoke. “I mean, to think of it, of what you did, as … that?”

 

“Of course it’s a human response, for you see, Susan, at her very core is still human. Even that horrible creature, Desiree Fielding, is still human in her deeper nature. The succubus, some of Magda Gardener’s other more exotic minions, even Magda herself, though they have never been human, they … attach themselves to humans, to humanity, because … I suppose because they feel a need for connection they would not now otherwise have, as far removed from their original context as they are.”

 

“Is that … is that what’s happening to you?”

 

His laugh was so bitter I hardly recognized it as such. “I have not … attached myself to humans. It seems I’ve been attached to them by Susan’s fatal act, by what was, in earnest, her only true choice in this whole tale I tell. You must understand, being prisoner was not my choice, and while I have endeavored to make the best of the situation in which I now find myself, I would not have chosen it. For what you cannot see, what you cannot begin to understand, my dear little scribe, is that I battle every day against my nature. I battle every day to find a way to balance the love I bear Susan, Michael, and now Reese and his vampire against what I would do to them, to those they love, if I were at liberty.”

 

This time the slight chuckle was more bemused. “There, you see, K D, I am now assigning to myself the very human traits I have warned you not to.” Another slight chuckle with a shake of his head and he continued. “Susan has given me more liberty than she must, in some cases far more than that with which she is comfortable. I find, however, that it is less the liberty I crave than it is those connections of which we speak, the intercourse with other beings, even that horrible succubus.”

 

My own laugh was a burst of relief as much as anything. “I’ll be sure to tell her
that when she brings me back.”

 

“Please to. I delight so in irritating her.”

 

Once again we were silent. It was not a comfortable silence. I knew what was to come, and I knew that the Guardian would not gloss anything over for my own protection. I suppose a part of me hoped he would do what so many of the more conservative storytellers did and “close the bedroom door,” so to speak. Susan told her story with open, honest candor, and I’m not ashamed to admit, I found myself drawn to the Guardian, fatal though any attraction to him would be. But I knew only too well, that he lived for, in fact he fed upon that attraction, that sexual act, and I doubted he would spare me anything.

 

“Do you wish me to?” He asked. I jumped at the realization he was once again closer to me than an embrace, close enough to read my thoughts. “Do you wish me to spare you the details, KD?”

 

I shoved up from the chair, which I found myself once again inexplicably sitting in and stumbled to the edge of the beck, hoping for a bit of breathing room, or perhaps hoping he would take the choice out of my hands. But he moved away. I wanted to berate him for once again invading my thoughts, but I doubted he’d really had to in order to understand the emotions racing through me, the fear, the desire, the loathing of what I knew I could not help but feel in this voyeuristic act I was about to commit. I took a deep breath, which unlike him, I very much needed, and then I took another and looked out onto the beautiful Cumbrian night, which was no more real than the chair I’d just been sitting in. “I’m here to record your story. Isn’t that what a scribe does? You tell it as you need to, and I’ll write it.” I had an overwhelming urge to turn and face him, but he took away that possibility by moving behind me, close behind me, and resting his hands on my shoulders.

 

“Then I will not be gentle, KD.” I felt his breath against my ear. “I will be as painfully honest as I must. If I had not believed you capable of hearing my tale, capable of recording it in an unbiased way, I would not have asked you here into what I know is a very compromising situation. But you’re trembling. For that I’m sorry. I’ll give you a moment.”

 

From a long way off, I could hear Talia and Reese arguing, an argument in which my name figured frequently.

 

I took yet another deep breath and opened my eyes. “I’m ready,” I said, and the voices receded.

 

The Guardian guided me back to the chair and said softly, once again close to my ear. “Then I will begin.”

 

Links to Previous instalments of the interview

 

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

Part 9

 

Interview with a Demon 9th Instalment

R&R is over, and I have been properly lectured by Magda Gardener on my flight
home from the States. I’m relieved that she knows about my interview with the Guardian, but she made it very clear she didn’t approve. That being said, in spite of Magda’s warnings, a few days later I returned to the penthouse for my next meeting with the Guardian for instalment 9 of the interview. Listing for previous instalments are at the bottom of this post.

 

Chapter 9  Anticipating

It was almost a month before I was invited to return to the Guardian’s dream prison. In those first days, I slept most of the time, and when I did wake up, I was ravenous. I ate and slept again. On the evening of the third day I woke, ate and showered, and boarded the plane for some much needed R&R with family. I thought I was prepared for whatever would happen next, when Magda Gardener showed up on my flight home to informed that not only did she know about my interview with the Guardian, but she was not best pleased.

 

For the next few days, I waited, expecting that any time I would get called back to New York to continue the interview. But when the call had not come by the third day, I found myself unable to settle, unable to relax, vacillating between hoping Magda had forbidden further meetings with the Guardian and longing desperately to see him again, to hear the rest of his story. On the fourth day, not only did I get the call, but one of the Consortium’s private jets had been sent for me. It seemed that after her stern talk to me, Magda had decided best expedite the whole interview under her watchful eye. I didn’t know how I felt about that, but I was more than a little bit anxious to get back to the Guardian.

 

I arrived in New York with more of a sense of excitement and anticipation than I would like to admit. That in itself frightened me. I told Magda Gardener that I had made a commitment and I would see it through to the end, but in my heart of hearts, I feared my desire to continue the interview had little to do with my commitment at this point.

 

At the flat in New York City, Talia met me at the door and invited me back to the big bed. This time it was Reese who sat in the wing backed chair, rising to kiss me on both cheeks. Then he held me at arms length and inspected me as though he were checking for physical wounds. “I’m all right,” I mumbled. “Better now that I’ve rested.” Then I added without waiting, “Magda knows.”

 

Reese didn’t seem surprised. “It doesn’t matter. She doesn’t know him as well as she thinks she does. He won’t hurt you,” Reese said, as he stepped back, still not taking his eyes off me. “But no matter what his intentions are, you’ll never be the same after being with him.”

 

“Thanks for that, Reese,” Talia grumbled. “You didn’t do too bad out of the deal. Besides that no one is forcing her to do this interview. She’s not so stupid as to think a demon is ever safe, and if she is, well she deserves what she gets.”

 

She motioned me toward the bed, but I balked. “Do you love him?” I asked Reese.

 

He took another step back, almost as though I had hit him, and rested a hand on the back of the chair. “I … think of him differently now.” Then he settled back in the chair, but avoided my gaze.

 

As I lay down to the bed, Talia crawled in next to me and pulled me close to her. This time she wore silk pajamas. “He’s a monster, K D,’ she whispered next to my ear. “It takes more than most people are up for to love a monster, whatever the hell that even means.” Her words were brittle, lacking in the usual humor that usually surrounded the succubus.

 

I wanted to argue that Reese was a monster too now and so was she, that they all were, but I fell asleep before I could say anything.

 

I awoke on my back in the grass looking up at the stars. The Guardian sat next to me looking out over the fells. “You appear much more rested now, K D,” he said without looking at me.

 

“I am, thank you.” I eased myself into a seated position, fighting a slight sense of disorientation. He let me get my bearings before he spoke again then he simply said. “I overheard the conversation. So our dear Magda Gardener knows of our meetings.”

 

I nodded. I’d begun to understand he didn’t need to see or hear me, and sometimes I didn’t really need to respond at all. That happened more often than it was comfortable to think about.

 

“Well, I’m delighted that our situation merited a plane flight and a motherly lecture. You should consider yourself among the blest.” I wondered if I was only imagining the strange blend of humor and bitterness in his voice. I was certainly not missing the hint of triumph when he added, “and you came back anyway. I am honored.”

 

There was another moment of silence and then he spoke without preamble as though I hadn’t been gone for nearly a month.

 

“She wrote my escape, Susan did. Of course I deceived her into thinking that she and Annie, in their drunken celebration after she had seen Chapel House, were only making up tales inspired by the place, and I was nothing more than the imaginary lover hiding in the dark. I was simply an idea for a story Susan would write later, put aside among her notes and documents to be opened and resurrected when she had time and when the inspiration struck her.” His laugh was forced. “You see to what levels I was willing to stoop to be free, and I would say that it was nothing, that I would have done so much more. That would not be a lie, I promise you. But you must understand I had never encountered a real Scribe before, in fact I did not believe that such a creature even existed in these secular sterile times.

 

“That she could simply write my freedom into existence was joy beyond joy for me. But that she had such power made her all the more desirable, for no matter how much I lusted for Annie, no matter how much I wanted her, she had no power other than her beauty, and beauty is a fleeting thing. A story well told, however, is immortal.

 

“In the night, she rose up from her bed, while Annie slept the sleep of the comfortably inebriated. She found the key to Chapel House and she drove there by herself. I knew that she would come. I knew that nothing short of death would keep her from me and, K D, I was then, as I ever am, insatiable. My freedom would never be enough, I would possess not only Susan, but I would take Annie as well.

 

“And there is more, another part of this story that makes me believe, in spite of all that has happened, that my experiences, all of our experiences, have led us to this point in our journey for a reason. That it was meant to be.” He chuckled softly. “How very human it sounds to say such a silly thing. But you will understand when I tell you. You will know why I believe such a thing to be true. You see, while Annie spoke of her plans for the renovation of Chapel House there in the crypt, she mentioned the builder who she would hire on for the project, Michael Weller. Oh yes, I knew full well who Michael Weller was, and my greed, my hunger, could barely be contained as I waited for my release.

 

“You see, I would have it all. Susan would make it so. I would have my freedom, I would have Annie, and then I would have Susan and Michael, and I would make them my own and keep them close to me for the rest of time.

 

“Dear K D, in the whole of my existence I cannot recall a moment when I was more beside myself with excitement, with anticipation of what would soon come to fruition because of my lovely little Scribe. I waited in the dark, a creature of infinite patience impatient as I had never known impatience. I waited with anticipation for my first proper taste of freedom, for my first proper taste of Susan.

 

Links to Previous instalments of the interview

 

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

 

A Scary Encounter on the Flight Home

As you know, I’ve been in the States visiting family the last three weeks. It’s been a happy time spent playing with the nieces and then later huckleberry picking and road-tripping with my sister. It’s been a restful, healing time away from the Guardian and the interview that, I’ll admit, had me pretty frazzled. The last thing I expected when I boarded the plane to Heathrow for the return flight was an encounter with Magda Gardener. Here’s what happened. 

 

“I know what you’re doing.” I’m instantly wide-awake. For a second I don’t remember where I’m at, but then the flight attendant brushes past me in the aisle and I can just make out the sonorous buzz of a snore coming from the man in the seat behind me. The too warm cabin suddenly feels like the arctic, and my arms prickle in a wave of goose bumps. I feel like my insides have turned to ice and the urge to run is cut off at the pass. I can’t run. I can’t even breathe. And just as panic sets in, the feeling passes and I’m breathing again, gasping like I’ve just run a marathon.

 

 

A warm finger nudges the hair away from my cheek. “Did you think I wouldn’t figure it out?” A breath of a whisper brushes my ear. I recognize the voice and I’m covered in goose bumps all over again.

 

Slowly I turn in my seat to find the empty space next to me filled with Magda Gardner, who’s smiling down at me as though we are just two girlfriends having a chat. “I know what you’re doing,” she repeats in a low even voice. “Though I doubt that you have any idea.”

 

“I figured you’d find out soon enough.” I try to sound like I don’t care, like it doesn’t matter to me one way or another that the woman knows I’m interviewing the demon who lives inside her vampire Scribe. Seriously, you can’t sound anything but bat shit crazy if you say something like that out loud in casual conversation.

 

“And you didn’t think it might be wise to at least give me the heads-up?” Her voice is still ridiculously conversational, bestie casual.

 

“I had no way of giving you the heads-up when I don’t even know how to get in touch with you.” Not that I really wanted that information. I’d prefer the woman forget all about me entirely, but Magda Gardener/AKA Medusa, never forgets anything … or anyone if she has a good use for them.

 

Without being asked, the flight attendant delivers her a whisky in a cut crystal glass. I assume Magda is back here with me because she’s slumming from first class. The attendant delivers me a flute of champagne. Magda Gardener is a lot of things, but she’s not cheap.

 

She thanks the woman, then dismisses her. Once she’s gone back to the first class cabin, Magda lifts her glass. “To lies and the nasty truths they uncover,” then she sips daintily.

 

I go through the motions of joining her in a drink. Enjoying what I’m sure is very expensive champagne is impossible under Magda Gardeners scrutiny. “I didn’t lie,” I say.

 

“Was it Susan who contacted you?” she asks, running a well-manicured nail around the rim of the glass.

 

“It’s not like he could contact me on his own.” I reply.

 

“You should have told her you wouldn’t do it unless I knew.”

 

“He didn’t want you to know. Any good journalist wouldn’t reveal her source.”

 

“You’re not a journalist,” she says, “and he’s not a source. He’s a demon, a monster, and you’re way out of your depth of experience no matter how good you are at what you do.”

 

“I didn’t say I was good.” I was neither smug nor arrogant about a situation that scared the crap out of me from the beginning. I would have gladly turned down the offer if I hadn’t feared the consequences of doing so.

 

“Believe me, there’s no question of your abilities or I wouldn’t have allowed you to write my story and the stories of my people. “But the issue is what contact with him will do to you. It’s already affecting you, whether you’ll admit it or not.”

 

“You owe him. All of you owe him.” The words slip out of my mouth before I could stop them.

 

To this she simply chuckles and sips at her whisky. “I rather think it’s the other way round. He owes us, and he knows it. He’s got a helluva lot to answer for, in case you’ve forgotten.” She waves a dismissive hand. “Of course he loves Susan and Michael, at least as much as a being like him can love anyone. And I dare say he’s very fond of Reese and Alonso too. He wants them to think better of him. His existence is easier if they do.” She waves a hand. “As for what he did in the fight against Richard Waters, he has no choice but to obey Susan’s commands. You wrote the story. You know this.”

 

I stare at my barely touched champagne. I know better than to look her in the face. “You think that’s all it is, he’s just obeying commands?”

 

She doesn’t answer immediately, and for a moment I wonder if perhaps she’s chosen not to, but then she sighs softly, pushes the ever-present Ray-bans up close against the bridge of her nose and says, “I don’t know. But he and I have a long and unpleasant relationship. Neither of us has any real reason to trust the other. But don’t you think a demon like him would take whatever pleasure he could get in whatever from it took, even if he is a prisoner?”

 

“You think I’m the entertainment.” A cold shiver ran down my spine at the thought I’d too often contemplated.

 

“I don’t think anything. But I do know that no matter how completely he’s incarcerated, he’s still dangerous.”

 

“So what exactly is it you want me to do,” I ask. “It’s not like I wanted this job, but then that’s never mattered much to any of you, what I want, has it?”

 

Her lips curl in a smile that’s nearly sentimental, as though in her mind’s eye, she’s fondly recalling all of our encounters to date. “No. It hasn’t.” She downs the rest of her whisky then turns to face me, and like it or not, I feel compelled to look at her, even with the chill creeping over my arms and throat. “As for exactly what I want you to do, first I want this conversation to stay between us. He doesn’t need to know we’ve spoken. Second, I want you to limit your time in his presence when you’re doing this silly interview. I’ve already talked to Talia and she’ll be monitoring you more closely.”

 

“No.” The word comes out lacking conviction and sounding almost like a plea. “I won’t keep our conversation from him. He knows you’ll find out eventually, and I don’t want to be the one caught keeping secrets from him. It seems to me that could be a whole lot more dangerous than being above board.”

 

To this Magda laughs out loud and the woman sitting across the aisle from me looks up from her magazine in irritation. “Choose very carefully which monster you refuse,” she says. “He fears me, and he’s a lot of things, but he’s not stupid.”

 

“The way I see it, my choices are pretty thin on the ground,” I replay.

 

“He would possess you, use you up and spit you out in a heartbeat if he thought he could get away with it,” she said. “Don’t believe for one moment that he doesn’t know exactly what effect he’s having on you. He knows how you crave his company, even as you fear it. He knows how he worms his way into your fantasies, even though you try to deny it. He knows that the longer he drags out the interview, the more danger you’re in. He knows all of this, K D, and he keeps inviting you back.”

 

“I won’t lie to him,” I say, not even trying to hide the trembling that seems to have taken control of me. “If you want me to stop the interview, then you have to put an end to it. Otherwise I’ve made a commitment. Up until now, I’ve done everything you’ve asked me to, in spite of the uncomfortable, and dangerous situation it’s often put me in. I’m damned if I do and damned if I don’t, but I’m not about to make it worse by lying to him.”

 

The glasses slip down her nose, and I nearly dump champagne in my lap I’m shaking so hard. My heart feels like it’ll beat me to death in its mad hammering. I can just make out the flutter of golden eyelashes before she pushes the glasses back into place. “All right. But we’ll all be monitoring you closely, and if I feel it necessary to put an end to the interviews, I will, no matter what you, or he, want. Is that clear?”

 

“Perfectly.” My voice is little more than a whisper.

 

“Good. Now drink your champagne.” She watches until I swallow it back in a single gulp, wishing I’d had her whisky instead. “That’s a good girl, now get some sleep.”

 

It’s the announcement of the descent into Heathrow that wakes me. The champagne flute is gone and so is Magda Gardener. There’s absolutely no evidence that she’s even been there. I return my chair to the upright position and close the tray table thinking about the encounter. With all that’s been happening to me since I began the interview with the Guardian, I’m well aware that it could have easily all just been a dream. But I’m certain that it wasn’t.

 

Interview with A Demon 8th Instalment

It would appear even the Guardian thinks I need a break from our interview. I have been ordered by him to take a rest before I continue with the interview. I hadn’t realised my exhaustion from the efforts of dreaming with him night after night, but that is a part of his power, to make one forget the consequences of too much time in his presence.

 

After sleeping sixteen hours worth of dreamless sleep under the watchful eyes of Talia and Susan, I woke to discover my bags packed and a plane ticket to the West Coast to spend time with my sister. I have been forbidden to enter the dream in which I can access the Guardian’s prison for two full weeks.

 

I’m writing this post from 37,000 feet over the Rocky Mountains, the write-up of my last visit with the Guardian before my enforced rest. It’s nearly midnight, and I’ll too be setting down in Oregon for some much needed R&R and distraction with my dear sister.

 

 

If you have missed any of the interview so far, you will find the links for previous instalments at the bottom of the post. 

 

Instalment 8: Meeting the Scribe

The pause, which I figured the Guardian meant to be dramatic, was an uncomfortable one. While he had just told me, in detail, his first intimate encounter with Annie, I wasn’t well acquainted with Annie. She was already out of the picture when I was called in to tell the tale. That made her story once removed from me, and even with that I found the intimacy nearly unbearable.

 

But Susan was different. I was much more closely connected to her story, and the thought of hearing such private matters made me want to call out to Talia to bring me back. With a start, I realized it wasn’t just hearing those details that frightened me, but for all practical purposes I had been feeling them too. Such was the Guardian’s gift. Throughout the entire interview, the reality of the tale he wove was far more virtual than I had until now realized. I wondered if he had planned it that way.

 

Considering her response to the Guardian’s sharing of his encounter with Annie, I couldn’t keep from wondering what Susan would do when he shared her story. And yet, she had told her own tale. She had told the lurid, the dark, the intimate details of a story too personal, one no one else need know, and she did it without flinching, something I could have never done.

 

It was only as the Guardian drew breath to speak that it occurred to me perhaps the pause had not been for dramatic effect at all but because what he was about to impart was far more personal and more difficult for him to share. But then perhaps I was anthropomorphizing. He was in no way human, as he kept reminding me. Still, I braced myself for impact as he began to speak.

 

“When I think of the coincidences, the synchronicity, as Carl Jung might have called it, that brought Susan and me together, I am still all astonishment.” He had returned to pacing the cliff edge. Though I could hear him easily enough, his voice had gone strangely distant. “That Susan was a writer, a scribe, meant only that she made her living with her imagination. That fact increased the likelihood of her being able to sense my presence, that I might find a way to draw her to me.

 

“It is essential at this point, K D, that you keep in mind I do not see humanity, flesh and blood, as you do. While most of the human world would look upon Annie as an astounding beauty, it would pay little attention to Susan — at least not before our vampire changed her. And in all fairness, Susan did little to draw that attention. Perhaps it was our similarities that drew me to her so deeply in the beginning. We both lived in our own private worlds and strove to avoid unwanted attention.”

 

He paused for a moment, as though he had not given this observation thought before. “I could sense her presence the instant she entered the front garden of Chapel House. Imagine the brightest light illuminating the darkness, imagine a black and white image suddenly not only brilliant with color, but alive, living and breathing and vibrating with potential for so much more. That is what I saw in Susan at our moment of contact.”

 

He chuckled softly and I could feel the warmth of a smile I couldn’t see. “Oh you would laugh, K D, if you had seen my response to that first encounter. Our essences had barely touched. I felt the tension move over her body with a little tremor, and then … then I fled like a frightened child, back to the crypt, back to the confines of my prison. There I remained waiting, for I knew Annie would bring her to me. You see, the crypt was Annie’s favorite place.”

 

“So I waited there, trembling, pacing, beside myself with anticipation. For, as you know, K D, my dear Susan is a proper Scribe. Her magic filled the entire space that was Chapel House and even that could not contain her. Oh, of course she knew nothing of this, nothing at all, and that realization filled me with both anticipation and fear.”

 

At this point, he turned swiftly to face me, as though he had forgotten his admonishment that I should not look at him. I quickly looked away, but not before the wave of raw, cold hunger washed over me. For an instant I felt as though I’d fallen through a hole in the world with no bottom in sight. And then I was drawn back to his voice, my eyes averted so that I could only view his feet in battered hiking boots, the kind that I knew Reese Chambers wore. “While you have not her magic, K D, you understand full well the power of words. Your Judeo-Christian mythology even states that for the act of creation to occur the power of the spoken word was necessary. Let there be light. And oh, how Susan was my light.”

 

He settled into the chair again, his fingers drumming on the leather of the arm as though he were thinking what to say next. And when he lingered long in the action, when I was just about to say something, anything to ease the tension, he exhaled long and slow. “You know that I deceived her. Strange that until that very moment, until Susan Innes walked into Chapel House, what I would do, what I had done for the whole of my existence had never seemed to be deception before. I knew nothing else. It was as much my nature as breathing in and breathing out is to you. And yet when I fled her that day, when I hid trembling in the crypt waiting for her, for the first time I questioned that nature.”

 

He raised a hand as though to negate what he had just said. “Please do not think that meeting Susan Innes suddenly made me more human. You see, K D, I shall never be human. I do not, I cannot think or be as you are. But I can draw parallels. I can, perhaps see things differently than I have seen them before. But this was not an epiphany, this was only my own understanding of the gravitas, the impact of what I would do. And from Susan Innes, I already knew, I would take far more than I had ever taken from anyone before her.” He sighed softly, sadly. “What I did not fully understand at the time was just how much she would take from me.”

 

“Then you didn’t know that there was a risk?” I asked.

 

“Of course I knew that Susan was dangerous, but that didn’t matter to me. It was a risk I was willing to take after my long incarceration. I gambled on the fact that she didn’t know she was dangerous. To be honest, I feared much more what our dear Magda Gardener would do if my plan came to fruition. But the arrogance in me also longed to gloat in my triumph over her once Susan had set me free, for I knew the Gorgon would want her as a part of her collection and would loathe that I had taken her for myself. None of that matters now, however. What’s done is done.”

 

He continued his story. “I waited for what seemed like an eternity to one who knows what an eternity feels like. And then I heard them on the stairs descending into the place that was my prison, which suddenly changed, became transparent, and then was transformed into the shape of the Scribe, the woman standing before me. Oh yes, K D, I saw her transformed to my freedom and my prison. I have often wondered if that first glorious view of her in the crypt was a premonition of what would be, and yet at the time all I felt was a sense of anticipation.

 

“But I swear to you I wasn’t ready for the presence of a true Scribe. The moment her feet left the final step of descent, the moment she stood wholly in the crypt, her own presence enveloped me as completely as my prison and, in an instant I was closer to her than I was to myself. I moved across the goose flesh climbing her arms at my touch. I reveled in the catch of her warm, humid breath as I took in the shape of her, the rising scent of both her terror and, blessed be all that is sacred, her lust. She knew I was there. She knew it as surely as her heart beating so rapidly, but the dear woman said nothing.

 

“Oh, the courage that must have taken for her to hold herself so, for her to keep our secret. She only urged Annie, poor oblivious Annie, to keep talking to keep sharing her plans, to keep discussing how she would make the crypt into a wine cellar with a bar. Anything to keep her talking just a little long, just a little more so that she might linger, so that I might take my beautiful Scribe into myself as she had done me. As my dear Susan played for time, I made love to her. Oh, it wasn’t the kind of love I wanted to make to her, the kind in which I lingered long and partook deeply, but it was a mutual exploring, a teasing. It was glorious foreplay and an intimation of what was to come. My touch and caress, her response and arousal, it was all an imparting of information, an understanding shared between two who knew beyond a doubt that they would become lovers. Those few precious shared minutes were giddy and edgy and filled with anticipation of what delights were to come when she returned later that night to free me.”

 

His sigh was like a soft fell breeze. The owl trilled again, and I held my breath. “I have not thought of that night since Susan was changed. I feared it would drive me insane for the longing of it.” He raised his hand as though he were shooing away an unwanted insect. “Not so much the longing for my freedom, but for the loss of that intimacy, the loss of that living flesh, of that beating heart that I would never know again.”

 

“You love her.” I knew the minute I said it that I had spoken out of turn. He didn’t answer for a long time and when he finally did, he sounded tired, and there was something else in his voice, a sense of melancholy, perhaps.

 

“I cannot love, K D. I have not that capacity.”

 

Strange that his words felt like a slap, and it was all I could do to keep from gasping at the impact.

 

There was another long silence in which I wavered between the need to apologize and the desire to make excuses for what seemed like a stupid question given what he had told me repeatedly about his lack of humanity. The Guardian sat quietly and studied his hands folded in his lap. This time when he spoke it was not to me. “Susan, darling, K D has been here too long. She is at risk if she lingers longer. Have the succubus bring her up from the Dream World so that she may rest for awhile.”

 

I woke up in the big bed. The room was dark and Talia was now in the winged back chair drinking wine and reading a novel. Susan sat on the bed beside me, my hand clenched in hers. Her eyes were wet. I wanted to say something to her. It seemed important that I did, but before I could form the words, I slept. This time there were no dreams.

 

 

 

Links to Previous instalments of the interview

 

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

 

Interview with a Demon Part 1

Part 1 (my notes on an unauthorized interview with the Guardian)

 

As a scribe, albeit a low-level one, I’ve had some pretty harrowing experiences with my characters, many of which have straddled that dark line between what’s real and what comes from my imagination. I’ve been invited to a vampire’s home where I was soundly threatened and warned away from the story I was writing – a story too personal for his liking, a story I was forced to write anyway. I’ve met Magda Gardener/AKA Medusa on the Manhattan Bridge, where she all but hijacked me into her consortium. I’ve even walked in the storm tunnels of Vegas with Hades and Cerberus/ AKA Jon and Gus. I was pretty jet lagged at the time though. I’m still not sure that wasn’t just a dream.

 

While I’m not a Scribe in the true sense that Susan Innes is, Magda seems to think that as far as simply recording the stories she wants told, I’ll do. That means I’m often put into, shall we say, unusual situations. While vampires are terrifying, and somehow Medusa, in her Magda guise can be convincingly safe, if she wants to be … as long as you don’t look too closely, the interview I’m about to share with you is completely unsanctioned. Not a chance it’ll stay beneath Magda’s radar, and yet, when I was asked by the interviewee to tell his story, how could I refuse? In fact, I’m not sure refusing was an option. I don’t mind saying that interviewing Hannibal Lector through the bars of his prison would have made me less anxious. You see Susan Innes has approached me to interview the demon now imprisoned inside her body. Since she is both his prison and only one of two people to survive a full possession by him, neither of them felt she could possibly write his story objectively.

 

Susan meets me at the door of the penthouse apartment in Tribeca, which she shares with Michael, who is a fallen angel, or retired, as he prefers to call himself. He’s the only other person to survive possession by the demon. It’s night, and the lights of Manhattan are like jewels flung out beyond ceiling to floor windows of an open planned living space big enough to pass as a small ballroom.

 

Susan is a vampire, but that’s not why she asked me to come to her at night. Because of her demon prisoner, she could have easily met me in broad daylight on the Manhattan Bridge or in Central Park. But this interview will involve a bit of dream magic. The demon I’ll be interviewing, known as the Guardian, has insisted that it be him I speak to without using Susan as the intermediary. That means I have to approach him through dreams.

 

You’re probably wondering how I could possibly sleep in the presence of a scary-ass demon and a vampire. With the help of a succubus, of course. In the guest bedroom where the interview will take place, Talia Zephora looks up at me and smiles. She sits in a wing backed chair flipping through the pages of Cosmoand sipping red wine. “We meet again, KD.” She doesn’t offer me her hand, which is just as well. I know exactly what I would feel if she did, and I’ll experience enough of her magic very shortly anyway. “You manage to get mixed up with some rough characters, don’t you?”

 

I just smile stupidly. There’s no good answer to that one. “How’s Alonso?” I ask. She works for him.

 

“He’s got his hands full now that Reese has joined the growing ranks of the undead.” She offers a low throaty laugh. “Though he’s so cute when he’s hungry. Reese, not Alonso. Alonso is never cute.” She lifts her glass to me. “Want some. It’s a good one.”

 

“No thanks,” I manage, hoping no one will notice the little tremor in my voice that I can’t seem to get rid of in spite of all the fail safes I’ve been assured are in place.

 

She nods. “Just as well. You won’t need it to make you feel good, I promise.”

 

The fight or flight response kicks in, and I take a step back and reach for the door handle involuntarily. She laughs out loud. “Just kidding. I’m just here to get you inside,” she nods to Susan and shrugs, “Wherever the hell inside is. I suppose it’ll be up to you to find his cell. After that, well then you’re on your own.”

 

Susan flips Talia the finger and the succubus blows her a kiss for her efforts. “It’ll be okay, KD.” Susan says nodding to the bed. “All he wants is a chance to tell his story. He figures you know him better than anyone … at least you think you do.”

 

I can’t help wondering if that last little bit is Susan speaking or the demon.

 

I kick out of my shoes and lay down on the enormous brass bed. Ideal for handcuffs and rope, a thought I wish I hadn’t just had. I’ve worn a soft pair of track bottoms and a tank top, something comfortable but not too intimate. This is an interview, I remind myself. That’s all. Susan pulls a blanket up over and tucks me in. Her gaze moves to the pounding of my pulse in my neck and she pats my shoulder. “Just relax. It’ll be all right.”

 

It’s damn near impossible to relax as Talia crawls under the blanket next to me, still fully dressed, so we are keeping it all business-like. Then she takes me into her arms and pulls me close, and I realize it doesn’t matter what she’s wearing. I’m completely at her mercy, that is until I meet the Guardian, then a succubus might well seem like a waltz in the park. Even as her kiss pulls me under, I can’t help remembering what the Guardian has done to others, what he’s capable of doing to me. Promises of safety suddenly seem ridiculous, and just when I’m about to reconsider, throw off the blanket and make a run for it, I fall fast and deeply asleep.

 
© 2018 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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