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In the Realm of Gods, Monsters and Billionaires

From the Archives

Aaaand, here we are on the billionaire ride at the fun fair again! You know, it’s a bit
like your favourite roller coaster. You know there are other rides, but this is the one you do over and over again. I always take that ride with binoculars and microscope in hand, because there’s way more going on in tales of power and wealth and control than … well … power and wealth and control. The thing is, while some of us may be sick to death of the 50SoG saga and others may be elated by still more Grey Lookalikes, the fact is, not only are billionaires here to stay, but billionaires have been with us in their more archetypal forms since the time of telling stories in the cave around the fire.

 

I know! I know! Here I go again. But the truth of the matter is that power and control, in all their guises have a facet of raw, primal lust, and few things are more darkly and secretly fascinating than the idea of being forced to give up control and finding that we like it. Being possessed, being under someone else’s thrall, being taken to the realms of ecstasy, whether it’s on Mount Olympus, in Dracula’s dungeon lair or in a penthouse apartment, is a part of that dark fantasy that makes up not only the mythological seductions, but every vampire story, ever monster story, and yes … every billionaire romance.

 

Why is that? What makes that dark fantasy such a powerful one. Well, I have a theory, and I’ve been playing with that dark fantasy from the writing of the first Lakeland Witches novel. Certainly, Medusa and her Consortium keep me coming back again and again for more of that dark fantasy. I think that no matter how appalled we are, no matter how stubborn and independent we are, we want to know what it’s like to be with and to be taken by a force so much greater than us. What’s it like to be bitten and seduced by a vampire? What’s it like to make love to a monster?  What’s it like to be seduced by a god? What’s it like to be the object of lust for a billionaire? And ultimately what price are we willing to pay for entrance into Club Billionaire, Club Olympus, Club Undead? It’s more than lust. It’s more than love. In fact it’s all a little mercenary really. We want, we long for, a chance to take into ourselves all that we’re not. We want to know their secrets. We want those divine, powerful, filthy rich, forbidden lovers to reveal to us their inner workings just as much as they want to possess us. The ultimate question then becomes can we pay the price and survive to tell the tale ? Can we achieve our HEA and find some sense of balance in a world to which we are the interloper?  Oooh! It’s always so much fun to find out.

 

New Episode of Interview with a Demon

Author’s Note:

It’s been awhile since I’ve put up the next part of my interview with the Guardian. I apologise. You have to remember that interviewing a demon is not actually my forte. I’m not a journalist, and I’m certainly not comfortable with my first big interview being the Guardian. I would like to say that I have more control of the situation than I do, but I wouldn’t want to lie. Needless to say the efforts have taken their toll. I’ve had to have a bit of recovery time before I could face our next session. I’m not sleeping well. I find myself fearing that I will drift off and end up back in the Guardian’s prison even without Talia, the succubus, to guide me there and safeguard my time with him.

 

When I’m not involved with the interview, I’m thinking about it, obsessing over it, over him. In the beginning I wanted to hurry and get it over. I had hoped for one meeting with him to do it all. Now, I find myself dragging it out, struggling to stay away, and yet dying to hurry back and finish.

 

Both Susan and Talia have banned me from his prison for a few weeks, fearing for my health, even though he has been nothing but polite to me, and done nothing that should affect me so. But he is a demon, and I have no special powers, no abilities to protect myself from him, so the interview has not been an easy thing to write.

 

While the Guardian has asked that our efforts be kept secret from Magda Gardener, I have heard the whispers between Talia and Susan about bringing her into the situation just in case. The Guardian, I think would not like that, and we all fear that to do so would mean having to abort the interview, since we can’t really imagine Magda being best pleased about our efforts.

 

In the meantime, I drink lots of coffee. Read into the night to distract myself and wander about the house and the garden at all hours. Having a bit of a break has helped, and I’ve had time to organise my notes and prepare this posts. But I know what is ahead. I know Susan’s version of the horrors that happened in Chapel House. I know what the Guardian has done. The idea of hearing his view on what went on there, I have to admit, I find both daunting and very frightening.

 

 

The links to the interview so far are at the bottom of this instalment. 

 

 

Chapter 7  Disappointments and Possibilities

“As my lovely Annie immersed herself in the scented waters of the big bath, I did all that was in my power, limited as it was at the time, to surround her, embrace her. I wanted her to feel as though the lover she imagined sharing such an experience with was, indeed there with her, delighting in her every touch, in her every sigh, in her every moan, and oh, how she moaned.”

 

I did my best not to let my own discomfort show. While it was true I didn’t want it to interfere with the interview, it was also true that I didn’t want the Guardian knowing just how uncomfortable the thought of his love life made me, and as I’ve already stated, I feared if he couldn’t actually read my mind, he could certainly read me. After all, he fed off body language, off emotions, off of physical responses, and the more visceral the better. But thankfully he seemed wholly caught up in his story.

 

“Perhaps it is not mine to tell, perhaps Susan would admonish me for sharing such a detail, but my dear Annie had come to Chapel House with the very idea of pleasuring herself, of enjoying an evening of carnal delights at her own hand. How I longed for it to be my hand, my mouth, my sex fulfilling her deepest desires. So convinced was I that she could sense my presence, that she had come clandestinely to Chapel House in hopes of drawing me to her, even seducing me, if you will, that I brought all of my essence to her that night. Understand, my dear KD, that I have no need to do such a thing, for by nature I am not limited to one space, having no fleshly container.

 

As I moved over the surface of the water, as I stirred it gently with my presence, oh how she writhed and shuddered and cried out in her pleasure. So very responsive was she that I became as a breath across ruby-hard nipples. I became as lips and tongue and teeth teasing across warm supple flesh. I became as a lover’s urgency moving down, down, down into the water. With my very will I cupped her, fondled her. I traced the crook and role, the stroke and plunge of her delicate fingers, as though they were my own reveling in that sweet, briny landscape, which I wanted desperately to touch, to kiss, to feast upon. I ached to plunge my essence deep inside of her again and again. With every fiber of myself, I willed her to acknowledge me. I was intoxicated with her presence, delighted in her pleasure.

 

I pressed as close to her as my imprisonment allowed me, close enough that my embrace was nearly a second skin. At that moment, that very second before she cried out, I was certain, so very certain that she felt my presence, that she knew I was there. And oh, how she did cry out, a cry worthy of a wild beast at the moment of the kill. In that second before her convulsions of release moved in waves over the water, I could have wept for the joy of it, as I waited for her to acknowledge me, for her ecstasy to be followed by terror. And then, I knew that terror would vanish, and she would delight in my presence, and yield to me. You cannot imagine how I felt, K D. And …”

 

Once again he stood and moved to the cliff edge. And I began to breathe again, wondering how long I had held it tight in my chest. I sat very still not daring to acknowledge to myself the impact of his tale upon my own flesh. After all, none of this was real. I was only here through a dream.

 

Suddenly his shoulders tightened, his hands clenched into angry fists and the air around us felt like that charged moment before a lightning strike. I white knuckled the arms of the chair, and my heart went racing again, at the raw, explosive emotion expressed in flesh that was not real. He continued. “You cannot imagine my disappointment, my raged at my own powerlessness when, instead, she dried her hands and reached for her mobile phone. Then she began taking photos of herself in her post orgasmic bliss. Oh they were nothing obscene, not really, just very … shall we say provocative. That she might share this moment with another enraged me, disappointed me. In my unhappy state, I caught only the fact that she was quite pleased with herself as she texted some friend named Susan about what she had just done. Before she sent the text, I read over her shoulder, her final words as she closed.

 

Think what a story you could make from this!

 

“She could not possibly have known that I had already imagined the story of her little exploits, only my ending was not the one she had chosen. I watched helplessly while she got out of the tub, as though nothing at all had happened, and dried herself. I was desperately disappointed, and had I been able, I would have punished her thoroughly for her behavior. In the end, this woman, who I had fantasized about, dreamed about, this woman who I was so convinced would surely feel my essence and discover I was there, was no different than all of the others had been throughout my endless imprisonment. In the end she would only be a vicarious experience once removed.

 

“I remind you again, KD, that these emotions I now ascribe to myself are only my way of trying to make you understand a little better my desperate loneliness, which of course, was not really loneliness at all so much as perhaps a loss of purpose. Even that’s a mortal way of describing what I experienced that night in Chapel House, my first time alone with Annie. If you had chosen to interview me before my current incarceration, you would have found the experience far more disturbing and far more difficult to understand. While Susan is certainly no longer mortal, she is still human in so many ways. I would have been far less able to tell you my story if not for my experience of her lingering humanity.

 

“Of course, if you had come to me before,” I felt his presence bloom around me like heat from a fire, “you would most likely not have survived the experience, but then,” he added quickly, “neither would you have cared.”

 

The heat receded in a heartbeat, and at that moment, mine was a heart beating very fast. He continued as if he had done nothing out of the ordinary, and perhaps he hadn’t. “Annie removed herself to the chapel for her repast. She boldly walked up the aisle between the pews all the way to the altar and brazenly seated herself atop it. Oh how I wanted her to notice me at that point, so intriguing did I find her. She had opened the wine and was nibbling on a few grapes when the response to her text came.

 

TMI

 

“That was all the first text said. At the time I didn’t know what that meant. Susan has since enlightened me.

 

“Annie only laughed her lovely silver-bell of a laugh, and then she proceeded to take several unholy selfies from her perch. Irreverent, I suspect is a better word, for that would describe my dear Annie. Then, with the laughter of a misbehaving child, she sent them to this Susan, and my jealousy bloomed again at the thought that perhaps the woman was Annie’s lover, though I didn’t think Annie had a taste for women. The text that returned piqued my interest.

 

Oh I can think of a few stories, all right, but no respectable publisher would buy them.

 

“Oh yes, this text very much piqued my interest. That this Susan was a scribe made
me lean close, my attention focused wholly on Annie’s reply.

 

You have to come, Susan. You’ll love the place. You can’t help but be inspired by it. I’m inspired, and I have no imagination. Come next weekend. Can you?

 

The response was almost immediate.

 

Dying to see. No pressing deadlines. All right! I’ll drive up Friday afternoon.

Read previous instalments here:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

 

Interview with a Demon: Part 6

 

Due to his escape-proof prison and the promise to his jailor, I have not yet been totally possessed by the Guardian. Yes, I know that’s black humour, and I should probably touch wood. Being with him continues to be very unsettling, and it becomes more so as his story unfolds. The one thing I hadn’t considered in this interview is that a demon might actually be frustrated.

If you are coming to these interviews late but would like to catch up, follow the links below this instalment.

 

 

Part 6: A Demon’s Frustration

 

I wish that I could have disagreed with the Guardian, but I don’t know what I would have done imprisoned in stone for millennia, how I would have felt. I’m not patient when I have to wait a long time for a bus with nothing to read. Anyway, it didn’t matter. He didn’t give me time to dwell on it. But then I suspected he already knew the answer whether I did or not. Instead he picked up where we had left off as though there had been no interruption.

“Annie immediately made an offer, which was accepted just as quickly. I’m certain the sellers just wanted to be rid of the place, evil as it was.

“In all fairness, there had been no other perspective buyers who had given the place any real consideration, though I had a great deal to do with that, I confess. I told you I choose wisely and very carefully. At the time, I had no idea just how well I had chosen.

“You see, Annie Rivers was an estate agent herself by trade – a very good one, who could afford to buy and renovate what she was already affectionately calling Chapel House from the moment she took possession of the keys. She was, by your modern day standards a true beauty with hair that glistened golden in the sunlight and eyes that were cerulean blue. From the moment I first had her all to myself I was jealous of anyone who had kissed those full lips. I was jealous of anyone who was capableof kissing those lips, of touching her, of holding her. You must understand I could do none of those things, not in the sense of true flesh and blood. All I could do was make her believe that I touched her, that I kissed and caressed her, make her desire me to do so more than anything in life. Well that is what I would have done had I been free. As it was, in my imprisoned state, I could do little more than observe her, be near her, give her intimations of well being, of arousal, of being loved and desired. Because she was beautiful anyway, because she was desired and loved, all I could really do was enhance those sensations. Oh, KD, you cannot imagine my frustration at not being able to give her more.”

The idea of the Guardian actually giving Annie something when I knew what his attention had cost her and what the end result would have been without Susan’s desperate and dangerous intervention seemed totally absurd. He was silence for a moment, as though he waited for the response I only thought. I chose not to consider the disturbing likelihood that he already knew those thoughts.

When he continued he stood to pace once more, the chair he’d been sitting in vanishing as he did so. “No, I am not an incubus. As I said I am only a guardian spirit, but one who has, over the ages, become very much underestimated. Demon, some would call me, but debating my true nature would simply be splitting hairs so long after the fact, so long after what I’ve become, what I’m still becoming. You see, while I would have loved to possess my Annie, to enter into her body and experience the pleasures of her flesh as she herself did, I learned long ago that to do so with a mortal is to hasten their death. Oh, I’ll admit that there are those whose deaths are of little consequence to me, but the pleasure of possessing their flesh for that brief time before they can no longer serve as a vessel for me is so fleeting that it’s hardly worth the effort, nor the unwanted attention it brings to me.

“So I am reduced to eliciting the emotions, the sensations, the bodily needs in another and living them vicariously. To do so means that I may savor those I choose. I may linger with their pleasures and pains and passions until they become too weakened to please me further or until I become bored with them. Then I leave them their lives to do with what they will. Sadly most don’t choose to live once denied my attention, but thus is the curse of what I have become, of what my needs have made me. I suppose you could say, if you were to speak in human terms, that I am as addicted to humanity and its pleasures as those I choose become addicted to me. And Annie, my dear beautiful Annie, was strong, resilient, with a sharp wit and a hunger for life that could not but attract me to her like a loadstone. And though I cannot take credit for what might have been had I remained so imprisoned there in Chapel House, I can say that Annie would have lived a long and happy life there with me, for I would have been able to take so little of her, while always giving enough back to keep her happy and contented, even healthy and young beyond her years. That would have been the gift from my imprisonment at the expense of my perpetual frustration.” He settled once again in the chair that appeared instantly as he did so. “I suppose you could say that my imprisonment forced me to monogamy and fidelity, knowing full well, as I did, that it was not likely I should find another to companion me at Chapel House any more easily than I had found Annie.

“So, with thoughts of a long and happy, if frustrating, relationship with Ms. Rivers, I set about drawing her to me even before she moved into Chapel House. Oh I was very subtle. I approached her with the greatest of care and tenderness not wanting to frighten her. I wanted, indeed I needed, for her to desire me as I did her. And she was not a skittish milquetoast of a woman, fearing ghosts and ghouls and anything that could not easily be explained away. In fact she invited that which she did not understand. She longed for ghosts and apparitions and things that go bump in the night. From the very beginning my darling Annie all but begged me to be real, all but flung open the doors to her inner workings and invited me in. Imagine my frustration at not being able to fully accept her gracious invitation.

“While she brought workmen in to give her estimates, she joked with them about Chapel House being haunted. She relished making them uncomfortable as she told them that sadly there were now no corpses in the crypt. Why, she told one jumpy electrician, she had only recently sent the last of them off to the Museum of London. Then she laughed that delicious throaty laugh of hers, and I shall never forget what she said.” And here he startled me again by speaking in Annie’s voice. ‘“Of course all the corpses are long gone, but someone ishere. There’s a very definite presence. I’m sure of it. I can feel it.’ She wrapped her arms around herself and sighed with such pleasures that I had wished with all my heart I’d had flesh at that moment for I should have embraced her with such delight. You see, I had been so careful not to frighten her, so careful that in my presence she should only feel welcomed and safe, and yet here was a woman longing for what would terrify most as much as I longed to give it to her. It was that day, as she left with the electrician, chatting about mood lighting for the bathroom, I resolved to find a way to make myself known to her when next she came to Chapel House. Happily I didn’t have to wait long.”

 

 

 

Interview with a Demon – the interview so far:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

 

Interview with a Demon: Part 5

I’m happy to announce that I did not freeze to death, no thanks to the situation in which I found myself in the last instalment of my interview with the Guardian. The truth is, as this strange interview unfolded, as I spent more time with the Guardian, I can’t tell you that I felt safer with him. I’m not even sure I could tell you that I knew him better or that I understood him better. But between him, Susan Innes, and the rest of the gang, by the time I was shivering in the Guardian’s prison, I realised I was most definitely a captive audience.

 

If you’ve missed any of the interview so far, please follow the links below this instalment. 

 

Interview with a Demon Part 5: The Confusing Semantics of Humanity

 

“Susan, I am sorry,” the Guardian said.

“I don’t care that you’re sorry. Annie’s story is not yours to tell,” she replied, and then she yelled into the frigid air, “Goddamn it, Talia, I said pull K D out.”

By the time it became clear Talia had no intention of obliging, I was pretty sure I was developing frostbite.

“Susan, you must stop this.” In spite of the raging wind, I could hear the Guardian as though he spoke right into my head. “Clearly the succubus is not listening, and our little scribe should not suffer for your anger. I won’t proceed if it upsets you so, only consider what you’re doing.”

Those were the last words I heard before I woke up in the big bed with a jerk, and the bones in my neck popped as though I had been falling. Talia was sitting next to me with her hand on my shoulder. In spite of the blizzard I’d just come out of, I was drenched in sweat and desperately thirsty.

Susan was pacing at the side of the bed like a caged lion and the air around her crackled with the same electricity I’d been feeling when I was pulled from the dream. Before I could reorient myself, she turned on Talia, yanking her off the bed with a hand fisted in the collar of her shirt. “I told you to pull her out!”

I had never feared Susan Innes until now. Though I knew well what she had become, she had never exuded that same threat factor I felt around Alonso Darlington. But in that instant, I was fully aware Darlington had most definitely not cornered the market on being terrifying. Heart racing, I shoved myself up and crab walked to the other side of the mattress, all but falling out on the floor before I caught hold of the bedpost. That I suddenly found myself fearing for the safety of a succubus said something about just how scary an angry Scribe turned vampire, turned prison for a demon could be. Susan paid no attention to me, as her other hand settled around the woman’s throat. “If you can’t keep her safe, what good are you?”

Talia went deadly still. If anything her calm was as frightening as Susan’s rage. “Take your hands of me, girl, or shall I show you why I could hold a demon in thrall while you were whimpering and dying in Alonso’s arms?

And then I did fall off the bed. I’m not proud of it. I would have run and not stopped until I was back at JFK and safely on the next plane home. But my legs wouldn’t stop shaking enough to support me.

The two jumped apart, and the tension was suddenly broken. Susan, once more herself, came to my aid, but the last thing I wanted was her help, and I found my legs worked just fine when properly motivated. The look on her face, as I shrugged away from her touch was wounded and pained, and I didn’t much care at the moment. “I’m sorry,” she said softly. Then she spoke to Talia with a voice still laced in the ice of the blizzard she’d caused. “What the hell took you so long to pull her out?”

“I didn’t pull her out,” the Succubus said. “I wouldn’t have pulled her out. Not just because you had a tantrum. “Your prisoner cast her out. Seems he was a lot more concerned for her than he was for your wounded pride. Though really, Susan, I never figured you for a coward.”

“I don’t give a damn what you figured me for, Talia, and what’s between me and the Guardian is none of your business.”

To this, Talia only laughed. “None of my business, is it? You brought this whole shit show to my door, to my home, and Alonso’s — you and Michael and good old Magda fucking Gardener. You made it my business, all of our business.” She sat back in the chair and folded her arms across her chest. “I didn’t volunteer for transportation duty,” she said nodding to me. “You dragged me back in, lest we forget. I don’t like your damn demon and he sure as hell doesn’t like me. Still you asked me to get KD to him for the interview. That, I did.” She stood and slipped into her shoes next to the bed. “Now, I’m out of here. If the demon’s your prisoner, then he’s your prisoner, but if he’s something else, then maybe you’d both better agree on what that is before you drag other people into your mess. You’re the one who promised him his voice for this interview. Maybe you should have made it clear to him that what you really want is for him to parrot your voice.”

Suddenly the bedroom door burst open and Michael blew in, nearly shoving Talia off her feet. With his focus so clearly on Susan, it was as though he hadn’t even noticed the succubus. He filled the room with his presence in the way only an angel could. His blond hair was wind blown, and crisp clean mountain air was the wild scent he exuded in spite of the carbon and heat smell of the city. He wore faded jeans and a plain black tee shirt along with an old pair of Conversehigh tops. He completely ignored the rest of us and went straight to Susan, scooping her into his arms. “He said you needed me. I came as soon as I could.”

“The demon?” Talia asked. “The demon sent for you?”

Michael only nodded as Susan all but collapsed against his chest. Whatever he whispered into her ear as he smoothed her hair and stroked her back, was too quiet for the rest of us to hear. But the shudder that ran up her spine and the sob that followed was impossible to miss. For a long moment, they stood freeze framed against the backdrop of the open door, clinging to each other desperately, Michael speaking softly in her ear.

At last she pulled away, took a deep breath, then turned to face us, still clinging tightly to Michael’s hand. “Don’t go, Talia. I’m sorry, but I need you to send her back in if you would please. And if you would, K D.”

The succubus studied her silently for a minute, then looked up at Michael, who gave her a reassuring nod, to which she only shrugged and turned back to me. “Shall we,” she said with the twitch of a dry smile, as she nodded to the bed. After two very large glasses of water, I settled beneath the duvet once more, and within minutes, I was again in the Guardian’s fell-side prison staring at his back, while he stood on the edge of the cliff looking down into the beck. It was still high summer, not a snowflake remained, and the owl still trilled somewhere nearby.

I was too disoriented and exasperated by this point to be cautious. “What just happened?” I blurted out.

For a moment he didn’t answer, and then he sighed. “I reminded Susan that what I did to Annie was not her fault.” Once again the wingback chair appeared and I all but fell into it, as he began to pace back and forth along the cliff top. “You see she blames herself. That is the real root of the problem — not that I was about to tell you my version of the events that unfolded at Chapel House, but that she believes those events could only occur because she released me from my prison.”

“Well?” I could certainly understand why she thought that.

All at once I felt the giddy sensation of falling, and then of soaring above the beck in an embrace that was most definitely not human. Then a cool wind swept over me and the Guardian’s presence surrounded me as though he were guiding me down onto the warm grass, as though he mantled me with the body I knew he didn’t have. And then he was moving inside of me. I don’t mean sex. I mean something deeper, as though it were no longer Susan’s heart he existed beneath, but it was my own. In the odd mix of terror and arousal, of losing myself in something I was sure I could never come back from, I was more than a little bit shocked to discover that arousal was winning the battle. Then just as quickly as he had approached me, he backed off, and I was once again seated and watching as he settled into the chair next to me.

He waited for a moment, waited until I could gather enough presence of mind to focus on his words and not what I had just experienced. Then he said quietly, “you see, she believes that she had a choice in the matter.”

“Jesus.” I chafed at the goose bumps on my arms and shifted in my chair trying not to think of how willing I would have been to let him do to me whatever he wanted. If he had forced the issue, I wondered if I would have made any attempt at all to call out to Talia for help.

“You would not have,” he answered my question for me, and I felt his reply like a punch in the gut.

“Please don’t do that again.” My words came out breathless and shaky with way less authority than I would have liked. “Don’t read my thoughts.” There were too many suppositions and fantasies I myself had had about him for me to want him wandering around inside my grey matter.

“Oh I didn’t have to read your thoughts, K D. I read only your body. And your face. I would never betray Susan’s trust by going where I’m not welcome.” Then his voice softened like velvet brushing against my ear. “But I would have been welcome, wouldn’t I?” He didn’t give me long to squirm with the truth of the matter we both knew only too well, but continued — this time at a more polite distance. “You see how the semantics of humanity confuse me at times.” He raised a hand as though he could wipe away that disturbing thought. “My point is, that while Susan’s first visit to my crypt prison was a complete coincidence, once I realized who she was, what she was, she had no more choice in the matter of giving up Annie to me, than if it had been her fondest wish to do so. In fact by the time she left my crypt, she was completely convinced that to free me was the deepest desire of her heart. And of this fact, K D, she was not even aware. You see, I gave her no choice. And I daresay you would view my actions somewhat more sympathetically had it been you Magda Gardener had held imprisoned in stone for so very, very long.”

 

 

Interview with a Demon – the interview so far:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

 

 

 

Interview with a Demon Part 4

Interviewing a demon turned out not to be a straight forward thing. Absolutely nothing went according to planned, and too late, I realised walking away from it afterward, even with a vampire and a succubus protecting me, wasn’t a given. You see, the truth is, there was just way too much baggage for all parties for the interview to go by the book. I don’t know why I ever thought otherwise. Anyway, enough of my moaning. I’ve done my best to report the details honestly and without bias, but the truth is, after my experiences with Magda Gardener and her Consortium, I have more than a little baggage of my own.

 

Interview with a Demon – the interview so far:

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Interview with a Demon Part 4: A Tale Interrupted

 

While the Guardian admired the moonless sky, much as I’m sure Reese and Alonso did when they were in the garden he modeled his prison after, there was no doubt his focus was still entirely on me. But then what physical illusion there was of him was just that, an illusion. To be under his subtle scrutiny made me all the more uncomfortable in a giddy sort of way, and yet it didn’t seem to distract him in the least from the task at hand.

“At the time my home, as it always had been, since before I had need to remember, was a deconsecrated chapel near the city that is now Manchester in the North of England, but you already know this. Of course it was not the chapel to which I was bound. The place itself had been considered sacred ground as long as humans walked the earth, although I don’t know why. The mortal sense of what is sacred and what is profane has always puzzled me. You see, my task was to guard holy ground. I don’t know how that became my charge, or when, only that it always had been, even after the chapel was deconsecrated and put on the market to be sold as a home or a boutique or even a pub. The latter two were not at all to my liking. While I would have enjoyed the orgy of sensation and experience such places might offer me, it would have been only a temporary glutting of my capacity for pleasure and would have most certainly drawn enough attention as to make it difficult for me to choose as best suits me. In fact it might have drawn to me those whose attention I would prefer not to have. Of course, you understand, I mean my jailor, who for the most part ignored me, seeing me as little threat at the time.” He offered a satisfied chuckle. “You see, even our incomparable Magda Gardener makes mistakes. So, after a tiresome parade of estate agents, none of whom held my attention for long, none of whom had what I needed if I were to resume making the kinds of choices I delighted in, one of them at long last succeeded in bringing to me exactly what I had been waiting for. And then the daft woman tried to discourage her from me.

“‘The place has set empty for a very long time, so it will be costly to renovate.’ Those were her words when she saw her perspective buyer’s delight.”

It was very disconcerting for me to hear the voice of a woman with a northern accent coming from the Guardian. With difficulty, I kept my eyes averted and reminded myself that even his voice, whatever voice he chose to use, was just an illusion. He continued. “Then the devious agent added, ‘of course any … human remains have long since been removed from the crypt … as far as we can tell anyway.’ Oh how I longed to throttle her then and there, but of course I could do nothing.” He laughed softly, and I swear I felt the warmth of his breath against my ear. “As it turned out, I had nothing to worry about where her dear client was concerned.

“But Annie, for that was the client’s name, as you may have already suspected, would not be put off. I will never forget her words.” I was even more disturbed to hear him speak in the voice of Annie Rivers. “‘Can you imagine?’ she said, ‘I’ll be the only one of my friends who had a genuine crypt for a wine cellar. Too bad there’s not at least one stone sarcophagus left, you know, as a conversation piece.’

“The agent was horrified and, as for me, well I was instantly enchanted. My dear Annie had laughed with delight when the agent showed her the bathroom with the large tub. ‘Oh I’m really going to enjoy this. It’s big enough for company,’ she said. Oh how that thought intrigued me. You see, an evangelical group had installed the great tub. They were the last to rent the building before it was deserted and sold for the final time. They believed in some strange ritual of baptism that demanded immersion for which it was an essential tool. They didn’t interest me much other than as a dalliance now and then brought on by boredom. In truth, there was little more I could manage, since at the time, I was imprisoned with very limited access to the pastor’s flock. But my efforts did result in several attempts at exorcism. However, when the ‘spawn of Satan’ they feared did not vacate the premises after their hocus pocus, they gave up and left claiming something evil lurked within. Once again, I waited.

“I was not happy with the way the agent rushed Annie through the nave and the sacristy, nor with how she dwelt on the overgrown mess of the back garden and how many bodies had been buried there before the deconsecration. I punished her for that later. As for my dear Annie, I gave her just enough of a sense of well-being, of euphoria that, by the time she left, I was certain she felt right at home and that there was nothing the agent could do that would keep my beautiful Annie from me.”

Without warning the hair on the backs of my arms stood at full attention, as though a bolt of electricity had passed through me, and the ground tilted sharply beneath my chair. Before I could do more than yelp and stumble to my feet, Susan appeared, looking far more wraith-like than the Guardian, and almost as terrifying wearing her rage like a heavy cloak.

“This interview is over.” Her voice made my jaws ache until my head felt like it would explode. But it wasn’t me she was speaking too, and frankly, I was glad. Suddenly the temperature in the garden plummeted and snow began to swirl on a growing fell wind. In spite of the howl of what was quickly becoming a blizzard, Susan’s voice cut through it as though it were deadly silent. “How dare you? How fucking dare you? I trusted you. I gave you your voice, I even let her come to you.” She nodded her head in my direction. “And this is how you repay me, by flaunting the sordid horrors you visited on my best friend?”

“Susan, I don’t understand.” The Guardian spoke with little emotion that I could sense, but then I was busy trying to keep from freezing to death. By this time the wind was howling and snow was falling heavily in what had, only moments ago, been the garden in high summer.

“How the fuck can you not understand? She’s not your Annie. She was never your Annie. You’re here because of what you did to her, because of what you tried to do to all of us. And don’t give me that bullshit about things being different with your kind. I don’t care if it’s different. You know exactly how it is withmy kind.” She rubbed a tight fist against her chest as though she were in pain.

“Susan, you are a vampire,” he responded as calmly as if he were telling her that her shoelace was untied. “And you are unique even among vampires. You are the only one of your kind.”

“And I wouldn’t be a vampire if you hadn’t … if it hadn’t been … How could you not know that …” Her voice drifted off and then she shouted, “Talia, pull her out.”

But Talia didn’t pull me out, instead, I stood with my teeth chattering chafing my arms watching an altercation between a demon and a vampire and wondering if I’d be collateral damage.

 
© 2018 K D Grace
The Romance Reviews

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