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The Psychology of Dreams 101: Part 2

Writing pen and birds 1_xl_20156020What if you got punished when you didn’t get your dreams right? That’s the dilemma our heroin, Leah, has in the second instalment of The Psychology of Dreams 101.

No, I didn’t dream it, and I’m seriously hoping I dot get punished like Leah and Al do if I don’t get it quite right, but The Psychology of Dreams did bubble up from somewhere in my unconscious last week, and I had to share it. The Muse has been back knocking around in my imagination again, so today I’m back with another instalment of a new serial.

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

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

 

 

 

The Psychology of Dreams 101: Chapter 2

Blank Pages and Punishment 

“I’m not pleased with your dream journal, Leah.” It was so much like the dream, that it took her breath away. She stood before Al Foster’s desk in the empty classroom, him offering her a concerned look over the top of his glasses. It was so much like the dream, in fact, that she gave a quick glance down to make sure she still wore jeans and a pullover and not transparent red underwear.

“I don’t understand,” she said, clasping her bag to her chest to hide the press of her nipples, which didn’t really care if she wore red underwear or not. They seemed more interested in the close proximity of Al Foster.

“Why are you writing down made-up dreams? I can tell when you’re making it up, Leah. I can always tell. Is the technique I shared with you not working? If not, just tell me and we can try something else.”

“I haven’t been using the technique,” she blurted. “I haven’t needed to.” Fuck! That was an unfortunate slip.

“Oh?”

She tried to recall if she’d ever seen bluer eyes than his. Her dreams got it right, even with the glasses that made him look like a sexy nerd, you couldn’t miss the blue. His unkempt blond hair was the color of ripe wheat. Her dreams got that right too. She loved the way it fell down all disorderly and wild over his eyes when he spanked her.

“Leah? Are you all right?”

She jumped at the sound of her name. “I’m sorry. I’ve not been sleeping well,” she said. She didn’t know why she said that. If anything she’d been sleeping too well.

“Oh?” He slid his chair back and came to stand beside her. He was taller than she thought, and she blushed at the sight of his belt, brown leather. It looked soft like swede, but she knew it packed a wallop – at least it did when he wielded it. “Is it because of the dreams?” His blue gaze studying her from behind the glasses made her feel like she was under a microscope or in front of a two-way mirror, made her feel like she was standing there in his classroom in nothing but transparent red underwear. “Leah,” he said, touching her shoulder and gently guiding her to sit in one of the seats in the front row, while he pulled a chair up to face her. “Are the dreams erotic? Is that why you feel you can’t write them down for me? Because everyone has erotic dreams and, in fact, they may well be more likely to if they’re keeping a dream journal for sharing.

“They’re about you.” She hadn’t planned to say that. She’d planned to lie, but she was never very good at lying.

He blinked, and she watched his Adam’s apple bob as he swallowed. “About me.”

She nodded.

“Well,” he scooted back ever so slightly and straightened in his chair so that he could study her more Sleeping woman reading181340322466666994_IswNAb85_bcarefully, “that’s not unusual either.” He smiled, and a soft blush crawled up his neck and onto his cheeks. “I’ve actually had students make up dreams about me. They were surprised when I called them on it. I have to say you’re the first woman to do the opposite, to hide those dreams from me. Oh, it’s not unusual for people to try to hide their erotic dreams, not at all, but I can pretty much guess that if a particularly steamy dream turns up about me, the writer is a woman. She’s made it up, and it’s more a fantasy than any dream she’s likely to have.”

“Oh believe me, it’s better this way,” she managed, still clutching her bag to her chest. “I mean me keeping them from you. I … I could barely write them down for myself.”

“But you did then? You did write them down?”

She nodded, her mouth gone suddenly dry. She hadn’t meant to tell him that either. “Just not in there.” She gestured to her class dream journal laying on his desk.

“I see.” He ran a hand through his hair leaving it standing in spikes and waves, making her ache to straighten it for him, or maybe muss it up further. “Leah, will you let me read the real journal. No one will know what you wrote but you and I, and I understand the psychology of dreams; I understand that we have no control over what happens in the unconscious. I promise I would never –”

“You spank me,” she blurted.

He sucked a heavy breath. “I spank you?”

“Yes, you spank me, and you tell me you’ll keep punishing me until I get my dreams right, until I dream about you, and it’s always the same, with the two of us alone in this room and you taking your belt off and you turning me over your knee and telling me that if you spank me, then maybe the pain in my — ” she made a quick jerk of her neck toward her backside “—will help remind me to dream of you. There’s only the one dream,” she added quickly, “well variations of it.”

After a few fish gasps and another hand through his hair, he squared his shoulders, and shoved his glasses up the bridge of his nose. “I see. So, recurring dreams, are they?” He offered her a smile that wavered only slightly.

“Recurring? Yes, I suppose they are. I never thought of it like that.” If she was going to be brave enough to tell him the truth, then she might as well show him the rest of it too. She dug in her bag for her real dream journal and pulled out the page that she’d torn from the one for class, the page with the note she’d written to herself. “I woke up to find this in my journal after the first spanking dream.” She handed it to him.

To her shock and discomfort, he read it out loud.

You look beautiful when you dream. It was a good dream, the kind you don’t want to wake up from. At last, Leah, you’re doing it right! You can always tell when you do it right by the way your nipples bead beneath the sheet, by the way your lips turn up at the corners, slightly parted as though waiting to be kissed. And, take a sniff, Leah. Your scent is the scent of dreams well dreamed, luscious and ripe. Well done, Leah! Well done!

For a moment they both sat in silence, him staring down at the words on the page, her staring at her feet.Dreams imageIMG_0347 Then he took off his glasses and joined her in gazing at his own feet. At last he raised his eyes back to her and took a deep breath. “Why did you tear this out?”

“Because I don’t remember writing it. It’s not a dream, it’s like, I don’t know, me talking to myself in my sleep or something, and I thought if you read it you’d think … ”

“I’d think what?”

“That I just made it up that I was just being … you know, pathetic.”

“Why would I think that?” He put his glasses back on and looked at the note again. “It seems to me like your unconscious had you pegged pretty well here,” then he added quickly, “of course I don’t know what you look like when you dream or what your physiological responses are, but it makes sense. I … I smell differently when I wake up after a strong dream, and,” he looked away quickly, “I get … hard too, when I’m doing it right.” He blushed and she blushed for him and they were both looking at their feet again.

“But how can there be a right way and a wrong way to dream? I mean I’ve read way ahead in the texts you’ve recommended and done some research on my own. We really sort of just dream what we dream, don’t we?”

“That’s what I thought,” he said, scooting closer to her with a screech of the chair legs on the floor. “But then I started getting … comments like this.” He nodded down to her note, “comments from my unconscious, I assume, and I also have dreams about not doing it right.”

“Did you get … you know … spanked?”

This time it was more than a blush, his whole face redden, and the fine muscles along his cheek bones twitched. “It was rather more than a spanking, I’m afraid.”

“More than a spanking?” Her pulse hammered in her words, as she pushed forward on the edge of her seat.

“Do you know anything about BDSM, Leah?” His own pulse kept beat in his words and thudded in his throat as he pinned her in his gaze.

“A little. I’ve read a few novels, done a bit of research … online,” she added quickly.

“Does it frighten you?”

“A little yes. And it intrigues me.”

“This time I was tied up, flogged and had … implements placed …” He looked away as though he expected to find the words he was looking for floating on the air outside the window in the parking lot. “I had things shoved up my … butt,” he finally managed avoiding her gaze.

“Oh? Oh, wow!” The words were out before she could stop them. And they were followed in rapid succession by, “how was it?”

“Not like I expected.” He forced himself to meet her gaze. “I woke up … aroused,” he gave a little nod and lowered his eyes to the note still clenched in his hand. “I had to masturbate before I could function and, after, I found a note in my dream journal similar to this. One I don’t remember writing. Anyway,” he said looking up at her again. “The person doing things to me, in my dream, she kept saying that I wasn’t doing it right, that I should dream about her and she would punish me until I did.”

“She?” Leah asked.” He nodded, carefully maintaining uncomfortable eye contact. “Was she me?” The words were out before she could stop them. Clearly the internal editor was having a day off, she thought.

“I honestly don’t know. I never saw her face. But I know she was a woman because I felt her breasts against my back when she moved in close to tighten my bonds.” He glanced at the door as though he feared someone might be listening there. “I know you must think me some kind of a pervert telling you this, you being my student and all, but I’ve been teaching this class for ten years – here and in other places; I’ve seen more dream journals than I could possibly keep track of, and most of them are full of dreams that are just exactly what I would expect to surface from someone’s unconscious.” He shrugged. “I get a fair few people, women in particular, faking their dreams, making them up either to impress me or because they’re embarrassed. But you – you started out writing your dreams, and then you suddenly stopped after you’d been so earnest in your efforts with the journal. I knew something was up. I could feel it. I never expected this though.” He nodded down to the note he still held, then handed it back to her.

“The thing is, Leah, no on else has ever had a similar experience, an experience that mirrors my own, until you.”

For a moment the two sat in silence, and then Leah took a deep breath. “You said ‘this time,’ like it wasn’t the first time, like it’s happened before.”

“Lots of times before.”dark moon image_xl_6338206

“And it’s different each time?”

“Not every time, but frequently. What’s always the same is that it involves some kind of erotic punishment, and I never climax in the dream, though I want to. I really need to. I wake up frustrated and unable to do anything until I … take care of it. It’s the same for you, isn’t it, Leah?”

 

NEW STORY! The Psychology of Dreams 101

I’m certainly empty nesting now that In The Flesh has come to an end. I had planned a few weeks off Sleeping woman reading181340322466666994_IswNAb85_bwith just stories and snippets from the archives posted before I began anything major, but my Muse clearly had other ideas.

No, I didn’t dream it, but it bubbled up from somewhere last night about an hour before bedtime, so today I have the first episode of a new serial, literally just finished minutes ago. The Psychology of Dreams 101, is a romp into the sexy unconscious as Leah Kent takes a Psychology of Dreams adult education class, only to discover that the required Dream Journal leads to some seriously kinky night journeys.

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

 

 

The Psychology of Dreams 101 Chapter 1

 

You look beautiful when you dream.

 

That was the first sentence; that was how it all started. Leah thought it might be some sort of lucid dreaming when she saw the words scrawled across the page of her open journal on the nightstand. She’d had every intention of asking her instructor about it, but then she couldn’t really tell him the dream that had brought it on, could she? It sounded like the sort of thing the unconscious of a pathetically shy introvert would write to herself from the dream world because no one in the waking world would and, while that might be true – the pathetic introvert part, she didn’t want to make it more obvious to her instructor than it probably already was – especially when she had half a crush on him. Besides, it also sounded like the sort of thing a sex-crazed slut might write to herself when her vibe batteries ran down. That made her sound even more pathetic – the vibe and the batteries part, not the slut part.

Dreams image 2IMG_0351She had just started a course on the psychology of dreams. She tried to take advantage of the adult education classes whenever possible. It got her out of the house and forced her to interact with other people – real flesh and blood people. With her job, online shopping, online banking, direct debit, grocery delivery, she never had to leave the house really, and that suited her just fine, but she knew it shouldn’t. She knew it wasn’t healthy. Sometimes going to the classes was more of an ordeal than a pleasure, but that was not the case for the psychology of dreams class.

She had to admit, she’d taken that course because she’d overheard several women giggling and talking about how hot the instructor was and how their dreams had become very sexy since they’d started his class. A part of the class work was to keep a dream journal. The women had been sitting at the table next to her in the coffee shop pouring over their journals together and laughing about how they thought Al — Al Foster was the instructor – would respond when he read their dreams. She’d been taking a photography course then, and it had been one of the few times Leah had actually forced herself to initiate conversation, asking the women about the class. They were only too happy to share, and soon she was laughing and blushing and joking right along with them as they told her all about the psychology of dreams course and how it had truly stimulated their dream life. The next term, she signed right up.

A dream journal — that had sounded simple enough when Al – he’d insisted they all call him Al – had explained what it was. All she had to do was write down her dreams every morning when she woke up. But by the time she sat down at the breakfast table with her bowl of cereal and her coffee, dream journal and pen at the ready, she could remember nothing but bits of broken images — nothing dramatic, nothing with hidden psychological meaning – certainly nothing sexy. After a week of drawing blanks from the dream world, Al had helpfully suggested that she keep the journal open by her bed, and that she set an alarm for every two hours. When the alarm went off, she was then to write, just in a few key words of what she remembered, words that would jog her memory in the morning.

The first time the alarm went off, she woke disoriented and confused. By the time she remembered why she’d set the alarm, she also remembered she’d forgot to set the trash out for pick-up. She remembered that she needed to order some more vitamins online. She remembered that she needed to put the clothes in the dryer, but what she didn’t remember was her dreams. The second alarm, she must have unconsciously shut off before she got fully awake, but on the third, she managed a little dream snippet about chasing a big dog through the local McDonalds, a dog who had shamelessly stolen her Big Mac right out of her hand. She hated Big Macs, and big dogs made her nervous. Well that was at least something to analyze, wasn’t it? Though Freud had insisted that sometimes a cigar was just a cigar, surely that didn’t hold true for Big Macs, which she didn’t like, and big dogs, which she didn’t trust. Al would be pleased.

The second night there was a dream about a leather jacket with a huge snake for a collar, a snake that 7401867966b49d9e25e799def0c09daetalked — kind of like a parrot. There was a dream in which she’d gone to the supermarket and ended up in a maze unable to find her way out. There was a dream of planting begonias in front of the convenience store around the corner. For the rest of the week, she was excited to see that the setting of the alarms was working. Her key words helped her to remember details, and the rest was easy.

Saturday night she’d stayed up late watching a romcom marathon. She’d had popcorn, polished off the best part of a bottle of wine and there had been plenty of chocolate while she watched The Ugly Truth, Sabrina, Friends with Benefits, and When Harry Met Sally. She loved romcoms. They made her feel like there was someone for everyone, and though she wasn’t unhappy being alone, she liked the thought that somewhere out there, her counterpart was thinking the same thing.

She fell asleep halfway through Sleepless in Seattle, and when she woke up and stumbled off to bed, she’d forgot to set her dream alarms, though in truth she was beginning to remember her dreams more easily now, just as Al had said she would.

Perhaps it was OD-ing on romcoms that caused her to have sexy dream about Al. In truth they were mostly just images, disjointed, arousing, sometimes shameful images – images of walking into his office and finding him masturbating, images of somehow ending up in the men’s locker room at the gym and finding him in the shower, steamy water pulsing over strong arms and a tight ass as he hunched over himself paying particular attention to the soaping of his junk. There was one dream, however, that she remembered vividly. Al sat behind his desk in the empty classroom, clad in his usual polo shirt and jeans. He had asked her to stay after. “I’m not happy with your dream journal, Leah,” he said, looking her up and down. She suddenly felt naked, embarrassed, and dreams being what they were, well she had good reason. She wore only red lace underwear that was nearly transparent; certainly they did nothing to disguise her heavy nipples. “When are you going to learn that all you have to do is just relax and let it happen?”

“I try, Al, really I do, but I just can’t seem to dream about you.”

“Then perhaps you need a little encouragement.” He stood and pulled his belt from its loops around his waist all the while raking her with a critical gaze. “If I lay a few bright pink welts across your nice round ass, do you think maybe when you lie down in bed tonight, when your poor tender bottom touches those clean rough sheets, you might manage to remember me in your dreams?”

“Yes. Yes, I think that might help,” she said. Fuck! What was she thinking? How could she agree to such a thing? And yet, she did, most heartily she did.

Before she could say more, or rethink the arrangement, he yanked her around the desk, dropped back into the chair and pulled her over his knees. He all but tore her panties off her and she woke screaming and begging just as the first lash fell. For a moment she lay in the darkness gasping for breath, struggling with the strange mix of emotions that came from wanting the man to spank her and yet not, but certainly wishing she could go back to sleep and finish the dream. She was wet with sweat and, was she imagining it, or did her bottom actually hurt? She was definitely not imaging her state of arousal. There would be no returning to the dream world until she could make herself a little more comfortable, and that meant fantasizing about just what Al would do after he’d finished spanking her. It didn’t take her long to bring herself over the edge, and then she fell almost instantly back to sleep.

It was the morning sun streaming through the curtains she forgot to close that woke her, disappointed that Al Foster had not returned to her dreamscape, though he had, nonetheless, provided her with a good orgasm. Certainly she couldn’t’ write any of those dreams in her journal. She might have to start a private journal just for sexy dreams – assuming this wasn’t a one-off. God, she hoped this wasn’t a one-off.

As she sat up on the edge of her bed and stretched, she noticed the dream journal open with the pen america-artist-art-paintings-prints-note-cards-by-howard-chandler-christy-nude-women-reading-approximate-original-size-18x16lying across the page, which read:

You look beautiful when you dream. It was a good dream, the kind you don’t want to wake up from. At last, Leah, you’re doing it right! You can always tell when you do it right by the way your nipples bead beneath the sheet, by the way your lips turned up at the corners, slightly parted as though waiting to be kissed. And, take a sniff, Leah. Your scent is the scent of dreams well dreamed, luscious and ripe. Well done, Leah! Well done!

There was no doubt the writing was her own, though way neater than most of the scrawl she’d written at speed. The thing was, she had no memory of writing it.

 

In The Flesh Part 22: Dark Paranormal Romance in Progress. Enjoy!

In the Flesh 11880534_1463650103936599_545702979581425574_n

 

 

In episode 22 of In The Flesh, Susan discovers the chilling truth about what Magda Gardener and Michael were trying to steal from Chapel House.

 

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.

 

 

 

 

To read the story in its entirety up to this point, follow these links to  Part 1  Part 2  Part 3  Part 4 Part 5Part 6Part 7Part 8Part 9Part 10Part 11Part 12Part 13Part 14Part 15Part 16, Part 17Part 18Part 19Part 20, Part 21.

 

In The Flesh Chapter 22

“I really need to go.” Michael kissed my ear and cupped my breast, thumbing the nipple that was just peeking from the cloud of geranium scented bubbles. After we’d made love, we slipped down the stone staircase to my room, which, I discovered to my delight, was just below his. He’d requested it that way. For my protection, he said, so he could get to me quickly if the need arose. And since High View was in the process of renovations, this was the best Alonso could do. Once we were back in my room, Michael had filled up the big bathtub and undressed me at his leisure, pausing to kiss and caress as necessary. Then he guided me down into the warm sudsy water and crawled in with me, to bathe me, he said — an act that was accomplished after another, less frantic, reinforcement of his mark. Warm, clean and sated, I leaned back against the humid rise and fall of his chest half dozing, trying hard to pretend that we were simply two lovers enjoying a little wet afternoon delight.

“I may be borrowing trouble,” he said, “but something doesn’t feel right. It shouldn’t have taken Magda so long to reconvene our little … reading group.” I felt his shrug against my back. “Though she’s not the kind who thinks to inform anyone of a change of plans. Still. I don’t like it. I suppose a delay could be a good sign, but I’m not an optimist when it comes to working with Magda, and certainly not where the Guardian is concerned.” Over my mild protests he stood, causing a mini tsunami of scented water, and offered me his hand.

When we were both dried and dressed, I reeled him in for a lingering kiss. “You don’t have to sleep all St Martha's Hill 3alone up there in that cold little tower, you know.”

He caught my hand and pulled it to his lips. “Are you inviting me to share your bed, Ms Innes?”

“Well I was just thinking that the mark could probably use a bit more reinforcing. Just to be sure. And, just in case you might need to get to me in a hurry or something. You understand.”

“You have a good point.” He nodded in mock seriousness.

“You have a better one.” I rubbed against him.

He groaned into my mouth in a deep lazy kiss. “As much as I’d love to discuss my point with you and give you another demonstration, I really need to find out what’s going on.” He kissed me again, giving my arse a good kneading as he shifted up tight against me, then he nipped my lower lip. “I promise we’ll continue this discussion later.” He turned to leave, then turned back to me. “I need you to stay put in your room until I com back for you. After everything that’s happened, the protective spells around this space have been reinforced to keep you safe when you’re alone. I’ll be back for you, or someone else will, shortly.” He waited until I nodded a reluctant agreement, then he left me leaning breathlessly against the edge of the door as I watched him disappear down the corridor.

As soon as he was gone, the world came rushing back. There was no more pretending that we were just ordinary lovers, there was no way to pretend anything was ordinary anymore. Fighting off the rising panic, my first thought was to boot up my laptop and document the events of the past twenty-four hours. Writing things down always helped me focus and see things more clearly – often things that had completely escaped me in the midst of the action, and I very much needed to see things more clearly right now. Then I remembered that the laptop was still in the study, where we’d all been titillated by my encounter with the Guardian. My stomach knotted at the memory. Well I fucking needed it! I couldn’t just sit around and fret. I needed to do something, anything to keep from going nuts, to keep from convincing myself that the Guardian was the love of my life and I needed to hurry back to Him. Ignoring Michael’s request, I took a deep breath, flung open the door and headed for the study. After all, the study was surely safe from the Guardian, deep in Alonso’s vampire friendly basement. I was sure I’d be fine there. The problem was I’d only been there once, and that was following Alonso’s lead. High View was a complicated maze of ruins and renovations one could easily get lost in and never be heard from again. It was the perfect hangout for a vampire and his pet succubus, I thought. Not so great for a confused writer though.

After two wrong turns and a dead end that led to a fairly creepy tunnel, I was just beginning to get dark moon image_xl_6338206seriously concerned that I might really be lost when I turned a blind corner and nearly ran into Talia. I gave a little yelp, and she responded with an amused chuckle. She was dressed in faded jeans, riding boots and a black leather jacket that hugged her perfect curves. Even in the dim light of the passage she looked terrifyingly beautiful – not like an angel. I knew very well what an angel looked like, felt like. Talia wasn’t like that at all with her waves of dark hair and red lips, with her blue eyes that looked right through you. Talia was like everything beautiful, everything desirable, everything dangerous and forbidden rolled into one breathtaking package. Christ, whatever happened to just normal everyday, sexual attraction between two ordinary human beings? I was out of my depth at every turn, and this was the safe place! I was about to apologize for being so jumpy and ask directions when she brought me up short.

“Are you looking for Magda?”

“As a matter of fact, I am.” At least I was now, now that perhaps I had someone to help me hunt her down. I asked innocently, “do you know where I can find her?” I had a few things to say to the woman and if Michael was overly protective of her, perhaps someone else could point me in the right direction.

“As a matter of fact, I do,” she said, folding her arm over mine and turning me down the hall toward the dodgy-looking tunnel. As she grabbed a Mag Light from a shelf near the entrance, I felt a tingle at the base of my spine, but I wasn’t sure if it was from the idea of entering the maw of the tunnel with a succubus I didn’t totally trust or just the fact that her hand against my bare forearm made me slightly giddy. “I would imagine you have a lot of questions for her,” she called over her shoulder as the tunnel began to narrow and she took the lead. “Not that I would expect too many answers if I were you. The bitch isn’t exactly known for her open door policy.”

“You don’t like her,” I said, scurrying to keep up with the pace of someone who was clearly familiar with the tunnel.

“I like her just fine. In fact I admire the hell out of her. But I don’t expect straight answers from her, and when she does get around to straight answers, usually I wish the hell she would have lied, but then that’s just Magda Gardener for you. Can’t say that I really blame her for trusting no one and using every resource at her disposal, and believe me, she’s got ‘em. Resources, I mean.”

“She certainly seems to have Michael by the shorthairs,” I said, stooping slightly as the tunnel narrowed still further and my heart rate accelerated accordingly.

“Hon, she has everyone by the shorthairs, even if they don’t know it.”

“Are you sure you know where she’s at?” I asked, shivering as a gossamer strand of spider web raked across my cheek.

Her chuckle was low and throaty. “Don’t worry, I’m not going to seduce you in some dark musty corner, if that’s what you’re afraid of and, as I said earlier, Alonso doesn’t feed on his guests, even uninvited ones.”

“Very happy to hear that, on both counts,” I said, raking my elbow on a rough outcropping of rock I rose imageshadn’t noticed in the wavering illumination of the Mag Light. Then I added quickly. “Michael tells me you’re his familiar – Alonso’s, I mean.”

The chuckle came again. “Oh, indeed. I’m very familiar with Alonso. I offer him blood and he reciprocates, when my energies are drained in his service. I’m his eyes in the daylight, and his flesh when he needs me to be. I add that … feminine touch to his household. I’m not his lover, though. Not now anyway. He’s head over heels for Reese, and that’s fine with me. I prefer human lovers. Their dreams are really quite … twisted, surprisingly. I know, right? Wouldn’t you think the dreams of a vampire, certainly a vampire who has been through what Alonso has would be far more exciting? But,” she turned and I suddenly found myself nose to nose with her, breathing in her cinnamon and peaches breath, “vampires and succubi and things that go bump in the night are born of the human psyche, you know. The veil between the dream world and the real world is so much thinner than anyone who hasn’t walked both could easily imagine.” She reached out and brushed a spider web from my hair. “I would think a Scribe would know that.” Then she turned and continued on.

Born of the human psyche? I wondered how that could be when Talia, Alonso, even Michael were as real and as physical as I was, but I’d save that question for later. There were more pressing ones at the moment. “So let me get this straight, you gain strength from his blood when you’ve done stuff for him, and he … feeds on you?”

She laughed out loud. “Oh honey, it’s way more than strength I gain from his blood. Taking a vampire’s blood is better than the best drug or alcohol high you can imagine. There’s nothing else like it, unless it’s to reciprocate and offer your own blood to one of their kind. Me,” she shrugged, “Well, I get my kicks mostly in other ways, and though I enjoy the exchange of blood, even need it from time to time when I’m weakened, I feed on an entirely different kind of energy.” Her gaze raked me like a physical touch and I felt my nipples harden. I caught my breath and stepped back. She just winked, then turned and walked on.

For a long time we walked on in silence, then I had to ask. “You can’t feed on the Guardian?”

“No. I have to have flesh, just as Alonso does, though for him the flesh and blood are a very physical need – different from my own. There’s a biochemical reaction that takes place in the body, in the brain when I feed, when a person dreams, when a person is aroused, when a person eats or fucks or gets excited or nervous or frightened or is satisfied in some other way. That’s just biology. I feed on that energy. Whatever it is that the Guardian may be, it’s not physical. There’s no biology where he is concerned. That’s the one thing denied him and the one thing he desires most, that physical experience, that biochemical reaction that happens when flesh meets flesh. That’s why everyone here but Alonso and Magda are vulnerable to him. Alonso is technically dead and Magda, well who the hell knows with Magda?”

“So, you can’t feed on Magda?”

Bernini Hades and Persephone close uptumblr_lg4h59T3z31qe2nvuo1_500The tunnel suddenly opened into a small amphitheater-like cave, and we picked our way across the rock-strewn floor, slick with dripping water and moss. At the entrance, which was well hidden from the outside by a thicket of heather and hawthorn, we looked out onto the rainy fells. “I’ve never tried to feed on Magda. Though I have to admit, she’s sexy enough; the thought of entering that woman’s dreams scares the hell out of me. Now your angel, well he’s another matter. He gave up his angelhood ages ago. Technically he’s as human as you are now, though he’s … well I suppose you could say he’s enhanced. But, as I’m sure you know, the biochemistry is all there in spades. Him I could feast on quite happily, and the two of you together, oh well, that thought positively makes me wet with anticipation. If ever you’re open for a little ménage, Hon, I promise I’ll make it well worth your while.”

“I’ll keep that in mind.” I hated to admit it, but after my experience with the succubus, the thought made me wet too. I quickly changed the subject. “So, Magda is flesh and blood, then, and the … biochemistry is all there, but for whatever reason, you’re scared of her and the Guardian wants nothing to do with her?”

“That’s pretty much it, yes. Not sure why the Guardian doesn’t like her, but I have a feeling that one taste of her energy would fry my circuits permanently. Might well be worth the risk, but I’m not that fucking brave. As for the whys of it all, well I’m not sure even she fully understands, and if you’re brave enough to ask, well go for it, chick, that’s all I can say.”

I would be brave enough to ask, I thought. I needed to understand who the hell this woman was if my life and the life of my best friend and my lover were in her hands. I needed to know if I could trust her. But even if I couldn’t, it really didn’t matter at this point. She was all we had. “Is she really a thief?” I asked.

“A thief?” The resulting belly laugh surprised me, and I waited impatiently while Talia regained control, wiping tears from the corner of her eyes, still chuckling when she was finally able to respond. “ I suppose now that you mention it, that’s exactly what she is, but on a scale that would take your breath away little Scribe.” She nodded to what looked like a ramshackle shepherd’s bothy half hidden in a wooded copse. “She’s in there.” She slipped out of her jacket and handed it to me. “Trust me. You’re gonna need this. Magda isn’t big on creature comforts when she’s practicing her magic.”

I shivered from something other than cold as I shoved my way into the black leather jacket warm from the succubus’ body and redolent with her musky, peachy, cinnamon scent. “So what did she send Michael to Chapel House to steal? I mean seriously, wasn’t she afraid something like this might happen with the Guardian if they started mucking about?”

I suddenly found myself in the woman’s hard blue gaze. She looked at me as though I were some new life form she was only seeing for the first time. “The Guardian was already released when she sent Michael to play cat burglar. Didn’t you know?”

“Me? How the hell would I know? I knew nothing about any of this until Michael rescued me from my butcher-knife wielding best friend.”

“Sweetie,” she stepped closer and pushed the hair back behind my ears in a gesture that sent tingles down my spine, her gaze suddenly softened to something that resembled sympathy. “Didn’t you know?”

“Know what?” The tingle became an icy chill. “Know what?”

Talia gave a quick glance out at the bothy and then squared her shoulders as though she had just made a major decision. “Magda commissioned Michael to … to steal you.”

“What?” I suddenly felt as insubstantial as the spider webs clinging to the ceiling. “What the fuck’s that supposed to mean, she hired Michael to steal me. I’m a person, not an object. She can’t steal me. And neither can he,” I added trying to keep the hurt from my voice.

“Oh she can, and she will. She has stolen more people than you can easily imagine, Hon. Michael’s one of them. And Michael, well he’ll happily aid her because he wants you almost as badly as she does. Maybe more so considering the power of his mark on your body. I can feel it from anywhere in High View. Shouldn’t doubt that I could still feel it all the way to Penrith.”

“Why?’ The word came out sounding entirely too much like a sob.

“What do you mean why? You’re a Scribe. Do you have any idea how rare that is? No one else could have P1020199

released the Guardian but a Scribe and not even every Scribe could have done what you did. That’s the only explanation for his return to the world of the living. It didn’t take Magda and Michael long to put two and two together. They knew your friend wasn’t a Scribe, and they knew that the Guardian was already feasting on her. Remember Magda rescued Michael from the Guardian, and together they imprisoned him. They both understand the way it is with him. You’re what he’s after. Your friend is just a little snack. He knows what you are as well as they do. You hold his future in your hands, and he knows it. That makes you far too valuable for them not to steal you away.”

 

In The Flesh Part 8: Free Story in Progress. Enjoy!

psyche_et_lamour_327x567Happy Friday Everyone! And the story sizzles with part 8 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 8 burns with lust and chills with dark secrets. Happy Reading! 

 

To read the story in its entirety up to this point, follow these links to  Part 1  Part 2  Part 3  Part 4 Part 5Part 6, Part 7.

 

In The Flesh: Part 8

I stretched up just enough to brush his lips with mine. My nipples grazed his chest, warm and still bare from his own shower. The tingle of flesh against flesh coursed through me. Michael wasn’t in my head, he wasn’t in my imagination. I could see firelight dancing over the rise and fall of a masculine landscape. I could smell him, the clean shower scent mingling with the tang of body heat. I could smell the ozone and musk of his arousal, could almost taste the yeasty humid spiking of his desire at the back of my tongue. I nearly wept with the solid muscle and bone feel of him – the bulging of a bicep as he lifted his hand to curl fingers in my wet hair, the tensing of his thighs as he shifted beneath me, the straining against the soft denim of his jeans — the very solid promise that his need was at least as great as my own.

His mouth was both hard and soft, yielding to mine, intuiting my every move, tongue and lips, teeth and jaw. Was it because he was an angel, I wondered, and my insides knotted at the thought, ice blooming next to fire. Did he also have some way of manipulating my needs, kindling my lust until I felt like I would burn if I didn’t get relief? Did he also have some sinister purpose hidden from me? Had I not looked up at the cold stone of his image just before I was attacked? As though he read my thoughts, he tightened his fist in my hair and bit my lip making me shudder with as much pleasure as pain, then he raked his teeth down over my jaw to kiss and nuzzle my nape; there against the hammering of my pulse, he whispered, “there’s nothing supernatural happening here, Susan. I’m flesh and bone, just like you.” He trapped my palm low on his belly, and his night blue gaze locked on mine as he guided my hand down inside his waistband, sucking a harsh breath as I wriggled and twisted my fingers until I found him heavy and warm and smooth against my touch, like steel sheathed in silk.

Impatient as I was, I tore open his fly with an awkwardness worthy of a teenager, causing him to flinch and grind and lift his hips toward me as though that might ease my clumsiness, as though that might end his denim imprisonment more quickly. And when he was free in my hand, he bucked upward nearly landing me on the floor in his efforts to get his jeans down over his arse and kick them aside. Then, one hand still fisted in my hair as though he feared I might try to stop his mouth from gorging on mine, he tossed the forgotten towel across the room, cupped my buttocks in his hands and stood. I gave a little yelp of surprise and wrapped my arms and legs around his body, now as naked as my own. It was only a couple of steps to the bed, and he lowered me onto it with incredible control, still strategically positioned between my thighs with me grinding and shifting in a battle to get him where I needed him most. But he resisted, holding me completely and totally at his mercy. He nibbled the hollow of my throat as though there was no hurry, as though he could take all of eternity to explore my body, and he absolutely would if he decided to. He cupped and kneaded each of my breasts in turn stroking and tweaking until my nipples peaked and ached and tingled. Ignoring my squirming, what little I could manage from beneath him, embraced and held captive as I was, he slid a splayed hand down my belly and in between us opening me with thick, calloused fingers me, finding my need and stoking the flames, teasing me. In desperation, I reached for his erection, but he slapped my hand away and nipped my throat. “Be patient, Susan. I’m not about to mount you like an animal in rut. I understand flesh and blood, the drive of its life force. And,” he dropped a kiss onto my sternum, “I understand the deceit of divinity to which we’re all Bernini Hades and Persephone close uptumblr_lg4h59T3z31qe2nvuo1_500vulnerable.”

“I don’t care! I don’t care, goddamn it!” My voice was rough and barely audible, my throat was dry and achy as my mouth formed the words, breathing them almost soundlessly into his mouth. “I’ve been waiting, needing, wanting since I got to Chapel House. Please don’t make me wait any longer.” And just when I was certain I’d go insane if I couldn’t get him inside me, just when I’d all but clawed a raw strip down his back and buttocks in an effort to get him where I needed him, he pulled away, rose up on his knees and looked down at me, breathing like he’d been running hard. “I don’t have to control your mind to pleasure your flesh. Say you want me, Susan, and I’ll know if you’re lying. I won’t take you until it’s me that you want, and not him.”

“Bloody hell,” I gasped, writhing beneath him like a python over a flame. “I want you, Michael, you fucking know that I want you. Please, don’t make me wait.”

And he didn’t.

I swallowed back the last word in a gasp with the bruising force of his first thrust, somewhere between pain and pleasure. It had been a long time since I’d had sex, and Michael was substantial. I felt myself stretched and full beyond full, aching and raw. He would have held himself there, moving carefully, giving me time to adjust, but I kicked him hard in the kidneys eliciting a soft grunt, then I grabbed his butt in a grip that involved plenty of fingernail, feeling the hiss of his breath against my face as I forced him deeper into me, as I rose up to meet him.

He got the message. Any gentleness he might have shown me evaporated in another hard thrust that threatened to tear me apart, and I cried out with the exquisite pain of it, almost too much, and yet not enough. After all that had happened, could there even ever be enough? The edge of that pain drove me to the anger, to the frustration I hadn’t known I’d been holding back ever since Annie and her lover had begun to toy with me Friday evening. I growled, I raged, I screamed. Michael fucked me, bruised me, ravaged me, and I welcomed the solid, battering ram, humanity of him, sweating and grunting and thrusting, hand fisted tight in my hair, mouth leaving bite marks on my breasts and shoulders, stubbled cheek abrading the soft skin along my throat and above my nipples. Each time he drove me to the edge, each time I held my breath ready and needing and teetering on the brink, he pulled back. Then he watched me writhe, listened to me curse him and beg him then curse him again. He watched me with hooded eyes, eyes full of hunger, but more than that, eyes full of something I was too desperate, too angry, too needy to interpret. And just when I was on the verge of tears, he’d mount me again, take me a little deeper, a little closer, sharpen the focus of my lust a little tighter, and pull back once more until I hated him, I loved him, I needed him, I threatened to kill him before he took me yet again.

When, after an eternity, he allowed me to come, it wasn’t the release I’d been expecting; it wasn’t something I fell over the edge into as my orgasms usually were. It was a tidal wave driven by a storm, battering me, shaking me, leaving me breaking me apart in its aftermath. And while I convulsed, helpless and weak beneath him, he took his own release in wrenching, sobbing grunts. As he collapsed on top of me, he gasped against my ear, “There, you see. I’ve marked you,” he slid now gentle finger across the bite mark already darkening above my left nipple. “You can’t belong to both of us, but you have to belong to one of us if you’re ever to be safe from the other.”

“What the fuck? Belong to you? What the hell is that supposed to mean?”

I tried to shove my way from under him but he held me tight, and let me struggle as though he barely noticed it. “I told you, we’ll fight him together, Susan. It’s the only way I know to win. He can’t take you if you’re tied to someone else,” he shrugged, “oh he’ll still try, but at least it’ll be much more difficult for him.”

“So that’s what all of this was about. You fucked me to mark me for battle, that’s it?” I tried again to shove him off, but he kissed me as though we were simply having a quiet post coital cuddle.

“I said I could help you, Susan, and there’s a lot more to helping you than just making you come.”

It was ridiculous that I should feel used by his revelation. I had been the one to use him, after all. Hadn’t I just wanted him to make me come? I mean sex with Michael was way better than masturbating, when I knew full-well I couldn’t have masturbated without giving Him more space inside my head. “Of course.” I avoided his gaze, which was 2015-06-30 11.40.57no easy task since he was still on top of me, inside me. “I forgot, you were at Chapel House on business, and tell me, am I a part of your plan for stealing whatever it is you’re trying to steal?’

“You’re help will make it easier,” he said, shifting his hips just enough to make me aware that he wasn’t getting any softer. He was an angel after all. Maybe that meant he was insatiable. Like it or not, my body responded to his shifting, but I forced myself to hold still. I would not be distracted.

“You said you marked me, well so did He, what about his marks?” I nodded to the fingerprint-shaped bruises on my biceps. “He left his marks before you did.”

“True, but his mark was given without your permission; fortunately I got you away before you gave in.” He placed a soft kiss on each bicep in turn and this time I did squirm.

Then his words sank in and I shivered in spite of the heat of his body still on top of me. “What do you mean you got to me before I gave in.”

The muscles along his jaw tensed and relaxed and he looked away. “You woke up in your own bed, didn’t you?”

I suddenly felt as though little insects were crawling up the back of my neck. “Christ, Michael, you were there last night? In the garden? You …”

“I took you back to your room and watched over you until the dream dissipated. If I hadn’t, it would have been more than a dream.” He met my gaze again. “If I hadn’t been there, then more than likely either you or your friend Annie would be dead by now and someone would be looking for a place to bury a body. I took you to your room and watched over you until morning, then everything else that happened, me showing up at the door and Annie throwing you out, well it was just a matter of timing.” He slid a warm finger along the blooming bite mark. “But this will make it easier for you.”

“Maybe so, but I still don’t belong to you,” I said shoving him with the flat of my hand. “I don’t belong to anyone.”

He rolled enough to the side so that he was no longer crushing me beneath his weight, but he stayed inside me, and he still refused to release me. “Gods never see it that way.”

“But He’s not a god, you told me that.”

“He thinks he is, and he shares a lot of common traits with the gods I’ve known. I suppose it’s possible he might be a bastard child of some lesser deity. But even if he’s not, entities connected with the earth, especially consecrated ground, have enough power to be pretty damn formidable, god or not. Whatever he is, he’s staked you as Graveyard angel 1his territory, and you don’t have much of a chance for fighting back unless you team up with someone who knows how to fight dirty.”

“And you know how to fight dirty because you’re an angel?” I asked.

This time he rolled completely off me and sat up on the edge of the bed, the long muscles of his back and shoulders gone stiff. “Michael?”

For a moment he said nothing. I could hear his breathing suddenly fast and shallow above the crackle of the fire. At last he took a deep breath and replied, “I know how to fight dirty because I was once his lover.”

 

In The Flesh Part 4: Free Story in Progress. Enjoy!

Happy Friday! And to start your weekend off with a thrill and a chill, enjoy Part 4 of my dark paranormal erotic story, In The Flesh.  psyche_et_lamour_327x567

In the Flesh is a dark and sexy story that has had several incarnations in its shorter form, but never quite worked because it needed space to grow. I couldn’t think of a better place for it to grow. In the Flesh is a blend of paranormal erotica and almost, but not quite … okay, quite possibly … horror. What I’m sharing with you, this version, is an expanding work in progress. You get it just shortly after I write it, and as far as what happens next, well … we’ll see. 

I hope you enjoy it! 

 

 

 

To read the story in its entirety up to this point, follow these links to  Part 1  Part 2 & Part 3.

 

In The Flesh: Part 4

I woke up with a jerk that made my neck pop. I was lying naked curled around the pillow in the middle of the mattress in the make-shift guest room. The tight space that had been heavy and humid last night was now freezing cold and I was shivering. I gulped oxygen as though I hadn’t breathed all night. Then a wave of relief washed over me. I sobbed out loud. “It was only a dream! It wasn’t real. Dear God it wasn’t real!” My throat felt like I’d been eating ground glass and my head ached. Everything ached. Only a dream! Thank God! Thank heaven! Thank fuck! Thank everything! In the grey morning light that bathed the windowless excuse for a room, I crawled off the mattress and shoved my way into yesterday’s cloths, thrown carelessly across my travel bag when I’d come to bed last night. Then I frantically began to pack. Dream or not, I was out of here as soon as I could extricate myself – politely or otherwise — from Annie. I wasn’t her keeper. I couldn’t make her do what she didn’t want to. I’d call her mother. That’s what I’d do! I had her mother’s number somewhere. I’d call her to take charge, then I’d hope for the best. From a safe distance.

I’d just finished washing my face and running a toothbrush over my teeth when I heard a commotion down therose images hall.

“I told you to stay away! I told you I didn’t want you here. Do I have to call the cops?”

I threw open the bathroom door and raced down the hall to the makeshift kitchen where the noise was coming from. Annie stood at the door, robe wrapped carelessly around her, holding a butcher knife in one hand and her phone in the other, shaking both at a dark haired man in faded jeans and an Elvis Lives, t-shirt. For some reason the man looked familiar, but then again, how many of Annie’s lovers had pined for her and tried to get back in her good graces after she dissed them. More than a few of them had come to me for advice on how to win Annie’s heart. Jesus! The woman couldn’t be happy with a made-up stalker, she had to have a real one too!

“What the hell’s going on here?” I roared, the pent-up helplessness from last night giving way to anger. ‘You heard her. Get out!’ I yelled at the man. But to my surprise, instead of coming to my side, instead of standing shoulder to shoulder with me like she always had, Annie turned the knife on me.

“And you! You little whore! I was afraid this would happen, Susan, I tried to tell him. I begged him not to bring you here, but he said to trust him, to trust you. But how could I trust you? How could I trust anyone with him?”

“He brought me here? Who brought me hear? What the fuck are you talking about?” But even as I asked I was Graveyard angel 1terrified that I already knew.

She gave me a hard shove toward the door, her fragile body belying her strength, and I found myself stumbling over the threshold, shoved up against the man at the door, who caught me to keep me from falling. “Get out! Get the hell out, both of you. And don’t come back.” Then she slammed the door in our faces.

“Annie! Annie wait! We need to –” The smell of burning garbage was suddenly so overwhelming that I gagged and choked for breath. The dark haired man grabbed me by the arm and pulled me away from the door and out into the courtyard. With both of us coughing and choking, eyes streaming from smoke we couldn’t see, he half marched, half dragged me through the wrought iron gate and out into the alley behind Chapel House. There, he pulled open the door of a small lorry and tried to shove me inside.

“Let go of me! Let go!” I squirmed free and nearly fell on my arse as he released his grip and another wave of burning rubbish nearly overwhelmed me. “Who the bloody hell are you?’

“I’m the fucking builder! Or at least I was. Now get into the damned truck and lets get out of here before we both suffocate.”

I did as he said, barely getting the door closed before he revved the engine, shoved the truck into gear and pulled out onto the street, the horrible smell receding in our wake. Neither of us said anything until he pulled into a Little Chef off the motorway. He was around the truck and opening the door for me before I could engage with what had happened in the – what was it – just twenty minutes I’d been awake this morning?

He offered me his hand, and I blinked, horrified to discover that I was blinking back tears. “I don’t have any money. I don’t have anything.” I managed. “It’s all back in Chapel House. Even my phone”

“I know.” He settled me onto my feet then reached behind the seat and pulled out a battered leather jacket settling it around my shoulders, bathing me in the comforting scent of wood smoke, ozone and clean male sweat. It was only then that I realized I was shivering. “It’s on the house.” He shut the door and I noticed for the first time the logo printed in bold white against the dark green of the truck, Weller Building.

“Are you Weller?” I asked, as he placed a hand under my elbow and steered me toward the café.dark moon image_xl_6338206

“Michael Weller,” he said opening the door and nodding to a booth in the corner. “And I take it you’re Susan.”

“That would be me.” Once we were seated, he handed me a menu, but I slid it back across the table to him. “I just want coffee.”

As I shoved the menu in his direction, he grabbed my wrist and held tight. “Listen to me, Susan,” He glanced around to make sure we were alone. There was only one other couple in the café this early on a Sunday morning and they were clear across the room. “You have to eat.” He leaned over the table, and for the first time I noticed the bright blue of his eyes — how they contrasted with his dark hair and sun-bronzed skin, and the dark stubble on his chin and square jaw that made him look edgy, just up out of bed. His eyes were startling in their intensity, like some artist had created a face that was more intriguing than it was handsome, but had added, as an afterthought, a stroke of something hypnotic, something beautiful and raw, almost frightening, and yet, the man had been my savior. From what? From a bad dream? From a friend who was slowly going off her rocker? “Listen to me,” he said again, dragging my attention back to his words with a tight squeeze of my wrist. “He starves is lovers. As he grows stronger, they grow weaker, and the more attention he pays to them, the less interested they are in food or drink or …” His voice drifted off and he looked out the window at the sparrows flitting in a sorry looking berberis that had been a lack-luster attempt at landscaping when the place was built. “The less interest they have in anything really.” Then he looked back at me and I was startled all over again by his eyes. “He becomes their world, and once he’s drained them dry and moves on to someone else, they … they have no reason for living.”

With a shiver I remembered the knife in Annie’s hand.

“Are you ready to order, Michael?” I jumped at the sound of the waitress’ bird-like voice.

He glanced up and offered a smile to the chunky middle-aged woman with newly manicured nails, then he returned his gaze to me. “Two full English, Izzy, and keep the coffee coming.” For a second, I feared I’d throw up, as I watched the woman’s blood red nails grip the pen, take the order on the pad. I closed my eyes and grabbed onto the table trying to make sense of everything.

When the waitress left and I was sure I wasn’t going to disgrace myself in the Little Chef, I spoke between my teeth. “You make it sound like he’s real.”

The waitress brought coffee and water. Michael asked her about her kids, both now off in Uni, and I wondered how he could make pleasant conversation under the circumstances. When she left, he waited until I’d had a sip of coffee, all the while holding me in his startling blue gaze. “Oh he’s real alright, and you know it as well as I do. How long have you been at Chapel House,” he asked, looking me over like he was a doctor and I was a patient with some unspecified ailment.

“I got there Friday evening. I’m on holiday. I was surprised that Annie invited me. She’s always so busy, but she said she had some time off, and wouldn’t it be great to catch up. And then, when I got there …”

“Strange things started happening.”

“An understatement,” I grunted. “She says he’s god.” My face burned with embarrassment at saying such a ridiculous thing, but Michael didn’t laugh. “He’s not a ghost is he?” I asked as an afterthought, only then letting the weight of the statement sink in, the fact that I was talking about my friend’s imaginary lover as though he were real. And what was worse, my opinion was being validated by a man who seemed completely lucid and of more than average intelligence.

“He’s no ghost, but he’s not god either.”

I took a gulp of my coffee and burnt my tongue, aware of Michael’s blue gaze. “Susan,” he took my hand and P1020056gave it a reassuring squeeze that really didn’t reassure me at all. “Susan, have you … have you dreamed since you’ve been at Chapel House?” Michael nodded to my right bicep, where the jacket, way too big for me, had slid off my shoulder to reveal four oval bruises the color of overly ripe plums. I slid out of the jacket and shifted in the seat for a better look. They could have almost past for the inked finger prints the police take when they book someone.

Bile rose to my throat. I swallowed hard and turned to examine the other arm, finding similar marks. “It was a dream. It was just a dream. It had to be.” I hadn’t noticed when I woke up in the gloomy grey of the windowless room, wouldn’t have thought to look, when all I wanted to do was just get the hell out of Chapel House as quickly as possible. But the experience in the bath, the smell of roses, the constant feeling of being watched, being touched, what I’d seen last night with Annie splayed on the altar. And then … what had happened after. It couldn’t be real. None of it could be real. And yet the bruises were there, and it was no mystery what had caused them.

The waitress chose that moment to bring the food, but I don’t remember much after that. My brain chose that moment to rebel, because none of this could be real. It was all a bad dream, and I was still back in my own bed in my own flat having the worst nightmare ever. Had to be! Absolutely couldn’t be anything else! I remember shoving my way out of the booth and running for the door desperate for air, desperate for the return of sanity, desperate to get away … far, far away. Mostly I remember being desperate to wake up.

 
© 2018 K D Grace
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