Happy New Year everyone! And all the best in 2016! Since this is a time of new beginnings, today’s episode of In The Flesh is quite fitting as Susan awakens to a new life to find that the road might be a lot rougher than she’d expected.
There are only a few more episodes of In The Flesh left, so be sure to mark Fridays on your calendar, and hold on to your hats because things are getting wild.
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 the links.
Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12, Part 13, Part 14, Part 15, Part 16, Part 17, Part 18, Part 19, Part 20, Part 21, Part 22, Part 23, Part 24, Part 25 Part 26, Part 27, Part 28, Part 29, Part 30, Part 31.
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In The Flesh Chapter 32
Awareness returned slowly with an irritating drip, drip, drip of something between my parted lips. Even more irritating was the acid burn at the back of my throat as whatever it was trickled down. Whatever it was, I felt I should have known, but I couldn’t for the life of me recall. Drip, drip, drip! I coughed and choked, flailing to shove the hand away from my face that stroked my jaw, but my efforts were useless. I was weak as a kitten, and I had no context for my situation, a fact that frightened me, and I flailed harder.
Strong arms cradled me, cool fingers stroked my throat and, someone spoke softly. “Swallow, my darling girl. You must swallow and take my strength.”
Drip, drip, drip!
“She has to drink. You have to make her drink, or she’ll die.” There was another male voice, a voice full of worry. A familiar voice.
“She’s already dead, Michael.” A woman’s voice commented.
“Shut up, Magda,” came the reply, a reply which I barely noticed because my attention was on the fact that I was dead. I was supposed to be, wasn’t I? Wasn’t that the plan? And then something was supposed to happen after that. I just couldn’t think for the irritating, burning drip, drip, drip making my eyes water and my sinuses sting.
“Drink my darling girl,” the soft voice was still insisting in my ear. The cool fingers were still stroking my throat. “You must drink from me now, as I have drank from you, and all shall be well.”
I choked and gagged and then swallowed. And the acid burn became warm and sweet and soothing down the back of my throat, bursting with richness and flavor, and suddenly I was starving for whatever it was that filled my mouth. The acid burn was transformed to fire and heat and life, and I was freezing and shivering, and I couldn’t get enough its warmth.
“That’s it, that’s right my darling drink. Drink from me. The shivering will pass, and you will soon not notice the cold.” A large hand cradled my head and guided me toward the source of the liquid fire. My teeth punctured flesh and, for a moment, I thought I would be sick at the very thought. But then, the drip, drip, drip became an even, steady flow that flooded my mouth and coursed down my throat into my belly, and the world around me burst into sharp focus. Alonso held me against his bare chest and I fed from the vein just above his left nipple. I fed as though I was starving. I fed as though I would never get enough. Child of his heart’s blood, he said I would be, and now I understood why.
“Welcome back.” Magda Gardener smiled down at me. But I didn’t respond. I had forgotten how to do anything but drink from Alonso, throwing my arms around him and pulling him closer to my lips, an act which caused him to sigh and moan softly. I couldn’t tell if it was with pleasure or if I was hurting him and, to be honest, I don’t think it would have mattered one way or another. I had little control over my need to feed at that point. It was far more instinct that drove me than it was any higher brain function and that, in itself, would have terrified me if I’d had the capacity to dwell on it. Whether I was causing him pain or not, he made no effort to hinder me, and I fed aggressively. For me it was pleasure, but of the most primitive kind, it was the satisfying of hunger, urgent, demanding hunger, hunger that insisted I feed as though I might never feed again; hunger that had as little to do with filling my belly as a thunderstorm has to do with filling the ocean. And yet in spite of my raging need, I was keenly aware of everything around me. It was just that I could concentrate on nothing at the moment but taking more of the spiced wine heat of Alonso’s blood into me. I had never tasted anything so sweet.
“It’s best not to touch her just yet,” Alonso said, when Michael reached out to stroke my cheek. “She is not herself. She is not yet safe.”
“Of course she’s not safe,” Michael snapped. “She’s a fucking vampire.”
“She is not yet a fucking vampire,” Alonso replied evenly. “She is not yet fully made. She must feed, then she must rest, and then feed again. Until that has happened, and until we can help her control her urges, she is in danger as are those around her.”
“How long?” Michael ran a hand through his hair and paced the small space, shoving at the makeshift curtain. “How long before she’s back to herself.”
“I do not know,” Alonso said. “It is different with every person, and I have never sired before.”
“Fucking hell! You mean you’re making this up as you go along? Jesus!”
“Michael, sit down and shut up,” Magda said. “Whether or not Alonso has sired a million or none, is irrelevant at this point. Susan made her choice, and Alonso will do what he must.”
“It is also a fact that you must prepare yourself for that while Susan will still be herself at the core of her being, she will be changed in ways that may be … difficult.”
“Christ!” Michael grumbled under his breath. “And the Guardian?” he asked, turning on Alonso, who growled a warning. Or at least I thought it was Alonso, but it was actually me. “Tell me at least that after what you’ve done to her that it worked.”
“There’s no sign of him,” Magda said. “But if he was in Susan’s body when Alonso took her, he’s still there.”
“Oh he’s there all right,” Talia said. “And not very happy about it either. But I promise you, by the time he realized he wasn’t just dreaming Alonso’s presence, the process was too far along for him to escape.”
“Can he hurt her?” Michael asked. “Can he use her as he did me?”
“He cannot use the dead,” Alonso said, and Michael flinched as though he had been slapped.
But Alonso made no apologies for being blunt. In truth he had other things on his mind. I knew because I could feel those things in the back of my own mind as though, by feeding from him, I also took from his thoughts. “She will sleep soon, when she is sated, and then we must get her, and myself, back to High View before dawn comes. This is not a safe place for either of us and, while I could manage in the crypt, I do not know what Susan’s needs will be, and I can better anticipate them in my own home, which is designed with our kind in mind.”
It happened so quickly that I almost missed it, the slacking of my mouth, the flickering of my tongue over my lips to make sure I’d not missed a single drop, and then I licked instinctually at the wound over Alonso’s heart to seal it. I fell asleep before I finished, all the while Alonso spoke soft, calming words to me from the edge of the dream world.
That was my last memory until I woke in a huge bed in a deeply shadowed room with no windows. Alonso sat in an over stuffed chair that had been moved close to the bed. I was aware of Magda and Michael in the room, sitting in the shadows, but they didn’t matter. For the moment, only Alonso mattered. I was in a black shirt that I knew was his, and nothing else, but then I had been naked with no actual memory of shedding my clothes when he had come to me at Chapel House. I could smell the high fells scent of him deep in the weave of the fabric beyond the reach of the surface smell of laundry soap.
That was not, however, the scent that dragged me up from my sleep, but rather the scent of blood, a smell that filled my mouth with saliva and made my stomach clench and cramp in hunger. I was out of the bed and on Alonso’s lap, clawing open his shirt, sending buttons flying so quickly that I barely had a sense of my own movement. Had I, it most certainly would have frightened me.
But when Alonso pushed me away and tried to ease me back in the bed saying something about not being able to feed me, whatever I was becoming lashed out like a whip with strength and speed I neither knew I had nor was I able to control. All I knew in that instant was unbearable hunger, which I had to satisfy at all costs. The chair went over backward with me landing on top of Alonso still trying to get to the source of nourishment. A split second later, I was the one flat on my back on the floor, with Alonso straddling me, pinning my arms above my head and me yelling like a banshee, “get off me! Get off me! Give it to me!”
I’ve heard that predators are often tunnel-visioned, unable to see anything but the prey in their sight once they begin to move in for the kill. Even as the thought horrified me, the fact that Michael and Magda now flanked Alonso and were yelling at me trying to calm me brought it home loud and clear that a predator was exactly what I had become, and even though I had known that would be the case when I had asked Alonso to take me, I was suddenly, painfully, aware of what that meant, even as none of the logic mattered, even as nothing in the whole world mattered but feeding.
“Listen to me, Susan,” Alonso was all but yelling at me just to get my attention, and I wanted to rip his face off for it. Damn it, all I wanted to do was to feed! “I cannot feed you, for both Talia and Reese have needed from me after our efforts at Chapel House. I am depleted my darling girl. But Michael and Magda will feed you.” Michael had already shed his shirt and knelt next to me pulling me to him as Alonso eased up his weight, and I lunged.
“Not from your heart, Michael,” Alonso warned, “from your wrist, even your neck, but not from your heart, it’s too dangerous.”
“From my heart,” came Michael’s breathless reply. “Only from my heart.” He swallowed back a hiss of pain as I tore at the flesh above his left nipple in frustration, unable to access the vein as I had with Alonso. He braced himself against my vicious tearing, crying out as I bit him again and again in desperation, only managing to bruise and lacerate and, while the surface bled, I could not get to the vein.
“Michael! Michael, there’s a reason why you don’t feed her from your heart’s blood.” It was Magda, who spoke. In that moment, Alonso wrestled me away from my efforts only long enough for Magda to slice a clean sharp incision with a Vitronox low on Michael’s left pectoral and, before the first flow had fallen to his nipple, I lunged and Alonso released me. I threw my arms around Michael and pulled in the first delicious taste of his blood, so different from Alonso’s, but no less heavenly, with the tang of summer fruit and woodland herbs, and he sighed with relief and cradled me to his chest.
“You romantic bastard,” Magda said to Michael, settling back on her knees and catching her breath while she watched my efforts. “It has nothing to do with your emotions, idiot. The heart’s blood must be opened by the giver, and that’s why it’s considered more intimate. It’s a gift. It can’t easily be taken by force.”
Michael only nodded and moaned as I pulled him still closer. It was when he laid his head back against the bed and his eyes fluttered shut that I realized he could barely hear Magda. In fact, I doubted that he’d understood a single word she’d said. With one hand he gently kneaded and caressed my flank while the other stroked and fisted my hair. In a moment of clarity, I felt the slow, deep shifting of his hips beneath me and became keenly aware that he was fully erect. My body responded in kind, nipples peaking, heat rising heave and humid between my thighs and my own hips shifting. But instinct won out in the end. I would revisit the lust once the hunger eased. Somewhere in the back of my mind I remembered Alonso saying that feeding and sex were both intimate acts best done together, and in private, whenever possible. Perhaps when I was finished feeding, I would fuck Michael. Perhaps when I was done drinking from the blood of his heart, I would reward him, reward both of us for his efforts.
I wanted him with every cell in my body. I had no idea I could hunger for him so deeply, so deeply that all I could think about, all I could imagine was taking him into myself, taking all of him into myself, taking in his luscious dark ruby blood in large, thirsty gulps as though I would never get enough, and then mounting him and taking the essence of his life force in the same way, until we were both spent and exhausted from our efforts. In truth, as we writhed on the floor I felt as though the act of feeding would not be complete until we had coupled, but I needed strength before that could happen and Michael’s strength, Michael’s life’s blood was exhilarating in a very different way from Alonso’s .
From somewhere a long way off, I heard Magda and Alonso speaking in distressed tones, and I wished they’d leave us alone. I anticipated fucking Michael with each deep pull of his blood, and while I would prefer not to have an audience, the need I felt at the moment was even beyond what the Guardian had roused in me, and I was sure one act would not be, in and of itself completed without the other – certainly not when it was with Michael, therefore if they wouldn’t leave, I would just ignore them and have him anyway. But to my irritation, they had no intention of leaving, or even being quiet. They just kept getting louder, and Magda kept saying something over and over again. Gederofim, gederofim, gederofim,’ it sounded like over the euphoric buzz in my ears. ‘Gedheroffim, geteroffim, Get! Her! Off! Him!”
With me fighting like a tiger, Alonso pulled me free, “Susan … Susan! You can’t take any more from Michael. It’s too much.”
“Susan! You’ll kill him,” Magda shouted at me, just as she shoved her wrist in front of my open mouth. It was only once I’d punctured flesh – damn near breaking bone in the process — and tasted the sharp, clean citrus of her blood did I realize that Michael’s eyes were closed and he was pale, so pale. Alonso held the bed sheet tightly to the wound in his chest and gently slapped his face until he roused with a gasp.
In that instant I felt shame, fear, horror, and yet I could no more stop feeding that I could have stopped
the flow of time.
“He’ll be all right,” Alonso was saying, “He’ll be fine. He’ll be a little weak when he wakes up, but he’ll be fine. He’s an angel. He’s stronger than an ordinary mortal.”
And still I gorged, even as I wept and sobbed at Magda’s wrist, somewhere in the back of my mind realizing that my tears were still salt and not blood, and they were as bitter as they had been when I realized that Michael planned to sacrifice himself for me, and I had done all that I had done and still, he nearly died because of me – most surely would have if Alonso and Magda hadn’t intervened. I wept bitterly between great gulps of Magda’s blood, and she held me in strong arms, stroking my hair and speaking to me in some ancient language I didn’t understand, but being very careful not to withdraw her wrist. When I could manage a sane word, when I was sated enough I was once again on the edge of sleep, I sealed the wound and pulled Magda’s face close to mine, careful not to jostle her glasses. “Keep Michael away from me. Please. I don’t want to hurt him and … I don’t want him to see me like this.”
She tried to argue, but I grabbed her by the throat, and she stilled as though she were one of her own creations made of stone. “Promise me! I need you to promise me.”
“All right,” she said softly, and then I allowed myself to tumble back into the sleep of the dead.