There wasn't much salvage in this part of
the bay. It was late, and the captain of the Sweet Sally was
on his way home when his dredging hook caught on something.
It was heavy and the iron was stuck fast in whatever the waters
held. The man wasn't in any hurry, there was no one to go home
to anymore, not now Nora was gone, so he stopped the engines
and anchored the vessels. He might as well raise whatever it
was, it would give him a chance to free the hook and there was
always a chance it would be worth something.
Half an hour later, the lonely man was staring
at a sizeable chunk of concrete and a length of chain into which
his dredging machinery had been caught. The other end of the
metal linkage was still in the water, but he wasn't planning
on checking it. It was a disappointment, but that was the chance
you always took with salvage, so the man freed his own equipment
and prepared to drop the load back into the inky waters. He
reached down to the pin which secured the false prize to his
boat and pulled; it was stuck, this one was always stuck, he'd
been meaning to fix it, but he hadn't had the energy or compunction
since his wife's death. So, he pulled a little harder instead.
The pin was wet with salty water, and the
captain yanked too freely - swearing, he tumbled backwards onto
the slippery deck where his hold on the vertical gave up completely.
He stared hard at the offending object as it glinted at him
in the dirty light of the shore not too far away. A few years
ago he'd have dealt with that no problem, now he was past fifty
and he was beginning to see the end of his days alone on this
boat. He'd been getting lazy the last few months, taking less
work, and it showed, his muscles were weakening, turning to
fat, softened by hours of moody contemplation. Why did everything
always come back to Nora? Always her smiling face filled his
thoughts, then it haggard before his mind's eye just as she
had withered with the cancer. It made him angry, and he pushed
the thought away, beginning to right his position.
The captain was on his hands and knees,
puffing his way to his bulky feet when something caught his
eye. Something pale contrasted strongly with the dark rust of
the securing pin, he wasn't sure what it was at first, his eyes
were tired - there were just four pale shapes, and then a fifth
and they came together. The man squinted at the pin, trying
to focus, and then he saw the hand - it was a delicate, translucent
flower, strained by the desperate grasp on the bulbous metal.
If it had been the day, thought might have been more logical,
but in the loneliness of the night, the sailor stayed still,
stunned by superstition his father had taught him. He watched
the fairy white hand as it became an arm, wrapped in tatters
of cloth and then a dark head appeared over the edge of the
boat. The body that followed was slender and lithe, and barely
hidden in the broken pieces of what had once been clothing,
but the face remained hidden in the tangle of beautiful hair.
`Nora had hair that colour when she was young,', the captain
caught himself thinking, and his mind turned to better memories.
It was a strange time to be thinking about a dead wife, but
the man couldn't help himself, as he gazed at the struggling
creature before him, she held him petrified; he knew she wasn't
natural, he felt it in his bones, but still her willowy form
inspired the picture of his beloved.
The perfect figure collapsed onto the deck
boards, exhausted by the exertion of pulling herself onto the
boat. Her wrists were manacled where they lay out in front of
her, and the sailor was appalled by the large hunks of iron
which trapped such delicate bones. Fear began to turn to pity
of the trembling form, but not so fast that he moved from his
half kneeling position.
"George," a soft voice mewed,
a tone he recognised, "George, help me."
It couldn't be, the man denied the association
as soon as it was made - it was impossible for him to be hearing
his wife's voice. He'd buried her only a few months ago.
"George, please," the familiar
timbre cut by fear came again.
George gasped and his jaw dropped as the
head was lifted and a face gazed weekly at him. It was
Nora, the woman he had married thirty years ago, slender, elegant,
beautiful. Her blue eyes gazed into his, helpless and exhausted,
and she held out one of those willowy arms to him. The weak
stare pleaded for aid, calling to every part of his being, and
as the soft tone came again, "Help me," he moved this
time. Age didn't matter any more, he was a young man, brawny
the way she'd always liked him, and he scooped the frail body
into his arms, unwrapping the chain on her ankles as he did
"Gently, my love," he cooed in
the tender voice he saved just for her, "you're safe now."
Lookin' good, feelin' good - Nick
grinned to himself as he descended the stairs into the lobby.
It was a beautiful, fresh morning outside, and he was looking
forward to just heading out into it. Derek was making his way
across the open room where most paths met as the young man jogged
down the final few steps, and his colleague's mood seemed to
"You're very bright today," the
older man observed, stopping to start a conversation.
"And why not," the youth beamed
even wider and patted him lightly on the arm, "it's a lovely
day, and you told me take a day off, so I'm doing it!"
"Good, good," Derek seemed pleased
that the sometimes workaholic member of his team was taking
some time out.
If truth be told, the whole team had a tendency
to bury themselves in whatever case was in hand, and the Precept
had taken the opportunity of a slack few days to suggest that
"May I ask where you're going?"
the superior enquired easily.
"Sure," Nick breathed with an
instinctive laugh, "but I wouldn't be able to tell you,
because I don't know. Just out of the city for a drive."
"Well, have fun," his friend nodded
and continued on his way with a wave.
Nick jogged out to his car, he was feeling
fit and buoyant for some reason he couldn't and didn't feel
the need to fathom. It wasn't just the clear sky and fresh air,
it was a mood into which he'd woken. He couldn't remember what
he'd been dreaming about that night, unusual but not worryingly
so, but he'd decided it must have been something good to have
left him feeling so great. Julia was in his thoughts, but then
she was never far away, and he'd begun to come to terms with
the events which had led to her death. In a way, Karen had helped
there, despite what she had been. Karen, now why was he thinking
about her? It had been months since the succubus had been necessarily
imprisoned in a watery grave. The young man pushed the thought
aside as he roared the engine into life and drove off to catch
Still, both Julia and Karen were still floating
in the front of the driver's mind by the time he'd left San
Francisco behind. Thoughts of the two women didn't always go
hand in hand, but he'd gotten used to the association. Yet,
the memories were becoming uncomfortable as he dwelt on them,
and after such a good start to the morning, Nick felt the first
touches of frustration. The two faces merged in his mind's eye,
becoming a difficult mixture of both women, prickling the painful
confrontation between his feelings for each of them which had
occurred first in sleepy Crestridge. He had never been able
to reconcile the passion which Karen had inspired in him with
the deep love he felt for Julia - they were two very different
levels of emotion, but it had partly been the demon's ability
to wear both faces which had held him in her thrall. He had
desired the sensual creature that had been Karen, but it had
been the mixture of that persona and the facade of Julia which
had kept him so mesmerised. The arousal of that potent pathos
was not something the young man needed to ruin the otherwise
perfect day, and his inability to clear his mind of their nagging
presence made him angry.
The hurt and frustration came out in the
ex-SEAL's driving, and the mustang sped along the twisting mountain
roads at a dangerous speed. The road ahead was in his mind,
but he was working on automatic when it came to the steering,
his thoughts focused on the images and emotions he was trying
to dissipate. The more the young man tried to push them away,
the clearer his feelings became, and the faster he drove.
The world darted past, grey now compared
with the internal turmoil. Yet, suddenly it daggered back into
focus with the blaring of a vehicle horn. Nick swerved away
from the truck that was coming at him head on - he'd been so
far gone that he'd failed to notice that he'd switched sides
of the road. The youth slammed on the brakes, now fully aware
of the break neck speed he'd reached as he fought with the steering
wheel to keep the vehicle on the tarmac. He skidded and headed
for more than one tree, but the man's road handling skills just
about kept him out of an accident. He came to a jolting halt
with the smell of burning rubber in his nose and the remnants
of the screech of brakes in his ears. The truck had carried
on its way, so he just sat in the car, motionless, but holding
onto the wheel with a grip of iron. He stared through the windshield
and let the ringing in his ears die away and the peace of the
open country drift back into place.
Everything was suddenly so still and silent,
as shock even dispersed the images in his mind. Yet, slowly,
as the impact of the near collision wore off, so thought began
again and Nick closed his eyes in pain as the same mixture of
pictures and feelings came back. What had suddenly turned the
beautiful day into a nightmare? The beleaguered figure bent
his head onto the steering wheel and breathed out hard.
The young man tried to let the peace around
him soothe the ache in his spirit, and it helped a little, but
he couldn't reach it properly. Nick respected the power of nature
and found a little strength just listening to it run by him,
but slowly he realised that he wanted to be closer to it. His
intention that morning had not been to set off into the wilds,
but on an instinct that pulled him from his vehicle, Nick managed
to park the car on the side of the road, but then he quit it
as fast as possible. He wasn't dressed for physical exertion,
jeans were restrictive to the power in his legs as they began
to pump, but still he ran. He was not being practical, he took
nothing with him, no compass, no water, no food, just the shirt
and jeans in which he was dressed, but that didn't matter in
the pique of his emotions. His memories wouldn't leave him alone,
and he was determined to run them into the ground, even if that
meant exhaustion first.
As sure-footed as a goat, the ex-SEAL charged
into the wilderness, the rush of his own steady breathing in
his ears and nature close about him. Again he went into automatic,
navigating by the skin of his teeth, relying on instinct to
stop him from charging through brambles or slipping on moss
underfoot, and in general, it worked. Yet, his shirt was torn
and his hands became covered in grime from a few near misses
as he pelted on further from real life and into his own mind.
Nick ran faster, chased by his thoughts,
by Julia, by Karen. His heart pounded in his chest, and his
lungs complained as the measured stride of training gave way
to a desperate flight that could not be won. The battle could
not rage forever, and it defeated him very suddenly. The smooth
soles of his boots were no match for slippery lichen, and as
he hit a patch of rocky ground, the fleeing youth's feet slipped
and he crashed to the hard stone. His whole body jarred against
the fall; he groaned, but did not try to get up from the crumpled
position into which he fell. The young man growled, beaten by
his own emotions and now in physical pain as well. His eyes
closed against the out-of-focus view of yellow-green mosses
inches from his nose and he bit his tongue against the urge
to turn his hurt into a whimper.
The sound of footsteps on the stone cut
through the only sound of wind in the trees, but Nick kept his
eyes closed. He felt a shadow fall across him, and a body close
to his, a form he recognised despite not having used his sight.
The young man realised he'd half expected the feeling of recognition
which crept over him and his emotions began to make sense. The
form was stood beside him, motionless, waiting for acknowledgement.
Slowly, the exhausted youth pushed himself off the rocky floor
and onto his knees. He was dazed, confused, but certain of one
thing as his eyes first moved over the ground to a pair of smart
court shoes. They were out of place in the wild surroundings,
but that didn't matter to Nick, everything was beginning to
make sense now, and whether he liked it or not, he understood
what was happening. The young man felt almost surreal as, with
emotions muted by the moment, he ran his gaze up the elegant
pair of legs, past the pristine mini dress to the lovely face
which was gazing down on him. She hadn't changed, her hair fell
in a slightly longer style around her delicate features, but
the light in her eyes was the same, the curl of her lips seemed
almost welcoming, pleased to see him.
"Karen," the subdued man murmured
in full recognition of the female before him.
As the word escaped his lips, his companion's
face clouded; her eyes flashed nastily, and her teeth showed
in an animalistic grimace. Nick cringed away as she lifted a
hand, shock only now beginning to dissipate enough for the reality
of his situation to begin to dawn.
"You bastard!" the yell of pure
rage daggered into his hearing before a strike contacted with
his body and the young man flew helplessly backwards.
Nick heard the crack of his skull on stone,
and then the brightness in front of his eyes disappeared very
His head hurt, that is what woke Nick from
his stupor. His skull was pounding from the impact it had received
and the youth groaned. He opened his eyes as his expression
of discomfort was hampered by the fact that his lips were being
forced closed by a tightness over his mouth. The world then
came back rather more quickly as alarm fuelled consciousness
and the young man remembered what had happened. He shifted,
trying to sit up, but he slammed back onto a mattress as his
arms refused to move under him for support. His shoulders wrenched
in their sockets as his urgent movement was stopped by rope
holding his wrists against the two bed posts which were either
side of his head. It didn't make the prisoner any more comfortable
to find out that he was also naked and lying in a lavish four-poster
bed. The curtains were pulled around the berth, rich, red velvet,
but their extravagance gave the young man no more than a feeling
As his mind turned from the immediate situation
to what had caused it, Nick resisted the urge to panic. The
image of that beautiful face twisted by such anger made him
wonder why he was still alive. Confusion became the dominant
emotion, dampening any initial struggles he made against his
confines - bewilderment not only about his captor's motives,
but also his own. Why wasn't he afraid, this was a demon who
held him helpless? Why wasn't he angry? What did Karen want?
What did he want? The young man couldn't help himself, as he
explored his emotions he could raise none of the natural instincts
of a trapped being, he had no compunction to fight the bonds
which held him, instead, he lay passive in the place she'd left
him, shifting only occasionally to relieve tingling in his hands.
From time to time as the captive mulled over his predicament,
a pique of excitement would push through the mist of subdued
quandary, but he lay still through it, listening to his heart
race and his breathing quicken, the reasons behind it lost in
the confusion that had descended into his being. He couldn't
define what started the fits or what cooled them, a thought
whipped away by denial before it was recognised, which he didn't
follow into the mixed-up psyche that Karen had inspired.
Time passed, Nick wasn't sure how long,
the curtain cut out most of the light from the outside world
and all his sheltered little space did was turn from dimness
to blackness. The prisoner had slipped into a doze when the
muffled world outside the enclosure was disturbed. The young
man's senses snapped back into action as he heard a door open
and electric light forced its way into the space above him where
the drapes didn't quite meet the bed's canopy. For the first
time, with a presence so immediate, the youth felt true alarm
as reality hit. He tensed, alert to everything his senses could
tell him, waiting for whatever was to come.
Nick heard female laughter, light and beautiful,
but he was taken aback when a soft tenor tone joined the first.
Foot steps on floor boards came into what had to be quite a
large room, and then the sounds became words.
"Nice place, like the bed, sugar,"
the heated man's voice drooled.
The murmured sounds of female pleasure accompanied
the brush of cloth with the floor, and then Karen's silky words
disclosed, "I thought we'd start on the chair."
The ignorant victim seemed to like that
idea from the chuckle in his throat. The only one who fought
against it was Nick. He heard the activity and knew the imminent
result and the idea appalled him. If his own predicament had
not stirred his emotions, than the unknowing male's out there
did. The youth tried to yell a warning, but only managed a muffled
squeak, and he struggled against his bonds with renewed fervour.
Yet, his sounds were hidden behind thick drapes and Karen began
a constant murmur of covering moans as she heard his complaint
even if her victim didn't. The images in his mind were sickening,
as the helpless captive recalled the results of the succubus'
last feeding spree, and he strained at the ties, desperate to
stop the murder.
Soon there were sounds of sexual pleasure
coming from both parties involved in the meeting of bodies -
the demon didn't waste time and her sighs of titillation sent
shudders through Nick's being. He screamed again, frantic with
horror at the deed he was powerless to stop, but his noise made
little impact on the ensnared victim. It was too late, and the
prisoner wrenched in hatred of the bonds which held him as he
recognised the man's pleasure turn to fear and pain. The succubus
was almost howling out her satisfaction as sounds of the man's
struggle joined her in horrible chorus and light, brighter than
the yellow electric glow, a piercing white cut at Nick's eyes.
Then it was gone, a few moments of intense
revulsion and suddenly silence. The bound man collapsed back
onto the bed, drained by the quiet after the tumult, shocked
by his proximity to the terrible kill. His chest rose and fell
in irregular rhythm, and he trembled away the fight he had left
as his helplessness ensnared him like a second rope. He listened
to the stillness, recognising a tiny feminine sigh of gratification.
She moved, the body discarded as her bare
feet padded on the polished wood. The steps came nearer the
bed, and Nick started as the drapes on that side were pulled
rapidly back. Karen smiled at the ashen horror on his face,
an absurdly gentle gesture that was all woman. The creature
was absolutely naked, and she was making no effort to hide the
condition of her body. Her skin glistened in the light of the
table lamp she had used to illuminate the expensive bedroom,
and she knew just how to stand to catch it perfectly. The dampness
on her flesh accentuated the curves of her toned figure, and
her pert breasts stood proud from her recent arousal. The woman
was still excited, and was pleased by the heat she brought to
her captive's countenance. Nick turned his face away, disgusted
by his own instincts - this demon had killed a man only feet
away from him and she could still turn him on.
"Hello, Nick," the woman breathed,
her voice husky and seductive.
Her prisoner tried to ignore her as she
lowered herself gracefully onto the edge of the bed beside him,
but she reached out a hand to his chest. He gasped as her other
fingers suddenly ripped away the tape from his mouth and tried
to shift away from the sensuous touch as much as he could. Yet,
he couldn't go very far, and her palm rubbed over his pecs and
her fingers began to brush one of his nipples. Nick shuddered,
confused as to whether it was revulsion or pleasure which caused
it. Yet, he knew that whichever it had been, he needed to fight
his situation. The young man drew in a deep breath, and, trying
to control the mixture of emotions in his voice, asked, "Karen,
The only response he received was an increase
in her attentions as the seductress moved in closer and began
to run her hand under the sheet which covered him. As her fingers
played over his firm stomach, Nick could put up with the conflict
in his being no more. He shifted again, more violently this
time and met the intense gaze which was levelled on him.
"Please," he begged, hiding nothing
from his captor.
There had been a hard, teasing edge to the
woman's intentions, but as she met the honest struggle of emotion,
her stare softened. She reached across to touch his face, tenderness
in her action, and he couldn't find the compulsion to dislike
the gentle palm.
"Oh Nick," she murmured, her eyes
glistening with water, "I wanted to hurt you, I wanted
to make you suffer the way you made me, but I can't do it."
The beauty moved in closer, and her prisoner
didn't attempt to back off this time. He remained stationary
as her face neared his own, lost in her eyes. Her admission
of pain was more affective than any charm she could have used
on him, and as her nipples brushed his chest and her dampened
lips touched his, Nick let one half of his compulsions win over
the other. The young man pushed back, parting his mouth and
letting her taste him once more. She was warm and powerful as
they pressed close, and the more he breathed her in, the less
reality mattered. The curtain fell back around the bed as the
lithe creature climbed fully onto the mattress, and the rest
of the world disappeared.
The caress brought passion to the surface
which Nick had thought buried forever, and he strained to be
close to the sweet flesh above him as his partner broke the
embrace and leant across his face. His tongue tantalised the
smooth flesh of her stomach, tasting the salty glaze which had
heightened his feelings in the first place. She gasped at the
touch, and shifted to make his task easier as she continued
with hers. The lover's hand slipped out of the loosened loops
of cord and immediately was moved to touch the supple torso.
He explored first her back and then ran his fingers under her
outstretched arm to fondle her breasts. Karen murmured in pleasure
and hurried to untangle his second wrist. As his arms came free,
Nick pulled the body down to him, and they resumed the kiss,
wrapped close, only the thin sheet between them.
Half on top of her lover, the woman rubbed
her inner thigh against his abdomen, the cotton doing nothing
to deny how aroused she was making him. He moaned his passion
and pushed at her body to try to put her on her back. Yet, the
creature reminded him how strong she was as she resisted the
request with no more than a shrug and pinned him down while
she kissed his chest. Nick wasn't used to submission, but he
had little choice as supernatural strength forced him to lie
still, and since he didn't find the brushes of her tongue at
all unpleasant, his complaint was merely a grumble which turned
into a rapid groan of delight as teeth titillated his torso.
The powerful demon was most definitely in
charge as she pushed the sheet off the rest of her ensnared
lover's body and shifted above him. Still she held herself away
from his arousal, gazing down at his captivated return, and
instead took his hands and placed them on her thighs. Nick didn't
need telling what she wanted, and his fingers ran up her inner
legs, feeling the heat that they were creating. Then he touched
her softness and she moaned, trembling as her core came alive.
He tantalised her body skilfully, and when her pleasure had
built there was no stopping the creature when she wanted to
take her lover inside her body. The young man gasped and reared
to meet her almost savage demand. They moved in union building
the fire still further, striving for the climax. He came first,
exploding into her and initiating her orgasm, and she held onto
him with a strength that was terrifying. His own pleasure should
have died, but instead, the lover felt a second stirring in
his being. It wasn't purely physical, it was from another source,
and Nick was powerless to stop it. He cried out, half in ecstasy,
half in agony, as his succubus looked down at him and power
erupted from her being. His cry died, choked by the experience
as the stream of energy passed into his body, lost as weakness
coursed through him.
Nick had relaxed against the onslaught long
before it finished, dazed and exhausted by the sharing of demon
power. As the energy and his partner released him, he sunk into
the pillows, his mind and body almost wiped out by the preternatural
act. He barely felt the closeness of Karen's form as she leant
down to him and kissed his slack lips, and her words were far
away as she disclosed, "Nick, I want you to understand
my hunger. Now you have part of me, a gift to make you Immortal
if you choose to use it. You will feel my need and when you
follow it, we will be together forever."
The afflicted young man made no response,
merely closed his already heavy eyelids and gave in to blackness.
Derek walked into the music room and sat
down in one of the deep chairs. Alex put down her book as he
took his place and smiled a greeting.
"Good evening," the man responded
to her acknowledgement of him. "This place is very empty
"Well you did tell everyone to take
the evening off, and Philip's at the seminary all week, so that
just leaves you, me and Nick, and I haven't seen Nick all day,"
his companion observed dryly.
The Precept glanced at his watch, it was
ten thirty - there wasn't a curfew in the Legacy House, but
everyone usually phoned if they were planning on staying out
late, so the door could be locked.
"Nick went out early this morning,
he was just going out for a drive," Derek informed his
colleague and then voiced a vaguely anxious, "Has he called?"
"No," Alex answered, and then
met his concern with, "Don't worry Derek, he's a big boy,
he probably just met someone he knew."
The sensitive shrugged, his friend was probably
right, he didn't usually worry about the adventurous young man
staying out for the night. Yet, there was something nagging
at him, nothing definite, no visions, just a prickle of unfounded
anxiety that wasn't usually there whenever he thought about
the grinning form he'd sent on his way that morning.
A hefty foot kicked open the bedroom door
and was shortly followed by the barrel of Sheriff Greebo's gun.
His eyes traced the path of the weapon as he scanned the room
for any signs of disturbance. There'd been nothing in the rest
of Doc Hilliard's house, not even Doc Hilliard, the place was
neat as a new pin and apparently unlived in since the doctor
had phoned in sick to his surgery five days earlier. That had
been unusual, the man had never missed a day in twenty years
of general practice, and it had been what had made the Sheriff
believe the phone call which had said something strange was
going on in the lonely house just outside the little town of
Lockfort. He and his deputy had driven over as soon as the call
had been put through at six that morning.
The door had been left wide open, and the
two men had rapidly begun their search, Deputy Furs taking the
down stairs while his superior ascended to the second floor.
As he laid eyes on the sight before him, only fifteen years
of the job as a police officer kept Greebo from turning around
and leaving the room.
"Bob, get up here," the man called
to his comrade, before he lowered his gun and proceeded into
the chamber towards the large leather chair which was sat in
the corner. There was a naked figure slouched in its recess,
very obviously dead, but what was worse was the eyes - they
stared at him, pure jet black. The Sheriff had seen dead bodies
before, it had been part of his job for ten years back on homicide,
but even his gut wrenched at the new aspect to this one. There
wasn't even the remnant of life in the poor creature crumpled
in the arm chair, only the blood dried on the face attested
to the fact that this had been a human being and not some grotesque
puppet. Greebo couldn't bring himself to even check for a pulse,
the body was so obviously dead, and he was glad for the exclamation
from behind him that told him he had company.
"Looks like the tip off was right,"
he observed unnecessarily, but wanting to fill the silence of
the room with something. "Call it in, Bob, we're gonna
be wanting the coroner."
The young deputy was ashen white as he nodded
and then disappeared as quickly as he had arrived. To be honest,
the Sheriff didn't want to remain in the room any longer than
he had to either, and he was headed towards the door when a
small sound disturbed his exit. It was only a vague touch of
cloth moving over cloth, and the policeman wouldn't have heard
it if the atmosphere wasn't making him so jumpy. Yet, in the
company of the corpse, he heard it as if it were the blast of
a rifle. The man spun on the spot, raising his gun once more,
in the direction of the curtained bed. There was another noise,
this time a low, almost inaudible moan, and he recognised life.
Greebo wasn't taking any chances, he stalked
towards the hidden occupant of the bed, gun out and aimed at
whatever lay behind the scarlet drapes. Heart in his throat,
wondering what horror he might find this time, the officer yanked
back the heavy cloth. For a moment, the Sheriff looked at the
pale face and wondered if he was dealing with another dead man;
yet, he quickly recalled the exhale and noted the shallow rise
and fall of the sheet over the naked body. Professionalism took
over once more, and the man checked for the strength of a pulse.
The youth reacted to the touch, shifting in a delirium, his
eyes opened, but saw nothing, and closed once more. His discoverer
chose the response as positive and tried a firmer approach,
he shook the bare shoulder. The body groaned again, louder this
time and Greebo shook harder. He was relieved when bleary eyes
opened once more and looked up at him even if they weren't all
that well focused.
"Who are you?" the officer questioned,
"What happened here?"
The gaze disappeared as lids closed in dazed
concentration and a frown creased the young brow. The muddy
eyes just about unclosed, but the distant form seemed to be
drifting away from the world again as a whisper admitted, "Don't
The Sheriff tried to shake his only witness
awake again, but there was no response this time. Anxious over
the stranger's uncertain health, the policeman charged over
to the window, opened it and leant out to his colleague in the
"Bob, call for an ambulance, we've
got a live one," he yelled urgently.
Alex joined her Precept for breakfast, but
found him a little grey around the eyes. The man had been staring
out of the window, but turned his attention to her as she sat
down. He greeted her Good Morning cordially, but did
not seem to be very awake.
"Not sleep well?" she enquired.
"No," Derek replied with a sigh,
putting down an untouched piece of toast he'd apparently been
holding for sometime. "It's Nick, he didn't come home last
night, and I just have this uneasiness about his whereabouts."
"Anything positive," the young
woman continued, understanding the vagueness of their sometimes
confusing extra senses.
"Nothing," the psychic shrugged
discontentedly, "just the feeling."
"Is there anything I can do?"
Alex suggested, sometimes two heads were better than one.
Yet, Rayne quickly gave her the negative,
and sat back in his seat, a frown marking his dramatic features.
"I phoned Rachel before breakfast to
see if she had heard from Nick, but came up empty," he
admitted, "she's coming in as soon as she's finished with
an appointment she has this morning."
"It's that bad?" now the woman
was concerned as well, Derek didn't usually act on his instincts
unless he was sure.
"Yes, I'm possitive something is very
wrong, I can't place it yet, but it's been getting stronger
since last evening and it has something to do with Nick, of
that I'm sure," the Precept disclosed, his tone becoming
more definite as he voiced his concern.
A form charging into the room interrupted
the conversation, and both residents were focused on Rachel
as she came to an agitated halt.
"Rachel, I thought you had a patient
this morning," Derek's surprise was not pleasant.
"I cancelled," the psychologist
replied sharply, "I thought you'd all better see this as
soon as possible."
The woman slammed down a report onto the
table, a photograph uppermost. The picture was of a man in his
fifties, obviously dead, but the important point was the glassy
blackness of the eyeballs.
"A friend in pathology showed me this
when I got to the hospital this morning, because he remembered
me talking to him about Crestridge," the blond woman informed
them agitatedly. "He was washed up yesterday, but he's
been dead a couple of days at least."
"Oh God," Alex mumbled as Derek's
instinct became a very stark probability.
The observation window looked into a motionless
figure sat up in a hospital bed, staring blankly at a plate
of cooling breakfast. To the Sheriff who watched him, his gaze
was almost as chilling as that of the corpse.
"Does he really remember nothing, or
is he taking us for a ride?" the officer turned to the
doctor beside him.
"Oh, he's very definitely in shock,"
the white-coated man responded with a nod, "and I think
that could have caused his amnesia. At least he's remembered
a few things, for instance a woman calling his Nick,
but not much else makes any sense, just delirium."
"Considering the state of the corpse
I have in the morgue, Doc, I'll take delirium right now,"
Greebo sighed in disbelief of the case that had suddenly been
dumped on his doorstep. "What can you tell about what happened
in that house from his condition?"
"Well, there are significant bruises
on his wrists, so I'd say he was tied up at some point for quite
some time," the man began.
"There was rope on the bed posts,"
the Sheriff agreed, gazing back at the dazed figure that should
have been a healthy, apparently active man in his twenties.
The purple marks were obvious on his wrists,
which sat limply in the covers, once they'd been noted.
"Not voluntary in your opinion?"
he asked plainly as he followed one possible lead that this
was kinky sex gone very wrong.
"Oh no," was the certain answer,
"he got those marks by struggling quite forcefully, there's
some tearing of the skin in places. That young man definitely
didn't want to be tied up. He also mentioned something about
not being able to fight her."
"Her - he's suggesting a woman did
this?" Greebo was incredulous.
"That's one thing he's sure about,"
his companion nodded once more. "She's the one he remembers
calling him, Nick, and he remembers a woman making love to him
and he thinks also to the dead man. Any ID on the corpse yet."
"Nothing on either of them," the
officer shrugged, "no wallets, driver's licences, anything
that could identify either of them, only their clothes. Dead
guy's were strewn across the room, his were folded up beside
the bed. Shirt's torn to shreds. The MO on each of them is different,
seemed our John Doe was a willing victim at least up till the
very end, where as this guy's the other way round. He made love
to the woman who was holding him captive?"
"Yes, and he mentioned some feelings
for her," the doctor agreed.
"But he doesn't know her name, or why
he was in that house," the Sheriff sighed, today was turning
out very badly.
"Everything's very confused in his
mind at the moment," the carer tried to explain as way
of some solace, "as I said, he's in deep shock, things
should come clearer as he relaxes."
"How long can you keep him here?"
Greebo decided to move onto another issue, one which might yield
some better answers.
He knew he was going to be disappointed
as soon as his associate made a discontented face.
"Apart from the bruising and a small
cut to his head, there's nothing physically wrong with him,"
the man shrugged, and offered plaintively, "I can try and
convince him to stay for treatment on the amnesia, but I can't
force him into it."
"Try your damnedest, Doc," the
policeman urged as he gazed at the cool statue through the glass,
"I don't want him walking out of here if he suddenly remembers
who he is and gets bashful. He's all I have in this case at
the moment, and I'll arrest him if it's the only way I can get
him to stay. Clear?"
Greebo didn't usually get riled, he was
a calm man, who took life as it came, but this case was unpleasant
in the extreme and his urgency in wanting a solution came through
the tart orders. The hospital employee nodded an affirmative,
and, put off by the hostile attitude, remarked, "Well,
I have rounds to make, if you'll excuse me," before heading
rapidly off without waiting for his leave.
The Sheriff didn't push the matter, he knew
he'd chased his colleague away and just chose to focus on the
apparently oblivious patient in the private room. There wasn't
even the vague, delirious attention in the passive young face
as there had been earlier that morning - his only witness was
almost catatonic in the way he stared down at the mushy food.
He hadn't touched the offering, and apparently wasn't going
to in the near future, but the bright yellow egg yolk seemed
to have captured his attention completely. Unhappily, Greebo
wondered how he was going to make a case out of a missing doctor,
a very strange corpse and a traumatised amnesiac.
The San Francisco Legacy House was a hive
of activity as its members made enquiries as to their friend's
whereabouts with an urgency borne of serious concern. Rachel
had begun to find out more about the case of the dead sailor,
and the information received had only gone to spurring their
search. Alex had begun ringing round Nick's friends, and then
acquaintances, and then even places she knew he frequented -
no one had been able to tell her anything. Now she'd moved onto
hospital records of any accident victims, in a forlorn hope
of finding that their comrade's lack of care on the road was
the reason for his absence. Derek was sat at his desk, pulling
in a lot of favours as he tried to get an APB put out on their
The Precept hit the loud speaker button
on the phone and slammed the receiver down as tinny music drifted
into the room. It was the third time he'd been put on hold that
hour, and it was not doing anything to curb his frustration.
That feeling still sat in the back of his mind, and it was the
worse for being given form. He sighed and stood up, choosing
pacing over the urge to destroy the phone. He shoved his hands
deep in his pockets and strode across the room, trying to think
of an avenue he hadn't yet pursued.
Frustration was an effective barrier to
concentration and Derek found his mind wandering over the terrible
possibilities that could have befallen his friend rather than
a solution to them. His thoughts were in turmoil, the angst
scattering his ideas before they were properly formed. This
was unusual for the level-headed Dr Rayne, and it only fed the
confusion. His annoyance built with the tuneless music which
filled his ears as he paced, and he was headed for his fourth
arrival at the office wall when the noise suddenly stopped.
Derek froze, the hairs on the back of his neck prickling, as
the fact registered, and then he spun round. His gaze met that
of the very creature who plagued his mind.
The succubus stared directly at him, her
visage revealing nothing, the detached cord of the phone in
her hand. Her stillness held the man on his own spot. Not a
sound disturbed the statuesque atmosphere as adversary viewed
adversary. Then, as immediately as she'd arrived, the creature
moved across the room. In the blink of an eye, she was close
to him and he slammed in to the wall as the lily-white hand
which defied its own power, took him by the throat and shoved
him backwards. Her body pushed into his, holding him motionless,
and Derek choked at the restriction on his neck.
"Derek," the woman murmured, her
tone almost loving as she brought her beautiful face close to
his, "so nice to see you again."
The man merely gagged once more, his hands
struggling with the wrist of iron which blocked his airway.
"We have to talk," Karen finished
her demonstration and released her captive.
The woman waltzed away from the form which
crumpled to the ground, gasping for air, her demeanour defying
the demon which lay beneath the surface. Karen was dressed more
like a businesswoman than a hellion, her appearance smart and
unruffled. She turned back to the recovering man, and smiled,
the kind of look a bank manager gives when he's about to deal
with a difficult customer. Derek still said nothing, he chose
to remain where he was, and merely wait for her to continue.
"You know I have Nick," she breathed
glibly, dropping a collection of items onto the desk beside
her; Nick's SEAL ring glinted in the sunlight, "and I want
you to know that I'm not going to hurt him. I don't want to
hurt you either, Derek, Nick cares about you, and the others
in this house, but I will if I have to. Stop trying to find
him, he's with me now."
"He doesn't want to be with you,"
the Precept found his voice once more, and climbed to his feet.
The demon's eyes flashed dangerously, but
she merely straightened her shoulders and countered, "He
will, he's part of me now, and soon he'll follow my path. You
can't stop it, I've already changed him, he only has to make
the final step himself."
"And what is that? To kill like you
do?" Rayne was angry at the thought of his friend in such
a position and his words came out in a hiss.
The succubus didn't answer his enquiry,
the inference was already made. She warned once more, "Don't
fight me, Derek. I will win."
The tone came out harshly, but then her
face softened and her voice became husky as she admitted, "I
love him, Derek, like never before. We will be together forever."
"With you as the master and he as the
slave?!" the head of house spat, his face grave.
"No!" Karen almost screeched,
and her fist slammed into the table. "He will accept the
way we must live, all he needs is time. Just leave him alone."
"You know what choice he made last
time," Derek risked his life as he argued, but wanted to
find out anything he could from the impromptu meeting.
"That was you!" the woman screamed
as she recalled the watery prison, "Alone, he would have
come to me, we would have been together."
"You really believe that?" the
man pushed again, trying to draw any information possible out
of the creature.
"Yes, and now he's far enough away
from here, you can't interfere," Karen yelled, her tones
cut by a mixture of anger and need to convince her opponent.
"He'll come back to us," the Precept
countered yet again.
"No, he doesn't remember you, or this
place, he won't till it's too late!" came the vehement
The screaming had not gone unnoticed by
the rest of the house, and the two women came running. As they
came through the door, Karen's patience with the discussion
came to an end.
"Leave us be!" she screeched one
last time, before she blurred into a form which was gone through
the window in a moment.
Nick -, the pause was strange in
the young man's head as for the umpteenth time he failed to
remember what went after his first name.
It wasn't nothing that filled the space
where the designation should have been, but a mess of emotion
and ideas that didn't make any sense. Strong, heady feelings
touched his mind, bringing a quickness to his breathing and
pulse when he challenged the confusion, some were pleasant,
a remembered exhilaration, a deep joy, but others spat fear
and horror into his being. All were mixed together with half-seen
images of mostly a woman. She was beautiful, incredibly sensual,
and the memory of her naked body so close to him brought a hotness
to the young man's cheeks and sometimes more. Yet he knew instinctively
that she was capable of the death about which the doctor had
spoken carefully to him. He felt warm and satisfied with the
vague recollection of her touch, but then in another thought,
he trembled in sickness at what she had done. His brain was
a bomb site with everything tumbled into the wrong places, broken
Not only his mind felt strange, however,
and Nick sat back from the cold food that still lay on the tray
in front of him, his appetite nowhere to be found. Something
told him that he would usually have eaten, Hungry or not,
you never know when the next meal will appear, he recalled
his own reasoning, but had no basis for the conclusion. It was
just another shortfall to add to the pile of other unfounded
thoughts. Now he focused on his body, the lack of hunger in
his belly - it wasn't that he felt full, he knew his stomach
to be empty, he hadn't eaten in some time, but he could not
find the usual human need to fill the hole that was left.
Maybe it was all due to shock, like the
doctor said. He'd been through a lot, the tenderness of his
wrists testified to that. Yet, somehow, the anxious patient
didn't think so. There was more stirring in his spirit than
reaction to the events of the past night. Nick didn't want to
face those other piques in his being, they suggested something
his conscious mind wasn't ready to accept and that subliminal
dread kept the healing of his memory from truly beginning. Occasionally,
things clarified in his brain, but they were not actively sought.
Instead, the young man chose the distance from the world which
held the barriers in place that much longer.
The young man blinked slowly and lifted
his head to gaze at the door as it opened. It was his only acknowledgement
of the body that appeared round the frame, his expression still
cold and blank. That wasn't what he was feeling inside, he recognised
this man from earlier that morning, he had stood over him, waking
him from the stupor in which she'd left him. Yet, the effort
required to greet the face, which tried to smile in a friendly
way, caused the currents in his soul to churn a little further,
and so he held back from the active expression. He merely watched
as the uniformed man closed the door and took the seat next
to the bed.
"Nick?" the newcomer enquired,
awkward with the stony silence.
The youth nodded, and looked down, away
from the curious stare which asked too much of his memory. Still
the crisp white sheet onto which his eyes settled was little
better - he wasn't naked now, he wore a hospital gown, but he
still felt the same helplessness he recalled when covered by
a similar item. He snapped out of the momentary musing as his
companion drew his attention again.
"Nick," the man repeated more
definitely, "I'm Sheriff Greebo. I and my deputy found
you this morning."
"I remember," Nick found his voice,
dry and wispy though it was.
"Good," the policeman smiled encouragingly,
but without much conviction, "at least that's a start."
His face straightened once more as the bleak
attention was returned to him. He took in a deep breath, and
the distaste in his face could not be hidden. The man was serious
as he requested, "Look, I have to be honest with you, Nick,
you're the only lead I have in this case at the moment. If you
can remember something, anything that could help us..."
The young man sighed and closed his eyes.
He didn't want to contemplate the tangle that he found in his
head, and he shuddered against what he found. Yet, there had
been a desperation in the Sheriff's sound that made him push
at the jumble. A frown creased his brow and he gasped in a breath
as the enquiry hurt him on a mental level. He retreated from
the verge of discovery, afraid very suddenly. His eyes were
wild and scared as he glanced at Greebo. One word escaped his
lips, and it was said with such dread that it froze both of
them - in a whisper he managed, "Succubus."
The officer recovered first, and he just
echoed the statement as an incredulous question, "Succubus?"
Nick just nodded once more, that one word
having cost him his power of speech. Now emotion had reached
the surface, he couldn't hide the horror that the notion inspired
him. That was what she was, and she'd done something to him.
Yet, he had only a nasty feeling about how the sexual demon
had affected him, and he hung back from expressing that to his
companion. Greebo obviously wasn't sure how to take the sincere
admission - he had understood the term, but fixing it with a
real event was not something he appeared prepared to do. The
young man was almost as scared of the disbelief he saw in the
man's face as he was of the declaration. He knew instinctively
that the distrust of his disclosure was dangerous - it would
lead to no good. Yet, the mute invalid could do no more to convince
his companion. Instead, he retreated, curling his knees up to
his chest, wrapping his arms around them and bowing his head
Shortly his observer rose from his seat
and the door closing signalled that the beleaguered young man
was once more alone.
Bruises, large purple welts had begun to
appear on Derek's neck where the grip had almost suffocated
him. His throat was sore and he started as Rachel applied a
small pressure to one of the developing marks. The woman stood
back with, "Sorry - well, there's no permanent damage,
but it'll be tender for a good while."
"She could have killed me, Rachel,"
the Precept launched into an analysis of the events leading
to the bruising, "but she didn't. She was almost desperate
to warn me off finding Nick."
"Maybe that means what she's done to
him isn't as permanent as she claims," the doctor suggested
hopefully. "If she's that bothered by us finding him, maybe
it isn't too late."
"The final step she mentioned,"
the man agreed with a nod, but then chose to be the devil's
advocate as he countered, "but I've never read anything
in the succubus legends about this kind of conversion."
"Could be new to her as well,"
Rachel was determined to see the bright side, "she may
not be sure about how it works either."
Derek's look was doubtful; this was a creature
who counted her life in centuries, could she be that ignorant
of her own powers.
"Look," the blond woman argued
logically, "you said she told you she loved Nick like no
one else. It could be the first time she's ever wanted to pass
on her immortality."
"We have to be prepared for the worst,
Rachel," the man took his friend's hand as he met the desperate
hope in her eyes. "We must be ready to deal with whatever
condition we find Nick in."
"You mean to destroy him if we have
to," the doctor pulled away from the stark truth her companion
posed, and there were tears in her eyes as she turned her back
"Yes," the man could offer no
comfort, even as his own heart ached at the thought of such
a terrible possibility.
The cold prospect settled them both into
silence, caught in their own worlds of regret and loathing.
That was how Alex found her two colleagues. She paused for a
moment at the icy gap between the close couple, but her face
was bright, hopeful and she did not hold back the news she was
carrying for long.
"The police have found Nick's car,"
she breathed excitedly.
Four hours later, enquiries were being made
in every small town within twenty miles of where the mustang
had been found abandoned. The police were working on a mixture
of half-truths, the MO of black-eyed bodies and descriptions
of both Karen and Nick, but no mention of the supernatural capabilities
of the creature for which they were searching. Alex had gone
to liase with the officers on the case, while her colleagues
began focusing their own resources into the immediate area of
the find. They were monitoring local police reports, hospital
admissions, even radio stations for unusual news bulletins,
anything in the locale that could suggest the succubus' hiding
He shifted, half waking as the cooler air
of the room touched his legs, but he didn't open his eyes until
he felt the brush of soft fingers on his stomach and a weight
settled onto his abdomen. Nick gazed up at the exquisite visage
in a dreamlike state - she wouldn't let him wake properly, he'd
have panicked. Instead, he breathed in pleasurably as her arms
pushed his gown off his body and palms rubbed his chest. She
was so close to him, kneeling intimately round his lower torso,
arousing him without even trying, but his stupor held him back
from consummating the union. The young man was passive as his
visitor leant down to kiss him. The tenderness of her lips on
his caused another contented sigh and his libido woke a little.
He pushed back for a moment, but she drew away again, too soon
for him. He was pouting like a peeved child when she sat up
and smiled down on him.
"I had to see how you were," she
murmured, continuing to stroke his flesh in the most delightful
manner. "I meant to leave you until you took a life- force
yourself, but I couldn't stay away. I wanted to be near you."
Nick reached up to her naked breast and
the warm touch of her body around him urged him to respond.
He squeezed the soft flesh under his fingers, and moaned as
she refused to settle her centre close enough to him to satisfy
the need in his body. He was hungry, he wanted her to surrender
to his wishes, but despite the pleasure in her own movements
as he touched her, the woman would not concede.
"You feel it," her voice was soft,
dusky, even as her words revealed the worst, "if I let
you take me, I would feed you. Now we can both resist, but your
need will grow until you won't be able to hold it back, then
I won't be here, then you will attract a mortal woman, then
you will kill."
The young man closed his eyes and tried
to push up into his lover, the call of his body exquisite in
its mixture of need and wont. Yet, she lifted herself away once
more and he complained in a growl of frustration. His grip on
her tightened. The woman gasped in pain at his vicious grasp,
and the sound was horrible. Nick recoiled from the hurt he was
inflicting before he forced himself on his partner, releasing
her in shock of what he had been about to do. He whined at the
loss he felt in his being as she scrambled off him, anxiety
in her eyes. He curled over onto his side, cold and wasted by
the withdrawal. Horrified by what had so nearly been, his mind
wandered back into the safe haze that protected it; yet the
confusion could not make itself so complete this time, and the
hopeless youth vocalised the pain in his being into one quiet
Greebo charged into the small hospital,
his face set in a thin-lipped grimace. He'd been up all night,
the redness in his eyes and the shadow around his chin testifying
to his dedication to a case that was revealing very little.
It was still early, the clock behind the nurse's station flashed
8 am, but recent developments had urged him to turn back to
his one witness in the hope of moving the investigation on as
fast as possible - Doc Hilliard's naked, black-eyed body had
been found in the woods a little way out of town. One dead John
Doe was a problem, but a well-known member of the local community
turning up dead made the matter a whole lot worse.
The nurse dashed out from behind her desk,
placing her absurdly smaller form in the path of the frustrated
Sheriff as he headed towards the private rooms. The man liked
to think chivalry wasn't dead, and despite his urgency, his
habits stopped him from crashing past the diminutive woman who
stood her ground as his bulk descended on her.
"Morning Helen," he breathed,
his tone short, "I need to see Mr X."
"Not unless Dr Lewis gives his permission,"
was the stern response.
"I don't have time for this,"
the officer warned, his pot beginning to boil.
Greebo attempted to side-step the determined
blockade, but the woman matched him pace for pace. The policeman
really wasn't in the mood for petty bureaucracy and pushed forward.
Helen Farmer wasn't the type of woman to back down, however,
and he knew it - she was like a terrier with a bone when it
came to her job, and she complained, shoving back. The shock
on her face was obvious, and made the officer pause, giving
ground back to the nurse, but the commotion had already been
heard, and someone else stepped in.
"Sheriff," Lewis' cool tone greeted
him, as the doctor came out of another patient's room. "It's
a little early for visiting."
"This is no social call," the
officer moved round the nurse who backed down as her superior
appeared. "I need to talk to your patient."
Lewis frowned, his duty to the health of
his patient and the urgency in his colleague's manner apparent
in the decision. After a short pause he answered, "Alright."
Immediately, the policeman flew down the
corridor, the doctor falling in beside him.
"How is the patient this morning?"
Greebo enquired tartly.
"He was withdrawn first thing this
morning, and is still refusing to eat, but he seems more lucid
today," Lewis explained quickly.
"Good," the testy Sheriff hissed,
and he thrust open the door to his witness' room.
Nick lay in his bed, staring at the ceiling,
focused on nothing in particular and trying to stay that way.
Karen's visit was hazy in his thoughts, almost like a dream,
but he knew it had happened. They'd found him curled up at one
end of the bed that morning where she'd left him, but he hadn't
explained what had happened. Something inside told him not to
mention the incident, the reaction would only be bad, and it
had been a very intimate situation. He was confused by the significance
of it, as his mind had protected itself once more, but the instinct
that he was different hung heavier in his consciousness. Things
were coming back to him, small bits of information, mainly useless
trivia, but Dr Lewis had been optimistic about his improvement,
and there were bits of feelings and memories from the recent
past which, although uncomfortable, the young man was beginning
The patient's mind settled on the events
in hand as the door to his room swung in with some force and
his attention snapped over to the visitor. Greebo halted rapidly
in the doorway as the youth's startled gaze settled on his dishevelled
form. Nick recognised a vague guilt in his eyes, this was a
caring man strained by circumstances and he regretted the uncomfortable
alertness he inspired in his witness. Lewis was hovering behind
the large man, and the youth chose to turn his focus on him
rather than hold the awkward stare with the officer.
"Are you alright with this?" the
doctor asked his patient.
Nick nodded, and began to sit up, he felt
perfectly fine physically at least, and it was time to start
treating the world like it existed again.
"Come in, Sheriff," the young
man invited, centring his attention on shifting his pillows
rather than the policeman; when he was finally sat up and gazing
at his visitor once more, the investigator had taken the same
seat as yesterday. Nick just waited for the man to address the
subject which had brought him into the room in such a hurry.
Greebo was apparently in no mood for pleasantries
as he launched directly to the point.
"We found Doc Hilliard, the owner of
the house you were held in," the Sheriff explained, "he
was murdered like the other man."
"I'm sorry, I can't tell you much more
than yesterday," Nick lamented, his lack of memory beginning
"You called her a succubus," the
officer began his enquiry proper, "what did you mean?"
"That's what she -," the young
man paused as he realised what he was about to say; he held
back from it as he considered the man's possible reaction, and
corrected himself, "thinks she is."
"So she finds men, has sex with them
and kills them," the Sheriff was nothing if he wasn't blunt.
Nick frowned at the stark description of
what the woman he remembered did; he was having difficulty reconciling
the tender beauty with the cold killer that she so obviously
was, and his feelings for her were uncomfortably mixed. The
youth did not share his emotions with the investigator, but
he was forced to face them himself as the question was presented,
"Why didn't she kill you?"
"She likes me," the young man's
tone was sharp, angry, and his eyes blazed as he glared at Greebo;
the feelings were just a reaction to the confusion in his soul,
and he settled guiltily. Then something occurred to him out
of the tangle of partial memories, something that could help,
a peace offering for his snarl. His face grimaced in concentration
as he tried to pull more than just the brief instinct from the
soup in his brain, and he disclosed, "I know her, we've
been together before. She's done this before."
"Where? How long ago?" the Sheriff's
voice was hopeful at the piece of new information.
Silence - tense as one man waited for the
other who searched his memory. Nick delved into the confusion,
trying to piece together the bits of recollection associated
with his succubus. Yet all he saw was her face, sometimes calm
and smiling, sometimes revelling in pleasure at his touch, and
all he remembered was the smell of her body close to his. The
young man growled and slammed a fist into the bed clothes as
his mind refused to give up its secrets.
"I don't know," he complained
at his own bafflement, his volume building as he vented his
feelings. "I can't remember. I can't remember anything!"
Nurse Farmers dashed into the room at the
sound of her patient's yells, her manner concerned, but also
holding a disapproval, which she aimed at the Sheriff. Nick
bowed his head into his hands trying to force some inkling of
useful memory into his conscious mind, wordless noises of effort
and frustration escaping his lips. He barely registered the
carer hustling his interviewer out of the room as he lost himself
in the attempt to make sense out of his thoughts.
Greebo put down the cup of very strong coffee
and stared more intently at his computer screen. After the tumultuous
interview with his witness, he'd decided to check out murders
in the last year to try and throw some light of his own case.
He'd been at the desk two hours, scanning reports from all over
the state and now, finally light appeared at the end of the
tunnel. The photograph of a dead man sat on his screen, a deputy
from a small town called Crestridge about two hour's drive away.
What attracted the Sheriff's attention was the inky holes which
sufficed for his eyes. The man very quickly began to scan the
file more completely.
As the beeper went off, Rachel started violently,
she was on edge and it showed. The woman was tired, it had been
a long night of searching and dead ends with no further leads
to the whereabouts of their missing comrade. The doctor snapped
the gadget off her belt with annoyance more at her own reaction
than the interruption, which in truth was quite welcome. Her
spirits were low, and there had been no word from Alex for at
least two hours; her face showed the drain the situation was
having on her spirits as she glanced up at Derek.
"It's the hospital," she told
him, "they've sent me a number to phone and it's urgent."
"Take the call," the Precept gave
her leave to turn her attentions to the other half of her life.
Rachel was reluctant to leave the search
she had begun, but life still had to be lived, and she had responsibilities
outside the Legacy. With a sigh, she stood up from the computer
and walked across to the nearest phone. Her fingers were heavy
as she typed in the number, and she rubbed the bridge of her
nose in an effort to alleviate her strained eyes as she lifted
the receiver to her ear.
"Greebo," a strained voice on
the other end of the line began as the call went through.
"Er, hello," the woman began,
"my name is Rachel Corrigan, you left your number with
"Dr Corrigan," the tone softened
somewhat, almost sounding relieved, "I'm Thomas Greebo,
I'm Sheriff of Lockfort, we're a small town about a hundred
miles west of you. I called your office because I was hoping
you could help us in a case."
"Go on," Rachel resisted the urge
to dismiss the man out of hand, as she considered that she had
better things to do.
"You worked on a case last year dealing
with a sexually motivated serial killer, up in Crestridge,"
the voice continued.
"Crestridge?!" the psychologist
almost yelled her response down the phone as she glanced rapidly
across to Derek.
The Precept was out of his seat and by her
side in seconds.
"Is something wrong?" the tone
on the other end was concerned.
"No, no, Sheriff," Rachel tried
to contain the mixture of hope and alarm that filled her. "Please,
"Well," came the explanation,
"I have two bodies like the ones documented in the murder
reports from Crestridge, and one witness whose only memory is
that his name is Nick."
"Nick Boyle?" the woman couldn't
hold back the joy in her voice as the chance that their friend
was within reach displayed itself.
"He doesn't remember," came back
"Short brown hair, dark eyes, average
height?" Rachel threw the description at the officer.
"That's him," the man on the other
end of the line began to sound hopeful, "who is he?"
"A colleague of mine who went missing
two days ago," the doctor breathed excitedly, "Where
did you say you were?"
"Lockfort," the answer was heard
by Derek as well, and he went to check a map.
"She had us looking in completely the
wrong place," the Precept observed as he brought up the
map of local counties.
"We'll be with you...." Rachel
continued the conversation with the policeman, but looked to
her companion for help on the time frame.
"Within the hour," the man assessed
the distances and tasks to be completed first.
The psychologist repeated the disclosure
and then made a hasty goodbye. She turned to Derek, and his
manner echoed her excitement.
"We'll take the helicopter and pick
up Alex on the way," he told her, and they headed rapidly
out of the room.
The hospital room was beginning to feel
a little small to Nick; as the shock wore off, he was paying
more attention to the world around him and was recognising that
his body at least did not require much more healing. He'd asked
for his clothes back, only to be told that the police still
had them and offered a robe. He'd taken a quick wander down
the corridor to the bathroom, to stretch his legs and answer
the call of nature, but the nurses had been keeping a close
eye on him. The young man wondered if they thought he was going
to bolt. He'd considered walking around a bit further, but the
idea seemed to make the staff nervous and with two of them hovering
round him he'd allowed himself to be led back to him room without
much resistance. They provided him with a couple of magazines,
so he'd sat down in the chair and tried to concentrate on reading.
Half an hour later, and the glossy pictures
were out of focus on the young man's lap as he stared inward.
Karen's visit was coming clearer the more he thought about it,
and the message she had delivered wasn't one he wanted to hear.
The impact of what she was and what she had done to him were
becoming greater in his spirit, and he could no longer deny
the stirring of supernatural forces within. Other memories were
still distant, but he dwelt on the influence of the seductive
creature as the energy currents in his body became fascinating.
He recalled the exquisite pleasure his lover has inspired in
him and the pain that had replaced it when she denied his wont.
He felt that need again, and it was growing stronger, a base,
animalistic force that possessed his whole being, slowly pushing
aside any other considerations in his mind. He wanted a body
close to him, a life- force he could reach out and touch and
from which he could draw. The slowly developing creature instinctively
knew how he could tap into the strength of a living being and
the idea was enlivening, quickening his pulse as only the touch
of his succubus could do otherwise. His mind did not consider
the cost of such an action, only the intense reward that would
Suddenly the possibility in the would-be
demon was given vent; it was lunch time at the hospital, and
a lovely young nurse walked in with his tray, but Nick attention
couldn't have been further from the covered food. He smiled
at her bright persona, a winning gaze which inspired a like
return from the pretty woman.
"Good afternoon," she greeted
warmly, placing the irrelevant platter onto the bed, "and
how are we feeling now?"
"Much better, thank you," the
young man returned, his tone hauntingly silky.
The bonnie young thing noticed his intense
gaze on her, and giggled, she was obviously used to male libido
finding her attractive and seemed to take his interest as a
sign of his return to health.
"If my Paul caught you looking at me
that way, he'd take you outside, invalid or not," she laughed,
as yet still amused by his attention.
"Paul?" the new creature hooked
onto something he felt from the woman as he concentrated on
Nick could feel her life-force, even apart
from her, and it was telling him things. He felt the boyfriend
she spoke of, her love for him, her desire; there was a large
sexual element to the relationship and it fired the need in
the half-made being.
"He's a mechanic at the only gas station
in town," the woman disclosed casually as she began to
uncover the food on the tray ready for eating; she was doing
far more to prepare herself for sustenance.
The man personified in her affections as
she recalled him and the stalker stood smoothly letting her
will touch him. Nick felt his body change, he hadn't done it
consciously, but as he recognised it, he knew how it was done.
He smiled hungrily and whispered in a voice not his own, "Sweetstuffs."
The nurse turned round and the fork she
was holding fell from her fingers and her mouth went slack as
she saw her Paul standing in front of her where the strange
young man had been. The youth drank in her heated shock, his
stare flashing with the strength her sudden attraction gave
him. It spurred on the creature and his being oozed his wont.
He stood still for a moment, letting her take in the transformation,
allowing her disbelief to drift away with every deep rise and
fall of her breast.
"Pauly?" she murmured, not quite
trusting her own eyes.
Yet she put faith in her feelings, and it
was obvious that the young woman recognised the electricity
that had sprung up between the two bodies.
"You always said it'd be fun to do
it at work," he rumoured as he picked up on the urge in
the other body.
She laughed nervously, a hand going to her
chest as her heart fluttered at the passion in his voice. Her
long lashes batted as she felt her temperature flush, her mind
wandering to places she usually kept for the privacy of the
bedroom. She started as he took a step smoothly towards her;
Nick stopped, waiting for her emotions to settle a little, and
he smiled sensuously, cocking his head to one side. His eyes
glistened with the fire in his body, the call was building as
she responded to his call - it was easy, and what was more,
it was exhilarating. The half-demon was enjoying the seduction.
Slowly he raised an arm towards her, asking her to step into
his fatal embrace.
Derek flew into the entrance hall of the
cottage hospital, Alex and Rachel close on his tail. The dark
young woman couldn't hide the hope in her eyes as she picked
out the tall, uniformed Sheriff from the staff. He was standing
at the nurses station, waiting for the break in his case where
Rachel had agreed to meet him, and he had no difficulty in spotting
the strangers entrance.
"Dr Corrigan," the man gazed at
the two women.
"I'm Rachel Corrigan," Alex hung
back as her friend held out a hand.
"Tom Greebo," the other nodded,
taking the offered palm.
"These are my colleagues, Dr Derek
Rayne and Alex Morreau," the psychologist introduced.
The man shook hands with his guests, and
then began, "Your friend was found in a house just outside
town along with one dead man - the owner of the house was found
this morning in the woods that surround the town."
"How is he?" Alex enquired, her
"As I said on the phone, he doesn't
remember anything much, he doesn't even know his own last name,"
the officer disclosed directly. "I haven't talked to him
about you yet, I thought seeing you cold might jog his memory."
"Has he been acting strangely?"
Derek was the only one of his team willing to address the issues
Karen had revealed.
The Sheriff shrugged and began to explain
his observation of Nick. Meanwhile, the younger woman drew away
from the conversation a little, something attracting her attention
on another level. She stared down the corridor, as her psychic
instincts piqued on an emanation from that direction. The emotion
that washed over her was hot, passionate, sexual. Very suddenly,
from the mere feeling, the experience visualised in her head.
She saw Nick, but there was something strange about him, his
face was indistinct, shifting and she felt danger, then her
vision encompassed the young nurse.
"Oh God!" she exclaimed, and then
She was almost his, her resistance in disbelief
was melting away as she drowned in his eyes. The creature revelled
in his power, drinking in the fire from his victim's desire.
His smile deepened as she took a pace towards his arm; he could
almost touch her with his fingertips, but he resisted the urge
to grasp her too quickly, the anticipation was better as he
let her come to him freely. Her breath was short in her throat,
tiny gasps which raised her ample chest against the restrictive
uniform. The devil merely watched and waited as gradually her
hands reached out to him.
Yet the moment was not to be; as the helpless
woman brushed his hip with her fingers, the door crashed open
and broke the spell. The nurse gasped and took several steps
backwards, confused as the mists of seduction left her mind.
The seducer was enraged as his work was thwarted, and his harsh
stare turned impossibly fast to the intruder.
"Nick?!" Alex breathed in horror.
Then reality came daggering back. Nick blinked
as the impact of what he was doing hit him and the facade of
"Alex," he muttered as everything
started to come back with the sudden catalyst.
The young man was sickened by his actions,
and he pushed the instincts of the demon away. The punishment
for his denial was immediate. He put a hand to his head as the
world spun and his being went weak. He staggered backwards with
a moan and fell awkwardly into the chair as the back of his
knees contacted with it. Nick's eyes rolled in his head as consciousness
flipped out for a second - it returned almost instantly, but
he had missed the time it took for Alex to cover the distance
between the door and him. He tried to focus on her concerned
face, but his gaze kept drifting in and out. His guilt was the
only thing in his being which was strong enough to cut through
the wave of disorientation, and, his words quiet, but painfully
sincere, he whimpered, "I'm sorry."
The horror was gone from his companion as
she recognised the helpless self- loathing that wracked his
being. There were no words between them, Alex chose action.
Gently, the woman pulled him forward and wrapped him in a hug.
Slowly Nick reached back, the need drowned for now by his human
emotions, and he took the comfort in the platonic way it was
intended. Weak and hurting, the young man rested his head on
his friend's shoulder and leant on her strength.
An hour later, a silent, subdued man was
bundled into the helicopter by his companions, much to the chagrin
of the Sheriff, but there was nothing the officer could do;
Derek had pulled his usual strings and the authorities had decided
to agree with him that the best place for the recovering kidnap
victim was at home in the care of the skilled Dr Corrigan. With
a promise to pass on any relevant information to the investigation,
the Legacy team took their own back to familiar territory.
The sight of home did not make Nick feel
any better - he knew what was in his body now, he'd felt it's
call and what frightened him the most was that he had enjoyed
it. He stayed back from physical expression of his emotions,
afraid it would inspire another hunger pang, and just followed
Derek into the house as a passive shell. He hung his head, the
shame of what had so nearly been still close to his core, and
the sympathy around him just made it worse. When all four came
to a pause in the hall, the young man shrugged off Alex's touch
as she tried to reach inside his hurt and offer comfort, now
he didn't trust himself. The woman didn't need telling twice
as she caught the anxious glance he gave her and felt a little
of the hunger that dwelt within him; she tried to hide the aversion
to his instincts, but she never had been able to fool him and
he saw it all in her face. It was easier to look at the floor.
Rachel chose professionalism over the personal
emotions that she had, and her words were those of the doctor
as she ordered, "Let's go somewhere and talk, Nick."
The young man glanced around at his comrades,
all three of them gazed back silently, providing their compassion
without words. At that moment he was acutely aware of the danger
they faced bringing him back into the house. Yet, he was glad
to be here, at least even if his instincts were not familiar,
then the surroundings were. Even so, he had to protect them
from the threat he perceived.
"My room," he chose the location
for the dialogue, "it has a lock on the door."
It was a chilling moment when no one denied
his reasoning. Rachel looked professional, even if she wasn't
feeling it, Alex seemed sad, Derek merely nodded, his sentiment
lost in the strange gaze he wore in tense situations. Needing
to take control of something in his life, Nick led the way up
Nick had sat himself down on his bed in
a cross-legged position when Rachel followed him into the room.
He was contemplating his hands, a lost look in his eyes and
the woman was suddenly struck by how young he looked. This was
a man, possibly a dangerous creature, but at that moment he
seemed like a small boy. As he looked up, despite the attempt
at a faraway smile, that child asked desperately for help. Yet
the boy had another side, and as the gaze rested on her, the
psychologist felt a pang of fear at the intensity she found
there. Nick turned his face away with a sad little laugh as
he registered her concern.
"When even you see it, I know it's
bad," the young man observed, the humour draining from
his manner as he said it, and there was horror in his tone as
he admitted, "I would have killed that girl if Alex hadn't
There was no answer to that declaration,
it was the simple truth; instead Rachel chose another tack.
"What happened, Nick?" she asked
calmly, wanting to draw out at least the human emotion from
"I was fine, it was a good day, and
then she was in my head," the weary youth sighed, waving
an arm in frustration, "she pulled my strings so easily,
I ran right to her. Then she killed some poor loser while I
was in the same room, and I still wanted her. I heard him scream
as he died, but nothing mattered when she touched me. I gave
in to her and she changed me."
There was shame and hurt in the young man's
demeanour as he confessed to his friend and he refused to meet
"You feel guilty for letting that man
die?" the doctor addressed one of the key issues.
"No," Nick surprised her at his
surety in that statement, but then he continued, "I was
tied to the bed, I couldn't do a damn thing. I'm ashamed that
she came to me after she'd killed him and I took her. I didn't
fight then, I wanted her. She didn't even need Julia, I wanted
her, Karen, and nothing else mattered."
"You love her," Rachel clarified
as he fell guiltily silent.
"Yes," came the answer, his voice
small and worried.
"Even after what she's done to you?"
the psychologist pressed.
"I enjoyed seducing that nurse,"
Nick spat back, and he met her gaze once more.
He was aiming to shock, and despite her
years of training, the doctor showed that he had succeeded.
"I would have enjoyed killing her,"
he whispered coldly, the ice in his tone not quite reaching
It was the pain that remained in his stare
which gave Rachel hope, and she fought back against his defeatism.
"Not all of you Nick, I can see that
much in the way you're acting now," she countered genuinely.
"Do you think she feels guilty about what she does? No,
that's the difference between what she is and what she's done
to you. There was part of you which fought what you were doing
- that's why she made you forget, your past, your beliefs, your
morals, they stopped you from going all the way."
"Then, maybe," the young man warned,
"but Karen said the hunger will grow, and it has, even
during the flight here. Yeah, sure, part of me's thinking, get
it off your chest, talk to Rachel, talk to Derek, they'll help,
but do you know really want to know what another part of me
is working on - it's thinking, her husband's dead, she's still
vulnerable about that, work on it, use it, take her."
Nick yelled the last few words, and the
horror on his companion's face was undeniable. He knew his friend,
and he went for the jugular with his admission - he needed to
frighten her, to make her see how dangerous he really was. It
worked. Yet, the young man could not hold the hard stare which
accompanied the out burst, and he hung his head once more.
"Please, leave me alone," he requested.
The woman nodded slowly, her concern fighting
a losing battle with her common sense. She turned, wordless
still after his vicious attack, and headed out of the room.
"Rachel," his calmer, apologetic
tone stopped her retreat, and she looked back over her shoulder
at his anxious face; he finished, "Lock the door behind
Rachel nodded, and she bit her lip, demonstrating
that she was resisting an urge to begin the conversation again
- they both knew that now was not the time for either of them.
Nick flopped down onto the bed and closed his eyes as he listened
to the key turn in the lock. Morbidly he wondered how much of
a defence the portal would really be against whatever he was
becoming - it wasn't a pleasant thought.
Derek and Alex looked up from their relative
positions either side of the kitchen table as Rachel joined
them; their conversation had been held in a low murmur, their
mood subdued by the condition in which they'd found their comrade.
The Precept took one look at his colleague's white features
and knew something was wrong.
"What happened?" he enquired,
pulling out a seat by him for the gaunt-faced woman.
Rachel was almost shaking as she sat down,
and accepted a mug of coffee Alex passed to her as almost an
anchor for her hands. She remained silent for a moment, obviously
composing herself, and Derek gave his younger female companion
a glance which told her to hold off any questions she had for
the moment. So the trio sat in tense silence. In the company
of her calmer friends, the woman recovered herself and she sighed.
Instead of answering her comrade's question directly, she gave
an evaluation of their affected colleague.
"Well, Nick's depressed, angry, frightened,"
the woman disclosed disconsolately, but then added as some kind
of consolation, "but at least he's feeling guilt over what
he tried to do, it shows our Nick is still there."
"But for how long?" Alex surprised
her Precept by addressing the harsh reality so directly.
The psychologist looked uncomfortable, and
stared down at her coffee as she assessed, "I don't know.
He admitted part of him was thinking out how to seduce me. He
seemed disgusted by the idea then, but he said the hunger, as
he put it, was growing."
"Then neither of you are going to be
alone with him again," Derek decided firmly. "I'll
be present at all meetings, at least his hunger won't be directed
"That's fine for the moment,"
Alex complained with sudden fervour, her eyes blazing with the
concern for her comrade, "but how do we turn this around?"
"We have to talk to Karen again,"
the man voiced the thoughts he had been musing since discovering
Nick's condition, "she may be his only hope. She says she
loves him, maybe she will release him. She will come here when
she discovers that we've found him, and then we have to try
and reason with her."
No one looked too hopeful at that prospect
- the succubus was a dangerous uncertainty at best and they
all knew it. The looks they gave each other were helpless. Derek
recognised the despair that was close by, and he fought against
it. Playing a waiting game was not what they needed, and so
he decided, "Alex, check all our records for anything on
the nature of a succubus. This can't be the first time this
has happened, there must be folklore which covers it, there
may be another solution there. Rachel, you and I are going to
have another talk with Nick, and I think we must start looking
at some kind of tranquilliser to pacify him before his need
gets much stronger."
Something to do seemed to brighten his youngest
companion's countenance a little, and she dashed off with purpose
in her movements. That left Rachel, and her face was white at
the prospect of confronting Nick again. The concern Derek showed
her was recognised and she faced her emotion by explaining,
"Nick frightened me. I have dealt with murderers, the criminally
insane, but when he looked at me none of my training mattered.
It was Shamus and Patrick all over again. I just couldn't handle
it; he ran me out of the room with it."
"Are you okay to go back up there with
me?" the man asked gently, reaching to take her trembling
Slowly, the woman nodded.
Nick sat on the edge of the bed and stared
down at the gun in his hand. It was a good weight, felt right
resting in his palm, clean, well-kept, ready for use. His fingers
closed round the butt as his felt the energies in his body push
at the human that was left. There was still part of him capable
of resisting the supernatural call, but it was growing weaker;
his mind kept drifting and always now it came to rest on the
hunger of the beast within. Was it time to stop this before
matters moved out of his control? He'd picked up the weapon
from the drawer after Rachel's footsteps had died away down
the corridor - she'd almost be trotting to leave him as far
behind as possible. The young man hated what he'd done, but
as he talked to her, he'd realised that he couldn't trust himself
in her company. Soon he wouldn't care, and that was frightening.
The young man breathed in deeply, holding
back the emotion he was feeling, trying, for a small moment,
to think straight. He centred his mind on the pistol, his ally
in many a confrontation, now, possibly the source of release.
Did he really want death, or was that the possibility which
scared him most, the fact that he liked what he was becoming?
"Karen," he murmured, tired of
the internal battle which was becoming steadily more definite.
"I love you."
His grip tightened on the gun, but he couldn't
find the compulsion to lift the weapon from his lap. The muscles
in his arm tensed, but the power in them merely transferred
to a shaking of his usually steady hand. Indecision held the
young man immobile, the quandary absorbing his whole attention,
so much so that he did not hear the door unlock. Only as two
bodies entered and froze at his situation did the young man
look up. Derek's face was horrified as he took in the loaded
pistol and Nick's intentions became clear. Rachel hung back,
so the youth ignored her, focusing on his mentor and friend,
and he showed him the confusion in his soul.
"What do I do, Derek?" he asked
plaintively. "I can't stop this thing."
"Hang in there, Nick," the man
responded as calmly as he could, "we've only just got you
back, give us time to work this out."
"I don't have time," the young
man hissed through gritted teeth.
"Give me the gun, Nick," Derek
held out his hand, and his tone was firm.
They were statues for a few moments, one
man so sure, the other lost in despair. Yet, Derek Rayne was
strong, and his leadership abilities came into play. Slowly,
the hopeless creature reacted to his command. Nick looked down
at the gun and it seemed less friendly. Then he took it in his
left hand, barrel first and offered it blindly to his comrade.
He let the object slip easily from his fingers as the older
man took it gently from him, and then he returned his hand to
his lap. A laugh escaped his lips, a small, pathetic sound.
"Nick!" his Precept's tone was
of command and the young man's gaze snapped back up to make
return to the hard stare he received. "There is still time,
and we will solve this problem together. Alex is researching
the succubus as we speak; we are also expecting Karen to come
for you, if she does, we will be waiting."
"And meanwhile?" Nick questioned,
now paying slightly more attention to Rachel and the doctor's
bag she was carrying.
His glance was noted and the woman brought
the tools of her trade forward.
"I'm going to sedate you," she
disclosed quietly, her manner still subdued from their head-to-head,
"it may buy us some time."
The young man nodded, it would bring some
temporary relief anyway. He stayed as still as possible while
Rachel settled her bag on the bed beside him; he was aware how
uncomfortable he had made her, and didn't attempt to meet her
gaze. Yet, he had to make amends, this could be the last time
he had a chance to speak to her on these terms and he didn't
want this to be the way she remembered him.
"I'm sorry Rachel," he murmured
He found a hand in his almost as soon as
he'd said it, and the woman squeezed his palm. She smiled warmly
as he gazed across at her open face, and she reassured, "I
The curl of the lip he managed in return
was a little bleak, but it was better than the suicidal hopelessness
of seconds earlier. Derek seemed to take the moment as promising,
and strode round the side of the bed into the young's man's
view as Rachel continued to prepare a hypodermic. Nick met his
superior's gaze as forcefully as he could, the small gesture
of affection having helped enormously - it helped him face the
"Can you tell us exactly what Karen
did to you? It might help us find a cure," the Precept
once again addressed the very intimate subject.
"Instead of taking my life-force when
we made love, she gave me some of hers," the young man
explained plainly. "It was like a light coming from her
face into mine."
"I'll pass that on to Alex, it might
turn something up," Derek frowned as his mind began turning
over what was being said. "Can you remember anything else
Nick shrugged, despite the return of his
memory, those few minutes with Karen were still very hazy, mainly
sense and emotion.
"Could you roll up your sleeve for
me, please?" Rachel interrupted the dialogue and drew her
"What is it?" the young man indicated
to the syringe as he obeyed.
"Something that should knock you out
for a good few hours," she answered, clearing the instrument
of air bubbles.
Nick looked away as she rubbed his arm with
antiseptic and shortly afterwards he felt the entry of a needle
and then fluid into his body. It was amazing how quickly the
cocktail started to work, and his vision blurred almost immediately.
"Woah," he muttered, feeling himself
begin to lose balance, and hands led him gently down as he relaxed
backwards onto the mattress.
The young man was dozing before Derek had
lifted his feet onto the bed.
Despite scouring their research texts, as
the evening wore on, it became increasingly clear to the Legacy
House that they were playing the waiting game. Rachel hovered
over her patient, who had been put to bed, Alex swore at unenlightening
databases and Derek trashed the library trying to locate anything
that could be considered relevant. They were restless and mainly
silent as they forced each other to pause for food and then
eventually sleep. The San Francisco House descended into silence
as the clock displayed 4am, but it could not have be called
The sedative was beginning to wear off on
the creature that Nick was becoming, and he shifted in the forced
sleep as the power within fought to reach the world. He moaned,
his tone low and menacing, his hunger bringing him close to
reality when it piqued. Yet human medicine still held onto what
was left of the mortal man and kept him in slumber and eyes
which opened without seeing, closed quickly again, frustrated
by the potent cocktail in his veins. Against his almost constant
vocalisation, the sound of the door opening was a vague sound,
and could not disturb the young man anymore than his own being.
Nick was unaware of the visitor who slipped
into his room, silent save for the pad of her bare feet on the
floor. Karen drifted gracefully over to the side of the bed
and stood gazing down at his fitful sleep, her attention enwrapped.
He felt her, even through the haze, and her creation calmed
a little. He lay almost still, only his rapid breathing disclosing
the conflict between modern potions and ancient magic. Then
the woman sunk down onto the edge of the bed and reached out
to touch his glistening brow. Her fingers ran over his skin
and he warmed to her, even in slumber, bending his face to her
palm which came to rest on his cheek. Wordlessly he mumbled
his unconscious welcome.
"Hello, My Sweet," the succubus
murmured, a smile playing over her lips. "Time for you
to be with me."
The young man stilled completely as she
leant down to him. She paused, inches from his lips, and then
kissed him hard. A little more energy shuddered into the new
being and he started like an animal stung. The rest of the sleeping
draft in his body evaporated and his eyes snapped open. Instinctively,
the man reached out to the woman as his hunger made itself plain
once more. Yet, as his hand brushed the light cotton of her
dress, she backed away. The pain in his face was that of a child
refused a cuddle, but the look was deceptive. Karen knew her
creation too well, and she recognised the calculation under
the surface; he wanted sustenance and he was going to use any
means to get it.
"Not me, My Love," she cooed,
standing and walking towards the door, "there is another
waiting for you."
Nick's thoughts were focused on one thing,
the life-force of a woman, and he slid out of the bed as a hunter
after prey. He was oblivious to the vague fear in Karen's eyes
as she led him out of the room, he saw only the sensuous body
barely hidden under the thin dress, and he wanted her. He stalked
slowly, enjoying the thrill of the advance, ensnared by the
pulse he sensed from her being. Yet his pace increased as they
entered the corridor, he was hungry, and games could be saved
for later. He reached out for his lover and grimaced nastily
as she shifted rapidly out of range. He tried again, lunging
for her body this time, but she backed deliberately into a door
well and he stumbled into her as she opened the door.
He pushed close to her, and she was frightened,
her chest rising and falling as her heart beat too fast. Yet,
she met his starved gaze and then turned her head to what the
portal revealed. The scent of mortal life filled his being as
he too laid his attention on the chamber into which they strayed
and it drew him in. The succubus stayed near the door as her
creation took a few steps towards Alex's bed. The beautiful
woman was curled over a book of witchcraft she had taken to
bed to study, asleep in exhaustion.
The young demon padded further around the
bed, but paused a little way off, captivated by the peace in
his victim's face. Something stirred in his being, a short pang
of an emotion which was swallowed by the need in his being before
it was really recognised. Still, it caused him to turn and look
to his maker for guidance.
"You want her," she whispered
silkily, "think of a way to take her."
The instruction was so simple, and focusing
his attention once more on the slumbering form, he remembered
a way. A college boyfriend, Michael Holen, she'd once told him
in a private moment of her sorrow when he'd run from her psychic
abilities. The young woman still kept a picture in her wallet
of the man she'd left behind in New Orleans, and his image returned
to the seducer as clear as when she's shown it to him. Her life-force
heady in his vicinity, Nick let his body adapt. His skin darkened
to a smooth coffee colour and his build slimmed considerably.
The face which gazed down at the young woman was Afro-Caribbean,
and his dark eyes smiled as he drank in her aura. He felt her
stronger now as he concentrated, and her ephemeral existence
sung to him in tunes only he could hear; not even his succubus
could sense this, her skills being trained in the opposite direction,
it was he alone who shuddered with the strength he could feel
so close. There was no question of drawing back this time, his
hunger threw strands of compulsion between he and his victim,
which would not be denied, and he strode forward.
"Alex," he called, his voice adjusting
even as his prey heard it and thought more clearly of the man
The woman woke a little, but not enough,
so the creature threw out his web and leant over the bed. He
was in her mind and she stirred, her abilities feeling, but
too late. He smiled as she opened her eyes and saw her Michael,
and she blinked, unsure of the senses she could never trust.
"Hello, Alex," he murmured smoothly,
bending closer as he felt her emotions stir, "it's me,
Alex frowned, she wasn't convinced of her
own eyes, but she was too caught by the already laid spell that
she lay still, gazing up at him. Despite the doubt, her heart
began to pound and a colour came to her face as the closeness
"I'm not afraid anymore," the
impostor cooed warmly, brushing her face, testing the arousing
life he felt there.
"Michael," the young woman began
to give in to the facade, her feelings leading her into the
danger that her mind would have denied given only a moment's
"I'm so sorry, My Love," he reached
right for her emotional scars without remorse, wanting, feeding
on the wealth of passion that he had uncovered even before he
began the seduction in earnest.
Alex responded to his light caress, reaching
for his hand and clasping it close to her face, wanting him
to stroke her more definitely. The joy at seeing her lover again
was potent, drawing him on, and he played to her wont, sitting
down on the bed and leaning in.
"I missed you so much," she breathed,
pain in her voice at the admission.
The demon thought he ignored it as he brushed
his lips against hers, but something inside mixed with the powerful
need and it was not lost so quickly this time. The woman drove
back into his embrace, trapped in the pretender's snare, her
body warming to his caress as his laid a hand on the thin silk
of her night-dress. Nick tasted his victim once, drinking on
a mortal level, enjoying the touch of her mouth over his, but
something nagged within, something which spoke of the wrongness
of what he was doing. There had never been anything but a platonic
relationship between him and Alex, and that knowledge broke
through the devil which led him. Suddenly, he pulled away, confused
as two instincts clashed. He broke the spell.
Alex gasped in horror as the facade fell
away and a man suddenly in pain fell across her legs. The punishment
for denial was far worse than the disorientation of before,
the young man's being screamed at him as he refused to fulfil
A voice from the doorway urged, "Take
her Nick, take her now."
"No," he groaned, his fingers
clawing at the bed clothes as he fought the wont in his own
The mortal was stunned into immobility,
still an easy target, but the ease of the kill was lost forever.
She meant too much to the creature who convulsed on her bed
and he could not reach back and force himself onto her.
"You must," Karen pressed, moving
forward to the end of the bed, her tone anxious as she experienced
the condition of her creation.
"I can't," the wracked half-monster
whined in more than physical pain.
Every shard of the young man's being was
in conflict; he needed a woman's surrender badly, but the thought
of taking his friend was worse. He would give in to neither
wont, both parts of his makeup being too strong. It must have
become obvious to his succubus that this was a losing battle,
because she chose not to press his fragile sanity any further.
The helpless young man gave in to her as she pulled him away
from the bed and she supported him as they moved out of the
room at a speed too fast for its occupant to follow. Flight,
retreat from the conflict between himself and his loved ones
was the best option for the struggling creature, and he let
his creator lead him away from the danger in which he placed
Nick didn't know how they'd travelled off
the island, let alone how they reached the expensive apartment
into whose front room Karen shoved him. Her vigour was borne
of urgency as her companion became weaker, and he leant blindly
against the wall where she propped him as she closed the door.
The need still burnt as hot as the fires of hell themselves,
but the new creature kept on denying them now he had begun.
His dissent from the supernatural will was tearing him apart,
but the mortal that still remained now knew for certain that
he could not take a life in the way his lover wanted. He loved
her, and he felt guilt at having let her down.
"I couldn't kill Alex," he moaned
unhappily as her attention returned to him.
The succubus moved closer to him, pressing
her body against his with an urgency which spoke of her concern
for his health. It took the young man a few seconds to realise
her intentions, she was offering herself to him; then he backed
off once more. He sunk down the wall as he refused the rise
she had so quickly inspired, holding out his arms, trying to
keep her away. He recalled the fear in her face as he had tried
to force himself on her last time, and he knew the root of the
reason - he could kill her.
"No, I won't hurt you," he rejected
Yet, the new creature was feeble with the
fight, and she pushed through his arms, settling on his legs
and forcing herself close to him. She kissed him and told him
with heat in her voice, "You must feed."
The young man turned his face away from
the touch of her tongue, but she moved to his neck instead.
He tried to push her away, but his arms merely trembled, displaying
less than mortal strength, no match for that of a succubus.
He moaned, half in despair, half in arousal as she once again
raised his temperature with the slightest brush. Her nipples
stood proud through the thin dress and tantalised his own bare
chest and her thighs gripped his legs as she rubbed herself
"Take me, My Love, I have enough for
both of us," she murmured and began to bite his ear.
With a lover so close and the hunger in
his body, Nick had no fight left, and he gave in to the passion
in his loins. As soon as he surrendered to it, the conflict
died and the young man's senses reached for his partner as his
body did the same. She was alive, she was warm, and she wanted
him as much as he needed her. The couple were almost frantic
in their touches and what little clothing stood between then
did not last long. Karen's dress was lifted off with ease, and
Nick's shorts were pushed down his body as he knelt up into
his lover, holding her close and caressing her buttocks. The
woman gave way to his embrace as his strength returned with
every passionate breath they took and they sunk down onto the
carpet under his direction. The man ran his hand up his partner's
inner leg and touched her with a force which made her groan.
Her back arched as she sank into his deep caress and her knee
rubbed into his abdomen to electrify his manhood.
"Now," she ordered through an
exclamation of craving.
The half-breed was not about to deny himself
or her, and he thrust into her with body with a savagery which
spoke for the desperation in both of them. The woman cried out
and shuddered as her lover demanded the union and she opened
to him. He felt the rush of mortal climax for both of them and
then the immortal draw was not far behind. He strained away
from her body, held up on his arms above her as power left her
being under his direction. Exhilaration filled his spirit and
a satisfaction so exquisite it caused him to scream. Karen writhed
under him, helpless to his need, pushing around him, giving
everything she had.
Body to body, supernatural to supernatural,
the coupling lasted for a time neither partner could trace.
Then, suddenly, it was over. His hunger met, Nick's draw stopped
of its' own accord. He held the locked-arm position for a few
seconds as his senses returned, and his gaze met that of his
succubus. She relaxed away from him, but her hands reached up
to his neck. Locking at the nape, she gave a gentle pull downwards
and he followed it. The young man collapsed half on top of his
lover and her fingers stroked his scalp as he wondered where
his strength had gone.
The Legacy House was in turmoil. Alex had
raised the alarm, but the succubus and her mate were long gone.
The young woman was in shock and Rachel tended to her while
Derek began the now familiar routine of searching. Dawn turned
into day unheeded by the frantic group as they fought the growing
feeling that their friend was finally lost to them.
The bed was soft, and Nick stretched contentedly
before he opened his eyes. He and Karen had sunk into the silk
sheets soon after their traumatic union, happy merely to hold
each other and fall asleep. Then their attentions had been only
for each other, warm and together, yet now, as he woke to the
morning, the lithe creature was no longer beside him, and the
young man's thoughts turned to other things. As he opened his
eyes, he remembered the danger in which he had placed his love
and it appalled him. He was frowning when the bewitching woman
returned to his senses. He felt her on both a physical and psychical
level, and he couldn't help himself, his body roused as he looked
across to her naked form.
Karen smiled as she recognised his attraction,
but she stayed by the door, holding a plate of toast and nibbling
a slice. He made a tortured face at the tease as she displayed
herself amply to him and whined helplessly. The woman laughed
and continued her path back to the bed. He sat up and wrapped
his arms around her supple shoulders as she perched on the edge
of the mattress. She leant into him and he kissed her neck.
The woman mumbled her pleasure through the crumbs of bread she
continued to eat. Her attention being diverted was a little
off-putting, but she apparently found it amusing as he complained,
merely shifting round and offering him the plate.
"Have some toast," she proffered
Nick gave his lover a dubious look, it wasn't
food for which he was hungry. Karen read the insinuation in
his manner and told him, "We may not need it, but we can
still enjoy it."
The young man gave up the advance for the
time being and took the offering. The hot buttered slice did
still taste good despite his appetite being for other things,
and without human hunger, he savoured the taste for its own
"See," his beloved smiled as he
finished the morsel, "it's not real food, but it's tasty."
Real food, then the musings the woman's
presence had wiped away, and Nick frowned again. Karen picked
up on it this time and asked immediately, "What's that
The youth looked into those wonderful eyes
and admitted, "I can't kill."
The woman pouted and broke the gaze, ad
she reached hastily to brush crumbs off his chest as she tried,
"You'll get used to it."
"No I won't," Nick was sure as
he took her hand and held it.
The woman seemed anxious as she met his
earnest stare once more. Yet, shortly, she smiled and countered,
"Then I'll take enough for both of us. I can feed you."
The young man felt happy when his succubus
smiled at him, and he didn't want to face any possibility that
she was wrong. He let the matter drop, covering any angst that
remained with his passion as she picked up another piece of
toast and advanced on him with it held high almost like a weapon.
He surrendered to her impetus with little resistance, lying
back down and reaching for her as she aimed the crumpled slice
of bread at his mouth. He nipped at the titbit as she teased
him with it, laughing as he misjudged and almost choked on the
food as it hit the back of his throat. They giggled together
and Nick drew his love into a messy kiss.
Alex sat at the conference table staring
blankly at her Precept. She couldn't express the way she was
feeling; she would have done anything to get her friend back,
but the creature she had experienced in her bedroom had been
so far from him that she was wondering what there was to get
back. Evening was drawing on, and there had been no clue as
to Nick's whereabouts since he and Karen had run from them.
All three companions were beginning to face the prospect that
they had lost their friend, only the most stubborn parts of
their souls left denying that possibility. They'd been sat here
for over an hour in intermittent conversation; Derek had called
the meeting supposedly to discuss the progress that had been
made during the day. That was no progress at all, and so his
real motives had become more obvious. The Precept of the San
Francisco Legacy House was trying to face the prospect of declaring
his colleague and friend a danger to humankind and an enemy
of their society.
Rayne cleared his throat and Rachel looked
up from the file she'd been reading for too long. Alex had seen
this moment coming, she'd been watching her comrade closely
for a few minutes and his resolve had been building.
"Alex, Rachel," he began slowly,
his voice strained, but his face hiding the regret well, "I
think it is time we faced the truth. Nick left with the succubus
of his own free will last night, and he has not returned. Considering
his condition when he attacked Alex, we have to assume the worst."
There was silence.
The dark woman remained focused on Derek,
and his haunted eyes gazed right on back. Alex wanted to deny
the statement, but there was no fight left in her. She had personally
experienced the monster that her friend had become and the prospect
could not be coloured. Slowly, her finger closed around an object
she had kept protected under them on the table all through the
meeting. She gripped Nick's SEAL ring in her clenched fist and
closed her eyes before she cried. First Julia, now Nick; the
Legacy's lost members, it was the nature of their calling, but
two from the same house in so short a period was cruel and unfair.
She wanted them back!
The sensitive's pain reached out and suddenly
she received an answer to it. Alex gasped and opened her eyes
as an image flashed through her mind. A view of a park from
a high-rise window as the sun was going down. A child was playing
on a distinctive clown's face climbing frame, and a dog ran
after a Frisbee, leaping into a black-watered pond as the object
glided over the surface. A flower-seller was packing up her
stall for the night, `Masie's Daisies', said the sign board
she pulled around the stand, and then a number, `555 DAISY'.
All the contemplations of a long gaze at the area hit her in
a moment and the young woman dropped the ring.
"I know where he is," she breathed
Nick walked away from the window, the beautiful
view having little impact on the mood which had settled through
him as soon as Karen had left about an hour ago. He knew where
she'd gone - to find a victim to feed them, and the idea appalled
him. The young man couldn't deny the hunger's presence, it wasn't
as bad as the night before, and his lover was determined never
to let it get that awful again. Meeting his need had cut her
own sustenance in half, and this was a necessary act. The creature
now understood the reality of his succubus' claim that she wasn't
a monster; it was the hunger that inspired the beast. That knowledge
did not make the prospect of being an accessory to brutal murder
In another quandary, the young man sunk
down onto the sofa. It was a lovely piece of furniture, luxurious,
like everything else in the condo Karen had supplied for them
- Nick tried not to think about what had befallen the yuppie
owner. Still, there it was, and it soured his expression as
he turned to the sound of the door opening.
The young man cringed at the sound of female
giggles and steeled himself as Karen fell through the door with
her victim. The man was high, that much was obvious from the
way he lunged at the scantily clad woman who led him in. The
succubus feigned inebriation of whatever sort very well, laughing
at the joke that wasn't there and leaning heavily, sensuously
on her guest. The man spotted Nick over Karen's shoulder, and
he stilled for a moment, his wasted gaze trying to focus on
an unexpected variable in this equation. The woman reacted quickly
to the stonily silent occupant.
"Jimmy, this is my friend Nick,"
she introduced, slurring her words and stumbling a litter nearer
"Hi," the young man waved wildly,
The seated man stayed cold, biting his tongue
as he watched the efficient execution; he had an instant dislike
for the man, a jealousy which was well founded, but that didn't
help his conscience as he pictured what was about to happen.
"Don't mind him," Karen whispered
in the way only drunks do so that half the world can hear, "he's
in a mood. He'll join us later."
The pair disappeared into the bedroom without
further pause and Nick curled up on the sofa, trying to deny
Derek drove, Alex directed; she knew the
park she had seen and they sped towards it using the road in
a way only a 4x4 could.
Nick listened to the sounds of pleasure
coming from the bedroom and he recalled the desperate fight
he had put up the last time he had been so close to a similar
event. He'd been trying to reconcile the necessary with this
murder, but the root of his being denied the horror a place
in the scheme of things. He felt the mortal close by, not his
passion, he couldn't understand that in the way Karen did, but
his life-force was most definitely there. The pulse was vital,
enlivening, unique and it was going to be absorbed without remorse,
without pity. It dawned on the young man, as he recognised these
facts, that he could never accept death as a way of life, no
matter what the cost. Desperation in his heart, he reacted to
The demon-mate ran into the bedroom, taking
in the scene in one quick glance. The ignorant victim was lying
on the bed, gazing up in adoration at the woman who was giving
him so much pleasure. The succubus sunk down around her sacrifice,
drawing him on to the point where she would kill. Nick felt
the man's life-force reach up to his lover as he arousal came
to fruition and he knew she was about to pounce. Karen moaned,
the pinned- down figure whimpered as he felt the first signs
that something was wrong.
The watcher charged - he would not let this
go further. Karen screamed, a long, dangerous sound as he used
his supernatural strength to rip her away from the terrified
victim. The man cringed away from him as he grabbed him by the
shoulders. He had seen the seductress slam into the wall with
the force of the powerful throw, and he knew the horror of the
"Get your clothes and run," Nick
hissed, releasing the cowering form.
Jimmy didn't need a second telling, as demon
turned to face enraged demon, he grabbed his cheap suit and
dashed for the door. Nick didn't care about him anymore as his
attention settled on his succubus. Her face was twisted into
a snarl of pure fury and she attacked him. The young man surrendered
to the assault, falling back onto the bed as she screamed at
him, and scratched and punched. His lack of fight became apparent
as he even refused to protect himself from his lover's frenzy,
and took the beating.
The 4x4 screeched to a halt off the playground
and the three Legacy members tumbled out. It was not difficult
to work out which apartment block the view had been from and
Alex led the run towards its lobby. As they dashed in, a half-dressed,
white-faced man darted out of one of the elevators. It didn't
take a genius to put his appearance together with the existence
of a succubus in the building, and Derek lunged at him as he
headed past them. The scrawny figure screamed and shied away
as his open collar was used to haul him up against a wall, and
he stared at the urgency in the tall stranger who held him.
"Which apartment?" was the direct
The man looked momentarily confused by the
oddness of the question, but a shake by the desperate assailant
and he blurted out, "506."
He was left, dazed and frightened as the
three people dropped him like a hot brick and made use of the
elevator he had just vacated.
"I can't take a life, and I won't let
you do it as long as I'm near you," Nick finally admitted
painfully under the assault. "I can't live like this, so
take me now instead of him."
Karen's attack stopped as suddenly as it
had begun, and she gazed down at her lover. There were tears
in her eyes as she understood what he was saying. A look of
utter pain crossed her face and then she turned rapidly away
from him, denial heating her voice as she growled, "No!"
The man sat up and reached out to her back,
she shrugged of his hand, angry at what he was asking.
"I'm sorry," the man meant what
he said, he didn't want to hurt this woman, whatever she was,
"but I can't do this, I never could."
"I can keep us both," she began
the argument again.
Yet, this time her creation could not be
won over by her words.
"No," he answered definitely.
"I don't want to be like that, a parasite on you or any
"I can't take it back," she tried
the threat, but it was something Nick had already considered.
"I know," the young man accepted
Karen turned back to him, the water already
flowing down her face. Her lover felt the same grief, and he
reached out to her. With a sob, the woman sank into his embrace,
and they clung to each other, rocking, trying to find solace.
They were wrapped in each other when three mortals charged into
the room. The succubus remained buried in the hold, ignoring
the interlopers on their sorrow, but Nick looked round at the
worried faces. He smiled sadly at Derek, and requested quietly,
"Please leave us alone."
The meaning was implicit in the moment and
Nick said goodbye. His Precept accepted his decision and without
objection, he simply turned and left, closing the door behind
Nick held his partner until her sobs stopped,
and then he rocked her some more. Only as he felt her make her
own move to sit back did he let her go. She was still beautiful
despite the redness to her eyes, and he wiped at the water in
her face with a poignant curl to his lip.
"Make love to me one more time and
then I will release you," the woman murmured.
The young man stroked her face, and nodded,
it would be a beautiful way to end his life.
Carefully, absorbing every moment they had
left together, the couple set about removing Nick's clothes.
He was barefoot and clothed only in a loose shirt and jeans,
but they took their time with every button, experiencing the
brush of flesh on flesh as woman slowly revealed man. First
they pushed off the cotton shirt, inch by inch, and his lover
kissed ever piece of skin she uncovered. Her touch was gentle,
slowly building his fire with the occasional run of teeth on
toned muscle. The young man revelled in the foreplay, stroking
his companion, making her tremble at his light touch on her
back, calling her to him moment by endless moment. He knelt
up as she began to work on his pants, helping her aims, but
at the same time leaning close to her naked torso, experiencing
the bond. The jeans slid down over his firm buttocks under her
direction and he rubbed into her groin; she squeezed the flesh
under her hands and kept him next to her, feeling his arousal
grow. Man kissed woman, his own hands wandering across her body,
As one, they lay down, the clothing finally
discarded with a quick flex, and they wrapped themselves in
each other, still content with touching and kissing for the
time being. Nick explored his succubus for the last time, savouring
the very scent of her stimulation, tasting the salt on her body
as he found ways to excite and stretch her passions. She let
him explore, moving to his lead, enjoying the will of a man,
experiencing his tenderness.
The half-breed could feel his mistress ripening
under his attentions, and his own passions flared as he at last
chose to move towards consummation. The wont in their souls
was not merely for the physical, this was an offering of equals
which no hunger required, and it was enlivening. The young man
was half lying over his partner's body, and she could perceive
his arousal. Woman shifted to accommodate man, and he took the
offer. The experienced creature lifted her body to allow him
to touch her as deeply as possible, and her breath came in small
starts as he navigated her body with full knowledge of her sensitivities.
Her nails played over his back in time to her tiny spasms as
he moved her towards climax, and the young man felt his own
being climb that path as well. They both felt the moment approach,
one instant they strove for, and, as one, the couple clung together
Neither partner made much sound, merely
the release of breath as the transport began to fade, and then
Nick simply lay down beside his love, an arm still held protectively
over her belly. They stayed that way for sometime, content in
the peace of satisfaction, not wasting a drop of the time they
had left. Yet, nothing could last forever, and the time came
to face it. The young man sat up and leant over the succubus;
he was ready to face whatever was necessary and he did not need
words to express that resolution. Karen stroked his tousled
hair and smiled sadly.
"There is only one way we can end this,"
she murmured. "You were never meant to be anything other
than mortal, My Love, and I refused to see that. I wanted you,
and my greed has led us to this. I never thought I'd ever see
this day, the moment when I would be willing to give up my life
Nick's face clouded as her implication became
clear, and he opened his mouth to object, but she laid a finger
on his lips and continued, "There is no other way for this
to end, Nick, I cannot kill you, I've thought about when we
first met, but I've never been able to, and I am the only one
capable of doing it. The power I placed inside of you can never
be removed, but if I die, it will be neutralised, you will be
Don't you see," she laughed, a light,
delightful sound, "this way all our problems are solved.
If I kill you, we both die, because I don't want to live without
you and I will let your friends take me, but this way, your
friends won't have to worry anymore, and I will live on when
you remember me."
The young man blinked back tears as her
resolve was made, and he took her into his arms. Gently she
returned his embrace, so lightly that it barely changed as she
relinquished life. Yet, Nick felt her go, sensed her vibrance
slip away from him, and he wrapped her even closer, trying to
hang on to the union of souls. The loss was intense, worse than
any hunger, worse than dying himself, and the healing man howled
Jen sat in booth with her two friends, it
was after work on a Tuesday, normal time for a girl's night
out, but tonight was going to be different, and she was excited
about it. Mags and Heidi had been her friends since college,
and she valued their support in all aspects of her life. That
included her love life, and she had rearranged their normal
schedule in order that they could meet the new man in her life.
"So, how did you meet then?" Mags,
the tall, blond man-eater asked the question she knew her companion
wanted to hear.
"This is going to sound so corny,"
Jen gushed, "but it was actually at the market."
Heidi giggled and shook her head, Mags smacked
her playfully and nodded for her comrade to continue.
"Well, he just walked past me and I
could have sworn it was Richard, I was so sure in fact, I reached
out and grabbed him," the woman admitted, putting her hand
over her mouth as she recalled the embarrassment.
"Oh Jen, you didn't go out with a guy
just because he reminded you of an ex?" her more man-experienced
"No," came the quick denial, "in
fact when he turned round I had no idea what had made me think
it was Richard, he's taller and has darker hair. Anyway,
I was so embarrassed, but he took it really well, and said that
he got that reaction all the time and not to worry."
"So that's when you asked him out,"
Heidi interjected excitedly.
"No," Jen countered again with
a wave, "that was two months ago. No, we just kept meeting
in the market, and every time we'd pass each other we'd have
a joke. Finally we stopped and talked, and I asked him out.
I don't know what possessed me, but I asked a guy out on a date."
"This is serious," Mags joked
about the normally mousy nature of her friend.
"He was kinda reluctant at first, but
I actually persuaded him, me, who wouldn't say boo to a goose,"
the young woman showed her own disbelief of her actions.
"And so?" Heidi patted her arm
and winked at the intimation of what she wanted to hear.
The girltalk volume lowered.
"The date was fun, we went to the fair,
and then he walked me home. I invited him in, he said no, then
I did it again, I sweet talked him inside," she giggled
"Sex on the first date, wow you moved
fast," Mags complimented friend on what she saw as an achievement,
and then she asked bluntly, "So how'd he rate?"
"God was he nervous," Jen hissed.
"Took me an hour of petting on the sofa before he even
warmed up - then I undid his flies."
Raucous giggles erupted from the booth,
but quietened down quickly as the storyteller continued, "Well,
men being men, I had him in the palm of my hand so to speak,
and things began to progress nicely. Until that was, it came
to actually doing it. In the end, I came down on him, else we'd
have got nowhere."
"This isn't sounding too promising,"
Yet, Jen grinned impishly and disclosed,
"Things improved rapidly from there on in. He explained
that he'd been scared of hurting me, something about his last
relationship that he wouldn't talk about. He loosened up, and
we started over as much as that was possible. I don't think
I've ever been so turned on in my entire sexual career. Three
hours he stayed vital, three amazing, passionate hours."
Heidi and Mags looked at each other, and
then to their friend and asked in unison, "Does he have
All three women started giggling again,
and they were still laughing when a body walked up to their
booth. The young man in pressed black jeans and a smart leather
jacket was soon welcomed by Jen, and she grabbed his hand protectively.
"Girls, I want you to meet the man
of my dreams, Nick Boyle."