angel

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This is a direct sequel to “Hell’s Gate”. Read that series first if you wish to read this.



Thank you. Remember to comment.


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Thy Kingdom Come



Chapter One: Aurora



{Motel Room; Late Evening}



Aurora opened her eyes slowly, scared at what she might see. She remembered very little before she had mysteriously blacked out, but one image still burned hotly into her mind; two men, naked from the waist up had grabbed her right after she had rammed her car into some woman who had been standing in the middle of the road.



It had all happened so quickly, and although Aurora knew she had not sustained any head trauma, she had still managed to conk out. Hopefully she had not fainted; her mother would never let her live down swooning. If she lived at all. For all she knew, she was five minutes away from bloody murder.



“Are you awake?” a deep, male’s voice said suddenly from her right.



Aurora’s eyes snapped all the way open and she turned toward the voice, which came from a large, bald man sitting in a chair in front of a small desk. Seeing the man sitting there made Aurora suddenly realize that she too was in a chair, except her arms were being held behind it by a rope that softly dug into her wrists, binding her hands together and preventing her from moving.



Aurora nodded in response to the question, and flicked her eyes fervently around her surroundings. She was thankfully fully aware, and it was easy to ascertain that she was in a motel room. In addition to the small desk and chairs, a TV stand stood closed in front of her, and she could see the side of a mattress out of the corner of her eye, meaning that the bed was behind her.



The man spoke again, “Do you know your name?”



“Aurora,” she answered, already having decided to cooperate; she had seen enough crime shows to know there was no use arguing with kidnappers. Especially ones as large and powerful-looking as this one was.



“Unique name,” the man said, standing. Chains rattled from the pockets of his black pants and muscles bunched beneath the tight black t-shirt he wore over his chest. He was about six feet tall standing, and wore dark sunglasses that hid his eyes from Aurora’s view. Definitely intimidating.



“My mother’s a bit of a hippy,” Aurora admitted, watching her captor closely as he pulled his chair closer to her, “She doesn’t ever do anything conventionally.”



The man nodded, placing his chair a foot from Aurora’s and sitting back down, “I can admire that.”



“So is there a reason I’m tied up?”



Smiling, the man shrugged, “You just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Do you remember anything?”



Aurora searched her memory for a good answer, “After I hit that woman, I remember getting out of the car. She stood up, which was really confusing, and then I started getting a little hysterical. Then I saw two very large men, I think you were one of them, come out of nowhere, which made me even more hysterical. And then nothing; I blacked out. Did I hit my head?”



The man shook his head, “Nope.”



“Huh, I didn’t think so,” Aurora frowned, and then asked after a pause, “What’s your name?”



“Wraith,” the man said.



“Unusual names abound,” Aurora noted.



“That they do.”



“Are you going to let me go, Wraith?”



“Not right yet. But I will untie you if you’d like.”



“That would be nice.”



Wraith stood and began working on the rope that bound her wrists. “It’s a shame,” he mused as he worked, “I did enjoy seeing you tied up like this.”



Aurora blushed and pulled her hands to her lap once she felt the rope fall away, “What’s that supposed to mean?”



Wraith sat back down in his chair and then leaned in close. She could see nothing behind his glasses, but could feel his eyes bore into her’s intensely, “I mean you are very beautiful, for a human, and were even more so bound to that chair.”



Blushing, Aurora looked down at her lap, then brought her eyes back level with Wraith’s as something registered, “What do you mean, ‘for a human’?”



Reaching up, Wraith gripped his sunglasses and pulled them off. Underneath them, his eyes were pitch-black with no whites or irises; just pools of pure darkness.



“Holy shit!” Aurora gasped, “Are those real?”



Wraith nodded.



“So…what are you? A vampire?”



“Ha!” Wraith barked, “They, my lovely captive, do not exist. I am a demon.”



Aurora didn’t know what to believe. On one hand, the man did have a very demon-like demeanor, if there was such a thing, and solid black eyes. On the other hand…demons probably did not exist. She most likely had been kidnapped by a crazy man, which meant no amount of cooperation or conversation would see her out alive.



“Prove it,” Aurora demanded, trying to keep her voice calm. Might as well give him a chance…



“Fine,” Wraith shrugged and stood again, pulling off his t-shirt.



Tan, heavily muscled skin was so suddenly exposed to Aurora’s eyes that she couldn’t help but feel a slight tingling emerge between her thighs. The man was a god. Not an inch of fat could be discerned from where she was standing, and she itched to touch him even though she knew it must just be the Stockholm Syndrome kicking in early. She was no prude, but those types of thoughts did not seem appropriate in that particular situation, and she chastised herself for them.



“Look here,” he said, sitting back down and leaning forward. He was pointing at his ribs on the right side.



Taking a deep breath, Aurora leaned in slightly and looked where he was pointing. She could see a small, green tattoo of some strange symbol between two of the bones.



“That’s proof?” she asked skeptically, trying to look at his eyes and not the gloriously sized pecs dusted with hair that just begged to have her fingers running through it.



“Just watch,” Wraith said and pressed the tip of his index finger to the mark.



Aurora watched in fascination as it glowed bright green, mesmerizing her with its mysterious beauty. She blinked once, only to open her eyes and find herself lying on the motel room bed, thankfully still clothed in her jeans and long-sleeved blouse. Wraith was standing on the other side of the room, leaning against the TV stand, thankfully clothed in nothing but his chained pants.



“What…how?” Aurora certainly did not remember moving from her chair to the bed.



“Magic,” Wraith explained, yawning and stretching at the same time, giving Aurora another nice view of his physique, “The same kind I used to get you here. Small enchantment really, but my magic is very limited on Earth so I use what I can.”



Aurora sat up and rested her head against the wall, “So you claim to be a demon. Which means that woman I hit with my car…she’s a demon too? No human could have survived the impact, which is probably why I freaked out when she stood up like nothing had happened.”



“No,” Wraith shook his head, and moved to the door to check the locks before turning off the overhead light, leaving the only illumination to the single bedside lamp, “She’s an Angel.”



“Oh,” Aurora nodded and then raised a single eyebrow as Wraith sat on the bed next to her, “And where is she, I’d like to see her wings. More proof, you know.”



“She is enjoying some much-needed alone time with her demon lover, Taint,” Wraith explained, slumping down until he was lying prone on his back, his hands folded on his stomach.



“Now I’ve heard it all,” Aurora nodded, “Also, is it bed time?”



“For me it is,” Wraith nodded, closing his eyes, “Unless you’d like to stay up and enjoy some of your own alone time with me.”



‘Would I…’ Aurora thought, but said, “No. That’s ok. I’ll just lie here and try to process the past ten minutes’ worth of crazy. Maybe escape?”



“Don’t even think about it,” Wraith muttered sleepily, “Remember, I’m a demon, and now you know it.”



“Right…” Aurora whispered, and then brought her knees to her chest, hugging them close. It was at least two hours until she began to feel even remotely sleepy, but she just continued to hug her legs to her body and stare into the dimly-lit room, trying to ignore the demon Adonis next to her. She had just been driving home from work…She definitely had not expected to be in this type of situation.



At three thirty in the morning, Aurora finally crawled under the covers and closed her eyes. She fell asleep quickly, hoping against hope that she would wake up in her own bed, and knowing somehow that that would not be the case. And, in some strange twisted insane way, hoping that it would not be the case.



********************************



{Motel Room; Late Evening}



“Think she’ll be ok with him?” Olivia asked, closing and locking the door behind her.



Taint had, after summoning up some human clothes for all of them, gotten two rooms at a place he called a ‘motel’ simply by talking to a human behind a table. Wraith had taken the unconscious girl from the crash site to his room to keep an eye on, while Olivia and Taint retired to their own room.



“I’m sure,” Taint nodded, sitting on the bed and taking off his boots, “No doubt he’ll tell her everything. He’s always been very honest with humans.”



Olivia came to sit next to him and rested her head on his shoulder, “So what now?”



“I’m not sure,” Taint admitted, staring straight ahead, “If a demon comes to Earth, it’s because he or she is summoned. There is always a tether between this world and Hell. But this time, we weren’t summoned, we were thrown. And there is no tether.”



“We will figure it out,” Olivia said and then stood, “But right now I just want to be with you.” She sat down, straddling Taint’s thighs, her knees on the bed. She could feel the hard bulge of him beneath her and the heat of his skin through the plain white t-shirt he had summoned for himself. Worrying about Hell would come later; right now, all Olivia wanted to do was express how happy she was that they were still alive and together.



Taint growled as Olivia’s hand snuck underneath his shirt, caressing smooth skin and hard muscle. “Get rid of this,” she whispered, and Taint tore the shirt from his body, throwing it to the side and lying down on the bed.



Olivia continued to explore him, running her lips and tongue across his skin. She took a nipple into her mouth and bit gently, causing Taint to cry out in pain and thrust his hips upward, sending rippling pleasure straight through Olivia’s cunt. He tasted like sweat and rain and fire, and she could not get enough. And as she explored him more, she ground her hips into his, dry humping his erection through his black pants and growing damp in the process.



“I need to feel you, Little Angel,” Taint moaned and snapped his fingers. Instantly, they were naked. Olivia whimpered at the sudden and erotic sensation of feeling Taint’s warm cock pressed up against her cunt as she straddled him, trapping it between their bodies. Warm pre-cum was already oozing out of the end, sticking to the skin of her belly.



Strong hands moved up to grip her ass and Olivia bit down on Taint’s shoulder as he began moving her along his shaft, coating the skin with her arousal and speedily bringing her to a mini-orgasm that sent a small wave of moisture from her opening.



“You’ve felt the bloodlust today,” Taint breathed arching his hips up as he slid Olivia along his cock, “Is it making you hot for me?”



“Yes,” Olivia panted then pushed her upper body off of Taint’s, “I need you. Now.”



“Then take me,” Taint challenged. With a wicked smile, Olivia lifted her hips and with one hand supporting her body, used the other to guide Taint’s slick manhood to the opening of her pussy. She needed it fast, and she needed it hard, so she impaled herself in one thrust and immediately began to ride the demon in earnest. There would be time for lovemaking later.



He flexed his member within her, hitting spots deep within that caused her to cry out and dig the tips of her fingers into his flesh. With every thrust came new heights of pleasure. Sweat began to bead on Olivia’s skin and she closed her eyes, awash in the feeling of Taint deep inside her. It had been a long, tiresome day, and she simply wished to surrender what only he could give her.



Something pinched her nipple, and Olivia cried out, arching her back as she came around Taint’s cock. Hot moisture trickled out of her vagina and her walls spasmed uncontrollably, making his cock feel even bigger inside her tunnel.



Taint stilled as she rode out the orgasm, allowing her to get lost in the pleasure.



When she came back down from her high, Olivia’s body was shining with sweat, and her cunt gleamed wetly from where they were joined.



“My turn,” Taint growled and flipped Olivia over so that she was on her back, her legs wrapped tightly around his waist and her body still impaled on his shaft.



Planting his arms on either side of her head, Taint began to pump his cock in and an out of Olivia’s drenched pussy. She mewled beneath him, leaning up to lick at the salty skin of his sternum. He was so tall that his head was hidden from her view in this position as she looked straight up. All she could make out was the wide expanse of his tattooed torso, and she had no problems with the view.



With each thrust, Olivia could feel the walls of her cunt stretch with Taint’s massive girth. No matter how many times Taint took her, she always felt almost as tight as her first time with him. The immaculate mixture of pleasure and pain every time he entered her was the best thing she had ever felt, and she never wanted him to stop.



“Fuck me harder, Taint,” she pleaded, reaching up under his arms to grip his shoulders from behind. With this leverage, and the use of her legs around him, Olivia was able to meet his thrusts with ones of her own, driving his cock harder and deeper into her cunt.



A fresh trickle of moisture escaped their joining and slid warmly down her ass and onto the sheets. Taint was grunting now with each thrust, meaning he was close to his own orgasm. The thought of feeling his hot semen spray her insides filled Olivia with energy, and she met his hammering thrusting with even more vigor.



“Yes!” she cried, losing all inhibition, “Deeper! Fuck me!”



Taint growled and gripped Olivia’s thighs. She unwrapped her legs from around him and spread them wide, bent at the knee. Fingers dug into Olivia’s flesh as Taint used her to drive himself even harder into her aching, weeping cunt. She cried out and ran her fingers down his back, leaving scratches in their wake.



Her pleasure peaked, and she screamed continuously into Taint’s flesh as her cunt spasmed, sending cum spraying to splatter against Taint’s pelvis. He stilled as well and grunted as he came, coating her insides with his searing-hot cream. Having nowhere to go in her overstretched pussy, it dripped from her opening, mingling with her own juices on the bed.



Olivia let go of him and collapsed, her chest heaving. Taint collapsed as well, withdrawing from her body and laying next to her, his cock still hard and glistening in the motel room’s light.



“We needed that,” he breathed.



“Yes, we did,” Olivia concurred, “And I’m going to need more before the night is done.”



“Your wish is my command, Little Angel.”



“Just give me a moment.”



They lay together in post-coital bliss for a few minutes until Taint couldn’t wait any longer, and rolled over onto Olivia, impaling himself with a wet sound in the same motion.



After four more times, Olivia was on the verge of passing out. For each of Taint’s orgasms, she had had two or more, and was sure that all her bodily fluids were currently soaking into the sheets and mattress. It was time for bed, so she went to the bathroom to clean up before joining her lover in a magically-cleaned bed.



“I don’t care if we’re trapped her forever,” she said sleepily, snuggling up to Taint’s warmth, “Only that you’re here.”



“I feel the same way,” Taint rumbled, snapping his fingers and turning off the light, “But I have an obligation to uphold. I am still a Gatekeeper, after all, and my duty is not done until Hell and the Spirit Dimension are back the way they belong.”



“Just promise not to leave me behind,” Olivia said softly.



“I promise, Little Angel,” Taint said, then added almost too soft for Olivia to hear, “I love you.”



She smiled, not reciprocating, knowing that he knew she loved him back, and then closed her eyes, drifting swiftly off to sleep.



***********************************



{Fulmen’s Castle; Mid Morning}



Slake awoke with a start, her chest heaving and her eyes wild. At first she did not recognize where she was, but then she noticed the tall, wide shelves full of books on magic and the red, satin sheets beneath her skin.



They were Fulmen’s, which meant they were in his castle and she was alive and safe.



Getting up from the bed, Slake conjured up her robe, not shocked in the least that the brothers had seen fit to strip her naked before tucking her in. Stepping out into the hall, she was glad to find Magus keeping watch; it made finding him much easier.



“Where is your brother?” she asked immediately upon seeing the handsome, brown-haired demon, “I need to speak with both of you. And any other Gatekeeper who remains alive.”



Magus smiled, more like smirked, and said, “Glad to see you’re awake, Slake. Feeling alright?”



“A little weak, but well rested,” Slake nodded beneath her hood, “Now summon your fellow Lords. With Taint missing, I am now in command.”



“Kinky.”



“Do as I asked, or you’ll never see a single part of my body ever again,” Slake threatened.



Magus rolled his eyes briefly before muttering into the air. Almost immediately, a blue flash of lighting landed next to Slake, and Fulmen appeared.



“Good thing you’re alive,” he smiled, “I think I really would have missed you.”



Slake ignored him as a warm breeze blew through the hall and Lords Peril and Hazard materialized. They had nothing to say, and Slake noticed that one of Hazard’s red eyes was missing, and only a bloody socket remained.



“How did the battle go?” she asked no one in particular.



“We sustained heavy losses, as predicted,” Peril and Hazard’s disembodied voice said in unison, “And managed to kill exactly zero Archangels.”



“Don’t worry, they are preoccupied for the moment, and the Gate is closed,” Slake assured, “Wraith is not here?”



Fulmen shook his head, “He never came back from Clava’s castle.”



“Then he is with Taint and Olivia,” Slake observed, “Where is your Seeing room, Fulmen?”



The Gatekeeper muttered something, and then they all found themselves in a small, round room with a raised stone basin in the middle. It was a Seeing Well, and all self-respecting demon Lords owned one. They were used to spy on Earth and humans, sometimes as a tool, mostly as a means of recreation.



Having been a human herself once, Slake did not understand the obsession most demons had with them. Humans were backward and powerless, yet demons used them for pleasure and for sport. Perhaps it was the freedom they felt on Earth that drove demons to humans. Of course, they could only visit these humans when they were summoned, and the number of people with the ability to do so was rapidly diminishing.



Slake approached the Seeing Well and peered into its swirling, red fog. She had only used one a couple of times, and only to keep an eye on Taint on the rare occasions he was summoned over the centuries. He was a very high-level demon despite his position along the Wall, and to summon him took a great deal of power.



“Slake?” Magus spoke up, “Who are you looking for?”



“Who do you think?” she answered, scanning through flickering images of Earth.



“Taint and Wraith are on Earth?” Peril and Hazard asked, catching on.



“And the Angel, yes,” Slake nodded, “The Gate sent them there; an artifact of our shutting it.” She did not want to tell them she had urged Taint to be hurled to Earth in order to be reunited with Olivia. They probably wouldn’t understand why she had done it. She didn’t even understand.

“YOU shut the gate?” Fulmen sounded surprised.



“It was much easier than you think,” Slake said and then paused as an image of a road appeared in the Well. It was daytime, and men and women in uniforms were surrounding the wreckage of what Slake recognized as a car; something humans used for travel.



Magus and Fulmen approached the Seeing Well and looked in. “Where is that?” Fulmen asked.



“Where the Gate sent them,” Slake responded moving the image to get a better look at the scene, “It contains the only energy on Earth that matches that of Hell’s Gate.”



Upon closer examination, Slake could make out three scorched circles on the road. Two were near to each other, and one was further off. The two must have belonged to Taint and Wraith, with the third being where Olivia had materialized. As for the wrecked car…



“I think they’re ok,” Slake announced after a moment of thinking, “But a human saw them.”



“How do you know?” Peril and Hazard had joined the party.



“That car,” Slake pointed at the image, “It hit something hard, and I don’t see a broken tree or pole. It must have smashed into Wraith, Olivia, or Taint.”



“Where is the human now?” Magus asked.



“I don’t know,” Slake admitted, “But I don’t see any blood so I’m assuming that he or she survived and is with the others…” Her thoughts had only been musings, but Slake suddenly found herself hoping that that was exactly what had happened.



Without warning, she stepped away from the Seeing Well and vanished, reappearing in her own chambers in Taint’s castle. The place was quiet, which suited her. She had a very tricky job ahead of her and needed the sanctity. No one but herself could materialize in this area, so she was confident she would not be disturbed.



‘Please hold onto that human…’ Slake thought, looking through her shelves of books for something that might help. Wraith was always soft toward humans, especially females, and Slake hoped that he would keep it alive until she found a way to communicate with them.



For where there were humans on Earth, there was human magic. And where there was magic, there were summoning charms.



***********************************



{Wraith’s Motel Room; Noon}



Wraith had awoken that morning glad to see that Aurora had managed to fall asleep at some point in the night. She had looked beautiful curled up under the covers, so small and frail. Wraith had noticed her petite size the night before, but now admired it as thoughts of what he could do to her raced through his mind. She would be putty in his massive hands as his cock pistoned in and out of her tiny little cunt.



She stirred, and Wraith stood from the bed, grabbing his shirt and pulling it over his chest just as Aurora sat up, rubbing sleep from her eyes.



“Not a dream…” she muttered to herself, taking in her surroundings and frowning at Wraith.



“You sound disappointed,” Wraith noted and donned his sunglasses.



“Well as charming as you’ve been, this is still not my ideal situation.”



“I’ll do my best to rectify that,” Wraith said with a wink as he laced up his boots, “You just have to stay here while I speak with my cohorts. Be right back.”



He noted the cunning look that flashed across Aurora’s face as she said, “So you’re leaving me?”



Wraith smirked, “Just for a moment. Don’t try to escape, now.” Something burned on his lower back as he touched the door’s knob. Satisfied his trap was successfully laid, he walked out the door, purposely leaving it open a fraction of an inch before heading down the row of rooms to where Taint and Olivia had been staying.



He knocked gently and after a few seconds, Taint answered.



“Sleeping in?” he asked, stepping back and allowing his fellow Gatekeeper to enter.



Wraith walked through the door, “Not me. My lovely charge.”



“How is she?” Olivia asked from the bed. She was dressed in a simple long-sleeved shirt and jeans. It was the first human outfit Wraith had seen her in, and he had to admit it somehow made her even more stunning to look at. Taint truly had won the prize with this one.



“Fine,” Wraith said, sitting in a chair, “For now. I’ve created a little surprise for her,” he smiled wickedly, “Activated an old charm a very kinky witch once gave me. Never knew when it would come in handy until just today.”



“Fun later,” Taint said, sitting in another chair, “Business first. We need to figure out how to get back into Hell. None of us were summoned, and I can’t think of a way to open a portal from this dimension; at least not in this location.”



Wraith nodded his agreement, “I know there a few places on Earth where we could tear open a primitive hole, but I only know they exist, not where they are.”



“We could do some research if we have to,” Taint shrugged.



“What about Slake?” Olivia chimed in, “She sent us here, didn’t she? Can’t she get us back?”



Wraith shook his head, “The Gate sent us here. Slake just told us how to get it to do it. The things that women will do for love…” He was of course referring to Slake’s instructions to get Olivia back for Taint.



Taint snorted, “She really is a bleeding heart, isn’t she,” then his face became serious, “But perhaps Olivia is on to something. Slake would not just abandon us here if she knew this is where we were. If we just wait a few days, maybe even hours, I’m sure she’ll try to get in contact with us. She’s very resourceful like that.”



“So that’s the plan? Wait?” Wraith asked, standing up and looking impatient. He had just felt his lower back burn again, and knew that his trap had been sprung.



Taint’s brow furrowed, “For now…I suppose. What’s the rush?”



“Trap’s been activated.”



Olivia rolled her eyes and Taint chuckled. “Fine,” he said, “Enjoy your day. We’ll try to do the same,” he shot a meaningful glance at Olivia, “Keep an ear open for any communication from Slake.”



Wraith nodded curtly then walked out the door and back down to his room. The door was no longer ajar, and the handle was hot to the touch. After speaking a few words, the handle cooled and turned for him. He walked inside, shutting the door behind him and smiling widely.



“What the hell is this!?” Aurora cried out. She was on her back on the bed, her legs kicking frantically and her arms secured above her head by a thick metal chain. It was wrapped around her wrists and around the headboard, allowing Aurora no use of her limbs.



“You tried to escape,” Wraith said, stating a fact rather than asking a question.



Aurora blushed, ceasing her struggles for a moment, “Maybe…”



“I warned you,” Wraith moved toward her, pulling off his sunglasses and smirking at the way she tried to shrink away from him, “I told you not to try to escape.” He stood at the foot of the bed, looking down at the little human like a predator looks at a meal. A very visible bulge had formed in between his legs, and he noticed Aurora look at it with a nervous glance.



“Now what?” she asked at a whisper. She was frightened and this made Wraith even harder.



“Now,” he said leaning forward a little, “We have some fun.”



******************************************************************************



{City of Angels, Mid-Afternoon}



Selapheil, Jegudiel, and the non-King Gabriel were dead. The remaining two Archangels, Uriel and Raguel had fled into the City and barred the gates. Clava had sent the heads of their comrades flying over the wall to land somewhere on the other side as a parting message.



She had sustained heavy losses herself, but as far as she was concerned, this had been a victory. With only two Archangels remaining alive, the King in her custody, and the Gatekeepers safely locked behind the Wall, the Spirit Dimension was as good as hers.



At first she had been furious that Taint had managed to not only sic the Archangels on her, but also seal the Gate as well, trapping her and most of her army in the Spirit Dimension. But now she was grateful. The battle to the gates of the City of Angels had been long and bloody, and having the Gatekeepers on her tail would not have done Clava any favors.



They had fought with the Archangels through the night. They had been deadly flying above them, and had had unlimited power behind them. But Clava had managed to shoot three of them out of the air herself. She had been the one to slay Gabriel, and her demons had torn the other two to shreds.



Now Clava lay in wait, ready to siege the City after her troops rested and prepared. It wouldn’t take long. Without their precious King and protectors, the Angles would bow to her in no time and call her Queen.



Nothing would stop her. Nothing could.



**************************



{Wraith’s Motel Room, Noon}



Aurora almost could not believe her captor had not only left her alone, but the door to the motel room open. Seeing no reason why she should not try to escape, she had bounded from the bed and headed straight for the door. Something inside her felt a little guilty at betraying the handsome man who claimed, almost convincingly, to be a demon. But he was a kidnapper, and definitely not a demon, no matter what her addled, sleep-deprived mind had thought the night before.



Escape was within her grasp, but as soon as Aurora had touched the doorknob to the room, it had slammed shut. Gripping it tightly, she had tried to pry it open, but it hadn’t budged; although that turned out to be the least of her problems when a loud clink and rattle sounded from behind her.



Turning around slowly, she had gasped to find thick, metal chains floating in front of her like a snake about to strike.



“Of course,” she mumbled and then turned back around to try the door again, but was stopped when she felt cool metal wrap around her right wrist. “Noooo…” she moaned as her left wrist was similarly seized. Then, roughly, her arms were jerked above her head and she was dragged backward, her heels dragging along the carpet.



Hitting the bed, Aurora had been pulled onto the mattress by the chains. When they stopped, she was prone on her back, wrists tightly secured together above her head leaving the rest of her body free. Fruitlessly, she had struggled against the restraints, but they had held fast. She was trapped.



It wasn’t long after being secured that Wraith came back, a sheepish smile on his face and a rather noticeable erection in his pants. Aurora simultaneously went pale in the face and wet between her legs as the man approached the bed. She had put on a good show of trying to get away, but in reality she was feeling secretly, inexplicitly entranced by both her situation and the person who had put her here.



“Now what?” she had asked, feeling both frightened and, unfortunately, aroused. Something was messed up in her head, of that she was sure, but there was nothing she could do about it now. Aurora just hoped that Wraith had one thing in mind, and not another. Mainly, she wanted him to fuck her and not murder her. Either seemed to be a plausible option in this position.



“Now,” Wraith’s sexy masculine voice rumbled as he leaned toward her prone body, “We have some fun.”



Rough hands gripped Aurora’s thighs as he knelt on the bed. She struggled a little, but Wraith was impossibly strong and kept her immobile as he worked at the button and zipper of her jeans. She was wet, and grew more so as he dragged the rough material down her thighs, exposing her small, blue cotton panties to his gaze. Aurora knew that there would be a damp spot between her cleft, and she knew Wraith noticed it when he let out a low, stimulating growl.



“Do you like this?” he asked, pulling her jeans the rest of the way off, “Being tied up and at my mercy?”



Aurora blushed crimson and then whimpered as think fingers began to rub at her pussy over her panties. She did like being tied up for Wraith, but she was not quite ready to tell him that. He was still her kidnapper after all and this was very unnatural behavior.



He continued to stimulate her, and she writhed against her bindings, fighting the urge to arch her hips into Wraith’s touch. More moisture seeped out from between her folds, dampening the panties even more and Aurora could start to smell the faintest odor of her own arousal permeate the small motel room. No man had ever made her this aroused so quickly.



Wraith’s fingers left her pussy for a moment to grip the waistband of her underwear. He wasted no time in pulling them down slowly, dragging his nails along her flesh as he exposed the hot box to the air, and his tongue, which lapped along her slit without warning.



This time, Aurora did arch her hips off the bed, trying to get more of Wraith’s tongue inside her. She was already weeping cream down her crotch and when sharp teeth tugged lightly at her clit, a fresh wave of it coated Wraith’s chin.



“More,” she whispered, and felt the man chuckle against her flesh. It sent vibrations rushing down her tunnel, straight to her g-spot. No use fighting him now; she knew she wanted all of him.



Wraith lifted his head and looked down Aurora’s body and into her blue eyes. Moisture dribbled down his lips and chin and she blushed a little in embarrassment; she had always been a little overly wet.



“I was hoping I’d be able to do this to you ever since I saw you standing in the road,” Wraith admitted, sitting up and removing his t-shirt. Her mouth watered at the perfectly toned muscles that played along his torso, just as it had the night before when he had shown her the mark on his ribs; when he had claimed he was a demon.



Aurora’s conscious suddenly roared to life and she once again struggled against the bonds that held her, “Stop. Please. This isn’t right.” It was a feeble, last ditch effort from her mind to try and deny what her body so clearly ached for, and she was sorry she had even said it.



“What’s not right?” Wraith teased, and plunged his index and middle fingers into Aurora’s soaking wet cunt. He pulled them out, glistening with her juices, a string of the oily substance connecting his digits to her pussy. “Clearly your body wants it,” he stuck the fingers into his mouth and sucked off the cream, moaning in ecstasy, which of course made Aurora replace the arousal he had taken with even more. Fingers once again plunged into her and she arched her back, thrusting her breasts upward as Wraith’s body came over hers.



Resting upon one arm, he brought the other to her mouth. It was shiny with her cum, and she could smell its sharp aroma. Bringing the digits to her lips Wraith made Aurora take them into her mouth. The tangy taste of her own cream was shocking at first, but then extremely arousing and she moaned around him, sucking the fingers deeper so as to get all of herself off them.



Wraith removed them and stared down at her, his eyes meeting hers, “I bet you’re a hard squirter, aren’t you? Rare in a human,” he added.



Blushing again, Aurora nodded once, never taking her eyes from Wraith’s. She was a squirter, every time. A lot of men were turned off by it, but she couldn’t help it; never could. How had Wraith known that?



His head disappeared down her body and she nearly screamed as not one, not two, but three fingers were forced horizontally into her quim with an audible squelch. Wraith curled them upward, pressing and rubbing simultaneously against her swollen g-spot. He wanted to test her admission and that this rate was about to get a crash course.



Chest heaving beneath her blouse, Aurora threw her head back, trying to enjoy the pleasure Wraith’s fingers were bringing and trying not to focus on the fact that she had been chained against her will for him to do so.



More moisture trickled out of her vagina, and Aurora knew she was close to cumming. Her insides were tightening around Wraith’s fingers. If he only…



Lips closed around her clit and sucked, hard. Unable to contain her gasping scream, Aurora let loose the pressure. She felt the ejaculate spray from her cunt. Heard it splatter against flesh. It must have been a new personal record; stream after stream of cum erupted from her and Wraith’s fingers did not leave her channel for the duration. Aurora spasmed around the wide digits heightening her own pleasure and prolonging the explosive orgasm.



Chest heaving and slick with sweat, she finally came down from her orgasm. To her dismay, it had done nothing to relieve the unnatural desire she felt toward Wraith, and if anything had increased it.



“Amazing,” Wraith sat up and Aurora could see the extent of her damage. His face and chest were covered with her jizz. Small droplets had formed among his chest hair and a glance between his legs showed that he was even harder than before, if it was possible. “Now what should we do?”



He stood and Aurora almost cried out in protest. All of that and he wasn’t going to finish what he had started? Heat burned throughout her body, and she couldn’t help but writhe against the chains. Her body needed him inside her and at this point she was willing to give him anything or any hole that he wanted as long as it eased the fire.



Wraith stood patiently, his hands on his hips, small streams of cum running down his torso, and stared at Aurora. That’s when she realized what he was waiting for. He wanted her to tell him what they were ‘doing next’.



Unable to contain herself, Aurora blurted out, “Fuck me.”



Wraith smiled, “Where?”



“My cunt,” she pleaded wantonly, arching her hips and letting her moisture drip onto the bed, “Make me cum again. And again.”



“Then what?” Wraith was enjoying this if the bulge in his pants was any indication, and the dirty talk was making Aurora hotter as more cream gushed from her pussy. At this rate she would be dehydrated for days.



“Then take my ass,” her anus clenched as she said the words, “Fill it with your cum after you fill my pussy.” Any lasting traces of inhibition and guilt were gone. She needed this man to fuck every hole she had and leave her sticky with his cum.



Wraith unbuckled his jeans and pushed them hurriedly down his legs. Aurora gasped at what emerged. At least nine inches long, and as thick as her wrist, she almost regretted urging Wraith to take her ass. But the thought was replaced by sudden anticipation as he climbed between her thighs.



After stroking his dick a few time to full hardness, Wraith positioned its head at her dripping entrance. She watched, fascinated, as he arched his hips forward, driving first the bulbous head, then nearly a third of his shaft into her now-overstretched pussy. Fluid gushed around his member as he withdrew and Aurora groaned. He pushed her walls past their limits, but kept going. When Wraith was halfway inside, she felt the tip of his head brush along her g-spot and she whimpered. It felt amazing, more than amazing, blissful, and she almost came when he pushed hard on her clit with the pad of his thumb as he drove the rest of his shaft into her cunt.



“Fuck!” she cried out and struggled against the bonds that still held her. For some reason they were not uncomfortable in the least, and in fact managed to make her even hornier for the monster currently nestled deep inside her. Something about being at the mercy of this man made Aurora wetter than she had ever felt before.



Wraith withdrew halfway, once again nudging at Aurora’s g-spot, before slamming back inside. She spasmed around him and shot a small squirt of fluid out onto his shaved pelvis. It dribbled down to their joining, and Aurora could feel the hot fluid against her sensitive outer lips. Another slam from Wraith had him hitting the very edge of her cervix, sending a ripple of pain/pleasure throughout her entire body.



Thinking it could get no better, Wraith reached up and gripped her lapels. Aurora let out an excited squeal as he tore her blouse, ripping apart buttons and exposing her blue bra, which he hastily tore from her body. No man she had ever been with had exhibited this kind of strength, and Aurora had been with her fair share of rough boys in the sack.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This story takes a while to set up, so don’t expect to get your kicks right away. I tried to write a story as if Lovecraft wrote erotica. Don’t know if I succeeded, but I had fun writing it. Let me know what you think!



It remains a mystery to me and to any who have experienced my story and to any who have heard the story exactly where I went wrong. The blurring of the line occurred at the beginning, and so much of what followed might have been entirely illusory. I remain a prisoner in a cell without bars in a place of which I cannot describe, but not because of a lack of trying.



I don’t even know how long I have been here, but if I count from the moment of the Great Sinking, and if pressed to answer in a court of the kind of law that is realistically enforced, I must say it has been on the order of 500 years or more. This may just be a day where I came from, which may be where you now reside yourself.



If you are reading this, then you are passing over the Deep, into which I and my comrades plummeted. You may mistake my voice for an illusion, but I assure you I am not just a voice in your head. I am real, and I’ve come to warn you.



I leave it to you to figure out where I went wrong, because so much of my actions were not my own doing, and it grows more difficult to know when my spirit gave out. Rest assured, you must turn around and go back. The waters may look calm as any other sea, but this is not just any ocean. It is not passable.



It will swallow you up whole, and will not let you go. And in the end, sweet death will not be an option.



*



The vessel my friends and I were traveling in was of a design I could not acutely describe anymore. If my memory could be trusted, I might be able to tell you how best to avoid that unholy void which appeared most suddenly in our path. But unfortunately, I remember only the void.



That was the beginning for me, and anything which came before it eludes me. I’ve tried digging down within me to discover the Truth from whence I came, but always I am pulled, in dreams and in memory, into the vortex that brought us all down here. And thinking about it only stirs the demons further, and no one wants that.



You could say we saw the sun set for the last time. The light began to bend at the far end of the horizon, away from that great star. It seemed to spray our field of view with death like an aerosol can. I think most of us knew at once that we drifted into a darkness from which there would be no possible return.



As sure as that darkness pulls on the vision as I tell it to you now, if you have seen it, it is too late for you. I pray it is not too late for you now.



The sea before us turned charcoal in color, and the light was choked out. The glimmer of twilight smacked the waves less and less as we approached until at last, like a picture slowly curling into ash above the heat of a flameless fire, we saw only the void. It lay in our path like liquid licorice.



The whirlpool pulled us ever nearer to its core, and we could see lights within flickering like a thunderstorm down inside the ocean. Whenever those lights flickered, it revealed in ever more imminent terror, the vast scope of that horrifying vortex that tugged us closer as effortlessly as a boy tugs his wagon.



A sound arose which I shudder to describe to you now. This sound I won’t describe, not because I can’t, but because it is all I hear when I fail to give in to its call. I wish so much to believe there is existence beyond the torment of this demonic chorus, but I fail now in every attempt to imagine this to be true.



The sound had been mixed and somewhat softened by that of the curling ocean waters, and before our ship was even sucked into the core of that hole in the ocean, I would have gladly chosen to end the maddening cacophony with my death.



There are indeed many who were fortunate enough to have thought of this in time. They saved their existence the insufferable torment of which I endeavor to alarm you now.



We did not feel our ship sink, but merely saw the horizon rise higher and higher before us. The horrible song of the deep sharpened like tuning in to a radio frequency. The song was indeed like a radio station broadcasting songs from some lost oceanic highway, one that seems to have always existed, and was forgotten for very good reason.



The voice of a thousand daemons rang in all our ears, and the power of the voices paralyzed the lot of us who chose not to take our own lives. The beings kept our arms at our sides, for fear we might do so.



We stood rapt with fear and agonizing paranoia. At random moments, those lights flickered on, and we saw the barrier between that curtain of tar and ourselves. We also saw the silhouettes, as crystal clear as a child’s stencil, of creatures that we felt were anxious to meet us and dominate us. They circled us like lions circling a lamb.



None of us gained the use of our limbs until we felt the ship reach the bottom with a thud. Nearing the edge of the ship, we failed to see the edge of the water. The lights had stopped, but the music kept going.



I moved toward the cabin where most of the men were gathering when I felt an oily film on my skin. I only felt it, I discovered, when I moved. Something had filled the air around us, and it was palpable, like some very thick, non-toxic gas.



All at once, while taking in the odd sensation, one of the thousand voices became louder than the others. I became aware of the direction from which it came, and as I turned to look, the voice became deafening in my ears. It was soon accompanied by a ghastly knocking sound, like a hundred knuckles popping. It rose an octave to sound like a tank rolling over rocks. Soon, and quite briefly, I felt the vibration of a very large object lumbering past me, which I could not see.



The sole light in the cabin was threatening to go out, but it bore enough light to illuminate some part of the ship’s deck. The creature passed above me very quickly, and I saw only a large, snake-like belly appear before the dim light.



Like all of the men — men who have wrestled bears and speared sharks — the sight shook me to my core. No other voices arose like this one for several minutes, but every direction I looked seemed to me to be the direction in which I would see the next creature. And every time, I expected it to be my last.



I staggered into the cabin, where I saw all the other men milling about. Their faces were white as ghosts, and no one looked one another in the eyes.



This was the last moment we all shared together.



*



I did not leave the cabin until my fast diminishing memory betrayed, for only a moment, the image of my wife.



She was on the ship, but not with me. The Deep had begun to penetrate my mind, and the mere image of my wife was one I had begun to doubt. The memory of her seemed to appear in my mind out of nowhere, and I wondered if it was the Deep playing tricks on me.



I had a full set of memories involving the woman known as my wife, and it all became crystal clear when I saw her standing at the stern of the ship looking out into the Void. I went out to meet her to see that she was looking down at the floor, which was now dimly lit by an unknown source.



When I put my hand on my wife’s back, she turned to smile at me. It was only in that moment that I knew she was real. She made everything real. She was my talisman. She was my anchor to reality. I knew, as I looked into her eyes, where we were. I remembered everything.



But as I gained some sanity, she turned to look back at the glowing orb. I realized she wasn’t smiling because of me.



Then she got up onto the ledge like she was going to jump off. I warned her that it was at least fifty feet, but without paying heed, she jumped.



*



The men were still reeling from the horror when I re-entered the cabin. I noticed some of them were missing, but paid it no mind. I found some rope, and no one stopped me. One woman, the cook’s daughter, just looked up at me with abject desperation in her eyes. She did not know anything in that moment, and I had to fight myself for a reason to argue with her. She seemed to say to me, “It’s no use. We are nothing here. Not anymore.”



Her sadness almost paralyzed me once again, and were I not holding the very rope of my intention, I might have forgotten my purpose.



I reached the stern of the ship and looked down. There was still only darkness, and some part of me began to ridicule the whole mission.



It may be hard for you to imagine how I can forget about a wife I touched only moments before, but those moments might as well have lasted thousands of years. As I stepped up to the rear of the boat, it was like stepping into a whole new reality. Every step, in fact, was like this.



At a certain point, I learned to trust nothing. But even as I heard that voice cackling deep within, mocking my pursuit of a woman that the voice is sure I’ve made up, I dropped the rope into the deep.



Hard as it was to shake the sadness of a pursuit that even I was beginning to believe was meaningless, I had to believe in something. And even if I was going crazy, I chose to attempt to regain my sanity by searching for my love.



I climbed down until I reached the floor. When I looked up, I saw nothing. The light from the cabin had either gone out, or was so dim that it cast no light beyond the ship. I felt only the rope, the ground beneath me, and nothing else.



But the ground felt uncomfortably rubbery. I clung to the rope ever more tightly, as the reality of the situation dawned on me. I could see literally nothing.



The music had not quieted, but I realized that I had been doing my best to tune it out. Now, looking straight on into the void, it was impossible to do so.



A voice that had not been singing suddenly rang in my ears, and seemed to be coming from beneath me. The ground beneath me moved so suddenly that it knocked me over. The next thing I knew, I was sitting up and seeing the ship become smaller and smaller behind me as some creature swam deeper into the ocean.



I realized that the oily sensation was in fact water. Somehow, we were made to stay alive as our ship sank to the ocean floor. We were made to stay alive so that we would be tortured.



*



I was petrified as the creature took me away. The knocking sound was all around me, and got louder as we neared a dim blue light.



The light turned out to be in the shape of a man, and he was with my wife. As soon as I saw my wife, I jumped off of the creature and floated down to the bottom. I landed on some rocks that were below the hill on which I had seen my wife. Climbing to meet her seemed to take forever.



When I got to the top, I could not believe what I saw.



There were several men, all of them bright, sky blue in color, lighting up a small space. They were all bald, tall, extremely fit and naked. They were very well endowed, and they all surrounded my wife.



She was smiling brightly and even giggling, as if putting on a show for all the men. It saddened me to see my sweet wife, naked and performing for all those men. Her soft, milky white skin glowed a pale blue in their light, and her red hair had become muted.



As if impatient, one of them stepped up to meet her, and her eyes moved at once to his very large penis. Two more appeared behind her. One of them pushed her to her knees and the other guided her head to his penis, which she accepted graciously. She sucked it like it was all she ever wanted to do.



The other men started getting closer, gawking and smiling, as he pushed her down to lie on her back. He remained on his knees and hands, and began pounding his dick into her. It un-nerved me to see that my wife responded to such violent thrusts approvingly. I saw how uncomfortable it must have been, but she only seemed to demand he thrust deeper.



The other men were now mostly on their knees groping her all over. Two of the men were standing and had spread her legs wide open, holding them up so that her hips did not touch the ground.



Another man wasted little time gleefully penetrating my wife. He was quick but deliberate, and she was coming in moments. As another man positioned himself, the rest continued groping her breasts and arms, even rubbing her pussy.



The manner in which I discovered what happened next was very strange, and I still don’t quite know how to explain it.



The sight of my wife being fucked by these strange daemons grew impossible to believe. Perhaps some part of my pride had become disturbed at seeing greater forces than myself ravage my wife in front of my very eyes.



There they were, touching, groping and penetrating my wife all over. And there she was, enjoying every minute of it.



Perhaps it hurt even more to see her enjoy it so much.



But perhaps it wasn’t even my wife.



The second I had this thought, I heard a garbled voice say, in plain English: It is finished. The image is no longer pure. Awaken the others, so that he may choose.



It was the only words I ever remember hearing in our language, and they remain the only words to this day that I have ever heard. They meant nothing to me.



The music started to rise once again, and the light from the men began to flicker. The knocking sound started to rise, and all at once I saw the monstrosity for the first time.



It had a dorsal shell like a pill bug, with hundreds of glowing tentacles. Each tentacle was about twice the length of my wife’s gentle body.



The creature had taken her up, holding up her back, head and each leg with a collection of tentacles. It seemed to have a special soft extension on one of them, which it was using to penetrate my wife’s pussy. It was doing so with the greatest of ease, never once breaking rhythm, and my wife was at its mercy.



My wife was crying out because the ecstasy was too great. She was clawing at a random tentacle and eventually brought it to her mouth. She gripped it tighter and tighter as the creature failed to let up. She tried to cry out again in ecstasy, but was choked out.



All of this happened very quickly as the revelation became apparent to me of this creature’s true nature. The thing then cradled my wife’s wiggling body and guided her into its chest. The sounds of her coming became muffled, and then the thing rose up and swam away, taking my wife with it.



That was the last time I ever saw her alive.



*



Some time later, the music died down. I didn’t know if I was more scared with or without it. I took to the idea of walking away from the music as far as I could, but could still see absolutely nothing. I was truly blind.



The disturbing thing about being blind in the ocean, though, is the strength given to your other senses. I still did not know how I was breathing, or why I had not frozen to death. But I believed that if I could walk far enough away from the voices and the chorus, that its grip on my breath might loosen and I might finally die.



I walked for what seemed like years. I grew to believe, as was so easy in those conditions, that all that I could see was all that has ever existed. I unknowingly came to welcome any new experience as a legitimate one.



Eventually, though, I heard the knocking all around and above me, and I suddenly remembered all that had gone before. Something was in the void with me that I could not see, and I had not come to expect them all to have the same face.



This time the music, which was always at least a little faint, had risen once again. But this time, only the harmony. The knocking stopped, and for a while I heard only a sweet melody, which only got more angelic with time.



Even though every part of my being knew not to trust the sound of this music, it nevertheless beckoned me. It drew me near, and my guard dropped the nearer I got to it.



A new thought occurred to me: I might be reaching my salvation. Someone may be delivering me.



After all, the knocking stopped. And this music is beautiful — not like the horrifying singing I heard before. I believed there was no way this could be of the same origin as those grotesque creatures. There were indeed angels in the Deep, as well as demons.



My heart was aflutter to meet these angels. As I neared their music, a dim light appeared beyond what looked like a greenish mist. I walked through the mist toward the light.



Then I saw the first of the angels. It was a woman with very long blond hair and milky skin, like my wife’s. She was floating naked and cross-legged with her eyes closed and her hands palm up in her lap. As I neared her, I discovered another. She was about twenty feet above her, and seemed to be laying down on her side, sleeping.



Another appeared to my left, her knees up to her chest with her arms folded across them, and also sleeping. Another, asleep in the fetal position. Another, also high above, asleep on her belly.



I finally stopped at one that was floating about three feet above the ground. She was also sitting cross-legged, but with her hands behind her, as if supporting her. Her head hung backwards looking up. Her hair was very long — hip-length — and seemed to glide in the water. And her hair was red, like my wife’s. Her skin also bore an uncanny resemblance to the soft, ivory look of my beloved.



In fact, every curve and feature of her naked body resembled that of my beautiful wife. It was enough to make me want to see her face. When I touched her face for the first time, a strange shock of pleasure shot down my spine.



I turned her head to find that it was not my wife after all. Her face was even softer, gentler than my wife’s, and her skin felt like silk. Her lips were light pink, and every feature of her face was perfectly feminine.



As I held her head in my arms, I wondered if she was here to save me, or if I was here to save her. I looked down to notice that I, too, was naked. And whoever this angel was, my desire for her grew stronger the more I gazed upon her.



Yet still, it did not seem right to do so while she slept. I shook her head to wake her, but it did nothing. She might as well have been a rag doll in my hands.



I tried pinching her in the side, but it did nothing. I tried speaking, and even slapped her face. I tried shaking her whole body and tugging at her arm, but none did the trick until I accidentally brushed her left breast. She seemed to stir when I touched it.



I thought I was mistaken, so I held her breast in my hand again. Her lips pursed, as if she’d seen something while dreaming. It was certain: she had reacted to it.



But I reacted to it too.



My loins throbbed as I kept my hand on this beautiful angel’s breast. Yet I could not pull away.



I slid my fingers to her nipple and played with it, and felt my penis harden even further. She didn’t move much, but I started to see more life in her eye movements and in the rest of her face.



Instinct started to kick into high gear as I started to touch her with both hands. I groped her face, neck and chest and felt her starting to come alive. I noticed her breathing more and more, and her head started to move from side to side. After a while, it didn’t have much more of an effect than that.



Then I decided to follow my instinct once more, and I slid my hand down between her legs. I went against my better judgment, which was the only part of me that was aware of how sacred this part of an angel must be. If she was indeed an angel, than I was surely touching her in a place I would most likely not get to touch her if she were awake.



Or maybe she would.



It certainly seemed like she wanted me to touch her there, awake or not. Strange as it might have been, being at the bottom of the ocean, she felt very wet in my fingers. I felt very ashamed to be doing this, but I could not help it.



And I could not help thinking that she wanted it too.



She began to moan, and her breathing deepened. Her hips started to move into my hand, as if she wanted me to hasten what I was doing. And every time I heard her moan, I felt a throbbing in my loins.

“I thought I’d find you here.”



Eden looked up and smiled at the girl who walked softly across the floor in the almost reverential way that almost everyone adopted in that room. Eden had spent too much time there to feel that any more. “Where else?” he said returning her smile. Then he turned away to gently stroke the hair and cheek of the boy who lay sleeping in the bed. “It’s his birthday. He’s twenty one today.”



“Twenty one?” the girl exclaimed. “Has it really been three years?”



“Almost exactly. It was three days after his birthday, just before Christmas, three years ago. I spent the whole of Christmas and New Year here.”



“And almost every day since,” she commented sadly.



Eden smiled tightly. “Hardly. I’ve not been here much recently.”



Suzi could hear the sadness and guilt in his voice. “Eden; it’s been three years. It’s right that you should move on.”



“Move on?” he asked genuinely confused.



“Move on from here, from him. Stop spending so much time here and get on with your life. Go and make a future for yourself.”



Eden smiled and ran his fingers over the marble still face before running them through the soft as silk white locks of hair that framed it. The electromagnetic field crackled and tiny sparks glittered across his hand.



“Eden, there’s no life here any more. You can’t spend the rest of yours in this room, living in the past and waiting for something that is never going to happen. There’s a wonderful future waiting for you out there.”



“For us, Suzi,” he corrected softly.



Suzi sighed. “Isn’t it about time you faced the fact that there is no future for him. Let him go Eden, let him go and move on.”



Eden smiled gently, and shook his head. Suzi sighed again. “Eden, the last thing Summer would want is for you to waste your life because of him.”



This time Eden laughed. “I’m not wasting my life Suzi. I’m waiting for him. No, I’m waiting with him. There’s nowhere else I want to be.”



“Well,” Suzi said in exasperation, “at least you’ve finally gone to university. That’s a start.”



Eden’s face darkened for the first time. “That was a mistake. It’s too long away from him. I miss him and he misses me.”"



“He doesn’t miss you Eden. He doesn’t know if you’re here or not.”



“He knows,” Eden said with such a degree of certainty Suzi shook her head and sighed for the thousandth time but didn’t say anything; there was no point. Instead she watched Eden take one of the pale hands that lay lifelessly on the covers and lift it to his lips. The magnetic field sparked madly but he didn’t seem to notice.



Raising her eyes Suzi looked at the boy who was the focus of Eden’s world. There was no denying that he was beautiful; mesmerizingly beautiful, all the more so because it was an entirely natural beauty which needed no enhancement at all. The most striking thing about him was his hair. It was mostly a rich burnished chestnut, thick and lustrous, but there were two panels at the front that were so white that in the right light they looked like metallic silver. That too was entirely natural.



She remembered the emerald green of his eyes and the way they twinkled and crinkled slightly in the corners when he smiled. Summer was always smiling and he laughed at everything, including himself. He had an infectious lust for life that made him fun to be with. Everyone around him was infected with his overwhelming delight in simple pleasures – the moon on a puddle, a walk through the leaves in the autumn or snow in winter, the petals of a flower, or the sound of rain. He loved rain and stood for hours on the doorstep watching it fall. At least he’d used to.



Christmas was Summer’s favourite time of year. He started preparing months before and got wildly excited to the point that his friends were ready to strangle him by the last few days. On the first weekend after his birthday, which was on the 15th, he almost religiously dragged Eden and Suzi to a nearby forestry park to skate on the lake and cut down a tree for decorating. Most people now had artificial trees, but not Summer, not even the ones that were so realistic birds tried to nest in them. No, Summer was all for the natural.



They’d been on their trip when ‘it’ happened. Suzi had always been wary of the journey. It always snowed and the roads were icy and dangerous, but Summer would not be dissuaded. That year was particularly bad, with heavy snow and freezing conditions but Summer still would not be deterred.



Summer had been excited by the falling snow and couldn’t wait to get to the park. Suzi had had her eyes closed for the whole journey but her relief when they reached the car park had been short lived when the car hit a patch of ice just inside the gate and skidded. Somehow Summer had managed to keep control but it spun in almost a complete circle before the tyres bit tarmac and he’d guided it into the nearest parking space.



Eden and Suzi had been shaken but not Summer; he’d thought it had been great fun and wanted to do it again. They’d filed out of the car, slipping and sliding , with Summer and Eden playing like children in the snow as they’d crossed the car park towards the path which led through the trees to the lake.



As they’d reached the treeline Summer had realised he’d forgotten his skates, which was pretty typical for him and had headed back towards the car while the others waited near the trees.



Suzi and Eden had been laughing and chatting together when they’d heard the teeth clenching sound of screaming brakes as a car, coming into car park way too fast hit the same patch of ice that had troubled them. Unlike Summer the driver had completely lost control and the car spun madly.



Summer never had a chance. By the time he’d heard the screech and looked up the car was on him. Suzi never forgot the sickening sound of car hitting flesh. It haunted her in nightmares and she hadn’t been able to drive for weeks.



They’d both been certain he was dead as they’d run across the space, slipping and sliding on the ice and snow, falling but not caring.



The driver had remained in the car in complete shock and Suzi had always been glad of that because if he had been in reach of Eden’s hands it would not have gone well with him.



Eden had slid to a halt next to Summer and had been too frightened to touch him. He’d been lying like a broken doll, feet from the car. He had rolled over and over across the ice and was lying half on his side, face down with his limbs at odd angles.



Ignoring the blood that had been starting to pool under his head Eden had tenderly pushed away his hair so he could see his face. The snow under his cheek had turned pink but, as they’d later learned, had probably saved his life by lowering his body temperature and slowed the bleeding.



Incredibly Summer had not only been alive but conscious and had even tried to smile at Eden. He’d looked demonic with blood staining his lips and running from his nose but when he’d smiled he could have been nothing but an angel.



“I’m sorry,” he’d whispered, his words muffled and gurgling. “Shoulda… should… be… caref…” He’d coughed and blood had splattered the snow, and Eden, who’d ignored it. For a moment Summer had frowned, a puzzled look on his face, then he’d taken a breath and smiled. “Don’t… worry… home… Christmas.” Then he’d sighed and his eyes had closed. That had been the last time they’d heard his voice or seen his eyes in three years.



Amazingly he hadn’t died there in the snow. Neither had he let go in the following hours and days when his life hung in the balance. Through hours of surgery and regeneration he’d somehow kept breathing.



Medical science had improved so much in the last fifty years and things which would have been fatal to their grandparents or even their parents were no longer beyond the abilities of doctors. And so they had managed to knit his broken bones, regenerate muscles, tissue and ligaments and even the surgical scars had been erased. Within ten days of the accident his body had been healed and whole.



However, what they couldn’t do; what no doctor had ever been able to do since the beginning, was to understand the complexities of the brain. No one could tell them why but Summer had never woken up.



It happened. After a catastrophic head injury it happened often and it was one thing that medicine had been able to neither fathom nor prevent. Some remained in a coma for only a few days, some for months or years, and some never woke at all.



The way that coma patients were treated had radically improved. Many of the invasive methods of treatment and maintenance were no longer necessary and for the most part entirely automated. Nutrition was provided by absorption and ionised metal bands around the upper arms, wrists, waist, neck, thighs and ankles provided all required data from body temperature to blood pressure and were used, along with an ionised electrical field which surrounded the body to regulate them all as well as preventing contact sores, muscle atrophy etc.



The data collected by the bands and field was fed into a computer which displayed it on screens behind the bed and, with minimal human input regulated the functions of the body automatically with the only invasion necessary being two IV lines to carry drugs and fluids into the body.



In many ways Summer had simply slept through three years. Suzi watched him sleep, his perfect face perfectly at peace. His chest rose and fell gently and he was relaxed and serene. It was almost painful to remember that even though he looked as if he might wake at any moment, with a smile on his lips, there was every change he would sleep until he died.



Although the mechanics would keep him in inertia for as long as necessary he would still get old and was still as susceptible to illness and disease as anyone else. He didn’t have the strength or immune system of a healthy person and had already fought off pneumonia twice.



They had almost lost him so many times but he had been more stable this last year which was why they had been able to persuade Eden to leave his side for long enough to start his Degree course. However, despite the fact that his physical condition had stabilised there had never been the slightest indication that his coma was lightening in any way and no one, not even his medical team had any illusions about his chances of recovery.



Although not out of the question altogether, after three years with no improvement whatever, hope had faded to a distant dream. If it hadn’t been for the fact that Summer’s parents were extremely rich and able to pay for private care, he would have been dead by now for although the technology existed it was beyond the reach of all but the very wealthy.



Suzi sat down on the other side of the bed to Eden and thoughtfully stroked Summer’s hand. It was warm and soft little sparks danced over both sets of fingers. Sliding her hand under his she curled her fingers around it. It was completely lifeless, just like the rest of him. Holding on tightly she closed her eyes.



“Eden, you know that he’s not coming back don’t you?”



Eden looked up and smiled. “Don’t be silly, Suzi, of course he’s coming back.”



“It’s been three years Eden, three years. Don’t you remember what the said at the beginning? Most improvements happen in the first twelve months. After that –”



Eden shook his head stubbornly. “Have faith Suzi. He’s going to be okay.”



“Okay? Open your eyes Eden; he’s in a coma. He’s been in a coma for three years. He’s not coming back.”



“You don’t understand,” he said patiently. “He promised.”



“What do you mean ‘he promised’?” she asked.



“We both promised, a long time ago, that if we ever got separated we would always find a way back to each other again. So that’s what he’s doing; he’s coming back to me.” He turned again to gaze adoringly at his sleeping beauty, unable to stop himself from touching his face. “They say that he dreams sometimes. But I know what he’s doing; he’s trying to find his way home.”



“You’re fooling yourself. What’s the point in doing a Degree then wasting it by sitting here for the next three years – or thirty?”



“You’re right,” he said and for a moment she hoped. Then he smiled again, his eyes consuming every inch of his lover’s face. Distantly, he said “It’s killed me these last couple of months. I won’t do it any more; I won’t leave him again.”



“You’re going to give up?”



“No, that’s the point – I’m not going to give up.”



“Eden, you’re insane. What do your parents say?”



“The same as yours: Summer’s too. They’ve all tried to force me, persuade me, threaten me, beg me but I haven’t listened to anyone.”



“You never do.”



“No, I never do.”



“Will you at least spend Christmas with me?”



He looked up and gently shook his head. She could see only a shadow now, of the bright, happy boy he used to be. A part of him had died that day in the park. She was afraid it would take a miracle to see it live again.



“You know that I won’t, Suzi. I can’t imagine spending Christmas without him; it’s our time.”



“Eden, it’s not healthy; spending Christmas here all alone.”



Eden laughed. “Alone? Are you crazy? People are in and out all day. They feed me until I feel sick and insist on talking and playing games and watching TV when all I really want to do is sit and talk to Summer. It’s our special time and I like to lie down next to him and tell him everything that’s been going on all year. I save up all the best bits. It’s the only time I get that close.



“The first year, that time was the only thing that kept me going: to lie there and touch him and talk to him. I don’t know if I could have got through if not for that. I’ve done it every year since and it still gives me hope. Even thinking about it gives me hope.”



“But it’s not healthy Eden; it’s not right. You bring in all the Christmas presents you bought each other and put them under a tree you get from the park and then you lie down and hold him and hope for… what? That he’ll wake up and hold you back? It’s not going to happen Eden; it’s never going to happen.”



“Don’t say that!” Eden snapped, losing his cool for the first time. “I’m sick and tired to people telling me that. What makes you all think that you know what’s best for me? I’m sick of being told what to do and what not to do. It’s my life, Suzi and if I want to ‘waste’ it here I will. I thought that you at least were a good enough friend to accept that and support me.”



“I… Eden, of course I’ll support you. I’ll support you in whatever you want to do. It’s just that it’s hard for me to see you wasting away here when… I know you believe Eden, I know you do and I think it’s wonderful that you’ve kept your faith in him all this time but… You’re not…” She sighed and shook her head. “I’m sorry Eden. You’re right; it’s your life to spend as you want. If you want to spend it here I’ll support you. I’ll come and keep you company on Christmas morning and chase everyone away to give you the afternoon.”



The smile she received made her feel warm and guilty at the same time.



They were interrupted by a nurse in a crisp white uniform, pushing a trolley which bore a large bowl of hot water, sponges scented oils and huge fluffy towels. Although the electric field could heal and sustain the body it could not clean it and, although he obviously didn’t get dirty as such the energy field made him hot and sweaty.



It was Eden’s favourite occupation. He had long since taken over from the nurses and when he’d been away he’d spent nights dreaming of it and feeling stabs of jealousy when he thought of nurses touching that beautiful body. He’d almost abandoned the Degree and came home right then.



“I think I’d better go and leave you to it. Are we going to the park on Saturday?”



“You know I am. If you want to come it would be great, but don’t feel you have to.”



“Of course I have to.”



Getting to her feet Suzi bent and kissed Summer gently on the forehead and then walked round to give Eden a hug and more robust kiss. She paused to look down at Summer, with her arm around Eden. “I wish I had your faith Eden. I miss him so much. My life feels empty and…”



Eden put his arm around her waist and briefly rested his head against her hip. “I trust him. I know he’s going to come back to me but…” He paused and turned his face towards her, rubbing it against the rough material of her jeans. “Sometimes it’s almost unbearable.”



She kissed him on the top of his head “I know, hun.”



“I hate to see him like this Suzi; it’s not right.”



Knowing Summer and the energy he’d used to project she understood exactly what he meant. “I know hun. I don’t know what to say. I can’t tell you it’s going to be alright because I don’t think it is. I respect your belief but…” Watching the way that Eden was holding Summer’s hand, cradling it almost reverentially, his thumb absently caressing the back touched something deep inside and she had to leave. When she reached her car she sobbed.



As soon as Suzi left, the nurse helped Eden manoeuvre a waterproof sheet under Summer, turned off the magnetic field and then left him to it. There was something so intensely personal about washing Summer’s face and body that it made Eden feel closer to him than he ever had been and more sure that sometime soon they would be wholly together again.



Carefully rubbing soap into Summer’s naked body Eden closed his eyes relishing the silky softness of the skin under his hands. But today, somehow the excitement he usually felt when running his hands over the curves of his lover’s body was gone, or at least muted. He didn’t feel the usual thrill, the tingle through his fingers when he stroked them over Summer’s body. There was something missing and it scared him.



Summer was so still. There was nothing there, no energy, no life, no twitch or tremble. He might as well have been touching a doll, or a lump of clay. He’d never felt that before and the more he tried to find the closeness, to get back the intensity, the more it seemed to be slipping away. Desperately he tried to recover the closeness by stroking his thighs and groin but there was nothing there and in the end he sank down on the seat, lay his head on the bed and wept.



The nurse found him there half an hour later and gently moved him to the sofa and lay the exhausted boy down while she finished bathing and wiping Summer. She felt desperately sorry for them both. She had been working with Summer for about eighteen months and had developed a strong admiration for the devoted boy who spent so much time at his side.



The love between the two boys was undeniable. Eden shone with it and seemed only to be alive when looking into his face. And as for Summer, even deeply unconscious there were subtle changes in the reactions of his body to Eden’s presence that made it obvious there was a deep connection between them. Not only that but they were really cute together and there was something about the way that Eden was with Summer that touched her.



Carefully arranging Summer’s arms at his sides and smoothing out the bedclothes she caught herself looking into his face and wondering what he was like. He must be something special to have elicited such devotion from his family and friends. He looked like a sweet boy but unconscious it was impossible to tell. Taking a comb from her pocket she combed his hair smooth and straight.



The white streaks were shining silver and she let them run through her fingers. It was getting long now and Eden refused to even consider getting it cut. It had been shaved off for the surgeries on his head after the accident but over three years it had grown back thick and glossy. It was as beautiful as he was. Smoothing the last strands into place she turned and pushed the trolley out of the room.



Three days later Suzi drove Eden to the park to collect the tree. They didn’t skate any more, that would have been too much as there were just too many memories there. As it was Eden started crying before they even reached the car park and was sobbing so much as they cut down the tree that Suzi took the axe out of his hand.

“Eden, what’s wrong? What is it?”



“I just… just… I don’t know Suzi, something’s wrong. Something is going on and I don’t know what it is.”



“What do you mean?”



“I don’t know what I mean. I don’t… I just have a horrible feeling that something terrible is about to happen and I’m scared.”



“I’m sorry Eden,” she said putting her arm around him, “it’s my fault. I was so hard on you the other day, I didn’t mean to make you lose hope.”



“It isn’t that Suzi. I don’t know what it is. These last few days I’ve sat there looking at him and it’s… different. He’s different and I don’t know what it is. I’m scared to death that he’s lost himself and he’s slipping away.”



“Eden…”



“Please don’t, Suzi, don’t say it.”



“I’m here Eden. Whatever happens I’m here for you.”



He put his arm around her waist and squeezed her briefly before letting her go. “I know hun. I know. Come on let’s get this tree back.”



They finished cutting down the tree and carried it back to the car. As they were lugging it across the car park they heard a cry as if someone was hurt. Turning there was a flash of colour at the edge of the trees as someone ran out from the shadows beneath the branches. Two dark figures burst out behind them and bore them to the ground. The cry of a woman in pure terror rang out and, as one, Eden and Suzi dropped the tree and ran.



An old woman dressed in the colourful costume of a Romany was lying on the floor amid the scattered debris of what she had been carrying. Two young men were holding her down, laughing and mocking.



“Get off her you stupid aresholes.”



The boys looked up and narrowed their eyes.



“Fuck off pretty boy. This doesn’t concern you. Walk away right now or your girlfriend is going to be spending Christmas by your hospital bed.”



Eden glared at him and said coldly. “It does concern me when two twats who should be cleaning toilets somewhere are throwing their weight around and harassing defenceless women. Although from the look of you I would imagine that old women are the only ones you could take on.”



Both boys got to their feet and faced off with Eden while Suzi hurried to help the old woman to her feet and drew her away from what was inevitably about to turn into a fight. She put her arms around the narrow, shaking shoulders and held the shivering woman close.



Both of the boys were bigger and broader than Eden but he faced them squarely, looking completely relaxed. This seemed to put them on edge a little. Why was this boy not shaking in his shoes? Why was he not running from a confrontation where he was clearly outnumbered and outclassed? The answer was that he wasn’t outclassed. The boys had more bulk but he had more skill… way more.



Both Eden and Summer had spent many years training in martial arts and Summer in particular had been all over the world as part of the British Karate team. Eden wasn’t just confident… he KNEW he could take these two boys and there was something in the way he looked that made them feel a little of that and they were ill at ease.



“If you leave right now I’ll let you go. I won’t come after you and, provided nothing is broken or damaged beyond repair I won’t call the authorities. It’s your choice, your last chance.”



The larger of the two assailants laughed and turned to speak to his mate then, with lightening speed, hoping to catch Eden unawares, he spun swinging his fist. Before he knew what was happening, Eden had grabbed his wrist and continued its trajectory while jamming his hand into the back of the boy’s shoulder. The boy screamed and fell to his knees as the blow dislocated his shoulder. His friend stood for a moment, staring at Eden with a mixture of terror and respect and then turned to run.



“Wait!” Scuttling back a few steps the boy turned nervously. “I think you’ve forgotten something. You know the rules of the park… take your rubbish with you when you leave.”



Helping his sobbing and wailing friend to his feet he helped him across the icy ground to a battered car which soon screamed out of the car park with a sound that made both Eden and Suzi turn pale.



Eden turned and fell to his knees, scrabbling in the snow for the brightly coloured scraps of paper that lay scattered all over the ground. As he picked them up he realised they were cards.



When he had picked up all he could see he stood and handed them to the woman who was still shivering in Suzi’s arms.



“Are you alright?” Eden asked with concern. “Can we take you somewhere?”



The woman shook her head. “We are camped down by the lake,” she said in a rich, accented voice, surprisingly strong considering her age and current predicament. “Please don’t bother yourselves. I’m alright. It was a shock that’s all.”



“You are shivering and shocked. Let us at least take you into the car for a while to warm up.”



“No, no don’t bother yourself.”



“Come on. We’re not going to run away with you, I promise.” The woman looked up into Eden’s face and there was something in the electric blue eyes that made him shiver. He realised that, despite her white hair, the woman was not as old as he had first thought.



“You’re a good boy, both of you are kind to help a poor old woman in distress. But I would not impose on your kindness.” She shuffled the cards in her hands. “My pack is incomplete. If you would help me to find the missing card then I would be happy to go on my way and let you go on yours.”



Eyeing her doubtfully as she drew her colourful shawl closer around her shoulders they both started to root around in the snow trying to find the elusive card. They were cold and tired, their fingers growing numb and they had both begun to regret ever agreeing to search when Eden brushed a tree branch out of the way and saw something bright, nestled in the toots of the tree to which it belonged.



At first he thought to ignore it as it was impossible for the card to have found its way in there. However, the bright colour captured his attention and he was curious to see what it was even so.



When he picked it up he saw in surprise that it was the missing card. The back bore the same pattern of suns and moons. Curiously he turned it over as he withdrew from the tree and turned towards the woman.



It was a very beautiful picture, in pale etheric colours against a background of the night sky filled with stars. A naked woman stood with one foot in the water of a midnight blue river reflecting the diamond points of the stars above. She was half turned away, her glorious red hair cascading in deep waves over her shoulders and back, and had one hand raised high in the air holding a silver cup from which she was pouring water into another cup, which she held in her other hand.



He didn’t have time to examine it too carefully but there was a strange moment, just as he handed the card over when he was not at all sure that the woman was a woman at all.



The woman took the card and glanced at it, then she smiled. Slotting the card back in amongst the others in her deck she slipped it into her pocket and then looked up at Eden who had to force himself not to take a step backwards. There was an intense expression in the piercing blue eyes that almost frightened him.



“An interesting card… The Star. It symbolises the eternal cycle; life and death… one pouring into the other seamlessly in the never ending spiral of rebirth. The river flows and our brief existences do nothing more than dip a toe into the timeless stream of life. And yet the stars transcend and sometimes, just sometimes it’s possible to scoop their light right out of the stream to illuminate our lives just for a little while, giving us a miracle.” Her voice had been distant and dreamy but then she seemed to pull herself together and smiled.



“The seasons are turning, as they always do, and the wheel comes full circle. It’s been a long hard winter for you, Eden and you’ve shut yourself away from the signs that spring is budding all around you. But The Star brings hope for redemption and renewal. Summer will come again, sooner than you think.”



Before he could say or do anything the woman raised herself on tiptoe and kissed him on the lips then in a whirl of coloured skirts and silver white hair she spun around and was gone. It was as if she had simply vanished and for a long, stunned moment Eden and Suzi simply started at each other in shock.



“Where did she go?”



“What did she mean?”



Eden shivered, a sick feeling settling in the pit of his stomach. There was something about that picture, as he’d glimpsed it when he handed it back that bothered him and her words were haunting. What had she been trying to tell him? Had she been trying to tell him anything at all? It was just the drama of the whole situation that was putting him on edge. She was just some old Romany, and they always spoke in riddles right? What did she know? What could she know?



“Eden… how did she know your name?”



“What?” he snapped, angry that she was voicing part of the fear that was gnawing at him.



“Your name. She said… “It’s been a long, hard winter for you Eden…” How did she know your name is Eden.”



“I… I don’t… you must have said it, told her…”



“I’m pretty sure I didn’t.”



“You must have,” he said firmly then strode across the car park channelling his fear into a formless anger.



The drove in silence: Eden angry and Suzi wary. At last she had to say something or burst. “Why are you so angry? What did she say…?”



“I’m not angry,” he snapped.



“Eden…”



“Shut up Suzi, just shut up.”



“Eden!”



He sighed and buried his face in his hands. “I’m sorry Suzi it’s just…”



Suzi was a very careful driver, even more so since Summer’s accident but she braved taking one hand off the steering wheel to squeeze his arm.



“Eden, I know you. What the heck has got you so upset? Romanys are strange but there wasn’t anything in what she said that was too freaky or scary. You weren’t upset by the fight were you?”



Eden snorted. “As if. No, it wasn’t that. It was just… just… Oh forget it, I’m just being stupid.”



“You often are but something’s really upset you Eden. I can’t think of anything in what she said that might do that. I don’t understand.”



“It’s not… not just…” He closed his eyes and sighed deeply. “You’re going to think I’m insane.”



“I know you’re insane Eden, haven’t I told you that often enough?”



“Yes, you have but this…”



“Come on Eden… ‘fess up. What’s going on in that crazy head of yours?”



Eden took a deep breath and had to force himself to speak, as if saying it out loud somehow made it real… but he couldn’t keep it inside any longer.



“It was just… that card… when I handed it back to her; for a moment it looked… it’s crazy but it looked… it looked like Summer.”



“It was a woman Eden, even I could see that.”



“I know but… was it? It looked like a woman because it had long hair and I thought it was at first but as she took it out of my hand… I don’t know. And then she said… she said that… that Summer is coming and…”



“Oh Eden don’t… please don’t. It’s all in your mind baby. The picture wasn’t Summer. Even if it wasn’t a woman it wasn’t Summer. And she was talking about a season Eden… Winter, Spring, Summer.”



“I know. Part of me knows… but it’s… I don’t know it’s as if it’s shaken something loose. For the past few days things have been feeling strange and… not right. Nothing’s been… right. It’s as if Summer’s drifting away from me and I was scared and now… now it’s…” He shook his head and sighed. “I don’t know what I’m talking about Suzi. I just feel… strange.”



“I understand that hun, just don’t dwell on it; don’t get your hopes up.”



“My hopes have never been down.” He looked up and smiled. “It’s going to be alright.”



Fortunately the hospital staff was well used to Eden by now and no one turned a hair when he and Suzi manhandled the tree through the door and along the corridors. Once they got it into Summer’s room Eden abandoned it and wandered over to the bed.



Nothing had changed, except that something had. Nothing was different about Summer, who slept on in marble perfection, oblivious; it was something inside Eden and he was afraid of what it might be and what it portended.



Would he still be here next year; would either of them? For the first time the possibility that he wouldn’t was strong in him and he was scared because he didn’t know why.



He jumped, startled, at the gentle touch on his arm and turned his head to encounter Suzi’s concerned eyes.



“Are you thinking about what that woman said again?”



“No… maybe.” Was he? Is that all it was? “I don’t know, Suzi. Something’s changed and I don’t know what it is. It’s scaring me.”



“Changed? What do you mean changed?”



“I don’t know. I just don’t know and that’s what’s so scary.”



Suzi smiled. “You’re just spooked, that’s all. The whole thing was really odd. It scared the pants off me too.”



“Yeah, that’s all.” He reached forward and touched Summer’s hand, then turned purposefully. “Come on, let’s get the tree up and decorated.”



For once the reverential silence that usually cloaked the room was lifted and light banter and laughter filled the space, as two friends played, setting up the tree. Nurses passing outside smiled when they heard the laughter. They all knew Summer and they all knew and admired the strong, quiet boy who rarely strayed far from him.



When the tree was decorated to Suzi’s satisfaction, Eden became sober again as he carefully unpacked the presents and placed them underneath. They were dusty now, the paper torn in places, but he would not consider either opening them or re wrapping them. They were exactly as they had been when they had first been wrapped and Eden’s fingers lingered over the ones that were from Summer; tracing his writing on the labels; smiling at the silly little messages he’d written. Tears brimmed in his eyes and rolled unnoticed down his cheeks.



“Eden,” Suzi said in a while, interrupting his thoughts. He was still on his knees in front of the tree, reliving Christmases past. “I’m sorry to interrupt you hun, but I have to go. Will you be okay here on your own?”



“I’m not on my own, Suzi,” he said softly with a faint smile. She hugged him and took his face between her hands.



“Eden, it’s going to be okay. Whatever happens I promise it’s going to be okay. I’m here for you.”



“Thanks, Suzi. I know that and I’m grateful.”



When she had gone he took up his usual seat and stared at Summer. It was early evening and the nurses would bring a meal soon. Of course, it wasn’t for Summer it was for him. He pretty much always ate here. Today he wasn’t hungry because when he looked into Summer’s sleeping face it was different and the fact that he didn’t know why or how made him feel sick.



When the nurse came she commented on how he wasn’t his usual self but he just smiled and shrugged.



When she had laid out the food she did her usual checks of Summer, her fingers flying over the keypad with practiced ease. The only time she ever touched Summer was to ensure that the IV lines were still sited correctly and not becoming infected. She didn’t do that today, instead she spent some time staring at the screens and then, without a word to Eden, hurried out



Eden didn’t really notice as he was too busy brooding and trying to find the appetite to eat. The food was well presented and appetising but held no interest at all. He set it aside and drew Summer’s hand into his. It felt cold which surprised him as he was used to Summer being kept at a consistent temperature.



The fact alarmed him a little and he looked up at the screens. As usual they meant absolutely nothing to him. Was there something different today? Was there? And why had the nurse run out so fast? His heart was racing and he struggled to calm it, feeling almost foolish. There was absolutely nothing to cause him to panic like this. Just because Summer’s hand was cold and the nurse was busy. He was spooking over nothing.



Taking a deep breath Eden tried to steady himself but try as he might he could not stop his heart’s frantic thumping and he leaped out of his skin when the door practically burst open and a doctor strode in. He hadn’t seen a doctor for some time. He didn’t come often, at least not when Summer was stable. Why was he here now? What was going on?”



Before he knew it the nurse had steered him to his feet and out of the room. He’d had no time to argue or question and it was only when the door closed behind him that he came to life and tried to get back in again. The door wouldn’t budge. Panicking he hammered on it but no one came.



He was too lost in the incredible suffocating fear to hear the footsteps running down the corridor. The first he knew that anyone was there was when arms were thrown around him and he was enveloped.



“What is it Eden? What’s happening?”



“I don’t know,” he cried in complete panic. “They threw me out and I don’t know why. Why did they lock the door? Why won’t they let me in?”



“Hush now, Eden. I’m sure there is a good reason.”



“But what if something’s really wrong? What if he…?”



“This is not the time for ‘what if’s',” Summer’s father said severely while his mother tightened her embrace and Eden found himself pressed against an ample bosom. It was however Mr Worthington’s tone that got through to him. From someone who never raised his voice it was as good as a shout and completely out of character.



“I’m sorry,” Eden mumbled. “I just… I feel…”



“Calm down Eden,” Mr Worthington said more gently, sensing the edge of hysteria he had heard in Eden’s voice subsiding.



“I knew something was wrong,” Eden said in a less panic stricken voice as Mrs Worthington let him go, “but I didn’t know what it was. It was just a feeling, something indefinable. And then… and then his hand was cold.”



“I’m sure it’s alright.”



“But if it’s alright why did they throw me out?”



No one had an answer to that and all three spent a tense 10 minutes lost in their own fears.



When at last the door opened everyone’s eyes snapped to it, their hearts pounding.



“The doctor would like to speak to you,” the nurse said kindly. They tried desperately to read her body language. She was smiling, but what did that mean? What she trying to calm them, to prepare for bad news?



They practically pushed her aside as they stampeded into the room. The doctor was standing at the side of the bed, tapping at the keyboard and occasionally looking up at the screens.



“I’m glad that you’re all here,” he said. “It couldn’t have been better timing. Now you can all hear the news together.”



“What news?” Eden broke in, his heart in his mouth.



The doctor smiled at him with a look that was both reassuring and annoyed. “If you let me speak then I’ll be able to tell you.”



“I’m sorry. I’m so tense, I… Oh. Please just…”



“I understand,” the doctor said and patted him on the arm encouragingly. Then, taking a deep breath he continued. “As you know, for the past few years Summer’s condition has been entirely unchanging. Apart from the occasional problem he has been absolutely stable, although he has shown no signs of recovery. A short while ago things changed quite dramatically and he has become very unstable indeed.”



Three faces blanched and the eyes which regarded him so intensely were wide and frightened.



“Please, bear with me,” the doctor said, waving a hand as if to dismiss their concern. ‘Easy for him,’ Eden thought. “At first we were very concerned but after further examination it appears that he…”



Eden didn’t hear the rest of the words because he had been utterly distracted by a sound that, deep in his heart, he had thought he would never hear again. Summer sighed deeply and gave a little moan, turning his head on the pillow.



Shocked, to the core of his being Eden eagerly slipped his hand into Summer’s, which was warm again. He couldn’t help the little cry that flew from his lips when the fingers that had been so still and lifeless for so long, curled around his.

When he woke he was here, in my home, and now he is sitting on a cushion at my feet leaning back against my leg. He’s been here all night, not on the cushion but here, in my house. I got Chancey to clean him up when we got home. Chancey is my housekeeper. He’s been with me a long time. He is beautiful too, in his own way. Once he sat on the cushion but he was far too useful to be a pet for long. And now he runs the house completely, keeps my stable, takes care of the staff. He is invaluable, not least because he has taken to the role so completely and is entirely respectful and compliant without any compulsion whatever. I think he enjoys it.



He took the boy away, bathed him, rubbed scented oils in his body and washed his hair. Then, in the morning, he dressed him in the way he knows I like and brought him back, still unconscious and laid him at my feet. As a reward, and because I was feeling mellow and gracious, I allowed him to drink from me.



My blood is an intoxicant to humans and it bestows on them long life and vigour. Chancey has been with me a long time. He looks like a boy of fourteen or fifteen but he has been at my side for more than fifty years.



I wonder idly how old the new boy is. At my age it is so hard to tell. He’s not a child for sure, although anyone under a few centuries old is a child to me. I lean forwards and raise his chin looking into his face. They always look younger when they are asleep. Hmm… Early twenties I think, although he may be a little younger.



He stirs as I examine his face and those fabulous eyes blink open and dazedly stare upwards. Of course he’s not truly awake, he won’t be for a while, at least until I have decided whether I want to keep him or kill him.



The boy stares at me with little comprehension but he sighs with pleasure and half closes his eyes again. I understand. For the first time in what is probably a large chunk of his young life he is clean and warm and comfortable and he feels safe. Of course the safety is an illusion but he is feeling it strongly nevertheless.



I toy with his pretty hair and he sighs again.



“What shall I call you?” I muse. It is a small pleasure that I have, choosing names for my pets. Chancey got his name because of the chances he took with me that eventually led to his elevation. I changed it from Suki which is what I first called him, entranced by his smooth cappuccino skin, thick black hair and cat’s eyes.



This one is not dark at all. Without the grime of the streets, the smell of stale sweat and fear he is pale as a ghost. His hair is long and silky, white a snow and soft as it too. His skin is milky with a pale pink blush over his cheeks. There is no spare ounce of flesh or blemish apart from the signs of recent violence on his throat, ribs and the side of his face.



His eyes flutter and draw my attention to their stunning colour. They seem lighter here than in the darkness of the bar, but brighter. They are the most intense blue I have ever seen in any eyes before. “You have beautiful eyes,” I find myself saying. “The colour is stunning…Aqua.” And I know that’s his name.



“Aqua. You are Aqua. Do you like that little pet? Do you like who you are now?”



Aqua blinks and looks at me with eyes that are remarkably clear. “What have you done to me?” He asks softly, completely taking me aback. He is not supposed to be able to speak. Nevertheless I smile, letting my fangs show.



“I’ve done you a favour boy. I have taken you off the streets, snatched you away from a destiny which would have snatched away your life before the week was out. I have bathed you, scented you and treated your wounds and, above all I have refrained from killing you. I think you have nothing to complain about in what I have done to you.”



Aqua regards me thoughtfully with his bright eyes which, frankly are creeping me out at this point and trust me that is no mean feat. “Have you drugged me?” He asks blinking.



“Not as much as I should have. And I really ought to put that right… right now.” But I don’t. I like to watch the confusion in his eyes as he struggles to process what is happening, what I am saying; fighting the effects of my venom. Well, there’s one way of stopping that. Actually there is more than one way but this is the most fun.



“Stand up Aqua.”



“I… my name is not Aqua.”



“It is now.”



“No I…”



“Stand up Aqua.” I allow the command to leak into my voice and he finds it irresistible. His blood is still thick with my venom and he can fight it, more that he ought, but he can’t resist. He looks even more confused as his body reacts without allowing his will or desire any say in it whatever. He raises dazed and slightly frightened eyes to mine. He should be a lot more dazed and considerably more frightened.



I tilt my head to one side and regard him thoughtfully. Damn he’s beautiful. Just looking at him makes my stomach tighten. I smile. At the moment I really don’t have to worry about why. After all, if it becomes a problem I can just kill the boy.



Getting to my feet I walk slowly towards him and despite the conditioning he takes a step back. I reach out and bury my hand in his hair, caressing his cheek with my thumb. He flinches and tries to pull away.



“Leave me alone,” he spits at me.



“No. You’re mine now, get used to it.”



“Yours?”



“My pet; one of my pets.”



“No,” he growls shaking his head.



“I would beg to differ… but I never beg.”



“No I… I won’t.”



“You won’t? What makes you think you have any choice in the matter?”



“I…”



I move closer so that his body is pressed against mine. “Guess what happens next?” I whisper into his ear, nudging his hair aside so I can kiss his neck.



“No I… I don’t…”



“You don’t what? Don’t want me? Are you sure?”



He puts a hand against my chest and tries to push me away. He has more strength… mentally and physically… than I thought. How exciting. I like them to fight back, not too much but enough to make it interesting. However, there is a time and place for everything. I lower my head to kiss him. He struggles but I am strong, so much stronger than he is. I could easily crush him, snap his ribs like toothpicks. Maybe one day I will, just for fun.



“Let me go. I won’t… you can’t make me, you can’t. I won’t…”



“Oh yes, you will.” I touch him lightly, just behind the ear and he relaxes, his mouth falling open allowing me access. I kiss him for a while as he still struggles weakly and then breathe into him and he collapses, going limp in my arms. I hold him tightly to me and as his head falls back kiss his throat, feeling the blood pump, the breath hiss. I smell the aroma of… him. For the first time in centuries I truly desire.



Sweeping him up in my arms I carry him through the door into my bedroom and lay him on the bed. He sprawls in glorious abandon, his eyes open but lacking awareness. There is no fight in him now. I straddle him, caressing his skin, letting that wonderful silky hair slide through my fingers. I lower my head to kiss him; his lips, his chest, his abdomen. Oh the smell of him. It drives me insane.



I stroke him and he moans, tensing, his back arching. I knead his abdomen and he closes his eyes moaning, his breathing getting faster. I could work his body, bring him to climax, taste his orgasm but this time, this time I want to share it.



Quickly slipping out of my clothes I lower myself onto him kissing his neck as I let his warmth seep into me. He puts his arms around me and lifts himself, pressing his body against mine, his face buried in my shoulder.



“Oh you are such a pretty, pretty thing.” I murmur to him and he shivers at the feel of my breath on his neck.



Moving slowly under me he kisses my skin as he rubs his erection against my belly. I am not used to my pets reacting like this. Usually they are more quiescent. But I like it. I roll over onto my back pulling him on top of me. He raises himself and looks down at me. There is something in his eyes, something.



Then he lets his head fall forward as if it is too heavy to hold up. It is. He presses his lips against mine and I open to let him in. He’s good. Even in this state he wanders dreamily through slow pleasures that make my body tingle in a way I can’t remember it ever having done before. It is almost uncomfortable.



I run my hands up and down his back, letting him play with me as his long lithe body writhes over mine. He has no idea what he’s doing, not really. He is merely allowing his body to control him, acting on his needs and desires without any real consciousness. It comes on me to wonder what it would be like to make love to him when he is fully conscious, when his action are more determined, the look in his eyes is more…



I shake myself mentally. What am I thinking?



Flipping again I lay him on his back. He stares up at me, his hair spread out all around him, his lips bruised from kissing, his eyes dreamy but with a steeliness deep within that excites me. His hands reach up to stroke my sides and he is making little sounds, part whimper, part moan and part sigh. They are assailing my senses in the same way as his smell, his touch, his beauty. I can stand it no longer.



Gripping his thighs and pushing them back and apart I enter him without preamble. He cries out and his hands bunch the silk sheets beneath him. Breathing hard he arches his back and throws back his head the whimpers turning into growls. Who would have thought that such a pretty little thing would have such a wild side?



I ride him hard and he seems to thrive on it, panting, raising his hips to meet me, throwing his head from side to side and growling, low in his throat with his teeth clenched. Everything he does inflames me and spurs me on more and more.



At some point I let go of his legs and lower myself onto him, breathing in his scent. His hands claw at my back and I feel the long nails raking my skin, drawing blood. No one has done that to me for a very long time but rather than anger me the pain arouses me even more. Throwing back my head I howl and slam him harder as he raises his head and bites me.



Damn him, the little minx bit me. I should tear off his head. I should beat him to within and inch of his life. I should… I should… Oh Hel that was good. Do it again… oh Hel do it again. He does.



I am literally shaking and that is something I cannot remember having done before with a pet, ever. I am desperate, riding him harder, faster, further than ever and now there is no question of a whimper. He is a primal force that, if I had been capable of thought might have frightened me. But I am not thinking, I am simply reacting and it is good… it is so good.



I feel the energy rising in me and I know that I am close to release. I make sure that he is rising with me and I lower my head to kiss him. I breathe into him, but carefully. I don’t want him to lose the edge, the passion. This time I am simply preparing him. He shudders and gasps and tries to jerk his head away but there is no question of it. Perhaps he has caused me to lose control… but not completely, never that.



Aqua’s writhing takes on a new dimension. He is directionless caught only in the passion and he starts to shake. I smile against his lips and release them to let mine slide down to his throat, turning his head so that I have easy access. I am gasping with passion and I feel the tide rising beyond the point that it can stop. Aqua cries out as he convulses and ejaculates and I sink my fangs into his throat as my own climax sweeps over me, filling him in more ways that one, but carefully. He is too delicious this beautiful boy, too precious. It would be tragic if I threw away his life for nothing more than a moment’s loss of control.



His blood is sweet, so very, very sweet. It is as intoxicating as our lovemaking had been. He thrashes weakly for a few minutes, high on the orgasm, but stills as venom from my fangs seeps into his blood. I have to be careful. It has not been unknown for me to lose control in passion and drain my pets too far. They are so fragile these pretty humans, they die so easily.



By the time I pull back he is beginning to slide but I have stopped in time. He will be unconscious for a time but he will recover. He is paler than ever and he trembles slightly with the effort of his body to cope with the diminished blood supply and to make more. He is very cold. I, on the other hand, am warm. I have leeched his heat and for a time I will be warm and sated.



I smile at him and twist a strand of hair around my finger before trailing them over his chest and down to toy with his limp and sticky erection. On a whim I lower my head and lick him clean. He tastes so good. I linger for a while, kissing his stomach and savouring the smell of his sex. It makes me dizzy.



I raise my head and stroke his cheek. The trembling has increased and he is moaning softly. I stroke his neck and he goes still.



Dressing, I call Chancey. He takes one look at Aqua sprawled across the bed, a small amount of blood staining the white silk under his head, and clicks his tongue. He kneels on the bed and examines the unconscious boy.



“You have almost drained him, My Lord. What do you want me to do? Dump him?”



“No. Take care of him. I want to keep this one.”



“What have you called him?”



“Aqua.”



He nods simply and without question or comment. He is completely obedient and he knows exactly how far he can go.



“If you want him to be undamaged he will need a transfusion, My Lord. Can I take it from the bank?”



I consider for a moment looking at Aqua. For an instant I am lost in him. If Chancey hadn’t been there… who knows? I remember the way he fought me and then the way he fucked me when he should only have been capable of being fucked.



“Give him some of mine.”



Chancey turns and stares at me. “Are you sure?”



“Are you questioning me?”



“No, not at all, My Lord. You know what you want and I make it happen but…”



“There are no ‘buts’ Chancey. Give Aqua my blood or I will open my wrist right now and you will suffer for it.”



Chancey stares at me and shakes his head. He looks as if he is going to say something but then clamps his lips together and lifts Aqua easily in his arms, slinging him over his shoulder.



“And you had better make sure he’s undamaged when you bring him back.”



“You want me to bring him back?” He so astonished that he forgets the required form of address. I am feeling magnanimous and forgive him.



“Of course. As soon as he is able to stand get him bathed and dressed in something… suitable, then bring him back to me here.”



“Suitable, My Lord?”



“Soft leather trousers. I like the smell of leather.”



“It won’t be tonight, My Lord. He will be sick for a time.”



I frown at him, annoyed at him and at myself. “I didn’t take too much.”



“Of course not, My Lord. You never take too much. Perhaps he is unusually weak, but he is failing nevertheless.”



Damn him. It is his way of telling me that I did take too much. Damn me.



“Whatever. Do what you can.”



“Of course, My Lord. Is there anything else?”



“Nothing else.”



“Yes Lord.”



I feel strangely empty. I have never felt alone in this room. This is my inner sanctum, my domain. This is my sanctuary and I am often alone here, more often than not. I am always alone but I have never felt alone. In all my long life I have rarely felt alone anywhere.



I am restless. I would go on the hunt but I am saturated. I shouldn’t have drained the boy so much. I almost killed him. And yet… There is something in me that says that it would take more than that, a lot more than that to kill him. It is tempting to tell Chancey not to give him blood, to wait and see what happens, but the thought of having his veins filled with blood that used to flow in mine is too tempting.



Although…



I hurry after Chancey. He has taken Aqua to the stable where there is a room set aside for treating the injured. Chancey is no doctor but he is well used to treating those I have taken too much blood from, at least those I want to keep. The rest never see this room, in fact they never see anything else at all.



I have rarely gone to the stable, I have no need to. This is Chancey’s domain. He rules with an iron fist, but it is a fist encased in velvet. The other boys adore him. They think he keeps them safe, keeps them alive. I suppose he does. He schools them carefully in the ways of the house, how to refrain from displeasing me. Although it doesn’t always make a difference.



I have long ceased really caring about my pets. Sure I care about the hunt. It still makes my pulses race, but even that has been falling flat lately. Until now…



There is a boy lounging in the drawing room. He is warming himself by the fire. I recognise him vaguely, not someone I have taken recently. He scrambles to his feet in fear and confusion. I inhale deeply, the smell of fear has always made me horny. The boy is all eyes and hair. Actually he has very nice hair. I drift across the room towards him.



“I… I’m sorry, My Lord. I… I didn’t know you would be coming. I…”



“Sssh.” I croon as I take him into my arms. The boy is trembling, almost weeping with fear and it tastes so good, so… The boy stiffens as I brush away the glorious mane of his golden hair and kiss his throat. “Sssh.” I whisper again as my fangs descend. He gives a little cry when I enter him and then he sighs and literally melts in my arms.



He is sweet. Young and pure by the taste of him. I wonder why I have not tasted him before. Ah… yes… he is the son of the aristocrat who pissed me off at the gala dinner last month. I took the greatest pleasure in taking his son away from him. And then I forgot the boy. Shame. He really is sweet. But…



After only a few moments I raise my head and look down at the pale anxious face. He hasn’t had enough of my venom to do anything other than relax him. I smile and his eyes widen at the sight of my bloody fangs. Lowering my head I press my lips against his and he responds instantly. Chancey has him trained well.



Stroking his hair I bury my fingers in it and brush them against his throat as I breathe into his mouth. The boy’s body shudders and then he goes completely limp in my arms. I gently lower him onto the sofa and caress his naked chest. He is very pretty. Ordinarily I would have played with him for a while but my heart isn’t in it today. He tastes sweet but not… right.



Chancey has laid Aqua on one of the narrow beds and has already set up the equipment to transfuse my blood into his veins. He looks up as I enter and his eyes widen. “My Lord?”



“I have changed my mind Chancey. Have the boy bathed and brought to my chamber immediately.”



“But, My Lord. Without the transfusion he will die.”



“If that is his fate then so be it. Call it a test if you will.”



“But, My Lord…”



“Chancey, you are my right hand man. I rely on you considerably. I would like to think that over the years we have become friends. I enjoy the evenings we spend together in the winter and I truly appreciate the work you have done and continue to do for me in my home and the stable. However, do not forget who is master here. You are not irreplaceable and I will not have my orders challenged.”



Chancey bows his head. “No, My Lord.”



“I am going out for a short while, only and hour. When I return I want to find him freshly bathed and naked in my bed. Alive or dead it makes no difference to me.”



“Yes, My Lord.”



I don’t care what he says, I have lost interest in him. He could have said anything and I would not have heard. I find myself drawn towards the bed, looking down at the pale loveliness. Without the stunning blue of his eyes he is colourless and it has little to do with having been drained of blood. He is an alabaster angel and all I want to do is touch him.



As I watch his eyelashes flutter I almost take a step back when they rise over drugged eyes. His lips move and I find myself leaning forward to hear what he says.

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