An End To All Days
Cool air slipped between the sheets. The bed creaked, and an airy body peeled away from my side. Steps sounded on the hardwood floor. They were the barest of whispers as was the closing of the closet door.
In a near dream state, it took a moment to wake. Bright streaks of light rushed to the back of my head. The whiteness of the ruffled top sheet was also startling. I fixed on my toes that pointed skyward, pulled the sheet to my chest and neck that were wet with a cold sweat, and fingered the sore spot near the jugular where the succubus had bitten down deep.
Most of what had happened the night before seemed unreal. Yet an unholy feeling clung to my bones.
The night should have landed me on a morgue tray.
There came a knock at the half-open bedroom door. Then my friends entered. Last night they had chased me down the apartment stairs and into the street as I tore off after the succubus.
“We feared the worst last night,” said Benny, ‘the cigar store Indian’ as he laid the back of his hand on my forehead and then his own–to check my temperature. He looked deep into my tired eyes. “You were a raving lunatic. We thought we lost your soul to possession.”
Over his shoulder, the pizza and Chinese delivery guys(aka num and nuts) looked down the tips of their noses. Leaning against the door, my lady friend(LF) regarded me with a cold look of concern.
I had no idea how I made it home. But by their looks, I had the feeling that they had to drag me as I kicked and screamed.
“How do you feel now?” Benny asked.
The closet door cracked open, and I saw the glimmer of green eyes. A small smile split my lips. She was still with me.
“Joe,” LF uttered.
“I’m good,” I said and winced in an apologetic manner toward LF, yet the light in her eyes didn’t change.
Once outside the apartment last night, I remembered they had pursued me onto Amsterdam Avenue, across from Saint John the Divine. With the cathedral over my shoulder, I had called out to LF, “I never loved you.” I had said it venomously, and then cursed at the others. All the while a fire raged inside me for the succubus.
(Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine – Photo by Joe)
“You’re lucky,” the cigar store Indian said.
“The woman’s not a bad demon,” I said with shifty eyes, while licking my dry lips. “She said she wants our help.”
“Your help,” the succubus whispered from the closet–so only I could hear.
I knew by her tone that she was smiling. She had perfect white teeth. The incisors were a bit pointed, but it was more for effect—and pleasure. The pinch of her teeth was exquisite. Her kisses were sweet. So sweet . . .
“I have so many more kisses, nothing but sweet kisses for you.”
I remembered the frigid cold of last night and spectral blue clouds that swept over the streets. The moment came to me when I had finally caught up with the succubus, and grasped her tight. The heat of her fragile body had been penetrating. In no time it seemed like we shared the same inner fire.
“She wants our help,” I said again, trying to seem like my friends had my full attention.
“A succubus will tell you anything to get what she wants,” Benny responded, looking at me a bit odd.
“I want you!” the demon cried.
A gust of wind outside rattled the window. The sound told of a chill that remained from the night.
“She’s caught up in a bigger net,” I said and tried not to smile. “That’s why she wants our help. She does!”
Benny bowed his head. None of them could look at me. It seemed like they had come to a secret agreement.
“What are you planning to do?” I wondered, eyes growing big. “What–you think you can’t trust me?”
“Tell that old Indian, he can’t hurt me,” the demon said with a hissing laugh. “I have the Altai Mountains in my veins. I know a cold worse than death.” Her voice grew darker. “And if he wants to know my name, tell him to call me ‘woman x.’”
“You were caught in her spell,” the cigar store Indian said. “We couldn’t tell you what we had planned for last night.”
My jaw dropped. The succubus snickered.
“Don’t you remember what happened, Joe?” LF said, a light of compassion budding in her gaze.
Num and nuts nodded. The bastards nod at whatever the heck she says.
“Remember what?” I said, drawing a blank.
“Hardy–,” LF began.
“–I went to Staten Island last week and asked for Hardy’s help,” the cigar store Indian said, referring to the ghost of a freed slave, who himself was killed by a demon. “He was there last night. He said we could remove the succubus from the world of the living, and then deal with driving her spirit away.”
“Your friends are idiots if they think such stupid things,” the demon cried, her laughter turning bitter.
“I didn’t see him,” I said.
“Hardy thought of a way to surprise the succubus,” Benny said. “Because she knew she had hooked you completely–she wouldn’t suspect that you would be the one to kill her.”
(Representation of the succubus or “Woman X”)
“Nooooo,” I said and froze in thought as the night came back to me in full. I raised my hands and remembered how I had been running into the demon’s arms. My fingers had grown thin and pointy–most likely Hardy’s doing. In the spectral blue light, my digits had gleamed like icicles. Such was my longing, when I finally came upon the succubus, I had clamped my arms around her. I never wanted her to escape my grasp. In that instant, she had snuck her head into the crook of my neck and bit down. I thrust my hands forcefully into her.
My fingers were like knives. I ripped into her silky flesh. Blood had spilled over me like water, yet she moaned with pleasure. In my arms her body dematerialized, and her spirit seemed to pass into me. It was ecstasy. We were one flesh . . .
“Yes, honey, I’m inside you now. And I have exactly what I came for–your blood. It’s what I wanted, while you have me. Now each night when you go to sleep, I will wake–“
I looked down at my hands and remembered they had been caked with the demon’s blood.
Here are all the posts in this series: Episode Thirty-Two