Chapter 1



The room felt dowdy and overbearing. He placed the pitcher on the pot cupboard where a single candle burned and was met by a powerful memory of a similar private room in which a man attempted to raise his mother's spirit. The carved wooden headboard dominated, its hoofed and horned gargoyle glaring down at the stained, crumpled sheets and the naked woman lying there. The silk pleated bed canopy hung lustreless and a housefly lay dying in its folds. The fly buzzed annoyingly as if in the throes of a final spasm. He pushed his fist into the canopy and watched the creature land at his feet. He trod on it until it fizzed to dust. Heavy red velvet curtains that were held open by grubby tassels shut out much of the light. Dust swarmed in the single light shaft. He wondered whose life it had once clung to and shuddered at the thought of his wife’s father. 

      The woman lay very still. He felt a thickening effect at the back of his throat that seeped through his skin, coating his neck, her near lifelessness arousing him. How like a contented sleeper she looked with her arms above her head, it was only the groove between her eyes that gave away her understanding of the reality of her situation, for she was ensnared like an animal in a trap. He poured himself water from the pitcher and guzzled the cold liquid.

     A swelling infected his loins and heat rose to his belly and chest. He sucked the cut on his lip anticipating a smoother encounter this time, where his roughness met with less tension and more yearning. Her way was now open, her hips broken in, her body conversant to his hands. He moved across her and her cool skin goosefleshed as his thighs rubbed against the jut of her hipbones. He felt the distinct rise of his power and spread her haunches to squeeze into her. She gasped, and he writhed to her body’s small defense. He pinched her feverish cheeks, sunk his hand heavily into the mattress and  lowered his mouth to her neck. She tightened around him. Eager to taste her, he sucked until he drew a bead of blood . 

     He watched for every indication of pain; any indication of pleasure. Despite the grooves in her brow that grew deeper with every slide of his body over hers, her eyes remained resolutely closed. His need for response grew and he held the whole of himself within her for moments of charged silence. The air around them was disturbingly close; unable to bear the feeling, he began to thrust violently. 

     She opened her eyes.

     Within them he saw cruelty, wantonness, disdain. He saw a desire he recognised as depravity and for a moment, he felt fear from the provocation. He pulled her towards him and cupped her head with his hand, driving her face hard into his chest. His hands found the roots of her hair and he twisted until she finally cried out. He wrenched her face away and met her challenging eyes. She tilted her chin, goading him on with a sneer. His mouth cupped hers and he fenced her tongue until she had no choice but to spar back.

     He relented to what felt like paranormal power. She rolled him over and pinned him to the mattress and rose before him like a harpy. She looked disturbingly magnificent. The chink of sunlight girdled her frame and her breath hung over him like a warm wind. He closed his eyes and conjured a vision of a misted sky behind the glowing creature that adorned him with her startling offering. And then the cadence of her flight became smooth and satisfying. 

     The sun shaft faded. 

     He gazed up at her and watched her eyes dilate to black. He flinched even before she bent down and bit his shoulder. Violent gusts of air began to blow from her mouth. The room leapt about him. She scratched at his face, pulled at his hair, and screamed. He felt a huge rushing wave topple over him. He tried to bend his knees, tame her to a more a favourable rhythm, but her power overwhelmed him and she rose up and down relentlessly with no thought for prolonging his pleasure. He watched her face contort and her head flail back. Wet streams ran in rivulets down her face. She tried to pull away and he grabbed her hips holding her fast whilst he released his tension within her. 


When at last he breathed again and some warmth rallied in his heart, then he loosed her from his body and turned her on her back. With satisfaction, he observed the curse she bore in her squandered body and forlorn face, his ruin of her complete.