Just Lie Back and Enjoy By Stephen Faulkner

The woman is young, perhaps in her early to mid-twenties and clad only in a loose fitting, soft linen robe with a sash-tied closure cinched tightly around her slender waist. Her palms are sweaty with anticipation for the service that is soon to be performed for her benefit. She is led through a door marked with a plaque reading “Consummation Room.” The room is long, windowless and furnished with ten identical, specially designed chairs. Stirrups like those employed by gynecologists for pelvic examinations are a part of each chair and gleam brightly in the glare of the overhead lights. The room is white tiled from floor to ceiling; the effect is at once sterile, institutional and uninviting. Apprehensively, the young woman takes the seat indicated to her, the one nearest the far wall, and dutifully places her bare feet in the stirrups before resting her weight against the cushioned back. The chair is very comfortable; she relaxes a little as she tries to calm her anxiety.

At a silent signal the shadow lights came on around her and with them is offered the first illusion of the experience she is about to undergo – that of privacy. It is an illusion because she has been told that in the Consummation Room she will be alone, that the experience will be given her in total solitude. Forget about the other nine chairs with their similarities to the one in which you will be resting, staff members have assured her. You will be all alone is the lie she has been told and which she believes as she unties the sash at her waist and throws open the robe, baring her body to the pleasant warmth of the room. The shadow lights surround her with their enveloping opaqueness, making the small pool of light at its center of the darkness her only reality. Speakers rise from either side of the headrest of the chair and slowly converge on her to cup her ears, encase her in muffled silence. Now she can neither see nor hear the action taking place in the other nine chairs as similarly alluded, willfully gullible women take their appointed seats in the room. Each woman is led in one at a time until each individual set of shadow light comes on to mask the presence of each woman in the room from the others.

The young woman places her hands along the inside of her thighs, sliding them sensuously inward, tracing tickling lines toward her pubis that surrounds and covers her vulva like a feathered mesh as she wonders when it will all begin and what it will be like. She has known the solitary pleasures of masturbation before and so now she focuses on those memories and what she recalls of what her girlfriends had told her of their experiences in the Consummation Room, their descriptions of ecstasy unspeakably wonderful feelings flooding through them and the explosions of emotions coupled with physical reactions never before imagined. Some of the experiences those friends chose to share seemed to hold a rather violent edge with the use of words like “explosive” and “convulsive” and “near to a seizure.” So she had been apprehensive at first, uncertain even when listening to their assurance that the experience was pleasurable, all delirious, wonderful, indescribable orgasmic bliss brought to the nth degree. “Your fingers wouldn’t even know how to begin to do what their machines make you feel,” her best friend insisted. Feel like what? she wanted to know, expecting another horror story of seizures and convulsions. Her friend shook her head as she sank into a private reverie of her own last time in the Consummation Room. She looked up and shrugged. “Best way to describe it,” she said, “is that it’s like going to heaven and coming back again.” With that last, unequivocal assurance the uncertainty that had lodged in the young woman’s mind like the solid, impassible winter ice on a shallow river was broken. The balance of her indecision had been tipped and she agreed to take the chance. So here she is though still understandably apprehensive about the whole thing. And now doubly anxious for it to begin, her curiosity is heightened, nervous shudders vibrating pleasantly through her skin. Nothing to fear, she recalls the words of her friends: no fear of pregnancy or disease and no emotional hang ups. Just the glorious feeling of love (ye, love) surging through you with a flow of incredible orgasms without any emotional obligations owed to anyone.

The womblike warmth of her little private sanctuary sooths her and she closes her eyes as the volume of the speakers slowly rise, encasing her in its own little world of sound. The music she hears as a soft background is that which, on her preliminary questionnaire, she had noted as her favorite band and the voice, whispering from the shadows, ripples through her naked body like an aural caress, a fantasy coming true. Sonorous yet sweet, it speaks to her intimately, knowingly. If asked later what that voice from the speakers had so sweetly and caringly said and promised, she would be unable to recall. It would be like trying to remember a dream that has already begun to fade back into the depths of the subconscious. All she would be able to say, then, would be that it was just wonderful, say that she had the perfect lover. She would say he as if she had been with a real flesh and blood man whose words, caresses and expert ministrations were true and not simply the product of the answers she had given on a printed form – loving, considerate, gentle, deep-voiced, sexy, caring. HE as a person, a man, a human being, a lover known, knowing and real. The illusion, then, gains momentum.

A cool flat surface lowers and rests across her forehead, molding itself to the forward cranial slope above the eyes and is soon equalized to the temperature of the skin and is quickly forgotten, Sonically, it probes the pleasure centers of the young woman’s brain and, finding their particular wave patterns, it hums softly in waiting as the man-shaped phallic thing rises and patiently poises between her stirrup spread legs. Were her eyes open so she could witness its rise from its holster concealed underneath the specialized chair, she might interpret it intended use as for something vile and wicked, its thickness and length as a weapon of some kind. But her eyes are closed, the tendrils of the high frequency stimulations focusing her attention on the artificially produced sensations which are running through her body and the responses those stimulations cause: the raising of gooseflesh on the skin of her arms, lower abdomen and thighs; the gradual rise in body temperature; the tingling heat that runs like liquid fire in concentric circles around the aureoles of her nipples; the increased rate of her heartbeat; the unexpected panting labor of her breathing; the increased flow of vaginal secretions; the sudden giddy clutch and release of her abdominal and vaginal muscles.

Words are no longer heard as the wet tickle of kisses are felt up and down her naked torso, the strange sensation of a second tongue in her mouth which she accepts, invites, with which she eagerly plays and wrestles with the strength and slippery slide of her own tongue. The face she sees is of her own creation, her own beautiful fantasy lover. The illusion is now so complete that he is no longer just a notion, an idea, but a solid reality to her, a man with a face (no matter how shadowily seen) and a body with heft, texture, heat. She moans in rapturous bliss as he lowers his weight on top of her, his groin pressed to hers, his exited (exciting, inflaming) sex so near her vulva that she is overcome with the intensity of her desire to feel him inside of her. She says something encouraging that no one else hears, something mildly demanding. The stimulator on her brow also senses this and reacts, moves the progression into its next phase.

The small motors that position the dome ended dowel at the splayed pink juncture of her thighs whine and whir, unheard by the young woman who is bathed only in sounds that she has chosen, the lover’s voice which she has described. Subtly, the sonic stimulator adds the new tone which is necessary to bring her to the final, heightened need. As always with new subjects it comes quickly and the stimulator compensates for the young woman’s swift reaction by shifting directly to what the programmers of the machine call the “consummation tone.” Blood floods tiny capillaries, engorging the center of her clitoris and she lets out a weak cry at the unaccustomed sensation before sinking back into the increasing frequency and intensity of the ebb and flow of her building orgasm. “Don’t be alarmed,” says the voice soothingly as the little motors move the pseudo-penis to touch the glistening, sensitive flesh of her labia. “I’ll be gentle,” it says as the thing eases forward, achieves a slow and gradual penetration into her vaginal canal, making her a virgin no more. This is not a thought she has at that moment, only a consideration later brought to mind: virgin no more. Consummation. The upper extension of the device massages and stimulates her clitoris in a way, as her friends had promised, that she could never have managed alone with only her own artful fingers and furiously working wrist. The feeling of fullness, of being lovingly violated along with everything she had been warned to expect in her bodily responses are all there, coming at her, flooding her in a continuous barrage of stimuli and reactions: the convulsive intensity, the rapturous seizures of both body and mind, the explosive tingling running the gamut of nerve endings from head to toe though centering on the genitals, breasts and guts. They whorl and rise, expand and condense within her in an ecstatic dancing rush that seems to go on forever. Eternity must be like this, she thinks with what mind her reeling emotions have left her; heaven and hell gloriously intermixed.

The words are all wrong, she finds herself thinking as the sensations wane, the orgasmic responses lessen and die, the ersatz hard on is slowly removed from her vagina to be sterilized and housed in preparation for its next use. Her private lover of the mind kisses her his last and draws his weight and warmth, his beautiful sexy voice away. Explosions, convulsions, seizures, yes but how to describe it all without frightening away one who has not experienced it. Soft explosions? Loving seizures? Convulsions emptied of fear? Little deaths? Journey beyond self and soul into the enclosing, embracing, protecting arms of…?

A warning sound foretells the end of privacy. She draws the robe closed around her as the various pieces of paraphernalia are drawn away from her skin. She clutches the soft cloth tightly at the throat and navel as she momentarily forgets the sash-tie in her rush to cover her nakedness. The shadow lights dim, then blanch, The Consummation Room, fully illuminated now, is still white tiled and institutionally characterless, holds ten specially designed chairs once more.

She walks down the row to the exit door, is surprised when she touches a seat for balance and feels the warmth, the telltale sticky texture of another woman’s recent “consummation.” She smiles. Illusions are a humorous thing when understood, she thinks, a business after all, one which provides a necessary outlet. Soon. Her mind conjures the word unbidden as she leaves the Room and walks down the hall to the Changing Facility where her clothes and possessions are safely locked away. Soon I will come here again.

Consummation: the word surfaces in her mind as she drops the robe as she stands before the locker. Orgasm, illusion, ecstasy, all for a fixed price. Price: the only obligation and that all had been dealt with at the front desk. Yes, she thinks again, I’ll definitely be back here again. Hadn’t her friends told her that one time wouldn’t be sufficient? Such a harmless addiction, really, they said. And now her own voice would echo their wonder and certainty her face become a mirror to the looks on their faces, softened and frozen in remembered rapture.

She changes into her street clothes in silence. On her face is the same distracted, lost-in-reverie expression exhibited on the faces of the other nine nude and semi-clothed women in the room with her. The Changing Facility – nothing more than a locker room, really, as it always is after individual “consummations” have been completed, a place where modesty is superfluous, a room peopled by women momentarily blinded to their surroundings by their obsessive thoughts.

On the street again the young woman, overcome with a sudden clarity of recall and reason, realizes that the word chosen by her friends to describe the experience meted out in the Consummation Room is quite an apt on: addiction. No wonder the Center for Sexual Fulfillment turns such a handsome profit each year. Ecstasy, once proven to be a safe and available commodity, will always be in demand.

The thought is lost, however, clarity of insight hazed over as she mentally tallies her savings in order to determine when she will have enough in the bank to afford her next :consummation.” The end result quickly calculated, is that she will have to wait a full month. Not soon enough, she tells herself dejectedly as the crosswalk light turns to green.

I don’t know if he will wait that long for me to return.

The Cost That Lies Between Heaven and Earth By Matt Piskun

The sweet perfume wafting from the grape vines was strong that morning, making one dizzy despite the fruits lack of fermentation. Isabella studied the figure before her, its features hidden in the shadows of the mid-summer sun.

“Do you know what it means to call me, child?” The beast’s growl was deep and rhythmic.

“I do.” Isabella was not afraid. The young girl moved slowly forward, struggling to contain the anxiousness brimming inside her.

“I sense a kind heart in you. It is merely buried under several layers of venial sins. Why do you seek me? ”

“My brother, Henry, has stolen my inheritance left to me by my father, the King.” Her olive eyes narrowed. “He leaves me with nothing. Am I to beg for crusts of bread? Furthermore, the family fool, Alfonzo now threatens my path to the throne. Spain is my birthright, but he desires it as his own and would toss me aside as one would a barren cow.”

Sensing her ambition the figure in the shadows smiled, its breathing now faster. “I don’t know if I’m drunk from the nectar that drips off these vines, but I think I am falling in love with you, child.”

Isabella’s cheeks flushed pink as she moved toward him. “Let me see your face.”

Emerging from the darkness came a young male demon. The sunlight made his skin, the color of ripe plum flesh, all the more brilliant. He was slender and muscular with two small horn buds protruding from his forehead. Two majestic wings of burgundy leather were folded neatly behind his back.

Isabella smiled and extended her hand to be kissed.

“I may be a youthful demon but I am no fool. I can help you reach the throne.” He looked into her eyes of lime-colored sea and knew this was what she was waiting for. “Although royal blood may course through your nubile body, it’s you who will be subservient to me.” The young hell-spawn spread his great wings and hovered above her.

Isabella took pause. She had vowed to never let any man hold dominion over her. Surrounded by incompetent males trying to prevent her ascent to the throne, she knew in her heart that she would still one day be queen and any man that was lucky enough would be her king. However, this was no mere man that floated above the earth before her. A feeling spread through her that she’d never known before. An ember of admiration and desire lit inside Isabella and the beating of leather wings now fanned it to flames. Isabella took a knee and bowed before his floating body.

“Save yourself for me, girl.” He grabbed hold of his horns. “When you become a woman I will come back for you. It is with your first blood that we will consummate our arrangement.”

Isabella, looked up into the swirling ash of his eyes and told him, “For my rightful place, I will wait for you…”

“Ingot, my name is Ingot.” With that being said he sailed up above the clouds and out of sight as Isabella clutched her pounding heart.

# # #

Father Juan de Valera watched with pursed lips, shaking his head back and forth. He pulled his beard, dotted with black hairs drowning in a chaotic sea of grey, into a fine point. His queen spoke through clenched teeth of sheen ivory and cruelty.


A young woman kneels before her, nude and covered in binding chains. Long, red hair sticks to her face as she trembles with fear.

“I can smell your sex, that which you give so freely and without commitment from God. Whip her again!”

The high priest, whose fat and swollen face is hidden beneath a brown hood, cracks his whip. It sounds like thunder and the young girl whimpers as the lashes tear thin, scarlet lines into her milk-white flesh.

“Again!” Isabella commands, her fist raised.

The priest snaps his whip repeatedly and the wooden cross hanging from his neck swings back and forth wildly. Large droplets of sweat fly from the darkness of his hood.

Every cry from the naked girl elicits a small burst of excitement from Isabella. She presses her thighs together tightly, enjoying the hot pleasure building between her legs. When she can no longer endure the mounting desire she commands the high priest to take the girl away and convert her to God. “If she does not admit to believing, make her do so! Spare not one inch of her!” A sweaty smile spreads beneath the hood of the priest.

Isabella, Queen of Spain, tries to hide her lust as she speaks but her eyes, wild with desire expose her growing passion. “I’ll pray for your success, priest.” Father de Valera, his tanned and wizened face looking all the more angular from his sharpened beard, watches as she turns and enters her private quarters. He makes the sign of the cross, whispering the names of the holy trinity as he turns to leave, unseen.

Closing the door behind her, the Queen loosens then drops the purple ceremonial robe she wears exposing her scarred skin. A myriad of criss-crossing magenta scars decorate her breasts and abdomen. She runs her hands over them and shudders as her fingertips play with the grooves in her skin.

“I yearn for you,” Isabella moans. A small flame deep inside her flickers, reminding her of the first time she laid eyes upon him. She thinks back to that day as a young girl in her garden, but she can no longer remember the sweet smell of the flowering vines.

# # #

Her scars writhe as if alive in the candlelight that illuminates her bedroom. Ingot sits in a chair with his arms resting on his now sizeable belly.

“You are a wicked woman, Bella.”

“I need satisfaction, my lord.” Isabella kneels before him.

Ingot stands and strokes the great, curved horns that sit upon his head. “So be it.”

She takes the demon’s member in her mouth and works it feverishly until her pleasing him results in the monster’s orgasm. He releases his semen upon her chest and it sizzles leaving a new pattern of fresh scars that ooze bright red in their infancy. Isabella moans with pleasure and writhes in pain, unable to tell the two apart.

Ingot sits back down in his chair and sighs. “Must I always please?”

“I’ve another favor to ask of you.”

“You’ve such greed in you! Did your brother, Alfonso, not suffer from an unfortunate case of poisoning, along with a slit throat for good measure? You were there grinning in the shadows as he choked, gurgling on his own blood, knowing I did this for you, for your crown. And what of your other sibling, Henry? For wronging you I removed any chance he could have to bear children. Like grapes his manhood were in my talons, oozing from the palm of my hand.” He ran a long black fingernail across her face racing her cheekbone. “And yet you need more?” The swirling embers that made up his eyes grew a little brighter. “I suppose this is why I love you.”

“My kingdom needs land. The people demand it from their Queen and I am not accustomed to disappointing my citizens.”

The demon smiles with jagged, yellow stained teeth and waves a hand in Isabella’s direction, causing his stomach to shake. “You are a good Queen. There is a man who prays to my black kingdom for fame and discovery. He’s not a Spaniard but he will suffice if you will have him. His name is Columbus. I will deliver him to you and he will discover new lands in the name of Spain, allowing you to keep hold of your coronet.”

Isabella winced as she put her ceremonial robes back on. “I will do as I must. Now I must return to the business of running my kingdom.”

“And I think I will pay a visit to mine.”

# # #

Father Juan de Valera finishes his tapas of chorizo and bread then puts on the surplice and purple stole he wears for the sacrament of confession. He’ll confront her today. He has finally seen enough and will tell her that he can no longer sit in silence as she performs atrocities in the good lord’s name.

The torture, the sacrifice, and the experiments must come to an end.

His Queen comes to him in a simple green dress, her straight, brown hair, tipped with gold, flows over her bare shoulders. She likes to appear a simple woman when confessing to him.

“Good afternoon, Father.”

“Blessed to see you, Isabella.”

She will not allow herself to be called Queen during penance. Isabella takes the velvet, padded seat across from Father de Valera who twirls the grey hair of his beard between his thumb and forefinger.

“I no longer love my King.”

“We must meet together, the three of us.”

“No. He is more of a house pet than a man. I no longer know what to do with him.”

“We can annul the marriage if you feel the relationship can’t be mended.”

“That carries risk, father. The people grow restless and I do not want to give them further cause with the belief that I have chosen an impotent and spineless king who can’t handle his woman. I will pray for an answer.”

Isabella rises to leave but the priest quickly stands and raises his hand, signaling for her to wait.

“What is so pressing that you choose to waste my time?” The gold of her hair twinkles as if full of stars in the candle light of the tabernacle.

“That young girl today…”

“The harlot being whipped?”

“Yes. What became of her?”

“Are you spying on me father?”de Valera twisted his beard into a fine point. “All that concerns our loving God finds it’s way to my ears.

The Queens eyes looked black in the deep shadows of the church. “I don’t know yet, but whatever happens will surely be God’s will and then I’m sure it will make its way to your foolish old ears.”

“You talk of God’s will and yet I heard her cries of torture,” he looks Isabella in the eyes as he speaks, “as I have the screams of all the others.”

The queen’s expression does not hide her surprise at the priest’s audacity. The sparkle in her hair vanishes as she stands. “The Lord knows what I do in his name and he allows it.”

“It is not God’s place to forbid you, it is your choice. Also, I respectfully disagree that God would want his teachings forced upon others.” Father de Valera bows his head and stares at the deep wrinkles around his knuckles in silence.

“You dare! You crusty, old eunuch! You may spread his word but the Lord speaks through me.”

The priest sighs. His highness’s reaction is expected. He looks at the silver cross that adorns the bookcase beside him. Its rubies sparkle in the candlelight as his Queens hair did moments ago. The images of Christ dying on the cross, the spear poking through his ribs, the briny rags stuffed in his mouth, fill his mind. He can feel his lord’s last breath across his cheek and finds the courage to truly speak his mind. “What sort of sins are you atoning for? What possesses you to produce converts in such a manner?”

“I do what I must.”

“You serve the devil when you act this way.”

Isabella’s olive eyes narrow and her hands ball into ring covered fists. Her chin quivers as she speaks. “Wrong! You are wrong! What I do, I do to fight the devil! You may have read of him in your texts, but I have met him, touched him! I create an army of worshipers whose belief in God’s kingdom will oppose such evil. I do what needs to be done!” Spit sprays from her thin, red lips, “Cross me or speak out against me again and you will meet God much sooner than you desire!”

The Queen turns and leaves, slamming the wooden door of the church with such force the stain glass windows quiver. Juan de Valera sighs long and hard then picks up the silver cross next to him. “You do what you must.” He pulls the top of the cross off, unsheathing a steel blade. He looks at his reflection and frowns. “Now I must do as I must.”

# # #

Isabella tosses and turns on her bed. The silk cloth that adorns her canopy sways as if alive. She sweats into her cotton sheets as her heart races. Her king sleeps alone in an adjacent bedroom, but her thoughts are not of him, they are of Ingot and Father de Valera.

A bead of sweat slowly slides down from between her breasts onto her stomach. Isabella feels as though the aged priest saw right through her. Maybe he knew her secrets, but who could read his withered old face? It hardly mattered if he did. The price of her throne was Ingot and Christ forgive her she loved the foul beast. Ingot was the only male she had ever been with that truly understood her. Despite loving as only a devil can; she thinks his feelings are genuine nonetheless. It’s with great sadness that she builds a kingdom of Christians to combat her lover’s dark realm, but the web of power stretches wide and is taught with deceit. Just as her sovereign duties must be necessitated, so too must the obligations to her soul be met. Her sheets are now soaked with sweat as she wonders how much more her conscious can take. A decision must soon be made and tomorrow she will make it. Satisfied with this resolution, Isabella closes her eyes to sleep, but as she does Ingot appears before her.

# # #

It’s dark. He can smell the wisps of smoke from the recently snuffed out candles that line the hallway to the Queen’s quarters. Father de Valera shuffles quietly across the stone floor his blade gripped tightly in one hand, the other stretched out before him feeling into the shadows. He stops as the darkness shifts before him. The priest flattens himself against the wall and hears what sounds like the scrapping of claws against stone. The air moves around him and he feels a cold, heavy darkness pressing upon his skin. He prays to God the almighty for courage then continues forward. He pictures, for fortitude, his lord carrying the True Cross, whipped and bleeding as his crown of thorns tears into him. Finally he comes to the Queen’s door made of carved cypress. De Valera hears talking inside and puts his ear to the door. In between beats of his heart he can hear Isabella shouting. “I love you! I love you! You are a part of me!”

Father listens for a response, but hears no answer to the queen’s admissions. He presses his ear more tightly against the sculpted wooden door. If she were with someone else he would have to terminate his holy mission. The priest is old and tired. He does not have the strength, physically or spiritually, to take two lives, but he fears he will never have the courage to get this far again. He holds his breath to hear more clearly and is quite sure he hears only Isabella’s voice inside. He presses his hand against the door, finding it unlatched. After making the sign of the cross he slowly pushes Isabella’s door open.

The door opens with a slight creak that may as well have been as deafening as canon fire. His Queen spins around to see who has entered. She is naked and the priest gasps, not at her nude form but at the great maze of scars that covers her flesh in various shades of scarlet.

“You abandon me now?” She turns and shouts to a fluttering shade of black silk that hangs over an open window. A small vase of citrus scented oil is heating on a black iron stand in the fireplace, making the room smell fresh and sweet.

Still lost in the labyrinth of maroon gashes that decorate her peach colored skin, Father de Valera keeps his knife at his side. Isabella grabs hold of the poker that lay across the hearth and swings it across the priest’s face. He screams, dropping his knife and covering his face with his hands. He gags as blood pours out from between his clamped fingers.

“You dare, priest, to invade my privacy? First you question my motives then you come to me uninvited?” She looks down at the jewel-encrusted blade on the floor. “And you have come to kill me.”

Father de Valera reaches out for the blade but Isabella brings her weapon down across his hand snapping his fingers. The priest shouts out in pain and brings his gnarled fingers to his chest. Blood drips steadily from his beard. He gets to his feet and charges her, hitting Isabella in the chest with his shoulder and knocking the poker from her hands.

She lands on her back by the fireplace, the priest on top of her, his one good hand pressing down on her throat. Isabella puts both hands around his wrist to remove it but can’t. Blood from the father’s nose falls steadily on her naked torso filling the scared channels in her flesh. De Valera’s eyes flicker with the fires roaring light. The Queen reaches behind her into the fireplace, grabs hold of a smoldering log and brings it down across his head, knocking him off with a showering of embers.

The priest rolls onto his back, consciousness coming and going, with Isabella standing over him. Her breasts heave as she struggles for breath. Queen Isabella’s body is sticky with blood and ash. She holds the smoking log overhead as the priest weakly covers his face. Suddenly, Isabella drops the wood in her hands. The Queen turns as she hears the beating of wings.

“Coward, you come to me now that the fight is over?”

Ingot comes in through the open window, the black window shade across his shoulders resembling a cape. “I can not lay hands on a holy man. It’s a treaty older than time itself.”

“You disappoint me, Ingot. For that you will pleasure me.”

The demon flies in on outstretched wings and lands in front of the fireplace. Isabella approaches him on her knees. ‘This disappointment is the end’, she thinks, ‘I will launch a grand inquisition today, forcefully shaping, as if from clay, an army of Catholics. Their faith will save me. I may give my body to hell but my soul is still Gods!’

Father de Valera opens his blood-encrusted eyes to see Isabella on her knees talking to herself. Her hands stroke the vase of boiling citrus oil as she pours it onto her chest, searing the skin where it hits causing more wounds to bubble and blister. She wails and writhes in ecstasy.

de Valera starts to crawl towards the blade that is still on the floor. He inches forward and grips the jeweled handle, but when he does he sees Isabella’s reflection in the blade. “Don’t worry, lover, I will take care of the priest.”

With blade in hand he turns over to face Isabella who is holding the iron poker in her hands. He points the blade at her. “You’re mad! There is nobody here but you and I!”

Whispering she tells him, “Tell God I do what I must.” Then the Queen drives the poker through his ribs.

With his hands wrapped around the iron protruding from his chest, Father de Valera’s vision begins to fade as shadows start to ebb out the light. He gasps for air as his punctured lung collapses. Isabella turns and walks toward the fireplace. Once more she appears to be talking to no one. From within the encroaching darkness the priest hears the rhythmic beating of his dying heart; or is it, he wonders, the beating of wings?


Devil’s Delight By Matthew Wilson

Nicola could see the castle from her bedroom window, but her poverty bought her no closer to it. How she wished for the bright lights of the city, instead of rotting like summer fruit back here in the suburbs.

She could even see the white dome of the palace, if she squinted she had burnt it onto the back of her eye lids like an old missed memory. Was it too much to ask that a pauper be a princess in desperate times. If only for a day? Wishes were not so rare things in the west though she had yet to meet a genie.

Her mother was old and dying, and after working her fingers to the bone to get food on the table Nicola felt the old woman deserved a better final few days then to cough up oil and slowly succumb to the darkness.

Nicola told herself that she did it for her mom, and that helped with a little of the guilt. Though she had never stolen anything in her life. She had always been a goodie – goodie as mother wished. And yet it had gotten her nothing.

Just hunger pains.

A mother dying of cancer, too poor to afford the medicine to cease the never ending agony as her body was eaten away by tiny, angry cells. She had to do it. For her mother. For herself.

She broke into the mansion.

Not the palace for the guards would be out in force for the recent coronation. She wouldn’t get through the gates without an invite. Maybe she would loose her head, and then who would look after her mother?

She had to take it nice and steady. One foot at a time. Especially when she started climbing the wall. The poison ivy bled through her torn gloves and made her hands hardened by manual labour itch madly. But she thought of mother relying on her for medicine. For money.

She blew on her bust and bleeding fingernails and kept climbing, telling herself not to look down. But she did. She might have fallen, a distance that would have killed her if she hadn`t smelt the perfume and her body tensed because of it. Her numb fingers made fists in its spell and glued to the ivy.

What was that beautiful aroma? She had never been to the river before, though an open sewer ran at the back of her dilapidated home, she supposed that this was what the fresh water exotic flowers smelt like. Crushed and bottled to heighten a ladies attraction perhaps, but losing none of it`s wonder.

How much would the lower class pay for a scent a lady of power put on her body.

Nicola knew nothing of the woman she was robbing, and for her conscience that was how she wished to keep it. The rumours had been going across the houses since she had moved in. It had taken three furniture carriages pushing wheezing, plodding Horses close to death with exhaustion to get all her possessions here.

Which meant she was rich. And by proxy a selfish cow. Who needed so much nice stuff when she had nothing but a smile for the world and good wishes for her mother. None had bought her a penny while Nicola supposed this woman hadn`t worked a day in her life for a blood line inheritance.

Didn`t Nicola deserve some good things in her life too? Things that glittered. Intoxicated by the sweet smell she peeked her eyes over the lip of the window frame and checking the coast was clear quickly climbed inside.

The night was muggy and restless. Likewise, she would have left her windows at home open. If she could have afforded the glass. Breaking and entering was not her thing, but the smell was a candle and she was the moth, and obeyed.

I`m coming she thought and nearly broke her neck as she tripped upon a sleeping puppy curled up upon a rug dreaming of bones. The white shaggy terrier snapped awake, howling in pain with its tail bent in the wrong direction as Nicola tried to find her feet, and not smash her head on the polished floor.

Stupid thing.

Nicola had a natural empathy for little creatures, being some one who was used to be trodden on bigger people. She cooed at it until it seemed to gain courage and trundled out, broken tail wagging from under its hiding place of the foot cushion.

Nicola had never seen a foot cushion before. She had old curtains for bed sheets.

Rich indeed. The woman would not miss a few sheets and small objects Nicola could fit into her pockets and take down the pawn shop for mothers medicine. Seemingly mollified, Nicola tickled the pooches ear once, he licked her thumb and forgave her.

“Just our little secret, eh?” she smiled and wished that she had bought a bag.

She felt like a kid in a candy shop. There was too much to take in. Too many pretty things to steal. She felt overwhelmed. The bedroom had a feminine charm and satin sheets. The rose flowered wallpaper made her feel she was in a summer orchard.

A mirror stood like an alert guard on a table surrounded by make up material and experimentally, Nicola smudged some on her lips. It tasted of strawberries. The dog yipped and watched as Nicola pulled a drape down from the bed and started squirreling items into it like a road sweep cleaning the clutter.

Anything bright, anything shiny that promised a profit. A pretty penny. It would make a hell of a racket, but maybe it would be safer to drop all of this out of the window rather then risk clambering down the wall with it tied round her waist. Should the wind pick up or she overbalanced it would mean the end of her.

No, better safe then sorry.

She couldn`t carry the bag of goodies large as a portable TV now, but she was a stubborn young woman and would drag it all the way home even if the skid mark`s in the grass led all the way to her home, if that was what it took to get mom better.

“Bye, boy.” she said as she headed for the window, and apologised for her original mistake as the dog rolled over onto her back to be tickled and Nicola saw she was missing the makings of a man.

The dog wasn`t too offended. It didn`t bring blood when it bit her ankle. Not deeply. Hardly a nip, but she had to cover her mouth before she moaned.

“What the hell was that for?” she asked. Was she really having an argument with a dog? She hadn`t believed them capable of being petty. But there was no wound but a small bruise. No scar, no-

Nicola dropped the bag as the room started spinning.

What the hell had that dog being drinking, Cobra venom? She lay down to stop her cracking her skull when the darkness fell. And a moment later her eyes closed, then it did.

The first she knew of reality was the small dog, yipping as she danced on her chest, her paws had its claws filed to polished perfection showing its owners vanity., It did no damage to her skin.

But the handcuffs did.

“Gerrof.” Nicola moaned, tried to rub the sleep from her eyes and heard her wrists jingle. It was no bracelet. “What the hell is this?”

She was tied to the bed, a limb fitted to each four posts of the bed. Instinctly her knees tried to buckle together, she felt exposed with her legs open so wide. Her mother would think it most unladylike.

A chair squeaked in the next room.

“Behave.” the voice said and the puppy licked her face.

“Go away.” Nicola said, then turned her head toward the shadow. “Wait, I can explain. Its not what it looks like.”
“It looked like you were trying to rob me.” the voice was light like a teacher would not think too harsh a child might not know two plus two. An aunt with sweets to give.

Nicola felt her skin erupt in small stabs of prickly heat, the sweat lathering her lessened only the white iron tip of each sting but not removed it. Still the puppy was watching her with those dopey adoring eyes, annoying her.

“Look. I`ll pay you back. Can`t we work something out?”

Nicola heard footsteps, a clack clack of high heels. The woman was coming and her imagination worked against her. Of course she would have many small and wicked yellow teeth, a wart on her nose. A cauldron to eat her bones.

“In my business one must be careful. I have not lived so long being in plain sight where anyone might remove my head once I sleep. It is best to be cute and cuddly, to lie under peoples nose so that they might walk over me, their back to me. There is no shame is keeping your life at any cost. A knife between the shoulders works just as well as between the breasts.”

Nicola wondered what she was on about, realised the woman might actually be insane before she realised she couldn`t breath, their was a heavy weight on her chest, crushing her, pressing her into the bed. She blinked and the woman on top of her cocked her head so that her swan feather coloured hair – the same as the Terriers- swept from out her eyes.

She shifted her weight, and let Nicola breath.

“Where the hell did you come from?”

The witch smiled, thought her pretty, but not too bright. It had been so long since she had had a friend. A partner. Humans were so fragile. They died so easily. She would have to take her time with this one.

“Be still now.” she purred. “This will only hurt as much as you allow it.”

From her mouth, Nicola detected that same sweet flowery smell, and thought she had seen those same adoring blue eyes before. Though she had crone hair as white as the bottom layer of an ashtray, Nicola thought she was quite the most beautiful creature she had lain eyes on. She radiated youth and sweet promise. The witch giggled as if recalling a joke to which she alone knew the answer.

She licked the tears out of Nicola`s eyes and slid down her body like a ribbon scarf caught in the wind. She did not bother removing the thief’s skirt, the witch doubted it was worth a penny. Later she would have better. If she behaved.

Nicola gasped as the witch ripped her skirt open between her knees and groin. Nicola opened her mouth to scream and the witch spoke first. Then Nicola had no mouth at all. Below her nose was as smooth as her forehead. She raged against the membrane of flesh against her gums but nothing came out beside some heaves through her nostrils.

“I would like to kiss such lips.” the witch smiled again. “So be a dear and make me feel inclined to keep them on you.”

Nicola felt something rip on her face and suddenly she was moving her jaw, breathing through her mouth. The witch had returned her mouth, but only if she did not use it but for her own pleasure.

Nicola was wearing panties – despite her messy clothes, mom always insisted she kept these clean and change them every day on the off chance that she was run down by a horseless carriage.

The witch put two fingers together and touched the panties tag, then lower, started massaging her clitoral hood through the fabric. Round and round in a dime sized semi circle as if she were drawing a sun in the sand.

Nicola crushed her eyes, trying to look away, but she moaned, the witch felt her body tremble and smelt her fingers. “I think no man has touched you. In a world where women sell their bodies for the price of a meal your morals are something to be proud of, thief.”
I`m not at thief, Nicola thought, defiant. She wanted to curse, to call the witch all the names she knew and her mother didn`t think she did. But she bit her lips till they bled, she did not wish to lose her mouth again.

The witch wiped the saliva gleaming on her top lip in the candlelight off and pulled Nicolas legs up onto her shoulder. “Up we go.”

Before Nicola could blink, the witch had removed her panties and lain them on the floor. For once, she didn`t mind the mess. “That`s better.”

“Wait-” Nicola said, but the witch, squatting drove her tongue forward, in, penetrating the wet warmth of her insides. Her right hand pushed aside her labia and the left massaged her clitoris. She was not a selfish person by nature, she would let the thief enjoy it.

That heat rushed through Nicola`s body again. Her cheeks burnt and every goose bump became a volcano leaking lava, her skin burnt and she thought she might catch fire as her being betrayed her and she screamed.

Now she`ll take my mouth, damn it.

But the witch was busy, using her own mouth, working her tongue between Nicolas thicker lip`s. She might have been a fool stuck in a desert, happening upon an oasis, driving her face harder between Nicola`s groin. She was sure in her fury the witch might bite down.

Nicola twitched as the bottom fell out of her stomach, something welled then breached, the witch opened her mouth as Nicola screamed again and ejaculated. The witch swallowed as the hot brine coloured liquid splashed her like a hosing severed jugular.

Nicola sagged, spent. She heard the witch laugh again, not wipe her face as she stood and scratched her ear like puppies liked. The juice around her mouth like she had drunk bad milk direct from the jug fell about her black high heels. They clicked once as she moved forward, lay herself gently across Nicola and kissed her.

Nicola gagged as she tasted herself. She tried to turn her head but the witch lapped at her tongue like a thirsty pup. She twisted Nicolas nipples, then spread her own legs as bizarrely she put all her weight forward, her head pressing over Nicolas shoulder.

“Ssh, this is my favourite part. My mom used to do this trick to my father once in a while. He couldn`t walk for a week.”

The witch said some words from a dead language Nicola knew not and gasped with horror as she felt something hot and fleshly dangle from the witch press against her thigh.

“No, don`t-”
The witch grabbed the bed either side of Nicola`s head, creasing the sheet`s and cheered. “Here, we go.”

Everything went white as the witch plunged forward, impaling violently Nicola with her prick. They stuck together and Nicola tried to bite the witches ear but she must have sensed the thief’s fury for she pushed herself up on her arms. She stayed there like an aborted press up, savouring the thief’s anger, pulsing electric like through her. Making her vibrate.

Making the witch purr.

Then softly, remembering her promise not to bruise the thief’s insides, nor wear her out too quickly, the witch started working her hips slowly back ad forth. Primarily frustrated for she was used to a quicker pace. Wham – bam. But this was the girls first time judging by the blood she felt slip over her temporary scrotum.

“How`s it for you?” she said for something to say, to keep up the connection of a partner rather then having any genuine matter for her opinion. Then in time with her grinds she moaned. “Take it, take it.”

Nicola took it, trying not to cry as the witch pounded into her, clamped her lips against her ear lobe and nibbled like a dogs chew toy. But she bought no blood, seemingly some leverage to hang on to as she upped the pace. Shuddered. Howled as she erupted.

“Oh fuck!”


The witch lay on her, light as a blanket and suddenly, desire expended, she became tender. Hugging the thief like they were old friends.

“Kiss me.” she said and didn`t wait for an answer. Nicola didn`t open her mouth but a peck seemed sufficient for the witch. “Can`t lay here all day you know. We`re not on holiday.”

She gave Nicola another quick kiss on the cheek like a mother wishing her child well on school and suddenly Nicola was free. She heard a clink and the chains fell off her. She could breath again, the room stopped spinning and her venom had a target.

She could pick up the bedroom lamp and break the witches face open.

But first she would complete her own promise.

She would use her mouth to tear her mouth off.

She would call her all the names under the sun. But when she tried to. She did not talk.

She barked.

The witch smiled and tickled the terriers ear. “Naughty girl. You know your not allowed on the furniture but you`ll learn in time.” While the witches desire was gone the witch had no need for a partner, but a friend, some company was always welcome.

What harm could a small terrier do? Certainly not tie her to a stake and burn her to ash as her own father had. Honestly, that man could not take a joke. Or being dominated.

Nicola barked and barked but the witch took no action but to tie a blue collar gently round her furry neck. “Come on, dear. Lets go for a walk. Polly, do you like that name? I think its suits you as a dog.”

Later, when she felt frisky the witch would return her to her human form.

Maybe tomorrow.

If she behaved.