Feature Writer: Connie k
Feature Title: THIN AS PAPER, THICK AS BLOOD 3
Story Codes: Erotic Horror, MC, FF, Domination
Synopsis: When Jackie gets a job at iconic WomaNation magazine, her future seems bright. But, within its walls, dark forces have plans for Jackie of their own.
XP Notes: Thank you Connie for sending me this story — It reminds me why I like reading and writing erotic stories — why my search is not over and finding enchantment in pleasures that I will never experience, breath life into my emptiness and darkness. And you spin a great yarn!
Thin As Paper, Thick As Blood
“Black is the colour of womb and tomb; we meet at night on the dark of the moon. White is the colour of bone and ash; to speak to the dead we bathe and fast. Red is the colour of blood and death; we rub the bones and give them breath.” — Sarah Anne Lawless, from ‘The Necromancer’s Chant’
Drifting, without having to think. The shards of reality that crept into her head were too much to bear. Because with that reality was a desire so strong she felt it on her body, trembling like waves against heated sand. And the wetness—a nearly endless stream between her legs. What little of her waking mind that was active was singularly focused on that desire. The desire to submit. The desire to submit to Sonya.
She could barely make her nightly walk to Sonya’s apartment without sagging against the hallway wall, spasming, and rubbing her palm roughly against her clit.
The countless hours of coffee, answering the phones, running errands … they were meaningless minutes. They kept her from thinking about what Sonya had done to her. What Sonya was planning on doing to her. What she was willing—desperately willing—to do.
There were stars in the sky, and the December coolness on her skin was a welcomed change from the constant heat of arousal she felt once she stepped inside the Tresh Building. Standing outside her apartment, she tried to think of what her life was like before Lorraine and WomaNation. But it was too hard. She knew only this—when the night ended, she’d be back in Sonya’s bed.
Jackie longed to be empty.
The black limo stopped at her feet. She didn’t move until the driver ushered her inside. She was herself. And she was frightened.
Lorraine moved her clutch to allow Jackie to sit beside her, facing forward in the limo. A hand quickly stroked her thigh from her knee to the hem of her black dress.
“You look lovely, dear. As I’ve told you, you’ll be my escort for the evening. We’re going to an art exhibit opening. The gallery’s owner is a friend. Just a few, quick hellos, peruse the gallery, then home.” Lorraine leaned in for Jackie’s ear. “I know you’re just dying to get back to Sonya.”
Jackie’s breath caught. She felt the light tremors in her hips. She couldn’t be sure if that’s what made Lorraine grin.
“I often go to these things with one of the male models from the magazine, but as you’ve certainly figured out by now, I prefer the company of women. Still, concessions need to be made for appearance’s sake. I want men of influence to believe they can help themselves through me. Of course, I want them influenced by me.”
Another whisper in her ear: “That’s where the real control is, Jackie.”
Lorraine sat back, but kept her eyes on Jackie. That familiar look of appraisal still made Jackie weak. “You’ll meet some tonight. New dress?”
“Y-yes. Sonya bought it for me.”
“Ahhh. I can see her hand in that. It’s perfect for the occasion. We just need to fix your hair a little, dear.”
Perhaps Lorraine could sense her fear, for her touch was gentle, her movements slow. She took out the hairbrush—she had kept Jackie’s brush—and combed it through her hair lightly.
“I know where your thoughts are, Jacqueline. Tonight, however, you’re all mine.” There wasn’t a hint of menace in the words but Jackie felt them just the same. “Let’s put Sonya back there in the deep recesses of your mind, dear. What you feel, and will feel, during our little outing will be for my pleasure. And pleasing me is your primary function, Jackie. Isn’t it?”
A long stroke down her hair raised Jackie’s head upward, to nothing.
“Yes, Ms. Tresh.”
Jackie felt that heavy, drugged feeling wash over her. Stroke. Stroke. Stroke. But it felt sooooo goooood.
“Tonight, you may call me Loraine.”
There was a spark, from somewhere, and Jackie smelled sulphur, burnt hair. The fear dripped off her body like wax. Lorraine put away the brush.
“Feeling better? I know how difficult it can be when you’re away from WomaNation. In fact, you may want to consider moving in with someone. A friend, perhaps? So you’ll have company.”
Jackie said her friend’s name without realizing it.
“An excellent idea,” Lorraine responded, patting Jackie’s knee. “I know she and Sonya have been getting along so very well. It will make things easier for everyone. Don’t you think?”
“Now, we’ll be making a stop shortly to pick up a passenger to entertain us for the ride. I wanted to set up some special alone time for you and Alina, but she just couldn’t wait any longer. Teenagers. However, tomorrow is your birthday and the Winter Solstice party. There will be so much to keep you busy, I’m sure. So, now is as good a time as any. Later, you two can find more extensive time on your own.”
The limo came to a stop moments later and a girl climbed into the back, facing them. It was Alina, dressed only in a tee and jeans, no shoes or socks.
Alina’s eyes were glass. Like two blue marbles.
Lorraine pressed a button on a panel by the door. “One trip around midtown, Daphne. That should be plenty of time.”
Jackie didn’t even hear the driver’s response, but the car accelerated into traffic.
“Your mother prepared you, dear?”
“Yes, Ms. Tresh.”
Jackie couldn’t be sure but it sounded like Alina said … mistress.
Alina slowly pulled off her top, releasing two perky tits. Lorraine hiked up her gown and steered Jackie’s left hand between her legs. Her vulva was already wet and engorged. She cradled Jackie’s fingers into hers as she rubbed. With her right hand, she slid under Jackie’s skirt and inside her panty. This wasn’t the urgent hand of Daisy nor was it the cool, teasing fingers of Sonya. This was warm, gentle, and its delicate touch nearly made Jackie cum as she saw Alina’s flawless breasts revealed.
It didn’t even cross Jackie’s punctured mind that this wasn’t all perfectly natural.
“I know Sonya tends to be a bit … one-sided in her lovemaking, Jacqueline. I wanted you to experience a different way. Alina has a very talented tongue. Don’t you dear?”
Alina nodded eagerly, nearly salivating at the sight of the neatly trimmed fur surrounding Lorraine’s hand as it trapped Jackie’s clit between her fingers.
Alina kept her jeans on, but Jackie cooed as Alina’s breasts tickled her thighs. She lifted the skirt as Lorraine pulled back her hand, exposing Jackie’s needful, twitching pussy.
Alina licked along Jackie’s thighs, first one then the other. Lorraine pressed Jackie’s hand against her labia harder, just enough to make Lorraine suck in a breath.
Alina began to eat.
Lorraine was rubbing herself with both hands as she watched but Jackie barely noticed. She didn’t notice she was gripping Lorraine’s wrist tightly. This was a new experience for her and she desperately wanted those floating bits and pieces of her conscious mind to revel in the sensations Alina provided with her tongue and lips.
It was all too much. Alina’s brown hair fanned across her lap. Jackie’s ass lifted, forcing Alina’s nose between her lips, feeling her first droplets trail down her pudendum. There was a satisfied sigh; it came from Lorraine. Jackie released Lorraine’s wrist and forced Alina ever deeper into her with both hands.
She heard Lorraine’s voice, breathy and commanding. “You need to cum now, Jackie. Cum for me.”
“Oh gahhhh …”
Jackie spasmed as the flood hit.
“Yes. I thought you’d agree with me. Sonya is always right. But … I know all.”
Jackie tumbled from the orgasmic high, and felt the limo stop abruptly as Alina sat back on her heels. She looked up and smiled. Jackie’s pearlescent cream dripping down her chin.
“You did wonderfully, Alina. Yes, you may thank Jackie.”
Alina straightened and leaned into a kiss. Jackie could taste herself as their tongues touched. She thought of their hands touching the same way when the elevator doors closed.
The slam of the car door pulled Jackie back. She saw Alina hurrying into her building, only pulling down her top as she went inside.
“That was lovely, dear. For both of us.”
Lorraine offered her fingers for Jackie to suck, but pulled them away.
“No. Perhaps it’s best if you put yourself back together, dear. I need you alert and charming for this evening. On your best behavior. You can do that for me, can’t you, Jackie?”
* * *
From the moment she entered the gallery, Lorraine was the center of attention. All Jackie could manage were some handshakes, a few smiles and some light, meaningless conversation.
The art itself was … just bizarre. Dark and aggressive, distorted images, almost nightmarish. Jackie tried not to look at any of the paintings very carefully. The brightness of the rooms, compared to the blacks and browns and deep reds of the art, kept her grounded enough to reply to the greetings from the people who stopped by to see Lorraine. She took a deep breath. Trying to behave “normally” was a strain on her mind. She felt more like a consort to royalty than merely Lorraine’s “date.”
It wasn’t crowded, and in a very short time Jackie got the feeling that Lorraine was impatient. Wanting to leave but needing to stay for something.
That something arrived.
An elderly woman touched Lorraine’s arm and she turned quickly, their bodies pressing tightly together. Their kiss wasn’t chaste.
“Illia! I’m so glad you are here. I was wondering if you’d leave me alone to fend off all these admirers on my own!”
They kissed again with their cheeks.
“I knew you’d wait for me.”
The woman—Jackie thought she must be eighty—had a strong face which belied her age. Deep-set eyes, hair white as cotton and a nose more suited for a man but which suited her face perfectly. She wasn’t frail or timid. She was impressive.
They chatted quietly, and Jackie felt her mind begin to wander.
“And this is Jacqueline.”
The older woman beamed a smile, but instead of a soft handshake, she took Jackie’s hand in hers, rubbing slowly down the back, then turning it over and scratching her palm. Jackie tried to pull it back but the women held it still, all the time looking into Jackie’s eyes.
“Wonderful to meet you at last,” the woman said. “Jackie? A very sweet name. And your birthday is tomorrow, I understand. Lorraine’s Winter Solstice party is tomorrow night. I’m sure we will get more time to talk then. Right now, however, I need to steal Lorraine away from you for a few minutes.”
“Oh. Of course.”
“Good. Yes.” The woman’s smile fell away. She cupped Jackie’s chin as if studying her face. “I see the resemblance. Such a lovely mouth too. Tomorrow night, you’ll look for me, won’t you, darling?”
Jackie felt her mind go soft. Malleable. Soft like clay. All she could do was nod.
“Good. You’re behaving perfectly. No worries. Look for me and I will be found.”
Jackie didn’t know how long she stood there. It may have been minutes. Or hours. She knew Lorraine and Illia were talking, a third woman had joined them—olive-skinned with big black eyes and long, lustrous black hair.
“Jacqueline? You’re home.”
Jackie blinked hard. She was in the limo. Lorraine and the black-eyed woman were facing her, arms around each other. What happened?
“Time to go, dear. Giselle and I have plans. I’ll see you tomorrow night.”
Jackie stumbled out of the limo, turning back to Lorraine, out of sorts, out of time.
“Cubans make the best lovers, Jacqueline. Men and women. Remember that.”
A laugh was cut off as the door closed.
As Jackie stepped to the curb, she felt her ass pinched. She turned, but the driver had already hurried around the car. It sped off.
Jackie just stood there. She wasn’t going to cry. Another hour had passed without her, maybe two. She took another deep breath, clinging to this brief, quiet moment. Standing on her own two feet. She tried to look up at the starry sky, but her eyes slid downward. Her hand was still wet. She wasn’t wearing panties.
She walked to her car and drove to Sonya.
* * *
Her arms were covered in foam, and as she ran her hands up and down, she noticed tiny bite bruises on her breasts. A new set of possessive marks from Sonya.
It was her birthday. She let out a long, agonized moan which echoed off the tile. She knew what day this was. Yesterday was squeezed into minutes. But there was no last week. There was no difference between a Monday or a Friday. The mindless treadmill she was on she couldn’t get off. She couldn’t!
She pleased Lorraine all day. She pleased Sonya every night. There was nothing else.
The winding road which led up the hill to St. Lucius was trapped in fog, even at midday. She needed to make special arrangements to see him, and her birthday and Christmas being so close together made it one of the rare times she ventured to this place.
She had forgotten the gift she bought for him, knowing he wouldn’t remember where it came from tomorrow anyway.
An orderly and a nurse each had an arm as he was walked to the visitor’s lounge. One of the nuns was keeping a discreet distance and scrutinizing eye on Jackie sitting there.
He sank heavily into the chair facing her.
“Hello, father. It’s Jackie. How are you feeling?”
He didn’t move for a long moment. Slowly, he reached out with his hand and she took it, pressing it to her cheek. He smiled mournfully.
“You look so much like your mother.”
“That’s what I need you to talk about. What happened to her, father? I feel like … something happened I should know about.”
He shook his head, pulling his hand back. He put his head down as if asleep. Then he raised it—Jackie could see he was looking right through her.
“I used to see her, you know. She would come to me. Not anymore.”
“When was that? What happened?”
He shook his head again. His eyes couldn’t meet hers.
“She had such soft hands. But … I couldn’t touch them. She was so far away.”
Desperation crept into Jackie’s voice. She pulled her chair closer. “Please, father, I need to know. What happened to her?”
His head snapped back. “They took her. They took her away from me.”
“Why? Why did they take her away?”
A curtain of sadness fell over his face. He rolled his head, looking down. “I don’t want to think about it.” Then his head snapped up again and he barked: “I don’t want to think about anything!”
Jackie could feel the eyes of the nun on her.
“Father. I need to know. Who were they?”
He looked down again, tugging at his pant leg. “The witches. They know.”
Jackie’s eyes widened. “Witches?”
He suddenly bolted up, his arms began to flail stiffly. He stared up at the ceiling, screaming. “They were witches! They were witches!”
The orderly grabbed her father around the waist, trying to guide him back to the chair but he pushed him off. The nurse was there. And the nun.
The nun said, “Perhaps it’s best if you go now. He won’t come back.”
He looked at the orderly with a crazed expression, then a quirked smile. He nodded. They took him by the arms and led him away.
* * *
She broke the kiss and looked down on Alina, eyes wide and glassy. She didn’t know why she said it. But she wanted to say it.
The elevator pinged.
Jackie and Alina had arrived together for the Winter Solstice party, but ever since Alina climbed into Jackie’s car they could barely keep their hands off each other. Jackie loved how Alina felt against her body, thankful to be able to vent her desires and not think about anything else. The alternative was too confusing. She forced herself not to think of her father. Alone and insane in his mental prison.
She didn’t know what was waiting for her in the basement of the Tresh Building—the piece of her that wanted to fuck Alina had abruptly broken apart. A new splinter was in its place.
She knew there was still enough of her soul intact to be afraid.
Jackie and Alina stepped out of the elevator and into a dim, shadow-filled room with splashes of red and golden glows. The room was thick with incense. There was a low din of noise—talking, laughing, whispering. Jackie walked ahead of Alina, drifting, not even feeling her feet as the stray thoughts in her mind began to slowly decay.
She longed again to be empty.
The room was open in front, but gradually narrowed as it extended deeper into the basement until it looked to Jackie as if the back of the room was shaped like a wide train car with seating on both sides.
Immediately, Jackie wanted to leave. It was too dark, too full of bodies, too much for her to process. Every step she took she found herself in a different space in her head. So many face. All so different, although nearly everyone wore black.
Young, old, male, female, white, black, creepy, unsettling. Disturbing. Something was definitely going on here. Everyone was either talking too loudly or too quietly. Eyes either ignoring or staring. Those that stared hardest took in her body as she moved across the room. The beautiful women had an ugliness she couldn’t read. The men, perverse.
It looked like images from the art gallery come to life.
Jackie’s eyes darted around the room. She could see a cluster of people around Lorraine, like leaves around a tree. There was the old woman from the gallery. Two men. A couple clinging to each other.
Alina was looking up at her.
“Excuse me, Jackie. My mother is here and … I kinda have to take care of her.”
Alina moved out of her vision. She dared not follow her with her eyes. She had no idea what “take care of her” meant. Not anymore.
Daisy was leaning against the wall in a corner while Mona flirted with a third woman Jackie didn’t recognize. She could feel Daisy’s craving heat from across the room. Mona’s slender body nearly disappeared into the dark wood behind her, but her nails, teeth and eyes were bone white.
Jackie blinked and looked away. She needed out. She needed to be rescued from this place. She could feel a pall of dread numbing her body. Jackie searched the room for Sonya but she was nowhere to be seen. She couldn’t be sure if she was relieved or more panicked that Sonya’s green eyes weren’t looking at her from somewhere in the shadows.
She caught Lorraine’s nod—she nearly gasped—and shuffled forward into the center of the room. Some birthday. She wished she were dead.
“There you are!” Lorraine’s eyes sparkled and a hand caressed Jackie’s skin along the open back of her dress. “Happy birthday, dear. I have some people I want you to meet. You know Illia, of course.”
There was a kiss to her cheek, and a pink finger ran slowly down her cleavage. “It’s wonderful to see you again, Jackie. Black suits you,” Illia said with a broad smile. “Very tantalizing. And happy birthday.”
“Thank … you.”
“And this is Callidus,” Lorraine said with a nod. “He’s in charge of … R&D at a company I own. But whatever you do, don’t find yourself alone with him in his laboratory!”
They all laughed at the private joke. Jackie wasn’t sure if she blushed.
Callidus leaned forward. “Only if you want to,” he said with a chuckle. “It’s a special night. Are you enjoying the party?”
“I … I’m not sure yet.”
“Good for you. Keep an open mind. You can do that, can’t you, Jackie?”
Another man moved to her side, taking her hand as she turned. He kissed it. He was older, his silver temples looked like wings. His eyes were deep brown as he looked up.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Jacqueline. My name is DeMarco.” His eyes came off her. “These women. Sometimes I think they forget what a man can do. Yes?”
“Are you Cuban?”
He smiled. “I’m whatever I tell you I am, sweet girl.”
Illia forced herself between them.
“Come with me, darling.” She took Jackie’s hand. Jackie’s eyes moved from DeMarco to Lorraine.
“It’s all right, dear. As I told you, Illia and I are old friends.”
Illia smiled pleasantly.
“Not to worry, Jackie. Lorraine and I are each one of three. Maria, there, is our third.”
Jackie followed the finger, pointing to a ravishing, bronze-skinned woman nearby. She was dressing in black, like the others, but it sparkled from the sequins which covered it in an unfamiliar design. Jackie noticed the high-cut slit up her leg. The woman, Maria, was sipping a drink and talking casually to two women. Then her eyes, knowingly, turned and Jackie could see Sonya’s smirk there.
Jackie went cold.
“Everyone is part of a group of three,” Illia continued, gripping Jackie’s hand tighter to her breast as they walked. “Your friend Sonya is joined with two others. I don’t know if you’ve met her sisters. We all are joined by the unity of three rings. As you will be. Although she, whoever the lucky girl turns out to be, will be a submissive. As are you and Alina.”
The scent, that scent, of flowers and candles she had grown so accustomed to in Lorraine’s office was filling her now. Illia’s white hair looked red bathed in the glow from one of the few gently strobing flood lights.
“Unfortunately, the night is carrying us and we cannot halt it. So, be a good pet and give me what I desire. You know your place in the world, Jackie. It’s time to show me what you’ve learned about submission.”
Jackie found herself in a doorway, bodies pushing against bodies to get past. Then they were alone. Illia was smiling as she pressed down firmly on the top of Jackie’s head and she crumpled.
The woman lifted her long gown, revealing her unshaved womanhood. Jackie stared at the full, gray bush. She was sinking into flowers and covered with smoke.
“You’ll finish here, darling. But you’ll start …” She turned around. “Here.”
Illia pressed her body against the wall, jutting her ass for Jackie to admire. She spread the sagged cheeks open and Jackie’s mouth began to water at the sight of a perfectly formed pink rose inside.
Her tongue kissed the petals.
Illia was whispering strange words, almost as a chant, while Jackie sucked on the rose. She didn’t even realize it when Illia turned around to allow Jackie to feast on her open, wrinkled lips. Jackie’s mind was settled, flat, in the familiar hum of submissive sex she had existed in time and again kneeling beneath Sonya.
The old woman’s legs shook, and Jackie caught the flow of liquid into her mouth. She gulped down its bitterness. She felt drops down the sides of her mouth as she swallowed, until at last the stream stopped and she could breathe again.
“A very good pet.”
Jackie felt her hair pulled and twisted, and saw fiery red.
“My turn.” There was Sonya’s laugh. Illia stepped back and into darkness. “It’s always my turn, isn’t it, babe?”
Jackie’s nose was buried in red. All she could say was “mmmhhmmph.”
“You’re the life of this dreary party, Jackie.” There were whispers. “Oh, Zoe says you look beautiful like this. You’ve probably forgotten, but I thanked you for her just the other day. Blondes do have more fun, Jackie. They just don’t realize it.”
Sonya’s laugh came with a sticky squirt of cum. Jackie coughed it out. A hand squeezed her cheeks firmly. She looked into green.
“Even Lorraine will have no idea where I’m going to be taking you, night after night, inside that pretty little head of yours. You love the kiss of my whip. Don’t you? I said don’t you?”
“Good girl. We’ve only just started, babe. You’re my soft clay. When I’m done with you, you won’t even know who you are anymore. All you’ll know is … I own you.
“Now, run along. Back to Illia and her dusty pussy. Your friend Zoe is my date tonight. Not you. Although I believe Charlotte is here? You’ll know when you see her. Oh, and Jackie?
Jackie licked Sonya and Illia off her lips and the renewed taste on her tongue made her forget where she was. She drifted back into the room, drawn toward Lorraine again by that invisible rope.
“I was just telling our friends, Jackie, that the ancient Romans, Greeks and Persians all held festivals on this night, in celebration of the birth of a god or some deity. They were … a little off-base. But it is a celebration of birth, my dear.
“The energy of the Winter Solstice supports magick related to turning points, changes, new beginnings, Jacqueline. It is your beginning. And a turning point for our sisterhood.”
The words were meaningless to Jackie. She could feel hands caressing her, softly, delicately, but everyone there merely smiled. None of them were touching her. She felt herself lean into Lorraine’s shoulder.
“We have a ceremony this evening, Jacqueline, and you’re the guest of honor. It’s nearly time to begin. Go with Daisy and she’ll lead you.”
Daisy was there. The hands were gone. Daisy guided her toward the back of the room. She could see stairs behind the two rows of booths which were filled. She was in a fog. She licked her lips again, longing for Sonya’s taste, longing to be empty, longing to be far, far away from this place of shadows and darkness.
She saw Ernie, who broke the kiss with his handsome partner long enough to smile at Daisy. She could see his bulge.
She saw an elderly man sitting between two young girls, his hands propped on his cane, which the girls fondled eagerly with hunger in their eyes. They had to side-step around a woman, kneeling in the aisle, naked and collared … with a long leash leading to the bared teeth of a large, black Doberman.
Jackie felt sick. With every step she sank deeper. Moving downhill, surrounded by shadows, heavy breathing and whispers.
She and Daisy passed three young women connected by their mouths. It made Jackie gasp. The woman in the middle wiggled her ass at the licking from behind while darting her own tongue into another woman spread out on the cushions.
It was Charlotte.
Jackie stopped, she wanted to do something. Anything. But Daisy gave her hand a slight tug and she drifted forward again. Downward again. She knew, deep in her heart, that there were forces at work here she could not comprehend. All she had left of herself was her willingness to continue on, to be obedient. To be a good girl.
They reached the steps and continued down, Jackie nearly stumbling, catching herself on the railing. Spinning tightly downward, vaguely aware of Daisy’s hand and her sly smile.
There was another large, open room at the bottom, and Jackie felt like she had been led into the bowels of something alive. It was lit only by candles. Dozens of them. There were other people assembling, whispering. Each, in turn, putting on a black, silk robe and hood. It was like a church. The smell of incense, the candles, the large ornate altar in back. Salt crunched beneath her feet.
They were all there. Alina with her mother. Callidus. DeMarco. Illia. Mona. All of them. Daisy had moved away as Jackie stood facing the altar. The others made a ring around her. Faces from the art gallery. Ernie. Charlotte. And … Sonya was there, smiling devilishly. Next to her was that woman … the woman who was always drawn to the fifth floor. They were holding hands.
And Zoe. Standing stiffly next to Sonya with her eyes closed.
“Welcome all.” It was Lorraine’s voice. “We shall begin with the invocation.”
The voices murmured in Jackie’s ears.
“Hail Lilith full of lust,The lord be with you,Lustful are you amongst women,and lustful is the fruit of thine womb, LilimBeautiful Lilith mother of Lilim,Grant to us nowthe fruits of your children.”
Lorraine stood before Jackie, maternally brushing away her bangs. “You are bound now, Jacqueline. Unable to move. What has begun cannot be halted.”
She slowly walked around Jackie, whose eyes were heavy and fixed on the golds and reds on the altar. She could not move. She dared not try.
“Now. You wanted to know why you were hired at WomaNation, Jacqueline. There are several reasons.
“We’ve been watching you for quite some time. Following your life progress from far and near. You were born on the Solstice. A very special day for a very special young woman. Sonya has wanted to own you for a very long time. She watched over you. Kept you safe. And Alina wanted to be owned by you. Ever since she was a little girl. Everyone has an owner, Jacqueline. And everyone is owned by someone else.”
Lorraine was facing Jackie again, and she spoke to her eyes.
“And finally, and most importantly … you have your mother’s hands.”
Lorraine took Jackie’s hands in hers and led her to the altar. She undressed Jackie quickly and gestured. Jackie lay back on the black marble.
There was chanting and more smoke. Jackie fought air into her lungs but held still.
“Your mother, Mary, was a remarkable woman, Jacqueline. It was she who led us. This is her coven. She is the mother of us all. Although, she and I are bound by mortal blood. I am your aunt.”
Jackie was numbed to silence.
“Your father loved your mother, but he simply became too difficult for us to deal with. He wanted to take her away from us. So drastic action was necessary. I’m sorry for that, Jackie. Truly, I am. I’ve considered freeing him, but … I abhor complications. You understand.
“It is important that you know all this now, Jacqueline. So you’ll know why this is necessary. After you were born, your mother was killed by radicals, fanatics bent on eradicating our kind from the face of the earth. We could not save her. And … before they killed her, they cut off her hands.”
Lorraine’s fingers danced along Jackie’s hand.
“Hands like these. Without them, she has been unable to reach out to us from beyond. For 26 years, we have been unable to summon her everlasting spirit and join with her again.
“You are your mother’s daughter indeed, Jacqueline. And your hands, lovely as they are, are now forfeit.”
Two women lit the candles and incense on the altar at Jackie’s head and feet. Lorraine lit a sage stick, walking around the room and smudging it.
There was more chanting.
“Hear these words, hear my cry, spirits from the other side. Come to me, I summon thee. Cross now the great divide. Beloved spirit, Mary, we seek your guidance. Commune with us and move amongst us.
Jackie was in a light sleep, a dream. It can’t be real!
“Gods and goddesses, I praise upon you. Send me this spirit as I plead. Send to us our mother, Mary! Sic fiat semper!”
The altar candles were blown out.
Then Jackie saw the knife.
She wasn’t frightened. She knew it was a dream. She laughed, as if calling an end to this sick, twisted joke. This is not real!
The room seemed to darken despite the brightening flames of the candles surrounding it. Jackie saw the glint of steel, Lorraine’s hand chopping downward, the tickle on her wrist.
Another chop and Jackie saw red. She gasped for air. A single tear rolled off her cheek.
Lorraine, her hands red with blood, stepped away and faced a large cauldron Jackie hadn’t noticed before. The ring of bodies closed in slowly. Jackie turned her head.
There was chanting: “The earth’s circle, from left to right, may ancient demons be seen tonight. Blood and bones of those before, open up the demon’s door!”
It was repeated, even more loudly. Then, “Ancient demons who dwell in the night, I summon thee.”
The chanting was loud in her ears. Jackie could see a circle of fire enveloping the altar. “I call to the unknown from this magickal place. Where humans and demons meet face to face.”
She felt Lorraine’s hand over her heart. “I now inscribe the conjurer’s sphere with my will alone I bind thee here!”
There was face amid the smoke. Ethereal. Jackie looked upon the spirit’s form, a beautiful, delicate face. The spirit seemed to float in the air, growing larger, more a part of this world, as it descended upon Jackie’s prone body.
Jackie opened her mouth, and the spirit smiled, a drip of honey fell from its mouth connected their tongues. Jackie writhed in sudden pleasure.
The hands, those dozens of hands were on her now. The hands of dozens of demon souls.
They took her.
“It is done. Welcome, Mother. Welcome, Sister.”
Everything went black.
* * *
She hadn’t yet gotten all of her secretarial duties down fast enough to suit Lorraine but she was working on it. She was still efficient, maybe not as well-trained as Daisy, but she trusted Lorraine to get her up to speed.
Jackie was busily typing, stopping only to take a bite out of her donut, not even noticing the age spots and wrinkles on her hands.
She heard Lorraine’s laughter and the sound of a kiss. Jackie looked up and smiled. It was a beautiful, delicate face.
“Hello Mother. I’m here.”
“Yes. I’m only back for a moment, sweetheart.”
She felt a kiss to her forehead. “How is your new assistant?”
Jackie looked over at Alina blankly gazing at her computer screen.
“She’s been great. No complaints.”
“Wonderful. When you see Sonya, tell her I’ll be visiting both of you soon.”
Jackie caught herself staring at Alina. She checked the time. She was having lunch with Daisy soon. Daisy had been moved down to the fourth floor with an office next to Mona’s. Jackie was able to recall the envy she felt seeing the tasteful, beautiful black choker around Daisy’s neck. She forgot what day that was.
Jackie closed her eyes, staring off within herself toward the open void of her future, dreamily imagining the day when Sonya would claim her that way too.
THE END OF CHAPTER THREE