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“Any change?” The older man stood in the open arched door way
Kali turned from where she stood with several other women, all whom seemed to be paying attention to the young woman curled up underneath the covers on the bed, “No Father. She still refuses to get out of bed.”
“Has she fed since you brought her home?”
“No father,” Kali answered, “We have brought her everything we can think of, she says she will not eat until Tom returns.”
“I feared this could happen one day,” He peered over at the lump on the bed. “What makes her special to us, also make her extremely venerable.”
“It’s her heart, isn’t it father?” Kali could only wish she could experience love like Cara had, but had to wonder if it was worth the pain that the poor girl was going through now. Just the emotional pain Cara was giving off now was enough to have the whole castle in an uproar.
“Have you located this ‘Tom’ of hers yet?” he spat angrily.
“Sorry father,” Kali lowered her gaze to her feet, “None of us know where he may have gone, we are still looking but so far nothing.”
“If he is in half as much pain over this as she is I can understand the difficulty.” Her father looked at the raven haired woman, “all we can do is continue trying.”
“It would help if she would tell us where he could be, but anytime we ask she breaks down again.” Kali stated, “We will find him though, it’s only a matter of time. He is human after all, the pain that clouds his dreams will fade.”
“When he is found I want him brought here immediately!”
“Here father?” Kali gasped.
“But the law?” Kali shrieked, “Father, Cara would never forgive us!”
“I made a vow to her mother.” He glared at Kali, “She can hate me for doing it, but at least she will be around to hate me.”
Merla, the oldest among the sisters, had been listening without interrupting until now, “Father I believe there is a way in which he could be brought here without exposing our secret and violating the council’s laws.”
Saturday morning Tom sat at kitchen table working on his laptop, catching up on some things he had wanted to have done before Monday morning, while he waited on Christie to drive down with all her things so she could move into the cabin. His mother and Christie had pronounced it suitable to live in Friday afternoon an hour or so before his mother had to go prepare to go to work.
Tom’s mother had walked over to take some things she felt Christie could use in the cabin and put up some curtains before Christie arrived to move her things in. Tom sat working on the coding on his laptop, although his mind was not in it this morning like he wished. He was troubled over the dream he woke to this morning. The fact that he was having erotic dreams did not bother him as much as the fact that Christie was in them.
Was it because he felt lonely and she was here? Or was it because of what they had when they were younger? What was his subconscious trying to tell him? Tom could not make heads or tails of his feelings and felt like his whole life was completely out of his control and just dragging him along for the ride. Unable to concentrate on his work, Tom shut down his laptop and went to see if he could give his mother a hand.
“Wow, those are interesting!” Tom saw his mother standing on the step ladder hanging some kind of large curtains along a wire cable that ran along one of the smaller log rafters near the rear of the rear of the cabin. The pattern on the large curtains reminded Tom of the quilts his grandmother made.
“Hi honey,” Tom’s mother twisted around to see her son walk in. “Could you hand me the quilt on top of that stack on the bed dear?”
“You’re using quilts for a curtain?” Tom seemed uncertain.
“Of course,” His mom smiled, “Your grandparents used them to give them a little privacy for changing clothes and such. And they could always be taken down and used if the weather got really cold. I thought since we have so many it would be a nice touch and section off a bedroom area for Christie.”
“I guess that would work pretty good!” Tom walked over picking up the quilt and handing it to his mother. Looking at how the hangings left the inverted Vee space that shaped the pitched roof open and how there was still a good eighteen inches of space below the bottom of the quilt to the floor, “So even with the heavy quilts the gaps above and below will give good air circulation to keep it warm in the winter?”
“Oh yes,” His mother continued working on hanging the quilt, “And they can always be pulled open too.”
Tom noticed the heavy loops sewn onto the back of the quilts she was looping over the cable then folding down and attaching the end by two large buttons that were also sewn on the quilt, “Where did you get the idea to attach them that way?”
“Your grandmother, I saw them on some of her quilts and she told me what they were for.” Tom’s mother chuckled, “Although I didn’t sew them on, I took one of the old quilts down to the dry cleaners to show them what I wanted and had Mary do it for me there.”
Christie’s small car pulled up in front of the cabin shortly after they had finished hanging the quilts. Tom went out to help her unload her things from the over packed back seat and trunk.
While Tom helped Christie carry things in, his mother gathered up the tools she had brought. “I have some errands to run before I have to go in to work. You two have fun.” As she began walking up toward the larger cabin she turned back, “Oh tonight’s catfish night at the restaurant, I know how much both of you love it so I’ll have a table reserved for you both. Say six-thirty, wear something nice Tom.”
Christie giggled at his mother’s last remark, “Does she know you or does she know you.”
“Hey I wear nice clothes sometimes.”
Christie eyed him suspiciously, “Name the last time you wore slacks and a nice shirt.”
“The other night when you came to dinner.”
“And your mother told you to wear them didn’t she?”
“Well, yea.” Tom confessed.
Christie stepped over so she was facing Tom. Wrapping her arms around his neck, “Tom you are so cute when you’re like this, I could just, just eat you up,” Moving her head around she planted her lips against his giving him a sensual kiss. Breaking the kiss suddenly, “Sorry, It’s really hard to remember I shouldn’t be doing that with you.” Tom didn’t seem to notice that while she may have stopped kissing him, Christie still had her arms around his neck and her body pressed up against him.
Tom, his senses slowly returning to normal, reached up gently removing Christie’s arms from around his neck. “I, you’re right. I’m married now, “we can’t be doing this.”
Looking up into his eyes Christie could see the sadness that lay there. The pain he felt over that bitch, if she had never entered Tom’s life, but Christie would win him back if it was the last thing she did, she would have Tom’s heart once again. She would show that bitch not to take something that belonged to someone else.
Checking herself to make sure she was still presentable, Christie got up and walked over to the door of the small office. Turning back to the older overweight man sitting behind the desk she smiled, “I hope all our future meetings will always be as satisfying Mr. Barnes.”
Um, yes Miss McGuire,” The balding man cleared his throat, his face turning red as his mind replayed what had happened, “I hope so too. And Miss McGuire please keep up the good work.”
Jerry sighed heavily once the young woman had left his office. Miss McGuire had only started two weeks ago and had managed to land the biggest account the small bank now had. Jerry had tried for years to get Sugar Mountain resort to use his bank. Jerry had called her to his office to congratulate her and ask what she had done different.
And to do what she had done with him! Jerry shook his head, even the bottle of little blue pills the doc had given him didn’t help him like the commercials touted, but her, it felt like he was twenty years old again and not only did things work that had not in the last eight years, it worked more than once.
Looking down at his feet, Jerry noticed something on the floor. Bending down he picked it up, discovering it was the lacy black thong he had pulled off her during in his lust filled madness to have her. Jerry quickly hid the undergarment in his coat pocket before trying to get his mind back on his job.
A woman, in her late thirties, early forties old with shoulder length brown hair, carrying an armload of file folders almost bumped into Christie. “Oh hi Christie, sorry I didn’t see you there. What did Mr. Barnes want?”
Christie smiled warmly toward the older woman, “No problem Michelle, he just wanted to congratulate me on the Sugar Mountain deal.”
“We still on for lunch?” Michelle’s eyes appeared to light up at the thought.
Christie grinned broadly, “I’m looking forward to it.” Christie moved to the side allowing Michelle to go on down the narrow hall she had just walked down, licking her lips hungrily as she enjoyed the view of Michelle walking away.
Tom stopped at the drive through picking himself up a couple of burgers and fries on his way to the hardware store. It was just a bit after noon and between writing code on the computer and then working on the hot water heater in the old cabin that seemed to only work when you did not need hot water he had not slowed down long enough to think about eating anything until he saw the golden arches.
Waiting in line he could not help but notice the couples that were sitting inside seemed to all be very affectionate toward each other. Tom couldn’t put his finger on it, but something seemed off about it. Looking again at the couples, some holding hands, another sitting close together his arm around her, two other couples lightly kissing, another pair staring into each other’s eyes feeding each other fries. Nothing was off about the way they were acting, just enjoying being with each other. Then it dawned on Tom what he found so strange about it, they were all doing it, everyone in the restaurant.
Ordering what he wanted, Tom thought about ordering something for Christie and stopping next door at the bank to surprise her with lunch, but figured by now she would have already grabbed something and he really needed to get this done so she had hot water tonight.
When it came Tom’s turn at the window he paid for his food and the girl handing him the bag stuck her head out the window as she did. Smiling at Tom, “Here you go handsome.”
Once Tom pulled into the hardware store’s parking lot he reached over, opened the bag and began pulling out the contents. Unwrapping one of the burgers, Tom pulled the top bun off and piled as many of the fries as he could on it before replaced the bun top. Wolfing that down he repeated the process with the second burger before reaching for the stack of napkins he had sat on the seat. As he did the receipt fell to the floorboard of his truck. Gathering up the napkins, hamburger wrappers and container the fries came in, he shoved it all back into the bag before reaching down to pick up the receipt.
Right as he was going to shove the receipt into the bag he noticed there was something written on the back. Turning the receipt so that he could read it, Tom found a phone number and name. Thinking it some kind of prank he tossed the paper into the bag chuckling. The number was probably to the grocery store or something. Then Tom realized the name written on the paper matched the name tag of the girl that gave him his burgers.
Hours later Tom was sweating the last of the pipes together when Christie came in from work. “Um hi Tom, didn’t expect to find you here.”
“Figured I would get that hot water problem fixed once and for all, I tore out the old one and put in a brand new one.”
“You didn’t have to do that!”
“Come winter you’ll be glad I did.” Tom grinned from where he sat working under the sink cabinet where the small water heater lay hidden, “Walking over to the house in knee deep snow to take a bath every day can be a bit rough.”
Finishing up and picking up his tools, Tom went outside to turn the water back on, then came in opening all the faucets in the house until they ran clear water before closing them. “All done!” Tom sighed heavily as he plopped down at one of the wooden chairs by the small dining table.
“Poor baby you look exhausted,” Christie got up from the chair she was in, walking around behind Tom then began massaging his shoulders, “How long have you been working on that for me?”
“Mmmm that feels good,” Tom moaned as her hands began working the soreness out of his shoulders, “I think I started around ten-thirty, eleven this morning.” Tom closed his eyes enjoying the feel of her expertly working the tension for his shoulders while savoring the hypnotic smells of vanilla and sandalwood in her perfume.
Tom felt like he was laying on a cloud, his mind in that half asleep, half-awake state where it feels like a dream. In his dream he could feel his love, Cara, curled up beside him. Her head resting on his chest and her leg draped across his own legs. The warmth of their bare skin touching all along their intertwined bodies. He was so glad she was back, laying with him, his love for her flowed out of his very soul toward her presence. The relaxing smell of vanilla and sandalwood felt so calming. Tom lay there for some time basking in the feeling before he realized the smell was all wrong, Cara always smelled like his grandmother’s roses.
As his waking mind came further toward the surface of consciousness Tom realized it was not a dream, he was laying with a woman curled up with him in bed, in a bed that was not his and the woman not his wife! Tom tried to remember if anything happened but everything was fuzzy after Christie began massaging his shoulders. He remembered her saying he was falling asleep and he should lie down, and that she didn’t want his dirty work clothes on her clean bedding.
Christie had taken his clothes off, but he could not remember her getting into bed. Had they done anything? Tom could not remember. The big question was what to do now? Should he try to slip out of bed without waking her or what?
Before Tom could decide what he should do, it was decided for him when Christie stirred, then raised her head to kiss him on his cheek. “Morning,” she smiled warmly at him before snuggling her head back down against his chest and neck.
“Um, Christie,” Tom hesitantly asked, “What happened last night?”
“Mmmmm,” Christie snuggled closer pressing her body against his, “I felt the earth move, I heard angels singing. You were so wonderful.”
“We did, it?”
Looking back up into his eyes, “No silly you fell asleep, all we did was cuddle.”
“Then why are we naked?”
“Because you had on filthy clothes and this is the way I always sleep.” Moving up she climbed on top of him straddling him with her legs, “Although now that we’re both awake, we can fix that.” She leaned forward kissing him passionately.
Her kiss began to affect parts of his body that she had already pressed certain parts of her anatomy against. Tom knew if he didn’t stop her now he would not have the will to stop her. Reaching up he grabbed her shoulders and twisted his hip to roll her off him back into the bed, “Christie, I’m sorry I can’t.”
“Oh come on Tom,” Christie slid back up against his body, “Who is going to know?”
“I’ll know.” Tom stated, “I’m sorry but I love Cara, I can’t do that to her.”
The look on Christie’s face changed to one of pure hate, “What! that slut doesn’t deserve you! How many times did you sit up at night worried about her when she was out banging four or five guys at once! How many times Tom? Three, no four times!”
Tom’s eyes went wide, shocked that Christie knew this, he had told no one why he left. Sliding out of bed he looked around and grabbed his boxers.
“Tom please don’t go, stay with me!” Christie pleaded.
Slipping his boxers in place, Tom realized she could not know about Cara, “How did you know about that?”
Realizing her mistake, “You, you’re mother told me.”
“Bullshit!” Tom spat, “I never told her what happened, only that I needed some time away.” Grabbing his jeans Tom began putting them on. “How do you know!”
“Tom please!” Christie begged.
Tom picked up the rest of his clothes from the floor, pushed the hanging quilt out of his way and finished dressing in the other part of the cabin sitting at one of the dining room chairs.
Tom was lacing up his boot when he heard a knock at the door. He finished tying his shoe and went to the door. Opening it he found his mother waiting on the other side. “Tom there is some man looking for you.”
“Who is it?” Realizing he snapped at his mother, “Sorry mom, don’t mean to take it out on you.”
“It’s alright,” His mother grinned, looking over Tom’s shoulder, “Your father could get a bit miffed when he got interrupted too.”
“What?” Tom turned to see what his mother was grinning about. Seeing Christie standing there holding a sheet around her. “No mom, nothing happened!”
“Nothing honey,” Tom’s mother did her best to stop grinning, “Hi Christie, did you both sleep well?”
Christie grinned back at Tom’s mother, “Yes we did Mrs. Dennet, thank you.”
“Mom!” Tom was so close to shouting, “I can’t believe you’re okay that we, I mean we didn’t though.”
“It’s okay honey,” Tom’s mother reached out and patted his hand, “whatever you say, I think you and Christie make a very nice couple.”
“Mom the man?” Tom tried to straighten that derailed train.
“Oh he said it’s very important that he speak with you immediatly.”
“Did he say who he was?” Tom asked.
“Yes,” his mother frowned. “He said he was Cara’s father.”
Christie’s eyes widened in complete shock. “TOM WAIT! Don’t go!” she shouted as Tom vanished out the door at a dead run.
“Shit, shit, shit!” Christie ran back behind the hanging quits, “I got to get dressed and stop him, he’ll ruin everything!”
Tom came around the side of the house not stopping until he was almost to the front porch. Stepping up onto the porch from the end, he spotted a well-dressed man standing by the front door. The man’s long white hair held back in a ponytail and neatly trimmed beard gave him a distinguished look. He wore what looked like a well-tailored black suit jacket and pants along with a white shirt and matching white tie. Tom had never met his wife’s father, nor any of her family for that matter other than one of her sisters that had come to their wedding. She wasn’t there long as way too many people were interested more in the celebrity that was there rather than the bride and groom.
Catching his breath, “You’re Cara’s father?”
“Yes,” The man’s face showed deep lines of concern, “You are Tom, Cara’s mate?”
“If she came crying that I left, I hope she told…”
Cara’s father held up his hand interrupting Tom, “I am not here to condemn or condone, I am here because her life is in danger.”
“What?” Tom gasped, “What happened, what’s wrong? Where is she I need to go to her!”
“How much do you care for my daughter?”
“I love her!” Tom started to get angry, “Now where is she?”
Cara’s father walked the few paces to Tom and placed his hand over Tom’s heart, “Yes I can see what you say is true. Come I will take you to my daughter.” He motioned at the black limousine idling behind Tom’s truck that he had been too worried to even notice. Tom quickly climbed in after the driver opened the door for them. AS Cara’s father began to get in Christie came running around the side of the house, “Stop!”
Cara’s father looked over at Christie, his head cocking to one side curiously. “What clan are you child?”
“I am not a child, and Tom is MINE!”
“Who is your father!” Cara’s father demanded.
“Haniel.” Christie answered meekly, her attitude quickly changing from possessive to frightened.
“I will be speaking to your father,” Cara’s father spoke in a commanding voice, “If you have anything to confess to him on this matter, I would do so quickly.”
“Yes sir.” Christie bowed in his direction realizing too late who she had angered. But even then she was only taking back what was hers to begin with. It would not matter even if his clan was the ones that kept the ancient gardens, Christie held Tom’s heart first!
“Would you like something to drink?” Cara’s father looked over where Tom sat in the back of the limo with him.
“Probably don’t have coffee?”
“No but the driver can stop for some.” And he had the driver do just that once they had reached the city of Boone.
The driver made good time for having to drive the elongated vehicle through the curvy mountain roads, stopping in Wilkesboro to give Tom a much needed bathroom break.
As they were nearing interstate 77 Cara’s father reached his hand over to Tom’s knee. Tom felt a slight prick of pain, “What, what did you do?”
“Sorry son, but it is against our laws to allow you to see where we are going and you’ll have to agree this is so much more civilized than putting a bag over your head.”
“But I…” Tom felt himself getting very groggy.
“When you wake, we will take you straight to Cara, I give you my word.”
Hearing the door to her room creak open Cara turned away, pulling the covers up over her head. “I’m not going to eat, go away.”
“Cara?” Tom could hear soft sobbing coming from the lump of bed covers on the large ornate canopy bed positioned in the center of the very large room.
“Tom?” He recognized Cara’s voice easily even muffled under the bed covers, “Oh my god, how did you get here? Never mind just, GO AWAY!”
“Your father brought me here, wherever here is?” Confused at how he did get actually get there, “He said you were in bad shape, wouldn’t eat, wouldn’t let anyone help you. He’s worried so am I.”
“You wasn’t worried enough to wait for me were you!” Her voice carried venom in it.
“It’s not like that Cara,” Tom walked over to the side of the bed, “I, I just needed some time to think, I love you. I don’t want to live without you. Now please let me have your dad bring you something to eat.”
“NO!” she screamed as a large blue gray part of the bed covers came out from under the covers flying back toward Tom, knocking him across the room into a side table. “Don’t you understand what I am forced to do to feed!” Dazed Tom looked back toward the bed to see Cara standing on top the mattress naked. Tom thought he must have hit is head pretty hard as from the knees down Cara’s legs seemed almost reptilian and her fingernails looked really long resembling long black claws. But the most prominent thing was the two large bluish-gray bat wings behind her.
Tom woke to find himself laying on something very soft, opening his eyes the first thing he saw was Cara’s face, looking like she had been crying.
Seeing his eyes open a smile spread across Cara’s face, “Oh thank god you’re okay, I am so sorry I hit you. I would never hit you on purpose, it was an accident sweetheart, please believe me.”
Tom lifted his hand up to her face, stroking her cheek gently, “I know you would never hurt me intentionally babe. I had the strangest dream. I was at my mom’s and your father came and suddenly I was in this castle and you were there but you had these wings.”
“I am so sorry, I got so used to not having them that when I do they sometimes have a mind of their own.”
Looking over Cara’s shoulder Tom could see the folded blue gray wings behind her, “YOU HAVE WINGS!” Tom shouted, trying to pull himself backwards only to hit is head against the head board of the bed he laid on, “Owww!” His hand went up to cup the back of his head.
“Shhh, shhhh, It’s alright.” Cara tried to sooth him, “You’re perfectly safe here.”
His eyes opened fearfully wide, “Why do you looks like that, what, what are you?”
“I’m still me, the same woman that loves you with all her heart and soul,” The smile on her face faded, “This, this is what I look like without my magic.”
“You, You’ve always been like this?”
Cara nodded, sighing, “I wanted to tell you the truth, but I was so afraid of losing you.” Tears began falling down her cheeks, “I, I would die without you.” Falling forward she buried her head into his chest and began crying.
Reaching up Tom began stroking her hair, “I do love you, this is just allot to take in babe.”
Tom could see the two girls walk into through the open doorway of the room over Cara’s shoulder. The first one surprised him with her long purple hair wearing nothing but a white apron that barely covered her breasts and stopped short of covering her hairless crotch but it was the second one that caused his eyes to grow wide.
This girl had long blond hair that came down lower than the short pleated skirt that was so short it showed her white panties. A gold colored jacket over a white shirt with a large red bow tie covered her very large breasts, but the most unusual thing about the girl was she had large fox ears and a tail like some Japanese manga characters he had seen before.
“He’s cute,” The fox girl giggled.
“Can we play with your pet too?” The purple haired girl grinned.
“He’s not a pet, he’s my husband!” Cara shrieked at them without moving her head from his chest.
Both the girls looked at each other and shrugged, “Whatever,” The purple haired girl looked over toward Tom and Cara, “Father wants to know if you are ready to feed.”
“NO!” Cara turned toward the two girls, “I refuse!”
Tom reached out to Cara, gently turning her face back to him, “You need to eat something.”
“It doesn’t know?” The fox girl giggled, “Oh this is so cool.”
“He is not an it,” Cara snapped her head back in their direction, “His name is Tom!”
Crossing her arms across her large breasts the fox girl grinned, “So you gonna tell tommy boy or shall I explain it to him little sister.”
“Oh enough already,” The purple haired girl interrupted, “Human, your girlfriend is what your people know as a succubus. We are not the evil demons your legends make us out to be, but we do need to feed or we die and honesty, “She licked her lips, “human sexual energy, well there is nothing else that can come even close to comparing.”
The fox girl struck a sexy pose with one hand on her hip while she stepped out with one foot spreading her legs giving Tom a great view of her panties, “Sex with your kind is so, so delicious.”
Tom looked back at Cara, “That’s why, all those times?” Cara nodded ashamed of herself. “Go eat, or feed or whatever you call it.”
“No,” Cara looked into his eyes, “I will die before I cause you any more pain.”
“And I can’t let my fears kill you,” Tom gently caressed her face, “I love you too much. Just please come back to me.”
“I would never willingly leave you,” Cara hugged him tightly.
“Then go now.”
“Yes,” The purple haired girl grinned, “Go feed, We’ll keep Tom company while you’re gone.”
Cara stood up then walked over to the two girls, “One scratch on him…” Cara waved a finger at their faces, before whispering, “I’ll rip your throats out.”
The two girls stood there watching as Cara left the room before strolling over to the bed Tom lay on. The fox girl sat on her knees on the bed beside Tom while the purple haired girl walked around to the other side and sat down. “I’m Lea,” the purple haired girl smiled at him.
“I’m Kirsee,” The fox girl smiled as her hand slowly found Tom’s thigh under the covers and worked its way upward.
Lea leaned over provocatively running her tongue along Tom’s ear lobe, “Do you have any sexual fantasies that you have always been afraid of letting our little sister know about? We’d both be more than happy to help you with them. And we would never tell a soul.”
Tom jumped when he felt Kirsee’s hand find her target, “Um you two look too young to be doing something like this.”
Kirsee giggled, “I can see why our little sister likes you so much.”
“So?” Lea grinned, “It’s just a little snack for us and a whole lotta pleasure for you.”
“Yea Cara won’t mind,” Kirsee smiled, “She knows we’ll take good care of you while she’s gone.”
Cara came back roughly two hours later looking like her old self, with the wings and claws now gone. Lea, the girl with purple hair had left almost an hour ago leaving only Kirsee, who was curled up like an animal at the foot of the bed. Tom appeared to be asleep himself in Cara’s bed.
“Hi,” Cara spoke as she sat down on the bed next to him.
“Cara!” Tom’s eyes snapped open. “I, they, I tried to tell them…”
“Shh,” Cara put her finger to his lips, “It’s alright, I wanted you to enjoy their company.”
“Married?” Cara finished the sentence for his, “Yes we are, and what you did with them is different than what you and I have.”
“But it’s still wrong!” Tom continued to argue.
“That depends on your views of right and wrong.” Cara tried to explain how they viewed things differently here, “You knew what I had to do to feed, yet you told me to go, begged me to go do it. You didn’t think that was wrong?”
“We both did the same things, so how is it different?”
“You,” Tom averted his eyes from her, “ I, I don’t have to.”
Cupping his face in her hand, Cara pulled his face so she could look him in the eyes, “My love, how could I do what I have to do without allowing, no not allowing, wanting you to be able to do the same.”
“No buts!” Cara leaned forward giving Tom a kiss, “The rules are different here, all my sisters will all be willing and ready to jump you at the drop of a hat.” Cara smiled almost evilly, “If you see one or three that strikes you fancy…”
“Cara!” Tom gasped, “I can’t believe you’re saying that!” Cara heard Tom’s stomach growling, “Speaking of food, when was the last time you ate anything?”
“I don’t know, maybe lunch yesterday?”
Cara looked at Tom with real concern, “Why haven’t you eaten since yesterday sweetheart?”
“I don’t know, everything got so crazy since then,” Tom explained, “I replaced the water heater in the old cabin, then Christie came in and started rubbing my shoulders. Next thing I knew mom caught us in bed together and your dad showed up.”
“Christie?” Cara cocked her head curiously at Tom.
“Yea, uh no I wasn’t, I mean…”
“No it’s alright Tom, if you want to be with her,” Cara dipped her head down defeated.
“NO!” Tom exclaimed, “It was nothing like that! She just showed up and was always flirting and shit. I was so tired I don’t even remember much about getting into a bed with her. I don’t think anything happened, she said we didn’t, you know.”
“Tom!” Cara stopped him, “It’s okay, I understand. I love you and nothing will ever change that.” Changing the subject back to what she felt was most important, “Lets go get you something to eat, okay?” Tom nodded, getting out of bed.
Standing beside the bed Tom looked down at himself, “Um my clothes?”
A delicate arm of the small fox-girl raised, pointing off the foot of the bed toward where two chairs and small table sat between them against the wall, “Over there.”
Both Tom and Cara looked in the direction she pointed. Clothing that belonged to both Tom and the fox-girl were scattered around the chairs and table, some on it while most seemed to have missed the chairs ending up in a haphazard pile in the floor around them.
Tom walked over and began locating and putting his clothes on, while Cara stood there smiling. “What?” Tom looked up at her while pulling his pants on.
“I’m just happy to have you back here with me.”
Sitting down to put his boots back on, “Speaking of that, exactly where is here? Your dad kind of knocked me out. Which I do not appreciate one bit.”
“Father not dad, it’s more like a title and I’m sorry he did that,” Cara pouted slightly. “It was ruled that our home had to be kept secret from man long ago.” Leading him out of her room down the wide stone hall to stone steps that led down.
Down yet another long hallway that began to curve that finally opened into a circular room approximately twenty feet wide. Tom spotted another wide hall on the far side of this room and yet another arched opening to their left. Cara led him to the left which Tom discovered was yet another set of stone stairs that led downward.
“Jesus, this place is huge!” Tom exclaimed, “It’s like being in one of the old European castles.”
Cara turned to look at him smiling, “It is a castle. Welcome to Afallon.”
“Afallon?” Tom looked over at Cara questionably, “Never heard of it?”
“We’re almost to the kitchen,” Cara waved him to continue following. “I’ll tell you what I can while you’re eating.”
Cara led him into a large room the likes of which Tom has never seen outside of a medieval movie. A enormous fireplace built into the far wall seemed to hold the center of attention of several men that appeared to be tending large kettles that sat in the hearth of the fireplace. Another man was working on cleaning and preparing what looked to be some kind of long fish that looked more like an eel but with fish fins.
“Lady Cara, it’s nice to see that you are up and around,” An older man with just a touch of gray in his hair came in through another archway carrying a large basket that looked to be filled with vegetables, “What do I own the honor of your presence in my kitchen?”
Cara turned and smiled at the older man, “Silas!” Cara ran over and gave the man a hug.
Looking over Cara’s shoulder at Tom, “And who is this young man?”
Cara released him from her hug, “Silas, this is my husband Tom. Tom this is Silas, he’s been in charge of our kitchen for as long as I can remember.”
“Husband? As in your mate?” Silas’s eye went wide looking at Cara.
“Yes,” Cara grinned from ear to ear.
“Aren’t you a bit young to have chosen a mate?” Silas looked over at Tom, “No offense sir Tom.”
“I’m older than you!” Cara giggled.
“Yes you are my dear,” Silas smiled, “You have lived a far greater number of years than I have, but I am a mere mortal, and even with the extended years I have been blessed with by living here, my days are still numbered.”
Guiding the discussion back to why they had come, “Silas, is there any chance of finding something for my husband to eat? He hasn’t hand anything since yesterday.”
“Of course my lady,” Silas smiled at the thought of being able to show off his culinary skills to Cara’s husband, “Why don’t you both go sit outside in the garden and I’ll bring something for you both.”
“Thank you Silas,” Cara hugged him once again, “you have always been the greatest.”
“It is my pleasure Lady Cara,” Silas said while waiving them both toward the archway he had entered though.
What’s with the ‘my lady’ stuff he was going on with back there, and this castle?” Tom asked as he sat down in one of the ornate ironwork chairs that were placed around the round stone table, “You’re not like some kind of princess or something are you?”
“Not exactly,” Cara smiled from across the table.
“Okay…” Tom tried to get her to elaborate.
“Alright, promise not to freak out or anything okay?” Cara urged.
“I’ve already seen what you can change into, what could surprise me more than that?”
“What you saw,that is what I really am.” Cara waved her hands down her body, “This, this is the illusion.” Cara bit her lower lip while watching to see how Tom would take the information.
“Honey, I love you.” Tom stated, “I know being a mutant can make things difficult but it will never change the way I feel about you.”
“Tom you aren’t listening, I’m not a mutant.” Cara averted her eyes, looking down at the table, “I, I’m not even human.”
“Look I know being different can make you feel that way —”
“TOM! I’m a daemon!” Cara shouted, then turned away trying to conceal the tear that began falling down her cheek. “Please, don’t hate me,” she whispered.
“Demon?” Tom gasped, “Like pointy tail, horns and pitchfork demon?”
“She doesn’t have horns or a pitchfork.” Tom jerked his head around to find Silas smiling as he walked up to the table carrying a platter that appeared to have a couple of tall glasses and piled with various fruits on it. “Although I am sure we could round up a pitchfork if you wish.” Silas sat the tray down on the stone table, “I brought these out for you both while I prepare the main dish.”
“You’re one too?” Tom looked at the older man.
“Oh, no not me,” Silas chuckled, “I’m just as human as you are sir. I just live here and help take care of things for Lady Cara, her sisters and the father. Although the proper term for their race is Kynlif. Daemon is such a generic term, actually invented by humans to describe so many different beings. Calling Cara a demon would be like calling yourself a monkey.”
Tom looked at Silas questioningly, “But people are nothing like monkeys.”
“And Cara’s people are nothing like the stories of demons that you have heard. While Cara’s race may have started out as demons, they are nothing like that now.” Silas grinned, then as he began to turn away, “Cara can explain while I go prepare your meal.”
Tom turned toward his wife as Silas walked away, “So all the stories about evil bloodsucking demons are false?”
Reaching across the stone table, Cara put her hand over tom’s, “No, from what I have seen and been told, most of those legends are based on fact,” Cara sighed. Looking down where she held Tom’s hand, “But Silas was right, there are as many different kinds of demons and daemons as there are worlds that they come from.”
“Daemon, demon?” Tom seemed confused, “Aren’t they the same thing?”
“No, they are more like completely opposite of each other.” Cara explained, “Demons are out for themselves, sometimes some of the things they do may help humanity but they never do it just to help mankind. Daemons have good intentions and do wish to help mankind even if at times it may not appear so.”
“Okay,” Tom squeezed Cara’s hand, “that kind of makes sense. Just like people, there are good people and there are bad people. So good demons are daemons and bad ones are demons.”
“Close enough,” Cara nodded, “but not quite right as angels are daemons too. But then there are some of those that don’t quite have mankind’s best interests in their ways.”
Tom continued, “So are any of those stories about your kind?”
“Yes, a few.” Cara looked up into Tom’s eyes, “Do you remember when we first met? Remember what you told me?”
“How could I forget,” Tom smiled as he looked deeply into her beautiful hazel eyes, “you were and still are the woman of my dreams. I was so afraid that you think I was trying some cheesy pick up line when I told you.”
“Honey,” Cara smiled warmly, “It was me in your dreams.”
“I know it was you.”
“No, you don’t understand,” Cara tried to explain, “I, we can enter people’s dreams, it was me not your imagination. It’s how we feed ourselves. You were so kind, caring, so thoughtful and loving.” Cara looked back down at their hands, “I fell in love with you.”
“You feed off dreams?”
“We feed off emotions.” Cara explained, “Not the emotions themselves but the energy that is created by strong emotions.”
Tom’s jaw dropped slightly while his eyes narrowed, “I don’t understand? If you feed on dreams, why did you…”
“Why did I sleep with other men?” Cara sighed as she closed her eyes and bowed her head, “I, I thought I had to.” Opening her eyes again, Cara looked back up at Tom, “I was lied to by someone I thought was my friend.”
“What do you mean?”
“She was another like me, but not one of my sisters. She knew that I was young…” A tear ran down Cara’s cheek, “She convinced me that if I tried to feed on your love it would kill you.” Cara sighed heavily, “My sisters told me the truth after they brought me back here. I’m so sorry!” Tears began running down both cheeks as Cara began sobbing.
Tom got up and walked around the table to Cara, kneeling down before wrapping his arms around her in a loving hug. “I’m here and I am not going anywhere.” Pulling back enough so that he could look Cara in the eyes, “Just like the preacher said, ‘for better or worse,’ you’re stuck with me.”
Chocking back the tears, “Even with things this bad?”
Tom smiled at her, “What’s so bad?”
“Tom, I’m not even human!”
“You’re more human that some people I’ve met, and you are still the same person I fell in love with.”
Cara brought her arms up around Tom, returning the hug, “I love you so much.”
Had anyone been awake in those early morning hours, it would have been difficult to see the large winged shape gliding across the moonless sky. Although it’s wingspan close to thirty feet across from tip to tip, the dark coloration of the bat-like wings seemed almost camouflaged against the night sky. Using the updrafts formed by the winds blowing through the rugged mountainous area the creature needed little effort to stay aloft as it made its way across the heavily forested mountains.
Cresting above the ridge line the creature felt an involuntary shudder go through its body as it began to descend into the valley on the opposite side. Cautiously, the creature circled back toward the ridge looking around for a reason it felt the unsettling feeling. Not spotting anyone or thing that could be causing the feeling, the winged creature continued its flight, passing over a narrow two lane black top road that had a few one and two story buildings along its path. All of the buildings appeared to be small businesses that were closed in the predawn hour.
Past this break in the dense Appalachian forest, another hillside and more forest. On the other side of this hillside, the trees stopped and a meadow began. The winged creature angled it’s flight toward three buildings a short distance away. The nearest looked like a medium sized barn Just beyond a large two story log cabin and less than one hundred feet to the side of that sat a smaller single story log cabin.
As the winged creature came in over top of the barn’s roof, it angled it’s body, its two legs coming down and forward to land on the raptor-like clawed feet. It’s clawed feet touching the ground running to keep up with the forward momentum of it’s landing until it slowed to a brisk walking pace while its wings folded, hinging in three places along each wing until they folded up neatly behind the creature. As it approached the small cabin, a light that hung from the center of the cabin’s front porch began to illuminate the creature.
From the knees down it appeared to have scaled reptilian legs, although the resemblance to a reptile stopped there, from the knees upward the creature appeared to be quite human. And a lovely human at that, with shoulder length dark hair and an hourglass figure that was covered in a figure hugging backless red mini dress. As the woman walked closer to the small cabin her wings and lower legs seems to blur. The feet and lower legs reforming to look like the legs of a woman, while her folded wings seemed to almost evaporate. It was a dainty human foot with red painted toe nails that stepped barefooted up onto the cabin’s porch. Reaching the door the strange woman knocked.
The window further along the wall was suddenly illuminated, as a light inside the cabin was turned on. A moment later the door opened. “Lessa,” a woman’s voice came from inside the cabin, “What are you doing here?”
The strange woman smiled, “Now Christie, is that any way to greet your sister?”
“I’m sorry, Its been such a long time since I’ve seen you. Please come in.”
Lessa walked into the cabin, “It’s not been that long sister.”
Christie closed the door behind Lessa once she was inside, “Well I haven’t seen you since Paris. Are you still living there?”
“No, there was so much fear and anger once the war started,” Lessa walked over to the small table and sat down in one of chairs, “I left after the Germans took over the city. I’ve been back a few times but everything has changed so much.” Lessa grinned, “Would you believe the last time I was in Paris some guy pulled a knife on me and wanted to rape me?”
Christie eyes widened and her mouth fell open while she sat down at the small table across from Lessa, “You have got to be kidding!”
“It’s true!” Lessa laughed.
“What did you do?”
“I Let him of course!” Lessa chortled, “Then I drained him of every drop of lust and sexual desire he had.”
“You destroyed his libido?” Christie gasped.
“I was his fourth victim.” Lessa’s voice becoming cold, “I could see his lust filled memories of the others he had raped. I couldn’t let him continue to do that to women.”
“And they call us monsters!” Christie sighed, realizing from the look that Lessa was giving her there was something on her mind, “Lessa you have always been more than just an older sister to me. I have always thought of you more like a mother to me and I have always loved hearing you tell me of your adventures but I can tell there is something you need to say but do not wish to do so.”
Lessa lowered her gaze to the table, “I was sent to bring you home.”
“This is about the dispute that Cara and I have?”
“From what I overheard yes.”
“He was mine first,” Christie argued, “she had no right to take him!”
“I think she fell in love with him,” Lessa asserted.
“We can’t fall in love,” Christie spat. “And even if she could, it isn’t my problem.”
“She is descended from Morgan.”
“We all can trace our ancestry to Morgan or one of her sisters.”
“You remember the story of how Morgan gave birth to Arta?” Lessa looked deeply into Christie’s eyes.
“Yes of course, who doesn’t know that story?” Christie rolled her eyes, “And Arta defied the council and tried to do the same thing and it killed her, just like anyone else that has tried it. That is why the council forbid anyone trying it.”
“Yes but unlike everyone else that had tried it, Arta succeeded even though it did kill her.”
“No, I don’t believe it, that would make Cara…” Christie shook her head, “Everyone would have known if a new child had been conceived outside of the chambers. This cannot be true.”
“How else would you explain Morgan surviving Arta’s death?”
“Easy, she did not love Arta.”
“I am sure that the council will explain everything to you in much greater detail than what I know.”
Christie’s eyes widened, “The council? I though you said we were going home?”
“Yes but once we get to Cibola father is taking you to Dilmun.”
Christie felt a knot form in her stomach, lowering her voice to just above a whisper, “Why, why does the council want to see me?”
Lessa shook her head, “I don’t know.”
Rising up from the chair Christie sighed heavily, “Alright, let me go change.” Turning, Christie went back behind the hanging quilts that separated the bedroom from the rest of the cabin.
While dressing Christie tried to make some sense of what Lessa had told her. Everyone knew Arta was the only one of Morgan’s true bloodline and she died trying to conceive a child and without the mother to feed from any child would have died.
Unlike human children, who could be fed by a wet nurse, their young could only feed from one they had a bond with. Even if they had found a way to feed the young one, Cara couldn’t be the one the stories foretold of she had no more control than Christie did. Cara was lying and Christie knew her only chance was to show everyone the truth before her father took her to the council.
Packing her purse and some extra clothes in a small overnight bag, Christie sat down on her bed. Closing her eyes she relaxed and focused on that place in her mind where she could see human dreams. Pinpricks of colored lights began to appear in her mind. Her mind raced past the nearest ones, until she came on a large group that must have held hundreds of thousands of the pinpricks of lights. Christie knew she did not have time to be choosy and forced her mind to enter a dim red and white twinkling light.
Sitting at the small table, Lessa noticed that she had not heard any noise from Christie for several minutes, “Christie?” Lessa spoke loud enough to make sure she would be heard, “Christie you about ready?”
Not hearing any reply, Lessa got up and walked over to the heavy quits that curtained off that side of the cabin, “Christie?” Pulling back one of the quilts Lessa saw Christie was gone, “Damn!” Lessa sighed.
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