Hello, Dancers of all sorts!
There’s so many different forms of dance. The waltz, samba, flamenco, ballet, or even breakdancing… I never really understood that one. These are all fantastic dances… when done in the safety of a home or studio. But let’s see how well you remember the steps outside of your safe space, because…
This week’s Writing Group prompt is:
A Dance with the Devil
RULES AND GUIDELINES BELOW!
Make sure you scroll down and read them if you haven’t! You may not be eligible if you don’t!
Such a lovely and enticing prompt, isn’t it? What a wonder it would be to just spin and leap and shuffle without a care in the world. And that’s exactly what this prompt addresses.
Of course we can take this literally, or for the metaphor it is. To “dance with the Devil” is a metaphor that means to engage in risky, reckless, dangerous, and sometimes even immoral behaviour. This can be someone who is stubborn, who knows what they’re doing is dangerous but nothing is going to stop them. Perhaps a stunt driver, or someone who participates in demolition derbies. Maybe this is someone who has taken their parkour livestreaming to the next level. No longer are they just hopping low walls and fences, railings and benches. No, they need to keep chasing that thrill, that rush. So they take it higher, going from roof to roof, or even scaling skyscrapers until they’re handstanding on the ledge of the roof. Perhaps such perilous dances is their job, like a firefighter or a police officer, a detective or even just a window washer. Burning buildings, crazy criminals, high winds that swing your high rise platform, they’re all dangerous and one step out of line could be crippling… or even life-ending.
But maybe this prompt is more literal to you. Maybe your tale is about someone who takes dance classes, and they find out that the partner they’ve had for months, the partner they’ve become friends with… or perhaps even secretly fallen for… is a demon. Does this scare them away? Or do they stay, do they take their chances and continue to tango with this potentially dangerous individual? Perhaps someone is desperate for something. Whether fame, talent, success, wealth, whatever it may be, they are desperate enough to step into the crossroads at night, and perform the necessary action to call upon the Devil. They ask for their desire, and the Devil offers a simple dance to seal the deal. Do they dare to take his hand, knowing what it means for their soul?
Like the endless variations of dance, there’s so many ways this prompt can go. So put on your best, O Writers, and let the words of your tale lead you step, by step, by leap and twirl across the page.
Remember, this is part of our weekly Writing Group stream! Submit a little piece following the rules and guidelines below, and there’s a chance your entry will be read live on stream! In addition, we’ll discuss it for a minute and give you some feedback.
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At the end of the tunnel
Murmurs passed through the group as we gathered next to the railway at dusk. Ghostly blue light illuminated a face as someone checked their phone.
“Almost time. Get ready.”
The onlookers gathered on either side of the tracks as I and a handful of others formed a line on the middle of the tracks. Silence fell as we waited, only broken by the shuffle of shoes, nervous laughter, and excited whispers. There was only one person in front of me, a girl with trembling legs and a ponytail. I kept my gaze fixed over her shoulder, on the tunnel in the distance.
Finally, the darkness inside the tunnel shifted as a light fast approached the exit.
“It’s coming! It’s coming!”
I balled my fists and lowered my stance as the train rounded the final bend. The girl in front of me became a dark silhouette against its headlights. The ground rumbled beneath my sneakers as it sped our way, horn blaring for the daredevils to evacuate the tracks. With a squeal, the girl jumped off the tracks. The crowd laughed and bawked like chickens. I ignored the distraction, staring down the fast approaching train, its headlights two burning eyes in the dark; a demon speeding our way to consume us all.
One by one, I heard the others jump off behind me. The roar of the crowd was drowned out by the rumbling of the approaching train and its blaring horn. Time froze as my vision was overtaken by the blinding white light. My heart pounded, legs tensed like coiled springs, ready to jump at the last second. But not yet. Just one more second on this crossroads between life and death, where I felt most alive.
A voice called my name, breaking the spell. I blinked and threw my body to the side, tumbling through the gravel and grass. The train thundered past, crossing the tracks where I had stood only seconds before.
Someone pulled me back to my feet.
My body was shaking uncontrollably, my breathing ragged like I’d ran a marathon.
The dance of Demons and Dragons
By Jesse Fisher
“Fluffy, are you sure you are okay about this?” The draconequus asked as she checked her beak’s shine.
“Bell’s got the kids for the night and I know that you wanted to do something like this for a bit, I just lucked out that the Gala was tonight.” A voice called from outside the bathroom.
“Well I’m happy you would do this for me, I know you aren’t the most social creature.”
“I do have to ask Korun about the outfits. They seem very out of the normal formal wear.”
The draconequus did notice how the bright blue of the dress to her knees, the magenta ribbon on her tail, and the bright yellow headband seemed a bit much but she was not going to ignore gifts from others.
She walked out of the bathroom where she noticed ‘Fluffy’ adjusting his suit. His two tone purple suit jacket and lavender undershirt seemed to play with his navy blue fur in a way she could not describe in anything short of a missing piece being slotted into play. More surprising was the two tone silver/gray pants that looked almost like his normal ones. The fancy brown shoes did not help that either.
‘Fluffy’ turned around noticing his wife and gave her a once over, and looked happy that she had flats given what was planned for the night.
“I would complain about how bright your outfit was but you look good no matter what you wear.”
The draconequus blushed. “Oh you are just saying that.”
“I am many things but not a liar demon.”
“No you are a cuddle demon.” The cheeky look got an eye roll response.
The evening moved to this, a dance floor and a slow tune to move to. ‘Fluffy’ and his wife were moving in time with the music as they stepped and twirled as others watched them in some form of trance.
“I think you might have caused them to just watch us.” The wife whispered into his ear.
“Let them,” came the reply. “This is your night.”
The Devil Bathes in Neon Lights
by Alexsander Edwards
I forget what it felt like to be a free man, before I became a target.
It’s hard to tell who I pissed off this time, really. Maybe some pharma corp trying to hide the side-effects of their new drug. Perhaps a cybernetic company whose augments secretly siphoned data off their users. Or it could just be the old usual: some random corrupt politician deep within a corporation’s pockets – they’re a dime a dozen, after all. Whoever it is, they’re more powerful than usual, to get me running away like this.
Honestly, even the bright neon signs outside feel oppressive now. It’s like being bombarded by flashy reminders of who might be after me, rather than simple false promises for products that can never really accomplish all that their companies promise.
I’ve been on the run for weeks now. Or has it been months? Hell if I know. Time has no meaning when you’re always living in the present, really. At least I’ve finally found this shithole of a bunker to hide in last week.
If I weren’t being hunted right now, I would’ve said this bunker’s previous owner was paranoid. Another “prepper” – we’ve been dealing with those crazies for centuries, now. But, by whatever cruel god is out there, it feels good to be in this shithole. I even managed to nab a variety of guns from the poor bastard who used to live here, some still in working condition. A couple pistols, a shotgun, a rifle… this will do.
I can hear the damn hitman walking outside. The loud ‘thunks’ of his metal legs going back and forth. I think he’s waiting for me to die of hunger – no augs in the world could make the decades-old food in here edible again, after all.
Fuck it, the time for hiding is over. If I’m going down, I’m doing it with guns ablaze – no prosthetics will save him from a rain of bullets. Let’s get this over with, you son of a bitch – let’s dance.
A Killer of Dragons
Sonja kicked in the door, and was immediately met with gunfire. The bullets deflected harmlessly off her near-impenetrable skin.
Rikke threw the pistol at her with a scream, and Sonja batted it away. Already, Rikke was on the move, dashing out the patio door, leaping down to the grass below with effortless agility, rolling once before returning to her feet.
Sonja followed, jumping down, her powerful legs absorbing the fall.
“So, it’s come to this. After all this time,” Rikke said. Her ebony skin glistened in the moonlight.
Sonja nodded. “You brought this on, Rikke. You were the one that betrayed me. You were the one that went after my people. You were the one that…” Sonja couldn’t find the words to go on. Rikke’s crimes over the years had brought so much pain to so many.
“I’m not about to let your stupid little organization bring down everything I’ve built!” Rikke snarled, flecks of spittle flying from her mouth.
“Give it up, Rikke.”
The lithe woman reached to her hip, and drew her sword, a heavy iron thing with runes etched into its blade. It looked ridiculously big in Rikke’s hands, but she held it with the appearance of one practiced in its use.
Sonja’s breath caught in her throat. She took a half-step back, as fear filled her soul. Nine millimeter bullets she could handle. This, however, was Hrunting, the sword of Beowulf. This sword could kill dragons.
Sonja unwrapped her own sword from the swath of silk, unsheathing the katana crafted by Masamune. The moonlight shone off the polished blade.
Rikke sneered before charging Sonja, her blade sizzling through the air as she swung it. Sonja backstepped from the blow, mere inches from the blade. She batted away a second blow with the katana.
A third swipe nicked her arm, sending a burning sensation along her skin. She could feel the wetness as the blood soaked into her sleeve.
Rikke smirked. “It seems that Hrunting’s reputation is well deserved.” She circled around to Sonja’s flank.
Sonja’s feet kept time with Rikke’s. “It seems so. Shall we dance?”
By L. L. Marco
“Wanna get outta here?”
Matt was caught off guard. Alcohol blurred his vision as the club’s neon lights flashed off her silhouette. The woman wore an oversized hoodie that fully concealed her body. Hand-sewn ‘teeth’ lined the edges like a gaping mouth. Costumes like that weren’t uncommon for raves or clubs. It charmed him, but not more than her simple question.
“Y-you mean like a bar?” Stupid. He kicked himself as he heard the sentence bumble out of his lips.
“I meant somewhere… more private.” She gave a playful wink.
Score! For all his idiocy it seemed he would get a peek under that hoodie after all. Matt nodded eagerly and she grabbed his arm with both of hers and tugged him towards the back of the club. The crowd was a sea of gyrating bodies and glow sticks that blurred together and parted around them like a school of fish from a shark.
The woman pushed some plywood aside and slipped the both of them through a secret door hidden in the back. The club sounded like it was suddenly miles away now; nothing but a soft thrum that wasn’t any louder than his heartbeat. She guided him just a bit further down a scarcely lit hall, retracing a path she’d surely taken many times before. Finally they stopped.
His drunken hands reached to draw back her hood. However, as he touched it, the once soft fabric churned and pulsed beneath his fingers like a living thing. Thick, hot drool dripped down from the fangs; in this lighting, they suddenly looked so sharp. So real. He tried to yank his hand away but the ‘woman’ grabbed him with inhuman strength. The hoodie’s maw clamped down and bit into him, tearing his arm away with one motion. Blood splattered across the concrete floor as he stumbled back, staring at the stump where his arm had just been.
The maw opened. And this time when he looked he could see there was nowhere her ‘body’ ended and the hoodie began.
The mimic’s jaws clamped down around him.
Theo’s prison was cold and made of linen. Everything was so white, clean, and sterile that it was infuriating. The constant beep of a heart monitor never really let him sleep as well as he should. He’d given anything to bite it, but his caretakers had other ideas.
“No, sir. I can’t give you an extra special dose of painkillers. That would be murder.”
What a baby. Murder wasn’t so bad. Ain’t like you were the one that stopped living. These days kids were too self-absorbed to help an old man out. His blood pressure raced at the thought.
When he was young, he had taken old pa out behind the woodshed when he got too old to walk around himself. That was how it was supposed to be, but these kids were too dang soft.
The incessant hum of his heart monitor interrupted his glowering. Dang thing never worked right. He picked up his remote and began slamming the call button.
“Nurse! This piece of junk don’t work!”
A flurry of scrubs rushed into his room. They wheeled in a crash cart, and an older nurse began barking orders.
“Stop being so overdramatic, you pansies. I’m fine.” He pushed away a nurse that tried to take his pulse and felt nothing as his hand passed through her. He jumped back in shock and fell through what he could only describe as nothing. There was no rush of wind against his skin or even the innate sensation he’d understood to be inertia. Just a frictionless dive through emptiness. He wasn’t sure how much time had passed or if it had passed at all.
“Theo.” A sweet voice called to him through the void. “You have been judged and found wanting. So, like all his other broken toys, they’ve given you to me.” A sweet melody played in his ears. “Well, Cinderella is tired of watching them flail about the dance floor.” He could feel something reach out to him through the emptiness. “So, won’t you join me and show those bastards how it’s done?”
“A Dragon and a Devil” (Drakenheim) (CW: trafficking)
By Hemming Sebastian Bane
Athnona was in trouble. The ballroom, though only lit by dim lights and a disco ball, was crawling with gunmen. The darkened electric chandelier had hidden magic detection crystals replacing the usual glass fixtures. Her Mien wouldn’t set it off, but if she tried to use any more Breath, she’d lose to him. And the ouroboros hated losing.
Slowly, Athnona made her way through the crowd on the dancefloor, a master weaver’s thread through the tapestry of people. It was a miracle no one really noticed her godlike grace, dodging through dancers, drunkards, and ditzes. At least, that’s what Athnona thought. But he definitely noticed.
He was sitting to the side of the stage, wine glass in hand. Athnona clocked the key on his choker immediately. Clever bastard. He was not going to make this easy. He spied Athnona, and his vision locked on her, his dark eyes drinking her in. She didn’t know what to make of it, but it was likely too late to turn back now. He was right there.
“May I sit down?” Athnona said with the most genuine smile she could manage.
The man set down the wine glass on a nearby glass end table and gestured to the empty seat beside him. “By all means, my lovely.”
Athnona felt her skin crawl, but she shoved it down and feigned a giggle as she sat. “What a gentleman!”
He chuckled. “I try.”
With a snap, a variety of alcoholic beverages appeared before the two of them. Athnona was stunned for a second before snapping back to reality. This man made his money from dragon trafficking. These luxuries were the blood and tears of her people.
“Take whatever you like, my lovely,” he said.
The ouroboros shook her head. “Oh no. I–”
“Please, I insist! Sherry? Champagne?”
Athnona held her tongue. ‘Your head on a platter’ was not the best answer to give, true or not.
“Actually, I’m here on business. Secret business.”
His eyes lit up. “What business? I have a, shall we say, diverse portfolio.”
“Dragons,” replied Athnona. “I want to talk about dragons.”
The Right Steps (The Ballad of the Monsters: Savion)
By i-prefer-the-term-antihero (Kaylie Hatch)
“Look at how cool this is!” Lynai set down what I would later learn was called a boombox. “It plays music!”
She pressed a button, and it played ear grating sounds.
“Yeah.” I muttered as she jumped to stop it. “THAT’ll help me learn how to ballroom dance.”
“I was sure I bought the right tape…” She mumbled, clicking the button repeatedly, playing snippets of songs, from beats, to brass, to screams, to, finally, strings. “There we go!
“Now…” She stepped forwards. “What do you think dancing is about?”
I sighed and stood, walking up to her.
“Uhh…Moving your body to music?”
“Any idiot can move their body to music. Dancing—real dancing—is more than that. Really, it’s a lot like learning to fight; there’s moves to memorize, and if you don’t use them right,”—She stepped on my toes—“You’ll get hurt.”
I winced, glaring at her.
“Now, we’re going to start with a waltz.”
She positioned my hands: holding my left in hers, while placing my right on her shoulder.
I hesitated. I’d held her hand before, and even that felt weird. But this…was a whole other level of weird.
Once, I couldn’t touch her at all. She would run her hands through my fur, but if my claws grazed her, the scratches might scar. Now I could hold her hand, touch her shoulder, step on her toes.
“It’s very simple: you make a box on the floor with your feet.”
I followed her feet, watching them intently, trying to make mine cooperate
After a few rounds she tapped my chin. “You can’t stare at my feet the whole time.”
The moment I looked at her I misstepped, landing on her toes.
She smirked before resuming. I tried to keep my eyes up, and my feet listening to me.
They might not scratch her anymore…but my hands were more dangerous than my claws.
That wolf did everything he could to keep from hurting her. But the man? He knew how much she hated him. He knew he was the devil in her story. And he danced with her anyways.
A Devil in Name Only (Illusions of Heroes)
by Gerrit (Rattus)
As the last of the soldiers collapsed to the ground, Emrys heard the clinking of steel from behind him; the unmistakable sound of plate armour being jostled with each step. He turned to find a Knight Arcane approaching.
The Knight raised one hand, an ethereal spear appearing just above it. “I’m afraid your legend ends here, Pathless.”
The spear shot forward from its summoner, streaking through the air at Emrys. He was able to dodge the warning shot with little trouble.
“Does it, now?” Emrys smirked, sword held loose in one hand. “You know, it would be a lot easier if you just helped me.”
“I know of your ways, Breaker of Paths. But I am devout in my beliefs, and will not be so easily swayed.”
Emrys shook his head. Reasoning with people had never worked for him in the past, but he felt it was only fair to try. ‘I guess a smile and some kind words aren’t going to reverse centuries of stories and warnings,’ he thought.
“Can’t say I didn’t warn you.” Emrys shrugged, bringing his sword into a ready position.
The Knight summoned three more spears over his head and fired them. Emrys charged forward, pivoting between the projectiles with ease.
“You’re gonna have to try harder than that if you want to ‘end my legend’.” His sword cut a long arc through the air between them, missing his opponent by mere inches.
“Do you truly think that is the extent of my power?” the Knight asked.
“You sure are making it seem like it is.” Behind his shield, hidden from view, Emrys opened a small gateway. As he felt his energy draining into the rift, he was thankful he hadn’t been pushing himself.
A single thrust was all it took. His sword stabbed into the rift, protruding out the other end that had been opened behind the Knight. Blade pierced through flesh, blood dripping down burnished armour.
“I am…but a tool. Culthinn will…strike…you down…Pathless.”
“Then Culthinn better hope his skill is leagues better than that of his Generals.”
Won’t You Play A While?
Victor prowled the streets, soaking in the calm night air. Hardly a car or pedestrian inhabited the same space, but he could tell through scattered, indistinct conversations that there were a few adventurous humans enjoying this late hour, as well.
A boutique window caught his attention. He looked beyond the reflection of his crimson eyes to a quartet of dresses. He easily pictured Rosalynn in the style but not Samantha.
“They are quite lovely, no? Are you looking for something for your…sister?” A woman’s heavy French accent, hesitant and enticing, cut through his thoughts.
Her scent enveloped his senses in nirvanic bliss. As intoxicating as a fine red wine. As alluring as the first breath of the rising sun. As mysterious as a whispered song in the fog.
Victor smoothly pivoted on his heel and studied the petite brunette illuminated by the window. Freckles dotted her nose while her dark brown eyes danced with curiosity.
He chuckled. “Sisters, actually. One is head over heels for the cut and fabric, but the other…” Victor shrugged with a crooked smile.
Her eyelashes fluttered, and her unpainted lips curved into a relieved grin. “That is good. Both have their own voice.”
“They do.” He outstretched his hand. “I’m Victor.”
Her small hand slipped into his perfectly. “Jeanne.”
He planted a lingering kiss on her knuckles.
“Oh!” Her blood thrummed.
His stomach protested loudly as he released her hand. His predatory gaze met her surprised one.
“I-if you are hungry, there is a small Italian restaurant nearby.”
He clamped his lower jaw against his descending fangs before speaking. “I prefer something with more bite.”
“I am sure they have spices.”
That earned her a genuine laugh from him. “Fair enough. Would you care to join me, Jeanne?”
“Only if I can choose dessert,” she purred.
Victor bowed. “As the lady desires.” He offered his arm.
She accepted willingly.
Dinner had been tasty; Jeanne had been delectable. He could still taste her, could still feel her fingernails. Victor hummed with satisfaction.
He would definitely make sure to visit her again.
AFTER she healed.
by Carrie (Glaceon373)
This is a step-by-step guide to the dance floor of family gatherings.
The first step is to enter. On time is preferred, but you may allow five minutes waiting in your car to gather your strength first. Ideally, you’re still on time afterward.
The second step is to scan the area. Find the couches and the chair clusters and the people who are claiming them as their territory. This is crucial. This can also be done while finding food.
The third step is the application of the knowledge gained in step two, and without it you WILL fail.
The third step is managing your energy.
You do not have much energy, even if you deliberately gathered it before walking in. You have a limited supply, and everyone else has more than you. They will try to steal your energy away and leave you powerless in just a few hours.
This must be avoided at all costs.
For if you allow your energy to be sucked away into conversations, conversations that force you to lie so that everyone there doesn’t think you’re a failure to their ideals, conversations that fill you with anger, conversations that force you to participate—the event will be over for you.
So you must dance.
When one group is drifting towards draining you, twirl away and find somewhere else. When lies start to seep from your lips, shuffle back with a convincing smile. When rage builds in your chest, activate your core muscles and jazz run far away.
Because if you don’t dance, you will lose yourself. You will be weak, and when you are weak they will take advantage of you. You will say the wrong thing at the wrong time and you will be ostracized before you could ever dance away, forever lost from the people in your life—
What? Anxiety? What do you mean, anxiety? I assure you, this is perfectly normal behavior, has been since I was a kid, I—what’s that you’re writing?
Mother And Father
By RVMPLSTLTSKN (The Saga of The Deep One’s Wake)
“Do you see the fractures between us?” Mother Fate asked. “The cracks our children fall through?”
“Yes,” said Father.
“We form a binary, us two. The others catch those who wander or aspire, the outcasts and strange children. We can do something about that, guide their power. After all, every child has a mother.”
“You want religion? Isn’t that the Usurper’s perview?”
“Just as tradition belongs to Death. But, what is ambition without structure?” She asked.
Father allowed himself to reflect on his children and her unvoiced question. The Usurper had crafted his following in life and now that theocracy spread into empire through campaign and technologic art. Father’s own daughter spread chaos and wanderlust through a thing she had learned from him: stories. Strange children indeed.
“The Warlord,” he said ponderously, “is building a religion as well.”
“Xe builds a shamanate, just as Klajonas crafts ghost stories.”
“What are you suggesting?”
“Parenting alone is less effective than parenting with a partner.”
“Mother and Father.”
“We will need my daughter.”
“You are quite attached to your prodigal.”
“Would you feel different about any of your daughters, Mother Fate? Besides, like you said, there are places some souls do not fit in a binary system.”
“What will we gain from her?”
Father made his presence felt more heavily. “You know my fate?”
“You will stand alone in the end.”
“Then we should make sure we begin preparations.”
“She is not part of our bargain.”
“You need me.”
“Without me,” he chuckled, “you have no hope.”
“The Usurper should be first.”
“Then the warlord.”
“Death will be last, but, I think, will join us willingly.”
“Can you do it?”
“Yes,” he said. “I just need time and strength. Klajonas must leave before the end, Amma.”
“I know another wanderer. He showed me many things, even this. He spoke of gods, from other worlds, who can take her in.
“But first, how should we weaken the Usurper so that he must die before his betrayal can recall The Deep One?”
“No, Vienas was my only.”
More Beautiful Than Ever Before (Nyx’s Story)
By Calliope Rannis
Finally, the ball was over.
Sure, Nyx did love to dress up all fancy, but she’d prefer to do it anywhere but a room full of sometimes-literal bloodsuckers.
She checked a mirror on the way back. Good. Her makeup was still pristine, and her dress as alluring as ever. Especially since the black made the bloodstains almost invisible. She smiled, and quickened her pace. Nearly there.
She’d missed her little witch friend all evening. So it was a great relief to see her there, fiddling with her cauldron. A late supper, maybe?
“Louise? I’m back.”
Her friend turned immediately towards her – and instantly dropped everything she was carrying, as she stared at Nyx with wide eyes.
Oh. OH. She’d never seen her dressed up before, had she? Hell, Louise might not have seen anyone dressed up like this before.
Nyx made the most of it. She leaned up against the door with a coy smile, and said “So you like what you see?”
Louise remained speechless, her mismatched eyes darting across every inch of her. Gods, she was cute.
Nyx stepped forward, slowly and elegantly, as Louise stumbled backwards. “I missed you, Louise.” She reached out. “Will you have this dance with me?”
Her friend’s face had gone white, her hands twitching. And her eyes-
-her eyes were full of…fear?
Nyx barely had a second to throw herself backwards, as a bolt of green fire screamed past her face. Almost falling, she looked back to Louise, whose eyes now burned with fear and fury alike.
“What did you do to my friend?” Louise almost screamed. “Why are you wearing her face?”
A horrible chill caught Nyx’s throat. “Louise? Louise…it’s me…”
“No.” Louise snarled. “What are you? A Fiend or a Fey? I know your tricks!”
Nyx staggered forwards, legs shaking. “Louise? Why? How could I possibly be anyone else?”
“My Mothers warned me about your kind,” she retorted. “You aren’t my friend. You look too beautiful to be her. And as my mothers always say,” Louise said, staring into Nyx’s eyes with a terrifying hatred, “the beautiful always lie.”
A Dance with the Devil
John Perceval Cain (oneeye John)
He stood nervously, fidgeting, moving from foot to foot with the red wax sealed invitation in his hand. As he stepped from the foyer into the hallway adjoining the ballroom and glanced at himself in the silvered gilding of the hall’s wainscot, it was effectively a mirror.
He was more richly dressed than ever before, in a starched white club collared shirt with a gray and silver patterned silk puff tie. Over this was a stitched brocade vest with a worsted ¾ length jet black coat worn unbuttoned. The outfit cost more than his whole family earned in a year.
Ethereal music, an electro synth waltz, pulled him from his revere and he made his way into the ballroom. He looked around and couldn’t see the source of the music, but realized someone stood at the front of the bandstand.
The woman hadn’t been there just a moment before. She was standing sideways in silhouette, and turned towards him. Her dress was a sheath style, had a deep decolletage that plunged to her navel and a high starched and spiked Elizabethan collar. The material was a decadent gold threaded, beaded black silk, with puffed sleeves, high leg slits, and a cape that flowed like wings as she moved down off the bandstand. Her makeup, smokey eyes, black shiny lips and nails, contrasted with her pale skin and chiseled features.
His heart skipped a beat. She was beautiful and terrible, Tolkien’s Galadriel, when tempted by the ‘One Ring’ came to his mind, “All shall love me and despair!” He lifted the invitation towards her.
“I’ll take that.” She made a gesture flicking her right wrist, and the envelope flashed in flame and disappeared.
He inched back from her, looking at his hand. The only thing left of the invitation was smoke and a bit of ash. He stared up at the woman.
She licked her lips as if savoring a tasty morsel. “You can call me Lili.”
He trembled as she stepped next to him. “What do you want from me?”
In The Pale Moonlight
“Hey, Jazz?” Daisy asked, meekly knocking on the open door. “You’re into all that… occult stuff, right?”
Jasmine smiled at Daisy, putting down the vampire romance book she’d been reading. “Yeah. You can say that.”
“Do you know anything about… incubuses?”
“Whatever…” Daisy sighed exhaustedly.
“This have anything to do with that nightmare you had last night?”
Daisy violently shuddered at the memory. “What do you know about them?”
“Well… they’re the male version of a succubus. They’re lust demons. Basically created to explain everything from infidelities to sleep paralysis.”
“I already know that!” Daisy snapped before apologetically calming herself. “What happens when one… kisses you…?”
Jasmine raised a curious eyebrow. “Well… it probably wouldn’t stop at just kissing. You see when an incubus likes a girl very much, they-”
“Jazz! Please… Humor me here…”
“I don’t know.” She shrugged. “They’d probably be really good at it?”
Jasmine heard Daisy mutter something under her breath and was going to ask about it when a lightbulb went off in her mind. “They could probably thrall you with a kiss!”
Jasmine officially had her undivided attention. “…what’s a thrall?”
Sitting up excitedly, Jasmine continued, “So you know how a vampire’s bite makes you a vampire? Same with werewolves, zombies and so on?”
Daisy nodded, breaking out in a cold sweat.
“It’s kinda like that with incubi and succubi. They forcibly tie your soul to theirs and they basically own you. They can change everything from your appearance to your very thoughts. Can you imagine? Being the puppet of a being that powerful? It’s kinda hot when you think about it.”
“No, it’s NOT!” Daisy shrieked. “It’s not hot at all! It’s-!”
Jasmine snapped out of her revelry, getting up to embrace her friend. “I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to freak you out! It’s not real, remember? None of it’s real.”
Daisy accepted the hug, clinging to Jasmine for dear life as the tears began to fall.
“He’s been in my head, Jazz…” Daisy whispered, terrified he’d hear. “Since last night. Laughing and… saying the most horrible things…”