A Devil’s Bargain

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When she was young Sarah Morgan had craved fame, pursued its arbitrary rewards with shameless zeal. Later, she had craved money, seeking refuge in its myriad compensations. Now, with plenty of both, she craved only her youth. Many, of course, pursued this prize once they reached a certain age. They sought it in surgery or believed they could uncover it by dieting or in the formulae of expensive alchemies. In this, Sarah knew, she was no different. Of course, a few went further: those with most to give – or most to lose. They were willing to believe the promises made only to the desperate. Here, though, Sarah was fairly sure she was unique. So it was that, a year to the day after she sealed the bargain, Sarah came again to the old Witch House.

As befitted its name, the house stood alone, away from the town: the final building at the end of a road that eventually became a lane and then a track. Approaching it, Sarah had been acutely aware of how lonely the location was. The twisted, tumbledown building attracted few visitors at the best of times and, as the driver had said, nobody would be fool enough to visit the cursed place on Halloween.

For a long time after he left she watched the taillights of the taxi recede, her eyes slowly adjusting as the night closed about her. She was in no way naive. A lifetime pursuing celebrity in a hundred sleazy agents’ offices, a thousand grimy clubs, had taught her that all lunches have a cost. Indeed, the cost of this one had not been kept from her. So, as she stood uneasily at the gateway, it was not her ability to pay that made her pause, but her willingness to meet the cost.

The driveway was long, and the grounds overgrown, but she could just make out the building in the distance: its shape a dark shadow through the trees. She stared, discomfited, for some time, but creeping fear of her complete isolation made even the bleak comfort of the house preferable to standing in the dark woods. Finally, she crossed through the gate into the grounds.

It was clear that the driveway had seen no recent use; its pockmarked surface was littered with fallen branches and slick with leaf litter, making her path treacherous. Worse, the approach obscured her view of the house, its gambrel roof only occasionally visible above the trees, increasing her feeling of loneliness. Not for the first time she wondered what she was doing.

Gradually, by degrees, she became aware of something else, a strange unnatural stillness that seemed to follow her. Something was watching her from the dark. Eyes flicking, she glanced around: the twisting vegetation became sinister, crowding her, full of shadowed hiding places. Nothing. She looked for the roof, guessed she was about halfway between house and road. Somewhere nearby a bird croaked discordantly and she jumped, heart racing. It broke the tension and she made more quickly along the driveway. The wind had picked up now, hissing through the trees like an angry cat and occasionally striking her with cold, heavy spots of rain. The sense of being watched grew stronger. Ahead she could just make out a light near the house.

Behind her something ran across the drive: bushes snapped, the sound of clawed feet. She spun around, lost her footing in the dark and fell. She had the impression of something black disappearing from view but it was gone too quickly to see properly. Slowly she pushed herself to her feet, moving backward. Whatever it was, she could feel it still out there, hostile and malignant. She tried to walk faster, her heeled shoes twisting and threatening to throw her to the floor with each step. The thing followed; she sensed it marking her course, urging her on. Her heart was racing, adrenalin rushing through her, making her sick, shaky. She could see the house, closer now, at the front a light flickering with an offer of sanctuary and she broke into a shuffling run, her movement hampered by the tight skirt she wore, her heeled shoes. Gradually, painfully slowly, the trees thinned and the house grew before her, its ramshackle wings reaching out to embrace her, just a few more steps.

The thing hit her from behind, canlı bahis hard and bony, an impression of human shape. She felt a flash of pain in her arm and screamed, the momentum from the blow sending her rolling to the ground. She tasted soil, smelt damp earth, decay, felt the wet quickly seeping through her thin blouse. Instinctively she curled up, anticipating another blow’ but as quickly as it had come, the thing was gone. Shaken, frightened, she struggled to her feet. Blood trickled down her arm. Spinning about, she found the door to the house open, spilling a soft light. Without questioning her good fortune, she ran up the steps and into the hall, slamming the door behind her.

It was some time before her panic receded enough to allow her to take stock. The cut on her arm was a scratch, no more, but the encounter terrified her. Worse, the thing outside had her trapped in the house. She breathed deeply, calming herself. The place smelt musty, had an aura of decay that the oil lamps lighting the hallway could only partially obscure. Something about the house robbed it of any homely welcome. Instead, there was an atmosphere of tension: intense, almost erotic. She shivered uncomfortably.

“Anyone home?” She said, calling out.

“In the library,” she recognised her son’s voice. “Past the stairs, straight on.” Swallowing her unease, Sarah followed the voice to a room further down the hall. This room, similarly lit with oil lamps, was lined with what had once been bookshelves. Most stood drooping, empty. A few scattered tomes littered others. She paused at the door; Mark stood examining a book at a table in the centre of the room, his dark, floppy hair dangling over his face. Uncertainly, she tried to strike a pose, became aware that her nipples were both erect and visible through her wet blouse and self-consciously settled for folding her arms. He looked up, a smile lighting his face.

“You came,” he came toward her. “I had wondered if, in the end, you would go through with it.” His voice betrayed no such uncertainty. He took her hands, noticing the cut on her arm and the streaked blood. “What happened here?”

“Something…something attacked me,” she swallowed; his closeness was making her uncomfortable. “Outside.” His eyebrows flicked up and she sensed knowledge hidden in his storm-cloud eyes, but he said nothing, instead leading her out of the library to the back of the house, a kitchen.

“No harm done, eh?” He picked up a small wine glass, then, to her shock, he squeezed her arm, squashing the wound and dripping the blood into the glass.

“Hey!” She jerked her arm, but he held it fast.

“Shhhh,” he stared distractedly at the blood gathering. “It’s okay. Just a little more.” His voice was reassuring and, reluctantly, she acquiesced.

“Is that for the…you know?” He nodded, wiping her arm and placing a small plaster over the cut.

“All finished.” He stood over her, no more than a hand’s breadth away, she could feel his warmth through her flimsy top, his hands on her arm, soft and gentle. He stared down into her eyes, letting the tension between them mount. She felt sick, excited, and nervous: all of these.

“I don’t…” she started, but his finger on her lips stilled her. Taking her hand he led her away and she allowed herself to be guided, although she knew where she was going.

He took her quickly up the crookback stairs, the wood squeaking alarmingly. All the while she could feel the tension like a background hum in the house, more powerful and growing. This close to him, to her son, she didn’t know if she could do what he wanted her to do. This whole ritual thing, so silly last year, now seemed altogether too real.

The bedroom was at the back of the house, big and open, heavy with dark wood. Moonlight filled it with a cold radiance, lending it an ethereal air. It was damp, cold, musty smelling, like old wood. Dominating it was a massive four-poster bed: a monster of black wood and white satin. Immediately Sarah knew that this was the source of the strange tension in the house. The thing crouched before her: ancient, malign…alive? bahis siteleri She shuddered. Seeing her unease, Mark took her hand.

“It’s okay, this is the key to the ritual,” he nodded toward the bed. “The gateway, if you will.” She nodded, but the gesture lacked any confidence. “She died in it…the old witch,” he stroked a bed post pensively. “Some say part of her spirit still lingers…bound to it.” Again Sarah felt that strange tension, and shivered: like someone walked on her grave.

“It’s almost midnight, ” he said, turning toward the window. “We should begin.” Sarah’s growing unease suddenly coalesced, a cold hand gripping her heart. She couldn’t do it, the price was too high. Somehow he seemed to sense her refusal and he turned to face her, his dark eyes unreadable. She tried for humour, putting her hands on her hips.

“Mark Morgan, what are you asking your mother to do?” She tried to sound strict, motherly, but her efforts foundered in his charcoal gaze, her faux confidence evaporating. He said nothing, letting the silence build. She was suddenly very conscious of her hands, the way she stood, her body. She felt herself fidgeting, hugging herself, then, embarrassed, dropping her arms uncomfortably to her side. Finally, he spoke.

“I want you to undress,” he said. “I want to make love to you.” She quailed, clutching herself, glancing askance at the thing in the centre of the room.

“I don’t know if I can.”

“Mother, it’s nearly midnight, ” his voice little more than a whisper. “It’s Halloween…All Hallows’ Eve…The Witches’ Sabbat.” As he spoke, he came to her, rolling the wineglass gently in his hand, warming the blood within. Involuntarily she flinched, stepping back.

“Mark, you’re my son.” He smiled, slow and predatory.

“Sometimes, mother, you just can’t walk away.” As he spoke he gently snapped the rim of the glass, picking a shard.

“Mark…” Wordlessly he made a shallow cut on his arm. Sarah felt the tension in the room lurch, her whole body tingling as he bled, dripping into the glass, combining with her blood. He stirred it slowly with his finger then licked it clean, tasting the blood.

“All magic is powered by blood, mother, did you know that?” He met her eyes. “Blood…and sex.” He drank from the glass. As he swallowed she felt herself gasp, warmth spreading through her like soup, her anxiety diminishing. Maybe this wouldn’t be so hard – just once. My God! What was she thinking?

He was still speaking, his voice soothing, easing her concern. “You don’t know how long I’ve worked for this moment, how long I’ve planned it.” She found herself agreeing without meaning to, without fully understanding his meaning. “Why don’t you get undressed?”

Suddenly she was very warm, her whole body throbbing, as if to an alien heartbeat. Why was she nervous? She wanted this, didn’t she? Under her son’s hungry gaze she slowly took off her blouse, tugging it over her naked breasts, her nipples tightening in the sudden cool. She could feel his eyes on her, roving over her breasts, her belly. The scrutiny both disturbed her and thrilled her. Her hand dropped to the zipper on her skirt. It felt so wrong but so horribly exciting. She pinched her waistband, holding the fabric taut as teased the zipper down. Finally she allowed the skirt to fall, letting it pool around her feet.

Mark’s gaze was almost a physical thing, stroking over her nakedness, thrilling her, repulsing her, arousing her. He held out his hands and she went to him, as eager as any lover. She smelt his breath, a hint of cinnamon, then his lips were on hers, brushing gently, then firmer; his tongue flicked over her lips. Something stopped her, a nagging voice of alarm and she pulled back. He paused, took a breath.

“No.” This was wrong. “Stop… please.” Her voice was little more than a whisper. He brushed it aside, his lips moving to her neck, pulling at her ear lobe. Sarah felt herself moan, a small involuntary sound: it felt so good! But she wanted him to stop – didn’t she? Wordlessly he guided her to the bed and she was powerless. His presence confused her, aroused bahis şirketleri her.

The bed moved beneath her. It was unnatural, strange: it seemed to embrace her, to draw her in. Mark’s lips moved once again to her neck, his teeth teasing her skin. He had her on the bed now, gently lifting her slight frame. She shuffled about, felt her legs tangle in the sheets, soft and cool. She tried to kick them off – couldn’t. They were getting tighter. A spike of alarm drove in to her, snapping her into sudden focus. Her legs were wrapped in the bed sheets. No! The bed sheets were entangling her. Somehow they were restraining her, tying her. She felt her legs pulled open, the pressure gentle but irresistible, tried to lift her head to see what was happening. “Mark…”He was lifting her arms, pushing them back, into the satin. Realisation swept over her too late. The sheets wrapped themselves about her wrists and ankles: she was helpless. Her eyes flicked to Mark: he’d known, had deliberately trapped her.

He stood and undressed, discarding his clothing on the floor. She followed him with her eyes: he had the body of a dancer, all angular planes and long muscle, his pale skin almost translucent in the moonlight. Her eyes dropped unconsciously to his cock, was surprised to see it erect. The sight ignited something in her, lust sweeping like fire through her veins, her last breaths of reluctance lost.

At last he came to her as her lover: gentle, considerate but dominant, driven. She felt his mouth on her breasts, his lips teasing her nipples, sucking them, and sending electricity coursing through her. She gasped, shivering in pleasure, offered herself to him. His hand was on her sex — God that felt good – his fingers teasing her lips, sliding, slick with her juices. Then she felt his fingers slip inside her, pushing, gently insistent. His mouth found hers and her tongue slipped eagerly into his mouth, tasting him. His fingers teased her, deep inside, his thumb caressing her, slipping moistly over her clitoris – she came as they kissed, gasping wantonly into his mouth: a single word. “Yes.”

Mark moved between her legs, watching his mother’s body thrill at his touch. He brought his fingers to his mouth: smelt her musky scent, arousing him; tasted her juices. He felt her eyes on him, read his permission there, and, slowly, gently, slid into her body. She moaned, arching her back to meet him, her eyes closing in pleasure. He heard himself gasp, his body convulsing. He pulled back, felt her gasp in return and thrust in once more, hungrily, the two of them building a rhythm, their gasps and moans a subtle counterpoint. He took her wrists in his hands, his lovemaking more urgent, powerful. His mouth was again on hers, needy, passionate, pressing his lips onto her. Hungrily she responded, her lips parting, willing.

She came, the orgasm burning through her body, building into something more: changing her, rejuvenating her. She felt her whole body convulse, pulling frantically at the sheets that trapped her, her skin taut, breasts throbbing. She needed him now, needed to taste him. In the back of her mind she was dimly aware that as she came the bed had released her, but the thought was overwhelmed. Twisting about on the bed she took his cock in her mouth, her need lending a frantic urge to her lovemaking. Her juices covered him, her taste strong and musky over his bitterness. She worked him urgently, unable to satisfy her cravings: her tongue licking him, circling slowly around his naked head, her hand stroking his base. She pulled up, saliva stringing from her mouth – smiled shyly as she caught his eye – then plunged back to her task, drawing him deeply into her mouth, her head pumping. She heard him groan, then semen jetted into her mouth; his seed salty and metallic. Instinctively she swallowed, his seed precious, blessed by their union.

Mark lay back, spent. The clock on the wall chimed one o’clock. The witching hour had passed. He looked down at this mother licking the last drops of semen from his cock and pulled her to him. She came eagerly into his arms now, nestling into his embrace, her lips gently kissing his neck.

“What are you thinking?” She asked. He glanced down into her eyes, smiling.

“The spell only lasts a twelvemonth,” he kissed her lips gently. “I’ll need to rent this place again next year.”

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