The day slipped away, all in that wonderful haze. No pain, no fear; only numb serenity. All thanks to a little “aid” approved by Lilith. Samantha’s magic was well and good at mending wounds, but nothing beat a good bottle of painkiller downed with three wine coolers to take any inkling of pain. Even the idea of it was purged, all while she stared at the swirling purple cows and rainbow beetles skittering and clomping across her ceiling. One had dropped on her nose and splashed, leaving behind a strawberry the size of Jupiter, taking her for a ride before sending her off to visit Saturn and His many lovely wives. Sweet people, all things considered.
Alas, the dragon on her finger wouldn’t let her go chasing the others for long, and forced her mind to return to this sodden, miserable, forsaken existence. Slowly but surely the cows went home, the beetles burrowed into the metal, and Jupiter and Saturn returned to the heavens, taking with them that holy strawberry, leaving her in a stainless steel box, far too bright for its own good. The pain came again, but at least it was only dull throbs –with the occasional scream. All because she able to focus on what Lilith said.
“By her word”? ANOTHER semester! Wasn’t one enough!!! The final test was over. She pushed her students to the best of their abilities and proved she can raise them to be better. She has shown that she is capable of teaching... yet she expected her to continue (down there)? She expected her to reside longer down there in that prison!
This is “horseshit!” She began to think but ended up screaming, far too heavy, too much for her mind to handle alone. Here she was, in anguish after her back was broken, her body was maimed... yet she would take those physical agonies any day over this fresh Hell imparted in her mind. She tossed and turned and writhed and wrung herself into oblivion, physically and mentally. “HORSESHIT! FUCKING HORSESHIT!!!”
Every time, the walls would quake. Metal would spike out, trying to reach her, to take her, but the dragon kept it and the whistling horrors beyond at bay. Her bed shuddered, as if whimpering, wanting her to stop before the stakes underneath broke through its body and impaled it and her –which she answered. She slung herself to face her nightstand and grabbed her phone. The only item that survived that whole endeavor (aside her ring).
How you bitches? She sent to all three witches, then waited... and waited... There were a few phone games she hadn’t touched. In a while, actually... Samantha wondered if she should boot up some of those while waiting. Instead, though, she chose her handheld. She did three hunts before checking her phone again. Still nothing. I know we got rolled hard, but it wasn’t enough to ask for breakfast after.
She didn’t even return to the game, simply watching her phone, waiting... wanting... hoping to at least know that it was read.
Hello? You guys alive? She spammed, again and again, needing answers... but none came. Samantha contemplated calling Lilith, but... something still... bugged her. Something dug under her skin when it came to that bitch. She needed to make one more trip below, needed to at least fulfill her wish to Bella and save Scarlette... but... considering last time she barely escaped and that was thanks to Bella, she wasn’t sure.
In fact, she was so lost to that train of thought, to the storm still clashing on in her mind, that she didn’t even notice Minos fling open the door. It slammed against the wall, bounding back to hit him in the face... He was a bit more gentle opening it the second time. He sneered at Samantha, rubbing his nose, but his anger vanished seeing her lost in herself... and the bruises around her eyes.
“Whoa. Hey. What happened to you?” He said, rushing over to her. Which she still didn’t notice he was there. It took him shaking her hard enough to chafe if not break a shake weight to get her attention. “Hey! Sam. What happened?”
“I was in a car wreck,” she grumbled, shrugging him off. “Do you mind!”
“N-no-well yeah, but- damn... Uh... Is that still a bit of... metal in your neck?”
“Oh. I thought I took that out already.” She winced, everything fading as she worked it out... and looked over that “bit” of chrome. It was as thick as her wrist, bent, twisted into a U –which happened to fit perfectly around it, as well. She cocked her head, going a bit green, and the world started to fade as her neck glowed, looking over that... that... She shook her head, and gasped, throwing aside the metal hook. “That should have taken my head off. How the h-”
“Do you really want to question it? You’re alive... Though, if you had died, I would have had to ask Lilith for your head. A little taxidermy, a little preservation; no reason to let lips that good go to waste.”
“Good fucking grief,” Ayn exclaimed, standing in the doorway. “Can’t I visit you once without it having some form of sexual tension?”
“What the fuck do you want?” Samantha said, metal growing on her hands.
Ayn held up hers as she sauntered into the room and sat at the desk with, a heavy sigh.
“I saw Lilith carry you in. I did plan to... mend our relationship when you got home in the real nigga hours, but... well, let’s simply say you looked a lot more like a dead nigga than a body.”
“I’m serious. You looked more like what would have come from a nasty lynching than a human last night. It’s actually rather... miraculous how you recovered. Makes me wonder why you had to wish Norman to be better with that kind of power-”
“I didn’t even know I had this much, in truth.” She looked at the ring. And it stared back. Its eyes gleamed, staring back into hers as the tail visibly grew down her hand, wrapping, or trying to, around her wrist, just coming up an inch short... She shook her head, regretting every forced jolt, and turned her attention on the succubus once more. “So you came to apologize, huh?”
“I didn’t say that. I said I came to make amends. If anything, you owe me an apology.”
“I owe you jack shit! That stunt you and Minos pulled-”
“You’re right. That was going a bit too far, telling the truth and all. I know how much you loathe it.”
“If you are going to be like this, then just get out.”
Ayn rose to her feet. And dared to approach Samantha. She eased Minos aside and knelt on her right knee, looking Samantha in the eye. On her level.
“How do you want me to act, hmm?” She guffawed goofily and the smile after was just as goofy. She rolled back her lips, exposing not only her pearly whites but also her gums. When she talked again, her accent was incredibly exaggerated. “Do you wish me to be yo happy nigga? Want me to just be all smiles and rainbows and glitter ass and other, niggerly things? Just dance when you says dance? Jumps when you say jump? Wants me to kiss yo ass and get it all nice and shiny in betw-”
She smacked herself in the face, returned to her normal demeanor.
“Or do you want me to be... me? To be honest with yo nigga ass? That’s what you still don’t get: We... will never have an eggshell friendship.”
“That’s what you came here to say?”
Ayn rolled her eyes. “How can you be this dumb? No, nigga. That’s just to clarify what you said. What I did come to say was you... had some truth in your statement.” She looked away, her cheeks reddening, glowering at the door to the bathroom. “I... I did enjoy it. Not only to being awakened to what I was, but because of the sex, itself. I found out that day that I love it hard and forced and to be demeaned to little more than a cock sleeve... but for him? Fuck. No. Ain’t even a race thing; plenty of niggas when locked up. Nobody cared back then what a bunch of hospital monkeys did, and they was worse. It wasn’t until that I was down here and-”
“What she’s trying to say,” Minos said, cutting her off, “is that you were right in some things you said, while others were entirely uncalled for... right?”
Ayn huffed, and stood again, but Samantha could see a bit of heat in those red eyes. Her breath was still heavy, rising, falling behind her thick, white, cotton shirt. She glared at Minos, who returned it. Almost too even... but Ayn shook her head, looking down at Samantha.
“Anyways, we cool now,” she stated.
“I don’t know,” Samantha said. “Are we?”
“That wasn’t a question, nigga. We are. Period.”
With the final word on the topic, she took her leave. Minos cleared his throat, and was next, parting with a middle finger, leaving her at least able to sleep.
Samantha waited at her podium, looking over her teaching schedule. It was covered in so much red and profanity (at herself) it was a wonder the paper didn’t come to life and attack her. Give it time, though... She raised her eyebrow, her thumb and its ring tapping it, but shook her head instead.
Stuck down here for another six months, she thought, heaving a heavy sigh as she waited for students to roll in. She slept like a baby, down to waking up every so hours bawling as a fresh bit of metal finally stuck the right place. Using the restroom especially was a real treat that morning; no one could ever refute her when she ever said she pissed razor blades. When a guy complained about a kidney stone now, she both understood and would chop his dick off; it was the only way. The ONLY way.
She had a shower, but the bruises, the blood from fresh metal still seeped from her pores which made it rather impossible to keep anything more on than a pair of dark sweats and a black tank top. The metallic tang of blood was somewhat covered up by her juniper berry and saffron perfume. To her at least. As soon as Peter walked through the door, though, he sniffed the air.
And turned around.
“No. Wait, Pe-” She began, but remembered the cupcake... and the note attached. He had stopped and looked back at her, waited for her to continue... However, she decided to check her phone, finding no replies from the witches still. Instead, she swiped over to Mahna, finally sending him a message as the door closed.
Hey, baby. Had a bad wreck the other day, but I’m fine now. How’s it hanging, and, please, tell me it’s a bit stiff and leaning to the right? ;) She sent it, and saw that it had been read... but... nothing followed. At least the witches never checked their phones. They were never marked as read; Meanwhile, Mahna had almost immediately checked and now said nothing?
“I’ll give him until after class,” she mumbled-
“Who?” Minos boomed, smacking her podium, and guffawed as she yelped. He wiped his eye, drumming his fingers on it once more before he patted her head, instead. “Man, got you good... So what about Douchey McKnifeear?
“Yes. What about him?” Ginger said. She, too, must have strolled in when Samantha’s face was buried in her phone. She was back in her seat but leaned up on her desk, her green eyes glittering. “Are you going to see him soon? When? Is he coming to the Halls again?”
“‘Again’? He was here once?” Minos exclaimed.
“He carried her to her room, all cradled in his arms and against his toned chest, smelling of wild grass and lake dew mingling with his musk and her love.” Ginger sighed, cupping her chin in between her hands, rubbing her cheeks... all too oblivious to the enraging minotaur in the room. He loomed over Samantha’s stand, his eyes almost blank, snorting... but it turned to giggles which gave to laughter. Minos rubbed his belly, trying to hold it in, as he seemed ready to burst.
“That... sounds unbelievably corny,” he said, sneering at Samantha. “You must have hated that.”
“Doesn’t matter; had sex,” she grumbled, and the door opened again, welcoming Junmei... and Marcy into the room. She cocked her head at Marcy, seeing the harpy’s cheeks were nice and rosy, just holding a smile under her sour facade. “Eh? I thought you said you weren’t coming to class anymore.”
She huffed, and turned her head away, following Junmei to his seat and taking the one beside it... though Samantha did catch a small wink. Minos took his seat as well, for his own safety, and his bright mood was taken seeing Monica come in next. The whore had a... festive new ensemble on this day, fitting for the old red man’s favorite three words this time of year. She had on a pair of sleek, red thigh-high “boots”; no material could be seen at the top of her feet while the bottom had a sole that was attached behind the heel. Their tops had a thin ring of white fluff, cut off for the hooks for the garter belt, holding them to her waist. The garter belt, itself, was wreathed in more white fluff, adorned as well with mini baubles of all sorts of colors. In its center, though, hung a leaf of mistletoe, just covering for her lack of a thong. She had a pair of matching gloves, actually ending in gloves, their tops by her shoulder giving her a white halo around them, connected to a red tube top that only served to protrude her breasts even more, untouched save for a pair of golden bell nipple piercings, jingling merrily. She even dyed her hair white, both her head and otherwise, and straightened it out –on top of her head that is. It was held back by a golden circlet, while a pair of silver bells hung from her ears, dotted with many a jewel.
Monica hummed a jaunty, holiday tune as she skipped over to Junmei, and, from wherever she kept it in that ensemble, produced two, golden rings.
“Here you go,” she said, almost singing it, and brushed her left tit, making the bell jingle. “I sort of got carried away after. ’Tis the season, you know?”
“Thank you, Monica,” he said, rolling his wrist towards- No... No, Junmei. N- “but could you give them to Samantha? She’s the best man.”
“Okay!” She spun around, and Samantha knew she would soon hate the sound of bells. Monica’s bells ended with a soft trill before her, the golden bands glaring painfully on the dark wood podium. However, Samantha couldn’t help but look, seeing the detail, the craftsmanship of the metal, peerless yet robust... all done over a weekend. Monica giggled, and winked at Samantha. “Don’t lose them, all right? I put a lot of heart into them.”
“Okay,” she said, and pocketed the rings. They seemed to bite into her hand with how cold they were, weighing her down even more. I never really agreed, but okay. Whatever. Monica took her seat. Ayn had rolled in without a word- and Samantha couldn’t wait until after class. It was already painful enough waiting it to begin. She checked her phone once more, finding not a single reply waiting.
Rough night, huh? Did you chew your sister out for that stunt she pulled? She sent... again, read, but no reply. Not even ellipses, and, boy, did she crave those dots at that moment. She eased the phone onto the podium watching, as if possessed, focused, urging, goading the dots to come to her, to rise and give her some hope.
Sadly, it wasn’t doing it.
She picked it up again, sending another text. I hope you did. I could have really used it before what happened. ;) At least I would have had something yummy in my tummy... oh, and an actual meal, too.
Again, read, but no reply. She sighed, pocketed the phone, and looked up to see that most of the class was there; only Peter, Buffy, and Lisa were absent. She doubted Peter would come back, and Buffy already stated she wasn’t. Which meant less herpies; good. That left simply waiting for Lisa to make her languished way. For whom, though, was the question... Samantha shook her head, and sighed, rolling her wrist to the class.
“So what are you guys hoping for Christmas, huh?” She said.
“I’m an atheist,” Ayn said.
“And I am a Muslim,” Junmei said.
“And I’m Pagan,” Monica exclaimed, giggling as she rang her bells more, bouncing in her seat. “I’m hoping to celebrate it the old fashioned way: a big orgy and lots of food and wine.”
“You know, I wouldn’t mind that,” Junmei said, and winced as Marcy slapped his shoulder.
“No orgies.” She stated... but hugged his arm, whispering something in his ear that made his hood ruffle and his face burn red.
“I’m simply hoping we all have a good time,” Norman said. “I love the holidays.”
Everyone agreed with him, and then silence took hold of the room, waiting- for the door to click open. As it did. Finally... Lisa panted, wheezed as she shoved against it, inching it enough for her to do her usual, staggered sidle in. Normal routine, par for the course... as it would be for ANOTHER six months WHY GODS WHY-
But, she stopped. WHY GODS WHY BREAK ROUTINE!
Lisa’s wheezes stopped, before rushing in quick gasps. Her breaths turned sharp, nostrils flaring as she slowly looked towards Samantha, darkness pulsing in her red eyes.
“You’re hurt,” she stated, and took a labored step. Not to her seat, but for Samantha. She clawed for then at the table when she finally reached it, using it to balance and pick up her pace, the darkness growing ever larger, threatening to engulf the red. “I smell it. All over you.”
She reached out for Samantha, her hands clawed- no. They were claws. The bone had ripped through the tips, nails pointed up as those jagged ends writhed towards Samantha. The dragon hissed on the witch’s finger, rising, circling, but Samantha couldn’t move. She was stuck, frozen, locked in those eyes. All red was gone; nothing but darkness, the abyss, an unending hunger remained, glowing with an eerie light, brightening as she grew ever closer.
Minos, however, stepped in the way.
Her claws scraped at his chest, squelching a little, but he eased them away before they could do more and onto the table. Norman rushed up, wrapping those claws then dabbing Minos’ chest before the minotaur wrapped an arm around Lisa’s shoulders, turning her around.
“Easy there, killer,” he said, chortling. “Teach was in a pretty bad car wreck.”
An audible gasp was heard through the room.
“What? Really?” Monica shrilled, sniffling. “Teacher, why didn’t you say anything?”
“And here I thought it was simply your time of the month,” Jack said, waggling a finger at her ensemble.
Samantha shook her head, more to still the chill that ran down her spine. “No. That shouldn’t start until the... week of...”
“Say it,” Minos said, biting his lip- and laughed as she hit his shoulder, his cue to head to his seat. Samantha shot Mahna another text, then told them the lesson plan until the holidays, fading into a blurred haze of unanswered texts, music, and crafts. The Tuesday before break had come so soon; she had sent Mahna over forty texts, each one read but untouched.
That’s it, she thought, and sent one, final text.
We need to talk.
She shook her head, sniffling, and rubbed her hands together as the class filed in. The day, like many others, went by as a blur, but it was tinted with such sorrow. Her heart was breaking with each snap of a colored pencil or snip of paper. Her soul bled as they played such wonderfully gay songs, filling the Hall with cheer that seemed flaccid when it tried to fill her. She didn’t even bother to wait for the students to leave the music hall before she returned to her room.
Samantha slung herself onto the bed, and it wasn’t long before she was weeping... And, if her mood wasn’t dour enough, Ayn decided to join her. The succubus closed the door behind and made her way, to the bed. Slow, for her sake. If only that held true; she sat beside, sighing deeply, again and again, until Samantha finally took a hint. And not the one she wanted to follow up on.
Samantha rolled over, giving her a dirty look, but found Ayn simply staring off into space... rubbing the small bottle in her hand.
“You know,” Ayn said, as if mulling it, still simply looking off, “I could leave whenever I want... As could you.”
“So why don’t you?”
She huffed, finally staring down at Samantha. “Most likely for the same reason you don’t... But, here’s a question: is it really worth getting this upset when you can easily leave and check on him?”
“I guess I hadn’t made it exactly secret, huh?”
“A man hitting on women outside an abortion clinic is more subtle than you.” She sighed, and looked upon the bottle again. “Sometimes we do things in spite of ourselves... and others to prove somebody wrong.” She slipped the bottle back into her shirt, scowling at Samantha. “So, after the holidays, are you gone?”
“Originally, I was told to have all of you pass... However, Lilith said I was here for another six months- You know, she never actually gave an actual time-frame! Ooh, that cunt! She lead me on the day before saying people would take advantage, and there she went... What is going through that bitch’s mind right now?”
Ayn simply shrugged. “There’s no real way of knowing that. She... her eyes...”
“I try not to look into them. She made it very clear the first day what she could do. Feel bad for the motel bed.”
“Nigga, I did not need to hear nor know that!” She scoffed, but was smirking now. “Really, I hope that bitch dies.”
“She runs this school; she handles this prison. Like... you met them. They aren’t bad people. They have their quirks, but for us to be deemed ‘dangers’ to her little utopia... Several attempts through history were made to try and cull dissent. Look at how they turned out. It’s only a matter of time before someone higher than her decides to take her out for her... ‘vision’.”
“I... may not completely agree with you, but I do agree that these Halls are fucked up. The way she keeps some as trophies-”
“What was that?” Samantha cursed at herself, but the damage was done. Ayn turned around, looking down at her with cold eyes. “Trophies? Like who? Who here is her trophy?” She didn’t wait for Samantha to say anything, storming to her feet. “Nigga, I ain’t anybody’s trophy! I am here because I choose to be, not because that lily-cracked cunt thinks she has an example for any other succubus that come along!”
“It’s not you. It’s not anybody here-”
“Then another Hall?” Samantha nodded, rubbing her arm, wishing nothing more than to shirk into the covers and shrink inside, to hide away as Ayn knelt. “That’s where you been going?”
“Y... yeah. It’s... it’s not as nice as this one. There’s only one full-time occupant, but there have been several others, kidnapped, bar-coded, as if ready to sell or archive.”
Ayn blew out, slowly, and sat again, shaking her head.
“That chick be cray.”
“Yeah... It’s a surprise the other witches think she’s normal, but I guess that’s because they see her more often that I do... Or, maybe I see the real her while they see her under “better circumstances”. Makes me wonder how... Eh. Maybe after a nice fuck she’s a wonderful person.”
“After a nice fuck?”
“You didn’t know she had a husband?”
“How the hell would I know? I’ve been down here a while... but not that long, either.” Her voice trailed off, looking off once more, but not into space. With how her lips moved, how her eyes darted and darkened, she was in deep conversation with herself- snapped out of it as she looked at Samantha once more. “Have you met him? Her fuck toy?
“Strange...” She was lost to herself again, but was back far faster, snapping her fingers. “You said you looked her in the eyes.”
“When I first arrived, yeah.”
“And after that?”
“Not at all?”
“And she’s been down here several times, too...”
“What’s your point? Hello? Are you going to answer m-”
She turned completely around. And gripped Samantha’s head. She pulled her up, forced her to be a nose away- but even that wasn’t enough, the succubus’ nose pressing hard on hers. She cupped either side, blotting out anywhere else she could look, and forced Samantha to look her straight in the eye...
But no lewd thoughts came.
Her head didn’t ache. She didn’t feel the scratching, the clawing, the emptiness that flooded as it did with Lilith. Though she looked into those reds, she felt nothing, nothing but the hate in them... the futility, the sadness.
Ayn let her go, her arms crossed before her, thinking once more. Her right was raised to her lips, rubbing it, while her left rested on her stomach.
“I’m... spayed, to put it blunt,” she said, tracing her scars. “I have no real power... Sure, I can put on a show and throw my weight around, but, at the end of the day, any of the motherfuckers down here could take me. Lilith, though? Lilith, of all himan... Her presence should generate perversion. Her very aura should cast a lustful wind upon all... and yet that never entered.”
“What are you getting at?”
A dark thought flitted across her eyes, and realization followed it, staring down Samantha once more.
“What I am getting at is what are you really doing down here?”
“I... what? Why am I really... I couldn’t tell y-”
“Don’t lie to me! We were having such a good talk. Now, be a sister and not a nigga and tell me: what have you done to possibly end up down here? I need to know.”
“I’m just here to tutor. That’s all... At least, as far as I am aware of.”
Ayn stood, sneering once more at Samantha.
“Something stinks. I don’t like this one bit.” She started for the door... but stopped, looking back over her shoulder. “You might want to test your card.”
“For the entrance.”
She left the door open as she descended, Samantha unsure what was going through her mind... Or her own. The question, though, was did she want to know. Really... However, her own curiosity had been piqued.
Samantha picked up her “jacket” from that night, the last souvenir. The rest of her garb was little more than ribbons and cinder, with the jacket being a nice patch to house her wallet. The edges of the brown case were burned, the emergency twenty inside blackened, but her license, her social security, her medical card, and even credit cards, as empty as they were, had been reduced to blackened husks.
Her card for the entry, though, was perfectly fine.
Huh... Neat, she thought, looking at the pristine blue card, feeling it. Sure enough, it didn’t have a single mark on it. Must be enchanted.
She clenched it in her hand, and hurried down the hall, trying it on the door. She swiped it... and swiped it... and sw-
“What the hell?” She grumbled, looking it over. Nothing seemed wrong with it, but... She returned to her room for her phone and called Lilith, at last... Buzzing... b-
“Hello?” Lilith said, groggy.
“Lilith! Hi! It’s Sam. Um... Remember the car wreck? It seems to have affected my card... Lilith?”
“Was the system updated or-”
“No. No... Probably damaged from your accident. I’ll contact the security agency, and get you a new one. It might not be until after the holiday. Think you can hang on until then?”
“Well, I mean, that’s when my trial period ends, right... right? That was the agreed upon time, right... Lilith?”
“Hmm? Oh. Like I said, wait until after the holiday. Might be another six, though. We’ll see.”
“Lilith, that’s not what I wa- you bitch!” She shrieked, and punched the wall again and again... hearing her phone blip, heart rising a little. “M-Mahn-”
It was from Mahna’s cell, all right, but what it had to say only made her heart go cold.
This is his sister. What kind of sick fuck are you? Do not contact this number again.
“What?” She blurted, and sent her a text.
Aya! I’m locked in, and my key card won’t work. Please! Mahna knows where I am.
She tried calling, but it went straight to voicemail. No other text came after, either. Her phone seemed weighed down by its emptiness, like a stone in her hand, dropped and pulling her heart, pulling her down the wall along with her tears. Her sobs echoed in those hollow halls, bouncing back off the metal, becoming a cacophony of cackles, a slew of laughter, mocking her as they rained down upon her, whisking her away in that storm of misery created by her own h-
“Hey,” Norman said, nudging her shoulder. She blinked, and grimaced, looking away from those purples. Genuine care and compassion burned in them, scorching her; she was not worthy of it. He held her hand, rubbed her back, and grunted, helping her to her feet. “Come on, teach. Let’s get you in bed. You should be taking it easy; you don’t look so good.”
I don’t feel so good, either, she thought, and only noticed that the world had gone a little sideways. She was laid in the bed, too numb to feel the covers pulled over her, too blind to have seen Norman turn off the light for her and shut her door. After all, she was already in the dark. This time, even Jupiter and Saturn won’t have her company... She was alone.
You’re not alone, Sammy. We are all here for you. Especially Minos. If you go to him, he’ll be more than happy to comfort you; it’s almost what he wanted. --Norman.