Witching Hour

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As much as she would have just loved to begin class, Samantha simply couldn’t. Not without a lesson plan. Not only that, she oh, so dearly wanted to start it earlier than the Monday of the sixth, the next week, but such is fate. Oh, how cruel it was that a certain succubus never got back to her on anything. Guess she’ll simply not enter that room until the final moment; isn’t that just dreadful?

What was dreadful and cruel, about, though, was that her period still didn’t subside by the time the weekend rolled around. It had been well over two weeks, and she was tired –well more tired of it. At least she had a constantly refilling supply of her drugs... though she wished she had some better ones at that point. She would have loved a few trees, and maybe even a chocolate bar after. Maybe one named after the galaxy, so creamy and delectable and... now she wanted chocolate.

She heaved her sigh and lumbered out of her desk chair, trudging to the kitchen, leaving her laptop open. With something of a lesson plan on it. If Lilith wasn’t going to give her even an inkling of what to do, she was going to craft one herself. She hit a wall with Maths; she was never that good with algebra or geometry, and she doubted she could jump straight to calculus, trigonometry, or even theoretical physics. Those were her forte: she was good at filling in the blanks. Doing the actual problems? Not so much. But the call of sweets was strong. It always was; she was never much a sweets person, but when she got that craving, she would break a person in two, rip out their eyes, fornicate with their severed limbs, then defecate down their spine to get to what she desired.

Sadly, it seems that was the case as she delved into the cupboards, as she searched the pantry and fridge. There was not a sweet to be had. In that entire fucking kitchen. She stormed back to her room, grabbing her phone off the desk, and texted Lilith... Again. The sixth time in that day- hour.

Who must I eat out to get a chocolate bar down here?

She tapped her foot, brow twitching ever harder, faster, until Lilith replied.

Sweets and junk food are not stocked in quantity in the Black Halls. You’ll have to go out and get it.

The fuck? She thought, shooting a text. But Marcy had popcorn during one of our movie nights! That’s junk food.

Who?

The squeezy toy that Junmei used before you put a watermelon-sized hole in his skull!

Who?

“For fuck’s sake!” Popcorn is still junk food!

Confectioneries, then. Point still stands.

“Fucking bitch,” she grumbled, slapping her cell down on the desk again. Which made Ayn jump. She was laying on the bed, basically her second home now.

“What? What did I do this time?” She exclaimed.

“Not you, but what are you still doing here? I think I’m fine now. I don’t need someone watching over me twenty-four-seven.”

“Oh. No. My shift was over after new years.”

“Then why are you still here!”

“You kidding? This room is a dream. I ain’t giving it up now.”

“You think this is grand, you should really go to Monica’s. It really does make this room look like yours.”

“As much as I would love to keep moving up in the world, I’d be too afraid to wake up getting licked by that ho.”

“I mean, the price to pay.”

“You may be a bit more flexible, but the idea of being with a girl disgusts me. The idea of fucking another woman turns my stomach.”

“Why? It’s basically masturbation. Just... more intimate, complex... exhausting masturbation.”

“You can try to logic the fuck out of it all you want, you are still messing with another woman’s cooter.”

“... Huh. Thanks, Ayn.”

“What?”

But Samantha didn’t answer her, sitting down at the desk again. She opened the browser and searched to see if there were any free PDF’s online for beginner’s critical thinking and philosophy, as well as logical coherence lectures. If she couldn’t find them, she could either ask Lilith HAH or simply wish it from Norman... Both options she really didn’t want, but she found some. It’ll be enough to start; I’ll fit that into the roster once I go get a fucking chocolate bar.

She closed the computer, put on her tennis shoes, and headed for the entry, card and wallet in-hand. The door beeped, and she wasted no time winding her way through the halls and out the Academy once more, heading for the mom-and-pop s... she stopped, right before rounding the corner to it, and looked to the gas station.

Maybe it would be better to go there, she thought... but... a wicked thought flitted through her mind, tempting her that much more to go into the store. Then again, I could rub it in that cunt’s fucking face... but I don’t want to hurt Mahna either... but he hurt me by never answering.

So many thoughts, so many more, clashing, conflicting, fighting, stating, demanding what she was going to do.

Silenced as the door opened.

Aya strolled out, letting the door slam behind as she leaned against the glass, pulling out a cigarette. Her lighter clicked as she pulled the wheel, too focused on the ground before her to see Samantha take a step. A warm cheery grew on the end of the death stick, her eyes closing, taking a deep breath, making the light grow even brighter only to dim as she lowered. And let it go... She looked to the end of the street, towards Samantha.

And dropped the cig.

Her eyes grew wide, seeing Samantha so close, just outside the glow of the window and the streetlamp, washed in the darkness in between.

“Hey there, bitch,” Samantha said. “Miss me?”

Her eyes only grew that much wider hearing her speak. The wind howled, bringing with it a nasty, biting chill, but Aya was shaking far harder than what it truly stung. She fumbled in her pocket, pulling out a bottle of pills, and downed four of them before running back inside; Samantha heard another door slam in there, dulled by the tinkling of the bell, ringing again as Samantha followed after. Aya had disappeared into the back of the shop, Samantha realized something about the store: there were no cameras. None, built during a simpler time, a more trusting time.

A foolish thing, really.

Samantha grabbed four whole boxes of sweets, humming as she seemed to skip back home... Only to turn back around halfway down the block to grab another twelve. The dragon huffed at her, judging her as metal fluttered from her fingers, keeping those boxes of sweets in a lazing cube, sparkling in the pale moonlight. But she didn’t care; she got what she came for. And was indulging in it. Her teeth began to hurt after the first bar, though, and she barely stomached the second, or the ninth or tenth. She put the rest in her pantry before she put the final touches on the roster.

All that was left was to wait until Monday. So... so far away... If only it were easy to skip an entire day of nothing by simply stating so and going numb to the world, but the reality was she had to endure Sunday. She looked over her plans again and again, scrutinizing them, trying to find any fault, any place where she can allot more time to another portion that day so that the more important idea was given its gravitas. If only there was a way to say she was bored out of her mind and move on, but such technology did not exist yet. The drugs did, but Samantha doubted she could simply ask Lilith for them... though, when April rolled around...

However, she finally called it a night, a touch too early, but her bed would simply have to suffer her tossing and turning until her alarm was shut off. Ayn was in no mood, shaken awake, but Samantha was already in the shower before she could complain, singing, dancing, swinging to an unknown but non-Holiday beat. She had another reason to be happy today.

She wore a skirt that day. Without the need for panties or its accursed extra padding. She wanted to be free for the day. so she went without and hurried to the class. A classroom that looked like it was never used. Fresh desks, new projector, glaringly bright boards; the white board was soon drowned in a sea of notes. On grammar, no less, scrawled with such haste, lost to her own little world –until Monica entered, that is.

“What the fuck is all this?” The whore exclaimed... right beside Samantha. “Where’s the Maths, the Science?”

“We’re going a different direction this semester. I thought we would touch on the cultural side of humanity so that you can better fit in when you get out.”

“Then we still have arts and music and all that shit?” Ayn grumbled, rubbing her forehead. “Great. Just fucking great.”

Monica whined, and collapsed to her knees, looking up at her oh, so pitiably.

“Why do you do this to me, teach? There’s no way I can learn all of this and retain last semesters! Why do you want me to fail!”

She whined and whimpered and wailed as the other students rolled in, but finally cut the crocodile tears as Samantha ignored her. And stood before her podium, looking out onto the class instead of paying her any more mind. However, that wasn’t entirely true: she did note her in the class, but also the empty seat. Yes, seat; there was only one left after everyone arrived. Yet it looked as packed as it did before... The cleaners went above and beyond. Knowing Lilith, they were probably not even paid minimum.

Maybe it was fortunate the thirteenth never arrived... but, when they did, they had their choice of rooms- no... No! She nipped that thought in the bud. That was not a train she wanted to go down. Not then, or for the rest of her life. Or at least not down there. It was only six more months –at least, it should only be. And so she cracked down on teaching. She didn’t allow even a moment of class to slip by. So much so that the first month was over before she even realized, the test on its Friday... during another lovely time of the month.

Samantha wanted to explore, wanted to walk out and find Scarlette again, if only to see if she was still there, but she didn’t want to distract her students with even the slightest movement. She sat behind her desk, listening to their pencils, their pens scribble away, watching the clock. It seemed to slow and freeze, to make time grow that much longer, dragging her through its temporal pits rife with the spikes of second lines with the occasional jagged hooks of minutes and hours. It pounded against her, each tick a hammer against her sternum, forging her heart in a steel, thorny cage, pricked and gouged with each beat until, at last, Bella turned in her test. The others followed soon after, as if she broke the dam, as if she fired the first shot at a battlefield, signaling the armies to unleash.

All but Monica turned in their tests and left, which Samantha watched her, now all that she could focus on. She watched as the Fang struggled to keep her eyes on the test, pulled by even the smallest click of the door, by the dull mumbling in the halls and their sudden, thunderous cuts. Even her own breathing seemed to make her stutter and pause, while tears beaded in her eyes, trying so hard to stay on the test. And the test alone. Samantha... never really noticed how much she struggled. For someone so ancient, so well-learned, she even had troubles she couldn’t fully escape. But she pushed on, and, before Samantha had to call it, she turned it in. It was close, though. Mere seconds.

“All done?” Samantha teased, but was quick to reach out to her, easing her hands away from the test. “I was only joking, Monica.”

Monica pouted, whining as she crossed her arms.

“That wasn’t nice, Sam.”

“I’ve never been accused of being nice... I’ll have these graded and start visits tomorrow. You’ll be the first.”

“R-really?” Her voice was both a mix of excitement and anxiety, her eyes both bright yet wary.

“Yup. So run along now.” She waited for Monica to leave the room before simply looking at her test, shocked to see that her name was right. “That already bodes w-”

There was a knock at the door.

Peter entered, making the hairs on Samantha’s nape stand on end.

“S-Sam?” He said. “About today’s test-”

“I plan to get around to grading them tonight, Peter. Don’t w-”

“No. It’s not that. I was simply wondering why mine was... simpler than the others.”

“... And how would you know that?”

His face flushed a bit as he rubbed the back of his neck.

“Well, I had been sitting a while. There was not much else to do, since I was waiting for everyone else, so I... looked. Most of the questions they had I did not. In fact, most of mine were A-or-B questions, while they had to write their answers out.”

“I do circulate multiple tests, Peter-”

“However, upon closer inspection of my own test, it turns out that all of the questions could have been right as A or B. You made it so there was no way I could fail.”

“That’s not true. You could choose none, or fill in all the bubbles. It is A-OR-B after all. It can’t be both.” Well, it can, but you won’t find that out until further into l-

“Did Lucille meet you?”

“Who?”

He loomed over her, sitting at the chair behind the podium as his muscular outline dwarfed her.

“Did you meet Lucille?”

“Who are you talking about, Peter? I have never met anybody named Lucy-”

“Lucille.”

“Lois?”

“Lu. Seal.”

“Like Lucifer?”

“Might as well be. She is my tormentor. Ever since she came into my life, it has been Hell.”

“I mean... what is she to you?”

“She’s my ‘wife’, a title she rapined.”

“She what?”

“Forcefully took. Usually for property, but that’s all I am to her. I’m not an equal in her eyes; I’m barely even human. I’m just a handsome dick with legs to her! She doesn’t care about what I want, how I feel. She wants to simply keep me under lock-and-key, under her nail.”

“Is that why you’ve been distant? Because you didn’t want her meddling?”

He scoffed, and leaned back against her table, shaking his head.

“Fuck it. I’ve already started, and I just don’t care... Yes. That’s exactly why. It’s, also, why I chose my words so carefully for so long. She can read my mind; I don’t even have freedom in there. She has complete control over everything I had ever done in my life. It’s... a sick game for her. She leaves me be for a decade or so, let’s me enjoy life, but, if I ever get close to anybody, she shows up and ruins it and has me marked a monster.”

He opened his eyes, those deep reds darkling, growing black as they looked upon her.

“Do you have any idea how many lives I have lived? How many friends I had made only to watch die by her hand? How many societies, cities, towns I had become accustomed and welcomed to only to drive me out as a monster? All because she can’t accept the fact I will never love her. If anything, I want her dead. I want to gut her myself, but she never lets me that close... and, even if she did, she is far faster... and even more unattached.

“Un...attached? From what?”

He huffed, a scornful thing. “Take your pick, but we’ll say from humanity. And compassion... She would kill me before I even blinked and simply huff and complain how I dirtied her hands and wonder what she was going to do for the rest of the day. THAT’S the kind of person Lucille is –no. Not person. Monster that she is... and you lied to me. You did meet her.”

“What? No, I did-”

He lurched at her, loomed over once more, making her feel that much smaller, shivering with a cold sweat that seemed to simply... appear.

“Your heartbeat raised with every single word I said. Your face is so pale that it’s a wonder you’re not a ghost... Not only that, your voice cracked; you met her... or, perhaps she met you is more proper. Most likely left you a note and a sweet, a pastry of some kind.”

“Cupcake.” She said. Squeaked.

“Dutch chocolate with butter cream?” She nodded, which made him growl. “Her specialty. She really... really hates you.” He groaned as he let her breathe again, leaning against her podium. “So... I take it she demanded you leave me alone? To not teach me?”

“Peter-”

He rolled his wrist, scowling. “It’s what she does. If she can’t control me one way, she scares those around into submission. I can’t blame you; she is not a force to be reckoned with... I thought you, as a witch though, would have tried to defy her instead of tucking your tail and cowering... I believed more of you, Samantha. Better of you.”

He pushed away from the podium and made for the door.

“Wait!” Samantha said, hating herself for it, but it was only the beginning of the loathing. “Now that this is all out in the open...”

He looked over his shoulder, his hand on the handle... but at least he was waiting for her. She cleared her throat, shaking a little, but it settled as she finally committed to what she had to say, voice emboldened by it.

“Now that we both know Lucille’s game, we have nothing to hide, do we? We can speak plain, be brutally honest with each other. We don’t have to walk on egg shells anymore.”

He smirked, and turned around, eyes beaming at her.

“And that means we can do whatever we want. Platonic, of course.”

Samantha whined, twiddling her indexes together.

“Does it only have to be platonic? I’ve seen that body; the things I would do to it-”

“No offense, Sam, but I’m not interested like that. I’m... not into women of color.”

“Excuseyou! Are you saying you wouldn’t date a black chick?”

“Or Asian, or Latino, or Swedish-”

“But Swedish is white!”

“A different kind of white. Same with Irish, Scottish, Slavic; basically, I am only attracted to those of Germanic descent.”

“Shame. You’re missing out.”

“Oh, no I’m not. I’ve... sampled in the past.”

“You sly dog! No wonder Lucille went on a rampage.”

“Eh. Fuck her by not fucking her. Besides, she has the last name Hooker for a reason. It’s not like she didn’t have her fair share of dick before she got to me –while I was chaste. I was abstinent back when I was mortal. All I cared about was learning my trades so I could go see the world and have no problem settling anywhere in it... Which drove the women mad. The amount of lasses that lined up outside my window or corralled around as I forged outdoors; so many attempted to talk my father into an arranged marriage, but he held his ground on all of it. Even turned down a duke. It was going to be matrilineal, so none of our children would have been his namesake, anyways, and he didn’t want me as anybody’s tool –I lost you, didn’t I?

“Only a little.”

“To simplify it then: he wanted me to be happy, independent of the world.”

“Sounds like a good man.”

“He was. A great man... Which was why Lucille killed him first. For turning down her proposal of marriage, as well as punishing me for not agreeing.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Me, too.”

“So... what about your mom?”

“Died giving birth.”

“To you?”

“No. My brother.”

“Where is he?”

“Died at birth.” He sighed, and opened the door at last. “We’ll talk more later, and I actually mean it this time. It’s finally nice to have a friend. Maybe you can show me how to play that ‘nerdy shit’... Thank you, Sam.”

“Don’t mention it.”

He chortled as he backed out of the room, but left the door open. Samantha made her way through it and to her bedroom.

Finding a fresh cupcake on her desk. As well as a new letter.

I wonder what kind of threat she has for me now, Samantha thought, opening it.

You know, I was going to be right angry with what had transpired, but this is part of me turning over a new leaf. I was planning on killing you, but maybe, if this friendship of yours is pure, it will show Peter that I am a better person. So I will let you live, and allow you two to be friends. I humbly give you, Samantha Coffey, my blessing to be friends with my husband. However, if you hurt him or do anything, I will have to interfere.

With love, from your new, dear friend.

She couldn’t help but giggle at the last line, jumping as Ayn cleared her throat behind.

“So who’s the cupcake from, and where can I get in contact?” She said, licking her lips. “I would love my own cupcake fairy. That looks divine.”

“Knock yourself out,” Samantha said, and lobbed over the cupcake and the silver plate it was on to Ayn... accidentally catching her on the head with the metallic tray. It made a solid thump. And Ayn went still... Samantha rushed over, checked her pulse, and simply shrugged as she put the plate and cupcake on the nightstand beside. She hummed softly as she put the succubus’ tablet on charge, returning to her grading. “Still alive, at least.”

More than you will be if you are not careful, Samantha.

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