Witching Hour

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Ooey, Gooey, and so Very Juicy

Though Minos wished nothing more than to simply cuddle, a humble, modest gesture to signify and renounce their relationship that night, Something I advised him to do, Samantha stuck to her guns. She didn’t want them when he first offered, but now she demanded those shells-and-cheese. It was what he offered, after all. With bacon bits. That was going to be the foundation and the apex of their relationship. Nothing shall ever topple their tower of love founded upon and built from gooey cheese, soft shells, and hard, crunchy bits of freeze-dried bacon product.

Once he actually made it, of course.

“Chop chop, boy,” Samantha yelled into his face, again and again, clapping her hands until, at long last, he actually obeyed. On shaky legs, he trudged into his kitchen, each step slurping and squelching through his mess. It flowed after, into the opened crevasse, and settled onto the crude, cracked steel in there as well.

She huffed, satisfied in that much at least, and rolled on the bed, humming softly as her stomach growled and roaring in triumph at their victory, knowing that it shall be sated. Soon... Though... thirty minutes before would have been far more acceptable- regardless, she still won over the grasps of laziness... for him, at least. Then again, she had every right to be lazy. She did all the hard work. So she was content to simply lay there, every so often rolling over, entranced by her own tumbling as she covered herself even more in his scent. She was slowed at the start by the sheer layers of love he covered her in, but the mattress and blankets and even pillows were soon matted in it, making it far easier to simply slide across.

Minos cleared his throat as he returned, carrying two big, thick, blue bowls of ooey-gooey goodness. And there were even shells-and-cheese inside them. His manhood had been hidden behind a dark apron just ending before his knees, raising enough to tease her with flashings of as he approached. She rolled on her back, gripping his hips, and gave him a coy smile as he shuddered, taking a step back. Even it seemed to revolt at her action, shrinking a touch, holding him and making her giggle.

“Oh, come on,” she said, rolling over onto her front, and sighed as she sat up. She puffed out her lip, still smirking as he shoved one of the bowls into her hands then reached into the pocket in the front of the apron, retrieving two, gold forks. “Ooh. Using the fine China, huh?”

“These old things? Got them when I first moved in to this hellhole from an Amorphos. Jan. Sweet girl, but she was highly acidic, more than most of her kind. Shame, too. All she wanted was love, and was sentenced to death for... well, melting her boyfriend.”

“Damn! Whatever happened to her? I mean... how did Lilith do it?”

“Shot her twice in the heart. Five years ago... in Ayn’s room.”

“Well, that explains why it looks rather... dinky.”

“I guess. Been a while since I was in there.”

“It’s still little more than rusted sheet metal. It’s sort of why she’s been camping out in my room. The bitch.”

He chortled, finally taking a bite out of his bowl.

“That’s going to be awkward once I move in,” he said, muffled around the food still in his craw. “I don’t mind being in between two girls, but I can’t promise I’ll be able to behave.”

“There are a few things horribly wrong with that. The first that you think you are gong to be moving in... Then there’s the whole idea of sleeping together at all. Even if that finally happens, there ain’t no way in Hell she’s going to be in the same room. I’ll banish her to Junmei’s, Buffy’s, or even Marcy’s rooms... before... then.”

She sighed as she sunk her fork into the shells, suddenly not that hungry. Why did she need to remind herself of those lovely Christmas decorations? Even if Marcy had strung up with such care, even if Buffy’s impromptu volunteering really brought color to the room... But... she would at least try those... They were... okay. Okay in the sense that they were sort of amazing, orgasmic. Nothing to really emphasize, to note other than it was truly brilliant. Woo.

“Well? How is it?” Minos said, finally cracking a smile. “You know, I sort of pride myself on being a cook.”

“Really? You do?”

“Yup. Made those shells myself. All it required was opening a bag and boiling them in water.”

“And the cheese?”

“That, I am ashamed to say, I needed outside assistance for. I can’t exactly produce my own milk.”

“Wait! That’s not what all this white stuff is? Here I thought I’ve been getting my calcium. It even came from a bone; why are all men such liars?”

“Relax... I got it from the far away land of Vel Veeta. The bacon bits were the hardest to acquire. I had to explore far into the pantry, scour through trenches of canned vegetables, caverns of fruits, to finally come across the freeze-dried packages of bacon crumbles.”

“Sounds like quite the treacherous journey... It’s really a shame that I must say that you shouldn’t quit your day job.”

“Jokes on you! I don’t have a day job.”

She tittered, reaching out and rubbing his leg again.

“Well, I have one for you.”

“Then I quit to continue to pursue my goal of being a top-notch lazy chef.”

“You sure?”

He “kicked” her off his leg, backing into the wall by the kitchen.

“Very.” He stated, his tone curt. He shook his fork her way, four noodles clumped on it, deposited into his mouth after a right waggle. “What about you? Aside this whole teacher business, what else did you want to do with your life?”

“That’s a tough one. I... sort of had my heart set on being a teacher since I was young. Never really wanted to be anything else.”

“Come on... you must have some hobby, something else you want to be the best at.”

“Not really... Well...”

“Well... what?”

“Don’t laugh, okay?”

“I promise nothing.”

“Then you better put your fork down.” She sighed, doing the same, and held her bowl with both hands. Her cheeks starting to warm a touch, giggling as she wiggled under his gaze. “I... always wanted to be a serial killer.”

“Excuse me? W... what!”

“I know. It’s weird.”

“Weird. Yeah. That’s a word for it.”

She glowered at him. “It’s a stupid dream I had when I was a teen. I was really into documentaries and stuff, and had a fascination for world famous killers. Charles Manson, Adolf Hitler, Bonnie and Clyde, Pol Pot, Jack the Ripper -before I actually knew Jack the Ripper, of course- Typhoid Mary; seeing their exploits and how they almost got away with some of the most heinous crimes- I dunno. I always thought I could get away with it. I would stay up late thinking of all these different ways I would do it, where I would begin; it was silly, I know, but, in my mind, I really believed I could get away with something... grand.”

Minos... simply chortled. “Okay. You got me. That was a good one. What’s your real hobby now?”

“I wasn’t kidding. In school, I would watch the clock, look around the room, and figure out the best path of carnage I could take. Of course, with magic, I would have had an easier time, but it wasn’t about how easy it was to do but how much I could get aw-”

“I am legitimately surprised you weren’t brought down here sooner... Like... Damn.”

“What? I never acted on it. I never did it. They were silly thoughts as a teen. I grew out of them... for the most part.”

“Right. For the most part. Sure... So you have any other hobbies? Skinning cats? Torturing puppies? Making kids cry?”

“That last one is easy. I just show them your picture.” She tittered as she picked up her fork again. “I got into movies thanks to Marcy... Don’t know if I will continue, though. Buffy, Norman, and Jack got me into gaming –and I plan to get Peter into it.”

“Peter! Why not me?”

“You already called it ‘nerd shit’, remember?”

“So?”

“S... fine! Next time I come-”

“So within a breath when I touch you?”

“Do you really want to go down that road again?”

“Not right now!”

“Then shut it... Even then, I’m not that big a fan of it, but it’s something. At least I get to kill things.” He muttered something. “What was that?”

“Nothing! Nothing... Any other hobby?”

“Lola, one of the witches, lent me some of her manga,” Which I still need to return a couple- fuck! “but any other, actual, productive hobby? Something I would strive for other than teaching? No idea.”

Minos hummed, scraping at the bottom of his bowl, and heaved a weary sigh.

“At least you have something else you do. As long as you aren’t a robot with two primary objectives.”

“And what are those two?”

“Beep boop. Must teach students. Boo-bop! Must fuck students.” He chuckled, turned into a full belly shake as Samantha glared at him. “What? It’s the only thing I’ve seen you do.”

“Uh, no! You’ve seen me play with the others –video games! You have seen me play video games with the others- I don’t have to put up with t- thanks for dinner!”

She thrust her bowl into his, making them both clank as she stormed out of the room. His laughter chased after, though, even through the door, slammed in her wake. Only when she made it to the top of the stairs did it fade... and the weariness of the day took hold. She lurched into the room, crawled into bed, ignoring the fact that the orange sheets had been swapped out for a wintergreen set. Ayn, as Samantha hoped, was already passed out. The tricky part was going to be waking up before her without stir-

“I’m still up, you know,” Ayn grumbled, turning around, her test in hand. Her red eyes seemed to glow in the dark, to flicker and burn on the page underneath them. “Now, mind explaining to me why I have a failing score?”

Samantha... really... truly did not feel up to dealing with that at the moment. Not after her long, long day. She didn’t really want to deal with it in the morning, either, so she reached out, touched Ayn’s cheek, and gave her the slightest, most subtle of incentives to simply go to bed and ask after her reviews in the morning –or in the next three days, depending. Ayn took them to heart, passing out almost instantly, the ring of the wall soothing both of them to sleep that much faster as a bit of blood dribbled from the succubus’ ear onto the pillow. At least she still had a pulse, though she was going to have the most irksome of migraines. When she woke –but at least it was when, not if.

Samantha couldn’t help but titter, remembering her talk with Minos as she gave in to sleep, herself, the world simply fading around her.

I could have been the best serial killer, she thought, smirking. Especially after-

No.

She would not go there. Not while down here, nor ever again. It, just like her, would be weighed down in its metal coffin evermore, ever since that day with Ron and Becky. And her mom.

So she gave in to sleep fully, thankful that there wasn’t any dreams to spoil it, and the next morning found that Ayn stayed true to her word. She didn’t stir, even when Samantha gave her an open-palm smack on her rear, also known as her face. She made sure Ayn still had a pulse, that she was was still breathing, then took a much needed shower, prepared and ready to go see Peter at last. There was a lot they could talk about, a lot to play, but none of it involved the test. As expected, he passed with flying Monica’s.

She put on her yellow dress, their straps digging a little into her shoulders. It had been a while since she wore an actual dress; her hips did not like being concealed, itching against the satin fabric, but at least it was the only bit of covering they needed to worry about. She wore nothing else underneath. No reason to.

Samantha returned to the bedroom, grabbed Peter’s and Jack’s tests off the table, (and Peter’s new sapphire beauty, courtesy of Norman You’re welcome) and opened the door.

Finding Bella on the other side.

“Oh. Hey,” Samantha said, settling her chest. “I didn’t expect y-”

“Have you been to see Scarlette?” She interrupted, her black eyes sparkling, sending a shiver down Samantha’s spine.

“I... don’t think out here is the best place to discuss it.” She gestured for the drider to enter, stepping back, and made sure all eight legs and her abdomen were in before shutting the door. Bella looked at Ayn in her bed, giving the succubus and Samantha a quizzical look. “She’s out cold. Can’t hear a thing.”

“And this room? Surveillance?”

“Made sure long ago. There isn’t a camera or microphone in here. Aside on my phone, but I... sort of... cut those off. The camera I ‘fixed’ when I was sending naughty pics to Mahna, but then would fry again. Perks of magic.”

Even then, the drider didn’t look sure. Nor at ease, worry still creased on both of her brows –the one on her face and the one the pedipalps were pulling furiously at below.

“So, have you?”

“N... no. I wanted to go check during the test, but I ended up supervising Monica.”

“Then you need to go find her! Now!”

“But I was going to go see Jack and Peter today.”

“They can wait! It’s still the weekend, for crying out loud! You usually don’t do reviews until the start of the week, so go see if she’s there... Please, Sam.”

Her demeanor was already cracking, but the way her voice broke, how it shattered the rest of her calm face and shown the brooding husk under made Samantha’s heart die a little –a truly remarkable feat; she didn’t know her heart had any life left. Bella never was the compassionate type. She was never known to be the emotional sort -aside in the throes of passion- so, seeing her like this, Samantha now knew how much Scarlette meant to her.

Now that she knew her life was truly in peril.

Tears wavered in the drider’s eyes. Her lip(s) quivered as she chewed and clawed at them, holding herself... yet looming over Samantha. There was a fire in those eyes, darker, hotter than the succubus’ the night before. Her request was more a demand. A threat. Even in such a sorry state, she could see the glint of a stinger slowly freeing itself from behind, as well as rows of silk. How could she refuse?

“I will go and check on her,” Samantha said at last.

Bella’s face lit up, hidden under her mask of indifference once more.

“Oh. Good. Then I will be waiting for your return.”

“Like... right here? You know Ayn isn’t going to be passed out the entire time.” At least, I hope. Me, too.

“Don’t worry. I know how to deal with her.”

“Hey! If I come back and the room is covered in silk, you best make sure you clean it all up.”

“Please. I have taste. I might have liked to chow down on you, but I don’t go after cunts as a general rule and she’s the queen of them.”

“Then what are y-”

She cut herself off. She really didn’t want the answer... at all... Samantha left for the entrance, delving back into the undercroft once more.

The path she had lain, the cloth she left behind, had almost been reduced to nothing, eaten away by time, but her feet seemed to remember the way all the same. She opened the steel path, cringing at the noise it made, the soft rumbles it emanated through the halls, but it seemed there was no one else there that day. No other visitors to Scarlette’s little corner of the world. At least, hopefully it was still her little corner of the world.

Her hope died with every step, however, down that hall. She could not see any lights at the end, none of the eight, sparkling amethysts that once greeted her, that seemed to glow from the entrance. She had slowed to a crawl, closing in on that center room, heart already stone, sinking slowly through her, thudding into her gullet as she reached the stone plinth.

Rising again finding her there.

She had been turned around, facing the stairs beyond.

Open.

Samantha picked her up, and air rushed through her neck. Scarlette’s eyes widened as Samantha slowly turned her around.

“Sam? I...s that really you?” She said. “It’ssssss been so l...ong.”

“I know. I’m sorry. Things have been... hectic... but how are you? I thought they were close.”

“They were, but there were... c...omplicationssss. The new Sssssscarlette freaked ou...t as ssssoon as she wassss out of her tube. I heard it a...ll. They are w...aiting for the next one t...to mature. Ssslightly more altered. More compliant... Lessssss me.”

“How long do we have?”

“I don’t kn...ow. I’ve been tttrying to listen.”

“They’re down there right now?”

Her heart jumped, rising her heels with it. Voices grumbled up the stairs. Samantha put Scarlette back on the plinth, facing those stairs, and skittered into one of the rooms at the beginning of the hall, listening. While keeping her breathing as steady as she could; she didn’t realize how much she was whimpering until then. The echoing clangor didn’t take long to smooth out, and Samantha knew whom that distorted voice belonged to. Which meant she knew who his companion was.

“You can pretty it up all you want, but the fact remains is it’s another failure,” Lilith exclaimed, her heels clacking up into the room with Scarlette. She took two more steps, waited for the heavy footfalls behind to come to a stop, and there was a soft click. Rumbling filled the halls, which meant the stairs were hidden behind solid metal once more, and only when the final clank rung fully did Lilith sigh, clacking into the hall. “We aren’t going to have any luck with cloning that drider, or any drider in general. Their genetic make-up is simply too... aggressive.”

“What do you propose then? Hmm?” Cain grumbled. Even without peeking into the hall Samantha could see him. His flames were high today, matching his growl and tone. “We cannot let that drider back out in the real world! She would ruin everything we are working towards.”

“I know. And I also know we can’t give her parents nothing. They are already suspicious about her delayed ‘return’ as it is.”

“Then all we can do is keep trying-”

“As you repeat and repeat and bloody repeat!”

“What do you expect me to do then, Lil!”

“I expect you to be smarter than that bitch teaching in the Black Halls!”

“By your stories, I already am if I’m able to walk and talk at the same time.” His feet boomed as he slammed them down... stopping. Samantha heard him sigh, but wanted nothing more than the pair to simply die there and then. “What has gotten into you, Lil? You’re usually not this blunt.”

“I’m sorry, dear brother... It’s... A lot is going on.”

“I would say. Are you sure you should have let your husband-”

“He is not your concern.”

“He is, now that he is my brother-in-law. I want to ensure he is well-”

“He is fine!”

“If you say-”

“I do... Now, the next batch, let us turn on all drider genetic blocks. After her fetus has shaped itself into being a drider, of course.”

“And the ones already made?”

“We’ll have to purge them.”

“So another sixty billion down the drain... Eve is not going to be pleased with this.”

“She’ll understand. What she won’t be pleased about, though, are the mer.”

“Making them isn’t the issue. Being able to make them fertile is.”

“It makes no sense, really. They were once known for their virility, for their ability to drop babies like crazy.”

“‘Drop babies like crazy’? He really has changed you.”

“What should be ‘changed’ is their issue at this point. Why can’t we make the species that fucks itself silly able to procreate? It’s how they outnumbered himan for centuries!”

“It’s, also, what inevitably killed them off. Starved to death. Cannibalization. The downfall of Albion. It’s why we have been trying to be careful.”

“So, instead of ‘being careful’, why don’t we reproduce the virile specimens? As a control group.”

“We did. Don’t you remember?”

“It’s been a while. Mind refreshing my memory.”

“They killed each other. Instead of consummating and allowing us samples, they burned themselves down and away.”

“Ah. A shame. Make more!”

“We can’t! The Archived blood we have is millenniums old. We were lucky to make those two then the infertile pairing. We only have enough for one more batch.”

“Even if we harvest the infertile?”

“You don’t mean-”

“Not postmortem, but blood samplings.”

“We tried. The moment the needle sticks the body eats the metal away.”

“Those fairy fucks really do not like metal, do they- How are they? The male?”

“Still shaken up, but at least found... comfort...” He growled, and the flames rose again, after having dulled to a soft roil. “Your ‘pet project’ is starting to become a dangerous burden. You should have executed her after accident.”

“Just... trust me. Okay? She’ll prove to be a great asset. We simply need to give it time.” They both huffed, and clonked up the hall again. Samantha held her breath again, becoming stone as they stopped before the room Samantha was in. Though the fire was so bright, the two were hidden in the very air, itself, from the dark miasma that came with those flames. It seemed to make the steel around him rust and flake, and gave it a sickly periwinkle tone... Lilith opened the door out of the hall, but stopped Cain before he could walk further. “You aren’t taking that out with us, are you?”

“I believed she should at least feel fresh air. At least once.”

“She’s already dead, Cain... Toss her in that room. I’ll have someone along to tend to it.”

“Fine.” He turned to the room, and Samantha wished she could compress herself even more in the corner seeing those eyes, those solid spheres of sulfur. They... they didn’t seem to have a soul behind them, the fire, the lights in them the bowels of Hell, Itself. As if he was but a shard of it given sentience. The “skin” around them wasn’t much better, reminding her of that face Norman showed her before Christmas, magnified in the rows upon rows of jagged rock that tore through his suit... Yet... in those blackened pits, he seemed almost... pained as he tossed in whatever he was carrying. Samantha didn’t dare to even allow her eyes to follow its flight, nor even consider what it was, lest he took notice. He sighed, shaking his head, his neck sounding like a cement mixer with every small movement. “I’m sorry, young one. You had such... promise.”

“Yes. Yes, she did,” Lilith muttered, shaking his shoulder. “Now, come on. I’m starving.”

“I will never understand how you can be hungry after such matters.”

“While I will never understand your obsession with mer.”

“You know damn well.”

“Oh. Sure. But that was eon’s ago. Surely you could have fo-”

“What about you?”

“I’m different! You know that I am-”

Their argument was cut off as the wall slid back into place, but Samantha refused to move. Not for a good hour... Was it an hour, though, or did it simply feel like an hour? No. It had to be an hour. After all, every rapid thundering of her heart was an hour; it was an eternity before she let go of her legs, before she could even feel her legs. They creaked, almost making her jump and hug them again, but froze instead, waited forty beats before continuing to straighten them. She did not stand. Not yet; curiosity got the better of her. She wanted to know what, or who, Cain threw in. Like Lilith wanted.

Samantha grimaced but swung herself around, got on her hands and knees, and crawled over to the dark mound in the center of the room. An orb of light lazed its way from her hand, slowly growing brighter, glowing upon the corpse of the mer. She was a pale lass, long, lanky, with an hour-glass frame. She had wide hips, with a perfectly pert set of breasts, tipped with soft pink nips. Her long black hair was almost blue in the pale light of her orb, with eyes of golden wheat in a bronze face.

Streaked with tears. And blood.

Her face, once so soft, rounded, with a slightly, jutting chin, had been ripped apart. Her jaw dangled off one hinge, a sickly green, while her teeth had been chipped and broken. Her tongue looked as though it was shredded, still drooling what blood was left in her body, pooling in the back of her throat where it clotted. Her maidenhood had suffered a similar fate, maimed. It was as if something long, jagged, and thick had been forced into her again and again, ripping and tearing its way through with each saw.

However, even with all of those injuries, with such gruesome maiming, she did not smell of blood and rot and death. She did not turn Samantha’s stomach; instead... she smelled of soft lavender, of fresh lilac, softened by spring’s first rain, which only turned her stomach more.

Even in death, a mer could please you.

She covered her mouth, and rushed out of the halls, almost home when she had to stop and expel. It splashed, thick and chunky, on the stone floor, what remained of last night’s meal now assaulting the senses of all in the undercroft, which only catalyzed the second round, the third, only dying down by the seventh. Samantha held her stomach as she continued to lumber her way to her lovely Halls, if but to get away from that scent, to forget the lavenders, the lilacs, and the soft rain. She rounded the corner, raced down the length, and stopped before the wall before her home.

Finding it only starting to shut.

She blinked. Odd, she thought, swiping her key. It opened fully again. I know it shut when I left. How d-

Her heart sunk.

What if they came to check on me?

She rushed down the hall, heart hammering away once again, and seemed to fly up her steps, throwing open her door... to find Ayn and Bella there. And only Ayn and Bella. They were playing a game of Scrabble, which Ayn was looking rather irked –especially since she was losing; kind of hard to win in your sleep when you’re not exactly good at it to begin with.

Bella rose on her legs, having sat on the floor beside the bed, and scuttled over.

“Are you okay? Is everything all right?” She said. “You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”

“N... I’m fine,” Samantha said, and shut her door before plopping down in her desk chair. She nodded to Ayn. “She still hasn’t woken up?”

“Nope.”

Samantha rolled her wrist to the board. “Really, then?”

“Yeah, what? Scrabble brings everyone together... So, Scarlette-”

“Is still there. They’ve been having issues with the cloning.”

“Oh, thank gods... or is it? What else happened?”

“Cain and Lilith were both there again... this time talking about cloning fertile mer. Did you know they used to own England?”

“Not really. Most of mer history was lost to the annals of time. I thought they were extinct.”

“They were, but it seemed the two I do know were their only,” living, “successful attempts... At least we know Scarlette is safe.”

“For how long, though?”

“Given how they were talking? Another cycle.”

“But we don’t know how long a cycle is! Is it a month? A week? Three days?” Bella grabbed Samantha’s hands, looking her dead in the eye. “We need to get her out of there. Now!”

“And how do you suggest we do that, huh? We can’t exactly just take her out. Calm your tits, woman... We’ll think of something. We have time, at least, for that.”

Bella let her go, glaring at her, and reached beyond her to the desk, picking up her test.

“An eighty-five,” she said... and tossed it to the ground. “I guess I will simply have to do better next test... which we shall do before the test day. I’m coming with you again, whether you like it or not.”

“Fine by me.”

“Good.” She huffed. And hit Ayn on the top of the head.

The succubus rocketed up, spluttering.

“Who? What? Where! Pizza?” She spluttered out.

Bella scoffed. “‘Pizza’? Really!”

Ayn blinked... then glared at her.

“What? You ’specting me to say fried chicken, nigga!”

“Nah, that’s racist, bitch. You don’t strike me as the pizza kind of bitch.”

“You kidding? Shit, cauliflower white pizza’s my jam!”

“Oh, hell yeah! Say, Sam, why don’t you go pop one of those in and whatever the fuck you want while I ready this bitch for round two?”

“Round two of- the hell, Scrabble? Oh hell naw!”

“Too bad! It brings. Everyone. Together... Well? You going or what?”

“Fine. Pizza sounds good anyways.” ANY comfort food sounds good right now... and time with friends. “Can I join your game, though?”

“Sure! It’ll make both your losses that more satisfying.”

Meanwhile, Minos waited in his room, to see if she would return, if she thought of him at all. Even if his member was still pained, he wanted to cuddle with her... How could she be so... selfish? --Norma- They know by now. They don't need to be told.

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