Marta and Anne crossed over the road to the sturdy iron gate of the orphanage each lost in their thoughts.
The smell of the Gillyflowers brought the memories flooding back for Marta.
“I wonder if Sister Harmony is still here.” She muttered to herself.
“Was she special? He name sounds nice?”
“Her idea of Harmony was silent children sitting still so no she wasn’t nice.” Marta said bitterly. “The orphanage was a cruel place and her lectures were formidable. She made us feel like dirt and no one loved us.
Marta had deliberately put on her novice robes and lifted the hood to hide her special features.
The gate squealed open as they pushed it and began walking down the shingle path.
Marta’s mouth was dry and she could hear her heart beating in her ear.
She took a deep breath to calm herself and used the large brass knocker to announce their presence.
“Remember let me do the talking.” Anne said try to increase the girls confidence.
A nimbus of pale light formed around her hand as they waited patiently for someone to come and answer their summons.
Eventually the door creaked open to reveal a stern looking nun somewhere in her sixties.
“Sister Harmony.” Marta muttered under her breath.
“Yes? Can I help you.” The nun said with a voice the said the opposite.
“I do hope so Reverent Sister. One of your previous foundlings wishes to marry our son” Anne said.
“And what do you expect us to do.” The nun said hostilely. “I don’t see what help we can offer you.”
The nimbus of light faded from Anne’s hand and appeared a moment around the nuns head.
“May I be allowed to see your records on her so I can see if he is a good match or not? I need to know something of her family background and the circumstances of her being here.”
“Come in.” She held the door wide. “I will ask the Matron if she would be able to see you.”
She led them down several corridors passed several small groups of children who looked at them with sad pleading eyes. It was breaking their hearts to see them so.
They turned a corner to find six young girls scrubbing the floor.
The nun walked across the floor as if they weren’t there.
Marta fumed at the callousness of it.
She apologised to them but it fell on deaf ears.
Eventually they were led into the a deserted school room and left there.
It was a room Marta knew well and a shiver of ice slipped down her spine as they spotted the cruel leather strap hanging there in plain sight.
“Nothings changed it is as vicious now as it was then.” Marta said sadly.
“How can anyone allow this to continue? There must be a way to shut this place down!” Anne was enraged by what she had seen.
“We were, are, orphans. We are invisible to the world.” Marta changed the subject to something that was bothering her since the had entered the orphanage. “Anne how did you get the Nun to let us in? One moment she was going to slam the door in our face the next she was letting us in?”
“Ah, you noticed. Not all our magic’s are large scale. The correct mixture of fire and earth and a little bit of energy allayed her fears, mesmerised her enough to get us this far.”
“She didn’t once look at me.” Marta said puzzled.
“That’s because I used a little concealment energy on you. It didn’t make you invisible it just made her eyes slide off you. Shush now someone is coming.”
The words were barely out of her mouth when the Nun push open the door and beckoned them to follow her.
“The Matron will see you for a short while but she, like myself, cannot see how she can help you.”
They followed her down a few more corridors until she reached a hansom wooden door. She knocked and they entered.
Sitting behind a hansom hand carved desk, which was covered with ledgers, was a severe looking woman in her late sixties.
She wore a plain brown robe with a chain linked steel belt around her fulsome waistline.
Marta knew of her as Sister Harmony.
“I am not sure what you wish to achieve by digging up the past. I don’t think it would be wise.” Her voice was as cold as her demeanour. “The children who come here have come from a bad situations. They are the children born from rape, or from prostitution, from the result of the death of their parents. The shear sight of them may be to much for their families.” She tapped one of the many ledgers before her. “Now how old is the child and what is their name.”
“That will be me Matron.” Marta carefully pulled back her hood to reveal her face.
The Matron looked as if she had received a body blow to her stomach. She deflated and suddenly looked he age but she still managed to give her an icy stare.
“I was born on the thirty third day of the second season eighteen solar cycles ago.” Marta informed her sounding far calmer than she expected.
“I suppose I knew this day would come.” The Matron said sadly. “But as the days went by with no inquiry I allowed myself the hope that this day would never come.”
“I have no knowledge of how I came to be. Is their nothing you can tell me.”
“There is much I could tell you but whether it would be wise to is another thing.” The Matron gathered herself and began to tell the tale without once referring to the ledgers.
“There was a young woman who worked in the convents laundry, a vivacious soul that all the nuns, myself included, fell in love with.”
Christina Bernadotte was a cheerful soul who was rarely without a song or a smile on her lips.
Sitting on a wall near the bridge was a hansom fit looking young man. He had dark dancing eyes and proud sensuous lips.
“Good morning Christina.” He called cheerfully as he jumped off the wall. “I am Rudolpho. Can I help you with your baskets?”
“Yes if you have a mind to.” She held out the basket containing fresh linen for the orphanage.
He took it from her and swung in beside with a sly crooked smile.
“How goes your morning Christina?”
“As much as it does on every fifth day. And how goes yours Rudolpho?”
“I managed to finish my own tasks quite quickly. I have been sowing wheat seeds this morning but my father has allowed me time away so I could greet you. Well my father doesn’t know I was to greet you specifically only that I was meeting someone.”
As they walked they chatted about insignificant things, things that the young people talk about.
Eventually they reached the gate to the Orphanage.
Her pet dog barked and growled at Rudolpho with unusual intensity.
“Stop that Luigi, stop that right now!” The dog ignored her.
“Silence!” Rudolpho commanded.
The dog dropped into a crouch and whining crawled away to hide under a flower planter, which took some doing as Luigi wasn’t a small dog.
“Can I see you again?” He asked.
“I expect so.” She said teasingly. “I come this way twice a week.”
As the eight days passed, and spring turned to summer, their relationship grew, much to the disgust of and worry of Sister Harmony who received the clean laundry from Christina before giving her the dirty.
As always Rudolpho sat on the wall waiting for her.
Today he took her hand and kissed her.
She smiled and kissed him back.
They laughed and chased each other and talked of things that only seem important to youngsters.
Christine was sixteen and was expected to marry in the near future. What age Rudolpho was, was anyone’s guess.
Taking her hand once more Rudolpho walked her away from her normal route toward where some abandoned farm buildings stood.
Sister Harmony saw this and hurry away to the market square, a worried frown etched on her face.
The farm buildings had been empty for some considerable time, ever since the family had succumbed to TB, tuberculosis.
Rudolpho gently took her chin and kissed her full on the lips. With a sigh as they parted Christine rested her head on his shoulder.
An unpleasant smile crossed his hansom face.
Rudolpho stepped up to the gate that lead to the famers cottage and gave her a flashing mesmerising smile.
“Come on lets look inside.” He said.
“I’m not sure Rudolpho, the owner might not like it.” She said with natural caution.
He just laughed and led her to the main door. He bent down and picked her up in his muscular arms. In fact it puzzled Christina that she hadn’t noticed how muscular he was till now.
Rudolpho fiddled with the handle a moment before carrying Christine over the threshold.
He gently put her back on her feet as she looked round.
It was difficult to see anything what with the window shuttered and they having just come in from the bright sunlight outside.
Rudolpho circled the room opening the shutters and letting the day light in.
Considering that it had been shut and unoccupied for so long it was a surprising how fresh it smelt.
On the clean floor was a fresh rush mat. The room was devoid of cobwebs and dust. Dust motes danced in the sunlight from the opened window shutters like little fairy folk.
Christine took a deep breath and looked around her in astonishment.
Over by the large open hearth were bright cooking vessels and a range. By the hearth on the other side were two rocking chairs and four wooden cabinets and a pair of wooden tables.
A ladder went up to the bedroom which was situated above the caged off area where the life stock could be kept in bad weather. She could see the bright ribbons tied to the bed posts.
On the walls were fine wooden panels partly covered by a number of tapestries.
“Do you like it?” Rudolpho asked as he kissed the nape of her neck sending shivers down her spine.
“Yes.” She replied. “I love it. But it isn’t ours so lets go before the rightful owner comes back and finds us here.”
“He already has.” Rudolpho replied with a laugh.
“Sorry?” Christina was confused.
“Don’t you like what I have done?” He asked ruefully.
“Yes I do.” She petered out and looked at him in astonishment. “You did all this? But how? We can’t afford any of this.”
She indicated the fixtures and fittings.
Rudolpho laughed again.
“I went round the farms and houses and asked if they had any cast off’s ,things they no longer needed” He kissed her again but more passionately this time.
Taking her hand he lead her to the ladder that allowed them access to the bed room. She climbed up with him following.
She stopped by the bed unsure as to what to do next. He came behind her and kissed the nape of her neck. His fingers found the blood vessel in her neck where her pulse could be easily felt.
The bed had fresh skins and linen on it. Rose petals were strewn over the surface.
“Your home my darling.” He murmured in her ear before he turned her around and took her in his arms.
Gently he undid the ties of her dress and slowly pulled it down. Following it down he gave her butterfly kisses. As she stepped out of it he went back up to her lips kissing her flesh all the way up. She moaned softly as he undid her breast band and the ties to her knickers.
He gently eased her back on to the bed before stripping off.
She moaned softly at the sight of his massive throbbing member.
“Don’t be afraid my love I will be gentle with you.”
Soon they laid side by side on the bed their hands and tongues investigating each others bodies.
He laid her back and mounted her, his mighty phallus being received with easy by her wide open labia.
His seed erupted inside of her and fertilised the egg that had been released by the ovum to early in her cycle.
He pumped in her and like a balloon her gravid stomach began to swell with each thrust.
She moaned out loudly as her passion rose to a peak and the baby she carried yearned to be born.
He eyes were tightly shut so she didn’t see the change in him. His skin was a dark red his eyes a sulphurous yellow. Black horns erupted from his forehead and curled up over his bald head. His mouth opened to show needle point teeth, where the front two had been modified into two hollow fangs.
Down below the door opened and the two Nuns entered.
“I’m sure Sister Harmony said they came this way.” Sister Leonora said as she led Sister Faith in. “But what if she is wrong and it is all innocent.”
“Then we apologise and walk away
The lower floor stank of excrement and was inch thick with dust. Broken furniture was scattered around the room.
“She felt something and I trust her instincts besides look” Sister Faith pointed at the trail of footsteps leading to the ladder to the bedroom.
Suddenly there was a scream from the bedroom as a red skinned baby was born.
As the two nuns rushed to the ladder the vampiric Rudolpho bent over the girl and bit deep into her throat and he began to feed.
He sucked greedily at her life essence so rich in hormones and emotions. It was like a fine wine to him and the more he fed the more drunk he became.
Her flesh began to lose its elasticity and muscle definition, her hair turned white and wrinkles spread over her face. Her full breasts emptied and became empty sacks as he stole her youth, her very vital energies.
When the Nuns clambered over the ladders top into the bedroom they were confronted with a scene from the depths of the Abyss. An old woman lay naked on a wet flea infested bed on which moth eaten skins were thrown with a red skinned baby by her side trying to suckle. Cockroaches ran over her naked body.
Sitting on the old woman stomach was a small black demon with vampire fangs, a forked tongue and a huge male phallus.
It looked at the two Nuns and licked its lips.
“Unfortunately it seems you were right to be concerned Sister.” Sister Faith said sizing up the situation.
“Oh I can feel your goodness like I could feel hers.” The creature pointed at the old woman that had once been Christina. “When I have finished with her come to me and be free.” It played with its engorged member and ran its hand down its naked body suggestively.
Sister Leonora stepped forward and suddenly found herself in a tented seraglio, a harem. The most hansom man of Araby stock lay naked on the bed with one of the harem.
He held out a hand and called to her in a deep sexy voice.
Sister Leonora could feel the lust roaring through her body. She would give anything to feel the pair of them on the bed exploring her body.
With rasping breaths she took another step forward and had a hard slap across her face.
With a tearing sound the false reality was peeled back to show the evil creature once more.
“Sorry for that Sister but I was losing you.” Sister Faith said.
“If you hadn’t I would have been lost to the illusion.” She turned to the creature. “You have failed evil one. Return what you have stolen from the girl and then leave this place.”
The creature burst out laughing.
“Evil, no I think not.” It said mockingly. “I give what people want. Love, humour, companionship and I fulfil their sexual desires. They die in exulted pleasure so where is the evil in that. They die happy.”
Sister Leonora frowned in confusion whilst Sister Faith stepped forward to take over the conversation.
“The choice of life and death is not for you to take. Only God has that right.” She lifted up her Holy Symbol and spun it backwards and forwards between her fingers. “Avant evil one.” Holy Light poured out of the Holy symbol and swept the area like a search light. Where as before it destroyed the legions of undead here it made no impact. In fact the creature was pretending to wash itself in it.
Sister Faith was taken aback a moment by her lack of success before redoubling her efforts.
“Foul Demon return to the constantly changing landscapes of the abyss, I, Sister Faith, Mother Superior of the Convent of Our Lady of the Rose banish you! The pact between you and those who summoned you is void.”
The almost overpowering smell of roses filled the air as the creatures skin puckered and split to reveal the growing rose bush within.
In agony it threshed about as it was torn apart from within. Then suddenly it exploded into an inky black vapour that rapidly collapsed into itself and disappeared.
“Is it gone for good?” Sister Leonora said shakily.
“Yes I hope so. At least until some fool recalls it.” Sister Faith said testily as she sat on the bed beside the old woman and the now whimpering baby.
“Is she?” Sister Leonora asked.
“No, but not far from it. The pulse is slow and thready.” She felt the baby for life signs. “Both need immediate aid.
Help me to get the woman on my back then bring the baby.”
With some difficult they finally reached the floor of the house and dashed outside.
Once outside they made for the Orphanage as the nearest point of healing.
“And that child is how you ended up here at the orphanage.” The Matron said finishing the story.
“But I have vague recollection of a mother and father looking after me for awhile.” Marta said now the story was done.
“You were fostered out to a young couple who had just had a baby of their own. She wet nursed you until you were weaned and could return to the orphanage.”
“Didn’t they want me for their own?” Marta was trying to hold her emotions in check.
“You must understand child, most people were frightened of you and some wanted you killed. Any fostering had to be done secretly.”
“What was my father you make him sound like a vampire.” Marta said trying vainly to understand it all.
“They are in a way. He was an Incubus the male equivalent of the female Succubus. Both are the Demon’s of lust. They build an illusion of beauty which the victim falls in love with. They feed off not blood but the emotions especially lust. Their victims are debilitated by degrees as they suck away their potential life.” The Matron said sadly. “Their victims are so enrapt in lust they don’t realise what is happening to them before it’s to late.”
“What became of my mother?” Marta asked nervously.
“She was taken to the convent. She didn’t have long. I should imagine she is buried in the grounds in an unsanctified piece of ground.” The Matrons face became hard. “Now you have been told of everything that happened for what good it does you.”
“Thank you for telling us what you have.” Marta replied with a respectful nod before pulling up the hood to hide her features once more.
“Go with the blessing from the Holy Lady of the Rose.” The Matron made the sign of the Living Ankh, but no Holy energies manifest themselves in the room.
They left the room to find the Nun that had brought them to the Matron sitting on a stool ready to escort them out.
Once outside in the sunshine what they had heard seemed unreal.
They said nothing to each other until they were back in the glade.
Once there Anne took Marta’s hand in hers.
“Are you alright Marta dear?” She asked gently.
Tears began to flow gaining speed and volume like a breached dam, until Marta was sobbing her heart out.
Anne’s tears joined that of her pupil as she took her into her arms and held her tight.
Ten minutes later they were all cried out and separated a little awkwardly.
“Thank you.” Marta said as she wiped the tears from her face.
“You were mourning for your mother, you needed the release. As for me you reminded me that I’m not only a mentor, a Wiccan, but more importantly a mother, and I must never forget that.”
She gave Marta’s arm a gentle squeeze.
“Are you ready for lessons?”
“Ready.” Marta replied with a decisive nod.
Destiny, fate, call it what you will, would soon be testing Marta to the limit.