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The Old Way

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Infidelity is bad. But there's worse. MUCH worse. . . .

Horror / Fantasy
Age Rating:

The Old Way

Anthony supposed she was a wealthy, bored wife of an inattentive husband. Her skirt and low-cut top were skimpy but stylish, her bag and shoes of European design. Her demeanor seemed polished, refined even, despite her almost whorish attire. Surely she realized her appearance bordered on ridiculous, given her age. The glare of overhead streetlights showed she had to be pushing fifty. Funny how dim tavern-lighting could knock decades off a person.

How old was she anyway? And where had she brought him?

The hotel wasn't even a budget-priced Relax Inn. A paint-peeling sign on the front advertised hourly rates.

Hourly rates?

Oh well, Anthony thought, his stomach churning, all in the spirit of adventure.

She pushed with no hesitation through the seedy hotel's squeaky front door. Anthony followed at her high heels, feeling dirty somehow, like a teenager caught masturbating by his mother. Anthony had been separated from his wife, Sherril, for just under six months now. He hadn't had sex in over three years. And marriage at nineteen years of age had given him no time to experiment with one night stands.

Roy Harkiss—his friend and confidant through all the stress of the separation—had suggested he and Anthony prowl the town tonight. "You gotta move on, play the field; there's lots of women out there!" Roy had told Anthony—Anthony who had slept with only Sherril.

But that would soon end. Tonight he'd bed his second woman, an older woman.

A woman of experience.

He stayed close to her, all the way to the front desk, hands in pockets fidgeting with keys and loose change, eyes locked on the back of her head. He noticed at least two inches of gray roots growing in.

Roy had chuckled and winked at Anthony when she had sat down at the bar and offered to buy Anthony a drink. Roy had left the two alone, nipped off to shoot a game of pool. Anthony met Roy in the bathroom five minutes later and was greeted with a hearty slap on the back.

"You're gonna get Willie wet, Anthony my man!"

"She's. . . a lot older than me."

Roy peered into the mirror, made adjustments to his hairpiece. "You're in your mid-thirties, pal. Old is old. You gotta think of it this way—once you hit thirty-five, you can screw anything fifteen years to either side of your age. Older. Younger. Thirty years' worth of pussy!"

"So how old do you think she is?"

"Old enough to suck you hard like you've never been sucked before! Trust me, I've done a few veterans. They're so grateful you can get it up, they worship it!"

Roy—the quintessential bachelor. Never a relationship spanning more than months. No commitment. The antithesis of Anthony who had been married in his teens and the father of four before he was twenty-three. He swallowed back doubt and followed Roy out of the bathroom.

She was on her feet, butting a cigarette. She smiled as Anthony approached, then suggested they leave this place, go somewhere more intimate. Anthony hesitated, glanced over to see Roy chalking a pool cue and winking at him.

Anthony had limp-smiled at her, then tailed her out of the tavern, realizing he couldn't remember her name. Had she even told him?

Now, as she lay down a twenty and then signed the hotel's guest register, Anthony found himself peeking over her shoulder, trying to read her hasty scrawl.

"Ella and Niles Woodrow," she said to the heavyset man propped on the stool behind the front desk.

Face bloated and bland, he pivoted on his stool to pluck a key from a rack. "Ya got until midnight," he said as she took the key. He pointed to a stairwell. "Up the stairs, turn left, third door down. Bathroom's at the end of the hall."

Ella strode toward the stairwell. Anthony had to skip a step to keep up. As she jogged up the stairs, he noted the tight-bunned wiggle of her ass beneath her skirt. Ella had a nice body for an older bird. He could picture her working out every day, spending afternoons at the social club, drinking with her sexually frustrated older women friends—childless icons of cosmetic surgery who seduced their young, Chicano pool cleaners.

Now here was a fantasy. The rich bitch and the pool boy.

Anthony knew he wouldn't be able to go through with this unless he detached himself from the heartless reality of it all. He had only ever had sex with a woman he loved, and now he was supposed to perform for someone he had known for maybe twenty minutes (a woman who might be almost as old as his mother!).

Anthony had seen a few porno movies at Roy's apartment, had been excited by them, so he figured he could give fantasy a go.

He had cleaned Ella's pool. His name was Juan. Juan Hernandez. He had cleaned her pool so well, Ella was going to give him a tip.

He wondered for a moment if she would pay him for his services. That would elevate him to the status of gigolo. She had paid for the room; Roy would get a kick out of that.

When she bent to slide the key into the door, Anthony's penis twitched the first stirrings of erection.

She turned and grinned at him. The hallway lights seemed designed to accent wrinkles. Tight age lines radiated out from thin lips.

Funny, she had looked much younger back at the bar.

She opened the door and hurried into the room. He followed, telling himself his name was Juan Hernandez.

She closed the door behind them, not bothering to switch on any lights. Through the window, blinking neon played a rosy, diffuse glow. He started when she leaned in close to him, imagining those wrinkled lips pressing against his mouth. But she latched onto his throat, sucked at it, then unbuttoned his shirt and nibbled her way down a chest that had grown solid with the regimen of six bachelor-months' weight-training. He still sported a slight tummy, but she did not hesitate to run a tongue downward into his belly button.

Then she unbuckled his belt, yanked open his pants and unzipped. He remembered Roy: "Suck you hard like you've never been sucked before!"

Juan the pool boy, he told himself. His penis popped out of his fly, semi-rigid and doubtful. His wife used to give him head when they were first married, but ceaseless child maintenance and the work-a-day world had dried her tongue more than a decade back.

What was he thinking about? Juan Hernandez had no wife! Juan had women everywhere! Young women. Old women. Women like Ella who needed their pools cleaned.

Ella sucked him into her mouth.

Sudden inspiration lent depth to Anthony's fantasy. It wasn't old Ella giving him head—Juan Hernandez cleaned pools for movie stars! And Sandy Duncan needed her pool cleaned. As a teenager, Anthony had regularly masturbated to a glossy movie magazine picture of Sandy. There was something vulnerable and sexy about her glass eye. Sandy was older than him then. She'd be even older now. . . .

The fantasy held.

He could almost feel his skin taking on Juan's warm, brown tone. Sandy Duncan looked up at him, one eye on his face, the other staring straight ahead, staying on the job at hand. Oh, yeah! Sandy was working for a good pool cleaning, the best cleaning of her life!

He grabbed hold of Sandy's head, pumped at her face, feeling her coarse hair in his hands. Such dry, brittle hair, like the frayed straws of a well-used broom.

Fantasy faltered.

Ella relinquished her suction grip.

She stood before Anthony, her wrinkled face draped in unsightly folds of pink-tinted neon shadow. Where had Sandy Duncan gone?

Ella grasped his hand, tugged him toward a bed well past its prime. It sagged in the middle, and the threadbare bedspread had a gaping hole in it.

Ella hiked up her skirt. She wore no panties. Her thighs were thin and shapeless, the skin loose, her calves shot with varicose veins. She laid back on the bed and spread her spindly legs.

Anthony's erection drooped.

Dammit! I should have taken the other one, Alora thought, panic surging within her.

The other one's name was Roy. Roy would have been easy. Alora knew his species well: homo sapiens fuck-anything-that'll-gruntus. She probably wouldn't have even needed to witch his mind.

A maxim among the Forever People: You'd better witch if your skin's begun to itch.

Which meant, of course, that Alora had little time left for rejuvenation. Indeed, the short moments between here and the bar three blocks over had seen her age almost twenty years. Her scalp was crawling. And the flesh around her flagrantly exposed genitalia held the sensation she had been nude bareback riding.

Dire need had made the obvious choice Roy, but something about Anthony made her choose him instead. He had a boyish quality to him, an innocence a man his age should have lost long ago. He needed her almost as much as she needed him.

Well, that was pushing it. . . .

Sweet, innocent Anthony. He had even taken the effort to find out her name. He thought she was Ella. She had used that name once, almost a century back. But Lucien had decided Ella was a name for matrons, and not for his lover. Lucien said she needed a name to reflect her beauty. So he had begun calling her Alora. And now she thought of herself as Alora.

But Anthony knew only Ella, not Alora, and Ella looked to be eighty-five years old.

She'd had to give Anthony's imagination a nudge. The fantasy that had popped into his head was almost sweet: Juan Hernandez, the pool cleaner, and Sandy Duncan. Only slightly dirty. Dirty enough for Anthony to have fun.

But his pleasure had just wilted. She'd been distracted, too busy worrying about Lucien.

She scolded herself: Leave Lucien out of this. He wants no part of it.

She could picture Lucien, his scornful eyes. She hated when he looked at her like that.

So exactly what was it that so attracted her to him? He was handsome: waves of curly brown hair, facial structure to make Michelangelo weep. He spoke well, but drink could make him churlish and crude. Lucien enjoyed sport, whereas Alora preferred mental exercise to physical. Lucien followed pop culture; Alora studied the classics. The centuries had given Lucien clever hands, but his lovemaking always remained distant, restrained somehow.

And he would often sleep with mortal women. How many thousands had he bedded? And why did it make her so jealous? He had never slept with others of his own people, not since he'd sworn his love to Alora.

A quick probe of Anthony's memories had shown only one woman! Sherril. She had been his high school sweetheart. He'd gotten Sherril pregnant on prom night, even though they'd used a condom. The damn thing broke. And so one slight imperfection in a thin stretch of latex had shaped Anthony's life for the next eighteen years.

A hasty marriage, and then a baby. Then another baby. And then the twins. Hard work and little money. Child-rearing dulling the lustre of his wife's youth, her spirit aging faster than her body. When all the kids were in school, Sherril took a day job. Some of her youthful shine returned, but she kept her husband in cold shadow.

Separation was inevitable. Divorce? Most likely. . . .

Alora marvelled again that mortals could so screw up their fleeting lives. Maybe they deserved the fate her people would sometimes mete out to them; many of her immortal acquaintances believed their mortal victims to be no more than cattle, the entire earth overrun with humanity's bovine mentality.

She could understand why the males of her species would sometimes need to feed in the old way. Without a mate, they had no other choice. But Lucien had a mate, so he had a choice.

Yet just last year he had taken a victim, a street-person, left the poor man's desiccated corpse in an alleyway. He had wanted Alora to come see it. She refused. So he brought the corpse to her, had left it lying in a lounge chair out on the deck. He could be such a child sometimes. She had snorted her disgust, had told him to get rid of it. He had scoffed at her cultured airs, telling her she should remember her roots—the old days and the old ways.

Why couldn't he understand?

Females should have at least some maternal respect for the sanctity of life. After all, despite their immortality, females still had the ability to create new life—they could, in essence, be self-supporting (with a little eager help from mortal males), while Mother Nature had rendered immortal men sterile.

Alora knew the first few centuries of Lucien's existence had been lived in barbarous debauchery. It had been easy to get away with murder in those days, and (according to Lucien) fun. But modern days demanded modern methods. And while Lucien was quick to embrace technology, he still held within him an atavistic bone. If only he would try to see it her way. All too often, he let their differences come between them.

Earlier this evening after their fight (and, oh, it had been a glorious one), Lucien had watched her preparing to go out. He told her she looked like a street-walker. "Go ahead, prostitute yourself," he said. "Then tell me the old ways are beneath you."

She had turned on him, sharp words stabbing her tongue, but only glared. She had conceived a few days earlier. It had been her intention—of course—to share the fetus's life spark with her lover. But instead of sharing, Lucien had drained all of it. Her fury at this most boorish of actions had stretched her past the limits of civilized restraint.

She had flung her rage at him, assaulting his mind with hers. Lucien deftly fended off her attack, then stood from their lovers' bed and bowed in mock chivalry, praising her for the depth and color of her emotion. She had never been demonstrative in anger, but tonight she hurled herself at him, chased him from the bedroom into her library. He yanked her precious books from the shelves, scattering them in her path, taunting her: "Look at you now, right now with tears streaming down your cheeks and murder on your mind. Now you're living!"

He continued to elude her grasp, tore her prized paintings from walls, smashed her figurines and crystal. He reduced her to frothing savagery. She howled at him. Her mind screamed for his blood.

Eventually, she crumbled, exhausted, to the floor. Her tirade had cost her—her skin began to itch. Without a word, Lucien left.

He returned within moments. He had a gift for her, dragged him bodily into the library. He'd secreted the man somewhere on their property. Again, a street-person, a filthy old man, an almost empty bottle of gin hugged tight to his chest. He smelled of mouse droppings. Lucien pushed him sprawling at her feet.

"You want to kill," Lucien said, "so kill him. He's a waste of life. Accomplished nothing. He'll die and no one will mourn. Take him!"

But she would not concede the victory. Not like that, with Lucien standing over her, naked and triumphant. She would not be forced to compromise her values.

And now here she lay, legs spread wide, flesh crawling, flakes of skin crumbling onto bed sheets. And sweet Anthony gaping at her with confused revulsion on his face.

She witched him again, a bit too hard, frustration with Lucien limning her thoughts in stiletto shards. Anthony staggered, clutched at his head.

Juan Hernandez!

The name exploded a jagged thunderclap in Anthony's brain.

He was Juan Hernandez! Always had been Juan Hernandez. Juan who had fleeting memories of a dream-life where he'd been married to a woman named Sherril. There had been children, many children. He had loved the children. . . .

But not so much as he loved cleaning pools. Cleaning pools for horny, rich women.

So many women. Beautiful women. Some of them famous.

Like Sandy Duncan.

He had been hired to clean Sandy Duncan's pool. She'd greeted him at her front door. She'd been wearing a mini-skirt with no panties underneath. She led him upstairs to show him her pool. And then she'd given him a blow job, just a quick one, but it was good.

Now she wanted him in her. There she lay, blinking up at him with her misty glass eye. So innocent, so virginal. And, yes! She was a virgin, despite her age. Virginal and oh-so-horny. Horny and in love with him, Juan Hernandez, the best and most studly pool cleaner in the world!

Oh, how he wanted her. He gazed at the smooth slope of her movie star thighs, the happy meeting place where wetness waited. Oh, yes, he'd clean her pool. And he'd do a good job of it! He had the best pool cleaning tool in existence right here in his hand, hard and ready to go. He'd do the job right, or he'd do it again until he got it right. All work guaranteed!

He mounted her, his balls aching, then began thrusting. He wanted to hold back, to give Sandy's pool such a cleaning all other cleanings wouldn't put a spit shine on a toilet. But she was already squealing in orgasm, raking his back with her Hollywood-manicured nails.

He couldn't restrain himself. He unloaded with a lusty cry, a back-flipping full gainer into the deep end. He'd fill her pool with little swimmers, the hardiest of mermen. Millions of them, cleaning Sandy Duncan's pool. Millio—

That shadow-memory again. Of the wife named Sherril. Of the children. So many children. . . .

Alora smiled in satisfaction. She could feel Anthony's wet heat spurt inside of her. She had already set into position just inside her cervix several mature eggs. Now she only need wait a few anxious moments until Anthony's mortal seed struck the spark of life. She must warm her rapidly cooling and aging body with that precious flame, to rejuvenate for another month. Sperm would meet egg, and she'd renew her extended lease on life.

Now this had to be the better way. Much more civilized than the old way.

Rejuvenation did not last anywhere near as long, but there was no screaming. No dying. Not really.

Maybe if Lucien could experience that special moment when life begins. Maybe then he'd understand.

Alora let loose her last frantic hold on a life-flame that was near ash. She lay back, waiting for the warm tingle of rejuvenation. It would be soon now. Mere moments.

When sperm meets egg. . . .

Juan Hernandez shuddered against the last spasm of orgasm. The pool cleaner's tool had finished the job. He pulled it free of the water. He'd given Sandy's pool a healthy shot of bleachy whitewash. Now it was sparkling clean.

Or was it?

A nagging doubt told him he'd missed something. Maybe he'd put too many scoops of chlorine in the water.

Too much chlorine.

Chlorine to kill. . . the little swimmers.

Again, that shadow-memory. Of a wife. Of children. So many children. After the twins were born. . . .

After the twins, Sherril said no more. Juan (Anthony) would have to. . . Anthony would have to. . . .

An operation. Much easier for him than for her. An out-patient procedure done right in the doctor's office. Snip, snip. Stitch, stitch. Then no more worries.

No more swimming. No more cleaning.

The life guard blasted his whistle: "All swimmers out of the pool!"

Anthony jerked to sudden presence of mind. Now Juan Hernandez floated in the shallow depths of his water-logged consciousness. Then Juan spun after Sandy Duncan down the drain.

Juan was gone. Sandy, too. There was only Anthony.

And. . . Old Ella.

Alora waited. It must happen soon.

The itch had crawled over every stretch of skin, skin like crepe paper. She could feel the nauseating sensation of eyeballs pruning, breasts withering. She'd never let it get this far before. This was horrible!

Oh, Lucien. God damn him. How could he be such a bastard?

A woman of her stature. Forcing her to experience this. Giving her that look that said she was trash. Telling her she was no better than a whore. His pouting face, just like a child.

Lucien's pouting face.

An expression he sported only when she left him to pursue mortal sperm. He often said he'd quit sleeping with mortals as soon as she quit. He'd been saying the same silly thing for decades. He knew her stance on the old way. Why couldn't he just accept it? She always shared willingly of her life spark. Wasn't that enough to prove her love?

But thoughts of Lucien could not hold sway.

She had more pressing concerns. Her flesh no longer simply itched—a cool numbness had set in, a leper's body-length lick. Vision had blurred, hearing had faded. A smell like rotting roses filled her too-dry sinuses.

Sperm meets egg.

What was taking so long?

She saw Anthony looming above her, a dark, featureless form. Sweet Anthony who had just shared with her the seed of life.

But no!

The flickering light of her own dimming consciousness had just shone on his, revealing innocent confession.

Anthony had shared nothing with her except a few ounces of sterile goo. He'd had a vasectomy! Years ago, for Sherril. After the twins were born. Too many children. Too many. . . .

Penis shrivelled to a sticky nub, Anthony stared dumbfounded down at Ella. Old Ella. Much older than Anthony had first supposed. Older than his grandma.

His great-grandma?

And still aging before Anthony's disbelieving eyes! It had to be a trick of inconstant light. The sputtering electric hue shining through the window had painted Ella in tones of ghastly gray and pink. Her eyes had collapsed into raisin-rattling skull holes, her nose a shrivelled rind. Hair had fallen in dry clumps from her quivering head, leaving bald patches like scaly sores.

Her rib-thin chest heaved to suck oxygen into lungs expelling a moldering-fruit stink. Bones held withering flesh to human form, but how could this thing be human?

And then Anthony set his shrieking eyes on a bone-sharp pubic mound. A dried-apricot vulva seeped lifeless seminal fluid onto bed sheets littered with scaly flakes.

Ella reached creaking, stork-leg arms to grasp him by the shoulders with skeletal hands. Anthony's body screamed for his mind to give the command for legs to flee. But no such message was sent. The mind had frozen in shock as fragmented images of another life, a life that had spanned millennia, grated against the crumbling walls of Anthony's sanity.

A name scored his sensibilities.


And now Alora pulled him toward her, his face to hers. She had no lips, only a grinning line of age-yellowed and time-decayed teeth. Her mummy-stench choked him. He struggled a futile sparking of nerve endings, but could not resist her desperate embrace.

His lips touched the sewer grate of her mouth. Teeth parted. A rancid beef-jerky tongue stabbed into his mouth. The taste was of sarcophagi, of the beginning of time and the end.

He knew a moment of regret, a flash of memory—Sherril and the kids. And then. . . eternity.


How could Alora not have known?

She hadn't probed deep enough. Haste had precluded caution.

Her rapidly dehydrating tissues screamed for rejuvenation. Senses failed, thoughts withered. She had only resources enough to reach out to Anthony, to grasp hold of him. The dry desert winds of her mind blew into his. The stream of his consciousness, the river of his life, coursed into Alora.

She clung to him, siphoning the liquid fire of his life-flame. Where skin met skin, fluids burst from Anthony's pores to be soaked up by Alora's juiceless flesh. She drained his life—licked, sucked, and swallowed great heaving gulps, drowning herself in a flood of Anthony.

Relief washed over her, profound in its intensity, overwhelming. She held Anthony with arms, legs, and mind. He jerked and shuddered, choked out hoarse, pitiful protests. His skin darkened, just like Juan Hernandez if Juan had spent the last three hundred years sunbathing on the Mojave. Infrared would have shown Anthony's body shrivelling and cooling to blue while Alora's flushed pink, and then flame red. Soon Anthony was nothing but cold black.

With a satiated gasp, Alora pushed his shrunken husk away, onto the bed.

Anthony lay as dead and crisp as autumn leaves.

The rush of exhilaration that followed such a thorough rejuvenation had Alora disregarding Anthony. She stood, flexed limber joints and youthful muscles. Euphoria coursed through healthy, blood-glutted vessels. She danced a few steps to the thump of her wildly beating heart, a schoolgirl giggle tickling her full and fleshy lips.

So this was the old way! She had forgotten.

The primal rush. The hedonistic totality of it, like those first few lines of quality cocaine snorted into a brain that had only known home-grown marijuana. She could sing to the heavens her joy at being alive.

And rejuvenation would not have to happen again for months, maybe even a year. But she wished to do it again, right now. Addiction to such satisfying savagery would be easy.

She skipped to the door and flicked the light switch. She turned to see a cracked mirror. She posed before it, modeling her sluttish clothes. Pouting like Marilyn Monroe, she lifted her skirt and showed her apple-firm backside to the glass.

She laughed out loud.

She felt so young, so strong. The cosmos held no power over her. She was youth in perpetuity.

She gazed at her reflection again, remembering herself with old eyes. She had been a woman of culture, of civilization.

She had been a prude.

She regarded dead Anthony, her forehead furrowed in thought. His pants were tangled around his brown and cracked ankles. Dusky flesh, time-cooked to decades past well-done, clung in strips and knots to his legs, his arms, his skull. He bore little resemblance to the sweet Anthony she had seduced. Had murdered.

Why did she feel such little remorse?

Because this is living! she thought. Right here, right now, the contrast between life and death extreme. Mortals always walked in the reaper's shadow; that grim spectre shared every moment of their waking lives. When had she last thought about dying? Nothing short of physical cataclysm could tear the life from an immortal body. Even gravely wounded, an immortal need only embrace a mortal, plunder healing sustenance from mortal life spark.

She heard in her freshly-reconditioned memories the self-assured strains of Lucien's voice: "It's the natural way, Alora. If we could feed on the life essences of animals, we would. What is meant to be is not meant to be judged."

She had always dismissed such arguments as rationalization. But wasn't her own rationale equally self-serving? She had considered herself above feeding in the old way, yet she had willingly debased herself to the rutting and unloving penetration of countless men. So many men her memories had reduced them all to a faceless, humanoid amalgam sporting a grin and an erection.

When had she last felt like this? How many colorless centuries? She suddenly understood Lucien in a way that made her stagger—the soul-jolting rush of epiphany.

She peered through Lucien's eyes, saw herself as a sometimes whore, a part-time prostitute who said I love you with words that had reduced lovemaking to something no more gratifying than a hasty stop at a McDonald's drive-thru. How could he have been so tolerant of her?

She suddenly longed to see him, to feel his arms around her, to shine under the adoring and lively sparkle in his earth-brown eyes. She would beg forgiveness, heap her devotion upon him, give to him selflessly all that she had denied herself.

And he would return her love in equal measure. He always had.

Oh, she couldn't wait to see him. Would he be home? Or would he be in the arms of another?

No. . . .

She grabbed her purse, slipped on her shoes and strode to the door. She twisted the knob, pulled wide the door.

Then froze.

Standing in the hallway, a moron grin stretching his face, Anthony's friend—Roy. He had his pants unbuckled and zipped down. He held his erection in his hand, pointing it at her, the head of his penis a screaming purple plum.

She gaped at him.

Then movement behind Roy drew her gaze to contact with a mischievous but uncertain eye-twinkle.


He said, "I knew the other one was shooting blanks. I brought this one for you, just in case."

She stood speechless.

Lucien's smile drooped. He had that chastened look on his face again. He turned from her.

"No!" she cried, striding past penis-strangling Roy.

Lucien hesitated, turned to be enveloped by Alora's arms. Surprise stretched his handsome features.

She kissed him. Their minds touched, virgin channels of intimacy suddenly tearing open. She shared with him the heat of her epiphany. Their hearts flared mutual fire.

Saying nothing, feeling everything, they walked hand in hand down the hall, giggling like young lovers.

Lucien paused, glanced over his shoulder.

There stood Roy, pulsing boner squeezed in hand. "Let's take him," Lucien suggested. "Together."

Alora shook her head. "No."

Lucien's grin sagged.

Alora smiled, kissed his cheek. "Not him," she said. "There's sweeter candy out there."

She turned from Lucien, flexed her mind at Roy, witched Roy so that Lucien grinned, surprised and pleased with her. The immortal couple turned, then strolled, chuckling together, into the next millennium.

Habitual hand reaching to adjust his hairpiece, Roy stepped into Alora's hotel room. Anthony lay on the bed, a dusty skeleton reeking of dry rot. One of Anthony's arms had snapped off at the shoulder.

But Roy didn't see Anthony lying there—thanks to Alora, he saw Pamela Lee Anderson, naked and eager for him. He grinned.

Pants around his ankles, boner leading the way, he shuffled toward her. . . .

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