This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.
If you’ve never fucked someone in the middle of an overheated Arizona DMV, then you won’t have any real context for the story I’m about to tell.
It really is the best metaphor for being a working girl in the center of Hell.
If there is one thing hellions take seriously, it’s sex. More than drugs, more than violence, most people are just looking to get laid. If some money has to exchange hands…Prostitution is the world’s oldest profession. For as long as there have been people, there are been other people paying to fuck them. The damned are no different. In fact, hellions are a people that take their lust seriously.
Hellions, of course, being the people of Hell and Hell, of course, being where bad people go after they die. Well, that’s fifty percent right, at least.
Prostitution is the same Below as Above, but Hell really isn’t as-seen-on-tv.
To assume fire and brimstone would be the bad kind of assumption. I’ve yet to be roasted on a spike of any kind or whipped – without expressly asking for it. Someone has been shackled and had birds peck out their eyes, that’s true. But those kind of punishments are really more special occasions than regular occurrences. Exceptions, not rules.
Mostly, hell is just a bunch of people who declined to live by God’s rules. That’s it. There are bad people down here for sure, but a number of good ones too. A lot of mediocre people mostly. And, you know what? We’re all doing alright.
Now, if you were imagining Hell as a lot of drugs, sex, and rock n’ roll, that would be the correct kind of assumption. It’s a hedonistic lifestyle for certain – and a good thing for me, otherwise I’d be out of a job. Hellions are buzzed, blitzed, sloshed often enough. Though, it turns out when there isn’t anyone telling you it’s wrong, vices lose some of their appeal.
Not sex, though. If anything, that demand has only gotten higher. It helps, of course, that sex is no longer taboo. There are still some taboos, of course – like you probably still wouldn’t fuck your sister – but sex itself isn’t offensive. Pre-marital sex? Of course. One night stands? No reason not to. Monogamous sex with a long time partner? If that’s what you’re into.
There are countless bars, clubs, and pubs were hellions pick each other up and have transaction-less hookups. For everyone else, there are prostitutes. Clients range from the socially inept, to the strange fetishists, to the busy and powerful. There are, of course, many clients who are simply straying from their partners. Hey, it’s Hell.
On occasion, an encounter is given to an army or government recruit as a reward. My last client before everything started had been a brand new hellion, a young man killed in a car accident, that had joined the army to apprentice with a Horseman. War had brought the boy to me himself.
He’d also called ahead to explain the situation. Colin O’Graff was a chess whiz who the Horsemen wanted for their advisory team. He was still a little shaken up about dying and finding himself Below. War also suspected he was…inexperienced.
A loud knock announced their arrival.
Before opening the door, I stopped by the mirror. Over the years, I’ve found there is no one look that works best for first meetings. They are always awkward and everyone is always looking for something different anyway. Clean and simple seemed best for today. Innocent.
I opened the door and there was War, tall and foreboding, with a blond young man almost completely hidden behind him.
“Well, well,” I greeted the Horseman with a wry smile. “Are your brothers coming too?”
I like War. I’ve had all the Horsemen, of course, but he’s my favorite. The others have their other girls, but War only ever comes to me.
The ever-unsmiling Horseman ignored me then, simply turning to the recruit. “Colin, this is Zosia Scorch.”
The blond boy blushed. “Ma’am.”
I pushed the door behind me open and nodded for him to go inside. He did without further prompting.
“Good at taking orders,” I commented.
“Scorch,” War said warningly. “This one is a little different. Be careful with him. We’d like him returned in the same state we brought him.”
I shook my head. “I’m afraid I can’t promise that,” I told him. “He’ll be more knowledgeable of course, maybe even a little older – perhaps even better at following –”
I gave him an eyebrow toss and shut the door.
My room was dark – the way I preferred it – and filled with the kinds of accessories you might expect to find a prostitute’s work place. The really dirty stuff I kept in a trunk in the closet, but this new recruit was looking around and he’d already turned three shades of red.
Taking a seat on the arm of the chair, I worked hard to bite back my smile. Some casual conversation, first, I thought.
“How long have you been Below, Colin?”
He kept his eyes focused on the ground. “Four days.”
My eyebrows raised. “And Warhorse has already recruited you? What’s your superpower?”
His blush deepened and I couldn’t hold back my grin anymore. This really was too much fun.
Of course, he didn’t notice – he never even looked up from the floor.
“I, uh, like chess," he stammered. "I mean…” He paused for a moment and swallowed nervously. “I’m, uh, I’m a pretty good chess player.”
“Ahh.” I smiled. War had always appreciated strategy.
He looked at me again and then his eyes darted away and his cheeks darkened some more. As entertaining as it was, if I wasn’t careful he was going to burn himself soon.
It was rare to have someone so…innocent in my room.
“Are you a virgin?”
It’s always a blunt question -- though I can’t say I’ve had to ask it a lot in there -- and, given what was going to happen next, hardly a true invasion of privacy.
“And how old are you?”
I work hard to kept any judgement off my face – but one thought pushes in front of the others. “You do like girls, right?”
Another shade of red. “Yes.”
“We’ve got all kinds down here,” I said, holding up my hands. “And sometimes Warhorse forgets to ask –”
“I like girls.”
There was slightly more confidence in his voice this time.
I tilted my head. “What else did they offer you, besides me?”
He looked back down at the floor. “War said I’m not to supposed to tell you.”
“Did he tell you why?”
He nodded. “He said you collect information and you could use it against me someday.”
“Always ruining my fun, War,” I said, stand up from the arm of the chair and walk towards him slowly. “But he is right. You’re in Hell now, and there are some people here who are out to get you. But I’m not one of them – at least, not today.”
In front of him now, I can see his pulse thrumming in his neck. I put my hands on his chest and look up at him from under my lashes. This look is a prostitute’s bread and butter. “So, what do you think? Should we get started?”
He’s looking at the ceiling now, but which is a shame because looking down would grant him a really spectacular view of my cleavage.
He nodded slowly and I gently pushed him onto the bed. Keeping my hands on his shoulders, I swung a leg over his thighs and looked down at him.
“Colin, this might be easier if you tell me what parts of this are familiar to you.”
“How about I ask and you answer?”
He nodded. At least he was looking at me now.
“Have you ever kissed a woman before?”
He nodded again – too nervous to even be indignant.
“Have you ever undressed a woman before?”
He shook his head.
“Then let’s start there, shall we?”
Taking his hands, I slowly run them up the sides of my body, grazing my breasts, and stopping at the tie on my neck.
He pulled on it slowly. When the fabric slid away, his eyes had a new focus. Taking his elbows, I guided his hands lower. He touched me very tentatively.
Colin was wearing a button down shirt – it’s a myth that you have to wear the clothes you died in forever. If that were true most people would be walking around in hospital gowns or covered in blood. This is the afterlife, not the continual death. You can create a new wardrobe – and I leaned down to start unbuttoning it.
His pulse was still thrumming in his neck, but his fingers were coming to life. He cupped my breasts and rubbed his thumbs over my nipples. Finishing up the buttons, I ran my hands across his lower stomach, enough to make him take in a short breath. His hands faltered on my chest.
I settled my hands on the button of his pants. I found proof my tactics were working and took a pause to look up at him. I licked my lips slowly and deliberately.
“Have you ever –”
His cheeks were flushed still – only now for a slightly different reason – and his voice was a rasp.
Keeping his gaze, I slowly slid down his legs and knelt on the floor. He watched me intently as I undid the button on his jeans. Then there was a sound of the zipper and denim moving.
Right before you take someone’s underwear off is always a tenuous moment. Eye placement takes some thought. Do you look them in the eye to be like, “You are a person, not just some genitals”? Or do you stay focused because, you know, that’s what we are here for.
I go for a combo – a quick look up through the lashes and then back to business.
Guys are weird about their cocks so this is a critical moment in my line of work. You have to guard your reaction carefully. Some girls overreact, dropping their jaws and raving about how “This is the biggest one I’ve ever seen!”
I, never the pity-laugher or pity cock-worshipper, don’t do this. I’m a prostitute, not an actress. I’m here to have good sex and that has probably never been achieved through fawning over a mediocre penis.
Colin is average. Average-to-small, really, but nothing to get a complex about. He doesn’t have any time to focus on my actions because as soon as I have his cock out, I wrap my hands around it and he makes a sound like the air being slowly let out of a balloon.
Virgins really are too much fun.
Guessing stamina is one of the more fun aspects of my job. I already knew Colin wouldn’t have any. He was a virgin, he was nervous…this whole thing was going to be over pretty quickly. With more experienced clients, however, it was a bit more of a game to guess how long they would last or how many rounds they would go.
With Colin, though, it was more of a game of making sure things didn’t go too quickly. After all, there was my reputation to consider.
To his credit, he lasted longer with my mouth than I thought he would. But two passes and he made another noise and I knew it was time to stop. Carefully, I slid back up his body.
His face was no longer bright red all over, but the color had concentrated in two patches on his cheeks.
“I know you’ve thought about this part before,” I said. “What did you imagine?”
His shyness seemed to be receding.
“I wouldn’t think so," I said with a small smile. "But this next part is important to some people. I don’t know if you are some people or not, so you’ll have to tell me what you want.”
“I don’t –”
“For instance, do you want to be on top or bottom?”
All of a sudden, the shyness came crashing back. He didn’t say anything.
“You think about that,” I told him, leaning over the nightstand and picking up a foil packet and a clear plastic bottle. The condom rolled on quickly.
“This will help,” I explained, as a drew a line of clear lubricant across his erection.
“How much control do you want to have?” I continued. “Do you want me above you, controlling the speed and the intensity, where you can see all of me?”
I let the line dangle for a moment, as I leaned in closer to his eye. “Or do you want to be over me, inside me, all around me? To control how fast and how deep you can thrust? Do you want to take –”
His head moved quickly, moving to the side and stopping my words with his mouth. His hands were on my ass and he rolled me over, pushing me back into the pillows on my bed. He was kissing me like it was his first time – and it kind of was, I guess – he kept his hands on my ass, grinding me into him.
Finesse would come later.
In general, this has been one of my most popular moves – both for virgins and for skeptics. I even use it on regulars sometimes. Never underestimate the power of pretending to give someone else the upper hand.
When his cock nudged against me, I spread my legs a little bit wider and he pushed inside.
For a moment, he paused and then his head dropped to my chest and he moaned against me. I smiled into his hair.
He slid in slowly and then sped up, his moans matching his speed.
The pace he set wasn’t bad for me – it wasn’t uncomfortably fast, a mistake a lot of first-time clients make – and with a bit of tilted and readjusting, it probably could have been really good for me, but that wasn’t what this particular job was about.
Colin rutted for a respectable amount of time before dropping on top of me with a long, shuttering groan. I remember wondering if I should stroke his hair, which can come off caring – or as mothering or patronizing. I chose not to, opting to simply wait for him to lift his head up.
The blush was back.
“Thank you,” he said quietly.
I smiled again.
There is a moment at the end of each session when the fantasy ends and the veil is pulled back and the client once again realizes they are just a client, paying for sex.
Colin pulled away quickly and rolled over to sit on the side of the bed.
A better – well, ‘better’ is not quite the right word. Different, maybe – prostitute might have asked him how he was feeling. I stayed silent.
“What do I do now?” he asked eventually. His voice was more forceful than before, but with an edge of rasp. “Do I just go?”
“We have some more time,” I answered softly. I leaned across the bed and put a hand on his shoulder and run it down his arm. “If you’d like, we can –”
“I don’t need to cuddle,” he said sharply. He softened his tone immediately. “I mean, I know I seem like the type, but…” He shook his head.
“We could just talk.”
He shook his head again. “Thank you,” he said again. “Really. This was…But I know another strategist when I see one and cuddling, well, it won’t serve a purpose for either of us.”
I smiled. “I suppose our game is done then.”
“It was good game,” he said with a shyly confident smile. “Is it always so tactical?”
“I wish I could tell you no, but I think it might be.”
He gave a real smile to the floor. “That might be good. It it’s always like that, I could maybe be good at it.”
I laughed – something rare in my room.
He stood up and dressed quickly. I remained on the bed. When he was finished, he took a step towards the door and then looked back at me. He smiled once more and then left.
When I heard the door shut, I breathed out a sigh of relief. Usually they want a kiss before they leave, something to make everything feel a little less…transactional. Colin, it seemed, wasn’t deluding himself. At least, not that way.
I stood up, stretched, and then went about my usual cleanup routine. After I had changed the sheets and showered, I heard a six knocks on the door. Wringing my hair into a towel, I opened the door and found what I was expecting: no one.
Sighing, I got ready again quickly and closed my room. I was needed across town.
Hell’s city planner – of course there’s a city planner, it’s a city, isn’t it? – arranged the layout so that the various neighborhoods intersected but didn’t blend. Put it this way, the city was designed to keep the serial arsonists away from the shoplifters and godless accountants. Crime in Hell is like...a whole other thing. Even the bureaucracy tried to avoid it.
Walking from my room to the center of the city took nearly a half an hour. When I finally arrived, I took an elevator to the bottom floor as I always did. And then I went to the front desk and said what I always said.
“I’m here to see the Madame.”
sunshinebennybear: First, I would like to address the elephant in the room. The author forgets her own character's names. She mixed up Liam for Jace, Harri for Maiya, and Freya for Clary. I love The Mortal Instruments as much as the next fangirl, but I find myself unforgiving about this. Throughout the story there ...
catd69: Karim is a very talented writer. When I started reading his journey it took me into the book and I was in the story till the end. I've never felt this way with any other writers stories. If you want to read a gripping adventure, this will be the one book I would suggest you pick.
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colt: i love your books! all of them! i am so happy for you! when i first read your book i thought "this seems really interesting" and i just got hooked had to have more, i wondered if you had a sequel to the first one, and you did, i was so excited that i had to start reading it. your series left me t...
263Adder: Okay so I adore this story. I only knocked one star off plot for historical inaccuracies because I'm a bit of a stickler for that. The ending broke my heart though, considering you already changed history couldn't you (SPOILER) change it a bit more and have them together!!!! I want an alternative...
LouiseJ2: I enjoyed the detail you went into with regards to the case. It made the UNSUB appear believable. The crisis in the middle of the story was my favorite part, very dramatic but not over the top. I feel like sometimes pairings can be overdone but I liked that some of the relationships were a little...
harry142018: This story was gripping and very professionally written. With lots of twists and slight of hand tricks, the author deceives the reader until finally showing their cards at the end. With several subplots all intertwining to create the main plot, this really is an interesting and engaging read.
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Sara Joy Bailey: "Full of depth and life. The plot was thrilling. The author's style flows naturally and the reader can easily slip into the pages of the story. Very well done."