We are going backwards here. Chapter 1 is a mess, and needs to be rewritten. So, I am posting this chapter because it gives a hint of what this book is about. And about that, well, it’s really two books and I have to find a way to slice it in half.
Basically the story line is a time warp: from the 21st century to the 1820’s. Bess is a novelist, writing a book set in the 1820’s, but has grown disaffected with her characters and plot and has closed the book for sixteen years. This hasn’t sat well with some of the characters, mostly two men, Garrett Cortelyou and Obadiah Voorhees, and they have re-manifested as demons or devils. They are in mortal combat, as they were in the original book, but this time they have all the denizens of Hell to help them. Battle lines are drawn up, and Bess, a very 21st century woman who does not believe in Heaven or Hell, finds herself in the middle of this conflict. Garrett Cortelyou, the devil below, is a Dutch devil and has the seduction manners of a goat. He’s able to kidnap Bess from her own bed and century and by rearranging her atoms, or something like that….transfer her back to his century and house. He also can read her mind which means he has the advantage over her almost all the time.
Devil’s Revenge ,Chapter 2
“What the hell?”
Opening my eyes, I struggled to focus. Embers had popped from the fireplace in front of me and it sounded like the Fourth of July! One rolled to where I was sitting and stopped at my bare foot. Blinking, I snatched my foot back and took a deep breath. If materializing this way was supposed to unsettle me, it was working. My hands shook, my heart raced, and I felt nauseated. A few minutes passed before I had control of myself. At a man’s command I appeared in this room. I shivered, wondering what would happen now.
The wind raced around the corners of the house, and sleet scratched at the window panes in a steady rhythm. I was glad for the good fire before me. I was chilly dressed in a linen morning gown, nothing more than a wrapper over a chemise. I had that mob cap on my head, falling over my eyes, but at least I was without stays. I could breathe again.
Placed on the tea table were two sheets of stiff paper and a lead pencil. I stared into the flames leaping about the logs, lost in thought, the sway of the fire hypnotic.
Was he a demon? Well, he wasn’t the Devil, or at least he didn’t seem to be. No horns or hooves or pitchfork. I had no idea what he was, and my knowledge of anything supernatural was poor or non existent. But he shouldn’t exist, not if I was sane and the universe too, but here he was. What was he? My imagination couldn’t stretch that far to account for all these magical things, like the tankards of ale appearing with a snap of his fingers, or that he had materialized out of the pages of an unfinished book. But perhaps these things were small beer compared to what was possible? In any case, I was caught between two worlds, my comfortable if mundane life with a husband and this apparent ‘rip in the fabric of the universe.’
Since I had a bit of a chapter to finish, I started to write a couple of lines. I might as well use the time I was given, and writing would calm my nerves. The chapter’s weather on my page imitated the weather outside my window, both gray and threatening days. I would write in a snowstorm, the two characters not able to travel, stuck in the countryside. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a small movement and glancing up, there sat the demon, Garrett Cortelyou. I jumped and squeaked out a scream, covering my mouth with my hands.
“Goedemorgen to you, and I am still the Devil, I see.” He sat across the table, unshaven this morning. His appearing like that and his confounded ability to read thoughts still rattled me.
“I am thinking of growing a beard, just to bedevil you.” He grinned, sitting back in his seat, stretching his legs and propping one boot upon the other.
“Why would I care if you had a beard?” I asked, stumbling over my words.
“It would give a turn to seducing you, something new and untried.” He grinned even broader and winked at me. “Ah, think how good it will feel with my beard brushing the soft skin in the middle of your back. I can think of other places to bury it just as fine.”
“Ah, stop it, Demon child. What business brings you here this morning except to taunt me.”
“You should form that as a question, not a statement. Again, with the bad English.”
“It is not a question of whether you will taunt me, but a fact. I already felt your sting.”
Stretching his arm out, he lay it palm up on the table, his hand out for mine. A gentle gesture. I had no reason to trust him.
“Yes, a gentle gesture, and one that I would like to follow up with more ‘stinging’ of your nether parts, my sweeting.” His eyes were languid and narrowed, and left no question his thoughts were mostly about lust this morning.
I reddened at his silly words, in spite of my determination not to blush.
“Oh, I don’t think that you are at all displeased, sweetheart. I think you are attempting to play a game where your feet do not touch bottom.”
I listened and thought a moment. “Tell me, then, how does this work? Does anybody in my life notice I’m gone? I don’t remember much when I’m home, and it seems the time with you is all a dream. What happens here? How do you do these things?” I looked around the room, wondering if I came down the chimney.
Garrett smiled. “Time is different in each dimension. A month here is an hour there.”
“Then my husband doesn’t know I’m gone?”
He snorted, a strange sort of laugh. “I think you could be gone a week in your time, darling, and that husband of yours wouldn’t notice.”
I didn’t want to humor him, and suppressed my own laughter. He was probably right. My husband was addicted to television and we led almost separate lives in our marriage. Little held us together, except our dogs and cats, and a comfortable routine.
“How do you bring me here?”
“Why should I tell you?”
“For Christ’s sake! You kidnap me from my bed and bring me to yours. There are laws against such behavior.”
He started to laugh. “If I told you, it would ruin all the fun.”
“For you? I have a marriage to hold together and you are interfering in my life.”
He looked at me, and his smile disappeared. “You are quite the little hypocrite. You put a set of horns on your husband’s head fast enough and now you complain? I seem to remember you enjoying the fucking you got. Perhaps I should give some lessons to your husband.”
“You are a bastard! He’s a fine and sweet man!” I rose from my seat in my anger.
He did not seem impressed. He barely changed his posture, only crossed his arms over his chest. If he thought I would hit him, he didn’t care.
“Yet here you are with me. And curious as to what comes next. That depends on controlling your temper. You act like a spoilt child.”
Suddenly I felt drained. This show of anger was not getting me far. He was stubborn, with his own set of rules. He was right, I had set the horns upon my own husband’s head and enjoyed the fucking that set them there. Slowly I sat down in my chair, my energy gone. I didn’t have a moral leg to stand on.
“Woman.” I heard his voice through my silent tears. “I promise you your dear husband will not notice you gone. He will think you outside feeding your chickens or getting his ale from that cold cabinet.”
I started to laugh through my tears. He could be a fly on the wall or a ghost haunting my house!
“Sixteen years gives me the authority to do so,” he said, reading my thoughts.
Again he stretched out his hand to me across the table. It was a tender gesture, but I was having none of it. He sat back and looked at me solemnly.
“Take the mobcap off, please. It reminds me of Aunt Catherine in bed, and that’s a cock- crushing sight in the morning.”
I took the cap off because it was slipping over my eyes. Aunt Catherine was a character in her eighties, almost bald and toothless.
“What have you done to your hair?” He looked intently at my now caramel streaked locks.
“Oh, summer is rough, being out in the garden, and the southern sun, you know….” My words trailed off. What in hell was I doing here? Talking to a doppelganger like he was a friend. “I put in caramel streaks.”
“Why would you put candy in your hair?” Garrett‘s eyes narrowed in concentration. “Does it taste sweet?”
“Oh Lord, deliver me from such fools! No, Garrett, it is just a color that women put– Oh, never mind.”
“Hey day! What’s this?” He spied my foot with the cherry red nail polish peeking from my under my gown. He reached down and grabbed my foot, almost yanking me off my seat.
“Garrett! Remember I’m attached to that foot!” He had it in his lap, where he was staring at the red toes.
“It’s like cherries in milk, your foot!” Looking up at me, he laughed. “From your hair to your feet, I could eat you this morning.” He looked like he was capable of such and I snatched my foot back fast from his lap.
“You are here for a reason, now state it and leave.” I felt foolish sitting in my bathrobe talking to something not real.
“Ah, my pretty author, do I need a reason to visit you in my house? Remember that you are here at my calling. Let’s start with a name. What am I to call you?”
Oh God…I had not thought of this! After all these years, one would think he would know by now. I had three Christian names and tried not to think of them. I couldn’t fool the damn devil.
“Well, Sarah is taken now. And a bit morbid for me to call you that. Remember? Sarah is killed by your friend Obadiah. I’ll call you Bess from your middle name. I like the sound of that. Nice and docile.” He threw back his head and laughed.
I well remember what I write, you stupid devil. Why was he here this morning? Or more to the point, what in hell was I doing here in this bedroom?
“I came to apologize,” he said, offhandedly. “ I was a bit rough on you, not that you didn’t deserve it. I could have been a lot rougher, but then, you wouldn’t have been so nice to me.” He grinned, the loathsome demon.
“Ah, still with the names….and you were nice to me. Even if you resisted at first.”
“Garrett, that was almost a rape. You made me bleed.” I wondered if he could feel remorse. I didn’t know how much was human, how much devil.
“Your own fault, Bess. You refused to kiss me. Next time allow me your mouth, it will go better for you.” He paused, thinking. “I don’t know how you could call that a rape, sweetheart. You fell in my arms fast enough.”
My mouth was open with shock. What an arrogant man…demon! But he was right. I had tried hard not to respond to his ardor, but my body was not of the same resolve. Blushing, I tried not to remember his lovemaking.
My stomach was rumbling, and snapping his fingers, a tray of tea appeared on the table between us.
“Would you like a cup?” I was trying to focus on something else, yet my hands shook.
“Yes, make it sweet, my love.” He turned his chair to face me. Looking over his cup, he caught my eyes. He was such a silly demon and appeared right at home in this bedroom.
“Before, it was ‘demon lover’. I liked that best. Could you please say it again?”
I smiled, touched at his vanity. ‘Yes, demon lover, and all attendant titles that go with it.” Oh God! What am I saying? Where is my sense?
“Ah, that is better. Tell me, my Bess, what happens at the end of the book?”
“You mean you don’t know?” I was surprised, I thought he would. I hadn’t written it down, but knew the outcome for a number of years. I thought he was a mind reader.
“No, I don’t know. I have tried to read your confounded writing, but until you typeset it up into a book, I can’t. Tell me- do I survive Obadiah? Do I get the girl? What is my fate?”
“Do I look like a gypsy woman? Why should I tell you anything? I think that is the only power I have here.” I sat back and looked at him smugly. Two could play at his game.
“Oh, my darling woman, you have more power over me and John Thomas down here than you know. And speaking of cocks, who are these other men in your life? Does your husband know of the horns you are planning to put on his head?” He looked at me, his dark eyes flashing. I wondered suddenly if he ever had a soul.
“How would you know anything like that?” I rose from my seat, again, angry and stupid. Before I could formulate an answer, he rose from his chair and yanked me to him, hurting my wrist.
“You are full of fun, with no idea of consequences,” he said almost hissing with anger, pulling me close to him. “I would call you a cocktease, but you know what you are. You think your glib tongue will hold you from harm? It will lay you down for it. You are such a little fool.”
“You are hurting my wrist. Stop it!” My words were sharp and he dropped my arm. I stood there rubbing where his fingers now marked my skin.
He was angry about something. I could see that. Shocked by the violence of his words and hurting my wrist, I was growing afraid and tried to placate him with sweet words.
“Garrett….I created you from the desire of my loins. No mortal can compete with you. You are a subject of jealously among men, my demon friend”.
“Ah, not demon lover?” He was not so easily put off. He was in a fine temper.
“Garrett, as a character, created by me, you are perfection. There is nothing lacking in you. I have seen to that. No human can hold a candle to you.” I wondered why I would say such a thing! Fear had to be the larger part of my thinking. He had the strength and violence of manhood, compounded by magic. I needed to be more cautious. He had the power of a demon, after all.
“Your words are not so original, but will do for now.”
He made a mocking bow, ending the argument. Placing his hands on his hips, he looked at me with a bemused expression on his face.
“I want some changes here. I am being starved by you, and your thoughtless writing.”
“What do you mean, sweet Demon?” I hoped my voice dripped with acid.
“Ah, nice and docile, Bess! I like that. Do it more.” He laughed but it wasn’t a cheerful sound.
“For a week I have fed on bread, cheese, and ale. Jennie doesn’t cook for me, nor does Daniel. I am hungry and that doesn’t make my temper better. I want some real food written into this damn novel. I want some Zuur Tong, Head Cheese, some Gehakt, a nice Hutspot a couple of times a week. I want you to bake me some kretenbroad.”
“All right, Garrett…translate those words.” Zuur Tong turned out to be Spiced Tongue, Gehakt was sausage, Hutspot was a one-dish meal of beef, mashed potatoes, onions and carrots and Kretenbroad was currant bread.
I couldn’t resist. “Why don’t you snap your fingers for the food to appear?” I smiled sourly.
He grimaced and scowled at me. “I can’t seem to manage more than a tankard of ale, some spirits and a tray of tea. I can levitate a chamber pot, but you don’t want to see that trick.”
I laughed and told him that I would make Daniel, the caretaker, bring in his niece, Anna, to cook, in the book.
“Good. Settled. Now come here, lambkin. He led me to the window that looked down to the river. Placing me in front of him, he put his arm around my shoulder, holding me.
“I don’t like sitting in that library all day, I want you to write me out there hunting. I want to bag more ducks. There are geese on the river bank for the taking, can you see them from here?” He stretched a long arm towards the general direction of the river, but I saw nothing in the gray, morning light
“Maybe a deer or two. I need some time with my guns, and I want to get a pack of dogs. Agreed? And about your Dutch.”
He was full of demands today. I had to smile. “What about my Dutch?”
“It is rotten. You write what you don’t know. Again. You should ask me. Like the word ‘fokken’….It doesn’t mean to ‘plow’…it means to copulate. Simple, isn’t it? Now, let us get fokken.” He tried to steer me towards the bed, but I twisted out of his reach.
“Stop, Garrett. You have the seduction manners of a goat.” He stopped in surprise in the middle of the room.
“I am unworthy of your cherry, plucked though it’s been. Forgive my manners, my lady.” He gave a low and elegant bow, and coming up, picked me up over his shoulder. He threw me hard on the bed and jumped on top of me.
“I can’t breathe, you monster! Get off me, give me some air!”
“I might, if you willingly give me your mouth this time.”
“And what do you intend to stuff in it? I know you, Garrett. I may have been oblique about your ‘lesson plan’ in the novel, but I think I know something of your appetites.”
He rolled off of me, laughing. Turning back, he propped himself on an elbow, stroking the hair from my face.
“You and I, we understand each other, no? Perhaps I don’t have to read every thought of yours. But it is fun, and it gives me an advantage.”
“It’s an unfair advantage, Garrett–and you know it. I have little independence when you do so.”
“Ah, but that is some of the delights of being a woman. You submit to me, in all things, and I will fill your–mouth with sweet things. I will stroke your limbs and warm your belly, and you will open to me with pleasure.”
“Now who sounds like a second-rate novel?”
“And what kind of novel are you writing? Do you even know?”
“I don’t, just something decent. Men are critical- and my girlfriends are even more so.”
“What do the men think?” He asked, distracting himself with his hands on my breasts.
“I thought that you would know this? Don’t you read my emails?”
“No, I don’t. Not yet. Isn’t there a password involved?”
“Why would a demon need a password? Aren’t you all seeing?”
“I’m trying, my sweet woman, to seduce you. I don’t give a damn about your letters. I want to know the competition. I want to know about these men who stick their tongues down your throat and part your pretty thighs. Why are you talking to them about the novel? Why mention us?
“I didn’t know that there was ‘an us,’ Garrett. You forget you are all fantasy. All in my mind.” I snapped my fingers; he was still there.
“I think that I am all between your legs right now.” He put his hand over my crotch, and stroked me through my gown.
“You want to kiss me, why don’t you start with my mouth?”
“You can delay all you want, you sweet witch. I have eternity here.”
“Then this is Hell? Purgatory? Something like Dante’s Inferno?
Putting his head next to my neck, he breathed gently on my skin. The warmth of his breath was arousing.
“Would you stop trying to figure it out and just let it be? Look, I will lie quietly with you, and we can coo together. I promise you will rise as virginal as you are now. Just go cook me something in the kitchen. I am fading fast.”
I promised to feed him but he didn’t keep his. The afternoon was a quiet one, as he slept on my breast. I had a chance to observe my demon lover closely, and he was as beautiful in life as anything I could put on the page. He would be happy with that, but of course, he already knows what I think.