For those not familiar with this novel, this is a chapter of my second one. It was tremendous fun writing and I am thinking about whether to finish and rewrite this summer. It’s confusing to read chapters this way, but this novel came from a very long and boring first novel. The author, Bess, wakes up in the middle of her novel of 1820’s, but the characters are all demons and devils. Confusing? A revolt against the churchy characters of the first book. Or maybe it was indigestion.
In any case, I am going to float a few chapters for those who have read and followed this novel. And hopefully others will get interested. The devils have their own interesting moral code. Garrett (the Demon Lover) is half demon and half mortal, and totally confused. His demonic powers seem to be limited to levitating chamber pots and making trays of grog appear. Other characters are more dangerous.
“Tell me, Demon. Tell me more about your ‘world.’ You certainly have pushed your way into mine.”
“I wouldn’t say pushed, Madame Author,” he retorted. “I would say, ‘pulled’ into your world, by the push of your ink.”
Perhaps. I was trying to make sense of what happened to me since he first stepped from the page.
“Can’t you write “leaped” from the page? Sounds more manly.”
I laughed. This demon lover “Capitals, Please…as in “Demon Lover” he whispers to me…
…THIS Demon Lover…you got another? … is always concerned about his masculine…’virtues’. Can you use the word ‘virtue’ with a devil? Well, he is very concerned about how he appears. This little vanity makes him more ‘human’ to me.
“Don’t bet on it. You’ll lose your coin.”
“Then tell me, Garrett. By what other names have you been known?”
The Demon grinned across the table. “Pick a letter from the alphabet.”
“Stop being coy. Tell me about your world. What do you do with yourself when you are not here? That will do for starters.”
“Well, ‘for starters’ as you put it, I could say I bedevil other old maids or I could tell you I danced in the street to the tune of my fiddle, or I was a gigolo, or it was ‘none of your business’ as you say to me. Pick.”
“Ah! So…I’m an old maid to you? I guess this is the end of the honeymoon.”
“Could be. We almost started a litter last time.” He grinned broadly.
“You can start with that little event. What happened there? All I remember is being very heated.”
He grinned wickedly. “You could say that. I seem to have those effects on old maids.”
He is an insufferable boor! But I vaguely remember being….passionately aroused, out of my mind with lust, and then I remembered falling asleep.
He reached over the table and passed his hand down my face. I floated in darkness. There were stars above me, and little hills beneath, hills that looked like mole hills far down there.
“That’s a nursery.” He smiled, and then laughed at my expression.
“Mole hills? What are you talking about?”
“Some dimension’s nursery, where the little monsters are cradled until they are let out upon some world.”
Lately I have discovered that my Demon Lover has knowledge about worlds and creatures I don’t have a language for. Asked directly, and he will hem and haw. But every so often, he will slip up and tell me something actually interesting.
“You hurt my feelings, Bess. Everything I have to say is interesting.” The Devil is reading my mind again. He does so when he damn well pleases.
“And besides, you are a virgin where the cosmos is concerned. I only tell you what you need to know.” He leaned towards me across the table. “Besides, it can be a very scary place. Good thing you have me around.”
He puffed on his long white clay pipe and I would have to say that his last statement could easily be qualified.
“Tell me, Garrett, if I was ‘breeding’ as you say, what would the baby look like at birth?” I was curious as any woman would be.
“If they were female, they would have your breasts. If male….my cock.” He grinned nastily.
“No…I mean, would they be human looking? Would I be able to love this child?”
“Every other woman who has had my children loved them. Don’t know why you would be any different, Bess.”
I didn’t expect this! Other children by him. Somewhere in the novel, I remembered writing he had two bastard children by a woman in Martinique, but then I had forgotten to follow up with more information about these children and the mother.
“You are slipping on a lot of things, sweet lady.”
“I guess because now I am an old maid?”
“You can be revived.”
He had a droll wit at times. Grinning and snapping his fingers, produced out of the ether two tankards of ale.
“Do you aim to get me drunk?”
I couldn’t drink more than a glass of wine. A tankard would put me to sleep. He snorted, again reading my mind.
“Tell me…you must know more than you let on. How did I become fertile?”
Certainly this was a worry, because I was beyond the age where a woman needs to carry around a pregnancy. I had never thought of ‘demon-control’ before.
He looked thoughtful, and puffed on his pipe.
“ There are many ways and many carriers of mischief. This could be what you call a succubus or it could be of another species altogether.”
“So, you have no control over what happened to me?” This was not welcome news.
“Oh no, I could make it happen myself, but it’s so early in the affair, sweetheart, and I wanted to have more fun before I loosed my seed up your womb.”
He laughed. “Much more fun. Besides, I would be turned away from your charms when you got heavy with whatever was brewing in there.”
He took a swig of his ale and his eyes glittered across the rim of his tankard.
“So it ever is with mortal woman.”
I took a sip of my ale.
“These mole hills you said were nurseries. What happens to the birthlings when they are born?”
“Think of spawns or swarms of fish. Most are eaten by other species, some by their own. Others end up ‘road-kill’.”
“Oh! That is too horrible!” I was shocked.
“No so much if you saw them. It would take a particular mother to nurture one,…like a blind one.” He laughed as he swallowed his ale, and managed to choke.
“Would our child appear like a monster?”
He put his tankard down and looked at me. “Not if you loved it from birth.”
That was not exactly encouraging!
“Garrett…do you have shape shifters in your world?”
“Doesn’t every world have that? I think you call them transvestites in yours.”
I had to laugh. Not exactly what I was asking, but I’ll take that answer.
He knew much more than he would say. He held some of the secrets of the ages and this I was sure. But he was a damn tricky Devil, and he made me work for it. It was like peeling an onion. I wasn’t sure I wanted to get to his center. He was full of mystery, but then, most demons are. If anyone tells you they are benign, or banal, don’t believe a word of it. They are charmers and tricksters and will keep you unbalanced. My Demon was a handful, but ‘life’ as I was becoming to know, would be a lot duller without him. I had learned it was not just the human heart that was layered with complexities. If I was learning anything, it was that the Universe held infinite mysteries, some of them anxious to be known.