“Devil’s Revenge”, Chapter 1, or part of it.

Garrett in Devil's Revenge

In 2006 I started a novel.  It was set in the 1820’s and had a lot of sex in it.  it’s something I finished but never published. Now?  I want to rewrite this novel and see how it floats.  What you write in 2006 isn’t what you would necessarily write in 2020.  So, in the heat of summer, I am applying myself to something old, (my second novel) and seeing if it can becomes something new and improved….

Lady Nyo



I am going to relate a strange tale.  Not really a tale, because to me, a writer, a tale smacks of fiction.  This, in any case, was not fiction.  I felt the full effects of its turnings.  It happened and it’s not over yet.  I just have to tread water because each time I open my eyes, after a fitful night’s sleep, I am again locked in a world not of my making.

Well, part of my making, but even my lurid imagination pales with what I have experienced.

Sixteen years ago I wrote a long novel, set in the 1820’s.  The characters had names from the Dutch families I knew while growing up.  Everything was fiction, except the landscape, all of them were just figments of my imagination, the creations of a writer.  Never did I expect them, or some of them, to leap out of the pages of that unfinished book and change the course of my life.


I feel I have dropped down a rabbit hole, or into some strange alien universe. Perhaps I am mad.  In any case, events are spiraling out of control, beyond my control, and now?


I have none.  I have given up my will to fate, destiny and I don’t even know what that means anymore.


Bear with me, reader.  Understand what I write, what you read, is my life now.


Bess McShane



Chapter 1


One morning I sat upright in bed, gasping in terror.  The light was dim, making it hard to see. There was a fireplace with a low burning fire.  An ember must have exploded. There could be no other answer to the sudden noise. Asleep, it sounded like gunshot.


My eyes adjusted and I looked around.  An ember exploded? Where the hell was I?  My heart pounded and a sickness rose up my throat. Suddenly I knew where I was.  Many years ago I wrote a novel, still unfinished, and now I was in the bedroom I carefully constructed. But perhaps I was just dreaming?


I felt a sharp constriction around my ribcage and tried to take a deep breath. I was wearing some kind of corset, laced tightly over a slip.  No wonder I couldn’t breathe. At least this made some physical sense.  A cap had fallen over my eyes and I snatched it off. It was a mobcap.


I tried to take more deep breaths to get my bearings but no amount of air would calm me.


What had happened from the time I went to sleep in my own bed, next to my snoring husband?  How did I make the transition to this bed?


The constriction around my chest did not dull me to the sudden pressure of my bladder. There was a closet in the corner and I knew inside that closet there was a chamber pot encased in a stool.  I had written that detail into the book and now was very glad for it.


Slipping out of the high bed, I padded across the wood floor.  It was a strange thing to pee in a chamber pot. Everything was so quiet,  even the birds outside asleep, but the noise of urine hitting china was too loud for the morning.  It made me self-conscious, even though I thought I was still dreaming.  I had to be.


I came from the closet and sat down before the fireplace.  The fire suddenly flared and I jumped in surprise. This was weird, almost as if an invisible hand fed the fire. At least it would warm up the cold room. A cup of tea sat on the table, still hot.  It was dark and steam rose in the air.  I was almost afraid to touch it, but my mouth was dry from fear.  There, a sip, and it was tea.



A dresser was across the room from the bed, with a small mirror on the wall above.  The image appeared to be me, my hair the usual color, my skin the same shade. Yes, me, but I pinched myself, just to see if I was still dreaming. If pain were any indication of my present state, I was awake.


Clothes were spread across the back of a chair, and I eyed them curiously. I took the dress from the chair and held it at arms length.  It was a pale yellow, and appeared to be wool.   Straight sleeves fell to the wrists, the bodice cut low.  I wondered how modest one could be in such fashion with the tops of breasts so prominent, pushed flat by the stays.  Under the gown was a pair of bloomers.    Crotchless, they opened from the front to back.  I giggled, a bit hysterically.  Like Alice, I had dropped down a rabbit hole.


Nothing seemed real.


Even with the flare up of the fire, the room was not warm. I needed to get dressed.  I needed to get my bearings.  I stepped into the gown and pulled it up to my shoulders.  It hooked in the front of the bodice. I pulled on stockings and garters.  They were a lovely silk, soft and delicate, and came to the tops of my thighs.  The garters could be tied anywhere, so I tied them above the knees, rolling down the tops of the stockings, hoping they would stay.  I held up the split bloomers and tried to determine the front from the back.  They could be useful when you wanted to pee.  The shoes were another surprise.  Made neither a left nor a right, with a thin sole and low wooden heel, they tied to my ankle with ribbons.  There was a blue shawl, of fine wool, at the bottom of the pile.


Now at least dressed, warmer, I could explore my surroundings.  The room was not large, but had a dark beamed ceiling above. There were no paintings or prints on the walls, but above the fireplace, was a shotgun.  It was an old breech loader.


Two long windows looked out upon a dull morning. The wind blew a little sleet against the windows and I shivered. The glazing had fallen away and cold air seeped in.  It was still rather dark outside, and except for the blurred outline of trees, I couldn’t see much of the landscape.


Pulling the shawl tighter around my shoulders, I was still cold, or perhaps it was shock. I was not used to awakening in a strange bed, even one of my own imagination.


I still doubted I was lucid, and thought this some weird dream-state. Given a bit more time, I would awake.  But if this were a dream, it was a curious one.  I was not given easily to hysterics, but short of hurling myself through the window, there was little I could to do.  I would just have to follow this ‘dream’ until I woke.



Trying a door in the middle of a wall, it opened into another bedroom, and inside was a large poster bed, a wardrobe, and another shotgun in the corner by the bed. This must be a man’s room. I had no clue why, accept for that mean looking shotgun, but there was nothing that appeared feminine in the room at all.  I turned back to my bedroom and tried the other door.  Outside was a wide hall, leading to the top of a staircase.


I stood at the top of the steps, listening for voices or some sound. The house seemed deserted.  I could hear nothing of a normal household.  Carefully,  trying not to slip in these strange shoes I descended the staircase and walked through a wide first floor hall. There were a couple of rooms but there were no people and no lit fireplaces.  The whole house was bitterly cold. It seems this house held no life at all.


My footsteps sounded loud on the wooden floors of the hall, though I tried not to make a clatter.  There was a closed door to the left and when I opened it, there was a man sitting behind a desk.


Something about him seemed vaguely familiar.  Then I knew who he was.  It was a shock to realize I was looking at a character I had created for a novel sixteen years ago. I had named him Garrett Cortelyou.    He looked up, sat back, and stared at me, quite rudely. Christ!  This looked like trouble.


“Come in,” he said.  “It is trouble.” I was astonished, and how did he seem to appear in the flesh?  He was just paper and ink the last I thought of him. Can this creature read my thoughts?


“Of course I can.  I can do more than that,” he said, scowling.



I fashioned Garrett Cortelyou from a number of sources, and, seeing him before me, I couldn’t help but be pleased. It is one thing to imagine, it is another to see the results.  He was a large man, broad of shoulder, dark hair, rather long for the 1820’s, but I created him to be his own man.  He proved to be a stubborn character, and not an easy birth.  Clean shaven, he had dark eyes and regular features except for his nose.  It had been broken and not set correctly.   He looked pissed off.


“Why are you so angry with me?”


“A year ago you closed your book and abandoned all of us.  You told me to ‘cool my heels’.  Am I not allowed my anger?”


“It was a metaphor, ‘cool your heels’.”


“I know what it was.”


I was surprised. I had enough of writing and needed time off.  This actually happened fifteen years ago, but who was I  to correct him? Why argue with something unreal?  I put his intended, the character Jennie, in the library.  I gave her a cup of tea and a good fire, and she had all the books in the world, or at least, in this library to read.


“You abandoned us all.”


“Life got in the way, Garrett, I needed time to work things out.”


What am I saying? Why am I explaining my life to this creature? Am I insane?


“Come here, let me see you closely.”


I entered the room and stood across from his desk.  He looked me over, his eyes running the length of me.    “You look unimpressive.  I thought you would be older.”


“Why, did you expect me to be covered with wrinkles?”


One glance at his face and I should have held my tongue.


“You are quick with the words, madam.  Let’s see how quick on your feet.”


Like a cat he came around the desk and grabbed me. He was strong enough to lift me like a stick of wood and throw me into another chair.  I was shocked at the suddenness of his movement, but amazed he was real.


“You should be.  You play with people too much.”


I looked at him standing before me, his hands on his hips, and fear crept up my spine.


“You forget I created you.” My voice squeaked..


“And you forget, madam, anything is possible.  I can command you as easily as you have me.  You now are my puppet. Quite a turn around, don’t you think?”


“You wouldn’t have seen the light of day had I not thought of you!”  What am I saying? I am talking to a ghost!


“Ah, you were bored and this scribbling occupied your time.  Your night dreams went into all of us.  Your poor husband should not have given you a pen.”


“I wrote on a computer, something you would not know about.”


“I don’t care what you wrote with. Right now, and until I release you, you’re under my thumb.”


“What do you want with me?”  I was scared. My spit would not wet my mouth.



Garrett smiled, but it didn’t mount to his eyes.  They remained cold.  “I can smell your fear, little lady.  Come give me a kiss and a tumble.”


“You are a jackass. You act like an animal. Let me go.”


I tried to rise from my chair, but the anger on his face stopped me.


“Will you stop playing the virgin? It doesn’t fit you at all.”


I was beginning to panic.  I had created this character,  this man  before me, and I knew something of his sexual appetites.


He laughed, apparently reading my thoughts. He must be a demon come to life, or I must be still asleep.


You created me?  I’m from the slime, I’m a mixture of souls throughout time, with all the cocksure ways of manhood.  You created something you can’t control, and now you’re afraid?  You should have thought further down the road, woman.  You should be afraid.  You think you know my appetites? You don’t know much, because you don’t know me.  Not that way.   You haven’t the imagination to know what I can do. You are too ignorant of life.  Here.”


He pulled me up to him, and grabbed one of my hands and placed it on the front of his breeches.  He was hard enough.


“There.  Is your curiosity satisfied?  You knew some of me, but never enough.  You have a poor imagination for a writer. We circled each other like cats all those years, but I played the gentleman.  A boring and unnecessary role actually.”


My face was heated from his words.  There was no denying I was curious.  I had wondered a bit what he would be like in the heat of passion.  Just daydreams, sitting at my desk.  Faced with reality, fear was now trumping that consideration.




He pinned my arms behind my back with one hand.  With the other he traced my cheek and neck with a finger, his eyes narrowed into slits.    He brought my face to his mouth and kissed me, at first softly – oh the deceiver!- then roughly, forcing my lips with his tongue. He cupped my breast and squeezed my nipple, rolling it between two fingers.   He kissed me hard, bending my head back, crushing my mouth with his.


“There. How do you like being kissed by something you think you have made? Have I met your expectations?”



I caught my breath.  “I gave you Jennie, you monster!”


This was a rather stupid thing to say, but I didn’t have much of my wits after that kiss.


“And I thank you for her. She is a sweet little pastry, but I aim to have more.  You look like you could feed me for a week.”


“Oh, let me go, you’re not real!”


He pushed me away and rubbed the front of his breeches.  “Is this not real enough for you?  Then we’ll go where I’ll show you what’s real.”


Grabbing me by the wrist, he pulled me out the room and up the staircase. I tripped on my shoes and he roughly jerked me up the stairs.  I was frightened, knowing that this couldn’t be a dream.  It was more of a nightmare.


He strode down the hall and opened a door, flinging me into the room where I had awakened probably only an hour before.   With his back to the door, he locked it, pocketing the key.  I ran to other bedroom, intending to lock myself in, but he was quick. He threw me on the bed.  Now, I was frightened.  I was panting.


“’I was panting.’”  See, I can read you like a book.”  Throwing back his head, he laughed, howling like an animal, like a demon.  My stomach flipped, and I cringed back on the pillows.



He dragged a chair from a wall and sat facing me, one long leg propped up on the mattress.   If I tried to leap from the bed, I would jump right into his arms.  He looked at me with half closed eyes, his head cocked to one side.


“Don’t you find it confusing to read Richardson’s  “Pamela”, in the middle of writing seduction scenes?  Rather you should read Fielding’s “Shamela”….better story, or rather, same story,  not so tedious.”


What? How did he know this? How did he know what I read?


What was I dealing with?  Was this a ghost or a demon?  The icy sweat I felt down my back wasn’t something I was imagining.  I had to get control of this nightmare.


“I can snap my fingers and you will be gone,” I said desperately.  I closed my eyes and snapped them.


He remained before me grinning, his tongue lolling out the side of his mouth, a lunatic.  “Try again.”


I snapped my fingers. Nothing.   The demon lover was still there.


“Ah…you called me ‘lover.’  Perhaps you won’t resist me so hard now.”


“I called you ‘demon lover’.  You’re not hearing that first word.”


“You created me.  It’s all in your calling.”


“That’s right…and I can uncreate you.”


“You already tried.  This conversation is going nowhere. I need a drink. Seduction is hard work.”


He snapped his fingers, and a tankard appeared on the table behind him.  “Oh, my apologies.  One for you?”


“A small one, please.”  I shivered.  What had I just done?


“A small one it is.”  A snap.   Another tankard appeared.


He got up and retrieved the two tankards and reached across the bed, and handed me my drink.  I thought of throwing it in his face, and running from the room.


“How far do you think you would get?”  I had forgotten his mind reading trick.


“Not far- just testing.”


He laughed and drank deeply.  He wiped his mouth with the back of his hand.


“We’ve been circling each other for years.  Don’t you think it’s time we put an end to this charade? A little carnal knowledge would not be amiss.  Besides, I already know you want me, have known it for years.”  He picked up his tankard, his eyes glittering across the rim.


“You are a cocksure devil, you are!”  I would laugh at his presumption, but he was correct.  I had created him from my own secret lust, and spared nothing in the doing.

Perhaps a different approach would give me answers and a hand over him.


“Explain to me, Demon, how you have access to me?  You are nothing but some scribbles on paper, yet you appear flesh and blood enough now.”


I was more than curious, I was tumbling with fear and trying to regain my feet. I needed something to wake me up.  I needed some logic here, some answers.  I still believed I was mired in a nightmare.



He put down his tankard and smiled.  “Sometimes there’s a rip in the fabric of time and all hell breaks loose.   Dimensions warp and ley lines bulge.  The usual workings of a universe gone bad.”


“So I’m here in another dimension?”  From the 21st century to the 19th, quite a rip in the fabric, I think.


He grinned into his ale.  “For as long as it suits me, and as long as you please me.”


“What is it you want?”  I looked at him, fearing part of the answer.


“First, I want to know what’s under those petticoats.  That will be good for starters.  We can work outward then.”


He had an interesting concept of seduction.  Rather direct, not subtle at all, but intriguing.

By the looks of him, he would be worth the effort.  I thought of his kiss, and I grew uncomfortable. My face grew flushed, and his grin told me he knew what was happening between my legs.  I wanted him, my sex knew before my head, but I wouldn’t give him the words he wanted to hear. Perhaps I was playing with fire, but a ‘tumble’ would be sort of welcome. Sex hadn’t been on the agenda for a long time. He was too much temptation in the flesh to deny.


Besides, it all was a dream and a wet one at that.  I held to that hope as my only window of sanity.

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