A young woman was walking in a very peculiar manner down the sidewalk next to the university in the little city of Carrington. She looked like most normal tweens: her ashen blonde hair was firmly tugged back along her head into a smart ponytail, her clothes were trendy, but comfortable-looking; she looked both sharp and approachable—but there was something funny about her walk. At a glance it looked like she had an irregular sort of limp. But if one were to walk just behind her and look down on her feet—which wouldn't be too difficult since this girl was slightly shorter than average—one would see that she was trying to avoid walking on the creases between the stones in the sidewalk. No big deal, it may seem, but to Sheridan Olsen it was more than a mere nuisance in her life.
"Ah, Sheridan," said a cheery white-mustached, plump man who just came out of the university building.
"Professor McKinney," she answered, stopping in her tracks, smiling up at the professor.
"How's that thing we discussed about your thesis coming along?"
"Um, it's going pretty well. I was just thinking about it right now. I'm just about to go inside to start up my computer and check some data."
"Not going to lunch?"
"I'm fine, I had a sandwich." Her blue eyes darted to the sidewalk.
"Ha-ha, the academic passion of youth is a wonder to behold," said the professor, making a rather silly face. "You take care, Sherry, don't overburden yourself with work now, ha-ha."
"You too, Professor." Sheridan had gotten fairly used to being called "Sherry" by people, although the association to an alcoholic beverage was less than agreeable to her. She could never hold her liquor well and had had some awful episodes during her freshman year.
Sheridan was now a PhD student at the department for biology, two years in. She was proud of her occupation, she knew she had a good head on her shoulders and would defend the principles of the scientific method any day of the week. But Sheridan was hopelessly superstitious. She always had been, and her fascination with strictly scientific subjects and her conviction that rationality must triumph over illusion, had not managed to (as she called it) "cleanse" her from her mind's agitated reactions to things that simply weren't there.
"How can I call myself a scientist," she thought, "when I see ghosts everywhere and cannot leave home without giving the garbage can a slight jab lest bad luck should occur during the day?"
She felt her entire career would crumble sooner or later if she couldn't keep her superstition in check. Her supervisor, Professor McKinney, had made a few remarks about this tendency in an "otherwise brilliant student." And as of late, she couldn't focus much on her thesis. Whenever she was lying in bed in her lonely apartment, trying to sleep, she thought she could see shapes form in the darkness of her bedroom. Nonsense, thought her rational self. Yet another part of her couldn't help but wonder whether there wasn't something real there, something "beyond." These thoughts disgusted her whenever they came to her during lectures.
Now, Sheridan was still standing on the sidewalk. She was looking down again to see where next to put her feet. Her right foot took a steady step ahead, just past one crease among the stones, and—ow!
She had bumped right into another pedestrian. Sheridan looked up in bewilderment, saying, "Oh, sorry, sorry!" and saw a tall woman with straight raven hair reaching her shoulders standing firmly right in front of her. The woman had a long, elegant face, dark glittering eyes and smiled as she said:
"Don't worry about it, cutie." It was said with a deep, almost vibrating voice. Then the stranger simply walked on, past Sheridan and down the sidewalk.
Sheridan stood frozen to the spot. "My god, I'm so clumsy!" She clenched her fists and stared up into the sky as if in silent prayer. "And my god, she was hot."
Sheridan had more to hide than her superstition. She had been attracted to girls since her early teenage years, and that desire had hardly diminished in her twenties. But she hadn't had the courage to tell anyone; not her parents, not her friends—no one. And she certainly hadn't had any romantic encounters with the same sex. The opposite sex, however, was fairly well known to her. She had had boyfriends, had lost her virginity to a guy in a garage at the age of fifteen and felt she couldn't really complain about her experiences.
But it never felt entirely right; having a penis penetrate her had felt good, but not right. And so, as she had gradually lost practically all interest in men, she knew that the undiscovered country of female touch would be like coming home. But she also had a distinct feeling that the act of coming home would alienate her, not only from others, but from the identity she had created for herself during all these years. Her desires were something she quickly put in the back of her head like a monster in a cage, while her fear dominated her waking hours in ways she didn't quite understand herself.
She presently entered the white university building. She ran up a few stairs and entered her office, sighing. It took a few minutes for her computer to boot, and she spent an hour looking at figures and diagrams on the screen, but not really doing much at all. An hour of administrative work followed. Sheridan's mind was somewhere else.
Getting out of her office, she went out to the common room where three of her biologist colleagues where sitting, having a chat over some coffee.
"Hey, guys," said Sheridan, sitting down on one of the chairs among the three; two men, one woman.
"Hey, Sheridan," they said. The woman took a sip of her coffee and added:
"Did you know that, like, a hundred years ago, they thought we'd have winged firemen by now? So, whenever there was a fire, the fire department would send out dozens of guys who had attached wings on their backs, so they could fly up with their water hoses and extinguish the fire in high places. Like bats flapping around taking a piss on a penthouse."
"Ha-ha, really?" said Sheridan.
"Absolutely. So if you ever have a fire, I'll come flapping, flap-flap-flap!"
Sheridan couldn't help but laugh, but then forced herself to be quiet.
"Ugh, Amanda," said one of the guys, "you're the silliest biologist I've ever encountered."
"Oh, come on, Bernard," said Amanda, "we're studying life—the liiie-uph!"—here she waved her arms around dramatically—"so the least we could do is to infuse our coffee breaks with some of it."
Amanda was a year older than Sheridan; she was a tall athletic girl with a fresh, lively face. Her dark brown hair was pulled back and ended in a long, thick braid. Amanda's eyes were a flashing amber color that went very well with her wide, white smile. She was a sporty and outgoing girl at heart, but was drawn to intellectuals and spent all her energy trying to make their days worthwhile if she could.
"Sherry," Amanda said, "you look a bit troubled. Work going all right?"
"I'm fine, thanks, Amanda," Sheridan smiled. "I'll figure it out."
"Anything I can help you with?"
"No, thank you. I mean, you probably could, but I know very well you have your own thesis to work on. But really, thanks."
"Just tell me if you need support, we could talk it out. I'm sure it would help me out, too."
Awkward. Sheridan and Amanda were the only two females working on theses at the department, they were of similar age and were bound to be the best of friends, or at least spend some time with each other outside of an academic context. But Sheridan had always subtly declined Amanda's offers of real friendship, something which baffled everyone around her.
Sheridan was, of course, very much in love with Amanda. This was, no doubt, a nerve-wracking situation to Sheridan. She did, however, feel that she could handle it fairly well as long as she didn't make her relationship to Amanda anything but a strictly professional one. This distance, she thought, was just enough for her not to be burned to a cinder.
That night, trying to sleep, Sheridan stared at the ceiling in the obscurity of her room. She thought of Amanda, her face and her body. Whenever Sheridan happened to see Amanda in the college corridors, she hurried away after first catching a quick glance of Amanda's toned limbs, giving fodder to the reveries that swept through her mind on a night like this. She wondered what Amanda's breasts looked like and let her tongue make little motions in the air as she imagined sucking on Amanda's nipples like a baby. She let her hand slip down underneath the covers, underneath the hem of her panties and her hand gently groped her crotch as she imagined Amanda's body lying on top of hers, that sparkling smile hovering above her like glistening pearls in the blackness.
Her fingers slowly traveled across the damp topography of folds between her legs. She closed her eyes and moaned a little, whispered the name she so loved and visualized those shiny amber eyes that were like fiery pools of bliss to her.
In that state of dreamy pleasure meandering throughout her head and limbs, she opened her eyes again. A ghastly white face was floating just above her head; wild blood-red eyes were staring down at her. Ice tingled throughout her body as she convulsed with terror, swept her hand out from underneath her panties and threw the covers on top of her, shaking like a leaf. Her mind was quick to explain what was going on: lights and shadows of a passing car had played tricks on her through the bedroom window. She calmed down somewhat.
But she didn't let an inch of her body stick outside the covers during the rest of the night, and she was awfully tired and warm when she woke up in the morning.
The following day, Sheridan was irritable and had trouble focusing. After holding an uninspired lecture, she spent some time by her office computer looking through the department staff homepage, perusing a list of names and pictures. There was Professor McKinney, looking like a friendly Santa Claus; there was Bernard, looking smug and reserved as usual; and further down the list was Amanda. Amanda Conley, doctoral student, Department of Biology.
Sheridan clicked her picture, making Amanda's face cover almost the entire screen. There again was that perfect smile, the animated eyes, the shining brown hair, the smooth skin covering a body that was strong and healthy. Sheridan's eyes traced the skin of Amanda's slim neck down to the two bumps in the shirt, indicating the firm breasts underneath the cloth. Sheridan's imagination picked up from the night before and she couldn't help but leaning forward across her desk and take in every detail of Amanda's body.
That's when Sheridan's office door flung open and an excited Amanda stepped in, proclaiming:
"Hey, Sherry, I was thinking, shouldn't the two us take a—"
Amanda stopped and Sheridan looked up. Amanda's face was a twisted painting of shock. And no wonder: without really noticing, Sheridan had placed one hand between her legs and the other was tucked underneath her shirt, clearly groping one of her breasts. That's how she sat—with her mouth open and her body leaning from her chair, glaring at the picture of her colleague—when Amanda opened the door.
"O-oh, my god," said Amanda. She turned on the spot, went out and closed the door behind her.
Sheridan fumbled with her hands to get them out of the private parts of her body and hastily stood up to run after Amanda. But there was just no way. She fell to the floor, burying her face in her hands.
"No, no, no, no, no," she murmured. "This can't happen. This can't happen."
She looked up with horrified eyes darting in all directions as if trying to grasp what had just happened. The full realization came to her like an electric current through her soul.
"Nooo!" she cried. She started sobbing, soon lying trembling in fetal position.
For several minutes she just wept. It felt like a painful eternity before her shaky breaths gradually got more relaxed. After looking around upon a world that seemed more ruthless and cold than just a short while ago, she got up and then sat down on her chair again. She rested her tired head in her hands a while, then looked out the window upon the college grounds.
"Great," she said, matter-of-factly. "I've completely screwed it all up. I can just entirely erase her from my dreams and hopes, that's for sure. I can probably wipe out all dreams and hopes I've ever had of having a girlfriend. Yep—I'll be alone, masturbating to pictures of colleagues instead. Suits me perfectly. Fucking excellent."
She looked over her office desk with its clutter of papers and textbooks.
"And good luck with ever finishing this damn thesis now."
It was lunchtime. Sheridan turned her computer off, apathy and sadness settling in her brain like a thin, gray veil. She would not have lunch. Instead, she would go straight home and lie down, and be buried in self-pity for the rest of the week.
She stepped out of the building and squinted up at the bright midday sun which seemed to mock her misery. Her apartment was on the other side of the city park, whose peripheral trees waved at Sheridan just across the street from where Sheridan stood. She crossed the street and entered the park, its gravel path making familiar crunchy sounds under her feet. Sheridan walked looking down, her miserable, foggy mind making her feel both far away from her body and yet painfully aware of every step she took. Left, right, left, r—umph!
"We seem to walk into each other like magnets these days," said a deep female voice with hearty laughter.
Sheridan looked up and saw the classy woman from the day before. "Oh, my god," she thought. "It's that ridiculously hot woman. I seem to make a complete fool out of myself in front of every single person I find attractive!"
"I'm so sorry ... again," Sheridan started nervously. "I don't understand how it's possible that—"
"Hey, it's perfectly all right. It must be destiny, right? ... My name is Agnes," said the woman, offering her hand.
"Sheridan," said Sheridan, shaking hands with the tall woman, who seemed both young and infinitely experienced.
"Sheridan? That's a cool name," said Agnes cheerily, making Sheridan blush, smile and look down.
"So, Sheridan, are you up to anything right now? I have some time to kill and I'm all alone and bored to tears. How about lunch? I know this really nice place not far from here."
At first taken aback, Sheridan quickly checked herself to perform a somewhat neutral facial expression. As the thought, "God, yes, please!" raced through her head, she said, "Sure, why not? I am pretty hungry, actually."
They went to a restaurant in the vicinity, ordered lunch and sat down at a table, facing each other.
"I must admit," said Sheridan, "this is a really good place."
"It is, isn't it?" said Agnes, sniggering.
Sheridan was fascinated by the woman's smile; it was warmly charming, yet the upper lip always curled in a sensual sneer. It was friendly smile, but disarmingly erotic. A good thing, since Sheridan had trouble not looking further down Agnes's body. The woman showed no cleavage, but had a sort of leathery top that tightly encased and accentuated the shape of her breasts, almost as though it were painted onto her bare skin. Her breasts were fairly large for her frame, but also quite perky, hinting at a sturdy pair of nipples. Sheridan bravely soldiered on, trying to keep a normal conversation and her eyes in check.
"So, what do you do, Sheridan?"
"I'm a biologist. Or, rather, trying to be one. I'm a PhD student. It's going so-so."
"I love academics! 'Smart is sexy,' that's what I've always thought. There's something so impressive and inspiring about you people."
Sheridan grinned and blushed. The gray cloud of apathy slowly started to evaporate. The sunny day outside seemed friendlier, the colors around her more vibrant. Life wasn't so bad after all.
Agnes started asking her about biology, about the thesis and seemed fascinated and impressed with every detail. She also appeared to know quite a bit more than most people about the subject.
Sheridan basked in the attention. A voice in her head constantly reminded her that this was a bit too good to be true and that the woman probably had no other intention than killing time or simply smooth over the embarrassing fact that they had bumped into each other twice in a short period of time. But at the moment, Sheridan paid little attention to her insecurities. She was fine with illusion—anything to make life more bearable after that sharp sting of dark grief had entered her world.
"Shit!" Sheridan abruptly exclaimed. "Here we're just talking about me the whole time. I have no manners. Agnes, what is it you do?"
"Me? Well, it's ... it's a bit difficult to explain. I love my job, it's very exciting. But I don't think I can explain it over a lunch. And lunch is almost over; I bet you have a lot of work to do this afternoon."
"No, I really don't, I promise! I've got all the time in the world today."
Agnes smiled. "Okay, but I still don't think I can explain it here. It would be better ... it would be better if you came with me to my place, so we can have a real talk and I can ... show you what it is that I do. If it's not too weird for you."
"Of course not," said Sheridan. She was attracted to this woman who breathed life into her, and the remnants of apathy that still inhabited her mind repressed any signs of danger.
"Great!" said Agnes, beaming happily. "We'll take my car; it's parked just a block from here."
"Oh, is your apartment far?"
"Not really, but it's outside of town. And it's not an apartment, it's a house. Hope you don't mind."
"Of course not."
They drove through the city and out into the countryside, with Agnes chatting spiritedly about this and that. Their ride soon took them to a forest. Sheridan thought she knew her way around the area quite well, but as the car made its way on a gravelly path that seemed to get smaller and smaller and they got deeper and deeper into the woods, she was astonished by the mere existence of a place so isolated from the rest.
They soon came upon a peculiar trail that seemed to have been purposely hidden from the world. Sheridan started to get nervous as the towering trees grew taller and less and less of the blue sky managed to provide light to their path.
"Don't worry," said Agnes, as though reading her mind. "Even I got a bit creeped out by the slight remoteness of the place at first, but it's actually really cool. ... There it is!"
They entered upon a little opening in the forest, and in the clearing stood a small, quirky mansion. It was three stories high, yet not very wide and with a sort of tower in the middle it looked like it had just drilled its way up from underground. The house was symmetrical in the technical sense, but seemed uneven somehow. A multitude of windows were cluttered on the outer walls, but with curtains entirely covering them from the inside.
"Is this something you've inherited?" Sheridan asked.
"In a sense, yeah." Agnes didn't comment on it further, and they walked in through the entrance door as the trees seemed to watch them.
The inside of the house was unexpectedly modern and clean; the floor was made of shining dark mahogany. But the mansion was also quite cozy because of the small rooms, winding stairs and a few older pieces of furniture along the walls, but perhaps mostly because the darkness of the place was lit up by countless little candles, like uneven swarms of fireflies glowing warmly in a cave.
"I hope you're not put off by the slightly 'gothic' atmosphere in here," said Agnes. "I just thought it would be a missed opportunity not to arrange it like this; you know, with the forest and the unusual look of the exterior and all."
"No, it's really nice, Agnes, I quite like it." Sheridan realized she felt proud of having had the courage to address Agnes by her given name.
The house was eccentric, for sure, but Sheridan had to agree with her host: Agnes had made just the right decision. This house was incredibly cool in all its otherworldly glory.
They went into what seemed like a living room on the entrance floor.
"Please, have a seat," said Agnes, pointing to a classy-looking leather armchair. Sheridan willingly obliged and Agnes went into the kitchen to fetch some drinks.
While sitting there, Sheridan looked around. The whole residence seemed showered with a multitude of little figurines, books, pictures and other paraphernalia that Sheridan couldn't identify for the life of her. The tapestry on the walls was covered in reasonably fashionable but curious patterns that seemed to move a little when Sheridan's eyes explored her surroundings.
"Here you go," said Agnes as she returned from the kitchen with two drinks in her hands, passing Sheridan one of them and sitting down in another armchair, facing her. "There's not any alcohol in it, of course; drinking in the afternoon would be extreme even for me."
"Thanks," said Sheridan, smiling and looking down her glass. "So, um, what is it that you do, Agnes?"
"I'm a witch," she said, looking coy, her fingers crossing over her glass. It wasn't until now that Sheridan fully noticed that Agnes's fingernails were painted black and were longer and sharper than on most women she'd seen.
"Oh," said Sheridan, a little confused, but then thought she understood what was meant. "Oh, okay. Well, I can see why you decorated your house this way, then—it must be very attractive to your customers. ... I didn't really know being a witch was an actual job you could have. I'm sorry if I sound ignorant. But what is it you actually do? Is it tarot cards and palm readings and stuff like that?"
"No, no; I do magic, of course."
"Of course. Well, that's cool. Could you show me a trick?"
"I don't do tricks," was Agnes's answer. "Like all real witches, I do real magic."
"Ha-ha, certainly," said Sheridan, who started to feel a little uncomfortable.
"I'm not kidding," said Agnes with a relaxed smile. "Maybe you remember my kind from folktales? We are just not very common these days."
Sheridan didn't know what to say. "Oh, fuck," she thought, her heart sinking. "Of course she had to be a madwoman. Why on earth would an attractive woman like this live all alone and flirt with the first person she saw in the park? Because she's insane, that's why. Good job, Sheridan."
Nevertheless, Sheridan thought she might as well try to make something worthwhile of this ridiculous situation.
"Sheridan?" said Agnes. "Are you all right?"
"Yes, sorry. Yes. I was just thinking. Um... Okay, so, you're a witch. And your kind is not very common these days, that's true. You never see witches these days! So, what happened? I thought witches were powerful," she said, laughing nervously; "it must have been easy to increase your numbers, right?"
"Well, people stopped believing in us," said Agnes, putting on a mock pout.
"So you're figments of the imagination?"
"Exactly!" said Agnes happily. "But the belief that you saw a ghost can actually create a ghost, quite literally. People just aren't afraid enough any longer," she said, pouting again.
"So, you just pop out of nowhere whenever someone's afraid?"
"I don't think so, hon. I think you always need more than one person who is convinced that there is a witch among them for someone like me to be born."
"Oh." Sheridan paused. "Okay, so, for how long have you been here? When were you born?"
"Just the other day."
Sheridan almost laughed. "So you're telling me you were literally born yesterday? You're just a couple of days old?"
"I was born the other day. But I am much older than that," Agnes said, snickering.
"Okay. As you can probably understand, I find it a little hard to believe all this. And I won't fall for any pyrotechnics, so if you've spent time to prepare something expensive, don't spend it on me."
"You're right; I haven't given you any hands-on proof. I promise there will be no fireballs or the like," said Agnes, playfully throwing her hands in the air as a sort of sarcastic gesture.
"So, what's your expertise then?"
"I know many kinds of magic, but I excel in only one."
"Oh, which one would that b—"
Sheridan froze. Bustling warmth spread hastily throughout her. The sensation had followed instantly after Agnes had lazily flicked her pointy forefinger into the air.
"Anything the matter, Sheridan?" Agnes asked in an amused voice, leaning forward and resting her chin in her hand.
"N-no..." Sheridan moaned. "Excuse me a moment, I—"
Sheridan immediately recognized that it was not pain, but bubbling pleasure that now started to sear between her legs. It was like an unbearable itch that just happened to center around her clitoris, like a dozen little annoying mosquitoes settling there and that she just had to swat with her hands. That's when she realized that her limbs were paralyzed. She couldn't move her arms and she couldn't stand up. Her legs nevertheless quivered and she felt how her pants got warm and she heard trickles of fluid hit the wooden floor beneath her.
Soon, her whole body was on the very edge of climax, but she was unable to reach it, feeling as though she was trapped in a cage just underneath the surface of an ocean, panicking for air. She looked up at Agnes with anxious eyes. Agnes looked back with her tongue between her smiling set of teeth and a pair of squinting eyes that radiated an evil glee that seemed to Sheridan impossible in a human face. Suddenly, Agnes stretched all of her fingers from her palm, like a white star with sharp black tips.
The evening sky high above was silent, deaf to the cry that pierced through the house below the trees.
Inside, Sheridan was having an orgasm that reminded her of the first climax she had ever had: so horribly powerful and surprising. But this was more than that. She felt like she was speeding through the heavens and then falling towards the ground, with insane butterflies fluttering around not only in her stomach, but in her calves and feet and in her breast. She felt like she had been sleeping all her life, and now thousands of little gnomes were pinching all over her skin, waking her up.
And awake she did. Her eyes were wide open—staring at nothing—as she slowly regained normal awareness. She was sitting on her shins on the floor in a puddle of her own produce and long strands of her hair were hanging down in her face. When she tried to move, her muscles felt like they had never been used before. Shakily, she managed to sit back up in the armchair and breathed heavily. She struggled with forming words for a few seconds, but finally managed:
"W-w-what the h-hell was that?"
"You're not sure what it was?" Agnes mused, sitting back comfortably in her armchair opposite the quivering Sheridan, who was still feeling the final teasing rattles of sexual release. "Do you want me to do it to you again, to make sure?"
For a fleeting second Sheridan formed a resolute "Yes" in her mind, as though the question was, "Care for a million dollars?" or, "Do you want happiness in life?", but her survival instinct thankfully kicked in:
"N-no, please—it would kill me."
"So, was that proof enough?" said Agnes, stretching her hands out like a contestant in a talent show. "Am I a witch?"
"I..." Sheridan began, leaning back in her chair, settling down, trying to rest.
"There's no point in trying to find a 'scientific' excuse, Sheridan," said Agnes. "This is as empirical as it gets, wouldn't you say?"
Slightly startled by Agnes's sudden grasp of terminology, Sheridan uttered: "You did... something. But... how did you do it?"
"I told you: magic. With just the flick of my finger, I can do this—"
She flicked her finger in the air and Sheridan at once felt a divine sucking sensation on her nipples that made her sigh with bliss.
Agnes once again flicked her finger, whereupon Sheridan felt an immense tingling and mild cramping in and around her anus, making her rattle in her seat and roll her eyes as her hands franticly clutched the armrests on either side of her.
"Okay-okay-okay," Sheridan quickly blurted out in-between inhales, "I get your point."
The sensations abruptly stopped, and Agnes sat quietly, letting Sheridan calm down and gather her thoughts.
"Just..." Sheridan began anew. "I don't understand. How is it at all possible?"
"Don't concern your mind with that. The important thing is that it exists and that it works. It felt pretty good, right?"
Sheridan blushed and looked with big eyes upon Agnes, as though saying, "Are you fucking kidding me? I didn't know my body could do that!", but settled for a restrained, "Yeah."
"You know," said Agnes, "this witchcraft of love is what I do best. With this magic you can make anyone fall madly in love with you."
Sheridan looked up. If not before, Agnes now had her full attention.
"I know you think I'm attractive," she went on, "and I know you certainly wouldn't mind sleeping with me. But it's not really me that you want, if you really had the choice, is it?"
Any concerns about the veracity of witchcraft, or whether or not Agnes was a witch or a fraud, or even very dangerous; all these apprehensions abandoned Sheridan's brain completely and was instead replaced by the possibilities of this new reality.
"I like you, Sheridan. And I wouldn't mind sharing some of my power with you. I know you've had it rough lately. When the world is so unfair, I think you deserve a shortcut or two in life."
"Really? You would do that?" Sheridan heard how pathetic and submissive she sounded, but at this point she didn't much care.
"Of course," said Agnes with warmth. "Do you want it?"
"Yeah, I think so. ... Yes."
"Here's what we'll do," Agnes resumed: "we'll perform a simple ritual together where you gain some of my magical powers for a day and a night. After the ritual, you go home, get some sleep, and in the morning you'll have the power to make the love of your life love you back."
Sheridan couldn't help but give a big, happy smile and almost become tearful from seeing how new doors opened up to her and how unforeseen, precious beams of light began to shine on her through cracks in a dense concrete wall.
But then a thought occurred to her, and she said, with some apprehension: "What will you want from me in return, Agnes?"
"Oh, I don't need anything at all. This is just my kind of charity work. I don't do it often, mind you. Of course, I do demand that you make that girl of your dreams fall in love with you—promise me that, ha-ha!"
"I promise!" said Sheridan, her young heart bursting with joy.
"You go get her, girl!" said Agnes, smiling affectionately.
"How did you know it was a she?"
"Well, because I'm a—"
"—you're a witch."
Sheridan relaxed in her chair and looked around the room. Her gaze stopped at the ominous stairs winding up to the floors above.
"Um," she said, "this 'ritual' you spoke of. What exactly does that entail?"
"Well, you want magic that controls love, so the ritual has very much to do with that. It will be a very... intimate ritual between you and me."
A slight tickle rushed through Sheridan's loins. But it was no magic this time. Agnes was entirely right about Sheridan's desires: realizing that she could very soon be indulging in some sort of fleshly activity with this stunning raven-haired woman filled Sheridan with an exciting mix of embarrassment and arousal. A "ritual"; the clinical necessity of it turned her on even more.
"Come on," said Agnes, getting up from her armchair and offering Sheridan her hand. "We'll go up the tower and have it done, all right?"
"All right," said Sheridan, nervously taking the hand of the witch. With Sheridan behind her in a firm grip, Agnes now took steady steps towards the staircase.
As they ascended up the stairs along gloomy walls with strange, menacing paintings, Sheridan became fully aware of how scared she was. Her heart was beating fast and hard, like someone pounding her chest with a baton, and her breathing was rapid and throaty. But the tingling stress that seeped through her body was noticeably blended with desire; the fear that wanted release from Agnes's viselike grip—which refused to let go of Sheridan's compressed knuckles—was nothing to the feelings of lust produced by that same strong command, complemented by the view of Agnes's firm bottom, hypnotizing Sheridan as it moved seductively up the tower.
At last, they entered the room at the top and Agnes released Sheridan's hand. She shut the door behind them. The room was completely void of furniture and quite dim; a few curtained windows along one wall, a warmly glowing lamp hanging from the center of the ceiling and a floor of red-tinted mahogany was all there was. At the center of the floor, however, straight below the lamp, was painted a large circle containing bizarre writings and symbols.
"Undress," said the witch. A cold tone was heard in her voice.
"Wh..." Sheridan was not entirely surprised by this order, but was nevertheless slightly put off by the authority with which Agnes uttered it.
"Ha-ha, come on," said Agnes looking back at Sheridan with a coy smile. "It's just a ceremony, it won't hurt you ... I promise." The warmth in her voice was back.
Sheridan felt stupid. No point in arguing with someone who knew the ins and outs of witchcraft, a world wholly novel to Sheridan. She took her shoes off and then pulled off her top, making her ponytail dangle behind her neck. Next, she pulled her pants down, throwing them in a pile together with the rest of her clothes. Standing in only underwear, she hesitated for a second, let an ah-what-the-hell pass her mind and soon her bra and panties were thrown on top of the pile as well.
"Please, let your hair down, Sheridan."
Without much reluctance now, Sheridan pulled the hair tie from her hair, which she happily shook about.
"You're beautiful," said Agnes. "Now, lie down on your back in the circle there."
The floor was cold on Sheridan's soles as she walked toward the circle, but felt how it got warmer the closer she got. Lying down on the strange symbols underneath her, Sheridan had a distinct feeling that the circular area of wooden floor was somehow alive. It was pleasingly tepid on her back and bottom as she lay down and seemed almost to caress her.
Looking up from her prostrate position, Sheridan saw how Agnes had already undressed. She stood tall above her, her body as elegant as her face, her nipples dark, her hair and pubes pitch black. Her nakedness had a peculiarly menacing quality about it. Agnes's pale feet stood firmly on each side of Sheridan's hips; she could feel the slight touch of Agnes's ankles on her sides. Her gaze followed Agnes's tall, slim legs up to the black triangle of hair.
Agnes looked down on Sheridan with a somber expression and said:
"We have three very simple phases to go through tonight, you and I. First things first: I need to mark you with my blood."
She descended upon Sheridan, kneeling on top of her so that Agnes's black pubic hair met that of Sheridan's blonde bush, making the latter shiver from feeling such impulsive intimacy. The witch then pointed a sharp fingernail at a vein in her own wrist and drew a hard line in it, making a streak of deeply red blood emerge unto the world like an uninvited evil. Agnes presently smudged her bloody wrist between Sheridan's breasts, painting with it wide red strokes upon the recumbent girl's sternum.
The marks of blood were almost immediately absorbed through Sheridan's skin into her body, temporarily making it difficult for her to breathe, but Sheridan soon felt invigorated rather than suffocated, and took deep, thankful breaths.
"Next," announced Agnes's deep voice, "you need to drink the milk."
Sheridan was a bit confused as to what this meant. Agnes leaned over Sheridan's body, seized hold of the back of her neck with one hand and brought her back up with her. Agnes's other hand clutched one of her own breasts, and, with the hand around Sheridan's neck, forced the girl's mouth down on the hard, dark nipple.
"Suckle until there is nothing left," commanded Agnes with her nipple between Sheridan's lips.
Sheridan started sucking hesitantly on Agnes's breast, but as soon as she felt the first drops of liquid touch her tongue, it was as though she was transformed: she started to drink as if in a state of frenzy and was unable to stop. As Sheridan's cheeks were made hollow from the strong force of suction in her mouth and an unusually voluminous torrent of fluid gushed into her, loud gulping sounds echoed through the room. She swallowed mouthful upon mouthful of milk, rhythmic breathing from her nose venting warm air upon the soft skin of Agnes's breast. Agnes looked down in delighted astonishment at what she had made happen, and her eyelids were quavering slightly up and down her eyes from the intense stimulation of having so much sucked out of her from a single breast.
With a gulp and a loud gasp for air, Sheridan at last broke loose from Agnes's breast, panting as she rested with her elbows on the floor behind her back. She felt strange. The amount of milk she had ingested made her stomach stretch. But that didn't trouble her; the never before felt prickling feeling that spread from it, however, made her look down on her belly with some uneasiness.
Agnes read the apprehension on her young face, gently stroked Sheridan underneath her breasts with a fascinated gaze and said:
"You have nothing to be afraid of, Sheridan. It does that. It's working."
Sheridan took a deep breath, intent on enduring the sensations racing through her.
"Now," said Agnes, standing up, "the third and last phase of the ritual. Lie down and lie still."
Sheridan obeyed and lay still in the circle of patterns on the floor, hearing how Agnes's steps made their way farther and farther from the center of the room, disappearing into the darkness. Soon, Sheridan could hear steps coming back toward her, but the pace seemed faster and more uneven. She pulled her head up and looked across the room, and to her astonishment she saw not only Agnes, but another naked woman beside her, the two of them walking slowly out of obscurity.
"Your third task," muttered Agnes's voice around the chamber, "is to sleep with this girl. Do that, and your most coveted dream will come true."
The sheer embarrassment of having another woman see her lying naked on the floor made Sheridan pull her head back again, and she looked intently up into the lamp in the ceiling, feeling her cheeks get warm. She could hear the sound of the new woman's steps approach; to Sheridan's distress, the anticipation made her feel a slithering wetness trickle between her legs.
She urgently wanted to sit up and cover herself, but now noticed that her arms and legs seemed to be glued to the floor. Wriggling her hips, unable to move from her position, Sheridan only stared into the lamp above her while the subtle sound of naked soles on mahogany got closer.
"Just relax, Sheridan," said Agnes's voice from the other side of the room. "Lie still and let her do it to you."
Although her embarrassment was still palpable, Sheridan's blushing cheeks and rapid breathing was now to the most part the result of sheer arousal. Being the immobile subject to the lustful whims of another woman made her shiver with excitement, and she waited eagerly for the features of her partner to come into view.
The footsteps stopped and Sheridan could hear the sound of knees landing on the floor. She could soon feel the woman lie down gently on top of her, smooth legs stroking along her sides, naked breasts and long, tickling hair brushing against her chest. Sheridan could not contain her curiosity any longer, and so raised her head up and stared directly into the irises of the person above her.
Sheridan gasped. Right in front of her eyes was the smiling face of herself. Another Sheridan. Same eyes, same mouth, same hair—even the same little birthmark between her breasts. The woman didn't say anything; she just smiled and then started to kiss Sheridan on the neck and gently fondle her left breast. Sheridan desperately thrashed her head to the side to get away from the lips that mercilessly found their way across her skin.
The woman's other hand slowly reached down between Sheridan's legs. Sheridan tried clenching her thighs with all her might, but her legs were stuck in a spread-out position. As the hand—that she knew all too well—groped Sheridan's crotch and prepared a finger to enter her orifice, Sheridan opened her mouth to protest, but was instead silenced by her twin's warm tongue, which forced itself into her mouth, writhing like an eel inside her. Not one, but two fingers were now easily slid into Sheridan's wet vagina, making her moan into the mouth of her other self, who continued to kiss her wildly.
Sheridan's eyes shot a glance to her side and saw Agnes standing in the soft gloom of the chamber, looking at the two entwined bodies with malicious pleasure. The witch then looked into Sheridan's eyes, giving her a knowing look. Sheridan could instantly feel the poisonous milk curl inside her and uncomfortable stings torment her.
But the pain quickly dissolved: in its place, swimming warmth rolled over her and settled at the core of her being. Sheridan felt safe, free, even fearless; so unlike what she's ever felt in her life before.
The invisible constraints keeping her nailed to the floor suddenly loosened and Sheridan impatiently met her twin's kiss, reaching with her tongue as far as she could, rising from where she lay, embracing her other self and pushing her down. As the woman on the floor looked on with satisfaction, Sheridan licked her entire length: her ankles, her thighs, her abdomen, her breasts, her neck and her face. She greedily let her fingers play between her double's legs and presently had her fingers slide in and out of her, making the girl sigh happily.
As the squelching sounds of fingers pumping and the heavy breathing of the two women filled the room, a low but increasingly powerful murmur started to emanate from the circle below their bodies. The room seemed to have awakened from a deep sleep, and more so as the girls' breathing got more violent. The squirming woman on the floor was close to climax now—Sheridan could feel it. Her hand went faster. The humming in the room increased. The legs underneath her started to quiver madly.
Then a piercing cry—and the murmur exploded into a storm as the floor disappeared underneath them. Sheridan plummeted into the darkness as the scream and the turmoil echoed in her ears as she fell, fell and fell.
Sheridan awoke in a sweat in her bed, the afternoon sun flooding the room. The sheet underneath her had twirled into a hard kind of sausage along her spine—a sure sign she had not slept well. She understood she had missed all of today's work and lectures.
She sat up on the edge of the mattress, her feet meeting the cold wooden floor.
"A dream?" she thought. "Was that all it was?"
Perhaps all of yesterday was a dream. Perhaps the awful scene with Amanda in the office was just a part of a very long nightmare?
No. No, that event was disturbingly real, no doubt about it.
And Agnes? All of last night came back to her in detail and Sheridan could discern no difference in the realism between that and the scene with Amanda, no matter how unreal the happenings in the mansion seemed on paper. How did she get home, though? She couldn't remember anything after her finalization of the ritual.
"I fainted and Agnes drove me home, of course." That was it. She smacked her tongue.
Her eyes opened wide—she could still taste the breast milk in her mouth. Somehow, this thing had actually happened. As impossible as her mind deemed it, she had been drinking the milk of a witch.
As she sat on her bed now, an exhilarating realization occurred to her. If what happened yesterday was not a dream, then she had actually finished the ritual and she had the magical powers of making Amanda fall head over heels in love with her. The very hope served as a soothing balm on her tortured heart.
Sheridan practically jumped out of bed and hurried to wash up and get her clothes on. She scampered about in her apartment, her body fluttering with excitement. The sun had never shone so brightly through the windows before. She stood in its reflection on the carpet, warming her feet, feeling alive. A minute later, she had put on her shoes, locked the door and run out of the apartment and into the streets of Carrington.
Sheridan inhaled the air, the nuances of smells of the park invigorating her further. She had a set target: Amanda's apartment. She knew where she lived and knew that Amanda was home by now. It didn't matter any longer that she'd never been to her apartment, it didn't matter that she wasn't on intimate enough terms with Amanda to visit her like this, and it didn't even matter that Amanda had caught her in the most mortifying situation she thought possible. She had newly acquired powers and had nothing to lose: she took sturdy steps across the park.
Ten minutes later, she stood in front of Amanda's apartment door and had just rung the bell. While she waited, she looked around the stairwell of the building, amusedly observing little details in the marble steps. She also noted how pleasant this fusion of nervousness and excitement was.
But as footsteps from inside the apartment advanced toward the door, Sheridan suddenly panicked. An ice-cold realization penetrated her: she had been conned by a crazy woman, she had been drugged and abused. And here she stood waiting for a girl who probably thought she was a pervert and was disgusted by her lesbian fantasies. But it was too late: the door opened as Sheridan stood paralyzed with fear.
Amanda, standing there in a thin white shirt and tight black pants, looked in surprise at her visitor. Sheridan didn't know what to do, she had frozen solid. But to her great amazement, she then felt a strange balminess spread in her, whereupon Amanda's countenance abruptly changed: her eyes looked worried and her breathing was shaky. What was going on?
"I..." Amanda started. "Sheridan, I... I love you so much!"
Sheridan was speechless. "Oh, my god," she thought. "It... it fucking worked! The heat that flowed through me just then... Magic. I actually did that!"
"Sheridan," said Amanda with a pleading look. "Please."
"I love you," gasped Sheridan and threw herself in Amanda's arms, kissing her madly. Amanda moaned her approval, closing her eyes blissfully.
Sheridan could hardly believe the greatest treasure on Earth was hers to take. She felt she had to enjoy it to the fullest—to have it all before the spell came to an end. She quickly turned back from Amanda for a second to close the door behind them. She then just as quickly took Amanda by the hand, and, dragging her along with her, looked wildly around the apartment for the bedroom.
Once she had found it, she threw Amanda onto the bed and started to undress her. She forced the thin shirt off Amanda and pulled her bra down to reveal her breasts. Seeing them, Sheridan reached such a state of excitement and yearning that she hardly knew what to do. Like a feral beast, she soon plunged like a hungrily for one of the nipples, tried to fit as much of the breast into her mouth as possible and by turns sucked it and bit it all over. Amanda groaned:
"Th-this is... a dream come true..."
Sheridan looked up, smiling at her, kissing her lips.
"Yes," she said, giggling. "Yes."
Looking down on Amanda's body again, seeing the black pants covering Amanda's thighs, Sheridan felt the urge to explore what exactly her magical powers could do for her. She focused all her mental energies and desires and wished for Amanda to spread her legs wide. And—as if indeed by a stroke of magic—Amanda's legs were spread forcefully apart, exposing her crotch. Next, Sheridan wished those pants gone. Again, reality obeyed her fancy, and Amanda's toned legs were bare, her sensitive genital folds only covered by a red pair of panties. Sheridan hastily wished away the panties as well, making Amanda yelp and laugh nervously, her animated face blushing.
Sheridan was looking at Amanda's pretty face when suddenly she thought the upper lip of Amanda's smile curled into a sensual sneer and that Amanda's eyes turned dark, like glittering black jewels. Sheridan gulped. Agnes? But the vision vanished as quickly as it appeared, and Amanda's questioning look replaced it.
"Sheridan?" Amanda asked. "Is something wrong?"
Sheridan wasn't sure. Swiftly, however, descended onto Amanda, their faces only an inch from each other, and Sheridan let a clumsy hand find Amanda's groin.
"You love me?" asked Sheridan, breathing heavily onto Amanda's face.
"Yes," said Amanda.
Sheridan's hand now made attempts at entering the orifice between Amanda's spread legs.
"And you're all mine?" asked Sheridan, intense eyes staring into Amanda's.
Two fingers thrust deep into Amanda's vagina. Then out again. Then three fingers plunged inside Amanda and started pumping in and out, making Amanda grit her teeth with pleasure.
"Do you love me?" Sheridan asked again as she pulled her fingers out, her blue eyes a mix of apprehension and affection.
Amanda didn't seem to be able to get enough air, the pupils of her eyes disappeared under her upper eyelids and her mouth looked as though it wanted to swallow something bigger than itself, all the while as Sheridan's hand went faster.
Suddenly, Amanda gave a shrill scream of agony, and her hips shot backward like the recoil of a mounted cannon, leaving Sheridan's hand free and wet.
It was like a clap of thunder had resounded between them. Sheridan looked down on her hand and could see a hint of blood underneath one of her fingernails. She felt a chill come over her body. Somehow, she knew that the magic she had once possessed was now broken and gone.
The terrified look on Amanda's face confirmed Sheridan's fears. The glazed joy in Amanda's eyes from just minutes before was entirely switched to an alarmed and confused look that seemed to ask where she was, why she was naked and why Sheridan was there with her.
Black stress and shame shot through Sheridan's mind and body, and she could only stutter when attempting to tell Amanda how sorry she was. Amanda was the first to speak:
"Get out!" Amanda screamed at the top of her lungs.
Sheridan took a few shaky steps back. Before long, she was running out of the apartment and into the city as if into an empty world.
She hardly managed to sprint into a narrow alley before she threw up. By turns sobbing and retching, Sheridan felt that the only thing worth living for was lost to her forever. And that she herself had destroyed it.
Through her hazy, tearful vision, she beheld the sun about to set. She wiped her mouth and cheeks and stood up on legs that were still quivering with anxiety. She felt there was only one destination for her to go now.
After crossing the park to her own apartment, she pulled out her car keys. Within a few minutes she was driving through the streets and out toward the edge of Carrington, out toward the orange evening sky torn at its bottom by the silhouette of the black spruce forest ahead of her.
"God, let me find her—god, let me find her," she murmured to herself, clenching the steering wheel. Sheridan focused hard on remembering the way Agnes had taken the day before. The car drove into the forest as if swallowed whole. She took a right turn here, a left turn there, on roads that seemed to become smaller and smaller. With a sense of both astonishment and dread, she eventually came upon the winding, seemingly abandoned little road she saw yesterday.
After some time, evening had entirely shrouded the countryside with its shadowy cloak and Sheridan was now deep in the forest, the spruce branches growing thicker around her little car. Her headlights, bobbing up and down the dirt road like a couple of lit buoys on a nightly ocean, could barely make out the trail ahead of her in the darkness, and Sheridan started to panic.
Just as she was about to consider turning back, the thick forest cleared up. She could soon make out the strange shape of Agnes's house. Sheridan exhaled in relief. As she drove her car down the clearing she detected how the curtains in the uppermost window of the tower were drawn back, and she could discern a vague yellow light coming from inside it.
She stopped the car outside, and as she got up and closed the door, she saw Agnes standing outside the entrance of the house, stretching her arms out in a welcoming and comforting gesture. Sheridan ran directly to her and had hardly found Agnes's embrace until she started to sob uncontrollably.
"There, there," said Agnes, holding Sheridan tight, stroking her hair. "Come on in, hon."
They walked into the house and Agnes closed the door. Inside, Sheridan saw the familiar mahogany floor, the winding stairs, the old-fashioned furniture and the little candles everywhere. She felt calmed just from the sight and promptly wiped her tears. Once they had taken their seats in the usual armchairs, Sheridan began:
"Thank you so much, Agnes. I'm so sorry for disturbing you like this—I just had to see you."
"Hey, it's okay!" Agnes said, putting a comforting hand on Sheridan's knee. "I'm here. What happened?"
"I fucked up. I used your magic, and it was amazing—it really worked! But I went too far, I... I couldn't control it, I—"
"Sheridan, honey, relax. I'm sure it wasn't that bad. You'll sort it out, I know you will."
"You think so?" said Sheridan with a sob.
"I'm positive. Look, you're a little upset now, and that's okay. As your friend and benefactress, I will help you relax and come back stronger than ever."
"Yeah?" Sheridan giggled.
"I have just the thing you need, hon. Come with me."
Agnes stood up and held out her white palm, smiling encouragingly. Sheridan willingly took Agnes's hand and the latter led her out of the room and down a hallway. At the end of the hallway was a towering door. Agnes opened it up, revealing a crooked staircase leading down. It was steep and dark, flanked by stone walls with torch-like lights mounted every fifty feet. The path seemed to burrow its way down the earth as deep as the tower was tall.
They had taken a few steps down the stairs when Sheridan heard a muffled thumping sound coming from above them, making her halt. It had sounded as though coming from the room in the tower. Another thump; Sheridan pulled her hand out of Agnes's and looked up toward the hallway.
"What was that?" she asked.
"Sheridan, dear," Agnes started, looking concerned. "I can't hear a thing. You're overexcited. Besides, you really need to be happy now; you'll grieve yourself to death if you think too much. Come with me, and I'll show you something breathtaking."
Agnes held out her hand again.
"You're right," said Sheridan. "Sorry." She grinned and took Agnes's hand.
They descended down the uneven steps, sometimes almost stumbling. Before long, Sheridan felt how the temperature fell more and more as they went down the murky cavern.
"Come on," said Agnes, apparently spotting Sheridan's hesitation, "it will be worth it!"
Sheridan smiled; she really did find it encouraging. She needed something to brighten her day, and thought of the revelation ahead of her like anticipating a warm shower after hours walking through a blizzard.
At long last, they reached the end of the stairs and now stood in front of a door. Agnes picked up a little ornate key from a pocket, put the key in the door lock and turned. Click.
"Go ahead, Sheridan. After you."
Sheridan looked at the grinning Agnes and then at the door. It really did seem to emanate heat, as though there was a sauna on the other side. She grabbed the handle and pulled.
Inside was a giant, brightly lit room with a marble floor. It was strewn with gallant furniture and dashing colors, there were big, soft cushions scattered here and there, little fountains trickled soothingly at places. Sheridan could not believe her eyes. What she had believed would be at most a comfy cellar, was in fact a paradisiac hall taken straight from the ancient world. In the middle of the room was an enormous bed, wide enough for fifteen people to lie in.
"How do you like it?" Agnes asked.
"Wow, Agnes, this is great, I—"
Sheridan broke off. She suddenly comprehended the theme of the decorations and paintings. On the walls were painted scenes of pornographic content of such a degree they would be out of place in even the bawdiest of Roman bathhouses. Looking around, Sheridan made an even more shocking discovery: she recognized these paintings. Filling the entire room were depictions of seemingly every sexual fantasy Sheridan had ever had. Sheridan looked down on the floor, blushing like mad.
"Yes," said Agnes, "this is all you, hon. I'm happy you recognize them. I must say, I love what you've done with the place. You have such, um, exquisite taste. But this room isn't about the decorations. It's about... this."
Agnes clapped her hands twice and a door at the far end of the room opened. Out poured seven young women, clad in only jewelry. They all had tall, slender, toned bodies, sultry black eyes and fiery red hair, and walked erotically toward Sheridan.
Sheridan looked at Agnes, who could barely contain her excitement.
"They're all yours," she twittered. "You're going to have such a good night tonight."
Sheridan tried to form a coherent answer, but her mouth just hanged open in astonishment. Agnes giggled happily. Now Sheridan could feel how the women tugged at her, pulled at her arms and made her follow them to the large bed. She made little resistance; these girls, she thought, were almost impossibly attractive. As they walked toward the bed, and she saw the perfectly rounded bottom of one of the girls, Sheridan swallowed hard, her heart raced and her loins tingled.
The girls lay her down in the middle of the big bed and slowly started to undress her. Sheridan's mouth was dry from shallow breathing and she was afraid she would faint from this arousal that mercilessly increased by the second. Once completely undressed, one of the young women began to kiss and lick her right foot; another girl did the same to her left arm; soon Sheridan felt lips tugging at one of her nipples, and a tongue gliding up her inner thigh.
Sheridan whimpered with excitement and arched her back, feeling her heart pounding hard in her chest. Spreadeagled across the covers, she felt hands, fingers, lips and tongues moving in circles, stroking to and fro, sucking and swallowing on and in every possible surface, crevice and orifice of her frame. Through Sheridan's eyes were seen flurries of red hair and graceful but hungry faces zooming in and out of view, sometimes covering her vision entirely, accompanied by aroused breathing close to her ear. The oddly synchronized septet was efficiently pushing her body towards climax like a clothes wringer firmly pressing out the contents of an orange.
With a snorting moan and like a flash of lightning striking through her head, Sheridan came, thrashing about in the little space she had, entirely incapable of hindering her torso's ritualistic movements. Her legs and abdomen shivered rhythmically and a thick, pulsing artery stood out like an eel on her neck as her muscles stiffened every other second.
Flushed and out of breath, the final trails of climax started to withdraw, leaving only a buzzing warm feeling of exhaustion in her body. Sheridan looked up into the ceiling, feeling slightly dizzy, but relaxed and content. Up there, she observed the illustration of one of her fantasies that she had long forgotten, making her giggle to herself.
Hardly thoroughly rested, Sheridan could feel how the girls above and around her again slowly started to lick and fondle her. Sheridan felt a little overwhelmed at first, but then grinned and knew very well that her throbbing groin wanted nothing more than a second round as soon as possible. Pleased and eager, she just waited for the red-haired women to fulfill their task.
Not many minutes of more of the precise handling of the women made Sheridan come again. Looking down through the little gaps between the clutter of naked bodies, Sheridan saw the face of one of the girls just looking up from between Sheridan's legs, her cheeks smeared with Sheridan's juices, her black eyes determined and alert, seemingly inpatient for yet another of Sheridan's orgasms.
And another climax was a fact after just a short while. Again a brief spell of relaxation and then the seven girls were anew working untiringly to make Sheridan cry with pleasure and her groin splash with liquids, giving the bed a musky tang mixed with sweat. A brief rest—then another go. Through moans, cries and screams, through shudders, tremors and shattering strikes of chemicals bursting through her brain, Sheridan had now come five times.
As the girls went to work on her a sixth time, Sheridan was not only exhausted, but felt a dark chill through her mind and nausea through her body crawl upon her from underneath the constant throbs of bliss. The girls continued to do their best to stimulate the sensitive nerve endings across her body, intent on amassing their sensations toward genital eruption in her.
Sheridan looked around the little of the room she could see. To her great disbelief, she saw Agnes sitting in a chair a few feet from the foot of the bed. It occurred to Sheridan that Agnes must have been there the whole time. To Sheridan's disbelief, Agnes started laughing.
Agnes was laughing like she couldn't stop; a giggling, sniveling, menacing laughter that sent shivers down Sheridan's spine in the middle of the heat of bodies. After a while, Agnes got up from the chair and walked toward the bed, looking at Sheridan's oncoming climax.
"You stupid little girl," Agnes's voice said. "Did you—ha-ha-ha—actually believe that you could abuse my magic without getting punished?"
Sheridan's eyes darted in all directions.
"You are all mine now," Agnes continued, almost purring.
Agnes started to laugh again and sat down in her chair, making herself comfortable before enjoying the show in front of her. Sheridan's moans were rapidly replaced by grunts as a pair of expert fingers massaged her vaginal walls and a tongue twirled deep inside her anus. A quick yelp and then a throaty cry: Sheridan's pelvic muscles contracted furiously, making her vagina look like a mouth gasping for air.
Agnes sat smirking, the tip of her tongue riding along the ridge of her pearly teeth.
It was night outside. Silent, thick blackness covered the forest; the clear, dark sky, strewn with stars, seemed a great cosmic lung filled with calm air. The occasional fox's mating scream was the only thing to disturb the stillness, so beautiful to so many people who were sitting at home or had just taken a walk outside to watch, breathe and touch the subtler richness of life.
Buried inside the forest, inside a house, down a hallway, down a staircase, inside a glittering room, on a big, soft bed, lay Sheridan. The covers underneath her were wrinkled and damp. Her eyes were closed and she breathed quietly, although a bit unsteadily. The seven naked women who were her bedmates also lay still, resting in firm embraces around Sheridan, all together the likeness of a pup waiting to burst in the morning. Only Sheridan's head was free, resting on the lap of one of the girls.
Sheridan's eyes flew up. Just in front of her was Agnes's malicious face. Agnes lay on the bed, resting her chin in her hands, looking at Sheridan like a venomous spider contemplating its prey.
"Hello," she said, her mouth stretching wildly across her face. "I was wondering when you'd awake. We'll be here whenever you wake up, you know."
Sheridan felt strangely hot and cold at the same time. She stretched her arm and promptly felt a strong hand somewhere clenching it in place. And somewhere in her nether regions, a dull ache made itself felt.
"Is your cunt hurting? Now, now, that's nothing compared to how your dear Amanda feels. You know that, don't you?" said Agnes, playfully putting her pointy finger on Sheridan's nose.
Tears started forming in Sheridan's eyes. She didn't look at Agnes; she just let her tears fall down her cheeks and down onto the slim thigh on which she was resting her head.
"Your girls seem to awake, Sheridan," said Agnes. "Can you feel it? Can you sense their hunger? Can y—"
A rapping on the door echoed through the enormous room. Agnes looked up with a hiss.
"Sheridan?" said a muffled voice from the other side. "Sheridan, are you in there?"
Sheridan moaned to herself: "No... She can't see me like this."
Agnes swiftly got to her feet and ran to a lifelike statue of a woman standing with her mouth gaping upward and with the hilt of a sword sticking out of it. Agnes's hands seized the hilt and pulled up a wave-bladed flamberge from the statue's throat. Its edge of poison-green steel flashed menacingly in the air as Agnes took cautious steps toward the door.
The door abruptly swayed open. There stood Amanda. Her amber eyes were glowing and the thick braid of her brown hair swung to and fro behind her back. There was a look of concern across her whole countenance. Then she saw Sheridan, who looked back, completely terrified. To Sheridan's confusion, however, Amanda heaved a sigh of relief and smiled at her.
"Thank god," Amanda said. "I thought y—"
As if from nowhere, the sound of steel singing in the air was heard and an undulating blade thrust toward Amanda. Amanda didn't have a second to react: the sword in Agnes's hands hit Amanda straight in the chest and pierced its way through the heart. A red trail streamed down Amanda's chin from her lips, and her surprised eyes glanced at Sheridan with a sad look.
Agnes unceremoniously pulled the sword out again, blood covering it to the hilt. Amanda's legs gave way and she wordlessly collapsed on the floor and lay still.
Turning around, Agnes was breathing heavily and managed an awkward smile. She threw the sword onto the marble floor, the metal ringing sharply throughout the hall. Walking back toward Sheridan, whose big blue eyes followed her figure, she said:
"W-well, Sheridan. Not only do you hurt her. Now she's lying dead on the floor in a pool of blood. Well done indeed. ... Now, where were we?"
As Agnes started crawling onto the bed, Sheridan saw how the witch was sweating and was much paler than usual.
"I w-will savor every s-second... o-of your ang—... anguish," said Agnes, now heaving and trembling on her way toward Sheridan. Sheridan could feel how the hands around her convulsively clutched her arms and legs. Agnes now lay next to Sheridan, her upper body raised, with her arms stretched and her palms flat on the bed. Looking down upon Sheridan, all color drained from her face, she said in a rasping voice:
"Y-you are never getting out... of here... Sheridan. N-never getting out... of..."
Agnes slumped down on the sheets. Her face was turned toward Sheridan, but her open eyes were lifeless. Sheridan felt how the women holding her now loosened their grips on her and how their weight and heat lifted from her. As she looked around, there was not a trace left of the seven girls anywhere in the room.
Sheridan's tired eyes looked back at her side. There, on the bed, now lay a withered, gnarly corpse as black as coal staring back at her. The scorched cranium grinned silently, the hair on its scalp was white and the remainder of an arm was stretched out toward her. Sheridan let out a piercing scream and her world faded to black.
Noontime in the city of Carrington. People bustling about along the streets, many of them looking for a good place to eat lunch before work or school starts again. A man in a grey coat sits outside a café with a cup of coffee and a salad, reading the local newspaper.
In it, he reads about the fire that broke out somewhere in the nearby forest the night before. According to the report, no one had been hurt, but officials had found no obvious cause to the fire: the weather in the area was highly unlikely to cause natural wildfires, and the place where the fire was deemed to have started—an entirely uninhabited region—provided no evidence for a human cause whatsoever. The man in the coat turns the page; today, the weather shows partly cloudy with sunny breaks.
He gets up from his seat and starts walking toward the park. A crow flaps its wings, taking off into the air as he comes walking. It's a beautiful park, green and flourishing; the sunrays play in the trees. Just behind the branches, apartment houses stretch out along the avenues. The man looks up at them as he walks by, wondering what busy lives play out on the inside; what happiness, what sorrows. He pulls out a cigarette and lights it, the calm wind making the smoke dance.
Sheridan sharply drew breath as she threw the bed covers to one side and stared ahead of her. Her apartment was the same as always; the midday sun shone in gently from the window.
"You're awake!" said a happy voice close-by. Sitting in a chair next to the bed was Amanda, who now got closer and sat down on the edge of the bed, laying her hand on Sheridan's arm.
"Are you all right, Sheridan?" The look on her face was positively constricted with concern.
Sheridan could say nothing. Her mouth hung open as she looked at Amanda and very soon her eyes filled with tears. A quiet sob also escaped Amanda and in a second they threw themselves into each other's arms and hugged intensely, little gasps escaping them now and then as they cried silently.
"I'm so sorry," Sheridan said.
"I know," Amanda answered. "I am too. ... Can you forgive me?"
"What do you mean?" Sheridan said, slightly breaking the hug and looking at Amanda.
Amanda sighed. "I have wronged you," she said.
"Wronged me?" Sheridan protested. "I hurt you, I was ruthless, and I—"
"Sheridan," Amanda said, "I'm not sure what you think happened, but I wanted you inside me like nothing I've ever wanted before. And I know you wanted me, so very much."
"But," Sheridan said, looking down, "your cry was so loud."
"Yes. But it wasn't all that much from pain. I was scared, Sheridan. I have never made love to a woman before; I didn't know what to do. Ever since your bravery in coming to my apartment just like that, I was so impressed that I wanted to top it: so I just let myself go. But when I felt that sting inside me, it was like someone reminded me of what I was doing. That I was doing something wrong, that I was perverted and abnormal. I was terrified.
"Then I saw your face, equally scared, and I hoped that you were perhaps ashamed too. I saw my way out: I blamed you. I screamed at you for that trivial accident. But I wasn't scared of you. I was scared of what we did. And I made you take the entire blow."
Amanda held Sheridan's hand in hers.
"When you had gone," Amanda resumed, "I had some horrible moments of anguish to myself, considering my cowardice. But I finally managed to pull out of it, because I knew I could make it all good if I only swallowed my pride and admitted my fault. Doing that was a small price to pay if the reward was reconciliation with you. I knew it was my responsibility to... to save you."
"But how did you even..." Sheridan began, bewilderedly.
"I figured you'd probably not want me to see you in the state you were in, Sheridan—I've never seen anyone so tormented in my life. But with a damsel in distress and righteousness on my side, I felt unstoppable and I knew I'd be able to take a few blows to get through to you."
By now, Sheridan knew the woman in front of her was the love of her life. There was no turning back now, magic or no magic.
"Amanda..." she started. "I will seem stupid and annoying, I know, but... I really, really love you."
Amanda smiled her lively smile, and her teary amber eyes glistened. "Oh, you silly. Why do you think I've always tried to get close to you this past semester? I would have loved just being your friend, but there was always more on my mind. ... I'm not afraid anymore, Sheridan. I love you too. I love you so much."
Sheridan laughed nervously while wiping a tear out of her eye. "Are you sure?" she said.
Amanda started unbuttoning her shirt, revealing her firm breasts, bent down over Sheridan and gave her a deep kiss.
"I'm pretty sure," she said, beaming.
Sheridan kissed her back a couple of times, and as Sheridan tenderly grazed Amanda's body, she discerned a curious line, looking like a scar, just above Amanda's left breast. She inhaled, making Amanda look at her with an inquiring smile. Sheridan took a moment's reflection, but then exhaled serenely, kissed Amanda intently on the lips and then whispered:
Two years later, a young woman was walking down the sidewalk next to the university. She looked like most normal people in their twenties. She was slightly shorter than average, but she walked with a springy, even step that somehow made her seem taller. Sheridan Olsen didn't seem to have a single worry in her life.
Sheridan was walking home from her office that afternoon. Professor McKinney, her supervisor, had told her to leave work a bit earlier. "You deserve it," he had said, chuckling in his intellectual manner, making his enormous belly jiggle about.
Some minutes afterward, Sheridan opened the door to her apartment.
"I'm ho-ooome!" she shouted.
The bumping of feet could be heard from another room and in two seconds Sheridan had two arms and an eager leg embracing her, and a pair of full lips kissing her. Sheridan giggled.
"Amanda, ha-ha," she said, "you never change."
"And you love it," Amanda answered, smirking. "Don't you, doctor Olsen?"
"Like nothing in this world, doctor Conley," Sheridan said, and kissed Amanda while fondling her firm behind. "Have you been working hard today, my love?"
"Oh, yes," Amanda said, her hand reaching down between Sheridan's legs.
"I take it," said Sheridan between breaths, "that you've bought the... toys you were looking at earlier?"
Amanda smiled flirtatiously and bit her lip. "I sure did."
"Will it be good?" Sheridan asked, pinching at Amanda's nipple through her shirt, making her moan.
"Trust me," Amanda murmured. "It will be a dream come true."
Mar 7, 2018 in romance