Warning: This may seem a little disturbing. Do not read if you are easily offended.
The Second Time
I don’t know how it started. One moment I was napping was the smallest bedroom of Mom’s three-bedroom apartment and the next I was running in a world I knew well with two girls who had never stepped foot off of their perfectly manicured lawns. These two girls were dressed prim and properly, high heels with matching skirts and the like.
The ground was uneven, red, and squeaked every eighth step. There were no trees where we started out, but the tree line was not far away. It took us less than twenty minutes to reach it and cross through the bushes. The girls tripped as they ran, stopping us every few moments. I had only wished that I was alone, taking care of myself.
“Stop! Stop! I can’t breathe!” one choked out, far behind me. I stopped under a tree that still had all its covering unlike the other trees and turned to face her. Her blond hair was damp over her forehead and falling out of what was once a neat little bun at the nape of her neck. She was kneeling, clutching her chest, as if she’d just fallen over. Her white blouse had been wrinkle-free when I first saw her, but now they were everywhere.
“We can’t stop. Its still too open,” I said, gesturing for her to move forward. She stayed where she was, obviously confused.
“Where are we?”
“This is not the place to answer that,” I said, turning around.
“Answer her question!” the other girl shouted, causing me to turn around and glare at the offending person. Somehow she had managed to keep her hair up in a bun and her clothes showed no manner of the deteriorating of style that was evident, until you saw that one of her heels had broken off her shoe. A light sheen of sweat showed over her brow, perspiration from running and the unnatural heat that the demon dimension held.
“Not here. This is a demon dimension and we need to get to the only safe place I know here. Now we are continuing to run. Keep up or die,” I growled, spinning on my heel and running off before anyone could say anything more. After a few minutes I heard the tell-tale sign that they were following me.
We ran for a few days, stopping only to sleep in shifts and eat. The girls tried to share their lives with me before I promptly shut them up. The woods of the dimension were full of demons that would use personal information against the owner. I had learned it the hard way my first time. I had learned a lot of things my first time.
It took six days to reach the shrine’s gates and another three to travel the grounds. Gregor waited for us right outside his front door. The building was held together with magic and sex. It was a good combination for strength. According to Gregor, anyway. The building was many stories tall and looked like it would fall over at any moment.
“There is no freaking way I am staying in that piece of shit house,” miss blond said. I turned to her, glaring.
“This is the safest place you will find.”
“And how do we know that this is the safest place? He might attack us. How do we know he won’t?” Brunette asked. I turned back to Gregor, smiling.
“Because Gregor owes me.”
“And it’s a nice shiny debt. Its repaid after this, right?” he asked, stepping forward to grasp my right hand. He raised it to his lips and left a kiss between the knuckles of my ring finger and my middle.
“Affirmative, but your home looks a little more run down than the last time I was here.”
“It is. Not many girls want all this,” he said, gesturing to the well sculpted chest and almond-shaped eyes. It was a joke that made me smile. He was rather popular with the ladies when he left the piece of shit he called a house, but he rarely left. Women didn’t want to trek to a place in the middle of nowhere that was barely being held up.
“Not many girls want to travel to the middle of nowhere, Gregor,” I responded, winking. He chuckled before gesturing to the girls, asking silently who they are. I simply explained how we had arrived together, but I didn’t know them. He shrugged, sliding the shojo door open so that we could walk in. The main room was spacious, lacking the big, American furniture that I was used to, but it was nice and cozy. Blond took one look around the room and shrieked.
“Shut up,” I snapped.
“Leave ‘er alone,” Brunette said, getting obviously angry. She seemed to speak with a British accent when she was pissed. I remembered her snapping at me in the forest, but I hadn’t paid attention then.
“I didn’t mean to be-uh-rude. Its just-I-I… Its just so… Just so…”
“Oriental?” I suggested.
“Yes! Yes, that’s it! This place is just so Oriental. It doesn’t make sense. I was in Richmond, in my house. You know I live in one of those neighborhoods full of mansions and perfect lawns. You know,” she said, nervously scratching at her cross necklace. “There’s something wrong with this. This world, it isn’t… This isn’t right.”
“This is a demon dimension,” Gregor said, placing a hand on my lower back. He nudged me towards the cushions that looked nice and comfortable. I willingly travelled the distance to the cushions and sunk into the fluffy goodness. Blond and Brunette refused to move from where they stood and huddled. Blond was crying big Barbie tears that looked more like they’d been painted on, though they came out of Blond’s eyes. Gregor joined me on the cushions, choosing to sit close enough that I could feel tingles starting from my thigh and heading all over my body. Just like last time. I didn’t know if Gregor could cause things to happen in a woman’s body, but he was a good demon when it came to fulfilling his debts. Causing him to owe debts was a fun pastime.
“How long are they going to be here?”
“How long until you can get them back?” I countered, moving my thigh an inch away from his leather covered ones.
“I’m not sure,” he responded, staring at them. “What’s Snivels and Martha Stewart’s stories?”
“Two rich girls are suddenly no longer in the dimension they were born and raised in,” I responded nonchalantly. Gregor scooted over closer to me so that our thighs were touching again.
“Well, girls. I’ve best be off with lil’ o’e Miss Red,” he said, running his hand up my back. It stopped on my left shoulder.
“You know my name’s not Red.”
“I’m sorry. Faith. Ironic, considering,” he responded, kissing my temple.
“Considering what?” Blond asked, lifting her tear-streaked face from her hands. My attention had been on Gregor when she had changed her physical position.
“Faith has always lacked her name.”
Blond looked confused and Brunette just had the infuriated look she’d always had. Gregor pulled me to my feet as he stood and guided me towards the stairs to the second floor, where we stopped the last time, but we didn’t this time. He led me up the stairs again to the third floor, opening a Christmas green door that stood out from the wall strangely, but I could never fault a home out of its dimension, or a room. He opened it by pulling outward, but it swung inward. A paradox.
I stepped in as he gestured as “ladies first” before he shut the door by pulling inward. It swung outward. Before I could question the door he was in front of me, touching my face with the pad of his thumb. Running it over my right cheek, he pulled me closer with his other hand so that my lips would meet his. His lips were gentle, as they had been last time. A hand made its way down my back, stopping at my rump. His tongue danced in my mouth as he always had, lifting me up so that he could carry me bridal style over to the bed. I lost contact with his mouth when he laid me down on the soft, green comforter.
“I recognize this mattress,” I whispered as he crawled over from the other side of the bed, holding a bottle of wine I hadn’t seen him grab. Two glasses waited on the table beside me.
“I just moved my room, dear. Pass me those glasses, darling,” he replied, running fingers through my hair, lengthening it. The red contrasted against my pale arm. Gregor reached up with his hand and slipped one of my spaghetti straps off my shoulder and down my arm. He manipulated my arm so that the strap came off. Smiling, I reached for the glasses and handed them to Gregor. He filled them quickly, giving me one back. I sipped, enjoying the taste of the combination of the sweetness of fruit and the tartness of a green apple. The other strap was moved and the fabric covering my breasts dropped off me suddenly.
“Naughty,” I scolded, mockingly. He laughed a full belly laugh before kissing me again, tasting me. A few moment later I was fully naked and he was stripping. Taking my glass from me, he placed them on the trunk at the bottom of the bed before he turned back to me. Kissing me again, he gently turned us over so that I was on top. He lifted me a little and then…
I woke up an hour after falling asleep and found Gregor watching me like I was some sort of sleeping beauty. I muttered a quick “hello” before sitting up, grasping the sheet to my bossom.
“Do you always go around without a bra and panty set?” he asked, running his fingers through my lengthened hair.
“Only in this dimension, ‘cause they don’t seem to transfer well,” I murmured, moving closer to his warmth. He smiled, touching my face as if I were the most precious jewel in the world.
“How are you?”
“I’m fine, Gregor. I’ll just put on some clothes.”
“Take a shower, love,” he said, gesturing to a door I hadn’t noticed before. Thanking him, I dropped the sheet and climbed out of bed. The heat greeted me as I walked to the door, a pale mint green. Gregor’s personal space was always set in a monochromatic color scheme of green. The shower was a deep forest green with lime green tiling. It was obscene, but it was Gregor.
As the water poured from the ceiling, I allowed myself to think things I could not think around others. I could admit things to myself that I could not admit to my friends or even Gregor, whom was my personal demon for all these years. There was a support group I was part of back in Richmond. We met once a week in the small thrift boutique before it opened and talked. There were other girls like me, ones that had sampled Gregor. Demons became addictive, hard to stop yourself from wanting. Its worse than any kind of drug you’d ever find on Earth. What was worse was that Gregor would try to woo you by leaving little gifts on your bed. A necklace here and a diamond there, trying to ask you to love him. Gregor had always been a charmer. The group had been around for generations, thanks to him.
Something changed after he had me. He stopped courting the other women, though I kept receiving gifts. On my birthday I always got a little crystal bobble and for Christmas he sent me rings covered in real diamonds. He was my own secret admirer, except he wasn’t a secret. I knew who he was. He communicated with me through telepathy and little notes. I found them everywhere. I know him better than I know myself and vise versa. I can’t honestly say if I love him, but he’s the only one who ever caused my heart to swell with warmth.
The shower never ran cold, so I could take my time with my thoughts before I needed to wash myself. It didn’t take long to bathe, so I was downstairs after a few moments. Blond and Brunette had finally moved to the cushions, believing it was safe. From whom, I did not know. It could have been Gregor or me, but it didn’t matter.
“Alright, Blond, you’ve got some time. Take a shower. There are bathrooms on every floor. It should be easy enough to find one,” I said, walking past them and to the kitchen. It was stocked full of food, well prepared. The pots and pans were in the cabinet above the stove, just where I’d remember. Checking the cabinets, I found what I would need to make a batch of pancakes. When I left the kitchen both Blond and Brunette were staring at me. I placed a plate of pancakes in front of both of them.
“Why are you naked?”
“I just didn’t have anything to wear. The servants haven’t created my clothes yet,” I responded, shrugging. Nudity had never been a big deal to me. Since I was a child, it was more comfortable than clothing.
Gregor walked in, wearing a pair of hakamas—traditional Japanese pants that hung loosely around his legs and tied at the waist. The midnight blue looked shocking against the red of his skin. He had no shirt.
“Would you like some pancakes, Gregor?” I asked, gesturing to the kitchen.
“No thank you, Sweet. I’ll take your lips instead,” he responded, walking right over to me. His lips were on mine in a moment, but were gone the next. Blond stared at me and Brunette sat back in her seat.
“You’d sleep with a demon? You are damned. You are going to Hell,” Blond said, clutching her cross necklace.
“And you’re accepting his help. What will happen to you?” I asked.
“I pray for forgiveness every minute I’m here,” Blond growled.
“Whatever you say, Blond.”
“Rachel. My name is Rachel, you-you SATAN’S WHORE!” she shouted at me, grabbing a pillow and throwing it at me. Brunette played with her hair, twirling it up into a tight bun. She secured it with something I didn’t see before pulling the red robe she wore tighter around herself.
“What part of England are you from, Brunette?” I asked, coyly. Blond—Rachel—and Brunette both wore crosses, looking at me the way my grandparents always had. The religious types were all the same. Kind and considerate as long as they were rich and thought you could be converted to their faiths. At least the self-righteous-believing-that-they-could-never-sin types were that way. Gregor was wrong about me. I wasn’t lacking in faith. Lacking faith wasn’t something I had. In religion. I had a religion. That wasn’t what I lacked.
I lacked the faith that humanity could be good without something stronger than an ideal of Hell. They needed something physical.
“I’m not originally. I pick up accents really well. I’ve been working in London for the past couple of years. My name is Claire,” she replied, pulling a rosary from her pocket. She crossed herself and began to pray.
“Why are we here? Why did we run?” Rachel spoke again, sounding a little calmer.
“The last time I was here, I got chased by Gregor’s brother and an army of demons. I felt the ground shake. Are you expecting a visitor?” I asked, snuggling up to the nook between Gregor’s arm and side. He shook his head, kissing my forehead. He was the most affectionate demon anyone had ever heard of.
“Don’t say his name,” I interrupted. “Giving something a name gives it power. Gregor won’t use his power on me, but he would on you. In a heartbeat.”
“So he has a brother? How do we know his brother won’t do anything?” Brunette—Claire—said. Gregor touched my temple with one hand while gestured to the stairs. Five little Fae—Pixies to be exact—flew in with a short, green dress hanging between them. The green was a dark green that contrasted well with my pale skin once it was on. The fabric was pure silk.
“This is Gregor’s land,” I said, feeling giddy. Presents did that to me. A friend once told me that if I met the right guy I’d turn into a psychopath. She was right.
“What does that fucking have to do with us getting out of here?” Blond—Rachel—asked in a screaming voice. My ears begged me to do something about her mouth. I opened a cupboard and pulled out the duct tape Gregor had always kept in it. Within a few moments Blond—Rachel—was gagged.
“Language, language, Miss Rachel Blond. Keep the gag on. Believe it or not we have been here one month already and the Pixies and Brownies are getting annoyed at you,” I giggled. Time differences in dimensions always made me giddy. My body’s systems had finally synced with the demon realm after a month. Being cool and collected never worked here. The demon dimension always brought out the worse in everybody. I was the only one in the support group who admitted to being comfortable with it.
“What is wrong with you? Just yesterday you were… different. What happened?” Brunette—Claire—asked.
“It’s the dimension, Ladies. Faith just finished adjusting to it. She’ll be back the way she was come morning,” Gregor responded, pulling me up the stairs and back into his room.
“You have to explain this room to me, Gregor,” I demanded.
“Its in a different dimension. Shouldn’t it be obvious?”
“But why did you dress me to match the décor? You owe me another favor. So answer me,” I growled, pulling away from him before he could grab a hold of my arm or something.
“Because you are pretty much in my personal space,” he responded. The night could only be described as blasphemous.
It took another month before the two nice Christian girls moved, but by then a knock had come to the door. I opened it, wearing something from a pin-up magazine from the fifties.
“How can I help you?” I asked, spotting a male demon with horns jutting out of his head. He wasn’t the one I had seen the last time I was here.
“I’m looking for my brother, Gregorious,” he responded, straightening up his back.
“For a visit or to drag him back home?”
“A visit. His barriers wouldn’t let me in for any other reason,” he responded. I stepped aside, leaving just enough room for him to pass into the main room. Blond—Rachel, blast—and…Claire jumped to their feet. I forced them to sit back down, physically. Admonishing them, I rushed upstairs to get Gregor.
“Why didn’t you ever tell me your full name?” I asked, reaching forward to touch his face.
“Because Only my older brothers call me Gregorious. Its embarrassing. And not Mom’s fault, either,” he murmured, running a hand through his hair, revealing the start of horns. Demons were fickle. In some families the growing of horns equates puberty, but in others it just means that there was some sort of big change. Since I didn’t know Gregor’s family very well, I wasn’t sure/ It was the first I’d ever seen of the horns.
“Your brother’s here,” I told him, admiring the lack of shirt again. “Does your dad call you Gregorious?”
“Yes. Its annoying.”
“Poor Gregor,” I joked. He gave me a pensive glance before shaking it off.
“Oh, I see how it is. Love ya too,” he said, walking past me and out of the room. I followed shortly after. The main room had gotten hotter since his brother had stepped foot into the building. Gregor glared at his brother, taking a defensive stance. They hadn’t even started talking yet.
“Please tell me you aren’t with these two trollops, Gregorious,” the large-horned one groaned.
“No, Patarion,” Gregor responded.
“I see you’re with the same bitch you were with when Luciderate was here,” Patarion said, crossing his arms. His uniform looked just like something out of Nazi Germany.
“She’s not a bitch.”
“Begone, vile demon!” Bl—Rachel screeched, duct tape in her hand. Rolling my eyes, I stalked over to her and grabbed her arm. Dragging her out of the room, I made sure she made it to the very top of the building. The room was the equivalent of a one-room house or studio apartment. Throwing the bitch in was pure enjoyment. Bru—Claire—joined her.
“Neither of you will leave this room. I have reached the end of my patience as well as everyone who is currently in the building’s. Deal. With. It,” I growled, shutting the door and locking them in. I returned downstairs.
Patarion and Gregor sat across from each other at a chess board, full game ready to start. As soon as I entered Patarion moved his first pawn. It looked like it might have been the chess match of the century.
“Are you still trying to get her?”
“To get her what, Patarion? I made a deal with Father. Do you remember?” Gregor responded, countering with another pawn.
“Yes, but he wants grandchildren in the near future, Brother,” Gregor’s brother pointed out. I moved over to the side of the table, admiring Gregor’s hands.
“And by near future you mean now.”
Gregor ran a hand through his hair, revealing his horns again. Patarion gasped and then promptly coughed.
“Have you not had your daily dose of Marijuana, yet?”
“You know its my only vice, just like yours is red-headed women. I can’t believe it. Father will be thrilled,” the over-compensating-for-a-small-life-force-with-giant-horns said.
“Father won’t be. Mom will. So why has another rift caused men and women to enter this neutral dimension?” Gregor asked.
“Grandfather wants a family dinner.”
“Yes. The old fool wants all of us to visit him in his ‘house of many rooms.’ He doesn’t realize what we’d have to go through in order to get past customs,” Patarion sighed, pulling a joint from his coat pocket. “My God is it fucking hell.”
“Ironic, considering where you live. Please don’t smoke that in here. If I wanted my house to smell like a pot house, I’d have brought all the distribution kings in Hell here,” Gregor said, pulling me into his lap. “Plus I don’t want her around that. If you know what I mean.”
“I’ll smoke it later then. Don’t want to upset anything that is happening to grow,” Patarion said. “Besides, Father wants me to find something else. He’s allergic to this shit now.”
The game lasted a couple hours and Patarion declined to stay for supper. I thanked everything I could name for that.
“If we do go to Grandfather’s for supper, bring her. She’ll love the Angels,” Patarion said, walking out.
“I doubt it,” Gregor mumbled.