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Shadows from the Past
Copyright A Strange Geek, 2012
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Story codes: MF, Mf, mF, mf, Fsolo, fsolo, oral, rom, wl, teen, mc, inc, humil, toys, magic
Mike dropped the half-eaten cheeseburger onto his plate, bumping the thick pile of fries and dumping a few onto the faded tablecloth. Ketchup dripped and pooled, forming a new stain to join those already a permanent part of the decor. He lifted his eyes and peered at his rig through the grimy window.
Having been on the road for ten hours straight, he had been ravenous when he had arrived. Now that the adrenaline rush of keeping an eighteen-wheeler straight on an icy road had faded, he had too much time to consider the dream he had had on Thanksgiving Day; he barely had an appetite anymore.
Not that he did not want to think about his son. He thought about Richie every day. His last clandestine visit to Haven would not have been his last had he not encountered the county sheriff in convenience store just south of town. Mike was sure the man had recognized him, for he had taken a keen interest in what direction Mike was driving.
That chapter should be closed. He had no way to change what had happened. He was not a convicted sex offender, but everyone who knew anything of the false circumstances surrounding the loss of his job in Randall treated him as one. Mike believed that in this "think of the children"-crazed era, the accusation of possessing child porn was as good as a conviction.
Mike sighed and stared at his plate. He forced himself to pick up one of the fries -- raw on one side and charred on the other -- and raise it to his lips.
"You're gonna kill yourself with that stuff, you fat fucker."
Mike's head snapped up. He narrowed his eyes at the balding, pot-bellied man who loomed over him. The man's gaze blazed from a haggard and scarred face atop a neck almost as thick as his head. "Better to be dead than to have a face that looks more like an ass," growled Mike.
The man kicked the leg of the table with his steel-toed boot, knocking the bottle of ketchup over and spilling half of the remaining fries into a tomatoey mess on the tablecloth. "You got the balls to back up that, or are you just a big, hairy pussy?"
Mike bolted from his chair, where it nearly toppled backwards. Other patrons started to back away. "Yeah, and I'll take your balls and shove them up your fucking ass. The real one, that is."
"Hey, hey!" shouted a frizzle-haired woman from behind the counter. "No fighting in here!"
Mike and his adversary stared daggers at each other for another few seconds before the latter's composure cracked first. Seconds later, they laughed and gave each other a brief hug, slapping each other on the back. "Fuck, Mike, where the hell have you been for the past few months, living under a rock?" the man said as he took a seat opposite Mike.
"Aw, you know how it is, Carl," Mike drawled, picking some of the stray fries from the table. "Just get busy going over hell and yonder. Rig ain't gonna drive itself."
Carl smirked and helped himself to one of the fries. "You mean you're making yourself busy."
"I could use the money."
Mike picked up the burger and took a large bite. Seeing his old friend made him feel less like he was a tiny speck in the universe, and he could delay answering for another minute. "Seriously, there's some decent money in the cross-country routes," he said while chewing.
"That's not what I mean."
Mike frowned. "That fucker Harve better not have put you up to this." He glanced down as Carl took another fry. "And you call me fat."
"Haven't talked to Harve in a long time. Prob'ly should go and do that sometime."
"Yeah, tell me another one."
Carl shook his head and leaned back in his seat. "Shit, what bee just made a hive in your ass?"
"Look, why are you gettin' on my fucking case about this? I haven't seen you for months, man. Can't we just shoot the breeze? Anyway, I'm just doin' what I had to in the first place. You know all that."
Mike had been out of work for six months after leaving Haven. Somehow the rumor of the child porn had followed him, likely distorted into things even more grotesque. Carl had befriended him and convinced Harve to give him a chance.
"But you're gonna have to work your pretty ass off," Carl had told him when Harve hired him. "He's not gonna be totally convinced you ain't no closet kiddie-fucker until you get in some serious road time."
"But you don't have to bust your butt like that no more," Carl of the present said. "Hell, Mike, you had him convinced inside a month."
Mike scraped his burger in some of the excess ketchup before he took another bite. "What convinced you?" he said through the mouthful of food.
Carl tilted his head. "Y'know, it's been long enough I don't recall. Sorta doesn't even make sense now. Guess that's it. I look at you and don't see no kiddie-fucker. Same as back then. Really gets my goat when someone gets a bum rap."
Mike took his time chewing before he swallowed, as he had no idea what he should say. He had plenty of things he could say, but all would lead to more questions. "So what's with you? You decide you're gonna give up truckin' and be a shrink?"
"Just concerned about you. I sorta feel responsible for you."
Mike paused and frowned. "Well, you can stop wasting your time worrying about me. I'm just fine."
Carl sighed. "I've been in this business when you were still a pimple-faced teenager wondering how you can cover 'em up enough to get laid. Ever since I met you, you've always hinted you were getting away from something."
Mike rolled his eyes. "Oh, brilliant, Einstein. Whatever gave you that idea? That your big fucking revelation?"
Carl shook his head. "No. There's others in the business like that. But you, the last few months, it's like you're trying to run away from something. Something that has you spooked."
Mike stared at his friend and threw down his burger with enough force to scatter the remaining fries to the tablecloth. "So that what you're gonna say next? That maybe you think now the rumors were true after all? That behind all this shit about being responsible for me? Afraid it's gonna bite you on the ass now?"
"Calm the fuck down, Mike," Carl growled. "If I thought that, we wouldn't be havin' this conversation. Your ass would be sittin' in a nice jail somewhere."
"Yeah, I'm freakin' touched," Mike muttered, though there was less of an edge to his voice.
"Mike, seriously, take the fucking chip off your shoulder and shove it up your ass."
Mike paused. All trace of amusement was gone, either from Carl's tone or his eyes. "All right, fine," Mike said in a clipped but less hostile voice. He stared at the remnants of a lunch as his stomach already churned with indigestion. "Yeah, okay, maybe I've been thinkin' on the past a little too hard lately."
"Miss your son?"
"Christ-on-a-pony, what kind of question is that? I missed him since I left Haven."
"Why don't you ever go back and visit him? I mean, unless the ex slapped something legal on you that--"
Mike shook his head, and then cursed himself when he realized he could have lied and made it easier. He struggled for the right words and none would come to him. "It's complicated," he finally said.
"You don't have to tell me what it is."
"Good, 'cuz I don't intend to. But is that it? You think I'm running away from him?"
"No, more like you're running away from yourself."
Mike snorted. "Carl, you're a great friend, but you don't know shit about my situation."
"I probably don't and never will. I just know something is eating at you. Look, I gotta take a rig over into Nevada in a week or so. You want me to swing through Haven and check up on him? Just to see if he's all right?"
Mike felt a tiny shudder and hoped Carl did not see it. He would not have wished a visit to Haven on his worst enemy. The more he thought about that town, the more alien it seemed. Since these strange nightmares began, he started recalling little details of Haven he had missed, details which disturbed and sometimes chilled him to the bone. It felt like a veil slowly lifting.
He wanted to do everything in his power to pull the veil back down.
"Naw, that'll just take you outta your way," Mike drawled. "Really, it's a nothing little town."
"Other than your son still lives there."
If he had enough sense, he wouldn't be, Mike thought, immediately realizing how ridiculous it sounded. "Carl, please. Don't do this, okay? Just don't go near that place."
Carl looked about to say something when he paused and stared at his friend, eyebrows raised slightly as if in surprise. Did he sense the fear Mike had felt for a moment? Carl finally nodded. "Okay, Mike. He's your son. I suppose I just should butt out."
"I appreciate your concern, though," Mike said. "You're a good friend, even if you annoy the fucking shit out of me."
Carl glanced out the window at Mike's rig. "Hey, you pullin' outta here soon?"
"I was probably gonna catch some sleep first."
"Got time for a drink? There's a bar just up the road. Five minute walk, tops. On me."
Mike smirked. "You're buying? I'm not gonna pass up free booze. Come on, let's--" His cell phone warbled just as he stood. "Fuck, if this is Harve, I'm gonna ..." He trailed off as he gazed at the caller ID. "Huh. No name, and I don't recognize the number." He flipped it open and lifted it to his face. "Hello?"
He heard a tiny sound, like crackling, then silence.
"Hello? Someone there?"
A low rumble, like air moving across a mouthpiece, then nothing.
"Hello!" Mike snapped. "I can't hear you. Speak the fuck up."
More silence, yet there was the persistent background buzz of an open line.
Mike sighed and snapped the phone shut. He glanced at the phone display. "No wonder. Only one freaking bar of signal."
Carl clasped his shoulder. "If it's important, they'll call back."
"Yeah, likely just a wrong number anyway." He went to the counter and paid for his lunch as he slipped the phone back in his pocket. "Okay, let's go. I could use a drink by now."
Richie's white-knuckled hands trembled as they tried three times to place the receiver back onto the pay phone's hook. He finally hurtled the receiver into the kiosk, chipping a piece of plastic off the mouthpiece. He punched the side of the kiosk, ignoring the pain which flared across his skinned knuckles. He fled, running as fast as his legs would take him.
He did not slow down until he had ducked down several side streets, emerging near the northern edge of town. He wandered across the street and collapsed at the base of a tree. He draped his arms on his drawn knees and rested his head upon them.
A drop of blood oozed from his still-clenched fist and rolled down his finger. He swiped it against his pants and realized it still held the post-it note only when it fluttered to the ground.
Richie stared at it, his teeth clenched. His legs trembled with the urge to stand up and stomp on it until it was an unreadable pulp. Instead, he snatched it up and stuffed it in a pocket of his jacket. His other hand fell on the large bulge in his other pocket.
He yanked the baseball out. He turned it one way, where it still bore the char from where it had found its mark against the wooden box in which Melissa had imprisoned the spirits of the Heather and Diane. He turned it again and saw the reddish-brown splotch of dried blood where it had smashed the nose of a cultist when they had come for Melinda.
He tried to relive those moments of triumph in his head. Instead, all he saw was the day he had been given the baseball by his father. He heard the voice in his head as if it had happened only yesterday. His eyes misted, and he sniffled once.
"Stop it," Richie growled, shoving the baseball back in his pocket. He wiped his eyes and stood. "Just fucking stop it."
What are you afraid of, Richie? came a mocking voice in his head.
"SHUT UP!" Richie screamed before he ran again.
Jo rocked her hips to the rhythm of her quickening breath. She spread her knees apart further and settled back on her feet, a hand cupped behind Melinda's head. She uttered a husky sigh as she was rewarded by another rise of pleasure, lips stroking her folds along her labia while a tongue lashed at her clit with each back sweep of her hips.
"Oh yeah," Jo moaned. "Oh nice ... such a good little pussy-eater you are, Melinda."
Melinda gurgled out a moan at the praise, her head bobbing in time to her aunt's movements. Her breath came in irregular gasps and sighs, her nose nearly submerged in Jo's wetness with each forward thrust of Jo's pussy across her mouth. Her cheeks glistened and ran with copious moisture, her tongue coated and slick.
Jo smirked. "Bet you're getting all horny again, aren't you?"
Melinda trembled and drew her feet towards her, then let her knees fall to either side. She squirmed and lifted her hips as if to an unseen lover, her pussy aching and dripping. She shuddered when Jo's hand settled on one of Melinda's breasts, squeezing it like dough and pinching the nipple. Melinda arched her back as hot, wet pleasure flooded her sex.
Jo let out a husky sigh. "God, seeing you get so helplessly horny really makes me hot."
The hand behind Melinda's drew upward. Jo's hips rocked faster and harder, and musky, wet flesh was plastered against Melinda's face with each incessant, overpowering stroke. Melinda trembled when she could no longer breathe, and it felt like Victor's cult all over again, when her need had become so great she would die if it were not satisfied.
She nearly panicked as everything fell into place. Her hands along Jo's thighs trembled, fingers curling like claws.
"Tilt your head back, silly girl," Jo said in a breathy, strained voice. "Don't make me stop ... fuck, I'm so close ..."
Coherence ran sluggish in Melinda's mind, where fear and desire fought for dominance. When her lungs ached, she finally tilted her head back as instructed, then stretched her neck when that did not work. She drew in a gasp of air still laden with Jo's arousal.
With her air restored, desire won out. Her fingers flattened and pressed into the flesh of her aunt's mature thighs. She pursed her lips as Jo's clit stroked hard against them. Jo gasped and removed her hand from behind Melinda's head. She leaned forward, the bed shaking when her hands came down, her hips dropping until Melinda was once more smothered by needy, wet flesh.
Jo gasped and tossed her head back, her thighs squeezing Melinda's head, muffling all sound. When Melinda could hear again, Jo was moaning, her pussy pressed hard against Melinda's mouth. Melinda flicked her tongue against Jo's clit until her aunt's moans became deep pants of prolonged pleasure. She ignored the ache in her lungs this time, intent on finishing her lover's pleasure.
Jo finally shuddered and drew her hips back. Melinda gasped in air, coughing when she sucked in some of her aunt's moisture still dripping from her lips and cheeks. Light returned when Jo lifted a knee and pivoted on the other until she loomed over Melinda on her mother's bed.
"Such a nice little sex toy you are," Jo said in a soft, sultry voice.
Melinda shivered in both lust and revulsion when she finally understood. Heather had been wrong about everything; their mother had not sought to protect them but to prepare them.
Jo took Melinda's hand and draped it over Melinda's needy pussy. Melinda's fingers sank into her folds and began stroking until pleasure rippled through her squirming body, settling over her mind as another haze of mindless bliss. This time, however, it was slow to dampen the fire which now blazed in the full light of her revelation.
Melinda believed she had witnessed the final betrayal by her mother. As Heather had been handed over to Laura Bendon, she had been given to the cult. That Victor himself was gone was little comfort.
"I've waited a long time, Melinda," Jo cooed as she traced her fingers in swirls around one of Melinda's nipples. "First Victor and his silly arbitrary rules about how young is too young, and then your mother keeping you from me."
Melinda moaned as her pleasure rose, and she slipped her finger into her helpless pussy as she knew her aunt would want her to do. No words would come for any other intent. Her mother had properly prepared her to be the perfect, sexy, obedient sex slave.
Jo squeezed her breast, and she writhed in delight. "But now you're going to be seeing a lot more of me, and a lot more of my pussy." The bed rocked as she crawled back and stood beside the bed. "Now, be a good girl and play with yourself for awhile. Think of me when you cum."
Melinda could only moan in response as Jo smiled and left the room, closing the door behind her.
Diane's breaths were slow and deep, her mind finally settling into an amorphous haze that she could convince herself was of her own doing. Her lips were parted slightly, her naked body occasionally writhing in response to the slow and steady pleasure from her sex. Now and then a breath would emerge as a husky sigh as fingertips moved in a slow swirl around her clit. In the quiet between her breaths, she heard the faint squish of moisture.
She shifted her torso so she could feel the slide of warm flesh against her arm, over which one of Debby's breasts lay draped. The touch was as comforting as it was erotic. She spread her legs wider in a silent display of trust, and was rewarded by a firmer press of fingers to her clit, slowly stroking the entire length until Diane wanted to rock her hips in time to it.
"Just remain still as you have been," Debby said in a soft voice. "Don't focus too much on the pleasure itself."
Diane let out a slow, contented sigh. The words had drifted to her through a fog, failing to disrupt the near-meditative state she had taken so long to achieve. The rise in pleasure remained gentle, and the muscles around her hips relaxed. She settled back and was still save for the rise and fall of her bosom.
"Oh, you're doing very well, Diane."
Diane managed a small smile, the pleasure becoming a diffuse wave which spread over her body, as if originating from no one particular place. The bed felt more comfortable, as if the blanket were barely touching her skin.
Reaching this point had been difficult. Everything reminded her too much of what she had gone through the day before. She was still wary of the telltale blue-white glow in the depths of her mind. Even it fell away now, letting her sink deeper into herself.
She envisioned her pleasure as a whirling mass of energy, springing into her head in the midst of the void. She did not recall willing it into existence, it was simply there. She let out a quavering sigh as a single finger parted her labia and slid into her depths. Her hips twitched once, but she resisted the urge to rock them in time to the gentle thrusts which slid over her clit and into her tunnel.
The vortex wavered as part of her mind again asked from where it had come. The moment passed, and the energy quiesced, rising like a column of pastel light. She found something comforting in the swirling, rhythmic patterns. The sensation of lying on the bed faded, and she simply floated, everything falling away save for the pleasure rising from her needy pussy.
For an instant, a memory flickered across her mindscape. She saw the inside of an office, a clock's ticking pulsing inside her mind, and a man's soothing and enchanting words.
Diane's eyes flew open as she uttered a gasp, the energy in her mind vanishing along with the fog. She bolted into a seated position, and for a moment, she did not know where she was. When reality finally reestablished itself, she closed her legs despite the ache in her pussy, her nipples throbbing with her now pounding heart.
She nearly flinched when Debby placed a hand on her shoulder. "It's okay, Diane," Debby said in a soothing voice. "You came really far in your initial attempt."
Diane let out a despairing sigh, draping a hand over her eyes. "I feel so stupid. I don't know why I ... well, I do, but ... " She looked up, her eyes flicking over Debby's nude body, her cheeks growing pink. "It was like I was falling into a trance."
"Well, you were, but it was one of your own doing," said Debby. "That's essentially what meditation does."
Diane sighed and wrapped her arms around herself, averting her eyes. "I-I'm not sure I can do it, then."
"You got this far. That's wonderful for a first attempt. Were you able to sense your sexual energy at all beyond the raw pleasure?"
"I saw something. I'm not sure if that was it. I was also worried about that damn line and whether it would try to come into my head again."
Debby squeezed her shoulder. "I know. But you must not think of it as it coming into you, but you drawing upon it."
"But that's not what it felt like last time."
"I think you were driven by some other need. You were working on a intuitive sense that a fellow Harbinger needed help, namely me."
"Then why can't I call on it to help Heather instead?"
Debby sighed. "I wish I knew the answer to that. There are things about this I am still learning myself."
Diane ran a hand through her hair. "I don't know if any of this is going to work, Mrs. Radson. I'm not sure I can get past my issues."
"I'm willing to work with you as long as it takes."
Diane shook her head. She squeezed her legs together and uttered a short, husky sigh when the moist heat would not abate. "I don't think I could do it again today, I'm too shaken up right now."
"You're also too sexually excited. This is best started before you are fully aroused." Debby paused. "Do you need some relief?"
Diane swallowed, and she parted her legs slightly. "I can't calm down," she said in a low voice, her cheeks deepening to red. "But I-I can take care of it myself, you don't have to ..."
Diane trailed off when Debby placed a hand over her thigh. "I wouldn't normally ask this, Diane, but please let me do it. You deserve to have someone dote over you for a change."
Diane's eyes shimmered before she pulled Debby into an embrace. Debby's breasts pressed against hers, hard nipples sliding along Debby's soft flesh. The surge of heat to her pussy was overshadowed by simple affection and gratitude.
She felt Debby tremble, and heard a heartfelt sigh in her ear. Diane was first surprised, then appreciative, to see Debby's glistening eyes. "Your mother raised a fine daughter, Diane. Don't ever forget that."
Diane's lips curled into a smile as she lay down on the bed, spreading her legs and uttering a slow sigh. Debby lay next to her, breast pressed more firmly into Diane's arm. She felt the hardness in Debby's nipples, and heard her small intake of breath when they slid across Diane's skin.
Diane tilted her head back and moaned as Debby's fingers returned to her pussy. This time she let her hips sway to Debby's rhythm, meeting each of her partner's gentle thrusts with her own. As much as she wanted relief, she was grateful for the slow pace.
Diane gasped as her pleasure soared. She pushed away her doubts and fears, and she ignored the link; she needed this for herself. She could give only so much before she would emotionally bleed herself dry. Debby's fingers slid hard and fast over her folds, as if sensing Diane's immediate need. Diane rocketed over the top, her hips bucking hard and her cunt squeezing tight around Debby's fingers.
Debby's strokes eased, Diane's climax enjoying a slow winding down, leaving her riding an ebbing wave of delight. Diane let out a slow, contented sigh, her head lolling to one side as Debby withdrew her fingers. She realized only then how long it had been since she had had an orgasm not driven by raw need or imposed from without. She felt another surge of gratitude towards Debby for reminding her what it felt like.
"Is that better, dear?" Debby said.
Diane closed her eyes and smiled. "Yes, thank you very much, Mrs. Radson."
She heard Debby let out her breath. She opened her eyes and saw Debby kneeling next to her, thighs parted, pussy glistening. Her eyes flicked up and lingered on the stiff and erect nipples. "It was the least I could do for you," Debby said in a slightly husky voice.
Diane sat up. "I can do you now."
Debby stared at her with smoldering eyes, then shook her head. "No, that's okay, I--"
"It's obvious you need it, too. Please, let me do it."
Debby's eyes were conflicted. "You don't have to, Diane."
"I know. I want to. You've been really kind to me, and I know I've been making things hard for you. Please, I want to do it."
Debby looked about to give another protest, but the words never came. Desire burned in her eyes despite the lingering uncertainty. She finally nodded and lay back on the bed, spreading her quivering thighs.
Diane smiled and rose on all fours and crawled over Debby's legs.
Debby's eyes widened. "Oh, dear, you don't have to do it that way, your fingers would ... w-would ..."
Diane's lithe body slipped between Debby's legs, fingers teasing Debby's labia apart, revealing the pink and slick flesh beyond. She took a slow deep breath, drawing in the musky aroma of Debby's arousal. She felt a shudder pass through Debby as she lowered her mouth to the tender, needy flesh.
"Oh dear Goddess ..." Debby moaned.
April 24th, 1976 - It has taken far too long, but I could not take any chances. I was incredibly fortunate to find a fellow Witch who was trained in hypnotherapy. I don't know why I had not thought to work through my Coven before now.
It took three days of deeper and deeper trances before we unlocked it, and I feel utterly foolish I had not thought about it before. Perhaps it was selective observation again, not wanting to accept anything which would set me back.
As grateful as I am to discover the cause, I am also very much chagrined. It is the very thing which prevents a normal mind from resisting the Darkness. My nightmares are expressions of my own faults, fears, and darkest desires, all magnified to grotesque proportions. Rather than bypassing them, my techniques simply suppress them temporarily. Somehow, the Dark power can still reach them, and they likely lay in some hidden pocket in my mind until they can unleash their horrible anguish when finally unfettered in sleep. All I had managed to do was temporarily sever the connection between them and the rest of my mind.
Looking back over my own journal bears this out. Simply entering the necessary state does not trigger them, only its active use against attack. The intensity of my nightmares appear proportional to the strength of the attack. This explains why my skill has plateaued. Survival instinct expresses itself on many levels, and this one sought to keep me sane by preventing my nightmares from growing even worse.
With my full consent, my therapist has placed a trigger in my mind. It will force me to recall my nightmares, so I may confront them and deal with them. Perhaps I can learn to tame them to acceptable levels and let me advance my work.
Jason set down the page. While he felt fortunate that Elizabeth had found someone so soon whom she could trust, her potential solution meant another delay. He thumbed through the remaining papers and guessed he still had the better part of a decade left and only another day in which to read it. He did not trust he would be in the proper mindset to continue reading the journal let alone comprehend it past Monday.
The casual acceptance of his fate which he had exhibited now seemed surreal to him. He wanted to do the day over again and beg for help. He wanted Mrs. Radson to harbor him even if it meant trouble with the law. He wanted Cassie to mind-control her parents into letting him stay there, or give him access to lots of money so he could run away from Haven.
If the Darkness gets at me, it can get at the rest of the Harbingers.
Jason slammed a fist into the mattress, catching a corner of the journal and skewing a few of the top pages from the formerly neat pile. He tried to tell himself it could not be that easy or it could accomplish that with any of the Harbingers. It could more easily take Heather or Melinda if that were true. He could not be so special that it had to single him out.
Jason shook his head. This thinking was getting him nowhere. He rearranged the upset pages and forced his eyes down to them when the intrusion alarm chimed.
"Shit," Jason growled. He scooped up the pages and shoved them under the bed, moving in desperate haste as he heard footsteps pounding up the stairs. His heart raced along with it, expecting his mother to burst in, when instead there came a heavy knock at the door.
Jason sighed and flopped onto his back on the bed. "Come in, Dad."
Henry opened the door upon the first syllable and was already inside by the last. "So how long have you been home? And why are you home?"
Jason was too nonplussed to know which question to answer first. Instead, he asked in a tired voice, "What did I do wrong now?"
Henry glanced down the hallway before he responded, "I had expected you to take the opportunity to stay out all day," he said in a lower voice.
"Problems are never solved by running away from them, Dad."
"Commendable attitude, if misplaced."
"Why? Did I interrupt something you were doing to help? If so, I'll leave right now. I'm sure whatever you're doing is so ultra top-secret you don't want me seeing it."
Jason gave his father a level gaze and watched as the man's fingers tightened on the doorknob. "Son, there's a point where sarcasm crosses the line into disrespect. You're about to cross that line."
Another barb had formed in Jason's head, but he set it aside at the cool look in his father's eyes. "Sorry," he said in a curt voice. "I came home because I had things to do."
Henry paused. His eyes darted around the room before coming to rest on his son again. "You don't seem to be doing anything except lying in bed."
"Looks can be deceiving. And maybe I do happen to have things I'm successfully keeping secret from you."
Jason realized he was taking a big risk. All it would take was a cursory search of the room to find the journal. He was desperate enough to be willing to trust that his father really did want to help his mother.
Henry sighed. "All right. I'm going to take the chance you're being straight with me. I was originally going to call you down to do more chores just to keep Audrey off your back."
"I'll take the chance. Doing something and risking interruption by Mom is better than going off with you and doing nothing."
Henry's jaw tightened, but he gave Jason a single nod. "Fine. But come find me if she really does get on your case. And watch the time. Don't be late for dinner and give her any ammunition."
Henry retreated and shut the door behind him.
If Debby still had her doubts that Diane acted out of kindness rather than duty, they were dispelled in the wake of Diane's skilled and playful tongue.
Even as Debby squirmed and moaned under the sensual assault of willful lips and tongue, she felt a lingering awkwardness, propped up by the still-vivid memories of what her daughter Susan had endured under Melissa. That scar would never go away, she thought, but Diane's kindness could make her forget it for a short time.
Debby clutched the sheets as her pleasure rose abruptly, the tip of Diane's tongue lashing at Debby's swollen clit. Just as she thought she might go over too quickly, Diane relented and returned to slow, broad strokes with the flat of her tongue.
"Oh Goddess ..." Debby moaned as she eased back from her plateau and hovered at a constant, maddening level. She tilted her head back and gasped when Diane teased back her labia and probed her tunnel with a finger. Debby held her breath as a second finger parted her folds, letting it out as a ragged, husky sigh when both sank into her tight pussy.
Diane slid her fingers back and forth in slow, sensual thrusts, and her lips closed around the tip of Debby's clit and gently sucked. Debby closed her eyes and resisted the urge to lift her pussy to Diane's mouth; she wanted Diane to remain in control.
Debby gasped and tensed as her pleasure rocketed up once more and plateaued, closer still to orgasm but not quite there. Diane plastered her lips to Debby's pussy, sliding her mouth up and down with firm strokes, tongue lashing between Debby's labia. "Oh Diane ... oh my ... yes ... Goddess, that's wonderful ..."
The idea of rites of passage had again come to Debby through the growing haze of sexual bliss. She once thought they had been missing from the lives of all the Harbingers, but she realized now that this was true only for Diane. The House had served as a rite of passage for the original four Harbingers; Cassie had hers inside the head of a sixteen year old girl about to be enslaved forever by Victor; Ned had his when he smashed Nyssa's vials. Diane alone was bereft of such a rite.
Little wonder she felt so insignificant compared to her peers.
Debby's pleasure rose again and chased away all rational thought. Her back arched, thighs quivering as her pussy strained near the edge, then finally burst over the top. Debby cried out as her pussy throbbed, her hips jerking once despite her effort to restrain them. Her fingers and toes curled as she fought to remain still, letting Diane's ministrations draw out her climax to excruciating proportions. It was too much, and her hips bucked hard, yet Diane kept her face to Debby's pussy, tongue never leaving her folds.
"Ohhh! ... Uhnnng! ... G-goddess ... Diane ... oh my ..." Debby gasped, the words spinning in her head as if caught in a vortex. Diane finally relented, slowing her strokes and easing her fingers from Debby's tunnel. Debby squirmed as her climax was slow to abate, and she continued throbbing even after Diane raised her head.
"Was that okay?" Diane asked with a soft smile.
While the smile suggested the question was rhetorical, Debby heard a pleading undertone, a need for approval and recognition. Debby let out a slow, husky sigh, her pussy settling into a pleasant, post-coital ache. "Goddess, yes," she breathed. "That was utterly delightful, Diane, thank you."
Diane's smile broadened. "I just wanted to do something nice for you."
Debby sat up and embraced Diane. "You did, and I am very grateful."
"I needed to," Diane said, and the plea was more evident now. "With Heather not around, I feel ... I feel I have no one to give anything to."
Debby closed her eyes and let out a heartfelt sigh, embracing Diane tighter. "I've taken too long to say this: I'm so sorry about what's happened to her."
"There's nothing you can do. I guess there's nothing anyone can do."
Debby tried to look on the bright side of Diane's otherwise pessimistic statement: at least Diane was no longer blaming herself. She gazed into Diane's shimmering eyes. "Eventually we'll be able to do something. This won't go on forever."
Doubt clouded Diane's eyes, but she nodded and gave Debby a tiny smile. "I know." She glanced to the side and climbed out of bed. "I better get dressed and head back home, Mrs. Radson. Thank you for trying to help."
"Can you come back tomorrow?"
Diane paused as she picked up her underwear. "I think I can, yes."
"It's important we keep at this as much as possible."
"You really think I can be helped? I'm still not sure I can get over my hangups."
"It will take time, but I think we can do it."
Diane gave Debby a small smile but said in a sad voice, "I wish I had your confidence."
Debby had nothing to say in response, for no words would be adequate; speeches could not fix a broken ego. Instead, she said, "I can't quite tell you yet what time to come over. Do you think I could call you at home tomorrow morning?"
"After ten, please," Diane said after putting on her bra. "That's about when we get back from church. Um, not that I really follow that faith, it's just something the family does every Sunday morning."
Debby smiled. "It's all right, Diane. You don't have to justify it. Do you want to call me instead?"
"Yes, that would be better." Diane finished dressing in silence. "Well, I better get going. Thanks, Mrs. Radson."
Debby smiled softly and nodded, though her eyes became saddened as she watched Diane walk around the foot of the bed and head towards the door. Diane suddenly paused with her hand on the doorknob. She let go and turned around.
"Yes, Diane?" Debby said.
Diane surged forward and hugged Debby again, then gave her a kiss on the cheek. "Thanks for being a second mother to me," Diane whispered before she turned and headed out.
Debby slowly smiled, and a single tear trickled down her cheek.
June 10th, 1976 - It's not working.
Nothing I do will reduce the intensity of my nightmares. I've had to stop practicing my technique. I was getting to the point where I would not stop shaking, morning until night. No matter how I confront my faults, no matter how hard my therapist works with me, they will not let me go.
I am so frightened. The Darkness is the perfect evil. Even the most compassionate, the most moral, the most pure of heart cannot withstand it. It is perfect because we are imperfect. It is little wonder it has remained hidden for so long. My research suggests its origins lie before the turn of the twentieth century.
This is not what truly frightens me, however.
I had hoped I could defend against it, if not outright defeat it, by my own will alone. Perhaps I am being foolish again. Perhaps I should let Mara's plan come to fruition. Yet that damnable house, there at the end of a street which goes nowhere, has seen only the prideful, the greedy, and the heartless. I do not hold out hope it will produce the champions she sought.
The most terrible of magicks was used to create that abomination, and it pains me to call it that, knowing Mara's spirit (the rest of this line and the next were blacked out with strokes so harsh they tore through the page).
I wanted nothing to do with that kind of magic. Had any of my Coven discovered what I had done, I would have been ousted. I still feel I should leave them, for I have done something so wholly unnatural that no amount of penance could suffice. For all I know, everything which is happening to me now is just the threefold return my actions have earned.
Yet now I believe it is the only way. I cannot succeed unless I find a means to warp my own mind into a form which can hold out against the Darkness. And here is what frightens me to my very core: I think I already know a way to do it.
I do not know whether to congratulate myself on my foresight or vilify myself for thinking I would ever wish to dabble in such terrible magicks again. The last time I had used it I had vowed would be the last. Yet I saved it anyway. I saved the damnable thing. I justified it by saying I did not want it to fall into anyone else's hands, but that rings hollow now.
I will not mention what it is yet. I cannot, not until I know I will be successful. There is a reason I burned nearly two years' worth of journal entries, and I will not renege on that. Not until I am convinced it was worth it.
Jason glanced at the time on his computer. Dinner was only a half hour away. It had taken the rest of the afternoon to reach this significant turning point. At least he hoped it was a turning point. He had thought the other entries turning points as well, and they had led nowhere.
Jason realized he was impatient. Elizabeth was following a proper step-by-step process, and her caution was appropriate. As someone uncovering the nature of the Darkness for the first time, she could not afford to take chances. Still, he could not resist the urge to wish he could reach back in time and tell her to hurry up.
On a second read, he saw a connection his tiring mind had missed the first time. He had proof of his theory as to why she had expunged those journal entries. He had already guessed she did not want any record of what she had done to merge Mara's spirit with the House. What still eluded him was the identity of "the damnable thing." He felt like he should know the answer.
Jason ran a hand through his hair and sighed. His thoughts were spinning too fast for him to make any sense of it. He would have to simply note the entry as important by plastering a small post-it note near the top and return to it later. He hoped rereading all so noted entries in one constant stream would further his understanding.
He also realized the folly of that idea considering what little time he had left.
He picked up the pen he had been using to annotate the post-it notes and tossed it at the mouse pad of his computer. It nudged the mouse enough to deactivate the screensaver. His program continued to report nothing new of interest on the community board.
Jason stared at the next journal entry but could not get his mind to focus on it. He thought about Melinda instead. His stomach twisted in guilt; he had spared her so little thought since Thanksgiving. She was in far more trouble than Jason was, yet only his own outlook occupied him. He tried to justify it by telling himself he had no way to contact her. Any phone calls would be either prevented by his mother or intercepted by Melinda's mother. Email was useless as Melinda's internet access had been revoked.
He tried and failed. Cold logic would not serve him here, the same way it had prevented him from saying a few simple words to Melinda despite the depth of his feelings for her.
Jason gathered the journal and stuffed it under the bed. He rolled onto his side, away from the computer, away from the only world which he understood and which comforted him. In another day it would be a dangerous liability. Better to prepare himself for the separation now rather than later.
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