Lilith approached the priest, smiling, leaning forward to bring her face level with his.
He lay frozen, wide-eyed in terrible realization. He could hear her talking. He understood everything. He pulled the sheet up to his throat, pushing himself against the massive oak headboard, retreating from her advance.
She stopped, and then backed away.
“No Priest, this is not a dream. I am very real. Your faith is weak. You do not believe in the darkness, only the light. But darkness absorbs the light. Always.”
She looked deep into the eyes of the terrified man lying before her.
“Go to sleep. I will leave you something to remember me. This is your nightmare.”
He slept, that deep, empty sleep that can be found in overwhelming terror.
Lilith moved next to the human who was breathing beneath her gaze, she peered into the trembling essence, his soul, shinning within.
She peeled away the sheet covering his chest, careful not to touch him. She leaned closer, her mouth just above the exposed skin that shielded the beating heart.
Her lips parted a small space and she drew a slow breath. The skin below her lips quivered in rippling spasms. Shiny, silver filaments erupted through the rolling skin, burning where they were forced out. Two, fifty, hundreds. The body below her squirmed. The back arched, seeking her lips. She stopped and exhaled. Crimson filaments issued from her mouth and bored into the scorched skin, each seeking to rejoin the whole, pushing through the miniscule openings from which they had earlier come. Lilith stood as they disappeared into the flesh of the priest.
His body slumped back against the headboard. A small, irregular patch, red and painful, marked the place where Lilith tasted his essence, and returned it, vital, and altered.
“You’re very special now, my priest. You may come to know great things. If I don’t kill you.”
* * * * *
Abbie and Angelina
Tall. Five foot eleven. At forty-two, she was proud to have the carved pelvis and thin waist of a woman fifteen years her junior. She knew her body would invite men's eyes to follow the curves to the flat tummy and imagine going down. Of course no one but Jack ever saw that figure anymore. And he wasn't interested, unless he was drunk and sexed up from rubbing against 20 year olds at the strip club.
Jack called her Abbie. Her name is Angelina, but at the beginning, before she knew what was happening to her, he had called her Abbie, the name of his then mistress.
Jack seduced her into bed on their first date after meeting at a real estate agent house tour a week earlier. Jack was ruggedly handsome, very charming, and married for 10 years to Katlin, two kids and two hundred pounds of depression.
He made no secret of being married, but he did hide the existence of his mistress of three years. They started meeting a couple of times a week at the local Courtyard Marriott. Before she knew it, she was in love.
As for Jack, Angelina was the most beautiful woman he had ever been with. He was obsessed with the wonderful contours of her perfect body and the radiant beauty of her smile. He was seeing Angelina more and more, further neglecting his wife, and now also his mistress, Abbie.
On their first full night together, in the heat of extended intimacy, Jack called out the name of his mistress. Angelina pushed him off, gathering the bedspread around her as she stood from the bed. She walked into the bathroom and locked the door. His wife’s name was Katlin. He had never called her Katlin.
He stood at the door begging her to come out so he could explain. Through the door, he managed to sell her the first of many lies. Abbie was his first girlfriend, he said. High school and two years of college. She had left him. He had never used her name before. He was so sorry. As a joke he started calling her Abbie whenever they made love. Then when he called her on the phone. After a while it was how her called her. Angelina learned about the real Abbie a couple of years after they were married and she was pregnant with Paul.
She had taken lately to trolling. That thing lonely, unfulfilled or just insecure humans do when trying to relieve the emptiness. The demon first noticed her standing at the pew, holding her hymnal as the people assembled sang. She used her height to look for someone, to imagine, believing she could share her body with a man who would appreciate what she was giving.
The demon could see all of this. She could read all the souls assembled in this empty hall. Lilith had come to this gathering place of the faithful to find what she needed, what every succubus needed; the life essence of a living human.
Normally Lilith would select a male. In her human form she could easily gain the attention of men drawn to the sight of a beautiful woman. Her form appeared younger, early thirties they might think, short and rounded, not fat or heavy in any sense, entirely attractive, sensual. She found this form very effective. It was approachable.
But sometimes Lilith would find a woman. She would find one of remarkable beauty, or one, perhaps not so beautiful, but already unfaithful, already with two lovers. Or more. These women were not hard to find.
Angelina was one such woman. Not the lovers, the beauty, and the desire.
Lilith glanced up to the plain, simple wood podium used by the priest to deliver his sermon. He had not seen her. She considered whether to draw his attention. It was easy now that she had altered him. She could call him with just a thought.
He began to speak. She raised her eyes, hidden behind lightly tinted sunglasses. The endless dribble issuing from the mouths of so many priests irritated her. It was so useless, so empty. These priests, almost all of them, were but presenters, trained to recite a liturgy they did not understand. They sought refuge from the world in the contemplation of ancient revelation they could not even begin to understand. Legions preceding them had written and then rewritten the first efforts of long lost prophets to describe what their un-crowded minds had perceived. Those first realizations, so close to the truth, were corrupted with ignorance, fear and self-interest, so that now they were a shadow, fading into nothing.
Lilith had been there in the beginning. She had listened to the desperate cries of prophets, shamans, witches and holy men as they tried to warn the ignorance around them. She and her sisters feasted, openly then, in the dark world beyond the edge of feeble fire.
She watched the priest. She knew that some of his kind, a few, could see her, and would fight her. This priest was not one of them.
The priest stopped talking. He was looking directly into her eyes. He stammered, looked away from her, down to the notes on the podium. And then he did something unexpected. He looked back into her eyes. She heard it as a whisper in her ear.