Bella is my best friend, really, I don’t know where I would be without her. She’s kind of flaky, but then I like that about her. She adds something to my personality, cause I’m a pretty strait-laced girl. I don’t take risks. Well, not usually. In my defense, I think you’ll have to admit, that when I do take a risk, it’s usually a pretty damn big one. Like the one I took last winter.
It started after another bad date, my third in a month. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t usually go on a lot of dates. In fact, I’ve probably been on ten since I left college two years ago. First there was Brad, an old school friend of Bella’s. She set me up with him but it turned out that although Brad had left school, school had not left Brad. Next there was Brad’s cousin, who had to turn up to take Brad home because Brad got drunk in the bar before our meal. The cousin was smart, a college graduate, but also a raging narcissist. He talked about himself the entire time and then expected me to pay for our meal. And finally there was the cousin’s friend. He turned up late to the movie, then broke down in tears halfway through the film. It turned out that he had just gone through a messy divorce and was particularly fragile. I spent two hours consoling him before seeing him off in a taxi.
I was relating this sorry tale to Bella, in between gulps of vodka, as we sat around my apartment one Friday night.
“You know, it’s got to the point where I just want to have sex, you know,” I said.
“I mean, physical intimacy. Is that too much to ask for?”
“No, not at all. I’m just not used to you talking like this.”
“It’s the vodka.”
“No, sweetie, it’s your inner voice. But look, if you want sex, just put on that little tiny black dress you wore at Halloween and go to a bar. There’s usually some hot guys at that place in town, by the movie theater.”
“No, I can’t do that. I don’t want to just throw myself at a guy. I’m not that kind of person.”
Bella nodded and fell silent. She began to smile, or rather, to smirk.
”There is an alternative.”
“What kind of alternative?”
“It’s a huge secret. You have to promise not to tell anyone.”
“Come on Bell, you can trust me.”
“I’m serious. Not a soul. I’m not supposed to pass the secret on unless the person is really desperate and can be sworn not to tell anyone.”
“Okay. Well, there’s a book.”
“Yes. It tells you how to perform this ceremony and after you’ve done it, according to the book, you will be able to experience like intense sex but without responsibility and without having to go on any dates or go to any bars.”
“It’s from the sixties. This old hippy wrote it. She says that if you perform the ceremony, you will get visited by incubi.”
“Ghosts. Sort of. Well, sex ghosts. They will visit you and give you all the pleasure you need. It will be like having your own personal sex slaves. Except they’re in charge.”
I looked at her to see if she was being serious. She was, but after a while, she began to smile and then admitted that she hadn’t actually tried it herself. I poured myself vodka and we both began to giggle.
“Sex ghosts? Seriously?”
We got pretty drunk that night and I’d completely forgotten about the book and the incubi until a week later, a parcel arrived for me after work. It was the book. Old and musty, and not particularly impressive, it had a note on it from Bella, which read, ‘Have fun!”.
I shook my head. Bella was crazy. I put the book down. I didn’t need it anyway. I had a date that night and I had to get ready.
Steve was a friend of Anna, my work colleague. He was tall, strong, kind and entirely unattached. As I slipped into my slinky tiny black dress and zipped it up, I admired myself in the mirror. I looked good. I’d always been sensitive about my big breasts, but I knew that men loved them, and as I turned this way and that, I could see why. Oh, and then there was my cute butt and my gorgeous, kissable lips, as Bella had once described them.
At that moment, the phone rang. I danced across my apartment to answer it. It was Steve. He was really sorry, but something had come up. He was going to have to cancel.
After I hung up, I wandered back to my bedroom and fell on the bed. I sighed and stared at the ceiling and told myself that it was time to face facts. No-one wanted me. I was going to die alone. More importantly, I was never going to have sex again.
As I turned my head I saw the little red book. I didn’t remember putting it on my bedside table, but there it was. Sighing, I reached out and began to flick through it. The writing style was old fashioned and the pages were littered with warnings in capital letters about what not to do, and how powerful the magic was. It was pretty silly.
Skipping through it, I found the ceremony part. According to the old hippy, all you had to do to access a world of carnal abandon was to perform this ceremony solemnly. It required a candle, a bottle of wine and a piece of paper.
I found the candle in my kitchen, at the back of a drawer and I still had half a bottle of Merlot in the fridge. So, feeling rather foolish, I knelt in the middle of my bedroom, lit the candle and then, according to the instructions, wrote on a piece of paper what I wanted:
‘I want to be fucked over and over by a crowd of horny men and not feel any guilt or risk.’
I took a swig of wine from the bottle, and then I held the paper over the candle until it began to flame and disintegrate into charred fragments. And then I waited.
I knelt there for about ten minutes. All I could here was traffic and my neighbors moving about in their homes. Nothing happened. After twenty minutes of that, my knees were aching and I felt foolish. I sniffed out the candle, slipped out of my clothes, apart from the thong, pulled on my little black silk slip and went to bed.
* * * *
I couldn’t sleep. I felt restless, as though there was something I should have done but hadn’t. My body was tingling too, like my skin was itching. It was the strangest feeling. Eventually I began to drift off to sleep, only to be awakened by a cold breeze. My blanket had been pulled off me. Irritated, I pulled it over me again and tried to sleep. Again, I started to drift into slumber but was woken by the cold. Once again my blanket was gone. This time there wasn’t just a cold breeze; I also felt clamminess at my neck. It felt like…like someone or something was breathing on my skin.
I sat upright in bed, eyes wide open. I looked around the room. I couldn’t see anything or anyone in the darkness. As I listened to my breathing and my heartbeat began to settle I suddenly felt the clamminess at my neck again, and then, a slow build up of pressure on my chest. Something heavy was pressing on my breasts, as though a weight was being pushed against me and there was another feeling too, a ticklish sensation, as though invisible fingers were probing through the silk material, poking into my breasts, prodding my stiffening nipples.
“Who’s there!” I whispered, then repeated it, louder. There was no answer. But an instant later I felt a cold clammy sensation on my legs and a feeling like hands slipping over my knees, up my thighs, under the hem of my slip.
I screamed. At least, I tried to scream. I opened my mouth and let my terror summon up from the depths of being a desperate scream. But it made no sound. I couldn’t make a sound. My mouth felt clammy too, and there was a whispering, crawling, damp sensation passing over my neck and my bare shoulders. With horror, I felt the strap of my slip being pulled, eased off my shoulders. I grabbed at it to stop it, but almost immediately felt the other strap being pulled. The feeling of hands under my slip had reached my waist and a horrible, tickling sensation was passing over the tops of my thighs, underneath me, following by probing, poking and prodding, between my ass cheeks and through my thong.
I tried to scream again without success, but in my desperation I was able to scramble off the bed and run across the bedroom to the window. I turned to look at the bed. There was nothing there, but as I stared, I thought I could see shapes, the vague outline of shapes, no more than shadows flickering across the gloom. What was happening?
And then I remembered. The book. The ceremony. The incubi. It was all true. It was true!…
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