by Christine Morgan

Author's Note: Mature readers only, please, due to violence, language, and sexual content. This story is also available on the
Literotica site, where it is eligible for voting. If you'd like to show your support, click here and vote.
May/June 2002; 21,000 words

Chapter One –

       Abigail did not quite run, knowing that if she did one of the other girls might see and wonder what was the matter. 
       She did not run, but she hurried at as fast a walk as she dared, her pulse hammering and a hot flush awash on her face. 
       A repulsive, slippery-warm feeling had taken up residence inside of her, making her skin tingle and her nipples tighten to painful peaks. The place between her legs, that fleshy center that no good and decent girl was supposed to even think about until she gave it over to her husband as his right on their wedding night, dominated her consciousness in a way it never had before. 
       Oh, to be rid of that hideous, compelling sensation! How? Her first and overbearing urge was to rub it away, but that would be a sin every bit as bad as what she'd just witnessed. 
       The door to her room was a sight of welcome sanctuary. She went through, closed it, and for the first time since she'd come to Dame Agnes of the Hills Academy for Fine Ladies, turned the thumb-lock. 
       The room was not quite a cubicle, not quite spartan. The students, who came here when their regular schooling was done but before University or marriage, were limited in what luxuries they could bring from home. Headmistress Elspeth preferred them all to be on more or less equal footing and wanted them to spend their time learning, not trying to one-up each other with clothing and cosmetics and other such fripperies and nonsense. 
       So it was that Abigail's room was smaller by far than her bedroom at her parents' house, and lacked many of the comforts. The bed was narrow with only a single pillow, the chest of drawers held a fraction of the wardrobe that she'd amassed over her nineteen years of life, and vanity was discouraged so she had hardly been allowed to bring more than a comb and a brush and a tin of dusting powder for her cosmetics. 
       The small corner desk was littered with thick schoolbooks. The shelf above it held a few trinkets, and as her gaze fell upon the centermost one, Abigail was torn between embarrassment and hope. The eyes of the angel seemed to follow her with reproach. 
       She reached up with shaking hands and stopped. Surely if she tried to pick up the little statuette now, she would drop it and the angel would shatter on the hardwood floor. That last sign of disrespect, unintentional as it might be, would surely seal her fate. 
       And she was afraid to touch the angel. Afraid that her hands, tainted with the memory of what she had just seen, would blacken it and mark Abigail as unclean. 
       The room had a single window, which overlooked the grounds of the Academy. Abigail went to it and opened it, seeking fresh air. Too late, she realized that she had a view of the outbuilding that had been a carriage-house but doubled now as a storage shed … a place that had been taken over as a den of incomprehensible wickedness. 
       Her fingers clutched at the sill, hard, nails digging flakes of paint from the wood. The carriage-house looked peaceful and innocent enough, garbed in its green cloak of ivy. But she had seen what went on in there. She knew. She did not fully understand, but she knew.
       How could Headmistress Elspeth allow it? Surely she was not ignorant. Caleb was her own brother, and when she had taken the prestigious post at Dame Agnes of the Hills, she had arranged to have the poor halfwit for whom she'd spent her adult life caring brought here and given a minor position as groundskeeper. 
       Caleb. Abigail shivered and wished that she'd never gone out there. It was selfishness that had led her to the dusty attic, greed that made her prowl among the trunks and chests and wardrobes looking for furnishings that she could bring back to her room to make it a little less severe. 
       What would have happened if she'd called out when she heard the door open? 
       That question turned her knees to water and she sat on the edge of the bed, close to fainting. It wasn't an answer she wanted. The things he had done to Margaret, despite her pleas and cries … the way he'd taken her clothes away … and then stood there so long with his usually muddy eyes fever-bright, his only movement a slow circle of his palm on the tremendous swelling of his groin while Margaret sobbed and begged and tried futilely to cover her nudity …
       But Abigail hadn't called out when she'd heard the door. She hadn't wanted anyone else to find her here, and had hidden. Thinking it was Caleb, but on some innocuous errand. Only when she'd realized that the mewling sounds weren't from one of the many cats that kept the grounds free of mice but from a human throat did she risk looking out. 
       Would it have been different if she'd intervened? Would Caleb have fled upon being discovered? Would Margaret have been spared? Or would the giant, whose strong body was every bit as fleet and agile as his mind was not, seized Abigail and done the same to her beside her friend? Would he have taken her clothes away, and looked on her with that same expression?
       Shock and fear had frozen her, as helpless as was poor Margaret. Abigail had been unable to tear her eyes away as Caleb put his rough, work-hardened hands all over Margaret's smooth skin. Most horrifying of all was the way something within her responded. 
       As Caleb kneaded Margaret's breasts and flicked his thumbs over the nipples, Abigail imagined she could feel it herself. And when he'd fallen upon her like a slavering dog, shoving his face into the chestnut-furred juncture of Margaret's thighs, fingers clamped into the mounds of her buttocks and lifting her hips to give his lapping tongue better access, Abigail could feel a phantom tongue, all slick warm pressure, probing her own nether regions. 
       She hated herself for it, for what she was feeling and that she could sit here and do nothing to help her poor dear friend. Except that Margaret stopped seeming in desire of help after a while. Indeed, after a while her sobs had turned to moans, and she was rolling her body and urging Caleb on. When he had risen from her, his chin glistening with his saliva and the juices of her body, Margaret had not expressed relief but frustration. 
       "Don't stop," she had begged the halfwit, splaying her legs wide. "Don't stop, please, not just yet!"
       When Caleb, a grin entirely different from his usual look of oafish geniality giving him an aspect both sinister and clever, undid his belt and shoved his homespun trousers to his ankles, Margaret had not screamed but made a low and hungry cry. Her gaze was fixed on the spear of flesh jutting from a springy mat of dark hair at Caleb's groin. 
       Abigail's was as well, for she had only ever seen such things before in fleeting glimpses of pictures the other girls sometimes passed around, pictures that she had done her best to refrain from looking at. She'd never dreamed the truth would be so … so real. So veiny and knobbed and large, with a head the shape and color of a plum partly concealed by a flap of skin. 
       Caleb gripped this tool and worked his hand up and down its length, still grinning that malicious grin at Margaret. Abigail knew what he intended to do with it. She was not entirely ignorant of the ways of men and women, and knew what her husband would expect her to endure. Yet here was Margaret, seemingly eager for what Abigail's mother had explained was a woman's painful and humiliating duty. 
       "The man's pleasure is in the act," Jane Creighton had explained to her shortly before Abigail left home for Dame Agnes of the Hills. "The woman's joy comes when she fulfills her purpose and holds her newborn babe in her arms."
       Her mother had mentioned nothing of the sensations that held Abigail captive. She had gone on to impress upon her daughter the importance of virginity, and how no good husband would be pleased to travel a road that others had been down. Surely Margaret's mother must have given her the same counsel, for most of the girls at Dame Agnes of the Hills reported similar lectures and Headmistress Elspeth herself had reaffirmed it. 
       Margaret, therefore, should have been appalled at the threat to her maidenhead. She should not have been uttering the lewd words that spilled from her lips – "Yes, bring that lovely cock up here and fuck me full of it!"
       The coarse language slapped Abigail's very soul. Caleb only seemed more inflamed, and knelt down beside Margaret's head. His fist closed in her hair but it hadn't needed to, for Margaret turned her face eagerly and opened her mouth to accept as much of his organ as she could without choking. Caleb groaned and pawed her breasts with his other hand. 
       At last, Margaret pulled free and gasped out another plea. "Fuck me with it, damn you, stuff my cunny full of it!"
       Abigail had watched, still frozen and aghast and still with surges of evil longing pulsing in her tenderest flesh. She caught herself envying Margaret's wicked abandon as Caleb lowered his body onto hers and placed the tip of his shaft where she was exhorting him to bury it. 
       But he hadn't, not right away. He had lingered there, playing the tip up and down until Margaret was quivering and panting and pushing her hips up in what looked to be desperate attempts to engulf him by her own volition. Rather than slap at him or try to get away, she grasped the sides of his thick waist and pulled him atop her. 
       Caleb's backside gave a mighty flex as he thrust deep, and Margaret's scream was both pain and delight. Her maidenhead was gone, ripped away, and the road her husband would want to be the first to travel was being well-rutted, but all of that was the furthest thing in the world from Margaret's mind if her reaction was to be trusted. She held tight to Caleb's buttocks and raised her hips to meet each downward stroke, their flesh slapping together in a hard, fast rhythm. 
       At the end of it, just before Caleb shuddered and collapsed heavily onto her, Margaret voiced a wavering cry that transcended anything Abigail had ever heard. She then fainted dead away. 
       Abigail had become aware then that her traitor hand was pushing awkwardly at the front of her skirt, that she was shifting her legs and causing the cloth of her undergarments to rub enticingly. She was also breathing much too quickly, much too loudly. 
       Below, on the floor of the carriage-house, Caleb rose from Margaret's unconscious body. As he withdrew from her, Abigail saw the blood and other fluids streaking his softening member, saw more of it staining Margaret's thighs. 
       She had remained where she was, hardly daring to breathe although the resultant dizziness made her fear that she would faint too. Caleb moved about, gathering his clothes, wiping himself clean with a handkerchief that he stuck indifferently into his pocket. He left Margaret sprawled where she was, whistling a tune as he returned to his duties.
       Abigail thought about going to Margaret and rousing her, seeing if she was all right. But surely Margaret would be horrified to know that her ruination had been observed. 
       So, like a coward, Abigail slipped from the carriage-house and fled through the gardens. She slowed her pace when she came near the school, and paused to smooth her hair and try to pat the blush from her face. 
       Luckily, no one had remarked on her as she made her way to her room. She had hoped that she would be able to settle her nerves once she was safely back amid familiar surroundings, but the scene would not leave her mind. Her body ached with some unwelcome and unfulfilled need. 
       She went to the wash-basin and dashed cold water onto her flushed face. The feelings coursing through her finally ebbed, and in their absence she was left with a bereft and mildly nauseous condition instead. She felt dirtied, but no longer blackly excited. 
       The angel on her shelf had regarded her evenly throughout her reminiscence. Abigail blushed again, but it wasn't as if the statuette could read her thoughts, was it? 
       Or was it? After all, if she was to believe in guardian angels that could hear her prayers, she had to believe they would know everything there was to know, whether she confessed it or not. 
       Her hands had stopped shaking. She took down the angel, and the coolness of it served as a balm to her nerves. She ran her fingertips over the ridges of its feathers, kissed the haloed top of its head.
       "Deliver me from this," she murmured. "Please, help me."

Chapter Two –

       The gates of Hell opened before Celestina with a ghastly squeal. 
       Smoke wafted out, stirring the gossamer of her gown and blowing the silken white-blond strands of her hair back from her temples. She smelled brimstone on that smoke, and blood, and suffering. 
       Her wings flared out, white feathers shining in the gloom, then tucked close against the slenderness of her frame in a gesture both defensive and regal. 
       The wind carried more than just the scents of damnation. It carried the sounds as well. The whip-cracks, the crackle of flames, the anguished screams of the tormented, and the malevolent laughter of the devils. This last, the laughter like black and evil water, eddied around Celestina and touched her with the first cold brush of fear.
       Yet she was resolute. She had business here, had every right to be here as a representative of the heavenly powers. The matter of the corruption could not go unanswered. 
       Just thinking of it made Celestina quail in disgust. That such a thing had happened, had been allowed to happen … that the headmistress of a girl's school so ardently devout that it was very nearly a convent should sink into such depravity … 
       Celestina's mind shied away from the entire subject. She could not even bring herself to think of it, of the lewd and hideous deeds that had taken place behind those high, ivied walls. 
       What mattered was that it had been done deliberately, and with malice. Someone had stepped beyond the bounds. Someone would have to pay. 
       She stepped delicately through the gates, their metal bars bent and askew in torturous shapes that hurt the sanity, their substance glowing dull orange. The path was cobbled in skulls held in place by the obsidian flow of lava, cooled but still harboring enough heat to warm the soles of Celestina's feet through the thin layers of her gilded sandals. She grimaced as she entered the fetid bath of Hell's hot and nastily humid atmosphere.
       Ahead of her stretched a vast and featureless plain broken only by the road of skulls. The sky overhead was turbulent and terrible, blood-red and roiling with sulfur-yellow clouds, shot now and again with jagged ebony bolts of lightning. The contorted faces of sinners appeared and faded and reappeared in the churning clouds and their cries echoed dismally on the constant, scalding wind. 
       But the worst thing of all, to Celestina's way of thinking, was how the clouds occasionally parted, how the skies occasionally cleared, and through those rents in the red and the yellow could be seen the serene blue, the soft white, and the golden glow of Heaven. Bad enough that the damned should endure their eternity of misery, but to be afforded glimpses of the paradise they had missed … that was the cruelest blow of all. 
       As she moved along the path, trying not to step on the skulls and finding it an impossible task, she began to see the contours of the land. The plain was not featureless after all, but so vast that the hills and dips and sharp slashes of canyons blurred into invisibility. Here and there, the twisted boles of trees stuck up from gritty grey soil. Dried vines clawed at the earth like long, thin fingers. Her wide, guileless eyes surveyed the landscape with both pity and horror. 
       The path looked as though it went on forever, but appearances were deceiving here and before long she had reached something new. A cliff wall, towering so high that the top of it raked with spires of stone at the clouds, tattered them, slashed the sky itself into ragged wounds. 
       A cavern mouth gaped at the base of the cliff, fanged with rock formations and lit from within by a baleful hellish light. The wind came from here, a steady toxic exhalation, and the screams of the damned were louder, nearer, more agonized than ever. 
       Celestina could only see in a short ways before vision was lost in a fuming fiery mess. Shapes moved and danced in it just beyond the limits of sight. Shadows. Writhing and leaping forms. 
       This was the place where fools rushed in and angels feared to tread. Feared or not, though, it was where Celestina knew she must go. 
       Taking a deep breath – not because she needed to but because some habits of mankind had translated themselves to the seraphim over the millennia – she crossed the threshold and into the mouth of the cave. 
       She was on a walkway made of stone that was at once rough and slick, and narrow. To her left, the world dropped away into a fathomless pit. Malformed things clung to the sides of it, bubbling with pestilent sores, keening piteously for release. Demons flew disdainfully around them with bat-wings beating at the air and barbed tails lashing.
       To her right, a sea of excremental mud slopped and boiled. The stench was tremendous, and the damned dotted it like islands, wailing and bemoaning. 
       Her kind heart went out to them and she reined it in. They had brought this on themselves. That was what she had to remember. In life, they had done the deeds that deserved them this fate, this everlasting punishment. God's forgiveness only went to those who earned it through penitence and atonement. 
       Celestina continued, sparing a glance back to see the cave opening receding into the distance. The cavern soared above her to dizzying heights. Ledges were positively acrawl with imps, who cackled and chortled and jabbed their tiny poisoned pitchforks at a steady line of shuffling souls as they made their way along a switchback road constructed of human bodies. At the top of the road was a judge's desk, hundreds of feet tall, where a scarlet-eyed devil ordered the final disposition of each new arrival. His voice boomed and roared in indistinguishable echoes. The dead souls begged for mercy, but there was no mercy here. 
       Headmistress Elspeth would share that fate if Celestina could not intervene on her behalf. The same punishment would be visited upon each of the girls who had participated in the unholy deeds, even those who had been coerced against their will. 
       Unbidden and certainly unwelcome, the scenes swarmed over her. How had it begun? Was Elspeth the weak one, the one who had welcomed the devil into herself? Or was it Caleb? Half-witted and hulking, he had been gentle despite his size and strength. Gentle, with all the intellect of a small child. He knew right from wrong … he would have known better than to allow himself to be taken over. 
       Or perhaps it had been one of the girls. Some of them came to the school already wiser than their years, some sly and none too innocent of the vile ways of men and women. Celestina knew of what went on in the bedrooms when the lights were doused. 
       Girls sharing beds, cuddling together, embracing and giggling in companionable fun but sometimes slipping into sin. Their clever soft hands caressing each other, whispering of what their suitors or cousins or even fathers had taught them of such things. Kissing, fondling, raising their nightgowns to compare the hairiness of their mounds or the plumpness of their breasts. Some might even go so far as to play lascivious games with the blunt wax ends of candles, tearing away their maidenhood rather than preserve it for their husbands as was right and proper. 
       Yes, all of that had gone on and been largely overlooked, a blind or even indulgent eye turned to it. Only when Elspeth brought Caleb into her chamber had it begun to turn dark and foul. Only when she – his own elder sister! – had made the halfwit take down his trousers … grasped the thick length of him and rubbed him until he was stiff with an arousal that he should not have been able to understand … lain back and introduced Caleb into herself. 
       That was when it had all become too much to ignore. 
       That was why Celestina was here. 
       If it had ended with Elspeth, all might have been well, for the rest of them at least. The headmistress would have been punished eternally for her incestuous acts. But it hadn't ended there. Caleb, taking more eagerly to this lesson than any book learning in his entire life, began visiting himself upon the girls like any wolf in a sheepfold. 
       Some were frightened of him, or angry, and chased him away with loud recriminations. Some let him do what he wished, welcoming him eagerly. Others succumbed with tearful obedience to the commands given by Elspeth herself, who would sit and watch and urge Caleb on as he deflowered and ravished one girl after another. Sometimes she would ready them for him, wetting them with her tongue or massaging them with oils that would ease the passage of his size. 
       Evil had come to the school. It was no simple matter of human impulse. Celestina knew that only a demon or devil could have driven such a good and true woman as Headmistress Elspeth, or a blameless simpleton like Caleb, into sin. 
       She would have an answer. She would know who had done this, and why. Not that she had to strain much to imagine why. It was what they did, the devils. They found it amusing to visit their evil upon decent and God-fearing folk. To drag them down, dirty them. 
       If the guilty one – not that guilt meant anything to a devil – could be found, salvation for Elspeth and Caleb and the girls might still be possible. That was Celestina's purpose here, her duty. The weight of those souls was upon her. 
       So she ventured further, and into suffocating passageways where thin columns of stone served as the bars of cells through which skeletal hands grasped and reached and caught wisps from the floating whiteness of her robes. Incoherent voices from mouths without tongues begged her, and once when she strayed too far to one side, a bone-scrawny hand snatched feathers from her wing. 
       The passage widened into a round chamber with a floor of crisscrossing beams over a lake of fire. The walls were hidden under tangles of chains, bodies dangling and caught in them like insects trapped in the web of some gigantic spider that spun with metal rather than silk. At the pinnacle of the room's domed ceiling was a platform, a heavy sheet of iron suspended by the stretched bodies of four men whose arms and legs had been horrendously elongated and whose eyes were desperate and aware. 
       The platform held an array of levers and a demon. The demon was catlike, with rust-brindle fur and urine-yellow eyes burning with their own malevolent radiance. Its taloned paws jerked on the levers as it screeched and laughed maniacally. Each time it threw a lever, one of the bodies cocooned in chains would plunge toward the flaming lake. Sometimes the cat-demon would stop them before they were immersed, raise them and lower them a few bone-jerking times, and then return them to dubious safety. Other times, the hapless sinner would plunge, shrieking, straight into the lake. 
       Celestina was about to call up to the demon when a fingertip touched her shoulder and slid to her elbow. The touch seared like a brand. 
       Gasping, she whirled with her hair and robes flying about her in a billow. 
       "You," the devil before her said in a very amused tone of voice, "must be lost."

Chapter Three – 

       Headmistress Elspeth tossed and turned in fitful dreams, the bedclothes wrapping her like a shroud and restlessness twitching at her limbs. 
       The girls. The laughing, playing girls. Isabella and Rose, thinking they had the willow glade to themselves. And why not? It was screened by brush and the long green hangings of boughs, reachable only by a path so narrow and low that they could only pass one at a time and stooped nearly double. From the outside, the small sun-dappled circle at the glade's heart was invisible. 
       Invisible, except from one spot. The high dormer window of Elspeth's quarters looked down straight into the ring of trees and the expanse of grass at the center. From there, she had seen. 
       It was hardly a surprise that the girls did what they did. Elspeth knew of the yearnings in the flesh of the curious young. Some of them came to Dame Agnes of the Hills already educated in ways that were not included in the curriculum. Some left lovers behind. Some had been introduced to the ways of men and women by their cousins, or brothers, or even their fathers. They whispered their secrets to each other, shared smuggled-in books of naughty drawings or writings, and cuddled in their maidenly beds when the lamps were out. 
       Elspeth knew of this but ignored it, pretended that it did not happen, because whenever she allowed herself to think of the girls enjoying those caresses, she burned with a jealous spite and an unfulfilled urge to join them. That simply could not be. She dared take no lover from among her students, for word of it would get around, and charges of favoritism might be leveled at her. 
       But that day when she'd seen Isabella and Rose … blatant hussies that they were, not confining their loveplay to the dark hours of the night but by bright midday in the green heart of the glade … 
       She turned over in her bed, half-woke to fuss with the pillow, subsided. The haunting images danced through her sleepy mind. Isabella, olive-complected with sable hair spread around her like a shawl … Rose, dainty and pert and strawberry-blond, bent lovingly over Isabella's voluptuousness … 
       And then she'd seen Caleb. The dormer window was not the only view-place after all, for he was hidden in the bushes at the edge of the clearing with his back to the school. Watching the girls. Stroking himself. 
       Long ago, a lifetime ago, she had caught him in the playroom of the house in which they'd lived with their stern parents. He had been touching his tumescence, squeezing it, sliding his curled fist up and down, and his slack mouth was half-curved in an empty gape of pleasure. Elspeth, not a headmistress then but just an overworked and under-appreciated sister, a spinster-in-waiting with her stocky figure and dour face, had descended on him in a scolding fury and told him never-never-never, he would go blind, he would grow hair on his hands so all the world would know what he'd been doing, that if their mother or father found out he would be whipped for certain. Unable to understand anything more than her anger and his guilt, Caleb had burst into tears and quit his self-abuse. 
       Until that day, years later. Only then did it occur to Elspeth that he probably hadn't ever truly ceased at all, but just taken pains to hide himself from her before he gave in to that sinful indulgence. As he spied on the girls, he did not grope with hesitancy but with the knowing skill of much practice. 
       He had to be punished. 
       Remembering, in her light state of dreaming, Elspeth moaned and rolled in the bed. A madness, it must have been a madness. Calling him to her office, lecturing him … and there had been something different about Caleb then, hadn’t there? A cunning she had never noticed in him before. 
       She mumbled into her pillow, the very words she'd said to him as he stood before her with shoulders hunched but not as shamefaced as she felt he should have been. "You've been a bad boy, Caleb, a very bad boy. You must be punished."
       The switch was something she kept more as a threat than an item of use. The presence of it, the mention of it, was enough to quell even the most disobedient girl. Too many of them would have recollections of being switched on their bare bottoms by governesses, or fathers. 
       Elspeth had never used the switch on Caleb but as he stood there, his eyes peering like sly animals from the caves of his sockets, she was seized by a fury. "Take down your trousers," she'd ordered him, drawing the switch from its resting place above the hearth. "Take them down and bend over the chair."
       He had done so, wearing nothing beneath so that his organ sprang free and wagged there, insolently erect. Elspeth stared at it, saw how much larger it was than it had been when they were younger.
       "Look at you!" she spat. "For shame, Caleb!"
       The switch lashed out as if her arm had a will of its own, and striped his buttocks with a scarlet weal. He jumped when the blow landed, and astonished pain brimmed his eyes with tears. 
       "Horrid boy! Wicked, sinful boy!" Elspeth hissed. "Down over the chair."
       Chest hitching, Caleb did as she bade and gripped the legs of the chair when his stomach was pressed against the seat. She struck his backside and the backs of his upper thighs again and again, laddering the weals, turning all of his skin an angry red. With every swing of her arm, she watched in satisfaction as he jerked against the chair. She could see the pendulous sway of his scrotum, and when she moved to the side she also saw his erection still stiff as ever, bobbing up and down like a dowsing rod. 
       "Get on your back, on the floor," she commanded. 
       His face was wet, and the strangled sound of stifled sobs came from his bull neck. He thumped to the rug and trembled there, not daring to cover himself. Elspeth stalked to him, meaning to switch him on that upstanding, offending part until it shriveled and bled. 
       Now, in her lonely bed, she grimaced and pulled at her own hair as if in hopes of dislodging the memory of what she'd done next. An insanity had seized her, that was it. The only possible explanation. For rather than bring the switch down in a series of vicious cuts, she 
had …
       "No," she groaned, head turning side to side. Helpless denial, useless negation. 
       She had bade him cover his face, shut his eyes, and not move so much as a muscle. Then, caught up in her mad abandon, she'd pulled up her skirt, removed her undergarments, stepped over Caleb, and lowered herself to her knees so that he thrust up between her thighs. She pinioned him there, rubbing against him, feeling the hot satiny slide of his skin through the thick curls that covered her mound. 
       "You stay just as you are, Caleb, and take your medicine," she'd said in a hoarse voice that was not her own. "You have to be punished for what you did. Keep your eyes shut, keep your face covered. It will all be over soon."
       So saying, she rose up a little and sank back down onto him, impaling herself. She was slick with moisture but even so, was pierced by a sudden rending pain. It passed almost at once and there she was, with Caleb's cock – yes, cock, she'd heard the word and been appalled but now greeted it with delirious hunger – stuffed well up her belly.
       She rode him, rocking on his stiffness and driving his lash-wealed backside against the rug with each forth-and-back motion. What she could see of his face was a mask of mixed pain and ecstasy and she could feel him tensing within her, growing harder, swelling. 
       Up and down she rode him, back and forth she rode him, and the delicious friction sent sparkling waves and bursts exploding outward from her core. She sensed a pinnacle and strove for it, working her loins in a slow and sure rhythm, aware that she was crying out yes-yes-yes with each beat, and then a whirling-falling-turbulence caught her up and spun her away. 
       Elspeth sat bolt upright in her bed, a patch of moonlight spilled in her lap. Her heart was thundering, her skin damp with sweat, and she was in an agony of need. 
       A bell-pull hung by the bedpost. She tugged it, imagining the chimes far off in another room. Then, knowing she had time before the summons was answered, she hastened from her bedchamber to the hall where the girls slept. 
       All was silent. The headmistress looked from one door to the next, chose one, and rapped softly. 

Chapter Four – 

       Collecting her dignity after her gasp of startlement, Celestina drew herself up and settled her wings against her back. "I have come on business."
       The devil chuckled indulgently. "That's what they all say. It makes a good excuse, but we all know what they really want. You're no different."
       "I do not know what you mean."
       He was male in appearance, crimson-skinned with leathery wings. That was all Celestina saw before observing that he was naked and turning swiftly away. 
       His laughter curled into her ears and insinuated itself. "Don't you like what you see, pretty angel?"
       "I have come –"
       "So soon?"
       "—seeking an end to the possessions and demonic rites –"
       "Look at me, pretty angel."
       Above them, the cat-demon yowled with cruel mirth as one of its victims became partway unwrapped, kicking free only to then cling desperately to the very chains that had been its prison.
       "I am here on business," Celestina repeated. 
       "I can help you. Look at me."
       She reluctantly, and guardedly, did. She was careful to keep her gaze elevated but was unable to be oblivious to the rest of him.  
       The devil did not resemble the goateed and widow's-peaked Mephisto so often depicted, but had a square-jawed face and full lips that wore an inviting, sensuous smile. His eyes were utterly black, twin orbs of polished onyx, and the flames reflected across the surface of them in hypnotic whorls. A mane of long dark hair fell to his broad shoulders. He was powerfully built, tall. A tail swayed behind him, partially erect and waving side to side in long, snakelike curves. He wore a necklace, fine links of ivory fingerbones supporting a human sternum that had been studded with jewels in all the colors of pain. 
       "Now," he said, low and warm. "Am I so frightful to look upon?"
       "I am not here to look at you," she said in her loftiest possible manner.
       "Right." He grinned easily. "You're here because of Sister Elspeth. Shall we adjourn to someplace more conducive to a discussion?"
       As if to punctuate his words, a sinner loosed a wrenching howl of agony. Celestina suppressed a shudder. 
       "I'll take that as a yes," the devil said. "This way."
       Still with misgivings, but eager to get this out of the way as soon as possible that she might return to the clean and pure realm with which she was familiar, Celestina allowed him to lead her from the round room with its chains and its lake and its attendant cat-demon. 
       "I am Varyk," he said as he preceded her, the muscles in his back and legs and haunches moving smoothly with each step. His tail brushed against the hem of her robe and she fell a few paces behind. He peered back at her. "How are you called?"
       "Celestina," she said. "Do you know who's responsible for --?"
       "Yes, yes." He waved, as if it was of no great concern, and pushed open a door. Standing gallantly back, he bowed and gestured. "In here."
       "I want to get this over with," Celestina informed him as she swept past, careful to keep her wings folded tight so that the outer edge did not brush against him. 
       "Of course."
       Keeping a wary eye on him, she entered the room. 
       And fell. 
       There was no floor beneath her feet. The pit was so inky-dark and cold after the smoldering heat and light of the rest of Hell that it was like being plunged suddenly into the deepest trenches of the sea. The doorway above dwindled to a speck and was gone. Air rushed and whistled around her.  
       Celestina spread her wings but she was disoriented by the fall, unable to tell which way was up. Just as she got her bearings, she was seized by strong arms and pulled up against a bare chest that was as warm as banked coals in a hearth. 
       "Easy, now," Varyk chuckled in her ear. "I've got you."
       "Release me at once."
       "And have you fall, hurt yourself? Whatever kind of host do you take me for?"
       His wings flapped with a sound like sailcloth in a fierce wind. Celestina struggled in his arms, revoltingly aware of the hot and heavy press of something against her hip. He laughed and his tail, a smooth flexion of muscle, coiled around her waist to hold her more firmly. 
       "Let me go!" she snapped.
       "We're almost down, pretty angel. Should be reaching the bottom –" and here, with shockingly obscene intimacy, he slid a hand down to first cup, then squeeze hers, "—any minute."
       "How dare you!" Celestina yanked at his arm, at his tail. Her wings were partly crushed between their bodies. A few feathers came loose and drifted, snowflakes in the darkness, as they floated down. 
       Varyk landed, and a moment later Celestina's feet touched smooth cool stone that felt like marble. She pushed at him in another futile effort to free herself. 
       "That isn't very friendly of you," he chided. 
       "What do you think you are doing? I am leaving."
       "I can't permit that, not when we're only just getting acquainted. It isn't every day that one of us is lucky enough to catch himself an angel. I'd never live it down if I let you go without a kiss."
       Shock splashed over Celestina. "Never!"
       "Not even one kiss?" He sounded wheedling, but there was a threat beneath it that chilled her. 
       "As I've told you –"
       "Yes, yes. You're here on business. And I can tell you everything you need to know about your naughty little girl's school and your lusty headmistress. For a price. For a kiss."
       She struck out. Her vision had adjusted to the deep violet and indigo shadows and she fetched him a smart blow to the face. 
       Varyk laughed. "That'll cost you another kiss. Care to strike me some more?"
       "I insist that you release me at once."
       "You don't understand, do you, pretty angel? You're in my realm now. You've wandered far out of your territory and that makes you fair game. I'll have that kiss now."
       Before she could say another word of protest, the devil clamped his lips over hers. They were hot and full and moist, and parted enough to let his forked tongue dart out to attempt and pry her mouth open. 
       In a sudden surge of strength, fueled by her horror and revulsion, Celestina wrenched herself away from him. He grabbed at her, caught the collar of her robe, and she heard it rip, felt the air on her alabaster flesh from neck to waist. 
       Furious now, so much so that it drowned out her fear, Celestina flung her wings to their full extension and thrust her arms skyward. A brilliant radiance surrounded her, illuminating the room. She saw a marble slab like an altar, saw the manacles at its four corners, and a silvery spike of fear tried to reclaim her. 
       Varyk shied away from that abrupt, dazzling light, bringing his wings forward to shield his face. But in the shadow of his wing, she saw his grin and it was as mocking as ever. 
       She looked up, seeing the door as a tiny pinprick in the vast column of blackness. A mighty downstroke of her wings and –
       His hand closed around her ankle as she shot upward. 
       A startled cry, not a scream but shamefully near one, burst from her. Varyk hauled her down, brushing off the frantic beating of her wings as if she were no stronger than a moth. He wrestled her onto the marble slab and closed cold iron around her ankle with a loud click. 
       Celestina fought madly but almost before she could believe what was happening, she was locked in place. Her arms were outstretched to her sides, her legs together, wrists and ankles in the manacles with her wings spread flat under her body and her robes and hair tossed all around in disarray. 
       "What a lovely sight this is," Varyk said, standing near her head. "A pretty angel, and mine to do with as I please."
       Her protests and outraged shouts were muffled as he leaned over and kissed her again. This time, her mouth was caught open and his tongue shot eagerly in. He held her by the sides of her head so that she could not turn her face away and prolonged the kiss, uttering a low growl of enjoyment. 
       At last, it ended. Celestina choked and spat, and blinked away the indignant tears that had sprung to her eyes. 
       "You're a lively one. Celestina, wasn't it? How nice. Did you like that kiss?"
       "No? Pity … I'll have to try again until I get it right."
       And he did try again, this time flicking his tongue over her lips in little fluttering motions. She strained against the manacles but they were unyielding. Her body heaved and bucked as she tried to escape his persistent, knowing mouth. She lunged this way and that, felt more gossamer tear and knew that she was about to shred the robes right off herself but she had to get away, had to stop this now
       Varyk broke the kiss and stood over her, leisurely licking his lips. He paced in a slow course around the slab and studied her with an insolence that made Celestina blush and feel strangely weak, strangely watery, even as she hissed out another demand for her freedom. 
       "I'm afraid your gown is somewhat the worse for wear," he said. He plucked at it, wisps of fabric coming away in his curved black nails. Each pluck exposed more of her to his hungry gaze. 
       "I insist that you stop this at once!"
       "In good time, my angel. In good time." 
       He stopped by her feet, slid first one and then the other sandal off and cast them heedlessly away into the fire and shadow. He ran a foreclaw up the sole of her right foot and her toes curled. 
       "Such soft skin," Varyk said approvingly. 
       Then, to Celestina's further shock, he brought his hips forth and rubbed his rigid organ against the soles of her feet. It was hot as a brand, pulsing with loathsome obscene life, and she could not move enough to kick him. Laughing, he pressed her feet together and worked himself into the slight gap between them, pushing in and out of this makeshift orifice. 
       She screamed then, shrieked fit to shatter glass, no longer caring about conduct but only wanting to get away from him, to put an end to this, to rid herself of the smoldering-velvet feel of him. Screamed and fought against her bonds until she had abraded her wrists and ankles. Yet no rescue came, and she was no closer to freedom. 
       Varyk stepped back from her and patiently waited out her tantrum, smirking in an arrogance that terrified Celestina. When she sagged back to the marble, her limbs aching from her struggle and shed feathers drifting on rising thermal currents like misdirected snow, he deliberately reached out and laid his hand full on the swell of her breast. 
       "So lovely," he crooned. "And such a hard little nipple. Is it fear that does that, Celestina, or something else? Either way, I cannot let it go untasted."
       The devil bent and out flicked that forked, sinuous tongue. A galvanic jolt shook Celestina. She found new strength and still it was useless. 
       "Honey," Varyk mused. "Angels taste of honey. Interesting." 
       He paced around to the other side and repeated the tongue-flick. Celestina could not avert her eyes in time and saw the contrast, his dark tongue and crimson skin against her pearly flesh. 
       "Definitely honey," he concluded. He came to a halt by her feet again and stood there regarding her for a moment that seemed to last forever. "I wonder what else you taste like."
       "Let me go." It came out a strengthless whisper, so faint she could barely hear it herself.
       Varyk, if he heard, didn't pay heed. He bent down and did something at the base of the altar, something that made a grinding sound as of a lever being thrown, and then the lower half of the marble slab broke apart into two pieces that swung outward and away from each other into the shape of a Y, taking Celestina's manacled legs with them.
       "You cannot do this!" Renewed terror as she was opened before him gave her back the strength to shout, but he still paid no attention.
       He moved into the gap, and stroked her smooth thighs. She could lift her head just enough to see him standing between her legs, with the upthrust scarlet lance looming menacingly over the cloud-soft fluff of fleece visible through the tatters of her robe. 
       His hand settled over her, clawed fingers combing through the silken hair, the press of his palm hot against her. Celestina lurched and screamed again, drawing another laugh from her tormentor. 
       "Are you afraid of me, pretty angel? Just what is it that you think I'm going to do?"
       "You dare not!"
       "Dare not what?"
       "Dare not do what you … what you intend!"
       "Say it and I won't."
       "I don't understand."
       "Say the words. Tell me what it is that you do not want me to do. I want to hear it."
       "And you won't?" She heard the hopeful tremor, reminded herself that they lied, all the minions of Hell lied, and that he was just toying with her. He only wanted to abase her further by making her voice such profanities.
       "Didn't I say?"
       "I don't believe you."
       "So untrusting for an angel of Heaven," he chuckled. "But wise. I'll say it for you, how's that?"
       "Is it a fuck that you're afraid of, Celestina? Are you worried that I mean to put this into you and give you a long hard fucking?" He illustrated by gripping himself and thrusting with his hips, his member sliding in and out of his closed hand.
       She closed her eyes and turned her head away, shuddering. Her ears felt as if they'd burn from the words. 
       "Well, that wasn't my intention."
       Celestina opened one eye a fraction, not believing him.
       "At least," he amended, "not now. I want to taste you first, and see if it's honey down here too."
       He knelt, lowering slowly from her view until all she could see of him was the top of his sable-maned head and the upper halves of his wings. She felt his breath like dragonflame on her inner thighs, felt it stir the fleece of her mound. Her screams pealed steadily, and she yanked against her bonds. 
       "I haven't even touched you yet," he chided, raising his head enough to peer over the pale contours of her body. "But scream and fight if you must. I like it that way."
       A trick, she knew, a trick to make her think that if she quit resisting, he would lose interest. All he would do then was –
       Her thoughts spun apart in a sudden shattering blast as his thin and agile tongue darted out and found, with unerring accuracy, a spot that sent a lightning-bolt of hitherto unknown sensation flashing through her. 
       "Delicious," he purred. His thumbs parted her down there, opened her, and he delved in again with quick flickering licks and long, slow passes. 
       Her sanity threatened to fracture. No one had ever suggested that it would feel good! Not even her horror and wretched shame could change the fact that his clever lips and tongue elicited sensations that she hadn't even imagined. Rather, on some level she could not even face admitting, the horror and shame of the forbidden act only added to the enticing allure of it. 
       She grappled for control of herself.
       There was a way to stop this, there had to be. A way to stop him before he … before he did the word that she could not bring herself to say. 
       "Honey and sugared cream," Varyk said. "Do you like that, pretty angel? And remember, fibbers go to Hell."
       He was going to do it. She knew that he was. He had risen up, and was standing close between her thighs, poised and at the ready. But the malicious, mocking light in his eyes told her something else – that he planned to make her want him to do it, to make her ask for it. 
       Resolve steeled Celestina and with blessed relief she remembered what she could do. She took a deep breath, and began to change. 

Chapter Five –

       Rose woke when she heard her door open on slow and stealthy hinges. She glimpsed a female silhouette in the dim glow of the hallway and immediately knew, to her disappointment, that it wasn't Isabella looking to continue where they'd left off the other day. 
       No, the shape in the doorway was shorter, and much more solid than Isabella's long lean frame. The breasts were heavier, the waist twice as wide, the hips flaring and round. And the face was as coarse-featured and stony as any idol's head.
       Recognizing the headmistress, Rose feigned sleep. She wasn't alone among the girls in beginning to have disturbing ideas about what was going on here at Dame Agnes of the Hills. More than one of her classmates had been called away for private meetings and discipline, and all of them had returned from those meetings shaken and unwilling to talk about it. 
       She could guess, though. It had to do with Caleb. He'd always been snooping about, spying on them. Anne had caught him once in the laundry sniffing at their unwashed underthings, and Isabella swore she'd seen him crouching behind a boulder with his thing in his hand while some of the girls went swimming in the creek. Others, like Margaret, reported with winks and knowing looks that they'd had more than a little sport with the halfwit groundskeeper. 
       As far as Rose was concerned, if they wanted Caleb, they could have him. She had Isabella, with her languidly loving tongue and her promise to bring Rose the carved ivory device that an adventuresome aunt had given her. Rose could hardly wait, after hearing Isabella's tales of the wonderful pleasures the device afforded. 
       She had been reluctant at first, because of her pledge to Henry, but Isabella told her that most men wouldn't really know a virgin if one bit them. All she'd have to do on their wedding night was tighten her inner muscles, pretend that it hurt, and if she really wanted to be additionally convincing, contrive to have a bit of chicken's blood handy. Henry would be none the wiser, and Rose would have already been delightfully introduced to penetration by Isabella's gentle guidance. 
       Instead, though, here was the headmistress. Rose let out a small breath of a snore, trying to hide that she was awake and indeed unnerved by the silent, brooding presence whose shadow fell across her bed. 
       "Rose," came the harsh whisper. "Rose, get up. I must speak with you."
       Resigned, she acted as though she were stirring to wakefulness. "Headmistress?"
       "Shh, girl!" Elspeth hissed. "Come with me at once. Step lively, now."
       It finally occurred to Rose that she might be in trouble for something. What it might be, she had no idea. She and Isabella had been circumspect to a fault, and she was obedient to the rules in all other ways. Was it something to do with her family? Bad news from home?
       That thought struck a worried nerve and she got hastily out of bed, reaching for her robe because her nightdress was thin and the air had a nip to it. 
       "Leave it," ordered Elspeth. "Hurry along."
       The floor was cold on her bare feet but Rose made no complaint. She hurried to the headmistress, prickling with goosebumps and trying to keep her teeth from chattering. 
       Elspeth led her to the large office that abutted her quarters. There was a banked fire still giving off a welcome bathing of heat and Rose moved gratefully close to it. She hugged herself and turned to Elspeth. 
       "Is something the matter?" 
       The headmistress only looked at her with a strange, greedy, half-lidded gaze that set Rose's skin to crawling again, though not from the chill this time.
       "Such a fair girl, aren't you, Rose? So petite, so pretty. That curly strawberry hair, those freckles and adorable dimples, and what a nice, slender figure. You must think you're quite the dish."
       "I beg pardon?" 
       "How old are you?"
       "Almost twenty, headmistress."
       "You could pass for much younger. Let's have a look at those titties."
       Rose gaped. "Beg pardon?" again was the most she could manage. 
       "You heard me, girl. Off with the nightdress."
       "But …"
       "Are you disobeying me?"
       Hesitantly, Rose grasped the ends of the laces that tied up the front of her cotton gown. Now she was remembering other rumors and dark whispers that had been going around the school for the past several days. Rumors she'd discounted as lies. 
       "I don't think I should," she said, folding her arms over her chest instead. 
       "You show them to Isabella, don't you?"
       "How did you know --?"
       "I've seen you. Both of you. Naughty little girls playing with each other. If you don't want your family to find out, you'll do as I say. Take off your nightdress."
       Mortified, Rose did so and stood naked in front of the fireplace. She was very conscious of her small breasts, nowhere near as nice as Isabella's despite her friend's reassurance that they were perfectly shaped for all their lack of fullness. Conscious, too, of the sparse growth of downy red-gold between her legs while Isabella's was such a lush thicket. Compared to her, Rose often felt little more than a child. 
       The headmistress surveyed her with an evaluating expression that Rose found most unsettling. She started to cross her arms again but a preemptory gesture from Elspeth made her leave them at her sides. 
       "Turn about."
       Rose did so, feeling all clumsy and stiff-legged. When she completed the circle, she was shocked to see that Elspeth had removed her own garment and waited there just as nude as could be. She had a bottom-heavy shape and sagging breasts, and none of the lithe grace of Isabella. 
       "You're going to do as I say, aren't you, Rose?"
       "What do you want me to do?"
       "Why don't we start with what you do for Isabella?" Elspeth reclined into a low chair and spread her legs, one foot up on a hassock and the other knee thrown over the arm. She pointed to the floor in front of her. "On your knees."
       "Headmistress –"
       "Or would you rather be sent home with everyone knowing why?"
       Biting back a sound that would have either been a sob or an angry outburst – she might never know which – Rose got gingerly down on her knees. She could smell the musky scent of Elspeth's arousal rising from the damp, anticipatory cleft and shuddered. 
       "That's a good girl," Elspeth muttered. "Give it a good licking. Show me that you know how."
       She bent to the task, shutting her eyes and trying to think of Isabella. It wasn't easy, especially when the headmistress' hands crept down to tweak and pinch at her breasts. Dutifully, she kept lapping until Elspeth seized a handful of her hair and hauled her head up. 
       "Do it like you mean it, bitch!" she snarled, and forced Rose's head down again. 
       Rose was on the verge of crying, but stifled it and determined to do as she was told. If she performed to satisfaction, she hoped to be allowed to leave. She went to work with a will this time, concentrating so hard that she didn't realize the door had opened until she felt the draft on her back and buttocks. 
       "What --?"
       Elspeth's hand tangled in her hair again and prevented her from turning. "Keep to your business, Rose. Just do it. Yes, that's right, just like that."
       Someone else was in the room. Rose could hear breathing, could sense a presence nearby. A floorboard creaked. She tried to sit up but Elspeth still held her.
       Large hard hands grasped her by the hips. In an instant, Rose knew who it was and what he was preparing to do. But the knowing it did not help her prevent it. Caleb hoisted her by the hips and wedged the throbbing meat of his cockhead at the opening of her vagina. 
       "No, please!" she cried, muffled against Elspeth. 
       "Keep licking!" Elspeth punctuated it with a sharp pinch to Rose's nipple. 
       "Don't let him –"
       Her plea was too late. Caleb plunged deep, his girth monstrous to a place that had only known the careful insertion of Isabella's fingers. Elspeth clamped her thighs shut on Rose's head, smothering her pained shriek. 
       Caleb was in her, buried to the hilt. Her abused tissues sobbed in expectation of the withdrawal and then the second brutal invasion, but he stayed where he was. He groped beneath her and found the little nubbin that Isabella had taught her about, and loved so well. His callused thumb toyed with it. 
       "You're not finished," Elspeth said, cuffing Rose on the ear. 
       She was in an aching storm of misery, but had to continue. The headmistress sighed and moaned lasciviously as Rose applied her mouth for all she was worth. 
       Meanwhile, Caleb remained as he was, his immense cock stretching her insides while his thumb coaxed her into a state of distracted, dismayed heat. She felt herself adapt to the fullness, welcome it. 
       He sensed it too, and commenced a steady back-and-forth rocking that moved him in and out only an inch or two at first, gradually extending it until he was pulling out to the very tip and then driving all the way back in. 
       Rose was hardly able to keep her mind on what she was doing, but Elspeth seemed not to care. It was as if she derived just as much satisfaction, or more, from witnessing the girl go from victim to willing participant. Soon, Rose abandoned her task altogether because she was shaking in uncontrollable spasms, hurtling headlong toward the peak. Elspeth laughed wildly. 
       "Yes, Caleb, fuck her good and hard now," she called, busily masturbating herself while Rose, on hands and knees, pushed her bottom back to meet each of Caleb's increasingly urgent thrusts. 
       He was snorting and puffing, and Rose thought of dogs, of bulls, and wondered how she must look. For a moment she saw them as if through Elspeth's eyes, the small red-haired girl and the huge man, hunched over her with his hips driving, driving. The image seared into her mind and sent her over the edge. She came in a desperate, wailing frenzy. And still he kept going, relentless, an unstoppable machine.
       "Stop, Caleb," Elspeth said. "That's enough."
       Caleb ignored her. He hefted Rose up, one arm around her slim waist because she could hardly support herself, and kept pounding into her. She was in an incoherent daze, aware only that she was about to climax again and not sure if she could stand it. But before she could assemble the words, let alone voice them, she was swept away again. 
       "I said enough, Caleb!" The sharp crack of a switch on flesh cut through the air. 
       Rose tumbled to the floor, dropped by Caleb and unable to catch herself. She landed on her side, stunned, and could only look on in detached amazement as Elspeth lashed Caleb again. He turned to his sister, face furrowed in confusion, cock still jutting. Elspeth's angry demeanor changed when she saw that mighty weapon, bloodied from Rose's innocence. She took hold of it. 
       "Poor little brother," she said in a sing-song tone that spoke of insanity. "Is this what's troubling you? Well, I'll make it all better, shall I?"
       Caleb nodded fervently. Elspeth bent over him and swallowed up as much of his cock as she could fit, smearing her lips and cheeks with streaks like warpaint. Her head went up and down, and Caleb's back arched. His cry was an ape's gibbering howl. Rose saw him convulse, saw the pumping jets of his fluid spurt out and overflow Elspeth's mouth. It ran down her chin in gluey white strings and dripped onto the slopes of her breasts. 

Chapter Six –

       The transformation rippled through the body bound to the marble slab. Flesh shifted over bone, muscles pulled into new configurations, and when all was said and done, Celestian opened his eyes and they flashed in sapphire triumph. 
       Varyk, still standing posed between the angel's thighs, raised an eyebrow sardonically. "And male and female He created them," the devil observed in a dry tone. "Tricky of you, very tricky."
       "Now you shall release me," Celestian declared, his voice a resonant baritone. 
       Breasts had been replaced by firm pectorals, his abdomen was taut and flat, his pelvis narrower above lean, long legs. At his groin, the opening that Varyk had threatened was gone in favor of a penis resting on a bed of curls, pale marble on gold. His shoulders had broadened, and his arms were those of a warrior who might brandish a blazing sword while leading the hosts of Heaven into battle. 
       "Impressive," Varyk said. "You have, however, made one slight misapprehension."
       "What's that?" the angel demanded.
       Placing one hand on either side of Celestian's waist, leaning over him so that the sheaves of dark hair tickled on milky-smooth skin, Varyk whispered, "That I would lose interest in you once you were no longer female."
       Celestian's eyes widened. "You would not!"
       "Tsk, tsk, how little you seraphim know of us." Varyk shook his head, bemused. "We couple in every imaginable configuration of gender and species known to man, and many that are unknown. Do you think I'd balk and spare your virtue simply because you've grown one of these?"
       He grasped the item in question between his palms and rolled it gently. A shiver of repellence went through Celestian and he lunged again in his bonds but found them every bit as impossible to break. At the same time, something tapered and hot wormed beneath Celestian's leg and under his buttock. It was the devil's tail. 
       "I could turn you over and take you here," Varyk said as the tip of his tail probed. "Or I could suck you until you're pleading for more." 
       His tongue, that evil and sly serpent that had already made mischief aplenty, curled lazily out to play along the underside of Celestian's shaft. He retracted it just in the very nick of time, for Celestian was horrified to realize that he had been on the verge of responding. That part of him had taken on some mind of its own, some mind that cared nothing for right or wrong but only for feeling and excitement. 
       "Or," Varyk went on, "I could find something to put in that inviting mouth of yours. What would you say to that, pretty angel? Would you bite me if I fucked your mouth?"
       He leaped straight up. For a moment, he hung suspended over Celestian, leathery wings stirring up a whirlwind of smoke and cinders, tail snapping and coiling. Then he came down and landed astraddle the trapped angel's chest, knees planted under Celestian's outstretched arms and his scarlet length poking stiffly toward Celestian's face. 
       "I would bite you!" Celestian said. 
       "I would like it," laughed Varyk.
       Claws snared Celestian's flowing hair and yanked his head up, bending his neck. He cried out in protest and pain, and Varyk silenced him by thrusting the hot spear of his erection fully into the angel's mouth. 
       "Bite me, then. Go on and bite. Or suck. It's all the same to me," Varyk said, his grin diabolical and his eyes burning. He shuttled rapidly in and out, gagging Celestian with each fore-stroke. 
       A taste of brimstone suffused the angel. Eager droplets like molten lava scalded the back of his throat. He tried valiantly to spit out the offending flesh, turn his head away, fight back. But Varyk was too strong and too determined. 
       Enraged beyond all endurance, Celestian bit down. His teeth sank into Varyk and drew blood.
       "Oh, yes! Harder!" Varyk exhorted. 
       Celestian did not oblige. He was choking, his mouth and throat poisoned with the hellish flavor of blood and other fluids. Varyk continued his quick jabbing thrusts, growling his passion.
       "It'll be … over … faster," the devil panted, "if you help."
       But that, no, Celestian could never bring himself to do. He attempted to detach himself from what was happening. If it could not be fought or resisted, at least he could distance himself from this violated body and not give Varyk the satisfaction of any response. 
       Yet how could he distance himself from this? His mouth was being raped full of a devil's semen, and Varyk did not lose his hardness but kept going, so that Celestian could not spit it out but had to swallow, swallow it or else drown. He drank of it and felt as though boiling liquid were pouring down his throat. And still Varyk's hips pumped. 
       Varyk's tail was not idle either. It slithered down Celestian's body and wrapped around his penis, coiling and constricting, insistent, undeniable. That traitorous part first twitched, like an animal waking from a long sleep, and then began to grow. Horrified beyond measure, Celestian resumed his struggles and hoped that if he could not free himself, he might at least distract Varyk before the devil noticed this new plight, this new shame. 
       Such luck was not with him. By the mocking howl of Varyk's mirth, by the way his tail twined itself more firmly than ever, Celestian knew he was found out. 
       "And they say angels are so pure, so perfect, so immune to temptation! Hah! They should see you now, shouldn't they? Might change things on Earth, don't you think? If they knew that not even angels could refrain from sin, they wouldn't beat themselves up so badly about it."
       The invasion of his mouth ended abruptly, Varyk drawing back. Celestian rolled his head to the side and spat out as much as he could, gathered saliva to rinse, and spat again. He was peripherally aware of the devil's movements, inching backward down his torso while the tail kept up that hideously arousing caress. 
       He would never be rid of the taste of Varyk. Never. It was all through him. The taint was everywhere, most of all in the dark hollow of his soul where part of him liked what he was feeling.
       A new touch … Varyk's hand again. Just holding him, and squeezing in rhythmic contractions. Celestian raised his head and looked in shamed fury at the pillar that stood up so tall and proud from his loins. The devil's hand, all crimson in contrast, encircled it and tugged. 
       "Shall I return the favor?" Varyk leaned low and applied his tongue again. "Ask me nicely."
       "Never!" The word came out broken into pieces by a wretched sob. 
       "Suppose I do anyway?"
       A red flare enveloped Celestian as Varyk swiftly took the entire length of him into his mouth. The angel's hips bucked helplessly. The heat was all around him, heat and fabulous, awful pleasure. His treacherous flesh reveled in it, raced uncontrollably toward the release of countless pent-up desires. 
       In the barest instant before he surrendered utterly, Varyk let go of him. 
       Celestian cried out in anguish, unable he could help himself. His lower half strained against the manacles. He was trembling just on the brink, another touch would do it, would release a copious flood of his seed, and there he was suspended in an agony of mind, body, and spirit. 
       "Poor angel," crooned Varyk. "So impassioned. So ready. I could take care of that for you. All you have to do is ask. Ask me. Beg me."
       He wanted to, God help him, he wanted to. But he was able to lock his jaw against it, although the effort made him shake. His fists were clenched until his nails gouged at his palms. He focused on nothing more than taking a breath and letting it out, and gradually the tension diminished. His groin still ached with wanting, but he was no longer on the edge of explosion. He exhaled slowly. 
       "Such willpower," Varyk murmured. And the devil's voice sounded different. Softer, throatier, warmer. The laugh was like smoke, and when a hand brushed Celestian's thigh, it was velvet. 
       He opened his eyes to behold a demoness. 
       It was Varyk, and yet it wasn't. Just as he was and wasn't Celestina. This apparition – call her Varyka – had the same scarlet skin and spreading wings, the same long flexible tail. The hair was the same color, but longer, waist-length and swirling. The face was heart-shaped with large, tilted eyes. And the figure … full breasts, a wasp's waist, hips that flared in a lush curve. 
       She was crouched over him, and the slick hairless cleft of her sex was positioned so that all she'd have to do would be to lower herself and Celestian's damnation would be complete. 

Chapter Seven –

       The sun droned through the high windows and cast dusty rays of light through the classroom. Professor Armitage was at the head of the room, tapping the blackboard with his pointer as he lectured endlessly on structuring Latin verbs. He plodded on although it had to be plain even to him that the girls rarely attended to the lesson on the best of days. 
       Today, attention was at its lowest yet. Isabella slouched on the uncomfortable wooden bench, her thoughts miles away from dead languages. She was thinking about Rose, and Margaret, and the stories she'd been hearing from her classmates. Stories that made her want to fidget in her seat, stories that set her to itching with an unquenchable itch. 
       Not even the little toy her aunt had sent her would help much. It had never seemed a poor substitute before, that sculpted ivory device made in the shape of a cock. But last night, when she had brought it from its hiding place beneath a loose floorboard in her room, it had failed to give her the customary delight. 
       She wanted the real thing. When would it be her turn? She had seen with her own eyes what had happened to Catherine, lucky Catherine, who'd been mopping the downstairs hall when Caleb had come along and, without so much as a by-your-leave, flipped up her skirt over her head and whisked her underthings off and done her standing up against the wall. 
       Isabella had been dusting the lamp sconces not five yards away, well within view of the entire proceedings. But Caleb hadn't even looked her way. Catherine had, once or twice, but never in a mute appeal for help. No, her expression had been one of smug vindication as she hooked her ankles in the small of Caleb's back and put her arms around his neck and held on for dear life as he slammed her back into the wall with each powerful thrust. 
       It rankled to be neglected. Wasn't she prettier than Catherine? Let alone Margaret … although she was perhaps not quite so pretty as Abigail. Sweet, demure Abigail, who scurried from class to class like a hunted thing. She had to know that her long blond ringlets, creamy skin, and flawless features turned the rest of the girls green with envy. They'd like to see Abigail dragged down with the rest of them. 
       Yes, that would be gratifying. Abigail with her guardian angel, and her blushing avowal that she never thought about men that way. Abigail, who looked away whenever the naughty picture books were brought out and passed around. Innocent, righteous Abigail. 
       As much as Isabella wanted it to be her turn, she decided that she'd gladly put it off if there was a chance Abigail would be next. What a splendid sight that would be! Abigail's blond beauty crushed beneath Caleb's bulk … Abigail on her knees while the headmistress lashed her bottom … Abigail blindfolded and made to service the other girls with her innocent little mouth …
       She shifted in her seat again and, seeing that everyone else was lost in daydreams or gazing at the slice of view afforded by the windows, dropped a hand into her lap. Professor Armitage had picked up a book from his desk and began to read aloud in his dry, dull voice. 
       Carefully, slowly, Isabella gathered up her skirt inch by inch until she had it piled in her lap. She wore nothing underneath. Her thighs parted just enough to admit her fingers, which sank into the damp tangle of hair to find their goal. 
       A gusty breath, almost a sigh, escaped her as she found the fleshy button that protruded poutingly from her nether lips. She let her eyes drift to half-lidded and imagined her cousin Frederic, and his mother, her aunt Sofia. That summer at their country house … she and Frederic, playing foolish love games in the back garden … at least, that was what she had believed at the time. Frederic, a year older and far wiser, had known exactly what he was doing when he persuaded her to show him her cunny and promised to show her his cock in return. 
       One thing had led to another and they had been just about to join their differences as nature intended when Aunt Sofia had found them. The wrath and punishment that Isabella expected were not forthcoming, though. On the contrary, Sofia had immediately undressed and joined them, and offered advice and instruction as her son fucked his virginal cousin. 
       Isabella had learned more that summer of her eighteenth year than she had in a full year at Dame Agnes of the Hills. She had been more than happy to pass on her knowledge to her friends, who could be counted on to perform oral joys for like compensation, and Aunt Sofia had presented her with the ivory tool with a smile and a kiss, telling her it would have to suffice until the holidays when she could come and visit with them again. 
       Memories of her aunt and her cousin and that long, lazy vacation so filled her mind and lent themselves to her solitary pleasure that she did not notice when the bell rang and the girls collected their books and slates and left the room. Only when a shadow blotted the sunlight did she gasp and look up. 
       Professor Armitage was beside her desk, staring thunderstruck into her lap. She had hiked her skirt higher, and braced a foot on the bench in front to give herself better access, and her cleft was plainly visible. 
       The instructor stammered and the pointer fell from his grasp. 
       She was struck with a brief flash of embarrassment that faded almost as soon as it appeared. Her hand, which had frozen in its leisurely rubbing, resumed with more purpose and she looked directly into Professor Armitage's eyes. They were round behind his glasses, mimicking the O of his gaping mouth, and in that instant he could have passed for even more of a halfwit than Caleb. But he was, she realized for the first time, not as old and musty as he had always seemed. He couldn't be more than her father's age, and was really rather handsome. 
       "Do you like what you see?" she breathed, pushing the desk away to expose her bare legs. 
       "Isabella … what are you … this is hardly …" 
       He was trying to sound disapproving, but the bulge in his trousers belied it. Isabella pressed her other hand against it and he jumped. 
       "I think you do like what you see."
       His mouth worked soundlessly. She gripped him through the cloth and he reeled on his feet. By the feel of it, he was a big fellow indeed. Perhaps not quite up to Caleb's monstrous proportions, but certainly more than adequate. She gave an experimental squeeze and traced the outline of his cockhead. 
       "Isabella …" Was that a plea or a condemnation? Did it matter?
       "Quick," she said. "Before the next class is due. Quick, fuck me. Right here. Right now."
       Armitage reeled again. "No … no, we mustn't … I'll be dismissed … you'll be expelled …"
       She leaned close, cupped her lips over the bulge, and blew a moist, steamy breath through the cloth of his trousers to bathe his member. He moaned and his fingers clutched at her hair, dislodging the pins so that it fell in a dark tumble to her shoulders. 
       "Do me," she whispered harshly.
       "On the desk," he said thickly. "On my desk. Hurry."
       Moments later, she was on her back with Latin texts strewn around and her dress a crumple on the floor. Armitage's trousers were unbuttoned and he was kneeling over her, fumbling in frantic need. The tip of him just touched her when they heard voices in the hall. The door was ajar, and steps came closer. 
       Panicked, he scrambled to get off of her but Isabella held him. 
       "Stick it in me," she demanded.
       "We'll be caught!"
       "Do it!"
       With a despairing cry, he fell upon her and sank his cock with unerring accuracy precisely where she wanted it. The warm, living replacement for cold ivory went in just as the door opened to admit several of Isabella's classmates. 
       Professor Armitage's reaction delighted her. He must have reasoned that since he was caught, he was ruined anyway, and might as well have the best possible fuck that he could in order to make up for it. In full view of the other girls, he fucked with a frenzy that made the desk jitter and creak, sent books cascading to the floor, and drove Isabella to rapturous fits. 
       The girls surrounded them, oddly silent, oddly watchful. Their hands were clasped before them and it was a trick of the dancing motes of sunlight and stripes of shadow through the shutters but they could almost have been carrying candles, could almost have been cowled. They made a circle around the desk as Armitage greedily attacked Isabella's breasts, as his buttocks went up and down, as his cock rammed into her with wet smacking noises. 
       Rose was nearest to Isabella's head. Their eyes met. "Now?" Rose asked.
       Isabella did not have to be told what she meant. "No. Not yet. I'm almost … oh, so close!"
       Armitage did not give the impression of having heard the exchange. He quickened his pace, his face set in that peculiar tormented mask men wore when they were about to spend. Isabella felt him tense within her, knew it, and nodded to Rose. 
       Each of the girls brought weapons from places of hiding. Knives, winking silver in the dusty sunlight, and hatpins, and long knitting needles. 
       Professor Armitage shrieked in surprise and pain. His back arched and his head craned back, and at that penultimate moment Rose stepped up and slashed his throat. 
       His death throes pushed Isabella over the brink. She wallowed in it, the sweet thunder and crashing waves ruling her, bathing in his blood and milking his cock. When he went limp both atop and inside of her, it took five of the girls to help roll him off.

Chapter Eight – 

       The she-devil crouched over Celestian, cruel and beautiful, her tail slicing the smoky air. Although nowhere were they touching, he could feel the heat baking off of her, fanned by the sweep of her wings. 
       A fraction of an inch, no more, was all that separated them. She hovered there, taunting him, plucking at the maroon rubies of her nipples with her ebony claws. The war within Celestian raged unabated. He had to remain still, could not allow himself to be a participant in this … and yet all it would take was a slight upward push with his pelvis …
       "If it's so wrong," Varyka whispered huskily through full, carmine lips, "why did He even make you capable of it? Did you ever think that, my pretty angel?"
       A theological argument was the last thing he was prepared for. He quaked with the effort of holding his body still, absolutely still, and trying to force his thoughts away from the wanton urges that coursed through him. 
       "You're a fool to deny yourself," she went on with a laugh as rich and dark as chocolate. "What will it change? It only prolongs your suffering. What a silly way to behave, when with one little movement, you could have what you crave."
       "No." It sounded weak, pitiful. 
       "Shall I spare you the onus of making the decision? Shall I lower myself onto you and let you keep your pretense of resistance?"
       So saying, she bent her knees just the tiniest bit more, enough to bring the outer lips of her cleft into contact with him. He gritted his teeth against a bolt of pure lust, and somehow found the will to not move. 
       "Why are you making this so difficult on yourself?" purred Varyka, wriggling her hips enticingly. He could feel her molten oils coating his skin and it was almost more than he could endure. 
       "Perhaps just a quick sample of what you're missing," she said, and in a slow and purposeful motion sank down, surrounding him in slick tightness and liquid flame. 
       His scream roared up from the very heart of him, ripped from his throat, surely rocking Hell to its foundations. Varyka settled her weight onto him, her buttocks on his thighs, her hands resting lightly on his chest. She did not move except to contract around his engorged shaft, and sighed gutturally. 
       "Oh, my angel. How wonderful that feels … you're all the way into me now, all the way to the hilt. Do you like it?"
       He prayed for deliverance, silently, refusing to look at her. To be freed from this … to be smote down and destroyed … anything except this humiliation, this violation. 
       "What a question," Varyka chided herself. "Of course you like it. How could you not?"
       A thunder filled his head, cataclysmic and terrible. 
       "The only way it could be any better would be if we were to do a little of … this … I'm only doing this to demonstrate," she added as she bounced playfully up and down. 
       On an upstroke, she raised off of him entirely and he screamed again, this time in frustration. 
       "Oh, but I had to," she explained. "If I'd have kept going like that, Celestian, you would have made me come again. Surely you don't want to do that, do you? To have me ride that lovely alabaster cock of yours and use you savagely for my own demonic pleasures? Thy rod and thy staff and all?"
       He was beyond discourse. His body strained up for hers, for the hot slick haven that had been so abruptly and rudely denied him. His head flew side to side in denial, not of her and what she said but as a gesture of his own inability to resist her hellish charms. 
       "Someone's sorry to lose his warm hideaway." Varyka reached down and stroked him, just once but lingeringly, and Celestian nearly went mad. "Believe me, I'm sorry too. You're a magnificent creature and you promise to be a marvelous fuck. But …" and she sighed again, exaggeratedly, "If you're not willing …"
       She got down from the marble slab, her dark eyes twinkling despite her expression of sorrow. As she walked away from him, hips and tail swinging, she paused and half-turned to afford him a view of one peaked breast. She snapped her fingers and the manacles on his wrists and ankles popped open. 
       "Been nice knowing you," she said, and blew him a kiss.
       Celestian sprang from the makeshift altar. A blizzard of feathers blew around him from his wings, which had been damaged in his futile struggling. He bounded after Varyka, all reason abandoned and intent on one thing and one thing only. Her screech as he seized her around the waist was of victory and glee. 
       He whirled around with the demoness in his arms, hurled her flat on the marble, and pinned her there. His hair hung in his face in knotted blond tangles, furious white fire blazed from his eyes, and he rudely threw open her legs to sate the consuming urge that ruled him. 
       "Yessss," she hissed, lifting to him. "Yes, my angel, take me. Be rough!"
       Rough? He could not imagine being anything else. It did not matter that they were being observed, would not have mattered if every eye in Hell and every host of Heaven was in attendance. He had to have her, would have her, and at last the consuming ache in his flesh would be relieved. 
       He drove into her fast and fierce, inflamed beyond measure, caring nothing for what feelings he might be bringing her but selfishly and insanely absorbed in sating his need. She was savage beneath him, meeting his every thrust while exhorting him to go harder and faster yet. Her claws carved furrows in his back, shredded feathers from his wings in a white storm. 
       The pain added to it, heightened it. Celestian could not hold back and did not even try. He poured forth into her, emptied himself, felt the world spin and turn inside-out and whirl and fragment in one endless galvanic eruption. 
       Varyka writhed with a banshee's shriek, dousing him with the scalding fluids of her orgasm. No sooner had one series of shuddering spasms subside than they rolled, and he pulled her atop him. The blackness of her hair shrouded his face as he looked up into the twin furnaces of her eyes. 
       "Now you," Celestian whispered hoarsely. "Now you take me."
       Even as he said it, he let go and felt himself alter. That part of him within Varyka diminished and receded, while the planes of his torso softened and rose up into firm curves. 
       The demoness understood instantly and followed suit, changing back to the visage he'd worn when they first met. Celestina could feel the hard prod of him against her thigh and did not shy away from it but welcomed it. 
       "Here it is, my angel," Varyk said. "Is this what you want?"
       "Yes, yes, now!" 
       "Say the word."
       "Fuck me!" Celestina shouted, her lips blistering as the vulgarity passed them. 
       "Your wish is my command," he replied. 
       The last vestige of her purity was pierced with only the barest flicker of pain, and even that was swiftly lost in overwhelming pleasure. And while she as a male had been rough with him as a female, Varyk chose to have this time be the reverse and slid slowly, even gently, in and out of her with gliding but purposeful strokes. If anything, it only made Celestina wilder with passion. She came three times while Varyk kept up that slow, measured pace, and only then did he succumb to a rapid rocking that wrenched still another climax from the fallen angel. 

Chapter Nine –

       "We should go back," Gwen said. "I promised my Da that I wouldn't stay out so late with you."
       "Go back?" groaned Jimmy. "We're not even to the river yet and I was hoping –"
       "What?" she cut in when he faltered. 
       "To, well, have some time together."
       She gave him an arch look that said she knew exactly what he was hoping and the more fool he for getting his hopes – not to mention anything else – up. Ahead of them, lost in the copse of woods near the bend in the river, Wulf barked excitedly. 
       "I'll at least walk to the bank with you," she said, relenting. "But we can only stay a moment. It's getting dark."
       "That's never bothered you before."
       "I know, but things are different now." She glanced north and then away almost as quickly, as if just the sight of the school brought a qualm to her marrow. 
       Jimmy knew what she was talking about. There had been strange talk about the students of Dame Agnes of the Hills, stranger than even the usual petty jealousies from the poor folk who resented rich girls squandering money on studies as if they thought themselves better than everyone else. 
       Strange talk. One of the teachers had been called away so suddenly that not even his wife knew where he'd gone or when he'd be back. Will Cooper, who ran the village store, swore up and down that after the headmistress had come shopping, all the milk jugs had curdled. Hannah Brewster had gone out to Dame Agnes and fallen ill the very next day. And the parsonage cat had whelped a litter of two-headed kittens, too malformed to live yet somehow clinging to life. Their mews, Jimmy had heard, sounded like the cries of dying babies. 
       He personally did not put much stock in it. Certainly not enough to be worried at walking by the river, which wasn't really all that close to the school anyway. But he could tell that Gwen had lost whatever flirtatiousness she'd had when he had gone calling at her door, and resigned himself to yet one more night of going to bed unfulfilled and wondering. 
       Wulf barked again, that particular agitated sound he made when he was about to have one of his randy fits. It disgusted Jimmy's mother no end, and she had told him straight to his face that the next time Wulf came sniffing around her lady-friends when it was her turn to host tea, poking his nose at their skirts or trying to mate with their legs, she would strangle him with a length of clothesline. 
He believed her. 
       Gwen made a face, recognizing that bark too. "I don't want to go anywhere near that dog of yours if he's in that mood again," she said with a scowl. "He's worse than you are."
       Jimmy sputtered indignantly, not sure whether to defend his dog first or the slander on himself. Before he could decide which, though, Gwen tilted her head to one side and her brows knit. 
       "Do you hear that?" she asked in a hushed tone that reminded him of church. "The music?"
       He heard nothing but Wulf, and the wind in the trees, and the distant rush of the river. He said as much. 
       "Well, I hear it." She slipped her hand out of his and started forward.
       "Where are you going?"
       "To see where it's coming from. Isn't it the most beautiful music?"
       A chill trickled down Jimmy's spine. "Gwen, stop it. There's nothing but the wind and the river." Which was true; Wulf had fallen silent. 
       "Wait here. I'll be right back."
       "But I was –"
       "Wait here, I said," she snapped, as stern as his mother so that he had no choice but to obey. 
       She hurried ahead, and vanished into the copse. He waited where she had told him to, shifting his weight from foot to foot, occasionally turning around to make sure nothing was creeping up behind him …
       What in the world was that all about? He was perfectly safe. Barely a stone's throw from his own home. What had put such an idea into his head?
       The night, quiet. No sign of Gwen. No sign of Wulf. The darkness spreading like an ink stain. And there, in the direction Gwen had gone, he just made out a pinprick of lights. 
       "Gwen?" He called more loudly than he meant to and was abashed at the nervousness he heard in his voice. "Wulf! Here, boy."
       No response from either. He waited a while longer, and then decided that if Gwen wanted to be cross with him that was just too bloody bad, but he was going after her. 
       He followed the way Gwen had taken, and the closer he got to the copse the more sure he became that there were many small lights at its heart. Candles, perhaps. He entered the woods and made for them. And now he was aware of the music that had called Gwen. Except it wasn't music, not exactly, but singing. Chanting. 
       The branches clutched at him as if warning him not to go on. He brushed past them and saw a clearing ahead lit by the blaze of many tapers. They were set on stumps and logs, on rocks, embedded in holes dug in the soil. The pale, flickering light illuminated a scene that brought Jimmy to a dead halt, shock slapping the wits from him. 
       Gwen was there. Gwen as he had never seen her. Naked. The luscious big bubbies that he had managed on two occasions to feel through her blouse but had never seen were plainly visible now, caressed by the candlelight. Her hips, her legs, the dark triangle of hair … there she was, clad only in candlelight. And stretched out on a blanket so white it could have been woven from the stuff of the summer clouds. 
       His first wild thought was that she had planned this as a surprise for him, that she finally meant to give him what he'd been wanting for what seemed like ages. But the rest of it did not reconcile. The others. She wasn't alone. 
       The girls from Dame Agnes of the Hills surrounded her. Each wore a loose cowled robe of some dark cloth, unbelted and hanging open so that whenever they moved, Jimmy was afforded the glimpse of a breast, a leg, the low and sweet curve of a belly. They carried more candles as they walked in a stately processional around Gwen, weaving in a pattern as they went like Maypole dancers. 
       Two of them were otherwise occupied with Wulf. Jimmy's eyes widened until he feared they'd fall out. A brunette was reclined before the dog with her robe thrown open, holding Wulf by the collar as she coaxed his muzzle and readily-lapping tongue into the parting of her thighs. A second, her cowl thrown back to reveal chestnut curls and fresh-faced prettiness, was crouched beside Wulf and reaching under him to fondle the furred sheath and the glistening cock already stiffly protruding from it. 
       Jimmy could not move so much as an inch. He was sure that he was dreaming, hallucinating, that he'd fallen and struck his head, for nothing else could account for what he was seeing. 
       The girls moved around Gwen, and then some of them broke from their pattern, set aside their candles, and shed their robes. One knelt to Gwen's right side and another to her left and they began to play with and lick at and suckle her breasts. A third got between Gwen's legs and buried her face where Jimmy had countless times fantasized burying his. A fourth squatted over Gwen's face, reaching down to spread her labia as she lowered her cunny to Gwen's waiting mouth. 
       A fifth stood by, still in her robe with her hands folded into the voluminous sleeves. As Gwen, moving with the languid manner of one drugged or half-asleep, surrendered to the lewd touches and tongues of the girls, this fifth nodded imperiously to some of the others. 
       Four of them went to something heavy in the grass and struggled with it. The last two continued their weaving, chanting procession and finished up flanking the one who seemed to be in command. 
       Thirteen, Jimmy realized with a tingle of fright that permeated his stunned mind. He became aware that his head might not be able to understand what was going on, but his body was far ahead of him. His trousers strained with an uncomfortable tautness and his heart was pounding in his chest. 
       Thirteen. He thought it again, and wondered why that was important. Then it struck him.
       The four girls managed to raise up the end of the heavy object they'd been struggling with, and braced it on a boulder not far from where Gwen gasped and moaned under the ministrations of their sisters. It was wooden, a clumsy cross, and they hoisted the base of it so that the top was slanted steeply toward the ground. 
       Some instinctive part of Jimmy knew what was going on but the rest of him could not credit it. Could not accept it. 
       At a signal from the leader, the other girls abandoned their tasks on Gwen. She made some wordless protest. The two who'd been busy with her breasts now held her by the wrists as the leader advanced. 
       She drew something from the sleeve of her robe and held it high. The girls murmured in a sing-song litany, their bodies swaying as if in homage to the ivory object. 
       It was a … a prick, Jimmy saw with renewed shock. A prick carved from ivory, almost glowing in the light of many candles. 
       The leader moved between Gwen's legs. Jimmy could not believe what she intended until it was too late, until the ivory prick disappeared all the way into the girl he'd planned to marry. Gwen screamed and her back arched from the quick, merciless defloration. The leader thrust with it a few times, miming copulation, then withdrew it and held it aloft again so that all could see how its whiteness was stained with red. 
       Belatedly, Jimmy burst through the concealing brush. "No!"
       Gwen was unaware of him. The others reacted with the speed of snakes. They did not scatter and flee but raced at him, and for the precious moment that mattered he was too startled to run. When he did turn, they were already on him. 
       He fought them, everything he'd ever been told about not hitting girls absolutely forgotten, but they overpowered him as if he were no more than a child. They grappled him to the ground. They ripped his clothes from his thrashing limbs. They lifted him and carried him across the clearing, past Gwen as she lay there with her hands cupped protectively over her violated … no, she was rubbing herself and oblivious to his plight. 
       Jimmy opened his mouth to cry for help and one of the girls stuffed a wad of cloth into it, stifling him. He was lowered at an angle, felt the rough scrape of bark on his bare back, and fought harder as he understood they were putting him on their upended cross. It was no use. The girls bound his wrists with tight cords, secured his ankles, and stood around him with eyes that gleamed in the flat, inhuman hatred of reptiles. 
       From where he was, he had an upside-down and distorted view of Gwen. She did not so much as look his way, not even when the leader directed her to turn over, to kneel on the expanse of white cloth – stippled now with virginal blood – and stick her bottom in the air. 
       Wulf was led over by the other two girls. The dog's hindquarters were already twitching, hunching, humping at the air. Jimmy shut his eyes in horror but some evil force peeled the lids back and made him watch as the girls positioned the large dog behind Gwen. 
       He tried to get words past the gag but Wulf, no loyal pet now, ignored his bound and helpless master. All of the dog's attention was on Gwen, snuffling at her raised buttocks. Whining with eagerness, Wulf mounted her. His forepaws made muddy tracks on her back and his haunches moved in short, sharp jabs. 
       The leader of the girls, only a cruel smile showing beneath the hooded darkness of her cowl, made a gesture. 
       All at once, the dazed look cleared from Gwen's eyes. She was suddenly and vividly aware of where she was and what was happening to her, and Jimmy saw it break her mind with a clean kindling-wood snap. She screamed shrilly into the night as the dog went faster, as the girls around her laughed and chanted. Then Wulf swung his hind leg over and twisted his body around and they were locked backside to backside, his cock lodged and swollen inside her. 
       At that moment, one of the girls drove a spike through Wulf's skull with a hard blow from a mallet. The dog dropped instantly, dead, but still stuck within Gwen. Another girl seized Gwen's head in the crook of her arm and jerked-snapped. Gwen stiffened, eyes and mouth agape, and then all the life fled from her and she was a rag doll. 
       Jimmy was blinded by hysterical tears. Through that blurred veil, he saw the girls lifting the locked-together bodies of Gwen and Wulf, and bringing them toward him. They arranged Gwen over Jimmy's legs, the dead weight of her sprawled and still sickly warm across his thighs. Wulf rested on the rock, tongue lolling. 
       His skin and flesh recoiled, but he could not move Gwen off of him, could not get away. As a finishing touch, one of the girls tucked the fear-shrunken flaccid worm that was Jimmy's cock into Gwen's slack mouth.
       A brief stinging pain touched his arms. Jimmy, teetering on the brink of madness and wishing for it because then nothing would matter, none of this would matter, he would descend into raving and never have to think about any of it, rolled his head and saw a dark flow running from a long gash in the tender meat of his inner forearm. He had been laid open wrist to elbow on both arms, and tilted as he was the life's blood was running freely out of him. 
       The girls stood in a circle, holding candles, chanting, and watching him die. It took a long time, for the same tilt that sped the flood out of his veins also pooled it in his head and kept him aware until the very end. Aware, with no refuge in madness. 
       The last thing he heard before death was a voice, one he knew had to belong to the leader. He heard the words, but they meant little to him. 
       "The final rite. Abigail will serve."
       When the enveloping darkness closed in, Jimmy was glad.

Chapter Ten – 

       It became a blur to Celestina after that, all red-black-shifting-churning. How many times they changed genders and shapes, he … or was it she? … did not know. 
       The fallen angel remembered climaxes like earthquakes and apocalypses, remembered penetrating and being penetrated, and the demon lover doing such things with that supple tail that could barely be described. 
       There was a time when both of them assumed hermaphroditic forms and bent themselves around each other in ways that no mortal could ever contrive, writhing together to mutual ecstasy. 
       Feathers all around, the charred smell of them as they withered and turned black. Claws digging, and the battering of their violent sex, and skin darkening with bruises and blood.
       At some point it seemed that she … or was it he? … had grown a tail, and claws, and that the denuded wings had turned leathery and batlike. And somehow, they had ceased being alone and were joined by others. The cat-demon, all sleek fur and wanton sensuality. Amorphous ghostly things that could assume whatever configuration would fit whatever orifices were available. He … or she … such things did not seem to matter now … was lost in an orgy of unending inventiveness. 
       Somewhere, as if from very far away, Celestina thought he heard someone calling out to her. Begging for his help. She ignored it, but it came back, persistent and underlaid with other sounds. Voices that chanted, and bells that tolled. 
       Varyk, male again at the moment and bent over a likewise-male Celestian from behind while vigorously sodomizing him – and sucking him at the same time with a toothless maw that had opened at the end of his tail – chuckled into his ear. 
       "We're being summoned. Shall we?"

Chapter Eleven – 

       "Deliver me, please, deliver me from evil, this I pray," Abigail said, clutching the statuette of the angel so tightly in her clasped hands that she could feel its lines impressing themselves in the skin of her palms. 
       She had been kneeling for hours in the posture of prayer, until her knees ached and her neck was sore from bowing her head and the hardwood of the floor felt more and more like stone. All around her, she could hear the noises of the house and did her best to unhear them. 
       The door to her room was barricaded by every stick of furniture that furnished it. She had done that in the morning, after waking with refreshed hopes that all the vileness on the loose in Dame Agnes of the Hills would have been washed away by the dawning light. Buoyed in her spirits, light of heart, she had tripped happily downstairs to the dining hall and into the midst of an orgy. 
       All of the tables and benches had been shoved to the walls, to clear the way for a vast open space of floor marked all over with chalk symbols and sigils and pentagrams. It was more than just lewd acts of indecency, she saw in that instant. It was unholiness of the darkest sort. 
       They had been in every possible contortion, pairing, or grouping, her classmates. Girls with girls, wherever hands or mouths could reach, inserting the blunt ends of unlit candles into each other. Girls with Caleb, one astride his loins and another smothering his face while he mauled two others with his hands and yet another squirmed her way under and around the pile to do something mercifully unseen to his backside. Girls with Headmistress Elspeth, the latter wielding her hickory switch and striping bare skin with scarlet. 
       At the midst of it all was a gutted and blooded goat hung upside-down from a hook, and from time to time the revelers paused in their depraved acts to bow to it, or kiss its lips, or squeeze its dangling genitals. Abigail saw Isabella and Rose smearing and daubing each other with something from a clay pot, something dark and sticky and stinking of the slaughterhouse, and saw or fancied she saw that when they were anointed with this substance their feet seemed to leave the ground and float instead above it. 
       Overlaying all was a heavy and foreboding sense of dire dread. Abigail, although she only witnessed the scene for a few moments before terror spurred her into fleeing, nonetheless was sure she might live to be a great-grandmother and never be able to forget an instant in which she believed she had actually seen that ominous specter take on a smoky and unknowable form. 
       She had fled, oh, fled as though all the devils of Hell were on her heels. For all she knew, they might have been. Her first impulse had been to escape the academy altogether. Out the front door, off of the grounds, over the hills, to the village. But she skidded to a halt in the foyer at the spectacle that awaited her there – the corpse of the Latin teacher, Professor Armitage, flayed and beheaded and scored with wounds, his own head nailed into the palms of his hands and held before him so that he appeared to be fellating himself. 
       He was dead, she knew that, dead and could not harm her. But the door and its handle had been gruesome with his gore. And what she knew meant nothing to what she knew, which was that as soon as she was foolish enough to draw close, to reach for the door or step over him, he would reanimate. He would yank the nails from his skull with an awful scraping sound, and hold out his decapitated head to her for a kiss, or drive the nails that impaled his palms into her head and drag her down to complete the act. 
       So she ran for the stairs instead, ran to her room, and shut herself away. The thought of the window taunted her. She should be able to escape through it, perhaps using the bedclothes to serve as a makeshift rope. But if she fell … it was far to fall and she envisioned herself landing hard on the paving-stones of the courtyard, her bones cracking. How could she possibly get to the village then?
       It might just be easier to give in, to surrender. Whatever was here had already claimed all of the other girls. And by the look of them, the sound of them, it wasn't so bad. Was, in fact, quite nice. They certainly seemed to be enjoying themselves. Didn't they beg for more? Didn't they move willingly from one partner to the next and throw themselves into each other's arms with an abandon that spoke of more freedom than Abigail had ever known?
       And really … wouldn't another girl know more about what felt good? Her future husband would not, if Mother was to be believed. He would care only for himself and nothing for her pleasure. A woman, though, would know the precise spots, the precise way to touch. 
       A weakness swept Abigail. She trembled, and thought of them … so gloriously naked and free, no cares for what was proper or ladylike. Sighing and crying out in sheerest ecstasy. While here she was, untouched and alone, hiding in her room like a frightened mouse. She should be down there among them. She was as pretty as any of them, as desirable, surely. She'd seen the way some of them had looked at her. As if wondering what her nipples might feel like between their teeth, or how she'd taste down there. 
       Weakness and warmth, reddening her cheeks, making her breath come in quick little gasps. 
       Between her pressed-together hands, she felt the statuette change
       She squeaked a cry and dropped it. The angel tumbled through the air, taking forever to cross the few feet of distance from her hands to the floor, and as it went end over end she saw with fainting horror that it was blighted. The pure alabaster had gone dark where her hands had been touching it. 
       "Unclean," Abigail whispered, staring at her palms. They looked blameless but she stared as if they might begin to pustule and seethe with corruption. 
       Fervently, she began her prayers again. She avoided looking at the angel in hopes that when she finished, when she cleansed her soul, she would find it pristine and white once more. 
       The voice was that of the headmistress, muffled by the door and the furniture piled there but still the voice of authority. An angry, thunderous voice. "Open this door."
       Abigail cowered. Disobedience … she had never been disobedient before. 
       "Now, girl!"
       The tone of command was so strong that she involuntarily rose and took a step before catching herself. "No!" she cried back defiantly. "No, I won't!"
       "You're the last one, Abigail. You should be honored. We've been saving you. Saving you for him."
       "Leave me alone!"
       "Caleb, break it down."
       Abigail retreated to the far wall as the door shook beneath a terrific blow. The furniture jumped and squealed on the floorboards. He struck it again, again, a juggernaut. The walls puffed plaster dust and cracks raced across the ceiling. 
       A broken leg was the least of her worries now. Abigail spun to the window and flung up the sash, ready to jump if she had to and hope for the best. 
       Isabella was floating in mid-air outside the window, wearing nothing but a devil's sign painted on her belly in blood. Her hair flew about her in a hag's wig and her lips were clotted with unthinkable substances. A crescent moon, a devil-moon, was riding low in the sky behind her and crowned her head with its lambent, eerie horns.
       She laughed and it was the high screech of nails on a slate. Even as Abigail tried to pull back from the window, Isabella's arm shot in and caught her by the throat. 
       Abigail's feet slid across boards that might as well have been greased. The power of Isabella's grip was unnatural. She tore at the fingers that clamped around her neck but they were as iron bands, impossible to dislodge. 
       The rest of the girls were waiting below, arms upraised to catch Abigail as she plunged into their circle. She was uninjured but knocked breathless, and had no time to get her bearings before they swarmed over her. Cords tied her, and hands lifted her, and she was borne into the building again and into the dining room that had been the scene of such obscenity. 
       "Ungrateful wretch," Headmistress Elspeth snarled as the girls placed Abigail's bound body in the center of a pentagram. "Clearly, you do not appreciate the honor you're being shown."
       "Please don't," sobbed Abigail. "Please. I don't want to."
       "You will and you'll like it." The switch whipped out and the headmistress only diverted it a hair's breadth before it would have struck Abigail. 
       Perhaps not wanting her marked, Abigail thought. Virginal and unmarked. For what?
       Caleb was looming over her, massaging himself hungrily. He reached out, but the switch landed on the back of his hand and he yanked it back, sucking at the weal across his knuckles. 
       "Not you, you great oaf," Elspeth said. "She's not for you. Not yet. Not until he's done with her. Make her ready."
       This last was directed at Catherine and Margaret. While they came forth, the others formed a circle and began a low, haunting chant. 
       "Margaret, Catherine, please," Abigail implored. "It's me. Don't do this. Please."
       She might not have spoken at all. Catherine unfastened and removed her clothing, while Margaret produced a pot of incense-smelling oil. 
       "No, Margaret, no!"
       Abigail was as naked as any of them, feeling their gazes like worm-tracks on her flesh, coating her in pallid slime. Margaret raised the pot and tipped it. Oil drizzled down to make streams and rivulets on Abigail's skin. It was warm. It permeated her with a heady, pleasant feeling. 
       "Please," she begged again, but it was little more than a sigh. 
       Elspeth took up and led the chant. It was in a language Abigail could not understand, and yet she could. As if some deep part of her recognized the ancient speech, recognized the chilling names that the headmistress invoked. 
       A wraith of smoke appeared in the room, the colors of blood and soot and pain and sin. As it drifted about the circle of girls, it paused here and there and twined around them. They turned and preened in its insubstantial embrace, grasped at it. 
       "Our wickedness opened the door to him," Elspeth said conversationally to Abigail. "Just a little bit, just the merest crack, that was all he needed to slip in, to insinuate himself in us. To inspire us. He found the girls cuddling and playing love games with each other and that was his invitation. He found Caleb watching, abusing himself, and the door opened yet further. He found my thoughts, the ones I dared never admit or even examine, and worked his will to bring them about. He showed me the delicious pleasure that could be had. All the more delicious when it was against morality. I took my brother, I fucked him, and the very forbiddenness of it made it better than anything another man might have given me. Now we have brought him here."
       The smoky form took on a winged shape, crimson and black. 
       Silently, inwardly, Abigail beseeched for help. Surely her guardian angel had not abandoned her, surely the forces of good could not be so severe as to leave her to this fate when she was guilty of nothing more than sinful thought. If ever she'd had a guardian angel, now would be the time. 
       A white burst of light exploded in the dining hall. The girls cried out and covered their faces, dazzled by the brightness. Another form appeared just as the demon materialized. 
       "My angel!" Abigail was transported with joy. "My angel, I'm saved, I'm spared –"
       The words died on her lips. 

Chapter Twelve –

       Celestian looked down at the girl. So young and so innocent, and at the same time so ripe, so lush, so enticing. He saw the brilliant hope in her eyes become puzzlement as the blinding light around him faded … and then apprehension. Apprehension mixed with something else. 
       "Do you know what she sees?" Varyk chuckled. 
       The devil had seized the headmistress and held her upside-down by the ankles, thrusting hard into her bottom so that she screamed and flailed and bled. The other girls and Caleb stood spellbound. 
       "What does she see?" Celestian asked. 
       "Look at yourself through her eyes," he suggested.
       Abigail was so small and pale there on the floor, shining with oil in the middle of that scrawl of arcane symbols. Celestian blinked and was peering up at himself from her perspective, at the towering white form with its lazily-beating wings. 
       Except this was no creature of angelic perfection. He was chalk-white, his golden hair gone the color of pewter. His wings and the barbed tail descending from his hindquarters were draconian in aspect, and ivory claws sprouted from his fingers and toes. His face was as flawless and handsome as it had ever been, but his teeth were cannibal points and his eyes twin orbs of electric-blue fire. 
       He wore no robes, and his muscular chest tapered to a narrow waist and trim hips. And standing out as stiff and tall as the mast of a ship … 
       Celestian left Abigail's mind but saw her gaze dip, saw the pink blush bloom in her cheeks. Oiled and helpless … he swelled even larger. 
       "She's meant to be mine," Varyk said, withdrawing from Elspeth and spinning her around to force her to lick his member clean. "But I do not begrudge you the privilege, pretty angel."
       "What have you done to me?" Celestian looked down at himself, trying to quell the urge that demanded he take Varyk up on the offer. 
       "After all, I have all these lovely toys to play with now," Varyk went on. His tail had ensnared Isabella, the coils of it around her waist while the tip plunged into her. "Take that one. Take the virgin. You know how. You know just what to do. After all, didn't I show you?"
       He clenched his fists and Abigail's bonds broke. She rubbed her wrists tentatively, and huddled there as if unsure what to do. Slowly, she raised her eyes to Celestian's. 
       "Let her decide," the fallen angel said, stroking himself with one long smooth motion. "If she wants it, here it is. But it must be of her own choosing." 
       Abigail kept staring at him as if she did not understand, and then he saw it dawn on her. She whimpered and tried to cover herself. 
       "You fool, you stupid little fool," Catherine cried. She knelt and reached supplicatingly for Celestian. "I'll be yours, please, let me be yours!"
       "No!" Abigail threw herself at Catherine and they rolled, pummeling and screaming at each other. 
       "They're fighting for you," observed Varyk with high good humor. 
       He cast Elspeth and Isabella aside and surveyed the remaining girls with a speculative air. They fell before him, offering their bodies, but he caught hold of Caleb instead. And, as the girls watched, did not use of the halfwit's mouth or backside but punched a hole in his gut with one claw and drove into the wound instead. 
       Caleb shrieked in agony and spewed a geyser of blood. His physical strength was no match for Varyk and he only twitched feebly as the devil raped the orifice he'd created. 
       Panic sparked and flared into a wildfire. Varyk's laughter rolled and boomed as the girls battered at the doors, found them sealed, and ran every which way in absolute terror. 
       Abigail and Catherine paid no attention. The larger Catherine had gotten atop Abigail and beaten her head into the floor, but a deft kick from the smaller girl sent Catherine sprawling. Quick as a flash, Abigail dashed to Celestian and, startling even him with the suddenness of it, fell to her knees and took as much of him in her sweet mouth as she could manage. 
       "I think she's made her choice." 
       Varyk let Caleb's lifeless husk thump to the floor and turned in search of a new victim. Rather than offer themselves now, the terrified girls scattered. He pursued, face alight with demonic glee. He caught one – Rose – and bore her down, and showed her a knobbed and thorned organ as long as her arm. She mewled pitifully, tried to crawl away. The devil rolled her onto her back, still laughing. He made her watch as he inch-by-inch pushed it into her, until the rending pain of it made her lose consciousness. 
       Celestian took hold of Abigail by the upper arms. He lifted her to eye level, waited to see if she would say anything more. When she did not, when she only regarded him with a glassy, submissive passion, he lowered her onto the waiting erect spear. 
       "How is she?" called Varyk, getting off Rose and catching yet another girl with his tail. 
       "Tight and tender," Celestian replied, barely able to speak from the sensation. The way her inner tissues clasped at him … the way her body quivered … the breathy little moans she made with each thrust … the resistance-then-give he had felt when he first entered her … the wondrous surge of power as he took her innocence … it was all more intoxicating than he had ever suspected. 
       He sank to the floor with Abigail trapped in his arms and enfolded in his wings. They were in the midst of the pentagram now, surrounded by the pleading and screaming victims of Varyk's bloody, lustful rampage. But all that mattered to Celestian was this one girl, this one fuck. The gathering knot in his loins told him he was close and he did not fight it. He went at her harder, vaguely conscious that he was hurting her but intent only on … ah … yes … and the volcanic spasm went on and on, overflowing Abigail's well-fucked body, spilling onto the signs sketched on the floor.
       At last, both exhausted and exultant, Celestian stood up. Abigail lay where he left her, a still and broken thing. The room was an abattoir, with the dead and the dying and the dismembered and the savagely wounded strewn from one wall to the other. 
Varyk, his eyes smoldering with sated lust, was waiting for him. The two stood looking at each other for a long moment, as girls wept and groaned and tried to drag themselves to safety. 
       "So it was you," Celestian said. "You were the one I was looking for."
       The devil raised one shoulder in a shrug, grinned. "Me."
       "And now all these girls are damned to Hell."
       "I suppose they are."
       "You suppose? Wasn't that your plan all along?"
       "Hardly," Varyk said. He curled a lock of Celestian's tarnished hair around his claw. "You were. Leading mortals into damnation is easy, something even a lowly imp can do. But you, my pretty angel … catching and corrupting a seraphim … that's no mean feat. You're one of us now. An angel turned to a devil. That's how it happened to us all, even the highest power in Hell. Welcome to the ranks."
       He offered his hand, smoothly changing his shape as he did so to the scarlet demoness that had proved Celestian's final undoing. 
       The fallen angel took it, and they descended together into the churning pits of Hell while the few survivors of Dame Agnes of the Hills cried out for a salvation that they would never find. 


The End.

Copyright 2002 Christine Morgan /