18 April 2015

Demon's Embrace Excerpt - How do you describe a fucking machine from the 1940s?




In this scene, Veronica Hudson, demon hunter and demon lover, has gone to visit her old mentor for help with a particularly nasty demon she's trying to capture. Eli lives in an underground bomb shelter off of an abandoned New York City subway station (the abandoned station is real, and is still there today). The price for Eli's help is... well, you'll see.



“I have built a new one,” he says as though he’d just decided on what to order at a restaurant. I think I’ll have the steak. Rare. I try not to let the fear show in my face. I merely raise an eyebrow.

“Oh?”

“Yes, I’d love it if you would break it in, christen it, if you will.” Eli does have a way with euphemisms, I’ll give him that.

“Show me,” I say.

He gestures to the chapel. The place doesn’t have much. It is, after all, a bomb shelter. But it does have a chapel. The chapel is an appropriate place for Eli’s machines, considering what he truly worships. I take the flask out of the pocket of my coat--a shapeless old French military motorcycle jacket, in this case--and offer it to him. He refuses, and is probably perturbed as hell that I offered, but he’d never let it show. I had to know. If I’m going to put my body in his hands, tonight, I need to know he’s going to be fully in command of himself, because I sure as fuck won’t be. I am under no such self-imposed restrictions, and take a long swig. I’ve reached the point where it doesn’t burn, anymore, and I’m drinking it like it’s not going to do what it’s doing to me. Except, of course, that’s exactly why I’m drinking it. Such funny creatures, we human beings are.

The chapel is lit by banks of candles to the left and right, stuck by their own wax onto the old pews. The ceiling of the chapel is gabled, and is the most surprising component of this place. Upon the ceiling are painted quite skilled and lovely scenes of the damned burning in Hell as, off in the distance, a mushroom cloud rises. In a floating phalanx around the crown of the mushroom cloud fly angels, which are glowing so brightly they’re all but abstract. I don’t know who the artist is, but I have the feeling I’m looking at one of the world’s greats. Something painted in secret, just one more secret of the Manhattan Project. At the end of the room on the wall hangs an elaborate crucifix, as though they raided some fancy Spanish cathedral and stole it. Considering its size, it would’ve had to have been a big cathedral. It is life-sized and extraordinarily realistic.

In front of the crucifix, so that its occupant faces it, is Eli’s machine. “Occupant” might be too generous a term, however, “captive” is too severe, since Eli never forces anyone to do anything they don’t want. He just has ways of making you want to do what you never thought you would. It is a large X-shaped rack on a circular pedestal. The rack has padded cuff restraints at the end of each arm of the X for my hands and feet, with particular attention paid to the bottom ones so that my weight will be supported comfortably enough without needing to stand on something solid. Sprouting out of the base are several articulated arms and motors. The motors drive various belts or rotate axles or flywheels and pistons, like on a locomotive. There are gears, and levers for changing gears. There are large click-clack style metal throw switches and safety lights on metal boxes. Wires snake here and there and out and away from the machine in several directions, heading for plugs that provide Eli’s stolen power. At the ends of these articulated arms are objects that would make no sense to most people because in 1948 they don’t see or own such objects. Nylon and plastics are still relatively new, so “marital” or “hysteria” aids tend to be made of wood, as these are. I can picture Eli carving and sanding and varnishing each one by hand until it is perfect, thinking the whole time perhaps only of me. Some of the them are pretty big, but not as big as Ashti’s or Tauthe’s demon girlcocks.

The sight of his “machine” (understatement if I ever heard it) makes me realize that despite how much I’ve drunk tonight, it won’t be nearly enough. I finish my flask off and open my bag, where the remainder of the fifth of bourbon resides, padded by some spare clothes I wisely chose to bring. I unwrap the bottle, pull the cork, and take a big swig. I’m gonna need it. Part of me is dreading it and part of me wants to start undressing right now. Part of me will always be that young woman in love with someone older, wiser, showing her the hidden mysteries of the world, both sexual and demonological. That young woman will always want to please Eli and I’m not the least bit angry with her about that. I turn to look at Eli and he’s watching me look it over with an eager, slightly disturbing light in his slate gray eyes.





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