Cora spotted him again. Tonight he was across the street from her. She had seen him frequently over the past three days and she knew he had come for her. The first time she had seen him she had been frightened but was not anymore. She knew someone would come and she was now glad it was him. For as she saw him more and more her fear had dissipated in the face of a much stronger emotion. Lust. He was stunning, his intense brown eyes so dark they were almost black with heavy brows set above them. Even from the distance he kept she could see the fullness of his lips, the sharpness of his cheekbones and the springy mass of loose curls that adorned his head. Funny, she would never have thought the angel of death would be beautiful.
She stood still now, refraining from rushing away from the sight of him as she had for the past two days. She knew the time had come. Today was the third day of his appearance and the significance of the third was not lost on her. He also had stopped walking and regarded her oddly now, his head cocked slightly, undoubtedly wondering why she was not hurrying on her way at his presence. She saw the slight widening of his eyes as she crossed the street to approach him.
Standing before him now she looked him over. He was more gorgeous than she had thought. The intensity in his eyes was mesmerizing and she blinked rapidly, trying to break the spell enough for her to speak. He was a few inches taller than her in her heels, just shy of six feet if she had to guess. Her watery bright green eyes swept over his face noting the impossibly smooth skin that ran out where the stubble that covered his jaw began. His mouth was slightly open and she saw the tips of white teeth within it. His lips were fuller then she had first thought, enticingly so.
“You’ve come for me,” she stated simply, her voice tremulous.
“Yes,” he responded.
Cora’s back arched involuntarily as the silkiness of his voice lightly brushed over her. She blinked once, languidly, almost dreamily. She did not even try to fight her body. It seemed both desperate to flee from him and move closer to him. Stuck between the two extremes, she stood where she was and tried to avert her eyes from the intensity within his but could not.
“How… how does this work?”
He maintained his stare as his melodious voice sounded again.
“I can take you here or someplace else. Your place if you would like. But it has to be tonight.”
She nodded. She knew as much. She blinked again and was almost amazed at the feel of tears running from her eyes. She was not sure why she was crying. She was not afraid; she was ready. He cocked his head again as if surprised at her reaction, perhaps surprised she did not protest his words, and waited for her decision.
“Will it hurt?” She questioned, her voice wavering.
He shook his head as his face remained stony. Only his eyes showed any emotion at all and Cora could not read the look within them. Something swam readily through them but the sentiment was foreign to her. He reached out to her and she gasped when he gently took her chin in his hand. She thought he would feel cold but his hand was warm. His thumb traced the plump curve of her lower lip.
“I can make it pleasurable,” he offered.
She should have been surprised by this but she was merely relieved. She nodded slowly submitting to the idea. It was going to happen either way and all of a sudden the thought of leaving this world in his arms was extremely appealing. She had no doubt he could read her receptive body language. She had leaned forward slightly when he had touched her, their bodies close now. Passersby would see them as lovers, especially with how intensely he regarded her. When his other hand alighted on her cheek, Cora closed her eyes and rubbed gently against it. She did not open her eyes until he spoke again.
She shook her head now. “No, your place.”
He blinked and pulled his hands back. Although his own body language was guarded, she knew she had surprised him. He stared at her in silence a moment and then nodded slowly.
He extended his hand to her, slender and long-fingered, his palm held upward invitingly. She placed her hand in his and his fingers entwined through hers and then curled over her hand. She relished the feel of him, warm and comforting, enticingly so. Wordlessly they began to walk.
Several minutes passed in silence and she thought of nothing but how she had arrived here, at the hour of her death, at the tender age of thirty-eight. Ten years ago things had been worse than they were even now. She had been desperate and had agreed to the arrangement. Ten years of happiness, ten years of bliss. Ten years of her heart’s desires in exchange for the remainder of her years when the decade had ended. Faced with a lifetime of loneliness, desolation and destitution, it had seemed like a fair trade. Even now, at the end, even though six months ago everything she had treasured for those ten years had ended, she had no regrets. She had spent a decade with a man she adored and who loved her back with the same intensity, she had had a successful career and she had lived more than comfortably. Her life had been perfect. And she had truly treasured every moment because she knew it would not last.
He stopped outside a building. It was a ramshackle structure and as she looked about she realized they had walked to an impoverished and crime-ridden part of the city. She shrugged inwardly. This too seemed fitting. She had after all started this journey in a similar setting. He released her hand long enough to hold the door open for her but then took hold of it again once they were inside. He led her up the worn and rickety stairs and she ignored the strong and pungent smells that assaulted her nose. The stairwell reeked of pot, mold and urine.
When they emerged on an upper floor new scents took hold of her senses. Stale cooking odours and cigarette smoke now added to the mix. A moment later she found her reprieve when he unlocked a door and once more held it open for her. She stepped over the threshold and looked around.
His bachelor apartment was sparse but impeccably clean. It was a small space sporting a tiny kitchen, even smaller sitting area and sleeping quarters. An open door to the side led to a bathroom. She had no doubt it too was as clean as the area before her. He closed the door and immediately pulled her closely to him.
Cora felt the heat of his body through their clothes and she pressed closer to him as his lips found hers. Soft and pliant they kissed her tenderly, slowly exploring hers. She yielded to him instantly as one arm wrapped around his slender shoulders and her other hand nestled into his hair. Her fingers raked though the curls as his hands glided down her back, applying minimal pressure and making her yearn for him to touch her with more conviction. She pushed against him and felt the hardness of his muscles against her torso as she felt another hardness press against her inner thigh. She circled her hips for him and his hands slipped lower to take hold of her buttocks. He squeezed them firmly as his arms held her tightly against him. His slim build belied his strength for she could feel it humming within him and she knew he was holding himself back.
Desperate to feel more, to draw that strength out of him, suddenly intent on being ravaged, Cora deepened her kiss, her tongue pushing into his mouth. He responded readily, his tongue slipping over hers, battling her for control. She withdrew hers, intent on doing nothing other than submitting to him. She relaxed her body and felt the strength in his arms as he held her up now, so malleable had her body become. He pulled his shoulders back, breaking their kiss, to see her face. She still could not read the expression in his eyes but she saw something new in them, something strong and it glinted brightly in his unfathomably dark irises. She hoped it was lust.
“Are you sure this is how you want it to be?” He asked.
Truthfully she had not known there would be any choice in the matter. Her life was to end tonight, that much was made clear a decade ago. She had not known what shape death would take when it came for her but now, held securely in his arms, she would not have this any other way. She nodded once but with certainty.
They were fine last words. They were yielding yet still sounded strong, almost as if all of this was her choice. He seemed satisfied with her answer and kissed her again.
His own need was evident now and his erection dug firmly into her thigh now. He moved his hips against her as he deepened his kiss, his tongue exploring her mouth with both slow ease and a persistence seemingly born of haste. He was such a contradiction and that pulled at her arousal, drawing it forth, fanning it and slowly blowing life into the embers there. Her fingers moved to his shoulders to grasp them securely as she attempted to pull him closer to her. He broke their kiss again, his eyes brighter than ever and he stepped back.
He looked deeply into her eyes now as he reached out and began to unbutton her dress. He deftly undid the long row of small buttons that ran the length of the dress from her cleavage to just above her knees. As his hands passed her waist, he slowly sank to his knees before her, never once breaking eye contact. He finished with the buttons and then pushed the material aside with his hands as they gently caressed her thighs. He moved deliberately, his fingertips tracing large circles over her skin.
Cora sucked in a breath. His touch was relaxing and invigorating at once and she once more marvelled at the contradictions he embodied. Keeping up his unhurried pace he worked his way up her thighs to her hips. Here his fingers slipped under the waistband of her panties. He then slowly pushed them down, over her hips and down her legs to her feet. She stepped out of them and his hands were immediately back upon her now working their way up from her ankles.
He gently traced the muscles in her calves, drawing deep breaths from her. And he was still staring directly into her eyes. Waves of arousal crashed into her now. She had never had a lover take so much time, take so much care. His hands almost ghosted over her flesh now as he moved them achingly slowly up her body. When he again reached her hips he glided his hands back to her behind as he leaned forward.
She gasped sharply when she felt the heat of his mouth upon her. His tongue moved maddeningly slowly as his hands gently massaged her backside, his tongue dipping into her. She groaned as she kept her eyes locked with his. He continued his steady pace, his tongue alternately flicking across her lust-engorged folds and then gently probing her. He was not trying to drive her to her release quickly, he was not priming her for his own use. He was exploring her, tasting her. He was savouring her and a low moan escaped her lips.
He sustained his movements until she found her release. Cora was certain she would have collapsed had he not grasped her hips tightly when she climaxed. She dug her fingertips deeply into his shoulders and threw her head back as her body was wracked by spasms and she cried out loudly. When she was able to look to him again she found he was still staring up at her and her desire immediately began to build again.
He rose to his feet and pushed her dress over her shoulders, his hands sliding silkily over her inflamed skin. The dress audibly fell to the floor. Aside from their impassioned breaths, the room was completely silent. He reached behind her to undo her bra and it soon joined her dress.
She stood utterly naked before him but did not feel exposed. She had never been so comfortable with another. He maintained his eye contact as he disrobed, moving quicker than with her but still continuing an easy pace as he also upheld his eye contact. Her eyes kept flicking down to his body but he continued to only stare at her. Her furtive glances informed her he was thinner than she had thought but was still tightly muscled with roping veins and sinuous tendons standing out against his skin everywhere. He was glorious in his nakedness, his erection stood strong and proud and would be the envy of many a man.
He wordlessly pushed her back now, gently as she had come to expect, his hands on her hips, until they reached his bed. She was almost unaware of how she came to be on her back in bed with him astride her. He had moved her into this position but she could not recall how. She could not look away from his eyes any longer, not even when she felt his erection pressing against her, ready to enter her. She merely nodded slightly and he pushed forward, sliding into her bit by bit as he intensely watched her reaction.
She shuddered slightly at the feel of him leisurely possessing her. She could feel every millimeter of him as he moved within her. She could feel herself slowly stretching to accommodate his girth, then felt her hot flesh cling to him as if it tried to keep him deeply entrenched in her. He began to move, once more maintaining a relaxed pace and she marvelled at his self-control. She wanted to grab him and thrust madly against him. She wanted to claw his back and scream out obscenities but she had submitted to him and the pace he had set.
He kept up his smooth and steady speed, gently nudging her closer and closer to another release. He moved with purpose, circling his hips, slowly but surely increasing the force of his thrusts and she began to move with him, tightly gripping his shoulders and moaning. She could see the mounting passion within his eyes as his pace increased in both speed and intensity.
Then she was moving shamelessly, no longer in control of her motions, her body responding to his gaze, to his movements. He twitched within her and she knew he was close to his own release. She bucked against him, eager to feel him explode inside her but he withdrew suddenly. Before she could react, she found herself face-down upon the bed. He quickly entered her from behind, his body propped up on his outstretched arms, only his thrusting pelvis touched her now.
Cora rose up onto her elbows, desperate to feel more of his body against her. He allowed this as he continued to move and she was elated. She was desperate to see the intensity in his eyes again but she was too aroused, too close to another release to protest verbally. She moaned loudly now and with abandon, the new position allowing him to plunge deeply into her. She twisted the blanket beneath her tightly in her hands as he continued to drive into her, his movements growing more forceful.
When her climax crashed down upon her, he grabbed her chin with one hand as he bent his head down to her. He kissed her passionately now, his mouth hard on hers, his tongue plunging into her eager mouth. She cried out against his mouth and felt his release, felt him stiffen momentarily and then resume a leisurely pace once again. She shuddered beneath him, her muscles humming in the aftermath of her orgasm. He continued to kiss her and she felt it begin.
She could feel her self, her essence, being drawn out of her body. She tried to pull away from him but he held her fast. Panic flared within her momentarily but was quickly replaced with an emptiness so profound it brought tears to her eyes. This was it, the end, the moment of her death had arrived. Despite the scorching agony of the void she felt expanding within her, she forced her body to relax and once more utterly yielded to him.
* * *
Jedidiah redressed her. She allowed him to manipulate her body to do so, she was extremely compliant under his hands. She stared at him the entire time but he avoided her eyes now. His penance was taking humans but he could not bear their vacant eyes when he had finished. His task complete, he led her to the door. When emptied these beings were no longer his concern. Shifting his eyes to the floor, he spoke.
“You must go now, Cora.”
She nodded numbly and walked through the doorway. He shut the door after she had gone and then closed his eyes as he leaned forward. His forehead made contact with the smooth hard wood and he rested there a moment. Then, releasing a deep sigh, he turned from the door and returned to his bed. He slid his now satiated body between the sheets, and pulled the blanket over himself. He could still smell her and he turned on his side and scuttled to the edge of the bed, away from the place he had taken her.
He sighed again. Bringing her here was stupid, possessing her physically was even stupider. He knew better, and he questioned why he had been swayed by her. He closed his eyes again and forced his mind to drift away from thoughts of her, toward thoughts of the time he would be done with this, when his duty, and his dreadful penance, would finally end.
He rubbed his head against the sheet here, where her scent blessedly did not linger. He relaxed his body and relished this feeling, the fullness of being whole, the short period of time he had before the emptiness within him returned and he would seek out one of them again. Jed squeezed his eyes shut against the memories of the countless faces of those he had taken. They always resurfaced now, during the only restful time he had, the only time he felt satisfied, threatening to destroy the hours of reprieve he had before the hunger reared again. He concentrated on the sound of his breaths, on the feel of the rise and fall of his chest. He focused on the absence of the gnawing hunger that normally dominated his existence and forced him to take one after another of the wretched humans he fed on. He began to count his breaths in hopes doing so would lull him into a much needed sleep. He could only hope it would be dreamless.
* * *
By the time Cora made her way to the street outside the building the horror of her new existence was clear. She felt nothing. She was aware of what she had experienced with him and how wondrous it had felt. But as fresh as the experience was, she felt nothing about it now. She felt nothing at all. She was devoid of any emotion. The searing emptiness mercilessly tore through her. She understood now, exactly what he had done, exactly what selling her soul truly meant. Death would have been kind. She could not even feel horror at her current state. She could not feel anything at all.
She stood on the sidewalk a moment watching the passing traffic. The approaching bus was travelling fast. Perhaps the driver was running behind schedule or maybe just anxious to blow through the amber light before him. His eyes were trained on the road before him, watching for cars from the intersecting road in case they jumped the green light on their side. He did not see Cora step into the street.