White WomenbyBlack Tulip©
A word of thanks to HawaiiBill and glenboy for their help and advice with the story, and a special thanks to Jan Bakels for giving me permission to use his forest pictures in the illustrations.
Have you ever heard of White Women? They were well known, in the more rural parts of my country, the Netherlands. You could see them drifting between the trees on moonlit nights and dancing with the autumn leaves. It was said their thin white dresses enticed the gullible traveler. Every father warned his sons to avoid the woods after sundown. There was one place however, that was especially dangerous. It was known as Widow's Knoll. Mind you, most of you would not even notice the small bump in the landscape, but in a country that's nearly flat a molehill is already known as a landmark.
People used to tell each other stories about how Widow's Knoll became such a haunted place and although the tales were all different, one thing was always the same. Widow's Knoll had been a nunnery and the White Women were the ghosts of the nuns. Most stories told how, in the Middle Ages, a band of soldiers, or a group of devils, or an evil village raped the nuns and set fire to their home and that was the reason the angry spirits of the women were still out for revenge.
Whatever really happened, most young men were wise enough to stay away from this place, at least after dark. The occasional dare devil invariably got lost. Sometimes one was found dead the next day, his clothes gone and his face wearing an ugly grin. People started avoiding the place so in time the path that skirted Widow's Knoll vanished beneath the leaves of countless falls. The old stories died out and nobody believed in ghosts anymore. White Women became old wives tales.
Until a stranger came to the little village at the edge of the forest near Widow's Knoll. It happened exactly one hundred years ago. He was a foreigner and soon the women were whispering about his fortune and his good looks. Dark-haired and dark-eyed, he stood out among the blond farmers and simple shopkeepers. Since he was unmarried many mothers cast a speculative eye on him. Even if he was in his mid forties, they considered him a good catch but he never showed any interest in the shy, blushing girls thrust in his path.
He had his own servants and none of the villagers ever saw the inside of his house. Some of the boys tried to sneak up to his place once, but they came back saying there were wolves guarding the place. They were laughed at, because everybody knew Mr. DeVille kept a few German shepherds. But the result was that all they knew was his name, and that only because the bills were paid by a Mr. A. DeVille.
The schoolteacher made a joke about that. He said he hoped that didn't mean the man really was a devil. The men laughed and bought the teacher a new drink. After a few months, gossip had it that DeVille was not his real name and the schoolteacher's joke was dredged up again. The foreigner was a bit odd after all. With his own servants, no eye for the girls and always going off into the woods. Little did the villagers know things were about to change.
One day the village was a quiet place near the woods, the next it was flooded with all kinds of city people. DeVille hired all the rooms above the local pub for them and in the evenings the villagers could hear them talking about building a house and laying a road into the forest. The mothers started pushing their daughters forward again. After all, if Mr. DeVille was building a big house he would surely need a mistress to run it for him, didn't he? From eavesdropping on the workmen the village had learned that DeVille had bought a big piece of land from the city council, which owned the woods. He wanted to build a mansion away from the village.
After a while the road was finished, a cobbled grey ribbon snaking into the forest, and every now and then one of the villagers had wandered down to have a look at the goings on. The building of the house did not go smoothly, however. In fact, trouble started when the road was nearly finished. One night the youngest of the builders didn't return to his lodgings and the next morning the others found his body near the roadside. His clothes were gone and soon after the police started an investigation, rumors about foul play started.
Rumors got worse when work on the actual building site started. First a carpenter claimed he saw a woman shaking her fist at him. Next, some men digging for the foundation of the house said they had heard women calling to them but they hadn't been able to see anybody. Finally the whole project came to a halt because the digging uncovered the remains of an older building. It was then somebody recalled the old stories. Mr. DeVille had bought Widow's Knoll to build his mansion on top of it.
Why it hadn't happened before was anybody's guess, but the workers and the men from the village started sharing drinks and stories in the evenings. The result of this fraternizing was that the builders refused to go back to the site. The possibility of being killed by one of the White Women was too scary. Especially when they recalled what young Thomas looked like when they found him dead. Not only were his clothes gone, but the man who found him said he remembered the awful look on his face. His friend suddenly thought he had seen a piece of white cloth in Thomas's fist. And, the coroner had needed to break the victim's fingers to get at it.
Then - it must have been near the end of October - Mr. DeVille paid the schoolteacher a visit. Everybody in the village knew the schoolteacher as a fervent historian. In his spare time he collected all he could about the history of the region and he always said he was going to write a book about it when he retired. So it shouldn't have been such a big surprise. But it was the first time Mr. DeVille actually paid a visit to somebody who lived in the village. He walked down the main street and the baker's wife saw him knocking on the door.
"Mr. DeVille? Do come in, sir. It's a pleasure, I'm sure." The schoolteacher was almost stammering in his excitement to be the first to receive a visit from the rich foreigner.
"Alain DeVille. And you are Clarence Barlow, the schoolteacher?" The light accent made it sound like the deep voice was close to growling.
"Yes, sir. That's me. Do come in ... sit down ... please. Can I get you anything? Coffee? Tea? Lilly? Lilly!"
"Please, nothing for me. I only come here to ask advice from you."
Alain DeVille folded his tall frame in one of the uncomfortable chairs that guarded the fireplace. He wasn't here for a social visit and all he wanted was information. Meeting the mistress of the house was not on his list. He hardly noticed the woman coming into the room until she opened her mouth.
"What is it, father? Oh, sorry, I didn't know you had company."
"May I present my daughter, Lilly. Lilly, this is Mr. DeVille."
DeVille frowned, irritated by an introduction he didn't want. He spared a quick look at the young woman, intent on his own affairs. All he saw was a mass of reddish-blond hair and sparkling eyes. Older than he expected, but he remembered his manservant telling him the teacher had his daughter helping him run the school. This must be her, then. He smiled politely and shook hands, declined the offer of something to drink and waited impatiently until Lilly left the room.
DeVille bent slightly forward; his dark eyes fixed on the gleaming face in front of him. If his informants were correct, this man could help him to finish his mansion.
"I heard you are something of a historian, Mr. Barlow."
He saw the other man sit up a little straighter in his chair, beaming even more if that were possible.
"Well, I do have an interest in this part of the country. Yes, I think you could say I am a bit of a historian."
"Good. Maybe you can help me. My house, you heard the stories, yes? Do you know what is the ruins my men found?"
"Ah, the ruins. Yes, of course I heard. This is a small village, after all. There's not much out of the ordinary happening here. So the death of a young man, so unexpected and unexplained, is naturally the focus of attention."
Clarence Barlow nodded his head. Unaware that his visitor was impatient for him to cut the small talk.
"I've been doing some research since I heard your men had found the remains of an old building. It wasn't easy, you know. There have always been stories about Widow's Knoll - that's the name of the hill you want to build your house on. But to find facts ..."
"Yes? You found facts?" DeVille was having trouble to keep his hands from shaking the words out of the pompous ass in front of him.
"Oh yes, I found an entry in old church records. You see, the stories were founded on a bit of truth after all. There used to be a nunnery on the hill, from the Sisters Immaculata. It's my guess, that you uncovered the remains of their convent. Now, about the stories ..."
"Are you sure? There used to be a nunnery..."
DeVille tapped his fingers against his chin, only half listening to the droning voice of Clarence Barlow, telling him one of the stories about White Women that used to scare young men enough to stay out of the woods at night.
"Violence, yes. I understand that. You say the women hunt men? Young men?"
Barlow squirmed a bit under the intense stare from those dark eyes. For a moment he even considered his own joke about the man from months back. He laughed a bit nervously and shrugged at his own fanciful notion.
"I guess it's only young men who have the need to dare the darkness of the forest. We older men are too wise to be caught."
"Is that so?" The deep voice sounded faintly amused, but DeVille doubted that his host would hear it.
"Perhaps I should, how do you say that, clean the area? Get rid of the ghosts, eh?
The minute he had uttered his thought aloud, DeVille was sorry he had. The schoolteacher embarked on an extensive lecture about sanctifying and blessing haunted places. He even wanted to look up some of his notes on the subject to give his guest the names of some priests who could perform such rites for him. It took DeVille some effort to convince him such was not necessary. He would look into the matter himself first, he said, before taking further action.
Heaving a deep sigh, he finally found himself back on the street again. Deep in thought he never noticed how the daughter of the house watched him leave the house, gazing after him long after he was gone. His mind was busy planning an all-out war against the ghosts who were hindering him from living on the property he had found during his endless walks through the forest.
It was a beautiful spot; the grassy knoll surrounded by quiet forests with a small brook at the back, excellent for a life away from people. He needed to find a place to settle. He was so damn tired of always moving from place to place, country to country. And now that he had finally found the perfect site, he was not about to let some women stop him, not even if they were ghosts.
A grim smile played along his lips as he entered the small residence he had been occupying since he came to this village. The faint outline of a battle plan was simmering at the back of his mind and he patted one of his dogs absentmindedly on the head. The big beast seemed to understand his master was not in the mood for play, as it wagged its tail a few times and went back to a spot in front of the hearth.
Over the next few days DeVille spent all his time on researching the old stories about White Women. Finally he felt he understood what they were. They were restless spirits seeking revenge, certainly. But he suspected they were hunting men for their own pleasure as well. They wouldn't be the first women to get seduced into being a succubus. Nodding in satisfaction he went over his plans, determined to win a place to live quietly.
Near midnight on All Hallows Eve he slipped out of the house, his servants sleeping and his dogs following him silently through the moonlit forest. By now, he knew most of the tracks and paths from all his wandering and he decided to avoid the new road. That would be too obvious a target if there were indeed White Women around.
"Are you looking for me?" The voice was light and slightly mocking.
DeVille smiled when he saw the shape of a woman, barely covered by a thin white cloth, drifting among the trees to his right. Two other forms were hovering a bit farther in among the trees.
"I think, Madame, you are looking for me, no?"
The white woman laughed softly. "Ah, a fearless one. You think I've waited for you?" She laughed again.
"Maybe not for me. But you are waiting. Waiting for another conqueror."
He suddenly lunged towards her, grasping the white cloth between his fingers. He knew he didn't have a chance to catch her like that. It was the typical reaction she expected. He had a surprise in store for her, however. His dogs appeared at her back, raising their hackles and baring pointed teeth. For a moment she stood with her mouth open, looking from the dogs to him. A flash of anger darted across her face and then she came for him.
"You impudent mortal. Do you think to best me? Me?"
With her hands outstretched she went for his throat. It was a mistake. After centuries of frightened peasants she was not prepared for his counter attack. He grabbed her wrists and twisted her arms behind her back, turning her around so her back was against his body. She felt surprisingly solid for a ghost, but her flesh was cold and white from lack of blood pumping through her veins.
DeVille didn't mind. He tied her wrists with a rosary and she screamed that it hurt her. He shrugged.
"I don't care. You've hurt enough men to deserve a little in return, no?"
He hit her at the back of her knees and she went down on all fours. With a flick of his hand he motioned his dogs to sit guard as he pushed the white gown over her back, baring a nicely rounded bottom. One hand on her neck to keep her down, he let the other glide over her flesh. Stroking the cold skin, feeling the tremors as he kneaded her buttocks and slipped his fingers between her legs. Cold, but damp folds opened before his probing.
"Stop it. I'll let you live, but you have to let me go."
DeVille could no longer hear mockery in her voice and he smiled. "That is impossible. You are haunting this place. It is the place I want to live."
At the last words he pushed his fingers inside her as far as they would go and she jerked in surprise. A groan escaped the bloodless lips. He let his digits slip out nearly all the way before shoving them back in. The white woman groaned again and this time he could feel her walls clenching around his fingers. He kicked her legs apart.
"You like this. I know this is what you are looking for. You want me to take you." He laughed. Now it was his turn to mock.
"I can feel it. You are wet, getting ready for me."
The white woman tried to get away from him, but she had forgotten about the dogs. They both sat a few paces away, watching her intently with their glowing yellow eyes.
"What are you?" She sounded confused, even a bit scared.
"You don't know?" His laughter rumbled through his chest. "Maybe you could call me your nephew."
His fingers worked inside her, driving her lust higher despite her efforts to control her body.
"I was sired by an incubus. And I intend to get rid of you. This will be my place. Not yours."
Again she struggled to get away from him, but he was much stronger than the prey she was used to. As he shifted his grip on her, she wailed. He pinched her clit and she arched her back, the relentless pumping of his fingers driving her on. Perhaps she realized his intent, but her body was beyond control. Her movements told him she was close to coming, unable to stop herself.
"Go on, bitch. Come for me. Scream out your pleasure."
His words pushed her over the edge and she shuddered on his fingers. A fading howl escaped her body as it slumped in the grass, dissolving into wisps of mist. He picked up the rosary and turned to watch the two remaining spirits.
Sure enough they seemed to realize what he had done. Denying their sister his warmth, keeping his seed to himself, and in doing so breaking her bond to this world. They screeched in anger as they came for him. Standing with his feet apart he waited for them, confident he could best them as well.
They reached out but he sidestepped, tripping one with his leg, letting the other sail beyond him. He quickly seized the one in front of him, tying her hands with the rosary while he kept her immobile with a knee in the small of her back.
The dogs jumped at his command and stood between him and the last white woman, preventing her from attacking him as he busied himself with the second one. He turned her on her back, keeping her arms above her head, grinning down at the undulating body. She spread her legs, smiling at him.
"You want me? Come on, show me you're a man." Her voice was a soft purr, seductive and full of promise.
DeVille chuckled. "I will teach you to be a woman."
He saw her frown, unsure what he meant. Soon she understood though, as he kneeled between her legs, moving the cloth aside to reveal pale flesh. He hooked one of her legs over his arm to spread her even wider and bent his head. The cold body was scentless but he licked the folds till he could feel the moisture welling up.
"Ah, you are a dedicated lover. Now show me your fire. Let me feel you filling my body."
Shaking his head, he grinned down at her. "Very clever, but no. This is about you, not me."
His tongue circled the hard little button at the top of her slit, putting pressure on it till she started moving her hips.
"Come on, big boy. Don't make me wait."
She tried to get her hands on him but he kept them firmly above her head, moving his lips over her body until he bit her in the neck.
"I said no. You will not get my seed."
He returned to licking her folds, which were glistening with her juices, merely circling her entrance with his tongue till she begged him to enter her. He obliged her, but only with his tongue. She pleaded with him but he brought her to climax without giving her an inch of his flesh. Her hips bucked one last time before she floated away as a spiral of damp mist, leaving the rosary behind.
Standing upright again, he stretched and turned his dark eyes on the last of the White Women. She glared at him, but seemed determined to get the better of him. His ability to dispatch her sisters didn't make her waver for one minute. He had expected nothing else. These wandering souls had long since given themselves over to the pleasures of the flesh, luring unwary men to their death by promising them the use of their bodies. Taking the warmth and life away from them as they spilled their seed into the eternally cold females.
The dogs flopped on their bellies, gazing at the white form that floated in front of their master. She turned and showed her shapely legs, moving her covering aside. Her face was set in an inviting pout while she slowly let the white cloth slip from her body.
"I prefer a mature man to those young boys." She smiled at DeVille. "You can certainly do better than they."
She drifted closer, her hands gliding over his shoulders down to his chest, aiming for his belt. As she grasped it in her hand she slid down on the grass, pulling him on top of her. It was her last error.
"I am sure I can. But you will not experience that."
DeVille pinned her beneath his body, turning around so his back was to her face. She tried to push him off but he was too heavy for her. He didn't even go to the trouble of using the rosary to subdue her. He just let it tickle her thighs till she spread her legs to get away from the burning sensation. He grinned as he saw she was already moist.