tagSci-Fi & FantasyA Dark Heart

A Dark Heart

byBurntRedstone©

Author's Notes:

'A Dark Heart' is my entry for Literotica's Hallowe'en Story Contest 2017.

All characters engaging in sexual relationships or activities are 18 years old or older.

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A Dark Heart

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"What the fuck is wrong with me?" Nate asked himself.

That was a loaded question. Personally, he could think of a number of things. But what was most pertinent in his current situation was his inability to find a woman who wasn't poison for his soul.

His breakup with Meghan a little over two weeks ago was just the latest tortuous ending in his string of doomed relationships.

Each one had begun with optimism and each ended in emotional pain and vicious drama.

He didn't get it. None of his previous girlfriends seemed to match a 'type'. He'd tried to prevent himself from falling into a pattern of dating the same kind of girl as he'd seen that self-destructive behavior in his friends.

Some of the ladies he'd tried to have a relationship with had been outgoing and some, shy. He'd dated sporty women, couch potatoes, hell raising women, and once a devout believer but while they'd all presented different personality types at the beginning he always discovered their demonic side by the end. He was seriously beginning to think the transformation of these women was due to something he was doing. Maybe they were all wonderful women and he somehow drove them to commit mean and hurtful acts against him after a time. But exactly how he was doing it was a complete fucking mystery to him!

His buddies were no help. He'd asked them to protect him from dating poorly and the last several girlfriends had gotten their seal of approval. Then they all expressed their surprise when those relationships went sour as each one did. One of his 'friends' had actually slept with three of his girlfriends, while he was dating them. Another 'friend' suggested that, being a black man, Nate should stick with his own kind. Needless to say, neither of those guys remained his friends.

Nate wasn't a bad guy. He was often called a really nice guy. All of his previous girlfriends had remarked upon this fact. At the beginning. Some had actually noted it as the reason they decided to sleep around. In one case, her excuse had been that he was so much of a nice guy he needed to be punished. He seriously couldn't follow that logic but maybe that meant he was too nice?

Nate wasn't ugly. He was actually a handsome man and the consistent female attention he received plus the number of girlfriends he'd had proved that he was at least attractive enough to get a date. He stood 5' 11" and was reasonably fit. He had muscles where they needed to be and he didn't have fat where it was least welcome. He was reasonably well endowed and skilled if not terribly adventurous when it came to sex. The one thing his ex-girlfriends had universally agreed upon was that he was 'good in bed'. At least five exes had returned for 'booty calls' during times when he was available and they were in a dry spell. The fact that he didn't turn them away for those brief interludes was probably a black mark on him.

He was smart, articulate, and personable. He could tell a joke or two and had enough charm to initiate relationships but something inevitably went wrong and every relationship imploded, badly.

So he'd made himself a vow. He was taking a hiatus on dating to give his heart time to heal and himself time to reflect upon the mistakes he'd made. While he had an active social life, he began avoiding going out with his buddies to clubs or any venue where there was a greater than even chance of meeting women who were looking for a relationship, even just an overnight one.

He'd managed to avoid these dating situations for a little over two weeks. He'd even turned down 'booty calls' from two of his exes this past week. He was rather proud of that though his buddies thought he was nuts as the ladies in question were hot... if unbalanced.

For all his moral fortitude, he'd been feeling a little run down. During their last pub night, one of his more envious friends remarked that this was the first 'dry spell' he'd ever seen Nate go through, even if it was self-inflicted, and maybe he was experiencing withdrawal. That had caused a lot of laughter in the group. For Nate, he just worried that it might be true. Maybe he was a sex addict.

When he wasn't failing in relationships he worked as a copywriter at an ad agency and really enjoyed his job. It let him be creative and paid him reasonably well because he was actually good at it. Outside of work he was an avid cyclist and played in an amateur baseball league.

Being late October, the weather turned crappy and having refused each and every invitation to a slew of Hallowe'en parties, or hookup parties as he saw them, he chose this particular holiday to fall back on another favorite pastime of his, mooching around in one of New York City's many art galleries. He could spend hours walking from room to room drinking in the paintings and sculptures, feeding his own creative juices. He found these peaceful sojourns helped focus his spirit and inspire his writing.

This time he was going to be walking the floors with his best, and only, female friend. He'd known Jo Hart for a long time. They'd originally met during their first year in college. He thought she was witty and she was impressed when he traded banter with her but didn't try to hit on her. They discovered they shared the same sense of humor and a friendship was born. After graduation, she'd helped him get his job at the same company that hired her. They even managed to be assigned to the same team.

She was the one woman he'd managed to maintain a healthy relationship with. She was blond, petite but curvy, and very pretty with a sunny disposition.

She typically drew appreciative looks from other art gallery viewers but she always seemed unaware of their attention. One thing that might have helped make Jo the perfect female companion for Nate was the fact that she was gay. She felt no sexual attraction to him and he cherished her friendship. She was in a long term relationship with a lovely brunette named Bev and Nate was envious of that.

When she joined Nate on his gallery tours, she'd bring along a sketchpad and practice her art. She was a gifted artist and combined with his talent for writing they were a fantastic team at work.

Today the gallery he'd chosen was celebrating Hallowe'en with a special exhibit of sculptures created by a new artist from England. Her work had been playfully advertised as a good match for the holiday. Nate was interested in seeing what all the fuss in the papers was about as the artist was generating quite a lot of buzz in the art community. He'd seen a picture of one of her pieces and found it to be intriguing. The flat nature of the newspaper photo couldn't do her art justice so he'd bought tickets to the exhibit to see them in person.

Jo wasn't a big fan of sculpture but her girlfriend was on a business trip and Nate paid for the ticket so, she tagged along. She'd mentioned to him that she'd heard the artist was quite reclusive and might be making an appearance.

After they arrived at the gallery and checked their coats, Nate presented their tickets and were directed to the entrance of the presentation gallery where they showed their tickets again and went inside.

As they walked between the pieces Nate examined them from all sides. The theme seemed to be pain and horror. It was perfect for a Hallowe'en exhibition! The medium was small steel plates roughly cut by plasma torch and welded into semi abstract double sized human forms, all of which appeared to be screaming in agony due to horrific injuries.

Jo looked at Nate with raised eyebrows. Nate grinned at her.

"Not exactly a lighthearted, whimsical collection but it suits the holiday!" Nate said and all Jo could do was shake her head.

She spotted something far less... gruesome to look at and wandered off as Nate continued to walk amongst the monuments to suffering. He was passing by one and slowed to study it casually as he did. A male figure seemingly pulling his own heart from his chest. The heart wasn't red but painted darkest black. He stopped dead as his eyes slowly widened. He was struck by a feeling of affinity with the sculpture. He couldn't look away as he felt he was looking at... himself.

"Ah! You feel it don't you!"

Nate twitched from his paralysis and turned to look up slightly into stunningly pale grey eyes. They were all he could see at first as they seemed to bore into his soul. Then the rest of the woman's features came into focus. Her large grey eyes dominated her face but she had a slim nose above lips just a little on the thin side but emphasized with black lipstick. The dark color made her white teeth appear to gleam as she smiled broadly at him. Her eyes were roaming his body so he took that as an invitation to check her out as well. Jet black, straight hair cascaded down over her shoulders and reached her waist, a lot of silky hair! With her height, she had a slim build and small breasts, clearly defined by the tight black halterneck top she wore. He could clearly see the impression of her nipple rings... and the chain between them. Her tight stomach was exposed and with more jewellery piercing her bellybutton. Skin tight black leather pants hugged her long slim legs and ended in her pointed black leather boots. Her skin was palest pink made all the lighter by her choice of color palette. Black and dark grey eye shadow and lipstick would have presented an almost Goth appearance if it wasn't for the contemporary styling of her clothing.

He couldn't gauge her age at all. She had smooth, young looking skin but carried an air of maturity. It was baffling.

She reached out a slim hand, black polish on her relatively short nails. Somehow he'd been expecting talons though she did wear a number of sharp looking silver rings on her long fingers. He automatically took the hand in his, careful of the rings.

"It's a pleasure to meet people who truly connect with my art." Her English accent was wonderful and hinted at private boarding schools and aristocratic society. Again, he was perplexed by the sensation of age conflicting with her youthful appearance and energy.

"Oh!" he exclaimed gently, just now realizing who she was.

"Yes, I am she. The one with the tortured visions. Maker of all of this exquisite pain. Marquise Oletha Thanemark. If you wish, you may call me 'O', as you already have!" she said with a delighted grin.

Nate was struggling to keep up with her energy. "Nate. Nathan Walker." Something she'd said sunk in. "Exquisite pain?" he asked with a raised eyebrow.

She nodded as her eyes roamed his body once more. "Yes, the... giving and receiving of the sensation can produce the most delicious levels of excitement, relieving the tedium of mere existence."

He smiled uneasily. "I've never been a big fan of receiving pain." His eyes were drawn back to the sculpture.

She cocked her head as she gave him a coy smile. "More of a giver, then?"

He went to deny it but his eyes were still on the sculpture. "Maybe..." he murmured.

"You're not talking about physical pain though, are you." Oletha suggested quietly.

Once more Nate was jolted from a frozen state. The personal nature of the question from this total stranger threw his equilibrium off. He realized she still had his hand in hers and showed no sign of releasing him. The grip wasn't painful but it was firm.

Still he felt something akin to a compulsion to answer. "No, mental pain seems to be my speciality."

She gave him a doubtful expression. "Odd, you seem to be built for pleasure."

His eyes snapped back to hers as he snorted in surprised amusement. He grinned at her and was presented with a flash of teeth as well.

"Bold," he said and she nodded.

"There is no other way to live," she said definitively.

He nodded in appreciation of her philosophy.

Seemingly on impulse, she leaned closer and inhaled deeply. He raised an eyebrow at this as he knew he didn't smell bad but he didn't wear cologne. She looked at him curiously and he looked back in question. Her eyes grew wide.

"Oh my! You don't... know, do you!" she exclaimed quietly in amazement.

He grinned crookedly at her. "How should I answer that question?"

"Oh, this is perfect! It's so rare to be surprised! I need to show you something!" she gasped and began to move to the side of the room tugging his hand. He had no choice but to follow. He glanced back and spotted Jo talking to a tall and gorgeous black woman who was smiling at her and nodding. He realized she'd be ok for a bit.

They approached an exit on the far side of the gallery but he saw the rooms beyond were identified as off limits, restricted to staff. One of the museum guards intercepted them at the velvet rope but Oletha leaned in to whisper something to him. He smiled at her and opened the barrier for them. They slipped inside and Nate saw the guard had a strange distracted look in his eyes but they were past before he could get a better look. They moved through two fairly empty rooms, each minimally lit for safe passage, before reaching the entrance to a third gallery.

This entrance was hidden behind a thick black curtain. Next to this was a stool with a small basket on top. Oletha finally released his hand as she removed her slim phone from her back pocket and placed it in the basket. She looked at him until he did the same with his. She held the curtain open and led them inside. There, she touched a control on the wall and the lights came up slowly until he could see the paintings. The walls were filled with them.

Oletha gestured for him to go ahead. She touched the curtain and whispered something he didn't catch. He looked at her curiously then walked along the wall examining and appreciating the art as he went. The paintings were old and exquisite. The subject matter in them seemed to be uniform amongst them all. Most showed an intimate bedroom scene but the participants weren't wholly human.

Here, a human male was stretched out on his bed with his arms flung over his eyes as a winged female with fangs and a tail rode his erection with her head thrown back and her long tongue sticking out in ecstasy.

The next showed a Rubenesque blonde with long flowing white hair writhing on a bed under the body of a dark figure with black wings and a ridiculously long penis penetrating her from two feet away.

Most of the paintings showed the human's at rest and being sexually tormented by these creatures, many very human looking themselves but sometimes more animalistic.

He came upon a plaque. It read 'Mythology: A Study in Sexual Repression through the Ages'. Below the title was a second line which read 'Presented by Give-Borrow-Exchange-Change Foundation'.

Oletha was walking with him down the hall as he took in the paintings. "I work with the foundation. I decided these pieces needed to be seen again. Many haven't been publicly viewed for hundreds of years."

He nodded as he admired the technique and skill of the artists at painting such fanciful images. "They are beautifully done. Thank you for showing me."

She nodded with a mysterious smile on her lips. "This is a special gallery. No windows. No cameras or recording devices of any kind are allowed in here. Completely private. We won't be disturbed in here."

His eyebrow went up as he smiled faintly at the implication in her words. "Other than appreciating these imaginative paintings what intentions did you have for bringing me here?" he asked carefully. This situation was reminding him of his personal promise to give himself time to heal before entering into another relationship or accepting another casual affair.

She smiled widely at him. "Nothing less than your complete illumination!" He looked at her nervously and she laughed gently. "Oh my, you are precious! It won't hurt at all and I believe you will be very happy with the result. Let's sit and talk."

She guided him to a long cushioned bench in the middle of the gallery and patted it next to her as she took a seat. He sat and looked into her eyes.

"We start simply with a few questions. Based on how you reacted to 'A Dark Heart', the sculpture you stopped at, you have experienced a failed relationship or two." She tilted her head waiting for his answer.

He nodded. "Every relationship I've been in has failed." He was surprised to hear himself confessing this but she didn't judge him. Instead, she just nodded like it was a given and he frowned slightly.

She leaned forward to look into his eyes. "In each of these relationships, there was the Honeymoon phase which began with an immediate physical attraction. The sex was consistently good and fulfilling but your partners began to exhibit changes in their personalities. They became increasingly jealous, spiteful, bitter, and sometimes even violent until finally, you had to break up with them. You were always the one to end the relationships as well."

Nate was openly gaping at the woman before him in shock. "How... how could you possibly know that?" he asked quietly.

She smiled compassionately and stroked his cheek with her palm. "Because we're not meant to have relationships with them."

"What?" he asked, completely losing track of what she was saying.

She sighed as if dealing with a slow student and gestured to the paintings. "What are the common elements in all of the art in this room?"

He looked and saw what he saw before. "Men and women having sex with monsters."

"No! Not monsters. Succubi and Incubi," she corrected him.

He looked back in confusion. What was the difference?

"What does the word 'monster' suggest to you?" she asked.

"Ah... malevolence, ill intent, a bad creature?" he suggested.

"Can Humans be those things?" she said tilting her head.

He thought about that. "Ok, sure, but-"

"So Human's can be classified as monsters too," she pressed the point.

He sighed as he nodded. "Sure, I concede the point. So, the common theme is men and women having sex with Succubi and Incubi."

"Having sex. Not forming relationships with them," she said slowly and he blinked at her.

He now understood what she was implying but it made no sense. "I'm a man."

"You're male," she corrected.

"I'm a human male!" he barked and stood. He wasn't sure why he was so upset. Suddenly he didn't want to be in this gallery any more. He especially didn't want to be with this crazy woman in this secluded room. He turned and marched back to the black curtain and swiped his hand across its surface but the opening wasn't evident. He swiped again and again in both directions but no luck. In frustration he went to the left side but it seemed to be secured to the wall all the way down. He was stunned to find the bottom was secured too. He tried to get a grip on the fabric to pull it up and it slipped away from his fingers. He stopped and stared at the black substance that looked like fabric but felt more like fur and didn't behave like a curtain at all.

He turned back to face Oletha. "How do I leave?"

She smiled at him. "The moment you accept what you are, the curtain will let you pass."

"What? What are you talking about? I know exactly what I am. This is stupid! I'm a man- A HUMAN MAN!" he barked.

"Why are you so threatened by this? You are fascinating! How do you not know what you are?" Oletha smiled widely at him like he was most entertaining.

"Open this curtain!" he insisted.

"Open it yourself," she said with a grin.

He marched back to glare down at her.

"Are you ready to be a giver of pain?" she said, smiling up at him.

He rocked back and glanced at the curtain then back to her. "Is that what this is all about? You wanted to push my buttons until you provoked a violent response?"

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byBurntRedstone© 16 comments/ 12262 views/ 33 favorites

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