Eternal Ch. 12byFeotakahari©
"Good evening," a deep voice boomed. "As the manager of the Horny Rhino Burlesque Club, I'd like to welcome you all to the grand reopening, and thank you for your continued patronage in these troubled times. From tonight onwards, your loyalty will be rewarded by the most unique girls in this--or any--world!"
"You going to paint your dames green and call them Martians?" someone yelled.
"You've seen Chompy at the door, haven't you?" the manager asked. "Not all of his friends are so big or so ugly. Bring out Ghost!"
The manager had seen the potential in the tempters' dances, but he'd insisted that they perform in cages--"So the johns aren't afraid you're going to eat them," he'd said. Three human girls worked together to lift Ghost's cage onstage.
When she was properly centered, they pulled away a cloth and revealed her to the world, in a manner of speaking. "Christ, she's got more wrappings than a mummy!" "At least her eyes are pretty." "They must really want to tease us with this one." She couldn't feel much lust from them yet, and she began to worry whether stage fright would inhibit her.
Harry had declined to attend the reopening, saying that it wasn't his sort of crowd, but Neil smiled encouragingly at her from a table near the stage. She met his eyes as she began to dance.
She danced to no music, and needed none--the men who watched her felt her in the beat of their hearts and the movement of their blood. She slowly unwrapped herself, as if by accident, and for a minute, shock reigned in the audience. "Holy shit, she's got a tail!" "Three eyes? That can't be makeup." "What the hell--" But the last speaker didn't finish his sentence before falling under her sway. The crowd's lust filled her, hungry and savage, but tinged in places with a despairing loneliness that slowly softened under her influence.
By the time Ghost took her final bow, resting her head against the bars of the cage, she'd revealed more of herself than Leila would ever have expected to show in public--but at her prior insistence, she wasn't entirely naked. "I regret to inform you all that this particular girl is not available," the manager said, "but others of her kind are waiting in the back rooms, ready to provide you with personal attention! Just be warned that the choice is up to them whether to give you their favors--and that we take no responsibility for whatever they might do to you!" He gave the crowd a very obvious wink. "Neither woman nor beast, so the cops can't charge us with prostitution or bestiality! See for yourself, and share a night unlike any other!"
-- -- -- --
Neil met her backstage. "You did great," he told her. "I was surprised by how happy you seemed."
Ghost had considered dissolving her Contract with Neil, but speaking with thought was far faster than writing notes. They're not all like Belial or Marlowe. Many of them are as sad and lonely as Lilith was, and it was a pleasure to make them happy for a while. She smiled. Besides, I like Harry, but it's boring to only have sex with him. I don't want to cheat on him again, and I haven't talked him into a threesome yet, so this is how I'll share my love.
"I can't help but notice that 'yet.' Are you planning something?"
Ghost wasn't sure whether Neil was fishing for an invitation, so she simply dodged the question. Like you're one to talk. Randall's still resolving things with Grace, isn't he? And then there's the Lilith issue. You'll be a very busy man soon.
"By the way, how's Randall doing? I haven't gotten to see him much since that night."
Everyone's fine so far. Lilith's been reconstituting the dead from the club--over my objections, I might add, but it's worked out better than I expected. Most of them have agreed to become tempters rather than fade away again.
Neil tried to wrap his head around that. "You've got male tempters now?"
Well, one of them always thought of himself as a woman, so we stabilized his form in that shape. We have a few imps, too, and we were lucky enough to get a devourer before anyone else could claim him. But yes, we have male tempters, and my friends say they've been great fun. None of us are strong enough to keep them all Contracted, but we might be better off that way--if we can get enough demons to join us without Contracts, we can build a bigger army than anything the greater demons have.
"No Contracts, male tempters, and casual sex. Judith would hate to know about this." Neil struggled with his next question. "Ghost, I need to ask you something. Where do you think Judith is now?"
Judith thought there must be a Heaven. We can't prove she was wrong. Dead demons go away, but who knows where they go? Maybe someday, another portal will open, and we'll find her sitting on a cloud.
"She wasn't really evil, you know. Crazy, sure, but not evil. Even after everything she did, I still hope she isn't gone. "
This time, Ghost knew what Neil wanted, so she told a single lie before she steered the conversation elsewhere. I hope so too. Anyway, I'm not planning to find out anytime soon. I'm happy with the world we know.
"Things are only going to get messier from here on out. It's only a matter of time before the torches-and-pitchforks crowd shows up, and who knows when or whether Marlowe will come knocking."
I don't need much to make me happy. Just a strong roof, a warm bed, and the one I love beside me--the three things we all deserve.