"Wake up, Claire. We're home now."
Hot breath brushed against her neck, sending a shiver down her spine. Her eyes flickered for a second then fully opened, her body now moving though still clogged with sleep. She had been carried into a large room, enormous compared to the last one, illuminated by wreaths of flame suspended in the air below the ceiling. Fresh spattering of blood covered the walls, shining in the light.
Along the far wall three beds had been lined up in a neat row, the middle bed twice the size of the end two. All three were covered in black sheets and blankets, each embroidered with distinct delicate silver scrollwork. Other than the beds, the room was sparsely decorated, with only an enormous table stretching along the entire length of one wall and a single strip of metal holding flimsy pieces of clothing. Obviously meant for her, though she wondered how such sparsely-designed garments passed for clothes.
Clothes? Those are just left-over fabric scraps from a quilting party.
"Come. Let's get you fed."
Thaltos continued to carry her in his arms, leading her to the table. Made of a mammoth slab of dark stained wood, it was piled high with almost every dish she could have imagined. Steaming platters of roasted meats, whole coked fish and endless bowls of fresh fruits were scattered over the dark surface. The smell alone snapped her mind fully awake and made her stomach growl.
He stopped just inches from the table, cradling her in his arms as he used his foot to pull out one of the elaborately carved chairs. He set her down gently, pushing the chair back in so her bare chest brushed the edge of the table. Thaltos turned and pulled the chair next to her, settling in and leaning one elbow of the table.
He grinned at her. "Are you awake yet?"
She smiled and nodded. "It's kind of hard not to wake up. Your voice is so loud."
His smile widened. "I apologize. I cannot help to volume." His eyes flicked to the table. "I'm going to venture a guess that you're hungry, especially after the way Darrow tortured you last night."
She blushed and looked away, hoping to avoid that subject.
He softened his smile. "What would you like?"
She scanned the layout of food for a moment, overwhelmed by the amount of choices she had. She decided it was best to start slow and reached out to pull a monstrous bowl of cherries towards her. The bowl was piled high with ripe fruit, each piece a deep burgundy red and sumptuously plump.
Excited and starved, she plucked one of the cherries from the bowl turning the stem in her fingers to watch it spin. Thaltos cleared his throat, breaking her concentration. She looked up to see a pained look on his face, as if he wanted to tell her something but wasn't quite sure how to say it.
Oh, boy. This can't be good.
She lowered the cherry out of her sight, concerned. "What?"
He sighed heavily. "Before you eat, there is something you need to know. A disclaimer, if you will."
She carefully set the cherry on the table, turning her full attention to him. Something in her gut twisted, alerting her that what he may say might not be good.
Thaltos took a deep breath. "This food, all of it, is made from this place. Every single piece was harvested from somewhere in Hell, meaning it belongs to us."
She nodded silently, the knot in her belly twisting tighter.
"That means any person or creature that ingests this food also belongs to Hell. You eat that cherry, Claire, and you can never leave here. You eat anything off this table and you belong to us for eternity." His gaze never faltered, though she could see a flicker of pain flash through his eyes.
She sat back in her chair, staring at the small piece of fruit. She'd waited patiently for a bombshell to be dropped and he didn't disappoint. Her mind spun in circles, weighing the options. She could refuse the food and starve, but still have a chance to get out of here. Or she could eat and be bound to this shithole forever. Two easy, wonderful options to pick from.
Ah, decisions, decisions. Eeny, meeny, miney, mo...
While her brain ran around like a headless chicken, her stomach had other ideas. Three days devoid of food had left her body ravenous and irritated, an issue her innards were determined to address. Her stomach rumbled painfully, making her wince at her sudden discomfort. The painful emptiness halted any further debate, her body making the decision for her: Eat or die, and damn the consequences.
Her mind made up, she reached out and picked up the cherry from the table, holding it by the stem as she tilted her head back and opened her mouth wide. She bit down gently, pulling the stem free as she sliced through the juicy flesh. Deliciously sweet with the perfect amount of tartness. No wonder people would sell their souls for this. Forcing her fear down, she swallowed what was left of her pride along with the cherry, spitting the pit into her hand.
She looked up to see him smiling at her, his night-colored teeth shining in the light of the flames. "Good girl."
Thaltos reached over and plucked another cherry from the bowl. Reaching over, he dangled it just above her head. She recognized the game instantly and tilted her head back, opening her mouth so he could feed her. Placing the fruit on her tongue, he held it still so she could bite the sweet flesh, pulling slightly to detach the stem.
She giggled as she chewed the fruit, her thoughts turning to why she had ever questioned wanting to leave. She had three loyal - albeit demonic - lovers who had sworn to pleasure her and make her happy. She had an endless supply of delicious food, a warm bad and no worries. Why had she ever wanted to leave this place? She must have been crazy. Or drunk.
Swallowing the cherry, she looked down at her hand, inspecting it for the tiniest brand or marking. Nothing had changed. Her flesh remained as rosy and warm as ever. She stared at it, confused. Shouldn't there be some kind of tattoo that solidified her pact? Some evil-looking burn that showed she belonged there?
She looked back at Thaltos, a giant question mark on her face. "I don't feel any different."
He chuckled. "You're not supposed to. That's the design of it. Anyone who unknowingly ate any of this food wouldn't know they were bound here until they tried to leave. Evil, I know, but that's how this place is set up. For a person who's not supposed to be here, this world is full of traps."
"That's cruel." She popped another cheery in her mouth.
He shrugged. "I don't make the rules. I make deals."
She smiled, twisting another fruit in her fingers. Now comfortable with her surroundings, Claire's natural playfulness and curiosity started to come out. She leaned forward, cupping her chin in her palm. "What kind of deals? Just soul trades? Or do you do something more?"
He smiled. "Mostly soul trades, but I have a very specific clientele. Mine must be, shall we say 'wealthy' enough, to pay the price. They need to have some form of payment large enough for me to do business with them."
Her eyes widened a bit. "Really? What kind of payment do they need?"
He sat back in his chair, lacing his fingers together across his muscled chest. "Nothing out of the ordinary. Any human soul can be bartered, but the quality of the soul determines the quality of the deal. The soul of a murderer or an addict can be traded, but you won't get much. A virgin soul like yourself always offers the best bargain."
"Huh. That explains why my grandmother was so intent of keeping me a virgin." She lowered the cherry, dropping her hand to the table.
Thaltos waved a clawed hand. "No, that was simply one of the rules of your grandmother's faith. The fact that it kept you a virgin is supply luck. It was your parents who made the deal, my dear. Your grandmother would have killed herself before even coming near us." His lips twitched up in a tiny smile.
She scoffed. "You're right. Nana would have pulled out the shotgun on my parents if they hadn't already left the house." She looked back at him. "What's going to happen to them?"
Thaltos shrugged. "Not sure. I make deals but I'm not the one who enforces them. I suppose, unless they've have done something horribly wrong, your parents won't be collected until their deaths. When that is, I do not know. But they should be safe until they have to face whatever god they believe in."
She chewed her lip. "They're Satanists."
He resumed his comfortable position. "Ah, then they're fucked."
Yes they were. That was a fact that Claire had long ago accepted. They had bartered her soul off -- true, it was for a good reason -- but there was noting she could do to help them. Her soul belonged to Thaltos, Darrow and Silthos. Her parents, when they died, belonged to Satan. Whether any of them liked it or not.
Such is they way of making deals with the devil.
She shrugged again. "And I don't suppose there's anything I can do to help them? No bargain I can make?"
Thaltos offered a sly smile. "Not unless you offer to suck the old demon off."
That comment made her playfulness come out in full swing. Moving as fast as she could, she whipped her hand out and forced the cherry into his mouth, silencing his words. The look of stunned alarm on his face was priceless. She fell back into her chair, clutching her stomach as she burst out laughing. She struggled to catch her breath as she laughed, managing to crack her eyes open to watch him.
Thaltos sat in the chair watching her, a wicked smile on his lips. He had swallowed the cherry, pit to stem, and was now watching her with humorous eyes. He stood suddenly, his towering height casting a shadow over her body.
"You want to play, do you?" He reached down and scooped her out of the chair, laying her body over his shoulder. "Fine then. We'll play."
She cried out, a mix of surprise and joy. Playfully, she beat her fists lightly against his back. She kicked jokingly, and laughed as he played along, offering pseudo-angry growls and jostling her gently to calm her down.
He carried her to the row of beds, making a beeline for the enormous middle one. She'd noticed its size before and now realized it purpose. Thaltos and the others were colossal demons, but each of the smaller beds could easily hold them. The middle bed was meant for two people: one of her captors and herself.
Thaltos stopped at the edge of the bed, tossing her off his shoulder so she landed on the soft mattress. She squealed as she was engulfed by the soft blankets, cried out again when he reached up and pinned her hands against the bed. He leaned over, pressing the bottom half of his torso against her thighs.
He grinned at her, his black teeth shining. "Oh, yes. We can play."
She smiled innocently, biting her lip to add effect. "What kind of games are we playing?"
He growled softly. "You will see."
At that moment, more thin strands of inky blackness crept out of the shadows of the room, stretching down the slick walls to the bed. They wrapped gently around her wrists, holding her tight but never squeezing hard. Thaltos let go of her hands, watching her being bound with a broad grin. The free ends of the shadows twisted around the frame of the bed, tying her in place.
Falling to his knees at the edge of the bed, Thaltos reached out and gently gripped her hips, dragging her forward until her ass hung over the edge. She looked down at him to watch, not worried about what he was going to do but curious to see it happen. Thaltos gripped one leg and gently lifted it over his shoulder, mirroring what his brethren had done earlier.
He looked up at her, an ecstatic grin on his face. "Darrow did say I needed to taste you. What do you think?"
The question threw her off for an instant. "I don't know. I've never...tasted myself before."
He shot her a sinister smirk. "You'd better be worth the effort I've been through to get you. I paid a handsome amount to your parents for this."
"I promise I am." She made her voice as innocent and playful as she could, watching the sparks of joy flick through his eyes.
In all honesty, she wanted this. Demons as they were, each of them promised to give her all the pleasures and happiness she desired; so far, two of them had given her a good taste of her future life. Darrow had shown her pleasure and Thaltos had shown her kindness and respect. She wondered briefly what Silthos could offer her, but brushed the thought aside. She was with Thaltos now, so her focus should be on him.
Thaltos reached out and dragged one clawed finger down her cheek. "I need you to promise me something else."
Her smile faltered. "Yes?"
His smile kicked up a notch. "You must promise not to tell the others I did this. Usually we perform in front of each other so someone can verify a claim. By doing this alone, I'm setting myself up for some serious shit-talking when they get back."
She giggled. "Cross my heart. They won't hear a word from me."
He grinned at her. "That's my girl."
Without another second of hesitation, he stood and kissed her. His mouth was hot and tasted of fiery spices, but his lips were soft and forgiving. The kiss was firm and determined, yet gentle. Not once did he force his tongue between her lips or crush his mouth against her own. He simply held her down, letting their mouths meld of their own accord.
Second later he broke away from her mouth, his lips continuing down her jaw to her throat then her chest. His tongue, thick and black with veins of red, flicked out to tease her breasts. He gave delicious attention to each, licking and suckling them until her nipples hardened and her back arched. He laughed when she bit her lip, sucked harder when she let out a soft gasp.
He wrapped his lips around one of her stiff nipples, dragging a shocked gasp from her throat. She caught herself, not wanting to make too much noise and alert anyone close by. Bad idea, since Thaltos wanted to hear her cries. He sucked harder, running his tongue around in a circle over the hard tip. Claire groaned, thrusting her chest forward so he could continue. He obliged, kissing and sucking each of her breasts until she began churning out soft whispers for more.
His mouth left her breasts, replaced by his warm hands. They massaged her tender skin while his mouth traveled south, kissing every groove and rise of her ribcage. He kissed her belly, his tongue dipping into the soft indentation of her bellybutton before continuing down. Her breath hitched in her throat. She knew where he was heading and her body was screaming for it. A few more inches and she'd on the first-class train to Wonderland. Just a little lower and she could --
"Hey! We're back! You guys were taking a long time to get here, so we -- What the fuck, Thaltos? You were supposed to wait for us!"
Silthos' annoyed voice brought them both back from the brink of insanity. Groaning in frustration, Thaltos pulled his mouth away from her skin and stood, looking over his shoulder. Both Silthos and Darrow were standing near the table, looks of envious anger on their faces.
"Relax, you two. I barely touched her." he waved his hand towards her, causing the shadowy binds on her wrists to retreat. "You came back just as I was getting to the good part."
"That's still cheating." Darrow's eyes narrowed. "We agreed to do this together. Don't fuck it up because of your curiosity."
Thaltos turned fully around, cocking his head to on side. "Weren't you the one who pleaded with me to taste her? I was only following your advice, Darrow."
Darrow opened his mouth to object, but saw he had no argument and remained silent. Silthos' face also softened, though his eyes remained hard and filled with jealousy.
Her binds now gone, Claire managed to push herself up and began scooting back to the wall. She herself hadn't done anything wrong - her body was theirs, after all -- but she still wanted to put some distance between them in case a war broke out. Her back pressed against cold rock as she pulled her knees to her chest. She wrapped her arms around her legs, pulling them tighter as she watched.
Silthos' fiery eyes flicked to her. "Well, at least we know she's recovered from Darrow's induction."
Thaltos nodded. "Yes, she's fully recovered now. The girl's a strong one. I don't think we'll have to worry about exhausting her too much. She can take a good amount of teasing before she caves."
"Hopefully she'll be the same way when we break her in," Darrow snorted. "The last thing I want is some weakling human girl the faints at the sight of a cock."
"The three of us have been standing around her naked for the past twenty four hours, and you're still concerned?" Silthos shot him a curious look. "I think the girl's fine with that. Why you're always so worrisome, I'll never know."
I don't know, either. Maybe he's insecure.
Curious now, Claire peered at each demon's body, studying them closely. Perfectly muscled, none of them would have a problem winning any Mr. Universe competition. The thin wisps and swirls of color that crawled along their skins made their bodies all the more beautiful.
Her gaze travelled lower, inspecting each of their cocks with an expert eye. Years of being raised Catholic meant that she had never been indoctrinated into the mechanics of sex. What she did know came from sneaking glances at human anatomy books or hushed whispers with her adolescent friends. She learned more about the human body by talking to her friends than from any sex-ed class.
She scanned each phallus slowly, taking in every curve, line and vein. Each was a good eight inches long and as thick as an overstuffed sausage. Any of them would put even the most talented porn star to shame. She wiped her earlier thought from her mind: none of them, especially Darrow, had anything to be insecure about.
"I just want to make sure we got a good one," Darrow snapped. "Those hard-ass Catholics are notorious for sending us paranoid prudes who faint at the mention of sex. I'm just trying to-"
Silthos snarled at him. "You and your damn deal worries. We have we they gave us and she looks fine. She's already let you devour her, so I doubt she's scared of sex. We can lead her if she stumbles a bit, but other than that, she's a good exchange. Stop complaining just because we didn't trade for an Italian supermodel."
Darrow snorted and turned away, although Claire could see his eyes flicking back to her every few seconds to scan her naked body. Silent though he was, he couldn't help himself to look for evidence of Thalto's betrayal. None was found, so her turned his gaze elsewhere.
Silthos returned his gaze to Thaltos. "You barely touched her?"
The old demon nodded. "You two barged in just as I was about to start."
Bright orange eyes flicked to her. "And the girl? Can she verify that?"
Thaltos peered over his shoulder at her. "Claire? Would you care to tell Silthos what happened?"
She stared at them for a moment, unsure of what to say. Truthfully, she wished the demons would just fight it out themselves so she wouldn't have to save their asses from each other. That idea was impossible, she knew. She figured that since she was stuck here with them, she might as well work with them. Her grandmother, as zealous as she may have been, had taught her a few good rules for life. The first one being that honesty was the easiest way out.
Slowly, she nodded. "You got here just as he was about to devour me. Beyond that, nothing happened."
Darrow snorted. "And how we know she's telling the truth? For all we know, Thaltos could have ripped her open and she's just covering for him."
"WILLYOU STOP!" Silthos wheeled on his companion. "I've nearly had it with your constant whining and your conspiracy theories! For all we know, you could be a brain-sucking alien from another galaxy and the girl could be a banana slug!"