My Nine Monsters Ch. 01.5-02


Diving into my old notes I find mostly things I already know. I don't so much take notes to review after the fact; generally in the act of writing something down I etch it into my memory. Most of my hints about the Warrior-Monsters I've found have been in mistranslations of very old copies Norse and Irish lore, despite the fact that they show up here and there in the documents of every culture that developed a written language. But the Nordic sources have offered the most information the easiest. After the change in my situation I need that knowledge fast, so I'm going to go to the deepest well of it that I know about.

But the Bodleian isn't a safe place for me any more. I wonder if anywhere in Britain, or the world for that matter will be safe for me now. There are old archives around the world that I haven't searched yet. If I had the resources, I could flee to any one of them, but I don't, my teaching and research grant is tied to Oxford. But the British Library in London might serve. It doesn't have the very oldest collection in the world, but it does have the largest. And, more importantly, there are people everywhere in it. Surely, if whatever accosted me in Oxford wishes to stay a secret, it wouldn't show itself in front of crowds of people.

After forcing the events of yesterday into the bottomless well of denial growing up in the American South blessed me with, I unbolt the doors and hurry out into the grimness of a British fog to catch the next train. There is a crow sitting of the railing across from my flat. It looks at me strangely. Can a crow look strangely at a person? I'm sure that this one does, until it quorks loudly and flaps away. I being to think I'm cracking up and seeing monsters and omens everywhere, especially when they aren't there.

The hour and a half on the train from Oxford to London is uneventful, miles and miles of lush, verdant green that eventually gives way to the grit and grime of the ancient, modern city. As I travel, I try to make sense of the thing that accosted me in the Library. I pull out my notebook and begin to make a list. I knew It appeared to be a male. It was tall, and broad, but didn't fit the outsized dimensions common in the legends that connected to the Monsters. I knew It was able to control my sexuality, and while it only did this to me in a pleasurable way, I got the sense it was toying with me. If it could do that for it's own amusement the thought of what it could do to me in anger chills my blood. I struggled to think of anything I might have missed, or anything I had read before that might point me in the right direction without success. By the time my train pulled into the grimy London station, my list was still exactly three items long.

I've been to this library several times before and have no trouble getting to the section I want. I'm hunting a copy of Cormack's Glossary first written in the 9th century. It's basically a dictionary, but in its explanations of old Gaelic words fantastic legends and creatures pop up all over. I'm not after an original copy, because I'm not familiar with this particular source, and can't read ancient Gaelic anyway, so an English copy will have to do.

Coming in the main entrance I veer to the left through a short hallway into one of main rooms of the library, which contains the massive card catalog. It may be anachronistic to search the library by such old-fashioned means, but for some reason I prefer to research this way. My professors as an undergraduate taught me that this was the way to do real research and make connections. One of my more codgerly profs had insisted that trying to get scholarly research via the internet was like trying to take a drink from a fire hose, and was therefore a useless endeavor. I'm not quite so anti-technology in my own career, but I do still always start with the cards. I find the location of the volume I'm after without trouble, but my stop at the card catalog had an ulterior motive. From the huge box of boxes, I could observe both entrances to this room surreptitiously, if anyone or anything is following me, they're either staying far back, or are invisible. If they're as invisible, or perhaps just preternaturally stealthy as the Library Thing I'm pretty fucked anyway, but I can at least pretend to be cautious.

I drift through the stacks, the part of the library where unpopular volumes are housed. These rooms are the same in every library on earth. The ceilings are very low, the shelving metal and cheap, and steep iron staircases connect one level to the next. There are no tourists here, but here and there is a student working at one of the desks or carrels that end up haphazardly dotting this sort of space. On the third level up I find the appropriate shelf, according to the ancient card catalog downstairs. I suppose these books are checked out so infrequently that no one has bothered to digitize this part of the vast collection of documents housed in this building. These aren't the old, precious, books written on vellum and bound in hide that I was used to searching. These are books written by modern academics, on cheap paper, and bound in red or blue fabric, with no titles but only catalogue numbers written on the spine. My own dissertation on the minutiae of Viking culture and oral storytelling sits in a similar binding, on a similar shelf, back in Delaware where I studied for my doctorate.

I'm letting my mind wander back to that happy time and place, and all those hours learning to find happiness in work, and in books, in place of other less satisfying pursuits. I drift down the aisle of this library now, until I've realized that I've come to far down this row and double back. And now something unusual happens at last. This entire day, this trip to London, being back in a Library after what happened to me yesterday, I've felt as though I've been waiting for the other shoe to drop. This dropping shoe doesn't hit me over the head like yesterday's did, but there on the shelf beside the copy of Cormack's that I came here for sits a small, old, and very obviously out of place book.

It's small, about the size of a back-pocket notebook, and bound simply in old leather the color of butter. It smells strange. I'm used to the smell of old books, and in fact have rather learned to regard the scents of the library as something of an aphrodisiac, but this book doesn't smell like that at all. There's something rancid to it's subtle odor, which is so faint, but in no way anything other than foul. And underneath the rancid is something acrid, smelling almost exactly like the burnt insulation on the cord of a hair drier I once owned.

Icy cold threads run up my arms the moment I pick it up, and every hair on my body stands on end. From somewhere far away I hear something screaming at me to not pick it up, not read it, not to even look at it. This voice is low and deep, and it sounds quiet to my ear, but it's timbre and quality suggest that if I was near the source of that voice it would be terribly, painfully loud.

A softer voice, an alto feminine voice whispers to me from the pages of the little book in my hands. It tells me that there are answers inside, that there is power inside. The first voice comes again with a rolling thunderclap telling me again to me to put it down. The alto voice comes again; it knows what the Library Thing is! It tells me somehow that it knows him, knows how to defeat him! I need these answers! I must know what that thing was! Smell or no smell I decide right then that I am going to read this book and I open the cover. In the same moment I read the first word on the first page, the book itself reaches out and grabs me by both wrists. I'm yanked face first into the binding. I know now that I have made a very terrible mistake. I should never have come here. I should have never picked up that book. I should never have left the U.S.

I fall for a long time through darkness. With a shock my feet hit the hard, bare, muddy ground. The first thing I register is the cold. The next is the smell. The reek of death is all around me. I open my eyes and immediately want to shut them again in horror at what I am seeing, but I can't. They aren't my eyes anymore. I am standing in a broad valley between the walls of two high mountain ranges. Thousands of dead and dying men are strewn across this miserable field. Crows peck at the eyes of the dead, while the dying cry in pain and terror. Off to my right a young man sobs for his mother as he tries to hold his intestines inside the cavity of his body. The earth is a reddish mud everywhere I look. This mud churned up out of the black soil by hooves and hobnail boots from the dirt and ice and mostly blood of this awful place. Whenever it was that this happened it was long before I was ever born. The men wear steel helms and boiled leather shirts studded with iron rivets over quilted padding, only three out every five have shoes. A few have on oiled mail; fewer still wear heavy plate, the ones that don't have arrow shafts protruding through their soft bodies to show it.

The body I see this through is female, but not at all my own. I am clearly not in charge; I am along only for the ride now. She stops to look into a pool of water going steadily going red and I get to see her for the first time in our reflection. She is naked from the waist up. All we have on is a long skirt made of crow feathers hung low on our waist, and rings of black iron through our nipples.

A moment later realization rings my head like a bell. Our skin? Our skirts? What in the whole world of fucks has happened to me?

Her skin is the bluish white of glacier ice that hasn't melted once in ten thousand years, her hair and eyes are not just black but they seem to absorb light from our surroundings. In her right hand she carries a spear eight feet long, tipped with another foot of wickedly sharp obsidian.

Slowly, we walk the battlefield, our bare feet kicking up the edge of her long feathered skirts. Somehow I know is our name is Macha, and that we are one of the dreaded three sisters that comprise The Morrigan. These Three are the goddesses of death and destruction that ruled battlefields in the North for three thousand years before their eventual, unexplained downfall. All the while she walks I feel more of her mind intruding upon my own. She loves the sight of this destruction far more than I could ever be horrified by it. She walks slowly to the dying young man, and to my horror we are getting more turned on with every step.

"This one doesn't deserve to fuck us." She thinks as we approach. It does not escape me that she distinctly thought, "Us."

"Yes, Chloe. I know you're there. I know you're seeing this with me, this vision of long, long ago. I am showing you this. I am letting you feel this. With me you will know what true power really is. All the power that you lacked yesterday in the library when Freyr was fucking you."

If I was in my own body, my vision would narrow to a pinprick like the last frames of an old cartoon. How can she possibly know about that? And who in the fuck is Freyr? The Library Thing?

We walk on towards the dying man, his face a mask of terror and desperation, "Mother?" He says again as his voice breaks, but he speaks in the old and guttural language, in the tone of all the dying men of all the world. I have never heard it before, but Macha has, and she understands, and so therefore I do too. "No, sweet one." She croons to him, as she kneels and places his head gently in her lap. "Quiet now," we softly whisper to him as we brush curls of sweat-matted hair off his brow. He might be twenty, I think bitterly; this is probably the first time he's ever left the village he grew up in. As Macha and I bend to kiss him, I wonder if he's ever kissed a woman before. Suddenly, I see a fresh faced girl with flowers in her blonde hair grasping his hand and pulling him away from the great bonfire that raged near his home as the soldiers gathered to make each other feel brave again before riding off to battle.

I don't think it's just my imagination, these images rushing into my mind. I see flashes of these two stealing off while the rest of the village dances and chants around that fire, I think Macha is drawing these last happy moments of his life to the front of his mind. I'm not sure whether or not she wants me to see these, or if she's doing it for him, to ease his dying.

I see the quilt for she hid for them in a dark alcove at the back of a rough structure that serves as her father's barn, and I watch her lead him there, I can feel the sweat on his palms. The grass underneath their bare feet is damp but not too cold. This is summer, when this happened, the boy has been away for months, maybe a year or more since he left this place.

I feel the man-boy think to himself, "How are my hands so hot when the rest me is so shivering cold?"

This farm girl loves him, this boy turning into a man, she wants nothing in life more than for him to survive this war and come home. She wants him to come home and plant the fields that belong to her father. She wants him to come home and raise a flock of sheep and a few acres of crops and lay with her at night to give her strong sons and pretty daughters. She shouldn't, and she knows it, but she wants to give herself to this boy, just in case. Just in that awful case that he never comes home.

He comes so soon after he enters her I wonder if it is his first time. He shudders and shakes his joy into her as she binds him to her with arms and legs wrapped tight around him.

All of this Macha shows me in the moment between when we touch our lips to his, and when she drives our spear through his heart. He dies with our mouth still pressed over his, and Macha breathes deeply in. I think she is breathing in his soul.

We stand up, Macha and I. We continue to walk the battlefield, looking for the warrior worthy of us, the one we will make special, one worthy to serve us forever. We find him moments later. He looks like he'd be middling height but he would be very stoutly built if he could stand, but he's pinned to the ground by a long spear driven through his body near his shoulder. His beard is as deep red as the puddle he lies in. For a long moment as we walk towards him I wonder why Macha is choosing this one. I find out the answer soon enough, as he spits blood and broken teeth at us, screaming.

"Get the fuck away from me you fucking hell-bitch!" He howls at us, spitting blood and broken teeth.

His rage goes straight to our sex. The infusion of the man-boy's soul has made us powerful but we need so much more than that. Neither Macha nor I care now if hillsides of men have to die for us to get what we want. Even now his bravery and his anger and his terror at the sight of us burns hot in his soul. That hate laps at our sex, it strokes our nipples gently, a thin glimmer of arousal drips blistering hot on Macha and I's thigh.

He reaches for the spear in his shoulder and wrenches at it trying to pull it free to fling at us. Somehow, the pain that costs him is transformed into a gentle stroke across our slit that flowers for him as he bites his tongue against the pain, hard enough for him to draw blood.

We want this one.

I want this one.

My sex is hot and slick for this dying man.

My own mind screams in terror as Macha imposes herself on my will.

I want to feel the heat of his rage scorch my womb. I know, and so does he, that the moment he comes for me will be the moment he dies. And I know, because Macha knows, that when he comes it won't just be his seed, but his very soul that will fill me.

She works the belt that joins our skirts together and they fall away. We are perfect. Despite the glory of our nude form, he hates us as fiercely as the enemy he slaughtered just a short while ago. That same enemy that only hours ago a human priest told him about, and told him that he would live forever in paradise, if only he would die slaying the invaders. He would kill us in heartbeat if he could.

All the tenderness Macha showed the dying boy is gone now. She wrenches off his helm and throws it behind us. She runs a razor sharp fingernail that looks like a claw down the length of his chest, parting the leather and steel as easily as if they were made of cheesecloth. I watch through her eyes as Macha does the same to the laces of his breeches and he springs forth, wonderfully hard for us in spite of his wounds and his hatred.

He curses us again; Macha places our finger over his lips to silence him and grinds our pussy against him. Another iron ring adorns us here, and slowly she drags it through his wiry dark red hair. The ring may be Macha's, but it is my clit that it tugs on. "He wants us, Chole." The Morrigan whispers into my mind, "He wants to fucks us, he wants to please us. He wants to make us come even though he knows it will be his last act in life. Someday, you'll want to please me just as much as he does." Her words send a ripple of arousal and terror running through our body, and the part of my mind that is still my own knows that I'm so far beyond my own control that I'm about to fuck a man to death with the stench of a thousand bodies around me and I don't care any more what is right or wrong. I am the goddess now. And the goddess fucks as she wishes.

She straddles us over him, arching our back forward as she pushes him inside us. Oh he feels so good. We take our time; we draw this out for as long as we want it to last. Macha hunches us forward, taking his full length into us and offering him our iron tipped breast. His beard scratches slightly as he draws our nipple between his teeth. We draw ourselves along his length until only his very head is inside us before slamming our hips back on him. Over and over again we push our pussy forward and back along his full length, dragging our clit along his shaft with every stroke. He seems to get harder, fuller, with every stroke until he feels like steel inside us, and we know he's close. He is close to coming for us. He is close to dying for us.

In just a few moments, not just the ability to make life but his life itself will soak our womb, all his wants, and deeds, and memories will erupt into us. Later, after he dies, a bit of his soul will trickle down our thigh, we'll dab up that drop on a clawed finger and suck deeply of whatever it is that soul tastes like.

I lean back and reach behind me for his thighs, pushing him inside me to that perfect place in my pussy that I know will make me come with the force of an onrushing train. My eyes close involuntarily as my orgasm builds; I stretch out my hands to the sides, open to the gray sky above me.

He comes for me, oh he comes. He comes hotter than any man I've ever felt, it's not mere semen but his life itself that gushes into me, and my own orgasm rips through me, starting with the muscles in my inner thighs. I quiver as the shocks rip through my body and claw their way up out of my throat and across this desolate battlefield. The orgasm drives me forward as Macha plants her claws in the man's chest, laying it open as the last of his life force spends itself in us.

And then I start screaming...

The little book whumps closed at my feet, and I'm still screaming. Now that I'm not sharing Macha's body and mind the full horror of the scene I just witnessed hits me full force. It hammers me to the rough metal non-slip floor of the stacks and my screams go on and on.

"Get up, lass! We have to get out of here!" A vaguely familiar voice intrudes on me. I feel strong hands under my armpits, pulling me to my feet, but my legs won't hold up. Whoever it is that's come for me picks me up, bride style, and starts to carry me. I'm still screaming when the last of consciousness flees me and I black out.

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