"This is Eisheth." Michael didn't even try to keep the contemptuous smile off of his face. There was no way in hell Jack was going to be looking at anyone — or anything — other than Eisheth.
Even at the merely physical level, Eisheth's charms were considerable. Luxuriant pitch-black hair framed an olive-complexioned face with eyes that could seem almost cartoonishly large when she wanted to play the innocent, or could narrow into the bedroom eyes of a seductress, as they were now. Her skin was flawless, but always seemed to be flushed with inner heat. She liked to keep her mouth closed when she was alone with Michael, but even he could scarcely look at her full red lips and not imagine them wrapped around his cock, sucking him in. Her body seemed to hold no straight lines — looking at her, Michael's eye could never decide where to settle — on the athletic back and neck that always held perfect posture unless she wanted to lower a shoulder or cock her head to better draw you in — on full, deceptively youthful breasts that always seemed damp with a sheen of arousal that you knew, just knew, was caused by you — on the incurve to her waist and stomach that dared you to see if your thumbs could touch at her navel while your fingers still met at her spine — on the round perfection of her hips and ass, that seemed to be swaying slowly in orbit around the the juncture of thighs you longed to part — on the svelte, sculpted legs that you couldn't see without imagining wrapped around your face or your hips. Michael's eyes would roam constantly over her form, trying to take her all in, and always failing. He was in a perpetual state of erection from the moment she would manifest, and his cock was at its hardest when she plied her trade, as she did now.
Jack didn't have Michael's protection of her sigil, and was thus affected by her full, seductive power. Michael had been careful to never experience that power firsthand, but he liked to have Eisheth's victims describe it to him before she took them. They could not look at her without her starring in a ceaseless festival showing every one of their sexual fantasies, including some they didn't know they had. They knew, with absolute, utter certainty that she shared those fantasies, and that her fantasies contained them, and only them.
Her victims knew this, and they were right, at least to a point.
"Jack, you aren't speaking," Michael prodded. "What do you think of her? She is a good friend of mine, and she owes me a favor or two. I wanted us to bury the hatchet, so to speak, and she is my way of making amends. I will give you two as long as you need in my guest bedroom, but you have to tell me what you think of her."
Jack said nothing, which he had seen once before. That meant... yes. Michael looked at Eisheth and could tell she had already seen it. Of course she had. She couldn't fulfill their fantasies without knowing even the ones they didn't dare speak.
Eisheth drew herself up to her full height, and somehow, when Michael wasn't looking, her clothing had changed. She had begun the evening, as she always was when they were alone, dressed for Michael, wearing Courtney's wedding dress, or the t-shirt and sweatpants Courtney had been wearing the first time they had sex, or in Courtney's fire-engine-red merry widow, which is what she had been wearing when Jack rang the doorbell. But now, Eisheth's target had changed. She was no longer trying to seduce Michael, but her sights were set on Jack, and she was wearing skin-tight pants, a corset, high heels, and long gloves, all made of black leather. A riding crop had found its way into her hand, and she snapped it against her other palm with practiced precision. She had also grown three inches beyond the heels, and her breasts had gained a cup size.
Her eyes narrowed, and her lips parted in a cruel sneer. "Don't you see, Michael? This snivelling little worm is a submissive. He won't dare speak in my presence unless I give him permission. Isn't that right, Jack?"
Jack didn't respond.
"You are too weak and cowardly to deserve the name you were born with, staring at your mistress like you are a squirrel. That is what I shall call you. Speak to me Squirrel, admitting your name and your nature."
Jack was beet-red with humiliation. His head was tilted down in deference, but he still could look nowhere else but at her. "You are correct, of course, Mistress."
Michael released his contempt. "Of course you are, Jack. All that macho, a-man-must-take-what-he-wants bullshit you fed to me when I was a trainee at Lehman and you were my mentor — it was all cover for a weak little submissive, wasn't it?"
Jack ignored Michael, but Michael didn't take offense. He knew that for Jack, right now, Eisheth was the living, breathing, walking, fucking embodiment of sex, and nothing else existed unless it would help or impede his access to her.
Eisheth held up a collar and leash. "Remove your clothes, Squirrel. The only garb you wear tonight is this."
Jack shed his clothes too quickly, causing him to make mistakes. With each fumble of a zipper, or failure to undo a button, Eisheth's crop would snap and a new welt would appear somewhere on Jack's body. By the time Jack was naked, the only remarkable features about him were a dozen red welts and a raging erection.
Eisheth made Jack place the collar and leash on himself, and then lead him to the guest bedroom.
Michael rummaged through Jack's clothes, finding his wallet and a smartphone. Shit. He would have to walk the smartphone around town for a couple days before throwing it in the East River. Michael couldn't have his own apartment be the last place the phone appeared on the network, but it was annoying to lay down a false trail. Michael hated inconvenience almost as much as he hated Jack.
Jack was supposed to have been his mentor. He was supposed to have protected him when the shit went down, but no. Jack had enabled a golden parachute for himself when Lehman went under, and Michael took most of the fall.
Michael emptied the contents of Jack's wallet. He could use the credit cards to buy some items that were pawnable for cash. Eisheth knew to get the pin number for the ATM card before she was finished. And there were several thousand dollars in cash. Excellent. That should pay the mortgage on the condo through November, although if everything went right on Halloween, he might not need it.
Cries of orgasmic pain emanated from the bedroom as Michael set his loot on the bar.
Eisheth had left the door open as she worked her charms on Jack, who was Number Eleven. She always left the door open so Michael could watch.
And Michael always watched.
"You have a what?" Michael thought he must have misheard.
"A succubus." Taylor had always looked up to Michael as a hero, and he seemed to want a pat on the head. "I will summon her, but first you have to hold one of these." Taylor offered him a slip of parchment. It was a five pointed star with some weird characters written inside it.
"What's this for?"
"Protection. For God's sake, don't let it out of your possession when she is in the room."
Michael was bemused. Taylor had been one of the first to be let go during the collapse. He was seeking Michael's help to land on his feet, not knowing that Michael had just been fired earlier that same day. Taylor knew that Michael would want something in return, so he had offered him the assistance of a netherworld creature he claimed to control.
He had, of course, waited until Michael showed up before making such a preposterous claim, or Michael never would have bothered.
"Eisheth, I summon thee!"
Michael raised an eyebrow at the odd phrasing, and wasn't sure what would appear. He guessed either a hooker wearing a devil-horn costume would come out of the bedroom, or nothing at all.
He wasn't expecting Eisheth.
And she didn't come out of the bedroom. Instead, she appeared out of the corner of his eye, as if she had entered the room when he wasn't looking, even though there was no door over in that corner of the room. She was standing with her back to the window, and she made sure she was backlit. All he saw was a silhouette, but he was instantly hard. He could tell she was clothed, but it still seemed as if every outline of her nude form was visible, tracing around the most voluptuous, desirable body he could imagine.
Eisheth walked toward him, and he could see her face better now — a sly smile and dancing eyes — a flick of the tongue across her lips just like Courtney used to do. Oh my God, she was dressed in Courtney's favorite evening gown. But that was impossible. He had clearly seen the outline of two legs against the window, yet the evening gown was floor-length and the material was opaque.
She stood inches from him, just far enough away that his eyes could still focus on her face and breast — making a point of throwing her shoulders back to keep the latter in full view. He knew he wanted her, but he also recognized danger. His hand reflexively clenched the parchment Taylor had given him, and Eisheth frowned.
"Oh, pooh. Taylor, you take away all the fun." She didn't take her eyes off of Michael. She was waiting for him to drop the paper and was prepared to pounce if he did. It was at that point that Michael realized he believed every word Taylor had said about ensnaring a succubus.
"Silence, hell bitch!" Taylor ordered.
Hell bitch? Where did he come up with this stuff? "How did you do this?" Michael asked in a whisper.
"A few guys in my frat used to dabble in black magic. For them it was a lark, seeking the power to get women out of their panties, as if alcohol and a few sweet lies weren't enough to do that for guys like us." Taylor looked to Michael as if seeking manly fellowship in the art of babe-bagging, but all he got was a weak smile. Michael doubted Taylor had ever known love in college outside his own lotioned palm.
Taylor continued. "In one of the books, they had a summoning spell, for one of her kind, but I could never get it to work. After getting laid off I had some spare time, and figured out I had the name wrong. I inscribed it in Hebrew instead of Greek, and voila, here she is."
"She is Jewish? Funny, she doesn't look —"
"No, the Hebrews named her, and her three sisters, in The Zoharistic Kabbalah. You have to use the original name and spelling for it to work. I had been trying English, Greek, and Latin. I chose hers because she seemed the nicest."
Eisheth batted her eyelashes at that.
"There are only four?" Michael asked.
He watched as Eisheth held up three fingers and shook her head sadly.
Taylor didn't like being contradicted. "Ignore her. She lies — there are four. All the books say so."
Eisheth feigned remorse, and offered up for punishment the most spankable ass the world had ever known, letting in sway in front of him, as she insolently glared at Michael over her shoulder.
She knew exactly what buttons of his to push.
"So she is like bound to you?" Michael watched as Eisheth placed her hands over her head in response to his words, pantomimed having her wrists bound together, and feigned writhing ecstatically against a post as someone invisible performed cunnilingus upon her. Michael recognized the behavior because Eisheth was mimicking a scenario he and Courtney had played out many times, before the divorce. It had been one of her favorites.
"Sort of. She is bound to whoever holds her sigil, by order of primacy." Taylor gestured to the piece of parchment in Michael's hand.
Michael thought he knew what that meant. A plan began to form. "So why did you invite me to meet this interesting creature?"
Eisheth winked at him, and her smile turned wicked. It was as if she knew what he was thinking, and was encouraging him. When she noticed his furrowed brow, she nodded, ever so slightly.
"You were always the one with ideas. I have a succubus, but don't know how to use her." Taylor seemed frustrated.
Michael couldn't help but laugh. "You have a dick, don't you? Look at her and you should know what to do!"
Eisheth laughed with him.
Taylor's face steeled in anger, and stepped forward and backhanded Eisheth with full force. He then wheeled on Michael. "You don't understand. To fuck her is to die. She offers you every sexual fantasy, but the price is your very soul as soon as you come."
"Your very soul?" Michael mocked, "which one is that?"
Taylor pulled his own parchment out of his pocket and held it up as evidence. "If not for this —"
Michael's hand snapped out and ripped the parchment out of Taylor's hands.
"No!" Taylor shrieked, and in his terror of what she would do, he made the fatal mistake of looking at Eisheth.
The creature was suddenly wearing a red string bikini from which her tits and ass spilled freel. She wore plastic bat wings, fake red devil horns, and leather boots cut to end in the semblance of cloven hooves. She was also four inches shorter than she had been a second ago, and her breasts had grown to an absurd EE cup. To Michael, she looked like she was about to topple over — an undersexed teenaged boy's idea of his perfect woman dressing as a succubus for Halloween — which Michael knew was very close to the truth.
Eisheth held her finger up to her lips and wagged it in a mockery of remorse, then extended her arms around Taylor to pull his ear close to hers.
"Oh, my wonderful, former master," Michael heard her whisper loud enough that he knew she wanted him to hear. "Oh how I have longed for you to free me so I can show you how much I love and want you. I plan to stay with you, and of my own free will, I will fuck you as much as you want for the rest of your life." Eisheth threw Michael a grin to tell him that she knew that wouldn't be long. Was it a kindness that she was killing him by fulfilling a fantasy he had evidently been nourishing for the weeks he had possessed her?
No, it wasn't a kindness, Michael realized. He held his own parchment closely — it was the only thing protecting him from the same delicious fate. It wasn't kindness — it was just her nature.
Michael wasn't certain why he had torn the parchment from Taylor. He just recognized something of power — something he could use to claw his way back to the top, even if the path right now was foggy — and he knew he wanted to own such power.
Taylor's eyes never left Eisheth, and Michael watched as she took her time to service Taylor, pleasure him, and finally kill him. Her face was the last thing he ever saw.
Taylor had been Number One.
"She still won't return your calls?"
Michael didn't like to tell Eisheth to be silent. She always knew exactly how much she was getting to him, but telling her to be silent still felt like an admission of weakness.
"I wanted her to be Number Twelve."
"You are counting? What's so important about Twelve?"
Shit. Eisheth could read desire from any human, but not information. For that she needed words, just like everyone else. He was telling her too much.
"Twelve is a number of power isn't it? It seemed appropriate, choosing my ex-wife for Number Twelve."
Eisheth released a throaty chuckle. "You couldn't even get her to be Number Three."
Number Two had been a debt collector. One of Michael's credit card companies had the enterprising idea of searching their database for Lehman Brother employees, and pushing to get their debts paid first.
The practice was illegal, since Michael hadn't had a chance to even miss a payment yet, but the collection agency they sent had been hoping he wouldn't know that.
Michael had let Eisheth have him.
The debt collector's fantasies had been stunted by pornography. Eisheth's pussy became hairless, her lower back sprouted a tramp stamp with the word "whore" written in bold cursive, her breasts enlarged and became pneumatic, her lips had the appearance of being stung by a bee with silicone for venom, and she only spoke short sentences like "Do it!" and "Fuck Me!" Finally he had come on her face and she took his life.
Michael heard someone behind him.
"Michael, who is that?" It was Courtney. She was standing in the bedroom doorway, staring at Eisheth. Michael followed her gaze, and Eisheth had already shifted. The porn star look was gone, replaced by a look of athletic elegance — a high class sophisticate in the latest fashions — one who did her pilates every day. Michael instantly recognized that Eisheth had mimicked the type of woman Courtney had always wanted to be.
Michael winged it. "Courtney, we have always talked about doing a threesome, and I know things have been rough lately, so I thought—"
Courtney had been staring, seeming to be enraptured by Eisheth, but she shook it off and interrupted him. "I don't believe you. You think this is what we need right now? We need fucking jobs, Mike."
She was the only one who still called him "Mike". He glanced over at Eisheth, hoping that somehow her seductive charms would kick in, and get his wife back under control. He wasn't sure he wanted to kill her, or if he could stop Eisheth from doing so once she had started, but Michael did have a healthy insurance policy on Courtney, if it came to that.
Eisheth had just shrugged, sat back on the bed, and examined her perfectly manicured fingernails. Michael found out later that her powers didn't work as well against heterosexual women, or after she had just fed. Courtney had been doubly lucky, and had escaped.
When Michael looked back to the doorway, Courtney was gone. He heard the door slam behind her, and hadn't heard from her again until she served him the divorce papers the next week.
Now, he wanted her to be Twelve, but she wasn't returning his calls.
Michael glared at Eisheth and reflexively scratched the tattoo on his left forearm - a pentagram with her name inscribed in the Hebrew alphabet. He had made damned sure that he wouldn't make the same mistake Taylor had made, and he had her sigil inked into his skin. "I will just have to come up with someone else for Twelve, and I think we should do it on Halloween."
Eisheth looked alarmed, and then tried to hide it. "Why Halloween? It's four weeks away. You know I don't like waiting that long. I am such a slut, you know, and need someone between my legs all the time. I would love it to be you, but you are such a tease, and you won't touch me. Don't you find me sexy?" She stretched out on the bed, arching her back to flatter her breasts and lifting one knee into the air.
Michael was already hard, of course, but now his cock was throbbing. He had tried masturbating or fucking other women to relieve the desire, but Eisheth would appear immediately, and offer to help. She was summoned by his words — or his proximity to orgasm.
He had found that out with Number Three. Frustrated by the constant arousal around Eisheth, he had dismissed her and went out, picking up a woman in a bar on 49th Street. He had brought her up to his room, and had been pounding away inside her. Just when he was on the verge of climax, Eisheth was suddenly kissing the woman he had picked up. He hadn't even seen her arrive — she was just there in the bed with them, lips locked around those of his would-be conquest. He couldn't even remember the woman's name, but he remembered the way she had ravenously returned Eisheth's kisses with a passion she had denied Michael — the way her nipples had swelled at Eisheth's touch — and the look on her face as Eisheth slid her fingers down to the woman's clitoris — stroking her to climax while Michael watched in shock.
The woman had died with Michael's cock still in her, although he had been convinced the woman had completely forgotten he was there before she was taken.
Eisheth had stuck her own fingers, still wet from the other woman's clit, between her lips and licked them clean. "I so love the taste," she said. "I don't get enough women. Oh, is that her juice on your cock? You didn't get to come did you, poor baby? Maybe we can make each other happy. I will lick her juice off your cock, and you can come in my mouth." She grinned at him. She rarely showed him her teeth, preferring to hide her sharpened cuspids, the only visual reminder of what she was. "If you put it in my mouth, I promise to take you in all the way, and I promise to swallow." She crawled toward him with her tongue extended and mouth wide open until her mouth was just inches away from his cock, then she spoke to him. "Oh yeah, Michael, I would just love to swallow you up. Every. Last. Bit."