Before Rowan could walk any further toward the lake, she heard a scratching on the sliding door and Merrick’s whining, begging her to open the door and let him out.
Rowan slid the door open and the wolf squeezed through and licked her hands and face as she petted him and furrowed her face against his pelt. Both creatures were glad to see each other and they howled at the silvery moon that watched over them through the rosy golden light of dawn.
Rowan rolled on the grass with Merrick, laughing and wrestling with him; the wolf wagged its furry tail against her, happy to have her home again. She held the animal close to her, running her fingers against the soft greyish fur.
Rowan kissed his snout tenderly and rubbed under his pointed ears; Merrick closed his eyes and howled with joy.
She peeled off her clothes once again and left them in a pile by the door. Merrick licked along the side of her leg and ran toward the small lake situated at the very back of the lengthy yard; the lake was too big to be just a pond, but small as far as lakes went. Rowan was the only person in the world crazy enough to bathe in that water with whatever creatures that inhabited the lake. She dove right into the freezing water, caring little about the angry cottonmouth snake swimming her way, ready to strike at the intruder. She moved with grace in the water, keeping herself afloat with minimal effort and flowing with and through the water peacefully. Rowan watched the snake come her way; her eyes bearing into the snake’s, charming the snake and beckoning it to approach her. She extended her hand toward the serpent and the reptile slithered into her palm and wrapped itself around her arm loosely. Rowan laid a gentle finger to the serpent’s head and slid her finger down the length of the animal; the serpent hissed in submission, sending thrills up Rowan’s spine with the touch of its forked tongue. Rowan brought her arm with the reptile close to her face and held her lips a short distance from the snake’s head; the snake inched its head toward Rowan’s lips and laid its tongue against her mouth, tasting debauchery and power. Rowan’s tongue peeked through her lips and tasted the snake’s own – she tasted death, power and that je ne sais quoi that wild animals seemed to have; she smiled ever so lightly. She hissed along with the snake; their sounds combined beckoned other creatures to come hither and surround the superior being floating at the heart of the lake. Other hisses and chirps joined Rowan and her snake; Merrick oversaw the symphony from the land, watching over his mistress and the rest of the creatures that go bump in the night.
As the last veils of darkness were torn from the sky, Rowan took the snake with her hand and laid it back in the water; the creature hissed once more before slithering away to its home. She swam back to land and padded back toward the house with Merrick in tow. The wolf watched the sway her hips and the light, graceful swing of her arms; he studied her every movement as trailed behind her.
Rowan picked up her clothes on her way into the house and slid the door open for the wolf to go through; she followed after him and slid the door and bolt into place. Droplets of water left a liquid trail behind her as she made her way back into her room. It had been a wonderful day and she could not wait to do that again during her second day of freedom; in fact, she wanted to do that every other day of the rest of her life…or at least until she found something (or someone) more interesting to do. She smirked to herself at the thought and ascended to her room, passing Dani’s on the way to hers. She peeked through a crack on the door and saw the man sleeping in his clothes and his blanket twisted around his torso. He seemed to be too hot because he was tossing and turning in his sleep. She could not help herself and her newfound energy and tip toed her way to him; she stood before his bed still wet from her swim and slipped Dani’s coat off him, careful not to rouse him – he seemed at peace for the first time in the past two days and she did not want to ruin that calm. Regardless of how restless and hyped up she felt…she wanted to wake him up and drag him to a bar or something, or drag him for another swim and perhaps something else as well. She kept her thoughts to herself and pushed some stray strands of hair out of his face and walked out of the room, closing the door behind her.
As Rowan pushed the door to her room open, she felt a cold draft envelop her body and caress her all over. Her pulse quickened, goosebumps rose all over her skin, her nipples hardened and a shiver ran down her spine. The cold draft warmed and became heavy; like hands against her skin. Then she heard a voice whisper
“You’re so exquisite…”
Rowan froze, recognizing the caresses and the voice.
“What do you want, Mephisto?” She asked to the emptiness, a mixture of thrills, fear and hate doing things to her that she should not be feeling. She was aroused and that was a bad idea – anything to do with the demon was a bad idea.
“I want…you, beloved. All I ask for is you.” The voice made her ear tingle and bolts of forbidden desire flashed through her and down to where her beast laid, poised and ready to break loose. She became tense and her breathing was starting to speed up with the unmistakable quickness of fear and lust. She was way too high and too hyped up to reject Mephisto’s advances; she welcomed the thrill of his breath upon her skin against her better instinct. Said instinct told her to run from him before he found out about her secret. She hoped he did not see through it. It would ruin her plan. But the flesh was weak, and who knew? Perhaps she could get away with something if she humored the demon.
“Show yourself, Mephisto…let me see you” She pleaded with him, trying to hide the faint anxiety in her voice and heart. She felt better about a danger when she could see it with her own eyes, even if she could sense what it was, where it was and where it was going.
She saw a tall shadow looming from behind her and she turned around to face it. The shadow belonged to a tall, thin man with long golden hair, golden skin and deep black eyes. He wore a pair of black pants and no shirt; his chest was toned and strong – he looked like Adonis and she looked like Hecate; both creatures looking into each other’s faces searching for any sign of reason or humanity, they found none.
“In all my years I have never seen someone so fair and radiant as you, Rowan. You make this old soul of mine rage with life and desire that I thought had vanished from me. Let me touch you”
And he reached out to her, daring her to turn away; knowing he had the upper hand and she could not resist. She leaned in and his palm touched her cheek. He ran his thumb along her jaw and she closed her eyes without meaning to. The touch felt good; she wanted more but she dared not ask, for he would give her what she asked for – a huge problem when she was not thinking and could not keep track of what she asked for.
“I bet I’m not the first one you say that to…I don’t believe you when you say it” Rowan felt the need to challenge the man before her, leaning closer to him and laying a subtle kiss on his thumb when he put it to her lips.
Mephisto came closer to her, his body so close to hers that Rowan swore she could feel the fires of hell emanating from that body; she could feel all his power reach out to hers and make her system go berserk.
“I must be honest with you, my love; I once said those words to a certain person…but that person left me for someone else; but you, my darling, you are far more mesmerizing to me” He extended his arms and gathered Rowan’s nervous body into their burning embrace; his words resonated with melancholy and her gestures reeked with insecurity. Rowan yielded to the embrace and the golden seductor in black took her into her room and laid her on the bed.
Mephisto did things to Rowan that she could not resist; he did things to her that she wished she could forget – she did not want to remember that she had sold her body and soul just to get what she wanted and because betraying herself felt so good; and because she was bound to do it again. Dani was right when he had called her a whore; she focused on Dani’s words as Mephisto pounded into her with timeless abandon and whispered things in her ear that she would not forget. She tried not to focus on Mephisto and his delicious torture; but being the kind of sensitive being she was, she was washed away by diabolical bliss and let go.
She was damned indeed.
Rowan thought about a dragon as she was taken by another and hoped all was not lost come morning.