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Lilly’s Love

By Bobby Crew












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©2018 Bobby Crew

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No part of this short story may be reproduced in any written, electronic, recording, or photocopying form without written permission of the publisher: The exception would be in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles or reviews and pages where permission is specifically granted by the publisher.



Editor: Barb Wilson

  1. Fiction 2. Horror 3. Romance 4. Paranormal 5. Mythology










I kissed the soft head of the little white rat and gently stroked the fur of his belly with my finger. “Fear not, darling,” I whispered in his ear. He wriggled his nose at me. “For the pain is ours, little one.”

The wooden cage was narrow, but tall, and fit perfectly in the corner of the room. I placed the rodent in the cage, closed the sliding glass door, and took a step back. The rat pawed at the dark bark bedding and moved to explore his new home. It stopped and placed its tiny front paws on the glass and stared at me.


Lamia didn’t hesitate. The red snake lowered her head from the makeshift tree branch and sunk her fangs into his soft flesh.

I listened intently to the rat’s high-pitched squeal of pain, and my entire body quivered. I felt for the creature. I understood him. I, too, am a mouse who has lain with vipers, offered up my soft, fuzzy warmth to their cold, rough bodies.

Strike me. Squeeze me. Please me.

For who doesn’t long for a love that devours?

Lamia pulled the squirming rodent up to the branch and wrapped it in a tight cocoon of scales. I found myself gently touching my throat. It hadn’t been long since I had experienced a similar embrace.

Open the door, you bitch!” I could still hear my husband’s voice outside the bathroom door, the pounding of his fists on the wood. I had thought the door might break, or that he’d kick it down. Eventually, I had to let him in.

I moved from the snake cage to my bed, to tidy the sheets. My husband liked a neat bed…or was it me who liked a neat bed? He was always so clean and organized when I met him, and I just assumed that he liked the bed to be made.

I heard footsteps coming up the stairs as I smoothed out the comforter, and tucked it under the white pillows. My friend and colleague Juvia was half an hour early today.

***

“It’s not his fault,” I told Juvia as I examined my face in the bathroom mirror.

It took longer to do my makeup today. Darker colors were needed, along with multiple layers. The wine-purple blush worked surprisingly well with my pale complexion. I pulled my black hair back to tie it up in a purple ribbon.

“Not his fault?” she asked in disbelief. She was standing behind me, watching my reflection in the mirror, her hands placed dramatically at her hips. She had that you’ve-got-to-be-kidding-me look on her face, as if she knew exactly what was going on—when, in reality, she had no idea.

To be honest, I thought my husband Vic was possessed. Sounds ridiculous, I know; but I’m certain that some vile entity was slowly eating away pieces of his soul in order to make room for its own. It was as if he was slowly losing parts of himself, and gaining new ones; his artistic, romantic resolve had dissolved into a rich, ravaging rage.

“Not at all,” I said. “Sure, he started the fight, but I’m the clumsy one.”

She shook her head, frowning. “Lilly,” she said stepping forward and placing a gentle hand on my shoulder. “You would tell me if there was more, right?”

I looked at her brown eyes in the mirror and offered a reassuring smile. “Of course I would. I tell you everything, you know that.”

“What were you two fighting about, anyway?”

I chuckled, closed the medicine cabinet, and turned around to face her. “It was the stupidest thing. We were fighting over mushrooms.”

***

“I hate mushrooms,” Vic said, as if I had asked him to swallow glass. He vigorously scraped them off the chicken, off of the plate, and onto the mahogany table.

“No, you don’t,” I said, not paying much attention to him. I took a bite of the chicken.

“Don’t tell me what the hell I like,” he snapped. “I’ve always hated mushrooms.” He took a large gulp of the Cabernet, and slammed his fork against his plate, probably just to make a loud noise, emphasizing his distaste for my cooking.

“Mushrooms are in the chicken pesto lasagna that I make, which you said was your favorite.” I didn’t look at him. I was forking a mushroom.

“Well, it’s not now,” he said before finishing his wine.

“That’s too bad. I was planning to make it for you tomorrow,” I slowly raised my head until my gaze met his metallic grey eyes. I felt my lips curl upward on their own, smiling without thought.

He reached for the bottle and poured more wine into his glass. “Are you fucking with me right now?”

“Right now, no,” I said, cutting off another piece of chicken.

He slammed his big fist down on the table hard enough to topple his wine glass. The stem snapped and dark purple liquid spewed out onto the table. The bowl of his glass rolled off and burst on the floor.

***

“I didn’t know Vic was such a dick,” Juvia said as we left the bathroom. “He seemed like such a great guy. Rylie can’t shut up about him sometimes.”

Juvia’s husband Rylie and Vic were partners in some international business venture. Rylie had developed some new technology for computers or something—I didn’t quite understand it—and Vic, with his connections to funding and ruthless business prowess, had been the one to help take the company soaring.

Juvia followed me out of my bathroom and into the bedroom. We would continue with our normal routine of grabbing coffee before we drove over to the middle school.

I met Juvia a couple of years ago. We were both teachers, and we instantly became best friends. We’d grab happy hour together, gossip about our students’ parents, or other teachers, and hit on men that we had no intention of bringing home with us…well, I guess that was actually more my thing than hers.

Today was field trip day and we were taking our classes to a predator exhibit at the museum. The kids would learn all about how some animals use unusual and creative methods for catching their prey. I’d show them one of my favorites, a viper that used a worm-like tail as a lure. Smaller predators would chase after the tail, thinking they were about to fill their bellies, only to be devoured themselves.

“He isn’t a dick all the time,” I assured her. “I think he just needs to take some time off, you know? Maybe cancel his next business trip and just relax for a while. He’s always so stressed.”

Juvia gave me a slanted smile. She probably felt guilty. She was the reason Vic and I met in the first place; Juvia invited me to a benefit party, and Vic was there as well. She had been trying to get us to meet for over a month. She told me she thought we would be a good match, and that maybe I could help him move on from the unexpected loss of his fiancée.

My memory of our meeting was still so vivid: the party, the live French jazz music in the background, and the smell of basil from the hors d’oeurves the banquet servers carried around on wooden trays.

“There he is,” Juvia said, motioning toward the man who easily must have been the most handsome person in the room. Dressed in a white and blue tux which molded to every inch of his muscular body, he was shaking hands with a group of men, congratulating them on yet another successful year.

“Juvia,” I said, playfully grabbing her arm, “You said he was attractive, but he’s just downright edible.”

We chuckled. She examined my outfit one more time. I wore a tight-fitting red and black dress that was as classy as it was revealing. No sense sending the wrong signals; I was starving, and he was just the treat I needed.

“Isn’t he, though? They don’t make many like that,” she said, her voice filled with lust. “Hell, if I wasn’t married to Ryley, I’d give him a taste, too.”

“Ryley’s a great guy,” I said. “He’s adorable, in that sexy-nerd type of way.” She smiled playfully. “You are so sweet for doing this,” I continued. “Even though I protested about the blind date thing.”

“Hey, you need a man, he needs a woman, you are both gorgeous and you can both make me some beautiful godchildren,” she said, laughing. “It’s a win-win for all of us.”

I hugged her. A year before, she had confided in me that she found out she could never have her own kids. It was part of her motivation to become a teacher. I had told her then that since I didn’t have any family left, she could be the godmother of my children.

“Give him hell,” she said, brushing a strand of hair off my face and giving me a nudge forward.

“Oh, you have no idea,” I said, advancing toward him like a tigress in red heels.

***

“Have you ever been to Greece?”

That was the first question Vic ever asked me; after learning my name, of course. I loved the deep richness of his voice, the kind of voice that possessed a demanding strength.

“I’ve never had the luxury,” I said. That was the first lie I ever told him. I had to look up at him; he must have stood around six feet five, if not a little taller. “But I heard that you and Rylie were just there on business.”

“Mostly business,” he said, with a grin. His metallic grey eyes scraped me up and down, the way I wanted his hands to touch me. “But the perks of the job are the traveling and sightseeing.”

“And what sights did you see in Greece?” I asked. He peered into my eyes, such a vibrant shade of blue; in the right lighting, they appeared almost violet. Like a key to a locked gate, he stepped into the garden of my soul. From that moment on, I knew he would be mine.

At first, Vic worshipped me. He painted portraits on canvases of my beauty in bright gowns of his choosing. Quite the artist, with his exquisite use of lighting, color, texture, and detail. He made offerings to me of gold and diamond necklaces, emerald earrings, and eventually a personally designed ruby engagement ring. I added the jewelry to my growing collection. He gave me massages with his strong hands, caressed every curve and inch of my body, and catered to my every desire. He was mine.

He moved me into his home at three months. Proposed after six months. We married on our one-year anniversary, a small elegant beach wedding with a few of my friends, and his family.

As my wedding gift, he presented me with a beautiful cello, an instrument I hadn’t played in years. I was surprised he remembered that I told him I’d played as a youth. On our wedding night, he drew me in my red wedding gown, a color he loved on me, as I played him the only song I could recollect.

“The melody sounds so sad,” he said, looking up from the paper, his handsome face revealing a hint of worry that perhaps I, too, might be sad. “Such a beautiful melody, but sad.”

“It is a sad song,” I replied solemnly over the low tone of the strings. “But it’s the only song I remember. I never could read notes very well. I don’t even remember what it’s called.”

“Do you remember who composed it?”

I stopped playing and we locked eyes for several moments. “Me.”

A few weeks after the wedding, things started to change; weird things started to happen around the house. I was playing the cello—my song—alone in the bedroom, when I heard the crash of glass. Startled, I dropped the bow.

I glanced over at Lamia’s cage, half-expecting her to have broken free. As always, she was resting on the branch.

I looked behind me to find our wedding photo had fallen off the wall.

Moving across the room to assess the damage, I discovered my smile in the picture was untouched. The glass had torn into Vic’s face. I left the mess for someone else to clean up, and returned to my song.

When Vic returned home that night, he found me in rare form. I was sitting in the bedroom, holding my old silver jewelry box to my chest, surrounded by the broken glass from the picture. The first thing he heard when he entered the room was my soft sob. I didn’t tell him why I was crying; I think he assumed it had something to do with the photo.

He placed gentle hands on my shoulders and kissed the top of my head.

“It’s okay, Lilly pad,” he whispered in my ear. “Are you hurt? Did the glass cut you?”

“No,” I said.

I watched as he swept the glass off the hardwood floor, still clutching the box to my chest. He missed a piece. I saw it by the bed and said nothing.

As a result, he stepped on the glass barefoot as he crawled into bed with me. He cursed under his breath. I was immediately there to help. I pulled the glass out and blood flowed freely, so much blood for such a small cut.

“It’s not too bad, sweetheart,” I said, dabbing at his foot. He sat on the edge of the bed, watching me as I worked.

“Eh, I’ll do a formal sweep of the room tomorrow,” he said. “Glad it was me who stepped on it and not you.”

Looking up at him, he beamed at me despite his injury. I smiled back. He truly was a beautiful man. “You might be limping for the next two days,” I said, placing a large pink Band-Aid on the cut.

He chuckled at the color. “You take such good care of me.” He lifted my chin so I could meet his eyes. “You are going to make a wonderful mother one day.”

My smile stretched all the way across my face and reached my ears. I stood up and he pulled me onto his lap.

“You seem cheerier now,” he said.

“That’s because you are home.” I slid my fingers through his dark hair. “You have been gone so much lately.”

“I know, and I’m sorry,” he said with guilt in his voice. “We should probably just cancel my next business trip then, shouldn’t we?” He held me tight and kissed my neck. “And I don’t know, run away to Europe, maybe?”

“We can’t just…”

“Ryley can handle one trip on his own.”

“I have work, too; I have my students,” I said. He kissed me. “But…cough, cough…I think I might be getting the flu. A really bad flu.”

“Yeah, you should probably take the rest of the week off.” We smiled, chuckled, and kissed. “God, I love you.”

“Where should we go?” I asked, our foreheads pressed against each other.

“Greece,” he said.

“I’ll start packing.” I stood up from his lap and picked up the bloody glass piece and red-soaked towel, and took them to the bathroom. I locked the door.

***

The trip was just what we needed. A romantic getaway of dancing, wine, fine dining, and visiting sites of myth. We stayed in the most luxurious suites at each hotel, visited an art gallery, and I purchased statues of Lamia and Hecate for our bedroom at home. Vic wasn’t a fan of them, but I didn’t care. He didn’t seem to understand their significance.

When we returned to the real world, after our extravagant European escape, I experienced another oddity. I awoke in the middle of the night, wet from sweat. I had a dream that I knew terrified me, yet I couldn’t remember what the dream was about. I remembered fire and circling shadows, but this wasn’t overly strange to me. I often dreamed of hell, and what it would be like to go there.

I glanced over at a sleeping Vic and could hear his low snore. But that wasn’t the only sound I heard.

At first, I thought someone might be shoveling snow outside in the middle of the night. But as my dreamy brain cleared, I realized it was mid-spring, not snow season. The scraping sound was coming from our bedroom, directly below us, under the bed.

I instantly sat up, my entire body flushed with new heat.

Something was slowly scratching, clawing, at the hardwood floor. I almost called Vic’s name, but I stopped myself. The noise stopped. I think it knew that I was awake.

I listened to the silence for an entire minute before I slid over to the edge of the bed and looked down at the floor. I knew I didn’t imagine it. Something was there. I could feel its presence slithering under me, its heat in the air. The faintest smell of something burning.

Cautiously, I pulled up the bed skirt and slowly lowered my head to search the darkness below. Despite the heat, I was chilled to my core.

Whatever it was, it had the greenest eyes I’d ever seen.

***

I didn’t tell Vic about what I saw. He would probably think I was crazy, or at just dreaming. I knew I wasn’t dreaming. I didn’t sleep for the rest of that night. I lay there, listening for it to resume sharpening its claws, but it didn’t stir. It didn’t make a sound. Eventually the room cooled and I knew it had left.

Vic wouldn’t have believed me even if I told him. He didn’t believe in the supernatural, or even the spiritual, for that matter. I knew that the demonic entity was real. I could feel an echo of its presence, a type of heat, hatred, and rage. It seemed to encompass the air in the house.

Although Vic didn’t know that this entity existed, he was still affected by the influence of its hellish echo. He became easily irritable, and aggressive. I had never seen him express his temper in any way, yet I always knew he had one—if that makes sense. He started to freak out over little things. He wasn’t able to find his favorite tie, so he threw all of his clothes—and mine—across the room and onto the floor. A few days later, he crushed his cell phone in fury because I didn’t answer his ten back-to-back missed calls, apparently forgetting that I had parent-teacher conferences that night.

A week later, Vic and I had our first fight.

I came home from happy hour with Juvia, and he accused me of sleeping around. It was completely unwarranted, and the accusation came out of nowhere. He was sitting on the couch, in the dark, aside from the pale light of the setting sun oozing in from the window drapes. The situation reminded me of a parent, waiting for their rebellious teenager to come home after curfew.

“I was out drinking.” I said calmly. I collapsed on the red satin rocking chair across from him. “Have you been drinking?”

“Not a sip,” he hissed. He might have been lying, but the look on his face prevented me from prying farther. He looked so angry, so hurt, and so very, very desperate. It wasn’t a look I had ever seen on his face. I didn’t like it. I didn’t like for him to look so weak.

“Maybe you should have one, it looks like you could use a buzz.”

This angered him. That was a look I was more comfortable with; yet anger has a price, too. He accused me of never being there for him, despite the fact that he was the one who was always gone. He traveled a lot, and I guess that meant that I was supposed to make sure to be home to pamper him when he wasn’t on a work trip. To him, it might have sounded reasonable. But I wasn’t a girl to ask for permission. I just did things, and I dealt with the consequences as they came.

Still, being angry with me for not making time for him was one thing; accusing me of sucking another guy’s dick, however, was a bit much. Especially when he was such a perfect specimen in every way. I didn’t need another body to please me. His was all I could ever hope for.

A week later, things escalated into our first physical confrontation.

I was looking through the canvases Vic had painted of me. The ones he didn’t hang up around the house, he kept stacked upright in boxes in his closet, specifically the ones that captured the true radiance of my body. Painting my body never got old for him, and posing never got old for me. I spotted my favorite, me naked in a chair in front of the fire, and Lamia draped over my shoulders. From the lighting of the flames, to the curves of my body, I admired Vic’s attention to detail.

I placed the canvas back in the box and opened another.

That’s when I found them.

In an instant, all flattery fled, and rage ripped through me as I yanked the box from the closet and hurled it across the floor, while paintings of his last duchess spilled out across the room. He had accused me of cheating, and here he was, still carrying around his baggage of dead-hooker weight in our closet.

I waited for him to return home. I wanted him there to watch as I lit the fireplace, to see that dead bitch burn in front of him. The canvases lit up instantly.

He didn’t need her. He had me. He was mine.

I had never seen a man so angry. A sudden shift in his brain from joyful to screaming, thrashing rage. Anger that completely dissolved all that he was, and he regressed into a carnal beast. The loud sounds that escaped his jaws were almost inhuman.

He ran for the fire as if he was going to grab the burning canvases with his bare hands. Reason overcame his rage, as his hands felt the searing heat. “You bitch,” he growled softly, nastily.

I stood over him, watching his pathetic display, him on his knees by the fire, like a child whose favorite toy was just destroyed. My skin burned from the heat of my blood as I saw his tears.

“She’s dead!” I screamed. “She can’t have you!”

He stood up and a second later, my head hit the ground, his body on top of mine, his hands grasping my throat. His face was red, veins burst from his neck and the sides of his head. His eyes, his eyes, his silver eyes cut me. He squeezed harder. For less than a second, his eyes flashed green.

Despite lack of oxygen, I didn’t struggle. I gently touched his face. I closed my eyes, and I found myself drifting off into darkness. His dead lover’s face flashed before me, her dark skin, even darker eyes, her brown wavy hair.

I knew this side of him existed, yet I had never seen it, never felt it. I opened the gates to my garden, those eyes that I knew were always violet in the firelight, and met his gaze. He stared into me, all strength leaving him and he collapsed on top of me. I gently ran my fingers through his hair, listening to our heavy breathing.

It was over. The bitch was gone, and he was mine once again.

***

The next morning Vic woke me with a mimosa. We had slept on the couch, warmed by the fire. I didn’t even notice he had gotten up, cooked breakfast, opened champagne. He knelt down on the floor beside the couch, and kissed my tender neck and lips.

“Words can’t express how sorry I am,” he said weakly. I hated the way his voice changed; it was softer, higher, and I hated the look of helplessness on his face. This was not the man I married.

“Vic, it’s no one’s fault but mine,” I said, touching his face. I was no stranger to loss, and I understood his pain more than anyone, how difficult it can be moving on.

“No, I…”

“Shhhh,” I said. “Stop talking.” I sipped the champagne, and then offered him a drink. “Vic, I want a baby.”

“You’re ready?” he asked. His defeated tone rose to the level of excitement.

I nodded, “I’ve been ready a very long time.”

***

I chuckled as the two girls buried their faces in my chest, cowering away from the bizarre-looking snake. I realized I had found a new favorite, a snake that was discovered not many years ago. The spider-tailed viper, native to Iran. The snake laid camouflaged against the rocks, and wriggled its tail to attract prey; the ball with little tentacles looked just like a crawling spider, and made for a wonderful lure for birds.

“It can’t get you from behind the glass,” I said to the girls. The boys were clearly enjoying this exhibit much more than most of the girls. I turned and saw Juvia standing with a group of kids in front of another cage, one containing a turtle, I think.

“It just looks so creepy,” one of the girls said, pulling away.

“All right, we can move along,” I said.

“It’s nice to get out of the classroom, isn’t it?” I called over to Juvia.

“Yeah, except next time, I get to pick the field trip,” she joked and forced a smile. She couldn’t stop examining my face.

“One of my students, Taylor, told me I look very pretty today,” I said as we walked along the exhibit. The placard at the reptile display said the zookeepers were going to do a feeding demonstration soon.

“You always look pretty,” she said. I thought I detected a hint of jealousy, which wasn’t an uncommon thing.

“I’m still worried about you,” she said quietly after the girls at my side followed the tour group. “Maybe you two should take a break.”

“From my husband? No, it’s nothing we can’t work through.”

“Promise me you will tell me if anything like this happens again.”

“Of course I will.”

***

I made a point to avoid returning home until late that night. I had drinks with Juvia after work at a wine bar that had half-priced bottles every Wednesday. Not that price ever mattered, not with our husband’s bank accounts. I think our low teacher salaries kept us humbler than most rich women.

“Are you sure you don’t want to stay over at my house tonight?” she asked. Her constant harping was starting to annoy me.

“No, no,” I said. “I promise you everything is fine. Besides, we never know when our boys are leaving next, or where they might be going. I find myself missing him all the time.”

“I think Argentina is next on the list,” she said bitterly. “Spain, that’s where the four of us need to go this summer.”

“You have a deal,” I said. “Another getaway, that’s exactly what we need.”

After drinks, instead of returning home, I went shopping for more makeup, and then stopped for sushi. Vic called me five times, but I didn’t answer.

As it grew dark, I drove to the woods to watch the moon. I took my cello out of the trunk, and began walking into the trees. I didn’t need a flashlight, the super moon was bright enough to light my path.

After a half mile or so, I found a rock to sit atop, and I played my song for the moon Goddess Hecate, a lullaby to the owls, and the little mammals in the trees, and the snakes at my feet slithered to the vibrations of the strings.

***

Vic was already asleep by the time I returned. He left the kitchen light on, and a caramel-and-chocolate-covered apple on the counter. That was his way of apologizing. He knew it was my favorite dessert. Such a sweetheart. I took a bite, savoring the sweet taste of the caramel, swirling with the sourness of the green apple.

The kitchen lights flickered, and I looked up at the ceiling. It wasn’t just the kitchen lights. My eyes traveled down the hall, and I realized all of the lights were flickering.

A sudden shiver rocked my body.

The kitchen light went out with a fizzing noise. I dropped the apple on the floor and I made my way to the stairs in the dark and flicked on the hallway light. Within a few seconds, that light started to fade in and out as well.

I knew it was up there. Vic would have no idea.

I ran up the stairs and burst into the bedroom.

I froze when I saw its tall and slender silhouette, standing on the bed, looking down at Vic as he slept. It was reaching out its long skinny claws toward his face. Immediately, its head turned to me, its bright green eyes locked onto my body. Its stare tore into me, and struck my soul. I felt exposed, as if it knew me, all of me.

It turned back to Vic and howled in rage. Somehow Vic didn’t stir, but the hallway light behind me exploded, sending glass shards raining to the carpet, and darkness swallowed me.

I didn’t scream, I don’t think I could have if I wanted to. In silence, I turned to leave, but the door slammed in front of me.

“Lilly,” I heard Vic’s voice in my ear. I spun around to find him standing right behind me in the dark. Somehow in an instant, he had moved out of the bed and across the room. His strong hands grasped my arms and my back was forced against the wall. His bare chest pressed against me. His mouth found my neck. His teeth touched my skin.

My nails scraped up his back and I wrapped my arms around his neck.

He grasped my thighs, lifted me, and slammed me on the bed, his body pressing against mine. His hands went up, his head went down, and I was consumed by darkness.

Even in my dreams that night he was ravishing me, we fucked on a bed of fire as his body burned away. My body remained flawless despite the flames.

***

I could tell Lamia was hungry again. Her appetite was insatiable as of late, highly unusual for a snake who only eats once every two weeks. I watched her, snaking her way back and forth on the branch; it looked like she was pacing.

I reached my hand into the cage and placed it on the end of the branch. She stopped moving. Her pink tongue flicked in and out of her red lips. She coiled her head around my wrist and slowly slithered up my arm, her cool scales caressing my soft skin.

The rodents weren’t enough to fill her. I knew I’d have to feed her some much larger prey soon. Maybe a rabbit this time.

***

When I told Vic I was pregnant, I had never seen him so happy, aside from when I told him I would marry him. He picked me up in his strong arms and twirled me around the room.

“I promise you, everything is going to change,” he said to me. “I’m going to change. I promise you, things are going to get better.”

I believed him. Things were going to get better, and our daughter was going to have the best life this world had to offer. “It’s going to be a girl,” I said seriously.

“And how would you know that already?”

“Just a hunch. My eggs only accept the female sperm,” I said with a smirk.

He laughed, “Well what if I want a boy?”

“You would make a great dad to either,” I kissed him, and gently bit his neck.

“Let’s celebrate,” he said, kissing me. “Tonight, after work.”

“It’s a date. Now, run me a hot bath.”

“Yes ma’am,” he said, kissing me one more time. He walked over to the bathroom to fulfill my request.

He didn’t even notice that Lamia wasn’t in her cage.

***

Every detail of tonight needed to be perfect, the food, the lighting, the smells, the atmosphere. I filled the entire house with candles, lit the sconces on the walls, lit candles on the tables and shelves, and burned incense of cherry and hibiscus. I made a rack of braised lamb with asparagus and potatoes. Low cello music slithered from the speakers, and I wore the same red and black dress I had on when we first met.

“How did I ever get so lucky to marry a woman like you?” he asked when he entered the house.

“Luck has little to do with it, darling,” I said, undoing his tie for him. “You deserve to have me.” I removed his tie and undid his buttons. “You earned me.”

He pulled me into him. “Well, whatever I did to deserve you, I’m sure glad I did it.”

We kissed our way to the couch and collapsed in a tangle of limbs. “I just want to be yours forever,” he whispered in my ear.

“You will be,” I said, nibbling on his neck. “I’m so happy to have you. You are perfect.”

I sat up and he rested his head in my lap, listening to the music. I placed my hand on his chest, feeling it rise and fall. I looked down at him in my lap. “Until the sun collapses, you will be mine.”

He smiled up at me. “I’ve been thinking of baby names all day,” he said blissfully. “Mostly for girls.” He shook his head, still obviously doubting that I knew the sex of the baby.

“I’ve chosen a name already,” I said. “Lilith, after her mother.”

“You don’t think that should be something we decide together?” he asked, a hint of irritation in his voice.

I cackled. “No, Vic, it’s not. You don’t really get a say.”

His smile disappeared. “Lilly, what the hell has gotten into you? It’s our baby, it’s not just your decision.”

“It’s not your baby.”

It didn’t take long for that look to appear on his face. The rage. But the rage didn’t stay for long. His eyes saw into mine, and this time they were undoubtedly violet and aglow, and this time I didn’t show him the garden of Eden, I showed him the hell from my dreams. He saw flames. He saw tortured souls screaming in anguish. He saw the devil himself and all his servants.

Instead of growling, he whimpered. His breathing turned heavy, fast, he was struggling to fill his lungs with air. He tried to avert his gaze, but he couldn’t. He was burning away in the hellfire of my eyes. His body wriggled, struggled beneath the heat of my gaze. I could feel his heart pounding, his chest rising and falling, rising and falling, rising and falling, until it rose no longer. I swallowed his soul whole. His empty body lay still.

I stood up and rested his dead head on the pillow. I could feel Vic inside me, wriggling around in the hell in my belly. He would be with me forever, as we both had wished.

I went to the kitchen to warm the lamb in the oven. Then I went upstairs to my closet. I pulled off the red wedding ring and added it to my collection. I sifted through the jewels until I found an old silver ring, with a serpent carved into it, a green emerald in its eye.

I slid it on my ring finger.

I went into the bathroom and removed my dress. I stood naked in the mirror and turned to the side. I hadn’t begun to show, but I knew the baby was there. I could feel her slithering around inside my womb, as the serpent Lamia, now imprinted on my flesh, slithered around my body.

I didn’t bother replacing my clothes before I returned downstairs to eat. Vic had satisfied my unearthly appetite, but my body still needed a good meal.

I froze in the kitchen doorway, my skin suddenly hot.

Vic’s body had moved from the couch to the mahogany table. He, too, was naked, and he was eating the lamb with his hands. A plate had been set for me, across from him.

He looked up at me with those green eyes and smiled a toothy grin.

I placed a hand on my belly, and I smiled back.



If you Enjoyed Lilly’s Love, you will love the novella, Devil in the Woods. Read on for the first few pages of the story.

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Devil in the Woods: Casey and Brad are on a week-long trek through the woods when they stumble upon a dead body. Quickly this vacation becomes a struggle for survival as they are stalked by an entity that can exist both in the mind, and the real world, a being who can appear as anyone. As Casey quickly loses grasp of what's real and what's not, Brad struggles to keep them safe. Will they survive long enough to escape? Or will they be the next victims of the Devil in the woods?

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Devil in the Woods



How long do you think he’s been dead?” I asked. My voice was shaky and harsh. My throat burned from all the noise I had made when I almost tripped over the dead man—what was left of him—half buried in the dry leaves.

The smell weighed down the air as putrid particles filled my lungs. I gagged again. I wondered how it was possible I hadn’t noticed the awful smell before seeing the body.

“At least a few days,” Brad said. He was down on one knee, examining the gruesome sight. The lower half of the body was covered in the dead leaves. The poor man’s face was mostly gone, and his head was unrecognizable and covered in wriggling larvae. His shirt was entirely ripped away.

I had the sudden urge to vomit again, but I had emptied my stomach almost immediately after seeing and smelling the corpse. Instead, my whole body convulsed in disgust, yet I was still horrifically mesmerized.

“Maybe longer.” He stood up and exhaled loudly. “God, that stinks.”

“What do you think got him?” I asked. I couldn’t look away, despite my best effort to move my head. There were several jagged slashes in his chest, but they didn’t look like teeth marks.

Claw marks, maybe?

Brad looked over at me and pulled me in with his eyes, and for a few moments, all I could focus on was him and his hypnotic gaze. His eyes were almost surreal; one was so dark it was almost black, the other a pale blue. His mouth didn’t move, but his eyes told me what I didn’t want to hear. I wanted him to say a bear or a wolf, but the look on his face told me that this was a murder. I shivered, and not from cold.

I heard the cry of a raven nearby. It was probably wanting to feast on the dead flesh, impatiently waiting for us to leave.

“Did you bring your gun?” I asked, looking from Brad to the corpse. I finally noticed that the man’s lack of a face was due to part of his skull being caved in.

He nodded. “I always have my gun.” He placed himself in between me and the corpse. “I’d never let anything happen to you, you know that, right?”

“I know.” I felt cold and my skin grew tiny little bumps. The sun would set soon. The day was warm, but the nightly chill of fall was slowly creeping in. “What should we do?”

“There’s not much we can do right now,” he said. He had his phone out and was taking pictures of the body and the surrounding area.

The body rested at the base of a young skinny tree that was just barely hanging on to its rust-colored leaves. I also noticed a few gray stones protruding from the earth that surrounded us. There were five of them, each only a foot or so high. I did my best to get over my fear, and I tried to make a mental note of the surrounding area. The police would need help finding this place, and any description I could provide might aid them.

“I don’t have any service,” Brad said, looking at his phone. “We are still a few days from civilization. We can call it in when we get to a town.

“We can’t just leave him.”

“It’s not like we can take him with us.”

“Then we should bury him, at least,” I argued.

“Then we wouldn’t be able to find him when we call it in. That and we shouldn’t disturb the crime scene.”

I could tell he was getting frustrated. He was trying to keep his cool to prevent me from further freaking out.

“You’re right.” I was disgusted, horrified, and entranced all at the same time. I noticed a mark on the man’s arm, some sort of symbol. It appeared to be a crescent moon inside a skull, with several little unknown markings around it. I couldn’t tell if it was drawn on or tatted, but I didn’t want to get close enough to look.

He placed a gentle hand on my shoulder and gave me an affectionate scratch. “Hey, it’s going to be okay.”

I turned to look up at him. He was literally a foot taller than me, at six feet five. We locked eyes again. He looked almost guilty, as if he felt sorry that I had to witness something so gruesome. He started to pull me in closer, but I turned away from him to start hiking again. I found my legs moving quicker than normal. I suddenly had to be free of the smell before I started gagging again.

The putrid odor seemed to stalk us for the next mile.



Find out what happens Next: “Devil in the Woods” is Available on Amazon Kindle.






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(Pages 1-26 show above.)