December roared like a lion, and I would be glad to see the back of this year, 1782. The death of my father had hit the family hard, our livelihood threatened by squabbling over his will. My mother had taken to her bed, and I had been recalled from tuition at my aunt’s house upon the East Coast to reunite with my mother and my six sisters for the festive season.
The carriage seemed to locate every dip and divot on the road, such as my tender frame would be bruised and fragile for weeks to come. The storm raged harder, the horses flaring at each lightning strike and thunderclap. My travelling companions were not faring much better; the Reverend had taken his cross from his neck-chain, holding it in front of closed eyes, a silent prayer playing on his thin lips. Mrs Abercrombie clutched her handkerchief to her mouth, her eyes wide with fright. For my part, I was rather enjoying the spectacle through the partly drawn window blind.
Above the howl of the wind and lashing rain, I heard the driver call out, and the rumble of hooves lessened until we were at a complete stop. I felt the carriage shifting as the driver disembarked, and the door flew open. He stood, soaked to the very skin.
“There is a coaching inn not two mile from here,” he spoke loudly over the cacophony raging around him. “I propose to make shelter there for tonight.”
We hastily agreed to this suggestion, I was unsure how much more jolting my poor backside could bear. The driver cracked his whip, driving the horses onwards. The storm appeared to be closing in on us, the thunderclaps and lightning bolts almost simultaneous overhead. I was sure Reverend Hardacre would fall away in a dead faint at any moment, and was glad of the foresight to pack some smelling salts in my luggage.
As it was, we arrived at the inn with no fainting, although the Reverend was as white as the moon as we disembarked. The driver had already leapt down and conversed with the inn-keeper, who in turn sent his boy out to help unload the carriage. We were ushered inside, the glow of lanterns and the warmth of the log fire more than welcoming.
The inn-keepers wife appeared with mugs of warm mead, which was supped with vigour. Slowly, the colour returned to Reverend Hardacre’s face, and he felt refreshed enough to take another draught of mead. Mrs Abercrombie slumped her sizeable frame in a chair beside the fire, whimpering softly to herself.
“I expect you are all hungry,” the inn-keeper closed and bolted the front door, the solidity of this action somehow settling us. We made affirmative comments, the driver had been racing the storm and it was several hours since we had set off from Cromer, our breakfast a distance memory.
Mr Warren, as the inn-keeper was named, scurried off to the kitchen whilst his wife took it upon herself to allocate the rooms. The driver and Reverend Hardacre were to share a room on the first floor, Mrs Abercrombie was to occupy the room next to the inn-keeper and his wife- such was her pallor and demeanour it was felt prudent to have help near at hand. I was assigned the attic room. I was happy with the arrangement; the solitude would suit me perfectly.
Mr Warren appeared with his boy in tow, carrying platters of cheese, meats, and bread and pickled fruits- a feast for the eyes and one we set about in a ravenous fashion. Mrs Abercrombie sat in her chair, a glazed look upon her eyes. I took it upon myself to fill a plate and took it across to her.
She seemed to look through me before her eyes lit upon the plate.
“Thank you, child, but I have no appetite.”
“But you must eat,” I implored, “Please, just a little?”
The Matron smiled at me, her cold hand upon mine. “I will take the plate, and may taste a little.”
“Shall I sit with you? To take your mind from the storm, perhaps?”
“Bless you, Emma, join the others and while away the evening.”
I returned her smile, leaving her to her fears. My hunger was greater than my sense of civic duty.
We travelling companions set to the food, washed down with more mead, the warmth filling me, the aches dulling somewhat. The Reverend was having his fill, and more besides. I doubted the driver would have a peaceful night, for the Reverend would snore to wake the dead after drinking.
The evening wore on, and weariness gripped us all. The boy had taken our bags to our respective rooms, and one by one we bade each other a good night, and retired.
Mrs Warren lit a candle for me, and showed me up to the attic. The room was functional, and clean. A wash stand stood in one corner, and the steam rising from the bowl was a welcoming sight. Mrs Warren fussed over me until I firmly but politely bade a final goodnight. In my seventeen years I had become quite self -sufficient and found such overbearing mothering unnecessary.
Alone, at last, I bolted the door, and sat upon the bed. The sheets smelled fresh, the cotton soft and inviting. I removed my washing bag and nightdress from my luggage and made ready for bed, the hot water refreshing and soothing in equal measure. I sat at the dressing table, brushing my long, black hair as my mother had taught me to do. The candle flickered gently beside me, casting comforting shadows onto the walls.
I looked at my reflection, seeing both my mother and my father in my features. I was described as pretty by some, wholesome by others. I had no suitor, as such, my aunt kept me on a tight rein. My cousins and I would meet young men at social functions, and I would never go short of dances. There were prettier girls than I, of that I had no doubt, but my aunt would often scold me for my ‘sprit’. Perhaps that is what drew men to me.
My toilet complete, I made sure the door was bolted and made to bed. My thoughts of the beds comfort were correct, and I soon fell into a deep sleep.oOo
A prickling sensation upon my skin awoke me some time later; I had no sense of time. I lifted my head, rubbing slumber from my eyes, and gazed around the room. Of what had woken me, I had no notion. The storm had abated somewhat, the thunder seemed distant now, the rain less harsh against the window pane. I took one more look around, and then settled my head back on the pillow, willing sleep to take me once again.
I had the sense of being watched, which I tried to put out of my mind. I tossed and turned, unable to find that comfortable spot I had occupied before. The feeling of being observed grew stronger, until I gave an exasperated ‘tut’, and swung my legs from the bed. I trod softly to the door- the bolt was in place. I scratched my head, and, feeling a draught behind me, turned back toward the bed.
He sat upon the bedstead. I gazed in horror, my scream caught in my throat and my soul frozen in terror. It looked upon me with yellow eyes, too big for its head. Below a flattened nose, the mouth split into a smirk, a row of pointed teeth showing. I took a step back, bumping into the door. My instinct was to throw the bolt, to throw myself onto the stairs, and raise merry hell.
“Child,” the thing spoke, “Do not make any rash moves.”
He stood then, almost my height. He had the figure and features of a human, yet something about his countenance made me believe he was not quite as he appeared. His skin was covered in downy hair, his face ovoid in appearance. His ears swept back from his face. His legs were slender, his feet appearing cloven. His chest was hollow, the arms almost skeletal in appearance. He was also quite naked.
My body was gripped by fear, a dampness upon my brow. I fought to find my voice.
“What…. What manner of creature are you?”
“I am a Bringer,” it said, by way of explanation. It stretched, and I saw it had wings, diaphanous and shimmering in the soft moonlight that illuminated the room as the clouds parted.
“A bringer? Of what? Where do you hail from, creature?”
It chuckled softly, sending a chill upon my spine.
“I hail from another world, at the behest of Belial. I am the bringer of seed.”
My ‘spirit’ had returned to me, and I felt emboldened. I walked across to the nightstand and poured water into a glass, taking a deep draught. The Bringer turned, watching me.
“You bring seed? I know not of what you infer. Please, be gone, you have no business with me…”
The Bringer spoke, his words chilling me once more.
“You are the seventh daughter of a disciple of Belial. You are of age now, and Belial will claim what was promised him, by your father.”
“No! You are wrong! My father is dead,” I cried, “Whatever pact you claim to have had surely died along with him.”
“Child, the promise was made in your name, and Belial claims it now.”
Once again I iterated, “No, you are wrong…”
The Bringer stood, and for the first time I noticed its appendage between its legs. It grasped it in one hand, caressing it, causing it to swell.
“Only the seventh daughter can bear a child to Belial. You are that child. You know to what seed I refer .”
I had no intimate knowledge of male anatomy but knew exactly to what he was referring. I prayed silently to God to deliver me from this nightmare. I cursed my father for his heathen leanings, my mother had been God-fearing but my father had renounced her religion. Now, I understood why.
“And if I agree? Will you leave me and my family alone?”
“It is not for you to agree,” The Bringer snarled, “It is not for you to demand terms. You think your father ran a trouble-free business under his own hand? My lord Belial saw over his business affairs while others floundered. There is a price to pay, and I intend to collect tonight.”
It was my turn to show anger.
“You foul creature, you dare to threaten me? I will fight you, for you shall not have me willingly, unless you agree to my terms!”
The Bringer glared at me, its eyes slits of yellow.
“Willing or otherwise, I shall enjoy seeding you.” He paused, before continuing, “Very well, if that is what you wish. Once seeded with child, I will leave you and your family alone.”
Could I trust the creature? I had no way of knowing, but had no other option available to me.
“Why tonight?” I asked, playing for time.
The Bringer jumped down on to the floor, the appendage now visible fully to me. He moved toward the window, looking out at the moon.
“Tonight is the last full moon before you turn eighteen. Belial will have no control over you once you reach that age. Be quick, the moon wanes as you waste time with your idle chatter.”
The Bringer bounded across the room, lifting itself on to the bed.
“Disrobe and join me.”
I had no choice but to obey. I slowly untied my nightgown, before pulling it over my head. I dropped it to the floor, standing naked before the creature. I covered my modesty with my hands.
“You have full hips and ripe breasts, just right for rearing a child. Now, join me.”
I moved to the bed, sitting on the edge before swinging my legs up and lying down upon the blanket. The creature’s appendage throbbed above me.
Its fingers roamed my breasts, coarsely pinching at my nipples. Its tongue flicked from between its scaly lips. The creature moved further down the bed, muttering under its fetid breath.
My hand cupped to cover my womanhood, but the Bringer roughly pulled my hand away. I had never been exposed before, not in this manner. I could feel its appendage dragging across my stomach, leaving a trail of wetness upon my skin. I felt terrified at this thing being forced into me, but knew the consequences of denying him.
The creature ran its ragged fingernails through the hair covering my centre. Strange sensations ran through me, and the Bringer picked up on them.
“Your cunny will feel good around my cock. I have not felt the tightness of a virgin for a long while.”
“Be sure the feeling will not be reciprocal.” My heart trembled in my breast.
The Bringer laughed; a low and throaty noise. His hands, such as they were, pawed between my legs. It lowered its face, the snout almost in contact with my pudenda, breathing in deeply. I felt sickened. His tongue flicked out, licking my most private place. He pushed my legs further apart. I tried hard to take my mind to another place- a stream on the moors, cool water, and the sun on my face, anywhere but here. The tongue probed further, I could feel the hair becoming saturated with his saliva. I became aware of the sensation not being unpleasant, but quickly banished such thoughts.
The creature held its hardness in one hand, and pushed the tip against me. I felt myself opening wider, terrified I would be torn apart. It pushed onward, and I bit hard on my lip to stop from crying out. There was no let up, the appendage slid onward into me.
“You have a warm, welcoming quim,” the creature taunted me.
“Have your way and be gone, you foul entity.”
The Bringer glowered, pushing harder into me. I felt my maidenhead tear, a strangled cry escaping my lips, my eyes watering. I turned my head, watching the moon move closer to the horizon, hoping my ordeal would soon be over. The creature pulled away from me, glancing down at the blood that fell upon the sheet beneath me. He appeared pleased.
“There, that is the worst part over. And I am glad to find you unsullied.”
The beast pushed his erect flesh back into me, and began to thrust, no thought given to my discomfort. It started to breathe heavily, its tongue lolling from its mouth.
I felt its hands upon my breasts, the fingers pressing at my flesh. Despite my abhorrence at its appearance I felt strange yearnings grow inside me. His hardness slid more easily inside me, and warmth spread through my lower body. I could feel myself opening up to take his appendage fully.
“Yes, tight and fresh,” the beast began to torment me. “My seed will soon find a spot in your womb, child, and I am having such pleasure planting it there.”
Though I tried desperately to distance myself from the event I began to feel urges deep within. I wanted to touch myself, to feel alive at this moment. I shuddered, despising myself for such craven desires. I could feel a tingling inside me, wanting more, but praying for my ordeal to be over.
Finally, with one last thrust it gave a small groan. I could feel its release inside me. What should have been a magical experience for me had left me numb.
Sated, the Bringer pulled its appendage from me, a trail of blood on the sheet below me. It sat, licking its lips, and stared at me.
“Your father would be proud of you, child.”
I pulled the bed sheet up to cover my nakedness, wanting to curl up and sleep, and then to awake to find this nightmare no more than a bad dream.
The creature jumped down to the floor, and stood beside me.
“Your belly,” he commanded. I ignored him.
His hand pulled the sheet back, my nakedness once more exposed, and placed one hand upon my lower stomach. His face turned to one side, a look of expectation upon it. The hand moved about, and the look on its face turned to one of uncertainty. Sharp fingers prodded at my stomach.
“You should be with child,” he muttered, gazing out at the disappearing moon. “The seed must bear you a child!”
The creature’s face turned thunderous.
“You should be with child! You, seventh child of a disciple of Belial! You, Anna, daughter of Matthias, should be with child!”
His face was inches from mine, the eyes blazing a hot yellow.
“I told you that you were wrong, beast. I am Emma, sixth daughter of Matthias, the seventh would be my twin, Anna. I am older by a mere fifteen minutes. You have had your pleasure, now you must keep your part of the bargain, though I understand from your boastful chatter that your window of opportunity for threatening me or my family has now passed. Now, be gone from here.”
Outside, the moon had gone from the night sky.
“You… whore!” Spittle rained from his mouth. “You tricked me!”
“You worthless creature, the error is all yours, there was no trickery on my part.”
I feared for my life, while keeping my face calm. I pulled the sheet back around me, savouring what little protection it offered.
The beast snarled, its wings unfurling, snapping back and forth. He rose from the floor, the window opening by an unseen hand. With a final roar, the Bringer flew through the opening, disappearing into the blackness of the night.
At breakfast the next morning Mrs Abercrombie’s appetite had returned with vigour, and she ate heartily. The Reverend looked slightly green around the gills, and picked at his porridge. I had slept poorly- with good reason- but was determined to try to put the events of the night behind me.
I sat beside the Matron, pouring tea and taking a single slice of buttered toast. She looked at me, a concerned look upon her face.
“I heard you cry last night, my dear, were you quite all right?
I smiled at her.
“Thank you for your concern, a bad dream is all. I do hope you were not too disturbed?”
She patted my hand.
“No, of course not, my dear. Please, do not give it another thought. The storm kept me awake for a while. With what you have gone through of late, it is no surprise you are plagued with troubled sleep.”
The driver came to the door of the inn, and announced our departure. I left with no backward glance, safe in the knowledge that although the worries of my family remained, my sweet sister Anna had escaped a fate far worse than mere money troubles. My sacrifice was but a small token of my devotion to her continued well-being.
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