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The Last Bookshop - Black Miasma
By
TheTravellingMan

The Last Bookshop - Black Miasma

Closer to completing the Cremorne, a malevolent force makes its presence felt.

Swatting her peachy rump, she made that yelping sound he liked.  He slapped it again and plunged deep into her.  Looking down, the black lace suspenders and stocking tops melded perfectly into her taut flanks.  His penis glistened with her juices snug around her labia.  Inside her at its hilt, she squeezed involuntarily and moaned.  Rearing up, he caught her gaze into the mirror.  Her fevered expression, face flushed, and her expression etched with bliss – he felt her torment.  This languid rhythm was torture; his words provided the spice that soaked her sex. 

Esmerelda moaned, “Please, give me more… faster, please, faster…”

He lunged into her fully and growled; Esmerelda whimpered with a stuttered gasp for air.

“This is how she took it.”

She gasped excitedly, “Tell me, Harry, tell me…”

“She felt so hot and tight,” he shoved firmly and his loins slapped her behind, “You heard her sobs didn’t you?  How she whimpered for more?”

The cadence of her breaths shortened as his hips quickened.  Maintaining this stronger tempo, he pulled her hips onto him.  Shaken by its force, Esmerelda gripped on the sheets and her moans grew in volume and urgency.  Relentlessly, he took her in long repetitive thrusts and their bodies collided with a sharp slap. 

“You enjoyed tasting her juices off my hard penis didn’t you?”

The brass bed rattled as Harry bottomed out.  The bulk of his soaked girth appeared and disappeared into the febrile heat of her vagina.  Moaning deeply, she pushed back in defiance.  The chain fastened to her collar was his retort, her head snapped back and the curve of her spine gave him the perfect angle. 

Her moan faltered as her hips rose to meet him, “Oh God, Harry, don’t stop… keep going, please keep going…”

“I knew when she sucked on your nipples for the first time that she was going to eat your pussy.”

Esmerelda’s body tightened, “I stroked you and felt how hard it made you.”

“And she ate your pussy so well, didn’t she?  Her pointy tongue found all the right places.”

She gasped and he felt her instinctive grasp of his length.  Pressing his thumb against her tight puckered hole, she gasped and hissed at him to do it.  Violating her, Esmerelda pitched up sharply with a loud yelp.

“Yes, oh God, yes…” her voice drifted away into a whimper.

“I had to fuck her arse when she licked your pussy.  She liked it didn’t she Esmerelda?”

Amidst the whimpers, as he maintained this firm, dominant tempo, she tried to speak.

“I… I saw the look in her eyes,” her soft voice barely carried over her moans, “they looked so hopeful.  I felt how much she wanted it.”

“Is that why you gave her your vagina to lick?”

“Mmm, yes,” Esmerelda gulped and panted, “she… she needed the distraction.  I had to… had to hold her head to keep her there.  Her tongue… her tongue felt so… good.”

Esmerelda’s fluid hips stuttered as she tightened around him.

“She was a natural, wasn’t she?  I could tell she enjoyed licking your pussy.”

Her intense cries matched his thrusts, the bed complained as her electrified body pitched up to meet the faster rhythm. 

“Go on Harry, do it.  Call it… call it my…”

Harry paused until he filled her and held it there, “Cunt? Esmerelda? You let her lick the hot, wet, tight cunt that I’m fucking now?”

She squeezed on his girth and groaned loudly, “Yes… yes… your cunt, Harry. You… you own it.”

Pulling at the chain, he slowed to graze that spongy swell that fused her mind.  Bracing herself against the bedstead, she tensed as her muscles lost their elasticity.  Begging him not to stop, he caught the look on her face and felt her delirium. 

“Harry, that’s... that’s so good…”

“This is why she lost control.”

“Yes, Harry, yes,”

“Give me your hands…”

She felt her face first and offered them to him.  He pulled from her wrists and cantilevered her body against his.  It stretched her breasts over her torso and they shook with each shove.  His loins loudly struck the cushion of her behind and yielded an unfeminine grunt from Esmerelda.  Everything he had slid so rigidly against the unyielding muscles of her sex. 

Harry growled at the apex of another hard thrust, “Look… look in the mirror.  Imagine her watching you.”

Their torrid heat tainted the air with perfume and the musk of sex.  Fuelled by the lustful hunger of their intuitions, he held her damp limbs firmly.  Looking down, he admired the curve of her pert behind.  Through narrowed eyes, she watched him and immolated herself on the sensations.  Straining to give her what she desired, his muscles flexed and he moaned loudly for air.  The next plunge felt more frantic than the last and ratcheted more tension into her passive body. 

“I want to cum Harry, tell me I can cum... please… please.”

“You can cum on me Esmerelda, cum on me just like she did.”

“Oh God, Oh God…”

The limited freedom of her limbs and body snatched and shook.  Implacable against her struggle, Harry did not relent.  Seeking an outlet, Esmerelda’s yelps grew until she squealed.  Like the release of a tensed spring, it burst forth from her trembling thighs and abdomen.  He pressed himself fully inside her and felt the massaging convulsions.  Filled with his chunky girth and constrained by his imposed posture, she began to shake uncontrollably.

“Good girl, that’s it, take it all… take it all…”

She wailed with a sickening groan as her body quivered and pitched violently.  He held her firmly and gave her more hard thrusts until she weakened.  Withdrawing, Esmerelda collapsed onto the bed and laid still.  Enjoying the refractory warmth of her luxurious climax, she looked at him through vacant eyes and he felt her fizz with gratification.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Words were superfluous and this was their game.  The Cremorne instructed him to complete Chapter Fifty-Nine - the fulfilment of the cuckquean. 

Thalia arrived that evening as a gauche, naïve eighteen-year-old.  They sensed her nervousness during their after-work chit-chat and drinks.  Harry seduced her and Esmerelda witnessed the rakish waif of her Saturday girl take her first steps to womanhood.  Masterful to the last, she watched Harry use each of her holes for his pleasure; Thalia was such an enthusiastic lover. 

Shorn of inhibitions, Thalia revelled in being the foil to Esmerelda’s lust too.  Together, they gave her a precious gift, her first threesome that dissolved all her curiosities.  The night belonged to Harry, and Esmerelda revelled in how he played his part perfectly. 

Recovered, she wanted more and reached out to him laid beside her.  Her voice strong and her intent clear, “Do it, Harry, fuck me like you fucked Tahlia.  I want your sperm inside there.”

Sliding down the bed, she took him with her hand and her stare bored into his mind.  Drawing her mouth up and down his shaft, he stiffened quickly.  Her fingers teased his nipples and the tang of her juices from his erection fuelled the need swelling in her loins.  Squeezing the tight bulge of his testes, she held it to her cheek, its heat and rigidity made her smile.

Rolling onto her front, she squeezed her legs together as her invitation.  She prized her cheeks of her pert rump apart and showed him.  Leaning over her, the rigidity of penis easily defeated her tight entrance.  His first tender thrust pulled on the tension in his loins.  Rampant and hard, stars burst behind her tightly closed eyelids and she yelped.  Panting in short bursts; she gripped his stout arms, and lifted her hips to give herself.

“Fuck me, Harry… oh… oh God!”

The tight muscles burned with the malevolence of his shaft and she pleaded for more.  Exhaling sharply, he filled her to the hilt.  Groaning, all the nerve endings coursed with a sublime electrical violence.  He felt possessed, resolute muscular thrusts squeezed tightly against the taut muscles.  His hands gripped the bedstead as hers held the rails.  They slid and met each other in a symbiotic motion of push and pull.

Her mind flashed images before her, the snug violation of Thalia’s behind and her pout at the moment of penetration.  The way she looked back at him and whispered he was the first to have her there.  The taste as she lapped at Thalia’s sex and the noises as they tipped her over the edge.  Together, they gave her the most intense climax of the night.

Compelled to touch herself, Esmerelda’s fingers cajoled her next climax.  She yearned for how it would wrench at her body and his imprisoned shaft.  Overloaded with pleasure, she peered into the mirror and witnessed beads of sweat drip from his body as he laboured for her. 

Each languid thrust stoked her body with more and more tension.  Their bodies skidded for purchase as Harry persevered.  Watching his muscular body, she drove her fingers to slip faster over her clitoris.  Impaled on the tell-tale swell of his girth, the sensations fuelled the burgeoning pressure in her loins that pulsed and ached for release.  Their gasps blended into a litany of groans, each hunting for more air as their sobs filled the air. 

Gripping on the bedstead, his frantic gestures stuttered into a mechanistic stabbing that made her body shake.  He felt her sinuous tremors and frantically, she shoved back as her grip on his length tightened.

“Oh God, Harry, I think I’m going to…”

“Do it… I’m close too.  Do it… do it.”

“I… I love you Harry, cum in me, cum…”

Her whimpered cries of air weakened and stuttered to a stop.  Bearing down on him, she clenched involuntarily and provoked a twinge from his loins.  He bit at her shoulder and forced out a deep growl that reverberated through them.

Fused with the dizzying enchantment of their intuitions, Harry bucked instinctively into her.  Whitened knuckles grasped the bedstead as she eased back and forth, and pushed him over the edge. 

Impaled completely, Esmerelda felt his first fierce pulse and gave out a guttural moan.  The torrid pressure at her core broke and she thrashed.  Shaking uncontrollably, its visceral power made her panic and she tried to expel him.  Trembling, he embraced her body tightly as the searing heat of his release left him.  The overwhelming magnitude of powerful shuddering waves crumbled her resolve.  Losing control, she cried out and clung to him tightly as savage convulsions exploded through her body.  In unison, they convulsed and howled until the storm passed and their bodies fell still. 

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

In silent calm, they shared the quiet as the fitting end to a debauched evening.  Extracting himself from her embrace, he offered his hand.  Pulling her from the bed, deft fingers removed her remaining lingerie and the leather collar.  Finally naked, she purred and kissed him lovingly. 

Esmerelda raised her arms to stretch, “A cool shower would feel so good right now.”

He admired her nakedness, “I need another one. You were insatiable tonight.”

“So were you, Thalia is probably fucking herself right now thinking about all the things you did to her.”

“You think?”

Esmerelda held her phone up for him to see, “Look.”

Squinting a little, he read the text message: “Still buzzing from tonight, you two were amazing and I hope we can do it again soon.  I’ll see you Saturday but I don’t know if it will be to work or to fuck lol. T xx”

With an eyebrow raised, Esmerelda smiled mischievously, “Looks like we have a new friend.”

“Looks like we do.”

Staring into her eyes, he felt her intuition rise.  She traced her finger softly against his chest and her coy expression made him smile.

”Only if I have her next Harry. I want to fuck her with a strap-on.”

“Now, I want to see that.”

“We could spit roast her, double penetration too.”

“I love how you think.”

Kissing him softly, she pressed her naked body against his, “Let’s shower.  I’ll soap you up and see if you have any strength left.”

“I can’t believe it’s two in the morning, I feel wide awake.”

He frowned with bewilderment at her expression.  Her eyes widened with horror and her rosy pallor drained before his eyes to a bleached white.

“What?  What is it?  Esmerelda?  Esmerelda!”

“Harry, listen to me, don’t move, try not to breathe.”

“Es…”

She clamped her hand firmly over his mouth and watched how her eyes tracked low and to his right.  Frozen still, he followed her lead and took a slow breath silently through his nostrils.

“Stay calm and do not move.  I’m going to move my hand now so close your mouth, say nothing, and breathe very, very, slowly.”

Looking up, her arms followed and Harry felt heat rise from her body; a haze of translucent white shimmered around her.  It swirled into wisps that spun into a multitude of lazy vortices.  They grazed his body and eased through the air between them.

Gathering speed, the zephyr breeze grew into a wet damp draught as the swirls of ethereal white grew dense and thickened.  They stood at its eye as it span around them; it blew through their hair, and soaked their bodies with mist.  Growing in strength, it flapped the bedsheets and bottles fell noisily from her dressing table.  The table lamp flickered and dimmed.  Harry’s incredulous eyes watched Esmerelda’s body strain and tremble. 

The cyclonic wind blew harder and tiny water droplets soaked his skin.  She shook and quivered; the wind howled through the gaps in the sash windows and the bottom of the bedroom door.  The billowing air stopped, her legs gave out, and Esmerelda fell clumsily to the floor. 

Instantly, Harry cried out, “Esmerelda! Esmerelda!”

Stooping to her, she felt limp; her eyes flickered for a moment and opened weakly.

“Esmerelda!”

“Water,” she whispered feebly, “I need water,”

Frantically, he grabbed the bottle on the bedside table.  Unscrewing the cap, he cradled her head and offered its neck to her lips.

Weak and barely responsive, she drank slowly, a few sips at first, and then longer drafts.

Opening her eyes, she looked so pale and weak.  Pushing the bottle aside, she swallowed, “It’s okay Harry, I’m okay.”

“You are not!  What the fuck just happened?”

She reached out to pacify him and put her finger to his lips, “Help me up, and just stay calm.  I will be okay.”

Perching her on the edge of the bed, she drank more from the bottle.  A little colour rose in her face as she shivered.

“Harry.  We must go.  Now.”

“Now?  You are in no condition to leave here.”

“We have to go, there is no time to explain, I will later.  Please, I need your help.”

Throwing clothes into a bag, Esmerelda struggled and Harry rushed to help her.  They dressed and she insisted on going first against his better judgement.  She paused at every corner, looked carefully, and then tugged on his hand.  The pounding in his chest and ears would not abate.  Dishevelled and panicked, he supported her enfeebled body down the steps.  Out from the back, he led her to the back of his car and she laid down as he closed the door.

The key zipped into the ignition, “Harry, just drive.  Turn left, not right.”

Harry overdid it with the throttle and the wheels scrabbled for purchase.

“Easy!” exclaimed Esmerelda feebly.

Turning left, his trembling hands clutched the steering wheel firmly.  Rethinking every action, he carefully guided the car through dark empty streets.  After several turns, he looked in the rearview mirror and watched Esmerelda slake her thirst. 

“You okay?” his voice sounded panicked.

She nodded slowly, “Yes, much better.”

“Do you mind telling me what the fuck just happened!”

“In a minute, first, make sure we are not being followed.  I want you to double back a few times and take us somewhere we have never been, do you think you can do that?”

“Sure.”

His eyes flitted to the rearview mirror for headlights and he looked for anyone walking the pavements.  Driving purely on instinct, he set a course to an unfamiliar suburb making a turn at almost every junction.

For ten long minutes filled with an incomprehensible panic, he had driven out of the way just as she instructed.  It was late, there was no-one around, no cars and no people. 

“Esmerelda?  So what happened?  And don’t do that ‘You wouldn’t understand’ bullshit.”

She paused for a moment, “The Black Miasma.”

Harry snorted, “The black what!?”

“A mist, “ Esmerelda paused, “black, malevolent, poisonous, bad.  A killer.”

“And what did you do?”

“I raised something you should not have seen, to take care of it.”

“Well, Esmerelda, I did fucking see it,” he shouted, “I fucking felt it and I thought it had fucking killed you!”

He slowed, changed gear, and rounded another corner; he regretted his terse words immediately.

Harry sighed, “I thought I had lost you.” He sounded vulnerable and afraid, “I… I couldn’t bear that.”

Keeping his eyes on the road, he turned left for the third time, and they were back on the same residential road from five minutes ago.

“It came for us Harry and I don’t know why.  I’m not keeping anything from you.  It’s late, so whoever sent it thought we would be asleep.  They knew we were there.”

“Oh God.” He muttered it under his breath quietly. 

All those nightmares, they were premonitions of a dark force out to get him.  It was not a moment of drama and suspense; instead, it had the element of surprise with no time to react.  In that moment of powerlessness and horror, it dawned on him - she had saved his life.

“Esmerelda, listen, I never said thank you.”  He paused for a moment, “I’m…  I’m sorry.  I didn’t mean to shout at you, I’m frightened.”  He looked at her in the mirror, “You saved me.”

She smiled weakly, “It’s okay, I just acted on instinct.  I love you but you must trust me now.”

“I do, really I do.  I’m just freaked out.”

He turned the car again and there was still no one behind them.  Confident they were alone, Harry felt a little calmer.  He drove in silence taking one side road after another.  He looked in the mirror to see Esmerelda’s eyes closed and her arms neatly placed on her lap, she was meditating.

Leaving her to recover from whatever she had done, Harry paused to reflect.  It still jangled his nerves yet Esmerelda was a model of calm.  He had to defer to her wisdom and remind himself that she was his muse and he trusted her. 

She clasped her fingers together and stretched out her arms, “Okay, I’m much better, just thirsty.”

Harry sighed loudly, “Good, that’s a relief.”

“No cars following us?”

“Not one, it’s late and we’re in a residential area. We’re a good five miles away I reckon.”

The glow of her phone forced him to look in the mirror again.

“What are you doing?”

“Calling someone.”

“Put them on speaker.  Please, Esmerelda.  I don’t think I can take much more.”

The dialling tone carried over the white noise of the car tyres.

“Hello?”

Harry recognised that voice; its brittle clipped tones filled him dread.  He wanted to say something, anything to relieve the stress.  Filled with fear and uncertainty, he bit on his lip and forced himself not to.

“Delilah, it’s Esmerelda.”

“Darling!” she sounded pleased, “If this is a social call you are a little late.  I’ve just got in and if it wasn’t you, I would have hung up.”

“Delilah, listen, I’m in big trouble.  Harry is with me.”

“Harry?” there was a long pause, “Harry Coulter?”

His blood ran cold; her pronunciation of his name still had the power to disturb him.

“Yes, that Harry.  Listen, Delilah, it’s serious. They sent the Black Miasma.”

There was silence on the line, “Delilah?”

“Come to mine.  Call me when you are here.”

“Sure.  And Delilah?  Thanks.”

“No problem, bring Harry Coulter and whatever he has about his path through the Cremorne.”

“Okay.”

Harry swallowed the lump in his throat and decided to say nothing. 

“You heard that?”

“Yes, I did.”

Always vigilant, he drove back to his flat and he doubled back once to make sure they were alone.

“Drive past first, I’ll look for anything unusual.”

“Sure.”

“You okay?” enquired Esmerelda.

“To be honest, not really.”

There was no pretence in his sullen voice.  He pinched his hand out of desperation; this was no sleeping nightmare - this was a real one.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Still shaken by the drama of entering his flat in the dark, Harry left the lights off.  Sat in his study and under the weak light of the table lamp, Esmerelda kept watch. 

Meticulously, he added more chapters to the folder and cross-referenced them.  Looking at the remaining chapters of the Cremorne, the big finale felt nothing of the sort.  Compared to the depravity and mystery so far, it would be an anti-climax.  It was not a momentous occasion like his ordeal with Delilah or the complex puzzle of finding Esmerelda.

To add to his troubles, he felt confused. Why would ‘they’ want to take them out of the equation now?  He felt angry that he was so close and yet, very far from any substantive answers.  Taking his punishment, Delilah warned him of those that wished him harm.  He went to great lengths to atone, redeem himself, and stay out of trouble.  He risked psychosis, endured horrific nightmares, and somehow, fell completely in love with Esmerelda.  Studiously, he kept to the code of the Cremorne and now he felt betrayed.

He feared a confrontation; instead, a poisonous cloud sent by an anonymous cowardly assassin almost undid them.  Looking into her eyes, his frustration spilled into his thoughts.  Esmerelda reached out and caressed his hand tenderly.

“It is okay to be angry, angry will keep you alert and ready.  Be calm when you need to think.  Delilah will help us and she is a friend.  Do not be afraid of her.  I love you, Harry. Trust me.”

A still calmness soaked his stressed body; she leant forward and looked at him hopefully.

Squeezing her hand, he took a deep breath and sighed, “You saved my life, thank you.”

“I will always protect you, Harry. We will never be apart.  Now, meditate and I will watch over you.”

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

Sitting in an armchair trimmed with sumptuous polished walnut, he reclined into its cushioned seat and crossed his legs.  Delilah moved elegantly as she paced the room.  Attired in a full-length black-bodiced gown, it flared slightly at the hip to create a dark silhouette that shimmered in the subdued light.  On high heels, he caught the taut curves of her leg through its thigh-length slit.  Her hair trestled in demi-waves and side-parted, rested on slender bare shoulders.  Visually striking, smoky eyeshadow and crimson lipstick accentuated her strongest features.  Wherever she had been that night, she looked incredible.

In their long meandering drive to the other side of the metropolis, they arrived at a neighbourhood of Victorian Gothic townhouses.  They suited Delilah and her austere demeanour.  Opening the door, she appeared unflustered as he dropped their bags in the hallway.  Leading Harry into the sitting room, they muttered outside the room for a few minutes. 

In his contempt for the Cremorne, he helped himself to a generous measure of brandy from its decanter.  The room was over-ornate with brass, dark wood, and velvet.  Impossible to be contemporary, its cream and blood red rugs looked to be Afghan in origin with ornate woven patterns in gold thread.  He felt ill at ease sat here alone, the gravitas of his surroundings defined Delilah’s character – opulent and complex.

They entered in silence and he kept his reservations to himself.  Delilah’s demeanour gave him no cause for alarm and she made no mention of their previous encounter.  Esmerelda appeared to be relaxed and calmly drank from her glass of water.  Sat opposite to him, they watched Delilah wander back to the table and look down at the folder again. 

“So how many chapters do you have left?”

“Four,” Harry took a sip from his drink, “It’s another vignette in two halves, no names, just a short story.  It’s either a casual fling that develops into a relationship, or it can be interpreted as two people in a relationship that have some fun and games.”

“Yes, that’s a fair conclusion to draw.  The language is ambiguous enough to support that.”

Harry nodded his head, “I’m glad you agree.”

She turned and fixed her gaze on him, “Well, the answer is there, you need to choose.”

“I do?”

He did not mean to sound so surprised, then again, he felt surprised he did not come across as frightened.

Delilah turned through the pages of the folder, “I have seen this path before.  You see, each path through the Cremorne is different and written to be a puzzle.  There are precisely one hundred correct interpretations.  One-hundred paths for one-hundred copies.”

Harry scoffed, “Who told you that?”

“I did.”

He looked at Esmerelda and immediately felt foolish, “Oh, I see.”

Delilah looked at him sternly, “Harry Coulter, I will not influence you.  You have free will, you give the instructions, and you choose.  You stand on the last path to take.  Our first journey through the Cremorne defines our relationship with it.  You have duplicated the path of someone powerful, someone who can conjure the Black Miasma.  Clearly, you are a threat, a usurper if you like.”

Delivered so coldly, he felt a sense of injustice rise up inside him and its anger burst through.

“Hang on a second Delilah, you played your part in this.”  He pointed his finger at her, “You inserted Chapter One-Hundred-and-Four into my journey.  Fuck free will!  If you didn’t do that, I would not be on this path.”

Delilah picked up her drink and calmly took a sip, “If I did not do that, you would be dead.  I judged for your errors and gave you my verdict.  I helped you to correct your path, the only one open to you at the time.  You had the opportunity and you wisely took it.  If you were not so determined to mess everything up, you would have taken a different path.”

Harry stood, “Well, I’m as good as dead now aren’t I?” and shouted, “Oh, you are so high and bloody mighty but you are as much to blame for this as I am!”

Delilah inspected her fingernails nonchalantly and let his angry words hang in the air for a while.

“Finished have we?  You can leave right now Harry Coulter; I am not stopping you.  It might not be today or tomorrow but they will find you.  If you leave, you can leave Esmerelda here, you will not take her from me.  I will not let that happen!”

She raised her head to dismiss him and span on her feet so tempestuously; it made her dress flare.

Harry sat down in frustration, “Oh to hell with you!”

“Please! Both of you! Stop it!” protested Esmerelda loudly.

Harry emptied his glass and went to get another brandy.  Pouring his drink, he sighed deeply “Okay, Okay.”

They both looked at him and waited as he plodded to his chair.

“Look, it’s been a stressful evening so just let me get this right.  I have two choices?  I could start at Chapter Eighty-Three and have a fling that develops into a relationship?  Well, that is out of the question.  I am already in a relationship and I am very happy in that relationship.  I love Esmerelda.”

“Or you start at Chapter Ninety-One and take part with Esmerelda,” quipped Delilah.

“And which path makes me the usurper?”

They looked at him blankly. 

Esmerelda spoke first, “You know we cannot tell you that, neither of us can.”

Harry huffed, “I am not leaving Esmerelda!  If I did that, which I will not, I will lose everything and I could still be the usurper.  I would be defenceless and looking over my shoulder for the rest of my life.”

Delilah finished her drink, walked to the bar and poured another one, “You will complete the Cremorne and with that comes the revelation of its secret.”

Harry threw his hands in the air, “And what is that?  It could be ‘congratulations’ and nothing more, you won’t tell me!  I choose Esmerelda, I always will.  I can’t believe you are asking me to choose otherwise, Delilah.”

“I’m not,” she retorted sharply.

Esmerelda put her glass on the table, “Harry, if you will allow me?”

He shrugged disconsolately, “Sure.”

She rose from her seat and smiled sweetly at him.  Her eyes flickered and he felt the flames of her intuition spark to life.  Walking to Delilah, she reached out with a tender caress of her neck.  In a symphony of gestures, they lined up slowly for the inevitable.  Kissing softly once, their lips pressed together firmly the next time.  Spellbound, he watched them devour each other with a deep passionate kiss.

Esmerelda’s free hand found the teardrop-shaped zipper and pulled it down.  The dress opened and spilled into a pool of fabric around Delilah’s ankles.  Exposing the luscious curves of her naked breasts, Delilah stood in high-heels and hold-ups.  Stepping out of her dress, she exposed her semi-naked body.  They both looked at Harry; he baulked at first and then lingered to admire Delilah.

Esmerelda looked at him lasciviously, “Come on Harry, make your next move.  I know you want her - I felt it.”

“I did say that the next time we met, I hoped it would be more cordial,” Delilah purred.  “Angry men are such a divine fuck too.  I can feel your lust; it feels so strong and vibrant.”

Harry growled, “Oh, I’m in the mood to fuck alright.”

Delilah’s smouldering eyes narrowed, “Then do it and complete the Cremorne with us now.”

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

He played his full part in this spontaneous threesome.  They dissolved his anger and used its adrenaline for their pleasure.  He seized on its strength as he competed with Delilah to assert himself.  Delilah was not one to be submissive and their foreplay drove him almost to the point of insanity.  Both of them worked on him to provoke a fierce erection.  Delilah led them both to the heat between her thighs and together they worked her into a frenzy of deep writhing spasms and loud cries. 

Esmerelda did not stand a chance as they caressed, kissed, and returned her attention with interest.  She seethed as her body convulsed, Harry between her legs, and Delilah astride her mouth.

Assertively, Delilah pushed Harry onto the bed and rode him while he pawed at her pendulous breasts.  Her strong body with its core of steel fucked as determinedly as before.  Esmerelda’s hands caressed and teased her body as she watched Harry on his back.  They traded places and Delilah witnessed the connection of two lovers lost in passionate cries and groans.  Straddling his face, Harry’s tongue squirmed inside Delilah as Esmerelda rode him to the accompaniment of wet, lustful kisses.

Needing respite, he watched Delilah’s confident tribadism of Esmerelda’s prone body.  In a relentless assault, they clung to each other frantically.  Their eyes met, the power of the intuitions rippled its unalloyed strength through their bodies.  Thrashing in the shrill cries of climax, each used their straining limbs for leverage.  Towering over her, Delilah provoked one shuddering climax after another until Esmerelda’s body went limp.

Like the rhythm of a clock, the flow of give and take filled them with lust and exploded it as pleasure.  Harry intervened in their slow soixante-neuf and it became a fuck from behind.  Impaling Delilah with long lusty thrusts, Esmerelda’s lapping tongue at her clitoris made her thrash noisily in climax.  They needed all their strength to keep her down.

Her eyes wild, Delilah pushed Harry away and she sprang from the bed.  Kissing him deeply, Esmerelda positioned herself at its edge.  Holding the backs of her thighs, she presented herself and the glossy confluence of her thighs.  Delilah took him in hand and gauged the heavy swell of his balls.  Grasping his vein-bulging penis, he guided him in.  Delilah purred as Esmerelda’s eyes widened, she teased Esmerelda’s clit as he thrust into her eagerly.

Turning his head, Delilah gazed into his eyes and he felt the rage of her intuition.  Transfused with her lust, she kissed him deeply and felt her provocation possess him.  Clutching Esmerelda’s ankles, he powered into her goaded by Delilah’s words.  Watching her full breasts shake, Delilah reached out to pluck at her erect nipples.

Her sex smeared its emulsion on his girth.  Delilah’s firm push of her hand on the small of his back forced him to increase his tempo.  Caressing his perineum, Delilah felt its swell as her fingers teased that tight knot of muscle between the cleft of his behind.  It propelled him suddenly into a frenzy.

“You like that don’t you?” purred Delilah.

Harry groaned.

She eased her finger in a little deeper, “I know everything about you.”

Pressing her finger harder, she violated his behind.  Alarmed, she placated his consternation with a smouldering deep kiss.  Watching them both above her, Esmerelda writhed her hips and groaned loudly.

“You will cum soon,” Delilah’s calm assertive tone eviscerated them, “I can feel it building, so much tension to release.”

The pressure swelled to its peak as Delilah insisted he ejaculated into Esmerelda. 

Her words were too much and Esmerelda’s prone body tensed with that familiar stuttering rhythm.  Pouting for snatched yelps of air, she convulsed with a broken cry and gripped hard at the bedsheets.  Rising up from her shoulders, she shuddered and crushed the muscles that seized around him. 

Tightly massaging his shaft, he powered into her resolutely.  Delilah’s finger pressed on the tension and he trembled profoundly as if electrocuted.  The raging heat of his release made his entire body shake.  Such was its power; he lurched hard and stabbed everything he could into her with staccato thrusts of his hips.

“Mmm, look how it twitches,” Delilah purred softly, “I can tell you filled her well.”

He had to stagger away, his head light while his chest pounded.  Slumped into a chair, he witnessed a bead of his essence leak from Esmerelda’s gaped sex.

“Allow me,” purred Delilah.

Knelt between her legs, Delilah attended to Esmerelda’s freshly fucked vagina.  Soft kisses and the tender application of tongue teased out rapturous groans that punctured the still air.

Mesmerised by her skill, fuelled by the spectacular surges of the Cremorne’s enchantment, this was no anti-climax to the conclusion of the Cremorne.  Esmerelda clutched breasts and toyed with her nipples as Delilah’s tongue coaxed one final bone-shuddering climax from her fevered body. 

“Hmm, Harry, Esmerelda, you both taste divine,” murmured Delilah licking her lips.

“Thanks,” Harry smiled wearily.

Sated by this erotic tour-de-force, he stared vacantly out over Delilah’s grandiose boudoir.

He peered to the windows and sunlight leeched around the edges of the thick velvet curtains.  The disorder around him told the tale of their adventure, eschewed clothes and undergarments laid where they fell.  The dishevelled bed shorn of its sheets creaked and they gathered its pillows strewn to the corners.  Naked and contented, they sat up embraced in each other’s arms on the imposing four-poster bed.  Softly, they kissed and caressed each other, a moment of tenderness to conclude their wicked licentiousness.

“Harry, I see you have lost none of your abilities,” stated Delilah coolly.

He shook his head, “Neither have you.”

Esmerelda smiled, “How do you feel?  Any different?”

“Should I?  I’m not sure.”

Delilah shuffled off the bed and Harry admired the delicate swish of her naked hips and taut derriere.  She turned and gave him a fleeting glimpse of her toned body.  Choosing to sit, she reclined fully, still naked, and crossed her legs at the knee. 

“So?” she looked at him inscrutably, “Now you are inducted, it is time for you to know.”

Esmerelda patted the bed and Harry joined her to sit on its edge.  She kissed him softly and picked up his hand to hold it, “Harry, now this might come as something of a shock.”

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

The air crackled with expectation.  Delilah sat and held out her finger to attract Harry’s complete attention.

“My name is not Delilah, it is Constance.  I am from a wealthy family as the former lady of the house and you know that.  I am a whore and a courtesan to wealthy men and women.  I entertain them until they bore me.  I am attracted to those that match my sexual appetite, which is prodigious.  My first experience with the Cremorne was in Eighteen-Fifty-One and I have completed it thirty-one times.  Each time, it granted me more power.”

Harry’s expression froze, “Eighteen-Fifty-One?  But you…” his finger rose to point at her, “You don’t look much over thirty.”

“Twenty-five, actually Harry Coulter, but let’s not split hairs.”

He turned to look at Esmerelda, “What’s your story?”

“Well, my name is Esmerelda, that part is true.  I am an artist, born to a Spanish aristocratic family and came to London in Eighteen-Forty-Nine.  I have worked in the arts ever since. I am a whore that adores male and female company.  I am loyal to those I love and love me, the woman who is as wise as she is worldly.  My first experience with the Cremorne was in Eighteen-Fifty, I have completed the Cremorne thirty-three times, more than most.”

Delilah nodded, “Indeed, more than most.”

“Holy fuck!”  He gasped and sat stunned on the bed.  An incredulous look on his face widened his eyes, raised his eyebrows, and furrowed his forehead, “So… so I’m immortal now?  I’ll live forever?”

Suddenly animated by an explosion of energy, he rose and shook his head, “So…,” he paced the room and ran his fingers through his hair. “So, time stands still for me now?  I won’t age anymore? That’s the power of the Cremorne?”

Delilah looked at him, “For as long as you follow its teachings, that is correct.”

“Fuck!” added Harry breathlessly. 

“Don’t think of us as immortal, we are inert and do not succumb to germs or viruses.  But if we are cut, we bleed, so we can be killed or maimed.  We are not impervious to death.  Just think of it as ageing, very, very slowly.”

He glared at Delilah, “Trust you to make a joke of it.”

She smirked, “Well, I’ve had years of practice, darling.”

Esmerelda cleared her throat, “When you complete the Cremorne, you complete a circuit.  To do this, you must find its purpose.  You found your purpose and that can take years to find.  You can thank Delilah for her help.  We do not age but we must commune when a circuit is complete.  After we commune, the Cremorne shares its intent with you.”

He looked at them both, “So this is it?  The communion? ”

Delilah demurred to his question, “Yes, this is the communion.  There are more devotees but they do not meet anymore and I will get to that.  Esmerelda and I do, the rest are scattered to different parts of the world.  The longer you follow and the more circuits you complete, the more of the Cremorne’s intent is shared with you.”

Harry pointed at her, “So Esmerelda, what are you to the Cremorne?”

“Keeper of spells and Muse.”

He looked to Delilah, “And you?”

“Guardian of the Cremorne, Seer of Souls.”

Harry looked incredulous, “Oh, for fuck’s sake! Why can’t you two just wear a pointy hat and carry a magic wand so we can all see you coming?”

Delilah looked at him, looked at Esmerelda and back to Harry.  They laughed at him.

Harry slumped into a chair, “I’m being serious!”  It was half-hearted, he cracked a worried smile and ran his fingers through his damp hair, “Okay, okay, laugh it up.  So I won’t age, the Cremorne is going to speak to me, and I’m going to go round and round in circles forever?”

“No one can make you do it, Harry,” replied Delilah.  “If you want to remain with us, you must complete more circuits but it is not a race.  This is why you must remain true to its teachings.  When the Cremorne speaks to you, you will understand more.”

“And if I choose not to accept the Cremorne’s words?”

Esmerelda looked concerned, “If you reject the Cremorne’s intent, you can leave and go back to your old life.  Your power will fade quickly and you could not remain with us.  You wouldn’t do that would you?”

Harry shook his head, “No, no I wouldn’t.  Never.”  He looked up at them both, his eyes pleading, “This is a lot to take in.”

Delilah reached over to him and took his hand, “You followed the Cremorne Harry, and you exercised your free will.  No-one made you do this.  Do not confuse it with how I judged you and gave you my verdict.”

He nodded, “Go on.”

“You heeded my words and took action, and now you are redeemed.  You are lucky, you have a companion to share this gift because many do not.  Now, we’ve all just fucked each other, do we look afraid?”

“I’m afraid because of the path I might be on.”  He paused, “I’m still on the same path aren’t I?”

Delilah nodded, “Yes, you are the usurper.”

Harry rushed from his chair, “Fuck! Fucking Fuck!”

Picking up his clothes, his frantic hands held them out as he started to put them on.  “I can’t deal with this, I need some air for a minute.  Fuck!”

Esmerelda rose to calm him, “Harry.  Harry!  Listen to what we have to say, listen.  Please.”

“Sit down!” Delilah barked and Harry froze dressed in his jeans with his shirt open.

Tugging on his hand, Esmerelda led him back to sit beside her.

Delilah leant forwards, “Harry, what did I just say to you?”

“Sorry?”

“What am I?”

He paused for a moment in bewilderment, “Erm, Seer of Souls or something.”

“Guardian of the Cremorne, Harry.  Guardian of the Cremorne.  You are safe here, so calm down and I will explain.”

Harry shrugged, “Okay, okay.  At least you have stopped calling me Harry Coulter, do you have any idea how much that freaked me out?  I had nightmares, you know.”

A wry smile eased from Delilah’s face, “Why do you think I did it?”

“Why do you think we ran away from being killed by some supernatural black fog?” Harry retorted.

Delilah beamed into a wider smile, “That’s better, show some balls other than the ones between your legs.  Now, be quiet.”

Harry put his head in his hands, “God, what I have done?”

“There has been one devotee who took a keen interest in you since your visit to Club Babylon – you were following his path.  I am the Seer of Souls; I knew your potential and warned you to be careful.  Once you straightened yourself out, you could have spent years finding Esmerelda, so I gave you some clues.  You locked in this path when you chose to fuck those two spoilt brats in your last act as a gigolo.  You did well to avoid him this long.  You are easier to find if you transgress.”

Harry shrugged, “You know about the ‘spoilt brats’?”

Delilah leant back, tutted and shook her head, “Choices, choices, Harry.”

“You called ‘they’ ‘him’, why?”

Delilah and Esmerelda smiled yet Delilah answered, “He has many aliases and probably a new one now too.  Remember, it is ‘what’ we are that is important.”

He looked confused, “But… but… what about that thing, the miasma?  ‘Him’ or ‘they’ is irrelevant if ‘it’ wants to kill me and Esmerelda and you!”

“Harry, you are a devotee of the Cremorne now, as such, you are under my protection.  You know the power I wield.  What happened to you at my club was a tiny example of my ability.  I wanted to teach you a lesson not hurt you.  You have Esmerelda to thank for that.  Now, I know of the Black Miasma and the miscreant who would use such a device.  He fractured the communion of devotees many years ago and they fled.  We are still here and I am not afraid, what does that tell you?”

Harry looked up at the ornate flourishes of the cornice work on the ceiling, “Always the bloody riddles.  Can I have the simple version, please?  Am I going to die horribly or not?”

Esmerelda squeezed his hand, “Harry, this is important.  You are not going to die.  You wanted answers, you are getting them.”

Delilah looked unperturbed, “Firstly, you are safe here, stop fretting and I will explain.  Second, we might understand the enchantment of the Cremorne but we do not know where it came from.  Does the name ‘Peabody’ mean anything to you?”

“Yes, Mrs. Peabody, the cuckoldtrix.  Chapter Fourteen and my first experience of the Cremorne.”

Delilah smiled and opened her hands, “I am Constance Peabody.  The first time I completed the Cremorne, my purpose was to find Esmerelda.  Esmerelda, you tell him.”

Esmerelda looked at Harry a little forlorn, “Okay, first Harry, promise you won’t be angry.  You’ve done enough of that tonight and I find this story upsetting even after all this time.”

His look of concern deepened, Esmerelda trembled as she looked at him, and he felt her deep sense of contrition, “Esmerelda?” 

She pondered for a moment, “I wrote the Cremorne.  He did not know what the Cremorne told me when I completed my first circuit. That was my purpose and it spoke to me immediately.  It told me to write down our story and told me to do it in secret.  It warned me of ‘him’ and we had to dilute his power.  So I wrote a biography if you like, me and ‘him’.  Constance found me, shared her story and we could commune without him.  The Cremorne told Constance to print one hundred books and I imbued the books with the Cremorne’s enchantment.  It was my first spell.”

Harry frowned, “You can enchant anything or anyone with the power of the Cremorne?”

“No, it doesn’t work anymore.  It only worked on the books.”

Something struck him and he stuttered for a moment, his lips moved yet no words came out.  They waited as he pointed to Esmerelda, then to Delilah.  He seemed to be mouthing quotations silently.

“Him?  The preacher’s son?”  Harry paused, “That’s why the book is self-referring.”

Delilah rolled her eyes, “Oh, well done, bravo.  Esmerelda, tell him the rest.”

Esmerelda sipped her water and her head went down; she looked upset.

“Esmerelda?” She looked at him and Harry felt her sorrow.

“Please, I must tell you, this is our communion,” she paused to clear her throat.  “We gave the books to those we thought would complete it.  There was one last pristine copy that I kept back.  I have had that book since Eighteen Fifty-Four waiting for the right moment.  When you came into the bookshop, Chapter Nine hit me like a freight train, and it was the strongest encounter I have ever felt.  You gave Frobisher some of your acid wit and you looked so handsome.  There were two copies of the Cremorne on the mezzanine that day, an older tired copy and the pristine one.”

Harry watched as tears welled in her eyes.  She sniffed a little and Delilah gave her a handkerchief.  Immediately protective of her, he placed his arm around her waist.

Esmerelda dabbed her eyes, “I hoped we would meet again once you started to follow the Cremorne.  I dared not dream that you would fall in love with me.  I’m sorry Harry, it is not a deception, but I enchanted you with the Cremorne.”

It all made sense, the last enchanted Cremorne and Esmerelda chose him.  There was no deception; it was as the Cremorne commanded.  She stuck to the rules fastidiously for fear of spoiling her dream.  On this path, their unusual help, there was a purpose – his purpose to fall in love with her.  For all his flaws, the venality and the deceit, he stuck to the task and made his choices.  Coming full circle, he was not that man anymore and he had them both to thank for that.

Reaching out, he embraced her as Esmerelda fought back her tears, “This is the truth, and it’s such a relief to tell you at last.”

He was glad he was here; glad to know after so much uncertainty.  Through the half-chances and lucky encounters, he made it to her and it must have been agony for Esmerelda to watch.  The worst of it dawned on him as he held her close.  During all that time, she could not love, and ‘he’ took it from her.  The Cremorne would grant it only if another took the same path.  Even then, it had to come from free will – hers and his.  She could not love and watch them grow old whilst she did not; the Cremorne would not allow that.

Harry pulled her closer to him, “Hey, shush.  It’s okay, I understand. You loved him didn’t you?”

Esmerelda nodded and dabbed again at her eyes, “Yes, he was a bad, bad man.  He… he left me during my second circuit through the Cremorne.  He’s been trying to hurt me ever since. He will not stop...”

He interrupted, “It’s okay, you don’t need to tell me.  You don’t need to explain.”

“He’s done wicked things Harry, wicked things.”

Turning her head to face him, he softly kissed the tears from her cheeks, “Shush, I’m not angry, I’m not.  I promise I will never do that to you.”

Esmerelda’s pink eyes sparkled a little and a weak smile of happiness responded to his expression of earnestness.

He looked to Delilah, “I understand now why I am a threat, so I bring balance back to the Cremorne?”

“Very good.  You followed the same path and you nearly came just as unstuck as him.”

She winked at Esmerelda and nodded towards Harry, “You have to admit he’s very bright, handsome chap too.”

Esmerelda giggled.

Delilah leant in, “Basically Harry, you got the girl and he doesn’t want you to have her.  Worse still, your path is his path.  Only you pulled yourself together and he didn’t.  With no one to judge him, he got away with it and probably for a long time.  That makes you the better man and he’s not happy about it.”

“Thanks for the summary,” Harry took a belt from his drink, “So what is ‘him’ then?”

Delilah looked him firmly in the eyes, “You want to know?”

His eyes narrowed, “Yes I do.  I am sick of being scared.  If he hurt Esmerelda, he pays. I can be a total bastard if I want to be.”

Delilah smiled, “That’s more like it.”

Esmerelda squeezed his hand, “He found us and enchanted us both. We were none the wiser at first.” her voice wavered a little; she paused and found the strength to continue, “We have no idea how long he practised its magick before he met us.  As the first devotees circuited the Cremorne, we communed and his powers began to weaken.  That is when he came looking for us.  We fled and hid. It was easy in those days to just disappear.”

“Delilah, can’t you judge him?”

Delilah considered his answer, “He is too powerful for me to summon and pass judgement on yet not strong enough to destroy me.  Know this though; he has been tracking down devotees for over one-hundred years.  He went searching to destroy them and regain his lost powers.  How many devotees are left, I do not know.  I hear them infrequently and their calls for communion.  They must congregate somewhere but no one reveals where they are.  They talk in a code I do not know.”

Harry nodded his head, “I see.  So why am I the usurper?”

“Well, same path, same purpose, probably the same intent.  In other words, you could take him out of the equation altogether.  We must wait for what the Cremorne says to you before we decide what to do.”

With a wicked smile, Harry raised an eyebrow, “Payback could be a complete bitch.”

“I’m warming to you, Harry.”

“And the Black Miasma? You say this place is safe?”

Delilah nodded, “The Black Miasma is the malevolence of a transgressed soul, someone that violated its teachings.  It is very powerful and it kills effortlessly, but it is almost impossible to obtain.  I doubt he has another.  I have encountered it once, a very long time ago.  It moves only at night and it is vulnerable to elemental magick if seen.  It would be ineffective if it crossed this threshold.  I am the Guardian.”

Harry deflated with a deep sigh of relief, “We really are safe here then?”

Delilah nodded slowly, “Abso-fucking-lutely.  Inside these walls, he cannot sense us.  He would need to find us somehow, bash down the door and bash our skulls in.”  She smiled widely, “And now we have got a big strapping man like you to protect us.”

He looked to Esmerelda; she smiled and kissed him softly, “You understand now Harry?”

“Yeah, yeah I do.  I love you.”

She looked down and then into his eyes, “I love you too…”

Delilah interrupted, “And I love happy endings.  New devotees always find it a struggle to adapt and you did not do too badly Harry.  One jumped out of the window of a tall building.”  She paused and shuddered, “Yuck, messy business.  It does not pain me to say it but in the physical violence department, we need you.  Beyond the threshold of this house, you need us.”

He raised his glass, “Delilah, thank you, really, I mean it.”

Delilah nodded, “Thank you.  Your journey was the hardest to face, I am glad you completed it.”

“A toast,” Harry offered, “To you Delilah, to my Esmerelda and the Cremorne.”

With a clink of their glasses, they all smiled.

Delilah savoured the warmth of her drink, “You know Harry, you are not bad.  I think you should stick around a bit longer.”

“And for an omnipotent one-hundred-and-eighty something, you’re a bit of alright yourself.”

Delilah rose from her chair, “Normally, I would make up the spare room.  However, I sense we have unfinished business tonight so we will all sleep here,” and she paused with a wicked smile, “eventually.”

 

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