previous: To Worship ch8
The shrill beeping got louder and louder, forcing me awake. “Patient is coding!” A lone nurse sounded the alarm, causing every available doctor to descend upon the room. I stood up, leaning against a wall, in an attempt to stay out of the way.
“Oxygen levels falling! We need to start chest compressions.” Each word was like a red-hot bullet searing in to my flesh. The crowd of doctors ushered me out of the room.
I wanted to scream, maybe even fight my way back in the room like a stereotypical devoted wife. It would have been worth it to get kicked out by security. Suddenly, a message came over the hospital PA system. “Carolina Minor,” the voice screeched. “Mrs. Carolina Minor, you are needed in the maternity ward.”
“What?” I looked around for guidance, but no one else seemed to react. It was as if I was hearing the message only in my mind. I took a few steps down the hallway, away from Josh’s room. I didn’t even know where the maternity ward was. my only hope was to go down to the lobby, and try to find a receptionist or a map (or better yet reunite with Tomas.) Leaning against the white wall, I forced myself to breathe. I didn’t even remember walking to the elevator but somehow, the next time I blinked I was there, staring down the glowing red button. “To the lobby, then.”
Thankfully, the buttons were clearly labeled. The lobby was deserted, to an almost creepy degree. The lights were dimmed, all computers were shut down. I could see through to the parking lot, tempting me to try to flee. Of course, the doors were locked. “What the-?” I shook the handle anyway, hoping to attract some kind of attention. “Hello?” With everything so dark and abandoned I assumed there would be a security guard somewhere. But after a few seconds of shaking, banging and rattling like a toddler having a tantrum, I admitted defeat.
Fortunately, there was a map on the wall, with a listing of every hospital department. Unfortunately, the maternity ward was in an entirely different building. I would have to go up several floors, cross a sky bridge and find my way to an area at the end of a series of wards. I made mental notes and started on my journey. I could only hope there would be other maps along the way.
Every part of the hospital was dark, lit only by the light of the moon cascading through the large glass panels. Had there been a power outage? No, that was impossible since the elevators were working. Or was it? My mind was cloudy, unfocused. I chuckled to myself. “I’m still dreaming.” That would explain everything. “Now I just need to wake up.” I pinched the webbing between my thumb and forefinger as I walked in a straight line. I continued to the end of the hall until I spotted a familiar face.
“Fancy a drink?” Tomas was leaning against a vending machine. The red, Cola-branded contraption appeared to be glowing like a beacon in a storm.
“Is the power off?”
“No,” Tomas replied, putting in a handful of coins to prove his point. “Why would you say that?” Instead of pressing a selection Tomas bumped his hip against the side, prompting the machine to dispense two bright green cans of Sprite.
I had to be dreaming. “No reason. I’m just a little tired.” I took a seat on the floor, sitting cross-legged at Tomas’s feet. “Any news?”
“They’re going to ask you to pull the plug,” Tomas replied in a distant, deadpan tone.
“On Josh,” I said calmly. For whatever reason, that felt acceptable.
“And the baby.”
I nearly choked on my own spit. “So, the baby is already born?” I asked between gasps of air. Needless to say, I was struggling to maintain composure. “Is my daughter still alive?”
“The baby is in the Neonatal ICU,” Tomas said between sips of soda. “As far as I know, Christina is stable, for now anyway.”
For now? I couldn’t stop the tears. “Oh God, this isn’t happening.”
Tomas nodded as he nervously tapped on the metal can producing a calm, pleasant melody. “The events of today have been set in motion by forces beyond our control.”
Hearing those words, I truly wanted to punch him in the face. “I get it. God and the devil are playing a game of chess,” I said with a defeated sigh. “So, tell me, what’s Suzanne? Is she a bishop or a rook?”
“Not exactly,” he replied with a chuckle.
“Don’t tell me she’s a queen.” That would be the cherry on this shit sundae.
“She wishes,” Tomas said as he finished off his drink, punctuating his satisfaction with a comically loud burp. “No, Suzanne is more like a knight; headstrong, powerful but limited. you notice, for all her big talk, she has yet to physically attack us.”
“I thought that was because we weren’t her primary target.” I’d assumed she was haunting Josh due to their past.
“Well, yes,” he replied as if this was the most logical statement ever. “That and, it’s because she can’t attack us directly. Suzanne is only able to move in limited, preset patterns. We need to use that to our advantage.”
“So, what’s the plan?” I asked, leaning against the wall. “Am I supposed to just try to go back to sleep?”
“You sleep, I’ll guide.”
“In the hallway?” We appeared to be alone, for the moment, but being out in the open seemed to be just asking for trouble.”
“You’re right, I think the waiting room is unlocked.”
I followed Tomas down another hall, to a pink, closet-like door labeled, ‘Family waiting room.’ The door opened to a small windowless room with pale yellow walls. The four cushioned chairs seemed to be from four different decades (but appeared to be reasonably comfortable for sleep.) On the corner there was a phone attached to the wall, and a television secured to the ceiling.
At least it was quiet and warm enough to not require blankets or other bedding. Tomas took a seat, leaning the chair against a wall so that he could sleep comfortably. “You good?” I asked, taking a seat by his side.
“I’m good.” he patted his lap, inviting me to make myself a space.
“You want me to use you as a pillow?”
“I’m a pretty sound sleeper.” Tomas took off his shirt, folding it into a pillow on which to rest my head.
“Ok, I’ll give it a try.” I felt like I had to since he’d already sacrificed his shirt. As I closed my eyes, I could feel Tomas’s rough hands stroking my face; softly, gently as I drifted off to sleep.
I awoke in a bed, to the sound of a digital alarm clock. I reached for the button, to stop the annoying beep, but the reach was longer than anticipated. This was someone else’s bed. Looking around, I was no longer in the hospital. In fact, I was lying naked in what appeared to be a dorm room. I wrapped the thin blanket around myself and stood up to look for clues. Down the hall, I could see a public restroom next to a communal shower. The shower area looked the same as any public pool, with an open layout; a locker room, soap dispenser and urinals. Was this some kind of men’s dormitory?
I could hear a toilet flush, followed by footsteps.
From the doorway emerged a vision of my husband at the beginning of his military career. He was nineteen, maybe twenty with the body of a high school athlete still in his prime. He wore a pair of boxers while smoking a marijuana cigarette that smelled like coconut oil. “Hey, you,” he put his arms around me, blowing a thin stream of smoke at my lips. “After all the fun we had last night I was afraid you’d never wake up.”
“You thought you killed me?” I giggled. my voice sounded scratchy, older. Looking at my hands it was clear I did not have the body of a young woman (at least not someone his age.) I glanced around until I spotted a mirror. I was attractive, with tasteful makeup, and a conservative haircut; blonde shoulder-length style that was now tossed all over my face. I was clearly in my late thirties, early forties.
The young soldier kissed my neck. “We wouldn’t want that. It’d be all over the papers; Lieutenant Colonel Tomas Adele’s wife found fucked to death.”
I couldn’t help but laugh; I was married to Tomas in this dream. But why? The realization hit me; I’d asked him to lead, I’d casted this role for myself.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to offend you, Ma’am,” Josh said as he put his arm around my waist. “Let’s get back to my bed.”
“Before your roommate gets back?” That was a stupid question; the entire floor was completely deserted and there was no sign of a roommate.
“Your funny, Mrs. Adele,” Josh coughed nervously. “Sorry, I meant Carolina. I’m still getting used to our arrangement.
“That’s what I call it,” he said with a chuckle. “I mean, it sounds about right, since your husband is my direct supervisor.”
As if on cue, Tomas emerged from the showers wearing a towel. “Hey, soldier,” he said as he pressed his lips to Josh’s neck.
“Good morning, Sir.” Josh cupped the older man’s face as the two soldiers tenderly kissed. Their open mouths met over and over, punctuated with sexy smiles.
It was then Tomas took notice of Josh’s hands, or rather his wrists. “You’re not going back to your dealer, right?” He laced his fingers through Josh’s while gently holding his hand. “You promised me you were staying clean.”
“No, as I recall, I promised you I’d try,” Josh said as he pulled away, walking back to his bed. “It’s not that easy to stay away from her.”
“Suzanne?” I asked, taking a seat beside him.
Josh sighed. “She claims I owe her for my mother’s debt.”
“You owe her?” I asked. I wanted to comfort him, to hold him, but something seemed off. “Has she ever given you a set amount? Maybe we can pay her off.”
Josh shook his head. “No, it’s not about money, never was. I owe her my time, my company. Whenever I visit, she pumps me full of drugs, calling them gifts, treats. It all gets added to the debt.”
“Your mother is gone,” that was the only thing I could think to say. I didn’t even know if that was true in this version of reality. As subtly as I could, I glanced at his chest and stomach; he had no tattoos, nothing for his mother, father or any connection to his past culture.
“I know,” Josh said nervously, “Suzanne ain’t my mother or even my blood.” Crossing his arms over his chest, he looked like a frightened child, (or a junkie going through withdrawal.) “Lord knows she doesn’t let me forget it.”
My heart was truly breaking. “I don’t understand. You have a job, and a place to live; if she treats you so poorly why can’t you just walk away?” Why did he hold this sick sense of loyalty to his late mother’s partner?
“I want to walk away, I really do, but whenever I’m around her I feel like she’s all I have. She’s my purpose in life.”
“The way a feeder mouse’s purpose is to be devoured by a snake,” I muttered, paying no regard to how badly that analogy would sting.
“If we’re going by that logic, the mouse can’t exactly escape from an enclosed glass box.” Josh turned to me with a glare. “A giant hand drops him in like a piece of meat, and now the poor creature spends its last moments just staring out at the world, begging God for help or at least redemption. Maybe God can hear him, maybe not, but we all know the little mouse won’t live to see that day.”
Tomas placed his hand upon Josh’s shoulder. “Today will be the day.”
I knew that meant Suzanne. The room went deadly quiet, when suddenly there was a knock at the door. The soft, rhythmic tapping sent a shiver down my spine. Who or whatever was behind that door appeared to be playing ‘rock a bye baby’ or some other nursery rhyme. However, I had no memory of the door closing. Either Tomas had closed it behind him or Suzanne was playing with her food before going in for the kill.
“Open up baby bear, it’s your mommy.” With her sweet, feminine tone, the biker demon sounded almost human.
Josh looked forward; eyes unblinking as he stood up. “I have to open the door.”
“You really don’t,” I whispered under my breath. If there was a God, I needed him now. “Please.” I wanted to cry, scream anything to just wake up. That wasn’t an option. I could only watch helplessly as Josh opened the door to a dark empty hallway.
“What?” I turned to Tomas for a reaction. “Where is she?”
“Just wait.” Tomas froze, eyes focused on the doorway. “The darkness will arrive.”
“My sweet baby,” Suzanne’s voice echoed from all directions. “Come to mama.” A hand made of shadows reached out, gripping Josh’s neck.
He coughed slightly, shivering, but he did nothing to fight back.
“Be a good submissive, my delicious little boy.” The shadow creature yanked at the newly formed collar, attempting to pull Josh to his knees. “Come, my love, spend an eternity at my feet.”
To his credit, Josh stood strong. He didn’t love or hate her; he simply existed. The shadows started to take the form of a woman, walking towards the young soldier. I assumed she was going to caress his face, or chest, maybe even offer a tender kiss. Instead, she slapped him so hard he spit a mouthful of blood.
“Shut the door,” I said from the safety of the bed. “Please shut the door.”
Josh’s hand trembled. He really wanted to; it was the right, logical thing to do, but something was holding him back. Did he need help? Could he not ask for help?
The darkness kept coming, slithering in like a sentient black ink. “My darling Joshua.” A dark tentacle stroked his outer thigh. “You were always such a feeble-minded child; so easy to control, bend, and break.” The tentacle smacked Josh’s ass once then twice.
Josh’s body quivered. There was part of him that seemed to enjoy it.
The darkness laughed. “I can’t believe there’s a reality where you get to be a father. It’s no wonder your daughter grows up to become a nasty little lesbian.” A head formed; shadow eyes, nose, and lips. “Just like me.” A tongue emerged, penetrating Josh’s ear. “Someone with courage or even a will of his own would have risen from the ashes. Not to say you would have become a doctor, politician, or philosopher. But even I didn’t see you becoming a religious zealot.” Two hands gripped Josh’s throat. “You escaped my grasp only to devote your life to kissing the feet of a God who could really care less about you. Your god cannot guide you, nor can he save you.”
It was clear, Josh couldn’t close the door, at least not on his own. Suzanne wasn’t wrong; Josh was weak, broken. With all my courage, I stood up from the bed, and took my place by his side. The young soldier needed to be brought back to full strength but he had never been taught how.
“Throughout your life, you’ve tried putting your faith in drugs, and later in God, but you’ve never been given the opportunity to have faith in yourself.” I held my husband’s hand, placing my lips to his ear. “Your soul doesn’t belong to any one person.” I caressed my hand to Josh’s stomach, stroking my fingertips down his strong abs. “There are so many people who love you, who see you as the valuable person you are.” His cock was hard, pressing against his stomach. Was this for me, or did he like being choked? Either way, it was hot as all fuck. “Suzanne is not one of those people; you don’t owe this demon-bitch anything.”
Joshua forced a nod; he could hear me, he understood.
“If you shut the door, I’ll…” I had a million thoughts in my head; I will love you, take care of you, worship you.
But Suzanne spoke first, “Are you saying your love is conditional?”
“Not in the least.” I took Josh’s hand, positioning it on the back of my neck. I could feel him running his fingers through my hair, the way he always did. He was ready. “Joshua is as much mine as he is yours.” I let my husband guide my mouth to his cock. His moist tip teased my lips, coating me with his pre-cum like the world’s best tasting lip-gloss. I let my lover control the rhythm of my head as I took him in my mouth. Out of curiosity, I glanced up to see if he was looking at me. He was.
“You like that?” Josh gasped and moaned. “Do I have a nice cock?”
I locked eyes with him, as my head rocked forward.
“Answer me, bitch!” He forced himself down my throat, balls deep.
I nodded, squeaking out a response as I struggled for air. I wanted him to choke me, to use me like a submissive.
I could see Suzanne was still gripping him, but she would not be the one to bring him to his knees. (Not without a fight.) As I reached around to grip my husband’s tight, muscular thighs, I felt Tomas approaching.
He wasn’t penetrating Josh, only massaging his upper body. From what I could see, he was trying to remove Suzanne with the power of positivity and love. “Joshua, you are more than your past,” Tomas said, his voice echoing with compassion. “Your victories, mistakes, joy and pain; it is all the parts of your spirit that make you who you are.” He placed his hand upon Josh’s. All three of us were united. “You are worthy of love.”
I could feel Josh gripping me harder, he was close to blowing his load. I was blinded by the sweat in my eyes, struggling to take in air. Still, I managed to hear Tomas’s next words, clear as day, “Release your hold on this life, only then can you shut the door.”
I attempted to pause my actions if only to take a look at Josh’s face. Tomas was asking a lot, but this was the way to cross over. Did I want him to cross over? Was I ready for the dream to end?
“In one version of reality you were an addict,” Tomas explained, but before he could continue, the shadow’s hand caressed down Josh’s back, transforming into rope.
The rope pulled Josh’s upper wrist backward, forcing him into bondage.
“No!” I gripped his hand, squeezing his fingers. The shadows attempted to bend Josh’s arm backward in a way similar to an executioner prepping a man for the gallows.
With my head and neck free, I stood up. “Enough is enough.” I cupped Josh’s face and kissed him as the door slammed closed. I could hear Suzanne shrieking but I didn’t care. I held the kiss, sucking the air from his lungs, until I felt hands grip my lower arms. “Josh?”
“Yeah, babe, it’s me,” he replied with a smile. Suzanne was gone, he was free. Had it always been this simple? Did I just need to find the courage to stand up for him?
“How are you feeling?” I gazed lovingly into his blue eyes. I could feel every kiss, every touch, every moment of pure emotional ecstasy.
“I’m good, really good.” He gripped my ass, pulling me close.
“Good.” Wrapping my legs around my husband’s hips, I let him carry me back to the bed.
He fucked me in the missionary position, pulling my leg over his shoulder the way he did on our wedding night. He was never gentle, that just wasn’t in his nature. My muscles tightened as he fucked me deep and hard, each thrust giving me an intense, sheet-gripping orgasm.
Tomas, with his glowing wings fully spread, placed his hand upon Josh’s shoulder. “Do you want me in your ass?”
Josh paused, gasping for breath. “I want you to eat my ass while Ms. Carolina sucks my cock.”
That would be a difficult position given the dimensions of the space and Tomas’s wingspan but I was more than willing to give it a try.
With Josh standing up, I got on my knees and went to work. I could feel his hands gripping my hair massaging my scalp.
Josh struggled to keep his balance as Tomas spread his ass, licking and kissing his hole. Not that I could see from where I was. I could hear the moaning, the smacking of lips as Tomas and I devoured the young soldier. I wanted so badly to hear Josh speak, to hear him say my name one last time. I could smell the sweat from his balls, stomach, chest. It was all so sweet.
Josh gripped my shoulders as he lovingly ejaculated on my face; coating my nose, down my lips. Before I knew it, the moment was over. And so was the dream.
I awoke alone in the waiting room. “Tomas?” I took a moment to stretch my back. He clearly wasn’t in the small room. Hopefully, he hadn’t gone far. The television was still off, so without any windows, I had no way of telling how much time had passed; it could’ve been noon or midnight the following day. My only choice would be to exit out the door and wander the halls. I was mentally weighing my options when the phone rang.
Since this was the inter-department landline, I knew in my heart I didn’t want to answer it. Nothing good could come of this. With trembling hands, I picked up the phone. “Hello?”
“Good morning, Carolina, “replied the voice of Tomas. He sounded calm, at peace.
“Good morning,” my voice squeaked. “What’s new?”
“Josh passed away last night.”
His words didn’t hurt. In truth, I felt completely numb. “Where are you?”
“Just down the hall. I’ve got a cup of coffee with your name on it.”
Opening the door to the hallway, I was greeted by the beautiful morning light pouring in from the windows. The world had been reborn. I easily located Tomas. Turns out Joshua had died a few hours prior, and due to the ‘unusual’ state of his body, an autopsy was performed. “An autopsy?” I asked Tomas. As his primary care nurse, he managed to get his hands on a copy of the findings.
It was the strangest thing. Joshua’s cause of death was listed as, ‘unknown organ failure.’ I flipped through the pages, assuming I would find some kind of mention of cancer. There was nothing listed on any of the physical descriptions; heart- average, chest- average, muscle sample- average, etc. At one point my eyes were actively scanning for the word cancer, that was when I read the most haunting sentence I would ever see. “Upon examination for autopsy, the patient showed no physical evidence of cancer. This is contradictory to the available medical records.” I looked up from my coffee, hoping Tomas would have some insight.
The exhausted nurse shrugged. “There were no tumors, no infection.” His finger motioned to a line at the very bottom. “The only notable physical defect was Joshua’s skin; he was warm, covered in sweat even hours after death.”
“The patient died of fever, brought upon by an unknown infection.” I couldn’t help but smile. Josh didn’t die alone. We were together, and that meant the dream had been real. “Did we defeat Suzanne?”
“Only one way to find out.”
To be concluded.
next: To Worship ch10