Lamia Pathsways 11b

You continue to gaze into the lamia’s lovely eyes. You’ve never seen anything—anyone so beautiful; why would you want to look away so quickly? But the lamia reminds you that the quickest way to prove you can look out for yourself is to look away now.

“That would be the safest way, too,” she says. She sways her head in front of you and you follow, wanting to look into her charming eyes, not away. Her tail propping you up is the only thing keeping you from tumbling off the branch. “The longer you look into my eyes the deeper you’ll be hypnotized,” the lamia says, her smile never fading. “It’ll be harder and harder to resist and look away. You really should just stop looking now.”

She laughs. “But . . .”

She slithers around you, her upper tail rubbing scales around your body, and you relax as she softly squeezes you with muscular curves as wide as your torso. You turn your head to follow as if a string connected your eyes to hers. Sure, she said you should look away, but she added a but—maybe you don’t have to. Her curvy snake limb twists your body to face her.

“You could challenge yourself, if you like.” Her eyes widen, and yours widen in response. “You could keep staring into my eyes for a while, sink into the bliss, fill your mind with hypnotic color.” Your eyelids droop as your mouth twitches up. You like these new suggestions. The world around you shimmers in blurry waves, but there’s no need to look at it anymore.

“Once you’re on the brink of full enthrallment, once you’re almost completely mesmerized, once your mind is nearly a perfect spellbound blank . . . then you can take the trial and try to pull your eyes, buzzing with ecstasy, away from my enchanting wonder and back to the dull waking world.”

. . . d’you . . .?

-12a Keep looking
-12b Look away