March Microstory Collection

Contract

“Here we are! A little unusual, I admit, but who am I to deny a human their pleasure?”
The demon handed over the contract for you to sign. You glanced over it, sweat trickling down your forehead. You were rightfully nervous.
That demon was so hot, after all.
Everything important looked to be in order as you asked it. With just your signature your wildest dream would come true.
You would also finally get your dream job, as per the actual primary terms of the contract.
You’d also be rich and famous, which was just a standard freebie.
You picked up a quill.
“No, no.” The demon grinned. “The rules are you have to sign in blood.”
“Oh, this is my blood,” you said, pulling out an inkpot.
The demon’s grin fell. “What?”
“I stored some blood in here. I’ve been waiting for one of you fuckers for years.”
At this point the demon glanced around, a little uncomfortable. But you signed the contract! Everyone in hell saw it! You can’t back down now!
Neither could they but they rallied and set you in your armchair.
“Now, you might feel a little lightheaded at this next part.”
The demon lightly touched their thick claws over your face and stared into your eyes. “When it’s over, though, you will wake up with your greatest desire.”
You smirked at the idea your greatest desire would come when you awake.
This seemed to throw the demon off for a moment.
The demon rallied by releasing a warm glow from their staring eyes. You stared closer at a flickering glow like a fire in their eyes, and your smirk fell into a fascinated gape.
“Just stare into my eyes and I’ll make all your dreams come true.”
You nodded with an assenting murmur.
It was a little quicker and more assenting than the demon expected. They didn’t let it throw them off and tapped their claws over your head, twirling them through your hair on occasion.
“Just listen to my voice, hang on every word and do exactly as I say.”
The warm glow increased to a hot glow, as if it softly baked your mind. It felt so relaxing to give in, let the demon’s words twist around your thoughts.
“You will have your dream job, and once you do you will follow the contract, you will use your job to further our goals.”
“You will use your job to promote our causes, you will help our people consolidate power, and you will STOP ENJOYING THIS SO MUCH.”
With a soft smile and a giggle you muttered, “Wasn’t… in the… contract…”
It’s your last conscious thought before the demon binds your mind.
Later the demon watches you in your new life. You don’t remember the demon, or your life before them, but you do regularly have some very, let’s say, enticing dreams featuring someone very hot.
That hot demon broods over the contract sometimes.
Sure, it all worked out. Sure, you’re doing their evil bidding now.
But when you’d specifically requested the clause saying you’d be hypnotized to follow the contract, the demon didn’t expect it was for your pleasure.

Gift from the Fae

“She seems down.”
“Something must be wrong.”
“Maybe she’s having a bad day.”
Several fairies hover outside a window, each no taller than a human hand.
“Maybe it’s a bad brain day…”
“Oh, that’s so sad! We should do something for her.”
“Let’s get her a new brain!”
“We’re not doctors over here.”
“We should do something nice.”
“Let’s get her a gift.”
“A new brain!”
“That’s not…”
One-by-one the fae look at the purple one.
This one grins.
“I think I can do something.”

It’s true, you are having a bad brain day. Sometimes it’s hard just to be, like life is splashing over you and you can’t tread. Thoughts bombard you constantly, negative thoughts burning you.
You wish you could just muffle those thoughts, muffle all your thoughts.
You glance around the room for a moment and notice a box in the corner, wrapped in purple ribbon.
That wasn’t there before. Unless your memory is going.
You pick up the box; a tag on it reads “Happy Birthday, with love”.
You’re suspicious. But you don’t care. You open the box.
“Happy Birthday, sweetie!”
You drop the box as a figure rises out, impossibly tall for the confines of the box. A woman in a swirling purple dress stands in the box–well, on the box–and you stumble back onto a chair. Rainbow dust seems to fly around her like sparklers.
“What”
You stare at the lovely woman, at her violet eyes and full, smirking lips. And fuck, those curves–how did she even fit in the box’s width?
Well, it was collapsed flat on the floor now either way.
You snap out of your confusion long enough to ask a confused, “Who are you?”
“Oh, I’m sorry.” She leans down next to you in the chair. The rainbow dust starts to disperse. “I hope I didn’t scare you, cutie.”
You still want to know who she is and what’s going on but something in you becomes defensive. You look away.
“I’m not–what do you–no, you.”
The woman giggles. It’s the sort of giggle that could wedge itself in your mind all day. Hell, you would pay money just for a CD of that giggle and listen to it on loop with headphones all day. And night.
“I know I am,” she says. She traces her fingers along your face and you flail at her hand. “But you’re cuter than you give yourself credit for.”
You mutter. “No I’m not.”
“Now, now, don’t give me that.” She pulls your face towards her; you find your head following.
A tingle in your nose feels like you need to sneeze, but you can’t. For a moment you wonder where all that dust went. Was that a tiny giggle you heard?
“Come on, look at your reflection in my eyes and tell me you aren’t the most adorable girl ever.”
“I’m not…” you mutter.
Her eyes do have a rather reflective, glossy look. They’re so violet, more violet than a normal person’s. You see yourself reflected in her eyes… cute? No, no, impossible…
“Hearken to my words, listen to my deep voice,” the fairy said. “You’re the cutest cutie there ever was.
She couldn’t be right. “No I’m…”
She taps you on the head. “Don’t listen to those voices, my lovely girl. Just listen to my voice: You. Are. Cute.”
“I’m… cute…?” The icky voices in your head fade, replaced by the rich, soothing voice of the fairy.
“Of course, my dear.”
“If you weren’t cute,” says the fairy, kissing your forehead, “why would I do this?” She squeezes her lips over yours in a kiss, a taste of sweet nectar flowing over your tongue. Your own lips form a dizzy smile.
You fully focus on the indisputable fact that you are cute, pretty, and stunningly beautiful. You always have been.
The fairy whispers into your ear with breath as stirring as the wind as if blowing away cobwebs.
“Let me clear your mind, shall I? Dust away those nasty thoughts?”
A few soft whispers, delicious smooches, caressing your body…
“But that chair must be so uncomfortable to sit in.” She stands, and you rise, willing to follow her anywhere with the velvety twirl in your mind.
“Why don’t we go somewhere we can recline a little more comfortably?”
You take a few steps together.
“Hey!” The fairies in their typical small size floated before their purple friend. “That wasn’t part of the original plan.”
“Quiet,” the purple fairy said. “I’ve been wanting to do this for years, I’m not going to pass up this chance now.”
“B-but… I’ve wanted to for years, too!”
Purple fairy smirks. “Then you’ll have to wait your turn.” She leads you away. “I taught her how to love herself, it’s only fair I should get to love her first.”

A thread rating every Fish Cake with Swirl Emoji

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Blood and Slime are Thicker than Water

Nathan yanked his boot out of the swamp muck and balanced on a strip of dry land. He looked at the sagging trees and dark marsh of the wetland.
He wasn’t really sure why he came back here. He just felt… he had some unfinished business.
Wandering the swamp wasn’t the best way to figure out what that business was, but at least he felt like he was getting somewhere as he went.
He stopped at the edge of a pond. He needed a way to cross it.
For some reason.
He couldn’t see how wide the pond was; it was too dark.
Swimming was out of the question. With his armor he’d sink.
Nathan looked at his broadsword. Perhaps he could cut down a tree and float across the pond with it. He approached a tree but stopped as the pond swished. It splashed as he turned, but nothing was visible.
Nathan knelt down near the pond and looked inside. It was too murky to see inside it properly. Something dangerous might live in it. He kept a hand on his sword’s hilt.
“H-Hello, there,” a weak voice burbled. Nathan stood and stepped back as a gooey head emerged from the pond.
The violet head’s hair was half-obscured by dripping hair trailing into the pond as if it were water. As high as the figure rose the hair never seemed to stop; they appeared to be a human who had spent too much time in the swamp and became one with the muck.
Nathan tensed. “Slime girl.”
The slime girl nodded. “Uh-huh.” She barely looked up to his face, her smile fragile. Nathan got the feeling if she could, she would blush.
“Don’t worry, I’m not going to hurt you,” she said. “I haven’t had a visitor in a long time. My name is Ageul.”
She was pretty, Nathan admitted. It was hard not to imagine she’d be cool on his armor-sweating skin, but he had somewhere to be.
“How wide is this pond?” he asked.
“Oh dear,” Ageul said, looking down, “far too wide to travel around it.”
She looked at him and held her arms close. “I-I could help you get across, though.”
Nathan shook his head. “I can’t swim with this armor on.”
Ageul pressed her hands to her face and smirked; her slimy skin looked so supple.
“You could remooove the armor.”
Nathan stared at her.
She was a slime girl. Not human. Dangerous. But still, she seemed nice. But he couldn’t just leave his armor behind. Or maybe she could carry his armor, or…
Or…
His sight darkened in a kaleidoscope of color for a second and something told him: Not her.
Nathan shook his head. “No. I can get across myself. Thank you for the offer.” He headed to a tree.
Ageul pouted as Nathan chopped down the tree. By the time he was done she had gone. He felt a little bad–she might’ve just been lonely–but he had places to go, probably.
The tree floated pretty well despite being a damp swamp tree. It wasn’t as wide as Nathan would have liked, but he could balance on it and it supported his weight well enough.
The murky pond was pretty viscous anyway.
Nathan saw the other shore soon. The pond wasn’t that long.
What Nathan didn’t see was the long tail of slime whip above and smack down over him and the tree. The tree snapped to pieces and Nathan sank into the dark water. He really couldn’t swim in his armor; by the time he pulled it all off he’d be drowning.
Someone grabbed his arm.
“I’ve got you!” a waterlogged, slimy voice said. Ageul pulled him towards the surface. The violet water swirled around them like a whirlpool, closing in on them–and pushing them to the surface.
Above the water Nathan gasped and coughed up water–until Ageul kissed him.
For a terrible moment Nathan thought Ageul pulled him to the surface just to drown him herself. She released the kiss and he realized the water was pulled from his lungs. He could breathe again.
“You have to be careful,” Ageul said. “Trees around here aren’t the most sturdy.”
Nathan sighed. “Yeah. What now?”
The violet water curled around them, and Nathan stared as a tail of scaly slime rose from the pond.
“You’re a slime lamia,” Nathan said, his voice hollow. He’d heard of how dangerous these could be.
Slime girls could cover you in slime, but slime lamias could squeeze you with it.
And yet, she’d saved his life.
Ageul smiled. “I’m more than strong enough to carry you to shore.”
Nathan didn’t have much choice. Something in his head said no, but ever since that kiss…
Ageul wrapped her tail over Nathan and he immediately felt a warmth compared to the murky pond. She smiled and squeezed his face in her hands before pulling him to shore, and he really didn’t mind. It was fine that his face was all slimy now. It was nice. Refreshing…
It was soothing on his worn skin, his tired muscles for the slime to trickle through the open spots of his leather armor and slide over his body. It felt cleansing, absorbing his sweat, soft and sticking, squeezing him, dropping him into a pond of slime, soft sinking slime…
Ageul reached the other side of the pond and released Nathan from her tail. “See, I’m not so… bad?” He seemed rather attached to her tail, hugging it in his grasp.
“You’re safe now,” she said. “You’re on dry–well, dryish–” She looked at his lazy smile and glazed eyes. “Oh.”
Ageul slapped her face and laughed. “Oh, that’s right!” It really had been too long since she had someone solid in her grasp. She’d forgotten what a soporific, compelling effect so much of her slime had on those of flesh.
“Aw, I’m sorry.” Ageul rubbed a hand on his cheek. “I didn’t mean to cloud your thoughts into a slimy daze.” Nathan moaned as her slimy hand touched him; she grinned and held him with her other hand. “But no harm in taking a little advantage of this moment, don’t you think?”
Nathan only moaned in response.
Ageul stripped him of his weapons and other metal and wrapped her slimy tail back around him. She kissed him, leaving a slime residue over his lips. She pulled him close in a hug, tempting him to kiss her cheek. Her slimy cheek, neck, chest, arms..
Everywhere Nathan kissed slime, each time intensifying his desire to kiss her slime. It had been so long since she had someone so solid in her grasp she wanted to hug and squeeze him forever.
But she wanted to feel needed, too. In a fluid motion she pulled away from Nathan.
Ageul left Nathan without her slime, pulling pulling away too fast for him to grasp her again. He stared at her, his smile fading into a gape of longing, and he crawled towards her.
“You want me, don’t you? Come on.” She slithered away a little, flicking her tail to call him over.
Nathan muttered. “I… I uh… wha–” He blinked. For a moment his eyes looked weird, and he suddenly regained focus. He sat up. “What?”
“What?”
“What happened?” Nathan asked. He looked at himself. “Where’s my sword? What did you do?”
Ageul stared. That was not supposed to happen.
“Uhh, uhh, oh!” Ageul slid closer; Nathan shuffled back but she smiled. “I’m sorry, you passed out while I was taking you back. I removed your outer armor and weapons to check if you were okay. I didn’t see any injuries, though.”
Nathan rubbed his face. “I do have a headache.”
“You might have lost a bit of oxygen.”
Nathan looked at her. He nodded. “Well, thank you again for saving me and helping me out.” He moved to gather his possessions but Ageul moved before him.
Nathan looked up as Ageul came close.
“There’s no need to go so soon,” she said. She placed a hand on his cheek. “You should rest first, make sure your strength is back.”
“I really need to…” Nathan really needed to… something. Where was he going? His head was muddled.
A rest, yes. A rest to gather his thoughts was what he needed. As Ageul slid her tail behind his neck he found every time he tried to gather his thoughts he would drop them. He needed more rest. More rest, clearly… with this beautiful slime lamia around him…
Nathan’s body went lax as Ageul coiled her slimy tail around him again. A nice, slimy nap, just what he needed. Thoughts of how nice and pretty Ageul was stuck to his mind like her slime to his body. She kissed him and desire welled back to indulge in her, engulf himself in her.
As she pulled away from the kiss Nathan leaned forward, desirous to kiss her more and lose himself in slimy–
NOT HER! rang a voice in his head. You must return!
The slimy cloud lifted from him again. He saw Ageul around him, gazing at him.
“What are you doing?” he screamed.
The shout shocked Ageul into a flinch, causing her coils to topple over with Nathan in them. He struggled to escape her grasp. She’d tricked him! She probably just wanted him to drown in her instead of the pond! He saw his dagger inches away.
“Oh, why do you have to keep waking up?” Ageul asked. “Isn’t my slime soothing enough?”
Nathan could already feel the slime starting to muddle his head again. But her tail had loosened when the coils fell. It was sticky, it pulled at his skin, but the snagging pain kept him alert.
“All I want is for you to have a nice nap in me,” Ageul said.
Success! Nathan pulled his arm free and grabbed the dagger.
“I promise, a swamp pond is nice once you get used to–” She screamed as Nathan jabbed the dagger into her. He thrust and sliced and the slime tail split.
Ageul’s coils collapsed and Nathan broke free as she cried.
No time to gather his stuff, she would be on him in moments. It was more important to reach his destination. He ran.
“Wait!” Ageul cried. “I’m sorry! I didn’t…” She hugged her slime tail and pulled herself together.
Nathan panted and stopped next to a tree. He still had most of his armor, but all he had to fight was a dagger.
It didn’t matter. He was close to his destination. He could feel it.
He could feel…
Slime.
Aw, fig.
A slimy tail gripped around Nathan’s mouth and pulled him back.
Ageul hugged Nathan from behind. “Shh, shh, come on, why don’t we just go back to the pond and get your stuff, hmm?”
Nathan’s muffled screams melted into moans as the slime spread over his skin–but strange thoughts snapped him out of it and he struggled harder.
The slime lulled him back into docility…
He snapped out! The dagger–where’s the–she took the dagger!
“I promise not to hurt you,” Ageul said. She caressed him. “You can trust the slime.”
Trust the slime… No, trust something–else–light? Some light. Return to the light.
Nathan flailed and, as Ageul pulled him past a tree, he snapped off a branch and jabbed it at her. It was enough for her to let go and he fled once more.

Ageul sighed. He really was stubborn.
She smiled and squeezed her hands against her cheek. It just made her want him all the more.

Nathan ran, no weapon, almost out of breath, but something kept him going. Some force within him, urging him on. His own persistence, yes, his own willpower, and certainly not the will of someone else.
He stopped and gasped.
The edge of the swamp.
A dark, twisted mansion.
Something about this mansion sparked memories in Nathan, but they felt so winding and twisted he couldn’t make heads or tails or tail or tail or tail or tail or tail or–
He blinked. What was that about?
A hiss brought his attention to a tree. A green snake hung from the branches.
The thick snake looked long enough to tangle throughout the entire tree. Its emerald pattern flashed memories that Nathan couldn’t make tails or tails of.
The snake grinned.
“It’sss about time you returned.”
“What?”
The snake leapt off the tree to Nathan and in a whirlwind…
Nathan found himself enveloped by the shining emerald tail of a lamia, her dark hair curled in intricate waves, her pale skin accentuating her jade lips. Her black dress hung off her, hung from her arms and tail and body.
Her emerald eyes sparked emerald memories in him.
“Who are you?” he asked.
“Your mistress, remember?” the lamia said. “Countess Endrelenda, who took you in when you were in such trouble.” Her rolling voice soaked in concern, even as her grin showed a pair of fangs. “You were so injured, you needed someone to heal you…”
“I–I don’t remember that at all,” Nathan said. He felt transfixed by her eyes.
“Ah, you had a little memory loss,” she said. “I couldn’t let you keep them all.”
“What?”
“You can have them back now,” she said, leaning closer. Her eyes glowed. “Just look into my eyes…”
Nathan stared into the swirling eyes he’d been seeing ever since he returned to the swamp. The sparkling green of her scales, the bright yellow shining his eyes open wider, and the deep red–the deep red of blood–his blood–his blood that belonged to his countess and mistress.
“HEY, BATTY!”
Endrelenda blinked, breaking her focus from Nathan. She looked up to see some goo in the form of a cocky young woman, her hands on her tail-beginning hips.
“So, we meet again, I see!”
Endrelenda raised an eyebrow. “Do I know you?”
Ageul smirked. “Sort of. Remember when you had that bad damp rot? That was caused by me.”
Endrelenda glared with fire in her eyes, Nathan in her coils forgotten for the moment. “That was caused by you? Do you know how many ancient parchments were ruined from your actions?”
“I don’t care,” Ageul said. “Give me my new boyfriend back.”
Endrelenda pushed groggy Nathan behind her. “You insolent little pond scum. I ought to put you in a bucket and clean my floors with you.”
Ageul leapt at Endrelenda; the two lamias squeezed and coiled to entrap the other.
Endrelenda grabbed her tail around Ageul’s neck and stared into her eyes. “Slime you may be, I know you are not immune to my hypnotic spell.”
“Hah, you may be a vampire,” Ageul said, “but my slime can still soak into you!”
Endrelenda stared more intently. It was harder to focus, to keep the rings flowing, but she could tell Ageul was slowing down her wrapping too.
“I live off blood, not water,” she said.
“I’m slime, not water.”
“We’ll see which… is thicker.”
“I’m–thiccer…”
Endrelenda’s rings flowed faster. Ageul’s slimy tail squeezed tighter. They could each outdo the other. Neither would back down. They leaned closer, fighting, straining.
Endrelenda and Ageul kissed.
The two lamias embraced in a long kiss. Ageul’s slime felt so soothing over Endrelenda’s dusty scales. Ageul felt so nice letting Endrelenda’s hypnotic light reflect in her mind and through her body.
Their tails twisted tighter, twisting, twisting, twisting, twisting…
The two lamias sighed in their embrace.
“I’ll expand the ponds nearby,” Endrelenda said, twirling her fingers through Ageul. “I’ll give you plenty of space.”
“I’ll keep the water clean,” Ageul said, letting Endrelenda’s tail twist and squeeze her. “We can swim together anytime.”
“HEY, WHAT ABOUT ME?” Nathan shouted.
He’d eventually blinked out of the spell and saw the two lamias fighting, then smooching.
It only just occurred to him that would be really nice.
“Don’t leave me out of this!”
Ageul and Endrelenda looked at each other.
In a moment Ageul wrapped Nathan in her slime, fogging his mind as Endrelenda stared into his eyes and pulled him under her control.
“Don’t worry, dear. We won’t forget you. You can be our servant…”

Haunted Song

You inch down the hallway, looking at the doors on either side. You barely made it down the last hallway without screaming and running out. But you had to keep going. Your pride is on the line…
The door to your left swings open and you tense up for what will emerge.
Nothing. Weird.
You turn back ahead and scream–a face is visible ahead in the dark hallway, staring at you. After a moment it disappears.
You pant. It’s nothing. It’s just there to scare you. You creep forward, staring ahead and waiting for the face to return.
That’s why you don’t see the trapdoor above. It falls open and spiders tumble out over you. You scream and flail to knock the hairy, wriggling bugs off, and you stumble into another door–out from which tentacles burst and grab you.
Your beating heart can’t take anymore. You run.
You pull free of the loose tentacles and flee back the way you came–only to run head-first into a plush wall, blocking your escape down the stairs.
You lean back against the wall. Why did you agree to come in here? You cover your head with your arms. You’re stuck.
You hear static and nearly jump to the ceiling. You crouch to the floor, admitting to yourself it’s all just too scary.
And now?
You hear spooky singing throughout the hallway, like a spooky, scary, a ghostly, a… a…
You look up. It’s actually quite pretty.
Your panicked heart slows down. Your jittery, fearful body calms down.
In fact, you feel a bit more courageous.
Maybe you can get through this.
You look at the hallway ahead. The spiders have dispersed; you can inch around the tentacles.
As you head down the hall, the singing gets louder. The more you listen, the more courageous you feel. Your heart is calm, you pace softly ahead.
You could forget all about the haunted hallway as long as you focus on the singing. The more you go, the clearer the singing.
Another door swings open, but you keep walking with hardly a thought for it. This beautiful singing rings in your head and muffles all your frightened thoughts. It softens all your thoughts. It’s so nice to have no fear, no thought. From panic to calm, so quickly…
You want the singing to become clear to your ears. You want your head to become clear of thoughts.
The face in the hallway appears again, but you walk right through it with a smile, no heed to anything but the lovely singing surrounding you.
Instead of the haunted house, you let the singing haunt your mind instead.
And you emerge outside once again, though all you notice is a change of light… until you see a beautiful violet lamia, the wonderful lamia you’ve been hearing all along.
“HAHA!” I shout. “I told you you couldn’t get through my haunted house without help!”
Lila ceases her singing and laughs. “I don’t think they can hear you at this point.”
“Doesn’t matter,” I say. “They lost the bet. Tell ’em to pay up.”

“By the way, since when do you have siren abilities?” I ask.
“Oh, I really don’t,” Lila says. She smiles. “But when someone is that frightened, they’ll focus on a soothing voice.” She grins. “And sufficiently advanced comfort is indistinguishable from hypnosis.”

Stuck

I pressed the elevator call button. Ordinarily I took the stairs down, but today I held too many books to make it down without dropping one or slipping and dropping myself.
The door opened and I saw a tall, slim girl inside. Frail, even.
Though she stood straight and tall she looked pale, and though she held far fewer books than me my first thought was if she took the elevator for the same reason.
We mumbled hello to each other as I entered. I might’ve imagined her greeting. She might’ve imagined mine.
We didn’t look at each other. We stared ahead, watching the elevator number. 6… 5… 4… 3… Blank…
Wait, where’d–the screen shut off. The lights shut off and the elevator hum died.
“What?” I muttered.
We dumbly looked around the elevator booth for a moment. It had stopped.
We both muttered until finally one of us–I’m not sure who, maybe both–said something about the power or something and it would probably be back on in a moment.
We glanced at each other.
Was this elevator always so small?
A moment passed. Far more than a moment passed.
I couldn’t hold my books any longer and set them in the corner. I groaned and sat on one side of the elevator; this might take longer than we thought.
“Maybe we should call for maintenance?” She spoke as if unsure if she was suggesting the stupidest idea ever.
“Probably a good idea,” I said. “Do you know how to do it?”
“Um, no.”
I shook my head. “Me neither.”
We both looked at the elevator buttons. Probably all you had to do was press a button.
And then talk to people.
We both stared at the elevator buttons.
We both seemed to twitch towards the buttons; whenever one moved the other would retreat.
It occured to me if you ever found an abandoned building with a stuck elevator, and there was a skeleton inside, that person was too shy and unsure to call for help.
What if you hit the button and immediately the elevator worked again? You’d make a pointless call, you’d like silly! No, no!
But finally she made a bigger twitch and approached the button. She called maintenance; they were working on the issue but it was an older building.
Basically, the elevator was stuck there until they got it fixed, but it shouldn’t take more than ten minutes.
She sighed and sat on the opposite side of the elevator. Just gotta wait it out.
Fifteen minutes later I called them. I figured it’d be my turn to call.
New estimated time: another twenty minutes.
Fantastic.
I spaced out for ten minutes, trying to look anywhere but her. Whenever my glance settled on her for more than ten seconds I jolted away. Even though that would be straight ahead and the most natural direction to look.
But after ten minutes I looked at her a bit longer… because she was getting fidgety. Her breathing quickened, and she glanced at the buttons a lot more. After fifteen minutes I realized she was glancing between the buttons and me.
That stilled my heart a little. Why…?
It was right around twenty minutes that she got up and practically jumped to the call button. Maintenance still hadn’t fixed it, though; now they expected another half an hour.
She backed to her side of the wall, panting. She slid to the floor muttering, “No,” repeatedly.
She covered her face, tangling her long hair.
“Um.” I made one sound and she glanced at me before pulling her head down. “Is something wrong?”
The lamest thing to say considering something was very clearly wrong with her. She didn’t respond, though.
“Just–can you–” Fig, I didn’t know what to say. Try to calm down? No duh, genius. I had to settle for conversation. “Can you tell me what’s wrong?”
She looked at me, eyes wide, and shook her head.
I grew very still when I saw for a second that her fangs were longer than before.
I inhaled. “Can I tell you what’s wrong?”
She stared at me, still fidgeting.
“Are you a vampire?”
She stammered, “Th-Please don’t l-let that leave this elevator!”
I nodded. “It won’t. Are, uh, vampires bad at restricted places for a long–wait, you sleep in coffins, don’t you?”
“We do not!” she shouted–louder than I expected. I leaned back, palms up.
“Okay, sorry, sorry, just an urban myth I imagine.”
She pulled down on her face and in a shaky whisper said, “I haven’t had blood in 24 hours. I was going to get some after I left.”
“And…” I looked up. “That’s a problem, I gather.” I looked down. At me. The closest source of blood right now.
I looked back at her. “Can you tell me what will happen if we’re stuck in here for the next, say, hour?”
She wrapped her arms around herself. “I’m sorry. I can’t control it. If I go for too long I can’t control myself.”
“What happens when you can’t control yourself?”
She looked down. “I take blood. By any force necessary.”
I sighed. “Well–” I looked around the elevator. “Hm.”
“So!” I said. “Vampires. You can turn into a bat, right?”
“Yes.”
“Increased strength?”
“Yes.”
“Hypnotic eyes?”
“Yes, yes, I’d be practically unstoppable.”
I smirked. “Got a pretty high opinion of yourself, there.”
This at least elicited some weak laughter from her.
“Well.” I stood up and approached her. She scrambled back away towards the corner. “Calm down, hold still. You see,” I sat down next to her, “it sounds to me like what you need is some blood before you lose control.”
I grinned. She blushed. I blushed even more.
“I don’t–you don’t have to–”
“It’s okay, it’s okay.” I shrugged. “Better now than then. Maybe I can bill you for the blood. Just–” I leaned closer and felt my heart beat. I imagined she could sense my heightened pulse, too.
I felt my brain want to panic and dissociate. Not because she was a vampire barely gripping her own control, oh, no.
I was actively getting close to someone.
But she was afraid. I knew I had to take this initiative for my own good.
And at least maybe get to experience a fantasy.
“Just, before you take my blood,” I said, “if you don’t mind, let me look at you.”
She stared, her twitchy face giving way to a blank expression. “What?”
I crossed my arms. “I mean look, if you hypnotize me, at least I’ll be enjoying myself, right?”
She shook her head. “I can’t!”
“But you said vampires do have hypnotic eyes, right?”
Now that I was looking closer at her red eyes I could say they certainly looked like they could be.
“I mean, I can’t just take your will away!”
“What if I willingly will away my will, will you then?”
“Huh?”
“Sorry, I mean, you’re not taking my will away, I’m giving it to you.”
She looked away.
“Please?” I asked.
She looked at me before shutting her eyes and inhaling, calming her twitches.
“Are you sure?” she asked.
“Certain.”
When she opened her eyes the elevator fell away.
No longer was I trapped in an elevator with this pretty girl. Now I was trapped in the eyes of this beautiful lady.
It was a trap I settled into, warmth filling my head. It felt like needles tickled my brain, friendly needles massaging my mind, friendly needles massaging my neck.
Warmth trickled over my mind, surrounded my body. I surrendered myself to the moment, all other moments paling in comparison, fading, not mattering.
This lovely being who made me feel such warmth… my own warmth belonged to her.

I woke up on the floor, my head cradled in someone’s lap.
After moaning I muttered, “Why’m I awake?”
“It’s over,” the vampire said. “I’m better now.”
I gave a weak smirk. “Sure you don’t need more..?”
She giggled. “I’m sure. Take it easy sitting up. You’re going to be dizzy.”
I sat up, leaning against the wall. The elevator spun a little.
“You know, I’ve fainted when they’ve drawn blood at the doctor before. You should carry around a package of crackers or something for this scenario.”
She looked away. “Hopefully this won’t happen again.”
I smiled. “Hopefully if it does it’ll be with someone as understanding as me.”
She smiled. We sat in silence as my body worked to return to normal.
Eventually I said, “Well, no telling how long we’re going to be stuck in here.” I looked at her. “Can I stare into your eyes again?”

So I Hear You Like Smug Assholes

You groan and tap the power button several times. Nothing–the computer isn’t turning on.
You whine. Having to get a computer fixed is bad enough, but you were really in the mood for some hypnosis tonight.
Maybe you could still do something with your phone…
No cell service! No internet! What is going on tonight? It’s like an EMP broke all the technology.
Wait. There’s an open network.
0637
It looks public. You tap it and look at the “connect” button.
“Be sure you know what you’re doing with strange networks.”
You gasp and turn at the voice, a tall figure in your bedroom. A dark jacket hanging down to their knees, wavy hair hanging down and covering one eye.
“How did you get in here?” you ask.
The figure smirks. Your heart skips at what looks like pointed teeth, but after a blink they’re normal.
Their arms hang at their sides, hands in black and white gloves. In one hand they hold a staff, a dark jewel in one end with a red light glowing inside.
It’s not a warm light.
“Why, the same way you were about to download data using my network.”
You stare. “Huh?” You look at the tablet. “Wait, that’s your network? Sorry, I didn’t–”
The figure limply shakes their empty hand. “Do not fret over it. Just understand the terms under which it may be used.”
You look at the network on your phone.
0637
You look at the figure, suddenly next to you. Their limp arms suddenly become active, twirling the staff and creating a swirling light show with the red light. It’s a bit dizzying and you blink harshly.
When you open your eyes the staff’s light is directly in front of you, glowing into your eyes. The figure waves the staff before you and you follow the light; your head lolls as the room becomes dark as if the red light sucks out the rest of the light from the room, and you.
A THUNK snaps you out of it as the figure smacks the staff’s bottom on the floor. They step back and laugh, a hearty laugh. A joyless laugh. The laughter of the wealthy unto the peasants.
“It was my understanding that you were weak, but I didn’t expect you to to be this easy.”
You blush. “What’s that supposed to mean?” You try to glare at them but look concerned. “Who are you? Uh, why are you here?”
The figure bows. “Ah, where are my manners? I haven’t properly introduced myself, have I? Any narrator has had to refer to me as other than a name.”
“You may refer to me as Darmenzi.”
You glance between them at the phone. “What? Wait, what? What?” You know that name, don’t you?
“Of course, as for what I meant, well–” They snap their fingers, twice. “–I mean just that, exactly.”
“Wha–” Your blood runs cold.
You’re in an unfamiliar room now. You have your jacket on. Where did these gloves come–wait, they’re pretty nice gloves, actually. Still! And your hair is done all up in curls. What happened?
You have your phone, fortunately, though still no signal.
You’ve lost over an hour in one second.
Darmenzi paces around you. There’s a door nearby and so many of your nerves tell you to run for it, but you stay rooted to the spot. Fear holds you. Fear and–curiosity? Or something more?
“If you can recall, you asked why I’m here, too.”
“Well, I suppose to begin with…” They instantly glide to you and have an arm over your shoulder. Their other hand’s glove comes on and they tap a hand with claw fingers along your chin. You swallow, feeling sweat trickle down you.
“I’ve heard you like smug assholes.”
They toss you away in a spin and the room twirls around you, though you feel their hand stay on your shoulder. You stop, wobbly, before you snap back like a rubber band, twirling back into Darmenzi’s grasp.
Now you feel scales behind your neck. You hear a hiss and peer over.
Darmenzi’s arm around your neck is a snake now. You feel a pit in your stomach. What’s even happening?
“Of courssse,” the snake head speaks, “I have my own motivationsss.” Their real head said, “You seemed the most well-suited for what I need. You see…”
Darmenzi grinned sharp teeth.
“I need to take down someone who thought they could use my name. Someone who thought they had any right to it. When they know well enough that time has long passed.”
Both Darmenzi and their snake arm spoke, “You can be the catalyssst for that.”
Darmenzi’s lengthening snake arm suddenly slithers down your back under your shirt.
“A little hypnotic I ssscratch your back, you ssscratch mine?”
“Nnn… No!” You pull away. “I-I don’t want–to do any–” You back up until something sharp pokes you back. You yelp and spin around.
Darmenzi stands behind you with a grin. You glance back but he’s gone there.
“Are you actually resisting or only play resisting?” they ask.
When you turn back their snake arm is directly before you, its eyes swirling with colooorrrsss and you ssiigh and whwhimperrr
Your brain starts to feel like pudding, and when Darmenzi taps your head with their staff your body stiffens. Your nerves feel electric and you stumble back into a chair. You fidget and twist until straps hold down your appendages, one thick scaly strap coiling around you.
The jewel on Darmenzi’s staff pops off, a string connecting it to the staff. They swing it back and forth, the light swaying before you. Your eyes follow as if the string were connected to your head instead.
“This is fun. Isn’t this fun? Back and forth, nice and easy.”
“I’m a patient physical manifestation of condensed dark feelings,” Darmenzi said, “but drop and obey or I will pull your brain out and run it through a washboard.”
Something keeps you from going fully under. It may just be the narration.
Darmenzi shakes his head with a smile. A computer chip floats before you.
“I was saving this for your friend. Your friend would like the chip treatment, don’t you think? So why don’t you dump your thoughts out of that pretty little head of yours and let me rearrange them?”
Darmenzi chuckles before erupting into full laughter. “Of course, for the remaining conscious thought I’ve allotted you, allow me to remind you…” They lifted a scaly hand with curled fingers. “I could have dropped you back anytime.”
Darmenzi snapped their fingers, once.
You wake up in your bedroom.
Well, that was a dream.
It was definitely a dream.
Your computer works, your internet works, everything is normal.
You open up Twitter…

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