|Source: Wikimedia Commons|
The rain fell in cords. Thunder flashed, followed by a roll of lightning; nature in disarray. Surging clouds of violet black blocked the midday sun, plunging the street into midnight darkness. Cars drove through the raging tempest, wipers on hyper-speed and the light from their headlamps was fractured and disarrayed by the cascading rain, reaching the eyes of pedestrians in a starburst of red, white and yellow. The rain fell on the pavement and road so heavily that it splashed momentarily upwards, forming a crown of clear brilliance before falling back.
The man in black stood at the diagonal meeting point of two streets, oblivious of the rain. His black trench-coat had dipped into a puddle, and water, like pale ink, had bled up the hem. His face was set in a grimace of fury, reinforced by coal-black eyes; he stared across the street at the woman in white. This woman, dressed in a white trench-coat—which had also dipped into a puddle, with the resultant water bleeding up the hem—stared back across the street with a seraphic smile. The water slid across her face, seemingly unable to touch her inner serenity.
The man in black raised his hands skywards, bellowing unheard words into the rain. Lightning followed, striking at the woman with ferocious energy. With a casual flick, she deflected the lightning, causing it to fizzle out with a simper, as though apologising for the attack. The woman smirked, unimpressed with the man’s bathetic attempts to devastate her. Lightning blazed behind her, momentarily annihilating her corporal form and revealing an angelic structure within: powerful white wings folded behind a body draped in a shifting, shimmering achromatic toga. The man started backwards, startled by this image of pure good, the grimace warped into a mask of fear before resettling. He smirked.
“Is that all you can do?” she shouted across the street, in an ancient language.
The man didn’t answer. He raised his hands again, words poised at the edge of his lips: he didn’t have time to complete them. The woman, serpent-quick, clapped her hands—with a sound that drowned out the storm—and a whip of pure light appeared in her hands. The rain hissed as it fell on the whip, rising in miniature tufts of steam; raising her powerful hands above her head, the woman circled the whip above her head and brought it crashing towards the man’s head. Raising his hands in an ‘X’, the whip curled around the centre of the ‘X’; the man brought his hands in front of his chest and thrust his arms backwards, dragging the woman into the road, into the path of a speeding bus. A tremendous screech of metal exploded from the collision of body on bus, and the front of the bus crumpled like paper around the woman. Bodies within the bus flew around like rag-dolls, some hitting the windscreen with a sickening splat.
Advancing cautiously, the man approached the front of the bus; the windscreen had cracked in a spider’s web, and the woman’s head had pierced the reinforced glass as though in a pillory, although her hands remained by her side. Reaching up, the woman placed her hands on either side of her head and, anchoring herself, pushed backwards to free her head, which came free with a screech of glass. The man froze; darting backwards, he stepped in front of an oncoming car and, slamming his hands down on the bonnet, wrenched it free and held it in front of him like a shield. Hoisting the bonnet horizontally above his head, he launched it like a spear at the woman. She raised her hands, caught the bonnet and deflected its course towards a nearby wall.
Her seraphic appearance had disappeared, as had all semblance of humanity. Muscled aquiline wings lay folded behind her back, and a red heart was visible through her white toga. Its palpitations were agitated; prominent arteries and veins around her heart became visible as it beat faster and faster.
A piercing, ululating cry rose from her throat, summoning a single spear of light from the thunderous sky. The light surrounded her in a blinding blaze; when it disappeared, the woman had gone with it. The man sighed with relief, and the rain eased. Stepping back to the pavement, he walked away from the destroyed vehicles and allowed the energy from the storm to dissipate into bland nothingness.
His senses numb, he found that he no longer had the energy to maintain his humanosimilitude and allowed the guise of his flesh to collapse: his appearance was a counterpoint to the woman’s. Great black wings rose in an arc from his back, with a night-black toga draped across his body. A powerful, black heart beat underneath his robes; veins and arteries which had protruded with the force of the beats were becoming less visible as his heart calmed.
Stopping short, he noticed a succubus standing on the corner of the street, her alluring eyes anchored to his. He could feel her gaze wherever he looked. His heart automatically beat faster, an ancient simian response to the stupefying perfection of her curves, the swell of her breasts, the pout of her lips.
“No!” he shouted, “I won’t go back there!”
The succubus didn’t utter a syllable; her back arched against the pole she was leaning against. The man’s brain, rerouted to a troglodytic thought system, felt a momentary flash of rage at the pole; his mouth slightly agape, his hands hanging by his side, he placed one foot robotically after another.
His mind, still retaining some of its higher consciousness, screamed desperately for reason, shrieking that the succubus was just a trap, an illusion, a Venus fly trap; however, the man cared not. A smile flickered across the succubus’ face, hints of pleasures to come, and her body shifted towards him in order to more openly welcome him into her arms. Smiling like an idiot, the man rushed into her erotic embrace with a pounding erection, desperate for the love and attention of this emblem of perfection.
The succubus’ hands closed gently around his body, forming a light, but unbreakable, barrier. Instantly he was in her arms, the world around the man transformed; he was back where he had started, a prisoner of the gaol for the eternally damned. His soul screamed as the succubus stepped back with a cackling laugh, and a demon emerged from the darkness to guide him back to his cell.