From: Ilana Stern <firstname.lastname@example.org> Newsgroups: talk.bizarre Subject: My Demon Lover Date: Mon, 01 Dec 1997 15:24:10 -0700 Organization: National Center for Atmospheric Research/Boulder, CO Lines: 132 Message-ID: <3483390A.7F93@ncar.ucar.edu> X-Mailer: Mozilla 3.01Gold (X11; I; SunOS 5.5.1 sun4m) My demon lover, when he came to me, was not quite as I had imagined him. He materialized at the foot of my bed, and I wondered for a moment if I'd left out some critical part of the ritual. This couldn't be the creature of my fantasies. "You called me," he said, and his voice was dark velvet, caressing. His eyes fixed mine with intent and gentleness. "I called," I said. "Although -- and I do not wish to offend -- I am not certain it was you I called." He grinned. "Offend me you cannot, as it is not in my nature to be offended. Nevertheless, you did call me, and I am here." I tried again. "I was expecting someone...younger." In truth I was expecting a slender dark-haired youth with hollow cheeks, like the pictures in all the books. A tall mysterious youth with piercing eyes that would make me swoon. The man before me looked perfectly mortal, a well-preserved forty or maybe even fifty, a good-looking man, but: not the demon lover I had expected. "Age is immaterial. I am nearly as old as the universe, and yet I did not exist until you called me forth." He gestured at his body. "My physical form is drawn from your subconscious desires." I raised an eyebrow. "Perhaps you search for a father figure?" "You look nothing like my father," I said, with some tartness. "For one thing, he still has his hair." He uncoiled himself like smoke and the edges of my vision shimmered as he dematerialized. The caress of his voice seemed to come from all around me. "You humans. So concerned with appearances." A dozen hands smoothed my hair, invisible lips brushed my shoulder. It felt very, very good. He reappeared next to my bedside table. "Of course, if you would prefer another shape..." His features blurred, and for a moment it was a certain movie star I've always held a secret lust for, then a coworker I briefly had a crush on, and then Dennis to whom I had almost lost my virginity when I was seventeen. Dennis had been twenty-six, the wise older man at the time, and it seemed strange to see his face, his body, frozen at this now so much younger than me age. He bent to kiss me and I shuddered, it was too real; it had been a horrible break-up, emotional, double helpings of misery all around, and although it had been so long ago it all came back to me, and I slid under the covers and closed my eyes. "You see how it works." His liquid voice lured me out of my hiding place; he had changed back to his original manifestation. "This is much better, don't you think?" I eyed him warily, and he sighed. "So young. You think that you know why you called me, but you do not know yet. I could be the hollow-cheeked object of your desire, but it would not satisfy you for long. Perhaps you do not desire me -- yet. But that is not my purpose." Suddenly he was beside me, my demon lover, tracing one finger across my collarbone, gently kissing the hollow of my neck. "My purpose is to desire you," he murmured. "Listen to my desire." Shivers down my spine, and he followed them with his lips. "I crave you, I adore you, I desire you, all that you are, all that you hold within you to be." I twisted away. "You can't desire me. You're a construct, you don't exist, not really. I created you." "You created me to desire you." His eyes bore into mine. "This is what the woman wants. To be wanted, seduced, hungered for. This is what you want." The intensity in his eyes, the knowledge, the desire. His words touched me somewhere primal; I was drawn to him despite my disappointment. But still it seemed unfair. Why not the beautiful boy, I wanted to say. He could seduce me. He could stroke my hair and whisper to me, I desire you, I desire you. "Were I beautiful," he said, "you would wonder, and you would worry. You would doubt yourself. You would think, 'Does he want me as I want him?' You would think, 'Does he desire me because I created him to desire me?'" "But you said yourself that I did. That I created you to desire me." A smile. "And you created a dark-haired beautiful boy, did you not? What we intend is not always what we get." "So you have free will? Or don't you?" I felt the rush of wind as he dissolved and flowed around me, and heard a sigh -- or maybe it was the sound of the wind. He reappeared at the foot of my bed. "Why are you humans so obsessed with free will? You have the choice to eat an apple or to eat a chocolate. But you cannot choose not to be hungry." "Then I choose my beautiful boy," I said mulishly. "You cannot choose not to be hungry," he said. And vanished. Well, I thought. Who needs a fractious demon lover, anyway? I looked at the remnants of my conjuration on the floor; the ashes, the twisted wires, the drops of blood. Not as easy as the book had promised. But later that night in fever dreams I remembered his voice. I remembered his touch. After a week I was yearning for him to return. He had to return, I had summoned him, he was mine. Wasn't he? The door swung open and shut itself again, now and then. Winds swirled through my bedroom every so often. A scrap of paper against the window with one word written in a bold hand: DESIRE. Another week. I wrote poems and threw them away. I slept poorly. How tall had he been? I pictured a strong nose, sharp cheekbones; true or my imagination? All that I remembered was his murmuring in my ear, I desire you. Then: yesterday there was a rose on my pillow. I woke up dreaming of softly scented breezes, blowing through an open window. I opened my eyes and saw the red rose. A red rose for desire. I know he's close. Perhaps he will come to me soon. I hope he comes tonight.