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The Fourth Veda

by Alice Gray © 2010

 

erotic fictionIt was impossible for me to ignore him through no fault of his own. His scent was maddening, a test of my endurance. Sweet sandalwood and earthy turmeric overlaid by the headier aroma of his sex.

It seemed, based on his youth and choice of reading material, that he was a student from the nearby university. A study in contrasts, his expensive Western dress clashed with his dark, barely tamed beard and the burnt orange Dastār that bound his uncut hair. The only thing that didn’t fit my neat little profile of him was his distinct lack of technology. No cell phone, no laptop, no iPod, no electronic devices of any kind. He kept all his notes in a large, hardbound journal. Odd for a student but not outside the realm of possibility.

For three weeks, all was well. He was little more than a minor distraction, like a persistent itching just beyond my ability to scratch. It was all a matter of waiting him out. If I could keep myself satiated, I could buy him enough time to complete his studies and disappear back into the faceless masses unharmed.

His choice of reading material helped me keep my distance. Susruta-Samhita. Charaka-Samhita. I had no interest in the ancient healing practices of our native country, especially a practice that believed suppression of natural urges to be unhealthy and a path to illness. If he only knew the truth behind the philosophy. I hoped he never had the misfortune to discover it firsthand.

“Excuse me, please. Begging your pardon, ma’am, but could you—”

I whirled to face him, furious with myself for letting my guard down while he was anywhere within a half-block radius, much less in the library. The intoxicating scent of him filled my head, weakening my resolve with unexpected cruelty. I almost took him right there at the reference desk, the finest filament of my self-control the only thing standing between him and a horrifying end.

His eyes widened but his expression remained curiously devoid of the fear and revulsion I was used to seeing in the eyes of those who caught me in an unguarded moment. I sucked a deep breath in through my mouth, trying to limit my exposure to his scent. It helped but not much.

“I’m sorry,” I said with a hungry smile. “You startled me out of a daydream. Hazard of the job sometimes.” Oh, he was exquisite, the fine bones of his face sheathed in burnished dusky skin. He would become even more beautiful wearing the pallor of death, the dark tint of his flesh bled pale. I swallowed hard, struggling to compose myself. “How may I help you? Do you need help locating a book?”

“I apologize for startling you. I am wondering if your library carries a copy of this.”

He held out the small white rectangle of the book request form. His voice was musical, his accent giving a familiar sharp edge to his precise English. The piece of paper was steady between his slender brown fingers but he never took his wary black eyes away from mine.

I plucked the paper from his grasp, careful to avoid touching him. Neat block letters spelled out his request:

HYMNS OF THE ATHARVA-VEDA: THE SACRED BOOKS OF THE EAST PART FORTY-TWO BY MAURICE BLOOMFIELD

I looked up at him, stunned by his boldness. His gaze never wavered. The ease in his posture confused and angered me. It was good for him that I had spent much of the last half century learning to control my anger, lest it gain control over me. If I let it, the anger would eventually destroy me. Not exactly the outcome I was aiming for. I had to get away from him and fast or it would be all over.

I smiled at him and said, “I’ll go check for you. Wait here.” I turned my back to him and made my way around the corner into the Reference Room, breathing hard.

My luck held and with it, some of my control returned. I spoke to an older, gray-haired woman who stood sorting books onto a wheeled cart so that she could reshelf them on the main floor of the library.

“Janet, would you see if we have a copy of this?” I handed her the slip. “There’s a young man at the desk waiting. I need to use the bathroom.”

“Of course, dear.” She frowned at me. “Are you alright? You look pale.”

“Actually, I’m not feeling very well.”

Pushing past her before she could ask any more questions, I made for the exit in the back corner of the Archives Room and let myself out into the frigid air. Dry flakes of snow fell in the gray twilight, their icy kisses cooling the hottest part of my fury. A woman stepped into view from one of the warehouses across the alley. I smelled the dark aroma of Turkish tobacco even before she lit her cigarette.

“Would you mind if I asked you for one of your cigarettes? It’s been a really rough day,” I said.

The woman seemed startled, surprised, I suppose, that I had actually spoken to her. Feigned invisibility was standard alleyway etiquette between strangers.

“Uh, sure.” She fumbled in her purse and produced a second cigarette. I wondered, as she approached , if she had any idea how very desperate her choice of footwear made her look.

I slipped my fingers over hers and took the cigarette. “Thank you very much.”

“Sure, sure. No problem. You look like you could use a smoke. Everything okay?” The woman flicked a slim gold lighter to life and held the flame out.

The rich flavor of the tobacco drowned out the last traces of the young Khalsa Sikh’s presence from my senses.

“I’m Sandra. I work over at Fitzgerald’s Hardware Emporium.” She leaned closer to me and whispered, “I really hate my job.”

I kept my name to myself. “Why don’t you get a different job?”

“Oh, I, uh, just thought that you might not like your job either. That’s all.”

Ah, she was hoping for someone to commiserate with. I looked at her, trying to shield her from my pity.

“I love my job very much but not every day can be a perfect day, can it?” I said.

The unexpected sweetness of her aroma overwhelmed me, sparking like magnesium through my core. Hunger uncoiled inside me. Just a little. I could make her forget she ever saw me today. She jumped back like a jackrabbit, unnerved by my sudden closeness.

“Uh, no, I guess not,” she said.

She dropped her half-smoked cigarette to the icy pavement, took a quick stab at it with the toe of her boot and disappeared fast into her building without another word or backward glance. The less intelligent ones seem to pickup on the danger of being around me for too long. They are always the first to retreat.

Though I don’t normally smoke, I finished the cigarette down to the filter. I let myself back inside the library, hoping to make it to the washroom before I ran into Janet. My luck held yet again and I passed no one.

I washed my hands and face, trying to scrub away some of the smoke residue. The cool water helped ease a little of the need raging inside me.

“Lilith, there you are!” Janet was already striding toward me when I stepped from the washroom.

“When I couldn’t find you, I began to panic. Is everything all right?”

“Yes, I’m fine, really. Sorry to have worried you. I stepped outside for some fresh air. I think I may be coming down with the flu.”

“Why don’t you go home after you speak to the young man.”

I froze, my hard-won composure slipping a notch. “What young man?”

“The one who wanted that strange book.”

“He’s still here?” Ancient hunger threaded its skeletal fingers around my heart and squeezed.

“He says he isn’t leaving until he speaks to you again. He insists he has a question that only you can answer.”

I blew out a heavy breath. The anger was back, smoldering hotter than before.

“Are you afraid of him? Should I call security and have him escorted from the building?”

Janet’s posture and tone of voice held the proper amount of concern but underneath I could feel her morbid excitement that something big with a capital B might be about to happen. Her limited understanding of my situation was no more than fodder for her to entertain her Bridge friends with on otherwise lonely Friday nights.

“No, no, it’s nothing like that. I think I will go home after I’ve spoken to him. Thank you.”

“If you’re sure it’s alright?” Her disappointment at the lack of impending excitement was obvious.

“Really, it’s fine.”

I gave her a reassuring smile and started toward the main reference desk. Though she did her best to move quietly, I heard her following, no doubt so she could eavesdrop from behind a bookshelf. It took considerable effort to fight back another wave of anger over the additional complication she caused me. Salvation came in the form of a ringing telephone. After a slight hesitation, Janet moved away to answer the phone.

One last deep inhalation before I returned to his line of sight. The sheer beauty of him halted my exhale halfway through. He held the book clasped to his chest, his bright eyes expectant under the jewel-toned turban.

“Janet says you needed to speak with me?” I kept my expression fixed in a mask of helpful confusion.

“Yes, ma’am.” He leaned over the desk until his face was less than a foot from me. “I have a message for you but I won’t speak to you here and I am not allowed to leave until you agree to meet me somewhere,” he whispered.

“What do you want?” I let the unnatural timbre of my voice creep into the words, let my face change to allow him a small glimpse of what he was asking for. I licked my lips, displaying a tongue gone black with desire. The smell of him intensified, spicy with the first bitter undertone of fear.

“I want to help you.” For the first time, he sounded unsure of himself.

“You have no idea what you are saying,” I hissed at him. “Go home and forget all about me. There are other libraries where you can find what you are searching for.”

“I don’t think so. I won’t leave you alone until you hear my message.”

The conversation ground to a halt as we stared at each other.

Please. I know what you are and I am not afraid.” He straightened up, waiting.

That did it for me. He was afraid but not as much as he should have been, especially if he spoke the truth.

“Let me just get my coat and purse.” I shifted back into my human guise.

Janet’s shrewd, calculating eyes watched us depart. I would have to come up with a story to explain my actions by tomorrow.

Twilight had given way to full night by the time we reached the sidewalk. The falling snow shrouded the cones of light from the streetlamps, rendering the deserted street into a series of dim monochrome vignettes.

“My name is Avtar.” He held out his hand for me to shake as we walked side by side away from the bright haven of the library’s front doors.

I kept my hands stuffed deep into the pockets of my coat, fists curled into balls. “Shaking hands with me is not in your best interest right now. I believe it is sometimes described as mortal danger.”

It seemed that they grew younger with each incarnation. I suspect it is only because I have managed to outlive them all so far. I reminded myself that they were young, at least in physical form, this one only about twenty-five.

“Of course. You must think me a fool.”

I kept quiet, hoping he understood my silence as confirmation of his assessment. It bothered me that he seemed unconcerned by the fact that we were heading away from the populated areas.

“Churel.” It was a statement rather than a question and with it, he removed all doubt. 1

My camouflage slipped a little farther from my grasp. There was no point in denial. We both knew that one of us would be dead by dawn.

“Yes, but why do you care? I’m harmless unless I’m provoked.” I hoped he heard my message of warning.

“As I said in the library, I want to help you.”

An inhuman growl of anger escaped my throat as I dragged him into the deep shadow of a recessed doorway. His book bag lay on the sidewalk, abandoned in his shock, the books and a box of nails spilling out onto the snow.

“You want to destroy me!” I held him against the battered metal door, pinning him there with ease. His weak struggles inflamed me, pushing me closer to the edge of my control.

“No! I want to save you!”

“It’s the same thing, Avtar. How do you not see that?”

He began a low, melodic chant.

“Exempt from danger, O Mitra and Varuna, may we here be; drive back with your flames the devouring demons!”2

“Hymns from the Fourth Veda? Oh you silly, naïve boy.” I started to laugh but decided to finish my thought instead. “Avtar, the charm only works for casting demons out from the mortal shell.” I bared his neck and pressed the points of my teeth to his taut skin. “It does nothing about the demons themselves,” I whispered against his throat.

He shuddered and squeezed his eyes shut, his mouth still moving in prayer though he no longer said the words aloud.

I felt around under his clothing, his skin hot against my fingers, seeking the embroidered cloth belt that held his kirpan to his waist. If he believed in silly charms and the protective power of nails, it stood to reason that he would raise the small steel-bladed knife in self defense. It wouldn’t kill me but it would make for an unpleasant experience.

He gave a grunt of surprised protest when I snapped the kirpan free of its cloth binding and hurled it away. The symbol of his membership in the Army of God made a small whistling as it flashed away into the night. There was no sound of its landing.

Into his ear, I whispered, “I’m going to kill you. Make no mistake about that. If you give me what I want, I promise to kill you without pain. The choice is yours.”

“What is it that you want, demon?”

I traced my fingers over the growing bulge in his trousers. His eyes snapped open, terror and arousal plain to see in their inky blackness. A rush of anticipation coursed through me. The idea of ripping his throat out held a sudden fascinating appeal. I was surprised and a little disappointed when he chose the less painful option.

“No pain?” He emphasized his choice by sliding his hands along the outside of my thighs. The hem of my skirt caught in his fingers but didn’t slow the upward momentum of his hands.

“No pain. I swear it.” I slid my tongue through the scented forest of his beard to find his mouth eager and warm.

He rocked into me, fully hard against my thigh and made the most gorgeous little sounds. The whimpering gave way to throaty groans when I freed him from his trousers and stroked the full measure of his defeat in my cold hand. His growing excitement filled the air with the irresistible scent of his arousal.

I brought him to the edge, knowing that once I accepted his body into mine, the end would come in a swift, violent rush. If it had still beaten within my chest, my heart would be near the limits of its capacity to keep me alive.

The way he screamed when I slid onto him made it difficult to tell whether he felt pain or ecstasy. That is another thing I have learned over the centuries; the two emotions look nearly identical.

His head lolled back against the door, exposing his tender throat. I lowered my mouth to his neck and unsheathed my teeth. The sweet metallic tang of his impending orgasm scented the air.

Almost there, little Sant-Sipahie.3

With a violent shudder, he wrenched away. It gained him precious seconds to plead for mercy.

“Please, don’t kill me here on the street like a pig. At least have the decency to do it in private.”

Still disconcerted by his sudden break, I paused to consider his request. All the ones before him had met their fate in dark alleys, both fountains of life drained dry as the Sahara. It had never occurred to me to take one home. Anticipation bloomed in my belly. There would be no need to rush anything behind the heavy velvet drapes that shielded me from prying outside eyes. I could take all the time I wanted to play with him before I killed him. He was young and strong. I could make him last for years if I was careful.

~*~

Footnotes:

1 The Churel is the revenant of a woman who dies when bearing a child or has somehow broken some religious taboos when dying. The basic form of the Churel is sometimes described as having reversed feet and no mouth. According to another description, she has long, pendant breasts, sharp long teeth, unkempt hair, and a black tongue. But, she can appear as a beautiful young woman who seduces young men and keeps them enthralled, draining them of their vitality, until they prematurely become grey-haired old men. –Information retrieved from: http://www.deardeath.com/vetala.htm#churel

2 Hymns of the Atharva-Veda: The Sacred Books of the East Part Forty-Two; Bloomfield, Maurice; Page 33; Book VI, 32: Charm for driving away demons (Rakshas and Pisâkas); (c) 2004

3 Sant-Sipahie—a saint soldier: A saint first and then a soldier

_______
© 2010 Alice Gray. All rights reserved. Content may not be copied or used in whole or part without written permission from the author.

Bio: Alice Gray is a freelance graphic and web designer with a passion for writing erotic fiction. Her work has appeared in Clean Sheets Erotica Magazine, Frequently Felt by M. Christian, and ERWA's Treasure Chest for 2009 and 2010. Alice lives in San Francisco, California with her husband and two young sons. To read more of her work, visit aliceblackandwhite.com
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