The women of Ciera's family spend the night of their twenty-first birthday the same way: giving themselves over to the demon that lives in the space between life and death. Ciera is prepared to do her duty, but she didn't expect to enjoy it, and she definitely didn't expect the demon to want more than just one night.
EXPLICIT: This 4,000 word story is for mature audiences only, and contains demon sex, size kink, whipping, oral sex and a scorching hot deal.
Back in the pile of clothing she'd left out of the way, her watch beeped midnight. Taking a deep breath, Ciera crouched down and put cupped her hands around the candle, focusing on the wick. It sputtered, then burst to life with an iridescent flare of magic. The flame twisted, rising up between her hands like it would reach for the stars. Then it settled down, burning a gentle blue and smelling softly of lavender.
Something breathed on the back of her neck. Ciera jerked, twisting around defensively.
He was an older man, maybe twenty years older than she was, dressed in a heavy coat and slacks. His broad shoulders stretched his shirt, making it clear that the muscles underneath were thick and firm. Gray feathered through his temples, visibly lighter even in the poor natural light. The rest of his hair might have been sandy blond or light brown. Ordinary in every way, except for his eyes. They reflected the moonlight like an animal's, a glowing green-yellow luminescence that was utterly inhuman.
"There's no lakes around here for skinny dipping," he said, smiling softly, showing teeth that were far too sharp for humanity. The upper and lower canines were elongated, gleaming with the promise of pain, of rent flesh and cracked bone. "And you're far too pretty to be wandering the borderlands alone, little witch."
Ciera's chest went tight, the scent of lavender fading to be replaced by a sharp tang of sulfur. "I'm waiting for someone," she replied, pretending her voice wasn't unsteady.
"A friend?" He held out a hand, palm up. "Me, perhaps?"
Slowly, she nodded, placing her hand in his. "Sacha." Vertigo twisted through her as soon as she touched him. The world faded, becoming washed out and gray other than the light of the candle. Behind her, she heard a dull thump. Even though she knew it would happen, she looked back.
It was a curious feeling, looking down at the chunk of meat she'd spent her whole life occupying. It was sprawled over the grass, eyes staring blindly up at the sky, hair spread around its shoulders. Like everything else, the color had been leeched from her skin, but it was more than just the effect of being on the edge. A strange calm gripped her as she said, "I'm not breathing."
"That does tend to happen when you abandon them." Sacha squeezed her hand, then lifted it. "Pay it no mind, darling. As long as you're back before dawn, you'll never even notice you were gone." His breath was dry, hot like a brand on her knuckles. He then turned her hand over, kissing her inner wrist. Her skin, such as it was in this nowhere realm, sizzled.
Ciera bit her lip and let the pain wash through her. It was followed sharp by a hot burst of pleasure that made her breath catch. There'd be a mark there, when she got back. She'd seen them on her mother and sister, pale, shiny skin that reflected moonlight. Not quite scars, but not quite unscarred, either.
"I recall your sister, Carolyn. Three years ago, wasn't it?" Sacha let go of her hand and started pacing a circle around her. His fingertips trailed across her skin, sharp claws scratching shallow lines of pain/pleasure over her full breasts, dipping down to her waist and back. "Shy little thing. She shook all the way through it, though I was gentle. I even stayed in this form for her. But you won't need that, will you? I can see the fire in you. The need to burn."