3 - A Wing and A
Reluctantly, I release her from my embrace, and draw the sword again.
Yes Owner take your hand.
Deeeeep breath. Here we go.
Initiative. I'm ordered to take helpful initiative. Come on, you can do it, self.
"When you turn off your forcefield, we should go fast, because if we wait perfekti'll be waiting for us in your hallway. I'm going to try to open your door so it goes straight into my home, but Earth is mean so that probably won't work, and that'll be how we get into Limbo. Then we can try to find a door or portal I can turn into a door home. Oh! Does your family have a wardrobe?"
"Wait, you've read Narnia?"
"Yeah! I love your Cair Paravel fantasy! There's ruins like it on the way to the Hollow Heart Abyss and I went there once to imagine us being there together."
I wasn't even properly aware of this one, but she's not wrong. It had something to do with the ruins of Cair Paravel like at the beginning of Prince Caspian, and being naked in the woods...
Aww, kiss! Boo, I wanted tongue.
"You're sweet. We don't have a wardrobe, but what about other ways of getting to Narnia? We couldn't use my sailboat poster, could we?"
I gesture to it, curling away from the wall behind the forcefield.
"May I go look, Owner?"
Damn you like me polite and obsequious. Duly fucking noted.
With a squeeze, I let her hand free and gesture her over.
Gotta squeeze past your bed....I wish I was getting squeezed in your bed...
"I'm sorry Owner, but it doesn't have enough numinosity. Eustace's painting actually made sense because it could like, draw you in according to the story."
Come back and present myself with hands back...hehe you like that.
"I don't suppose you have a friend back home who happened to pick up Susan's hunting horn in the woods."
"You're getting the idea, but no, if that worked I'd have asked someone to summon you home when you said you wanted to leave with me. Actually Earth would probably just be empty, with all the rescue teams trying to figure it out...wait...ocean! I bet we can use the ocean! Rl--where I'm from is under a Sea, so if we can get to the shore in Limbo we might be able to do like in Dawn Treader after all! We should totally try doors and stuff on the way but if everything else messes up we can use that. You live near the ocean here, right?"
"It's a couple of miles away, but yeah. We can walk if we really have to. What kinds of doors are we looking for?"
"Stuff that totally looks like it leads to other worlds. It has to be numinous enough to make you wonder inside when you go through it if you're going to actually like, end up in another universe. Like the garden door they use in Silver Chair trying to escape the mean kids."
"We have creepy woods out back, but no doors. Could we use that?"
"Ooh, maybe...it'll mean a detour to another plane of my home reality unless your woods are really creepy, is that okay? We'll be safe as soon as we're there and then we can just go right home."
"Sounds good. That means we either have to fight through a lot more of the house, or go around it outside. I was going to take us out the front door. Which do you think is safer?"
"It's your guess, Owner. Does your family think outside is dangerous?"
"Not especially...well, my mom is convinced I'll get bitten by a rabid racoon in the woods."
"What do you think?"
"My mom worries way too much."
"I don't know, then. We could meet perfekti anywhere, too. May I give advice, Owner?"
"What're you thinking?"
"I think we can't know where the perfekti will come from in your house, and you should see where they are before deciding which way to go."
She's right, and her advice forces me to realize that all this prevaricating is really just delaying the inevitable reality of facing whatever's beyond my room door. Unless--
"Yeah, I think you're right. Let's just go."
"Okay--ooh. When I do make a door work, you'll know because inside looks like, completely black. It's called the Absolute Shadows, and it's kind of like, what my home has instead of a wall around it. It directs people to the place in my world that'll make them happiest, so just keep me with you and feel your way through towards stuff that would make you happy somehow. It's kind of dreamlike and weird at first, so keep holding onto me until you can see me again. That's how we tell it we want to be together. It should really figure that out anyway but I want to make sure."
"What if we do get separated?"
"Then I'll probably just find you again right away and summon myself to you if you don't find out how to do it to me first, but I...I need you, Owner. I don't even want to be separated that long."
"That makes two of us. Okay, give me your hand."
Grabbed. Poise to doorjump.
"On three. One..."
Come on doorjump headspace, believe it, feel it, this is going to work, it will...
I hold the shield's control interface in my mind, metaphorically poising to give the 'off' command. Arm shutdown? it seems to ask, with the sense of an emergency-stop button under glass that I lift.
Armed. Shutdown will be executed without further confirmation.
Rl'yeh Sade here we come...
And I mash the shutdown button.
Rrraah grab turn PULL!!
Everything happens at once. The shield surges and dies like a piece of TNG tech to the end, and we're walloped once more by the stench. Lyra lunges forwards, her timing perfect to put her hand on the knob as the shield dissipates, and--
Her hand passes through the doorknob, into the door, and her lashing tail goes rigid.
RRRRRRR COME ON GATES AAAAAAAH
Visions flash through my head, something impossibly tall, motion like opening doors, the golden light of stained glass in darkness, and reality shudders, my mind is breaking open, we are the point of contact between the immovable object of thermodynamics and something just as implacable and absolute, her hand in the door on the doorknob is somehow the collision between two conflicting sets of axioms and we are on the home turf of the equations which inescapably describe the hallway which must lie beyond this door that is not the door she's opening it's just in the way of the truth--
GRAAAAH I AM SADE AND I SEE A HIDDEN PATHWAY INTO THE HOLY DARK RRRRRR
For a moment everything seems perfectly balanced between two absolute points of reference, and in the strange eye-of-the-storm stillness it seems like we'll be stalemated here forever, but with a sudden sound like worlds ripping she stumbles back against me as the door comes free, opening to reveal a wall of the mist that's been leaking through it curling into the room so that we should be plunged into a fogbank but that it's not clouding my physical eyes so that I see through it like having IR or radar vision.
Spikes. Limbo it is, then.
Getting out of your way now.
There's a figure in the doorway, holding a Bible, or maybe prayerbook. Something's weird with reality, with the fog clouding the doorway this could be any one of my family, I can't even get a gender--
"It's not real, Owner! It's a ghost! Look! This is just your nightmare! We need to agree it's not actually there and it won't be!"
Snuggle close to get your attention.
The figure wavers in the fog, raising a censer to begin its exorcism, then flickers when Lyra's urgent pressing against me shocks me from the nightmare trance that seems to be opening out below me and when I look back to it from glancing at her I see that the censer has vanished with my decision that there's no way my dad drove to the church, fetched a censer, loaded and lit it, and made his way up here so quickly.
Beyond, the darkened hallway looms somehow surreal and out-of-shape, and, and I might now believe in ghosts but this isn't real.
The figure stays where it is--loud. She said loud.
"There's no one blocking our way out."
Actions speak louder than words. I grip Lyra's hand tightly, and, sword held in front of me like a torch, lead us across the threshold.
Snuggle close hold tight....here we go!
FUCK YEAH SO LONG GHOST!!
As I approach and we plunge into the mist the figure's form disintegrates into what was obviously just pareidola among the wisps and curls of the strange fog all along, revealed by Cleavage's strange invisible light to be not even as substantial as a suggestively shaped cloud. Reality shifts, unglues, and there's the sense of some terrible pressure relieved when our feet touch the floor beyond my room as the name Limbo suddenly makes sense to me: we're on Earth, and we're gone. This is real, and it's a dream.
The only sound is Cleavage's strange electric buzz--no. There's whispering, something strange and mechanical, coming out of the closed doors of my parents' and brothers' rooms, chilling like before, but Cleavage's buzz cuts through it, seems to slice up the words into unintelligible random phonemes.
Afraid to make a sound, I creep us across the landing which is mercifully right outside my room's door and onto the first step. The stairs look vertiginous and lopsided in the strange light, but the whispering stays steady and the room doors stay shut, so I risk--
Follow you down the stairs--GAH FUCK "RUN, OWNER!!!"
Whoah whee flap good thing I can sorta fly!
Without waiting to see what she's warning of I charge down the stairs four at a time. They seem to stretch out, dreamlike, a dozen steps refusing to be past like fifty, a hundred, we're caroming off the landing at the bottom and into a hard left turn swinging around the banister-end to avoid something I can't even see properly blocking the front door but from which more of the whispering and chill waft and go pelting through the kitchen and kick open the door to the family room, making for the back door.
It's dark and expansive, and I don't stop to look into it before swinging us left again towards the back door and through it, wrenching the door open and then kicking the screen door out of the way as I swing Lyra through ahead of me onto the rickety formerly-screened porch to get her away from the thing I can hear whispering to itself in the cavernous depths of the family room.
Holy fuck DIVE EEP--
I follow, pushing her ahead of me until there's space to drag her left and off the porch to where we can run across the yard--
It's falling it's going to fall on us AAAH RUN!!!1
The porch collapses as we bolt from under it, dissolving into a pyroclastic flow of jagged boards and rusty nails as we flee across the lawn, until it subsides with us panting nearly in the neighbors' yard.
SPIKING GAH WHAT THE SPIKE
"Fuck. My mom always thought that would collapse on one of us."
The wreckage fills most of the largish back yard, silted up against the precarious-looking retaining wall at the far side of the yard so that it blocks our path to the woods. In the real world, the retaining wall is only a few feet high, but here, it looms like a segment of the Berlin Wall.
A sense of my surroundings filters in as I catch my breath, Lyra clinging terrified to my arm, somehow communicating the state of all the fur she doesn't have standing on end.
Everything is wrong. The yard is all wrong, the sky is wrong, everything is wrong, distorted, colorless or lurid, and the sky is the starless no-sky black of an empty skybox in an unfinished flight simulator.
"I think I got hit on the head by that."
“Spikes. What’s wrong?”
“Everything looks the wrong size and wrong color and the sky is gone.”
Her relief is palpable, perhaps literally. Does she make, like, pulses in the little flow of energy that’s passing between us because we’re touching, to emote? I pose the question to myself but can’t process any possible answer right now.
"I think you just see Limbo, Owner. I see things weird here too."
The yard is distorted all out of proportion, cramped and narrow between high looming trees and retaining wall with the neighbors house a clapboarded precipice mere inches from our backs where in reality it's normally-sized (for our overpriced suburb) and firmly in the middle of their lot, beyond the trees that line the property line.
"Looks like we have to go around--"
Spikes and dust.
Now what do we do?
Where in reality there's a good dozen feet between our house and the neighbors' driveway, here the houses are inches apart in line with my parents' perennial griping about living in the suburbs instead of a secluded farm in the country like we used to, leaving Lyra and and I hemmed in by retaining wall, house, and the rusty-nail-bristling wreckage of about thirty-seven large screened porches.
"Does Limbo like, filter for negativity?"
"If your family filters like that, Limbo will reflect it."
"I think we really need to get out of here."
In daylight, our house is a bog-standard ranch-style McMansion. Here, it's a looming obelisk of corroded aluminum siding and ill-fitting windows barely nailed together. My bedroom window looks out over the wreckage in the pinnacle of a strange, ramshackle tower bizarrely wreathed in evil-giant-thorn roses worthy of a Disney movie.
NOD NOD NOD YES WE SPIKING DO HOLY FUCK WHAT NEXT
Cleavage buzzes softly in my hand as if agreeing.
"Can you fly with those wings?"
"If you think I can, I bet so, Owner!"
Stupid knowledge of aerodynamics.
"Hey, you said you can shapeshift a little. Can you make them big enough that you can definitely fly with them?"
OH! DUH OF COURSE!!
She looks about to pop with excitement.
"Owner my body knows it belongs to you! I can't shapeshift right because it only listens to you about what shape I should have!"
"Then turn--turn into a batpegasus--pony that can definitely fly us out of here!"
Like manhandling her during the ritual in my room, this specific form has just sort of fallen out of me, unexpected and yet...
HOOOH FUCK apparently that's what it takes oof no don't hold me up I need to be on all fours!
OOOoooOOOOOOOAAAAAAHHHH ffffuck hot ooof stretching stretching stretching ffffuck whoah.
Her limbs change first, lengthening and thickening to reveal silver hooves replacing her hands and feet, then the transformation begins to fill out her body, reshaping it thicker and longer as her neck extends, sprouting more long silver hair down the back of its length and her head and ears become longer until she's climbing unsteadily onto a pony's hooves, steadying herself on four legs, grinning and panting.
Okay now this, this is kinky.
It's as the transformation settles and I throw my arms around her neck almost involuntarily, burying myself in a mane that still smell of her hard-candy-and-pussy body-odor, that I understand the order I gave.
I tell people I grew up on a farm, even though we moved to the city when I was young. I actually got a pony for my birthday when I was five, even--two months before we had to move. I thus never really got to know the pony, though I remember it being a sweet and exceedingly patient creature, so I've never considered myself to miss it.
Yay hugs you're pleased I was worried you'd freak out.
Owner? Owner what's wrong?
Which is probably unfair to both myself and that very sweet pony, but as I sob now into her mane I understand it's also hidden from me the memory of the way sitting on its back felt.
I've chased that feeling everywhere, from balsa wood to game physics, trying to recover what I was too young to understand as the first inklings of rapport between me and my mount.
And there was something else, something I chase in machines, unable to comprehend it in a living being: control. Lyra offers both, the rapport of someone who can share interests and conversation as a friend and lover, and, as she keeps making clear, the absolute obedience I've thus far found only between keyboard and, heh, power cord, and it's breaking my heart open, shattering glaciers that were so cold I didn't even know they were there. I squeeze tighter, nuzzling into her mane, weeping out loud the tears of having been so far from us both for so long.
Why are you crying?
Nuzzle hug I know you'll tell me when you're ready.
I don't even need to get on her back to understand why she has the odd forward-curving horns that this new form retains.
When my tears are spent enough for me to see, I give her neck a parting squeeze and step back enough to take her in.
"Turn around for me. Can you understand me?"
Nod nod turn turn.
Wow this is natural.
She hasn't literally turned into a pony: aside from being smaller, closer to the size of a lion or so, her skin is the same milky-soft demonflesh as before, as hairless as it started but for lashes and mane, her legs are far thicker, curvaceously human-proportional to her body in aspect ratio rather than spindly like a horse, and her face though elongated is still round and weirdly human, and her already-large eyes have grown to dominate it, as expressive and human-pretty as before. Her body swoops and curves with equine grace, but there's an echo of her human (demon?) hips and ass in her hindquarters, rendering them confusingly pleasing to look at, especially when her still-entirely-human pussy comes into view below her upraised and unchanged tail as she turns. At her flanks, great black wings are folded, looking large and powerful enough to lift a city.
You make a really sexy pony cowers in a corner of my mind, hiding from the glares of Important Grief Processing and The List Of Things I Must Never Find Arousing, but I pull it gently out into the light and comfort it: don't run away, I'm trying to understand what I'm seeing.
We compromise for now on I wouldn't not have sex with her in this form and take a rain-check on what to do with her pussy being exactly at the convenient height above the ground.
"How do you feel?"
Okay then rear up and like, paw the air. I feel great, see?
"Can you not talk in this form?"
Blush lower my head nod nod.
I sheathe Cleavage as she bends her forelegs to make herself convenient to mount.
My legs slip naturally behind her wings as I throw one over her and sit.
Why aren't you heavier?
Oooh, cuz I turned into a riding-horse, duh.
"Am I too heavy?"
The motion of her body as she stands slides me back towards her hindquarters where I nestle into a shockingly-comfortable echo of the hourglassing of her waist, as if she's literally made to be ridden. Even so, her horns are in exactly the right spot when I reach out and grab them like handlebars where they sprout from the back of her skull.
UNF HOT YES PLEASE!
"This is steering." I pull her head left, and then right, by her horns. She gets it immediately, turning in place with soft grassy clops beneath us.
"Let's see your wings."
Spread whooh big this is awesome.
I'm ready to fly, so poise a little bit.
They open with a leathery whoosh, easily fifteen feet each so that we barely fit in what's left of the yard, to which my knowledge of aerodynamics notes isn't this a bit overkill.
Bah, no such thing.
I could tell her to take off, but what fun would that be? Instead, I give her soft sides a very shockingly-intimate-feeling kick with my bare feet.
OOF HOT SPRING and FLAP!!
HOLY FUCK WHEEEEEE
Her flanks pulse under me like sex and we're airborne in a single flap, rocketing straight up. In no time we've cleared the house, drawn level with my strange tower-room window with its light left on in the otherwise-dark house, left it behind. Instinct as the world drops away beneath us turns my hands into iron circles around her horns and shows me exactly how much thigh-strength I have, gripping her flanks, but their skin seems to have changed in how it reacts to sweat beyond my tender inner thighs, and in no time I can squeeze and have the dew of my adrenaline rush somehow nonewtonianly switch from lubricant to adhesive between us.
The air clears, and cools, as we rise, and I'm reminded of Gaudior's oxygen-generating mane in A Swiftly Tilting Planet. The proportions are a little different so that I get the top of her head, and we're only now closing on 500 feet let alone 10000, but leaning forward and taking a breath through her mane does seem to refresh me.
EEEEEEE FUCK UNF HORNPULLING turn left yes owner
As we rise, I experiment with the things I can tell her just through pushing her horns to the side, up and down, all six axes make her respond as if she knows exactly what I was thinking. It's exhilarating--
Whispering. Up here?
No. Spikes. Down there.
Something tickles at the corner of my mind as we rise, voices, a tangle on the wind...whispers. Thousands of them, all intertwining. Somehow, up here, we can hear all the perfekti below us like their soundscape is laid out for us to take in just like the landscape.
For a moment, it's just chaos, and I wish desperately I dared take a hand off her horns to draw Cleavage, and then a voice seems to emerge from the anarchy, one thread coming to the fore:
fucking uppity bitch, doesn't know her place
women these days, I'll make her see--
I tune it out as fast as I can, remembering Lyra's imprecation before and considering how much fervently I've applied myself to not becoming that guy and how this would be a good way to push my buttons, but the instant I turn my attention away from this, another voice fades into its place like spiritual whackamole:
she's not your toy she's an independent strong woman
die in a fire you chauvinist pig
The voices are male and female, respectively, but something's wrong with them, an uncanny-vally mechanical quality like speech synthesis. Anger surges and I shake my head as if I can shake the sound off, but it keeps rattling in my ears:
she doesn't belong--
My mind twists, tangling with the words. Kill the connection, close the port--no good. It's just sound, and I can't cover my ears. I push Lyra's horns hard forward to dive, and as we plummet the voices lessen but the female voice's rant echoes around my head. It's apparent rival--this is obviously some kind of echoed argument we're overhearing (maybe this is how perfekti fight over territory or something?)--was easy enough to discount as the sound of a mindless thug who would never understand the incandescent joy Lyra displays as we fly, but doesn't the woman-voice kind of have a point? What right did I--
Pain throbs like my head will explode, and everything slows, becomes (more) cartoonish, and
NOOOOO SPIKES WHAT THE SPIKE WHY DID YOU LET GO SPIKE SPIKE SPIKE DIVE
Catch Owner catch Owner catch Owner go go go flap GOT YOU HAH YUS!!!!!
Hang on tight pony-legs, we need to get out of here....how do we leave where can we go?
There, aha, I can use a conflation-jump there for sure!
Spikes and dust that was rough....ughhh my head is jumbled OWNER! Noo I need to...I...Owner...whine I feel like the words fell off my pages.
We're tangled in a heap. Warm flesh surrounds me on the side that isn't complaining about stabby grass underneath it, but I can't make sense of--
Owner?! Owner!!! I can taste you you're awake WOO!
I'm here I'm okay I--hhaaaah fffuck!
I blink, and the sensual, friendly confusion surrounding me resolves into Lyra lying beside me in the grass, looking disheveled and confused, returned to demon-girl form.
Ouch fuck okay I'm your monster-girl again.
Good that means you see me--MMF KISS OH THANK YOU YUM!!
A trembling kiss seems to bring us both back a bit, so I take a deep breath, pulling her carefully to me in case she's broken something and she warms to it instantly, pushing her mouth at mine so we lock lips deeply and I instinctually probe her yielding candy-sex mouth with my tongue.
YUS WOO FUCK MY FACE COME ON!!
It's working! I can see! It's working kiss me more--
She seems to be rallying, and I imagine pouring myself into her, emptying out through the intimacy of our embrace, still full of that determination to help her if it's the last thing I do. The instant I--
No oh god no no no please live...please...
Sight and sound drift back from the edge of the universe, fading in accompanied by a wicked ringing in my ears like I’ve been point-blanked by a flashbang grenade. I’m not dead? Or does hell just come with a splitting headache?
No. Silver hair brushing my face, worried purple eyes. Lyra is still leaning over me, looking a little queasy but much less about to die than before. She leans in to kiss me again and I turn away, pushing clumsily at her with a hand that won’t really obey, my arm screaming with pins and needles and the throbbing pain of a limb that’s been asleep for hours.
“Please let me help. Please. Please don't die. I. I need you. Please live...”
She’s pulling my face back to hers which is good or bad or something because I don’t have the strength to turn my head any more and just lifting my arm makes my vision blur. Black streaks of tears like running mascara are dried on her cheeks, and fresh ones stand in the corners of her eyes, gleaming like obsidian.
I mouth something, too weak to make sound or know what I’m saying and she reacts by resting her forehead against mine. Hot, floral-smelling tears drop on my face.
There’s enough left in there for you to take if I put myself in your hand, right? It’s not nonconsensual if I’m saving your life, right? Please? Please...
Something changes in her body language, and she raises her face from mine, still looking at me with kiss-me lips, still crying, then takes my hand reverently and places it on her cunt. My sense of touch is barely functioning, but I can tell that she’s warm and wet and slick and oh so very soooft. A strange, bloody-minded determination fills me: If I have to be eaten by a succubus, I’m going to get some action out of it, dammit. I gather what little strength I have and explore, ignoring the protests of my dying muscles to feel warm, slick, soft lips sliding through my fingers, mound smooth and warm and soft against my palm.
She coos, and something stirs in me like the fire she ignited with our first kiss, but all of it stays inside me this time. Some feeling returns to my hand, enough to get more than a general impression of pussy-ness. She has what I decide is the super-human bareness of a species that just doesn’t do pubic hair in the first place, and seems impossibly eager--her inner lips part at my touch and I fancy I can even feel them engorge a bit. So human, so not, I wonder if she has a clit...there.
She lets out a shuddering moan and then grits her teeth and I can feel the fire in me grow in a burst. My cock even stirs a little, amazing for the circumstances and how weak I feel, and I understand: she’s doing whatever lust-to-lifeforce conversion succubi do without drinking the result. I lift my head, trembling, and kiss her, and she kisses back, as expert as before, but careful instead of ferally lustful.
It’s like throwing a gascan into your fireplace. Energy blasts through me, painful for an instant and then I have the strength to absorb it. Feeling returns, the pounding in my head subsides, and the pins and needles flee.
Fury. Nothing to do with anger, mind you, there’s just no other word to describe it with, a pressure building in me like the way the caffeine sears through your veins after about the sixth cup of coffee in a row or so. Before I can realize what I’m doing, I’m on top of her, pinning her wrists to the grass with white-knuckled fists and pushing her legs open with my knees—-
HELL YES! WHEE!
The power redoubles. I could lift cars. I could crush mountains. I could put my hands in a sidewalk crack and split the planet in half. I could throw a pebble at the moon and knock it out of the solar system and the strength keeps building, coiling on itself inside me until I must explode, accompanied by a surge of lust that matches it in intensity throb for throb...
Whoah. You look like you’re about to explode and take half of limbo with you. Gimme some of that, baby!
Please-eyes GO. “Please Owner may I have a drink?”
I seize her by a horn and hold her head down, still pinning her wrist with my other hand.
It’s kinda nice how fast you’ve figured out that horns are for manhandling.
I lower my head to hers, still not letting her move, and kiss her again--
There’s a bursting feeling like coming, pressure unleashed and blasting out...
H...holy....whoah. What did I just do? My sparkles hurt. Am I gonna melt?
It’s not glitter makeup. A light against my closed eyes draws them open, and I’m momentarily blinded, shocking enough that I almost stop both kissing her and grinding atop her. When my eyes adjust, her face and body look like a night sky, brilliant points of light scattered and clustered like freckles, shining a shimmering just-barely-purple.
I’m gonna melt. Or I’m gonna cum. Or cum because I melted or maybe melt if I cum, fuck...
She moans and I can’t tell if it’s pleasure or pain and I don’t get the idea she cares. Somehow, I haven’t come from this explosion of lust, but my dick is hard enough to cut tortured metaphors and has by lucky grinding or succubus skills found it’s way between her outer lips, kept from penetrating only by my shorts.
Fuck DAMN this is intense, clit’s burning like my sparkles and it needs to get ground on something and I know exactly what...
Whee, slide! Almost on target that time. You’ve got me pinned, take control and fuck--