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COME TO ME
By Lisa Cach
Copyright © 2004
All right reserved.
Samira flew above the earth, its landscape a shifting vision
in black and greys, formed by the minds of dreaming mortal
men. Villages, forests, and mountains rippled and changed
like a world glimpsed beneath the waves of the sea,
occasionally glowing with a pale wash of color as someone
dreamt a particularly vivid scene about that spot.
Samira paid them scant heed, her senses searching out
something else. It wasn't long before she found it: the
trail of a man with unfulfilled desires. Finding such a trail
was like stepping into a flowing creek of lust, or hearing a
distant sound of entrancing, erotic music; it was a thrum, a
vibration in the night that belonged to a single sleeping man,
and that she as a succubus could not help but follow back to
its source. Her body hummed in response, a faint tingling
pleasure vibrating through her, luring her towards this
drowsing male who needed release in the form of a sex dream.
This was the main work of a succubus: giving sexual release
to sleeping men through their dreams.
She had no existence apart from her work. No solid body on
the plane of mortals, and no lover in the Night World. No
home or close family, no talents or skills beyond weaving
dreams. Up until six years ago, it had suited her perfectly.
Lately, though, a bleak anddepressive mood would sometimes
steal over her. She would wonder - absurdly! - whether she
was nothing more than a shadow of the mortals she visited; a
poor imitation, making up stories for their entertainment, and
pretending to herself that those stories were real. As if,
somehow, telling stories could be the equivalent of living a
true and mortal life.
As if a mortal life were something worth living! Humans lived
but a flashing moment, the space between birth and death no
more than the duration of a sigh, and that sigh filled with
mud, cold, fleas, disease, and great puddles of bodily fluids
that Samira shuddered even to think about. Humans were cruel
and greedy and violent, and not half so beautiful as the
creatures of Night.
A sense of something strange, something amiss, interrupted her
thoughts, making her slow in her absent-minded pursuit of the
sexual thrum. She hovered where she was for a long moment,
the forest of dream trees beneath her shifting from full leaf,
to winter bare, to autumn yellows and oranges as dreamers
dreamt scenes within it. The sky above filled with dark grey
clouds, as thick as wool, and then parted again to let through
streamers of moonlight and a twinkle of distant stars.
A frown between her garnet brows, Samira tried to figure out
what was wrong, what had caught her attention. There was a
flavor to the sexual thrum she pursued, almost a scent, that
was out of the ordinary. Unique.
She bit her lip. "Unique" could mean "dangerous".
But "unique" also meant it was different, and therefore it
piqued her curiosity.
After three millennia of exploring the sexual minds of men,
she had seen it all. She hadn't come across anything truly
new in the sexual mind of a man for at least 500 years. The
fantasies were always the same, year after year, culture after
She was overdue for finding something new. Her own dream
creativity had been suffering these past few years, and she
needed inspiration. She was repeating herself too much, and
often being so lazy as to give a man satisfaction with nothing
more than a dream hand job.
She was becoming a disgrace to the succubi.
The only time she felt her old enthusiasm rising up was when
she came across a sleeping man who was deeply in love, and
needed nothing more than a dream of holding his beloved close
in his arms and making love to her tenderly. For that, she
still took time and care, and would feel within her a
shimmering of emotion that she could not name.
Was it envy? A longing for something similar? She was not
supposed to have a heart of her own, or human desires for
things like love. In truth, she didn't understand love,
except when it came as an intense sexual yearning. That she
understood, and could feel as she reflected it back to a man.
Something inside her whispered that love might be more than
that, though. It might hold treasures of which she was
utterly unaware, and which she could never know.
Samira turned her attention back to the thrum. The scent was
growing stronger now. She must be nearing its source.
The warning sounded yet again in her mind, chasing a shiver
down her spine. Something truly wasn't right about this
thrum. Something wasn't natural. Three millennia of
experience were telling her to slow down, to be cautious.
Curiosity and the deliciously strong desire of the sleeping
man lured her forward, regardless. Common sense fled, and she
happily waved it good-bye. Boring old common sense. What use
had she for it?
She slipped out of the charcoal landscape of the Night World
and emerged into the nighttime landscape of mortal men. The
plane of the Waking World, they of the night called it. The
hills and forest beneath her were the same as a moment before,
only now they did not waver or shift, and their washed-out
colors were from true night, not the influence of dreams.
Everything was "real," everything was solid, and now she
herself was the one who was not, and she could not be seen by
The land flattened out beneath her, and the trees gave way to
fields and pasture. She flew low over the roofs of a village,
and then on to the low, swampy, reed-clogged bank at the edge
of a lake.
A fragile wooden walkway led from the bank out across the dark
water to an island. She flew over the narrow walkway out
towards the island, noting the missing boards and places where
the rail had fallen into the black water.
As she approached the island, she made out the thick walls of
a ruined fortified monastery, originally built for protection
from invading Tartars and Turks. What was left of the brutal
low outer walls were punctuated by two remaining stubby
towers, guarded by a single dozing sentry.
Inside the crumbling fortress knelt a half-fallen stone
church, its surviving walls blackened by long-extinguished
flames. A massive square spire rose from one end,
miraculously still standing, tall and strong. The spire
dwarfed the outer protecting walls, thrusting upwards like a
spear, its roof a tall tapering pyramid covered in red tile,
the peak stabbing the night sky like a bloody blade that had
pierced the belly of the moon.
A flickering yellow light glowed from the narrow windows in a
room at the top of the high tower. It was from those windows
that the river of desire flowed. A shiver of anticipation ran
through Samira, the last vestiges of rational thought
flickering and dying under the pull of the unknown man's
Samira flew up toward the windows, and then alit on a sill,
her hands clinging to the stonework. She crouched for a
moment in the embrasure, peering inside at the square, dimly
lit chamber, and the man who slept therein.
When nothing threatening appeared, she folded her wings back
and inched through the opening, scrabbling along like the
demon she was. She dropped to the floor, landing soundlessly
and with only the faintest sense of the rough-hewn wood floor
beneath her bare feet. She could have passed straight through
the wall itself if she had so desired, but such passages
through solid matter were painful and tiring for succubi.
Red coals burned in a large iron brazier set on a tripod, and
was the only source of heat in the room. Red velvet draperies
half-concealed a wood-framed bed in one corner, its linens and
furs disarranged and tumbling to the floor. Above her, beams
held iron brackets where once had hung the bells of the tower.
A dark-haired man slept with his arm sprawled across one of
the open books on the table, his face resting on his white
sleeve, his black hair concealing all but a pale triangle of
forehead from her view. His other arm was drawn up close to
his body, resting atop his thighs under the table.
It was from him that the river of latent desire was coming.
This close, the desire was so strong that she could feel it
coming into her as if through the pores of her skin, setting
every inch of her alive with his tingling, unquenched lusts.
She stood still, soaking it in, helpless for a moment to do
otherwise. She'd never felt anything like this, the man's
unsatisfied desires coursing through her body with the
sweetness of honey, pooling in her loins with a hungry
anticipation of things to come.
For the first time in all her thousands of years, she was
vaguely aware of the danger of falling captive to the lusts of
a man. It had always been easy for her to weave her dreams
and fly away, never losing control, never being tempted to
Such thoughts of control were far from her, now. Almost any
thought at all was beyond her.
She tread silently across the room, sidestepping piles of
books, and small tables loaded with vials, bowls, and jars of
colored powders. Her gaze flicked over them, almost wondering
what this man had been doing, but her mind was drifting in and
out of a welter of caution and sexual excitement, and she
could make no sense of the things.
She came around behind the sleeping man, noting the strong
line of his back beneath his simple white tunic, and the broad
line of his shoulders. His long legs, clad in heavy black
hose, were sprawled beneath the table. He was seated on a
bench, his body canted to the side in slumber.
Samira stepped lightly up onto the bench and squatted on her
haunches next to him. His latent desire was coming off in
waves, pulsing through her, her entire body vibrating in
echoing response. It was so strong, she almost imagined that
her body rippled with its pulse.
She reached out.
And stopped, her fingertips a mere breath away from his pale
forehead. She should be squatting on his chest, to have the
best control over him. Impossible, given his position at the
table. Clinging to his back would be a fair substitute,
She looked at the broad expanse, and quivered at the thought.
She wanted to lay her breasts against him, to wrap her legs
around his waist and to feel the total strength of his
yearnings through every inch of her naked body. She wanted to
melt into him, she wanted to become part of him, she wanted-
Her own eagerness stopped her, scaring her in its strength.
What was happening to her? An hysterical fright climbed its
way up her throat, and she felt on the verge of either wild
laughter or a shriek.
Do it! she urged herself. Touch him!
No, there is danger ... a softer voice within her said. Think,
Samira, something is not right ...
Without moving from her place on the bench, she closed the
distance between her fingertips and his forehead.
Energy cracked through her with the force of lightning,
slamming into her and blasting her away from him, her hearing
deafened by a thunderclap of power even as her mind and senses
reeled with a burst of images and emotions, blinding her to
the room around her.
Instinct had her fluttering blindly into the safety of the
air, images of battle and blood and ghastly violent horrors
swimming before her eyes. She bumped against a spike
protruding from a beam, the iron making her yowl in pain and
sending her tumbling again through the air. When she came up
against a wooden rafter she clung tightly to it as the images
and emotions from the man washed through her: Fury. Despair.
Utter, soul-destroying loneliness.
Her hearing began to clear, and through the ringing in her
ears she made out a whimpering from deep in her throat, and
from down below the sounds of the man, awake now and as scared
as she was.
"Who's there?" he asked harshly, his deep voice bouncing off
the stones of the walls. "I know you're here. Come out!"
The images of bloody mayhem faded from Samira's eyes, like the
afterimage left from staring too long at the full moon. She
blinked, and made out the man standing ten feet below her,
turning round and round, staring into the shadows in search of
Samira climbed on top of the rafter, taking careful note of
where the iron spikes and brackets were placed on the beam.
She lay atop the beam, a safe distance from the iron, and
watched over the edge.
The man moved toward the heavy trap door near the end of the
bed, his step betraying a limp. His left leg was plainly
weakened, and she saw now that his left arm was held closer to
his side than his right.
He looked up.
Samira quickly hid her face behind the beam on which she lay.
He can't see you, you foolish creature! she reminded herself.
Nevertheless, it was a moment more before she mustered the
courage to look again.
He was squinting up into the darkness, but not directly at
her. It gave her her first chance to see his face, his
shoulder-length black hair now falling away from his features.
His brows were dark and devilish, with points at the center of
their arches. A short, dark v-shaped beard covered his chin
and upper lip, framing a masculine, sensuous mouth. Her gaze
focused on the subtle lines and arches of those lips, and it
was a long moment before she noticed the other remarkable
feature of his face: a splash of webbed pink that started
below his left eye and then poured down the side of his cheek,
broadening to the width of a spread hand along his neck and
then disappearing into his tunic.
She recognized the mark as a burn scar. In three millennia of
being a succubus, she'd seen everything a human body had to
offer, as well as a thousand vividly imagined things it did
not. Scars were nothing new, although one like this was
His gaze was still searching the darkness. She turned her own
head and looked behind her, and saw that the roof of the tower
stretched for another thirty feet above her, narrowing to a
single point at the peak. To mortal eyes, anything at all
could be lurking in that vast, dark space.
"I am Nicolae. Who are you?" he asked the shadows.
She caught her breath, surprised beyond words. He was trying
to talk to her? No one ever tried to talk to her. In three
millennia, no human. Not one.
"Show yourself. I know you're here. I can feel you." His
voice was still edged with the harshness of fear, but he was
gaining confidence, even his stance becoming stronger. He had
his legs braced apart, his arms crossed over his chest.
She suddenly realized that she could no longer feel that
unnaturally strong desire coming off him. His latent
sexuality, yes, she could still feel that, could feel it
pulling deliciously at her very core, but not to the
exaggerated, frightening degree of before.
What had changed? Was it only his waking?
And how could he sense her presence?
"Or instead of asking who you are, perhaps I should ask what
you are?" he asked, a brow lifting.
"I am not a what," Samira muttered, indignant, and then
clamped her lips shut. It was stupid of her to make a sound.
But he gave no indication that he had heard her. He stared
into the darkness above him for several seconds more, then
lowered his head and shook it, as if dismissing his fancies.
He rubbed the back of his neck, and limped slowly back to the
table spread with books. He stared at the open book upon
which he had been sleeping.
Samira hesitated, afraid he was bluffing, but then as the
minutes went by and he continued to do nothing but stare at
the book, she gathered the shreds of her courage and spread
her wings, sliding off the beam. With a few gentle flaps she
slowly coasted down to the floor, landing lightly on her feet
at the opposite side of the table from him.
Nicolae lifted his face, a frown between his dark brows.
Samira froze, fear blooming full force within her. She
tensed, ready for flight. His gaze searched the area around
where she stood, but again, he seemed to see nothing. She saw
that his eyes were a warm clear brown flecked with yellow, the
iris rimmed by a darker brown that was almost black.
She stepped closer to the table, nervously watching his face
for reaction and seeing none. She fought against her
trembling fear and dared herself to test the limits of what he
could sense. She leant her hips against the edge of the wood.
She made herself bend forward, until her own face was inches
from his, and she could almost imagine the faint feel of his
breath against her skin. The puzzled look came back into his
eyes, even as they failed to focus on her.
"Are you still here?" he whispered.
She blinked in astonishment.
He continued to stare blindly through her. "If you're here,
please tell me. Show me, somehow."
Excerpted from COME TO ME
by Lisa Cach
Copyright © 2004 by Lisa Cach .
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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