Warning: Adult content! Sex and extreme violence.


At ten minutes to the appointed hour, wearing a tiny dress of shimmering red velveteen, a short black imitation fur jacket and red, stiletto heeled open shoes, I alighted from the taxi in the usual drizzling acid rain. The vehicle hovered around six inches above the road, a recent development that prevented the lying water eating through rubber tires if it used that older method of propulsion. The hotel, like all buildings had a raised and covered walk-way to the door to protect visitors from the acidic precipitation.

I nodded a greeting to the doorman, a human I knew by sight as Malc, and headed for the elevator. The room I was looking for was situated on the third floor, and still with four minutes to go I was waiting on the plush pink carpet before the white plastic coated wooden paneled door. I could sense the minds of people in the rooms around me, although I was unable to tell which were occupied and which were vacant. I knocked on the door and waited, anticipating how TeeRaigo Bran would look. I always imagined the client would be a young, muscular dreamboat and was usually left sadly disappointed. The majority were middle-aged, balding and fat.

“Hello Loriel.” I jumped at the sound of the voice, unaware someone had approached from behind me. “Good to see you again.”

I turned to confront the man who had intruded into my dressing room earlier. For a moment, and unlike my normal self, I was speechless. He reached past me, slotting a card into the door lock which emitted a click as the electronic mechanism deactivated.

“After you…” He waved me through with the same hand.

My intuition sent butterflies fluttering through my stomach which my business acumen attempted to subdue. This man had paid for my services, and as long as he did nothing to jeopardize my safety, I had no cause to complain. “So you are TeeRaigo Bran. May I call you Bran?” I led the way into the room.

“Of course you may. Look, I’m sorry we got off to a bad start at the club. It wasn’t my intention…” There was a clink of glass as the bag he was carrying was placed on top of the desk unit that stood against the wall. “I wasn’t expecting to find a real angel. Here, let me take your jacket.”

I let him slip the garment from my shoulders. “Nice,” he added as he placed it on the back of the chair. “Looks an expensive simulated fur. You know? You look far too young to be working as a prostitute.” I had to smile as he continued, “You can’t be any more than seventeen years.”

Thank you, I will take that as a compliment. To be honest, I have lived nearly two hundred of your earth years and am immortal.”

“Angels are immortal? I didn’t know…” He took a bottle from the bag. “Can I get you a drink?”

“I don’t usually drink with a client…” This was not strictly true, but I did not want him to think he could get me intoxicated and take advantage. When working, I only drink in moderation.

He looked hurt at my refusal. “Just one glass of white wine?”

“All right, just one, but I like to keep things strictly on a professional level.”

The cork came out of the neck of the bottle with a pop. “I had better tell you. I’ve never had to pay for sex and I don’t intend this to be a first.” He half filled two wine glasses waiting in readiness.

This was a ploy I had heard so often from men wanting me as an escort. Perhaps it boosted their ego. I had never had an assignation that did not end with us having sex. I only considered such comments as something of a challenge.

He handed me a glass and then indicated for me to sit on the bed. I did so, letting the short skirt rise up to show a glimpse of the top of my fish-net stockings. He kept eye contact with me, appearing not to notice the teasing as he perched on the edge of the desk.

“I admit, I paid your boss well to get you here, but I did so because I need your help.”

I smiled. Well, it was a more unusual approach. “What sort of help are you looking for?” Taking a drink, I let the flowery taste of the wine fill my mouth. It was a good wine.

“I’ve been doing some research on angels, but the only information available is from myth and legend. I hoped you could fill me in on details.”

I considered this information for a moment. In light of the questions he had asked earlier, it seemed to make more sense, but intuition still gave me an uncomfortable feeling as if he was not telling the whole truth. “Are you a student, or something to do with a university?”

He shook his head while taking a drink from his own glass. “No, this is personal research.”

I could think of no reason how this would cause me any trouble, assuming his questions were not aimed at me on a personal level. “Alright, but I don’t know how much use my answers will be.”

I looked at him expectantly as he seemed to think for a minute, and then, “First thing, what is the connection between angels and demons? Legend says that demons are fallen angels, the two sides locked in a battle between good and evil. I asked you earlier about war between the two factions, an idea on which a lot of mythology is based, yet you said there is no war.”

“That is correct; there is no war and no connection as far as I know. We inhabit different worlds, different dimensions, and until human scientists started doing some sort of experiments, we had no physical contact.”

“You mean the twenty-first century experiments with the particle collider that opened wormholes to parallel universes. Yes, I’ve read about them.”

“Then you know far more about it than me.” I took another drink of the wine before continuing, “I’m not sure where the idea of fallen angels becoming demons comes from. From where are angels supposed to fall?”

“From grace, from their state of perfection.”

I threw my head back laughing so hard I almost spilt the drink over my skirt. It took several minutes until I was able to compose myself. “Then you are so sadly disillusioned if you think angels are perfect. There is no state of perfection, no black and white, just many shades of grey, which I guess is the same with humans, demons, and every other race.”

He seemed to consider this for a while as I finished the wine and leaned forward to place the glass on the table beside him. He moved to the side, away from me as I brushed a hand against his leg.

As I leaned back, crossing one leg over the other to draw his attention to the shortness of the dress, he continued, “Are there such things as guardian angels given the task of protecting human children?”

“Of course there are. I was trained... qualified,” I added with some pride, “as a guardian angel.”

“How is that possible if angels are from a parallel reality?”

I felt more at home with this line of question, being knowledge I had gained through my training. “The many parallel universes act as barriers to the physical bodies that inhabit those universes. Well, until the wormholes appeared. As a human, you were trapped on this plain, while I, as an angel, was physically held to mine, and all other races locked in their own worlds. However, we each have a spirit, a soul or an ethereal entity that is capable of moving between the plains. At the death of the physical body, the soul is released and reincarnated in another body, either in the same universe, or more usually in a parallel universe.”

He made a laugh that sounded more like a snort of derision. “I’m sure I don’t have a soul. This sounds like something out of those fantasy books on mysticism and the occult.”

“Those fantasy books as you call them contain many truths. Most humans are not aware that they have souls. If I was your guardian angel, I could contact you in your dreams, allow you to see answers to your problems. You may have heard people say the answer to a dilemma came to them in their sleep. The mystics who wrote those books were able to find their answers through trance and meditation. The believers in the old religions achieved a similar state of awareness through prayer. Some who delved more into occult mysticism used sex as a means of releasing their spirit.”

He looked confused. “If these things you say are truths, then your truths are even weirder than the myths I was trying to get my head around.”

“Those myths are probably distortions of the truth, corrupted in their telling as the narrator tried to interpret them in terms of the physical reality when humans lost the awareness of their souls.”

“You mention sex as being used to release a spirit. Does this relate in any way to an incubus or a succubus? Are they considered as angels, fallen angels, demons, or something else?”

“A guardian angel occasionally becomes infatuated, even obsessed with her… or his charge. It becomes frustrating to see someone, to love someone, know their most intimate thought, yet they are not even aware you, uh… the angel, exists.” Oops, I almost trapped myself there. I hoped he had not noticed. “The obsession can become a frenzy of lust during which, the angel enters the dreams of the human, to awaken their awareness with a sexual act and develop a spiritual bond between them.

“The psychological affect on the human can be devastating. Due to religious views of sex being a sin, most of the human victims in the past turned to religion, joining a monastery or convent. Occasionally, the victim turns to a life of sexual abuse and debauchery, and the angel is guilty of the most heinous of crimes-the violation of an immortal spirit.”

“I see…” He seemed to be thinking about my words before suddenly picking up the glass I had discarded. “Would you like another drink?”

Still feeling uncomfortable at my near admission, I needed to change the subject. “Alright, but a small one. Whoa, that will do…” He had almost filled the glass.

Smirking as he gave me the glass he asked, “As a guardian angel, were you ever tempted to have sex with your charge?”

I glanced up into his eyes trying to feign a look of shocked innocence. I realized I had talked myself into a corner. I swore under my breath. Damn him. He must have seen through the look on my face. “You have, haven’t you?” I hated that look of smug righteousness he was giving me. “Is that why you are trapped here?”

I could not answer. Instead, I took a long drink from the glass, feeling the sensation of dizziness from the alcohol and having eaten nothing through the day. I felt a burning sensation in my face and neck from his accusatory stare. I wanted to make a stabbing retort that would shock him but could think of nothing that would have the desired effect.

“What right do you have to pass judgment on me? Is your life so perfect?” It was the most cutting remark I could bring to mind.

“I’m not passing judgment on you.” His voice was softer than I expected. I looked up, but there was still that lop-sided smirk on his features. “What allegiance do you have with the demons and demon half-breeds that use the Kittie Kavern?”

I was surprised at the sudden change of topic. “I’ve never seen a demon at the club.”

“Are you certain?”

“I should be. They are obvious enough to recognize. There are some demon elf half-breeds employed as bouncers, and Cervilon is part elf, part demon.”

“So you have an allegiance to the half breeds?”

“Allegiance is not a word I would use.”

“Then what is your relationship with Cervilon?”

“There is no relationship. He gets me the work and pockets most of the money.”

“Does that worry you?”

“What are you getting at?”

“I am wondering if he exploits you, whether you are forced to work at the Kittie Kavern. I couldn’t help but notice the marks on your back as if someone had hit you.”

A half minute of silence passed between us as I tried to think whether it would be more to my advantage if I let TeeRaigo Bran think I was being exploited. He must have taken that as an admission that I was. He continued, “We can offer you protection.”

“Who is this ‘we’?”

“I represent the government of Queen Rayna Alsatia. You could say I’m an under-cover investigator.”

I looked up in surprise. So this is what my intuition was trying to tell me. “Why are you interested in me?”

“It’s more the Kittie Kavern that is under investigation. In the last four months, six high ranking members of Her Majesty’s government suddenly changed from being anti-demon to promoting every nuance of their criminal activities. Drugs, pornography, the sex industry in particular; in fact all crime. The common link between the six was that a few days before they made their change of loyalty known, they received invitations to attend private functions at the Kavern. I also believe, at least five of those six, were seduced into a sexual act on stage with an angel. We suspected the men were blackmailed, possibly by being photographed in a compromising position with you.”

I felt, whatever he said to the contrary, I was the one being accused. “That is not possible. No one is allowed to bring a camera into the club.”

“How about if the camera was already there?”

I shook my head, the hair tumbling around my shoulders. “I would see the flash from a camera. The disco lights are not good enough for a clear image on their own.”

He nodded. “It’s the conclusion I came to after watching today.”

“And I am not being exploited as you suggested.”

“I thought perhaps you were being forced to work because at the club, you said you would leave if you could. How did you get involved with the Kittie Kavern? Is that where you met Cervilon?”

“Cervilon knew Madame Siren. It was he that introduced me to her.” I guessed their relationship was more than a casual acquaintanceship, not that I felt the information was of any importance to Bran or the Queen’s security service.

“So, how did you meet Cervilon?”

“He was at the portal as I came through. I suppose he was there to meet me.”

Bran narrowed his eyes, the creases of a frown puckering his brow. “But all the portals were deactivated or destroyed during the Great War to prevent further invasion from alien species.”

I shrugged my shoulders as he continued, “Where did you come through? Was it actually in the city?”

I nodded my head. “The southern side of Pth’ak Mar. I materialized in some sort of underground crypt in an abandoned church or temple. It was while looking for the way out that Cervilon found me.” I pondered for a moment. Something that had niggled at the back of my mind almost from the moment I arrived. “I assumed he was there to meet me, yet he seemed almost as surprised to see me as I was to see him.”

“It sounds like the abandoned church you speak of is the Cathedral of Saint Julian. It’s the only one with a crypt. Why were you surprised to see him? Were you not expecting someone to meet you?”

No one said anything to me about meeting any one; in fact, it all happened so quickly, I thought there were only a few on Mardu who knew I was being sent here.

“Is Mardu your home world?”

I nodded my head again to confirm and Bran continued, “Do you think he might just happen to have been there when you arrived?”

“That would be a massive coincidence. There is nothing in the church, no reason for anyone to be there.”

“Or nothing you saw while you were there. Have you ever been back?”

It had never occurred to me that Cervilon might have had other reasons for being in the crypt. I took a mouthful of wine, swirling it over my tongue before answering, “I have never had reason to go back.”

“If you were sent here and no one is forcing you to stay, can I assume you are here as punishment from your own world?” The lop-sided smirk showed on his face again. “You as good as admitted you had some sort of illicit sexual relationship.”

Perhaps due to the effect of the wine, I was feeling less embarrassed to admit the misdemeanor and confirmed his assumption with a nod.

“So, how long does your sentence last?”

“I will only be reprieved if I can find the reincarnated spirit of the one I lost.”

“And as humans - I assume it’s a human you are looking for - don’t know they have souls…”

“I can only locate him at the moment of his death, or that moment of sexual orgasm they refer to as a miniature death,” I finished, confirming what I believed he already knew. I had to admit, he was quite astute for someone who had considered angels as mythical creatures.

I finished the almost full glass of wine. The night felt like it was going to turn into a disaster and I might as well get drunk. Bran looked surprised when I nudged the empty glass in his hand; I did not need to ask him for a refill. I could see he had more questions as he handed it back.

“Those marks on your back looked fresh. When and how did you get them?”

“During the show, from a whip.”

He arched his eyebrows with surprise. “I saw no sign…”

“No you would not see. Occasionally the eroticism gets Cervilon so worked up he has these fetishes of bondage and sadism during which, I guess, he punishes me for my wonton wickedness. It is all in his imagination, but with me being a telepath, I share his imaginings as if they are real. The marks appear on my body like a stigmatism.” I could see shock in Bran’s wide staring eyes and partly open mouth. I laughed. “It’s not that bad. Pain really turns me on. At times I even forget my purpose of being here.”

He refilled his own glass before leaning toward me to top up mine with the remaining contents from the bottle. I made no protest.

“If the spirit departed or was taken from a body while that body was still alive, what would be the affect?”

This was beyond any experience of mine that I had to think for a moment. “I suppose the body would still function, but would have no purpose in life. I guess it would be a mindless shell like a zombie.”

“And if the soul could not return to the body after you have finished with it? I read in one book, I think the author was talking about astral travelling, that unless precautions are taken, a body could be subject to demonic possession.”

“Astral travel is a name for the ability of a spirit to move between realities, but has no relevance here. During orgasm, the soul does not actually leave the body. It only becomes visible to me.”

“Or to someone else like you. Could anyone steal a soul, or imprison it during that moment?”

“That is not possible.” I was unsure of where he was aiming in this direction of question. “I would know; I would see anyone making such an attempt.”

“With your abilities as a telepath?” I nodded in response to his question. He continued, “Unless someone distracted you, made you forget your purpose of being here.”

I now realized the meaning of the questions. “Cervilon would not be able. I would telepathically know if he had any such notion.”

“Loriel, using your telepathic powers, what am I thinking of right now?”

Again, the change of tact in his questions took me by surprise. “For some reason, I am unable to read your…” A picture of a young woman with blond hair and carrying a tiny baby came into my mind.

The lop-sided smirk returned and amusement shone in his eye as he must have been aware of my surprise. “That’s my wife, Mika, with our little daughter, Gabriella. I have a mind shield that I can turn on and off by thought. Demons also possess the ability of telepathy. The shield was developed to combat that ability.”

The image disappeared, replaced by my own memory of the dark skinned man I had seduced a few hours before, and the inactivity in his mind when I returned to the theatre. My head span and I felt cold. A sense of fear engulfed me. The sort of fear I felt when the accuser passed sentence on me after I was convicted. Then, it was just one soul I had violated. How many was it now? Even without my knowledge of the crime, I was still guilty.

The room began to sway as I stood and placed the now empty glass on the table beside him. “I need to use the toilet.”

He waved a hand toward a doorway opposite to where we had entered the room.

Although it was true, I did need to use the toilet - even an angel needs to empty her bladder once in a while - I also felt a need to be alone to compose my emotions. As much as I searched for a reason, there was no indication that Bran might be lying to me. I felt naïve and abused that Cervilon could be using me. I certainly did not want to return to my rooms at the Kittie Kavern - just yet. I sat, listening to the low hum of electric powered vehicles from a city that never sleeps, as the sound vibrated through the concrete and glass walls of the hotel.

I am not sure how long I sat there, the thoughts chasing one another through my mind, before I was startled by a knock on the door. “Loriel? Are you all right?”

I felt decisive, that this would be a night I remembered for a long time to come. “Be with you in a moment Hon,” I replied.

Kicking off the high heeled shoes, I removed the tiny lace panties that did just enough to protect my virtue and threw them at the cream ceramic bath. The dress soon followed, and I stood before the mirror in nothing but the fish-net stockings. While removing a slight smudge of eye-shadow with my thumb, I regretted leaving perfume and items of make-up in a bag on the bed, but this would have to do. I did not care if he was married. Tonight TeeRaigo Bran was mine.

Taking a deep breath, I stepped back into the bedroom. Bran was still leaning against the table his legs crossed one ankle over the other, the glass in one hand, the other supporting his weight against the varnished surface. His mouth dropped open as he stared, exactly the expression I was expecting from him. I stood in front of him, straddling his thighs, and put one arm round his shoulder. “Is there more to drink Hon?” I was sure I had heard more than one bottle in the bag.

His hand made a half-hearted gesture toward the bag and I leaned forward so that my nipples rubbed hard against his shirt to search inside. Clutching the neck of a bottle with a metal screw-cap, I needed both hands to remove the top, which allowed me to lean even closer to him so that I could use the one still draped over his shoulder. Without looking at the label on the bottle, I raised it to my lips. Bran opened his mouth as if to speak, but I laid one finger against his lips to silence him. The golden liquid gurgled from the neck of the bottle, swirling around my mouth as I drank. It tasted not unlike aniseed, slightly sweet and a little sickly.

Dropping the bottle on the table, I stood and dragged him toward the bed. I giggled as he staggered from the edge of the table, his glass falling and breaking on the carpet. While I still clung to him, the floor and walls all seemed to tilt at a peculiar angle. I spread my wings in a useless attempt at holding my balance, and cursed at the pain when one twisted under me as we collapsed in a heap.

“You’re drunk,” was all he had chance to say.