This novel is limited to 100 free copies due to its part in Inkitt’s Novel Contest.
Not answering the phone wasn’t like Melissa at all. Zoe had tried texting, calling, leaving a voicemail, but her best friend hadn’t responded in two days. It wasn’t like they were joined at the hip or anything. Still, they usually contacted each other to make plans for the weekend. And the weekend was about to get started without them. Zoe didn’t remember Mel telling her she’d be going out of town. It would’ve been a bad idea anyway with the lottery celebrations--there’d be demons and humans everywhere, celebrating for very different reasons, after the lottery winners were publicly announced that evening.
Zoe tried calling again, even while she rode the elevator up to Melissa’s fourth floor apartment. It rang and rang, then clicked over to voicemail again.
“Thank you for trying to reach Melissa Nguyen,” the message began in a stranger’s feminine voice. “Phone access is no longer a privilege she enjoys. In one month this phone line will be disconnected. Have a wonderful day.”
A busy signal blared in Zoe’s ear and she pulled her phone away from her face. The screen showed her the call had ended, leaving no opportunity to leave a new voicemail. She blinked, panic settling into her gut like so many tangled knots.
The elevator slowed to a stop, binged politely, and the doors slid open. She hurried into the hallway, fearing the worst but not wanting to believe it.
An official government letter tacked to the door of apartment number five confirmed Melissa was gone. She’d never come back. And even if she did, she’d be someone--or something--completely different. Demons were known to modify their slaves to their particular needs and preferences. The ones that didn’t delight in sadistic torture for the sake of torture, anyway. There was no telling what horrific things would happen to Melissa, and there was nothing anyone could do to save her.
Tears pricked at Zoe’s dry eyes and she wiped at them with the cuff of her purple hoodie. She’d never known anyone picked at random by the lottery, let alone someone she cared about--the best friend she’d grown up with since they’d met in eighth grade. They’d known life together before the hell gates yawned open all over the world and demons marched out in droves to enslave humankind. But they’d been the lucky ones, relatively untouched by Earth’s new nightmare regime. The suburbs were a haven in that way: a bubble of American humanity where it felt like freedom still reigned so long as you didn’t watch the news.
“Hey, you’re Mel’s friend, right?”
Zoe jumped with a shout, clutching her phone to her chest. Her heart felt like it might beat right into her hands as she whipped her head to the side. A cute boy stood nearby, hands in his pocket, expression sheepish. Zoe sniffed back more tears and tucked a strand of red hair behind her ear. “Sorry... I didn’t know you were there.”
“It’s cool, sorry I scared you.” He frowned, making him appear closer to thirty than he’d looked at first glance. His eyes scanned over to the letter on Melissa’s apartment door. Former apartment. “She put up a real fight... Not that it matters. In the end.”
“No it...” Zoe nodded, wiping fresh tears from her eyes before they could fall. “It matters to me. To her. I hope.”
“I’m Noah, by the way. I live in number eight.” He held out his hand. “Mel was my laundromat buddy... we liked to talk books and movies and stuff.”
Zoe stared at his hand, her frown turning irritated. How could he just stand there, acting like nothing was the matter with Mel getting snatched out of her life? Out of their lives? “You’re talking like she’s dead.”
Noah’s hand dropped awkwardly to his side and he shrugged, not looking at her face anymore. “I mean, what’s the difference? She’s gone. And you’ve seen what kinds of things they do to their human pets.” He shook his head, expression turning dark. “Half the time they don’t even look or act human anymore. They’re monsters out of some nightmare.”
“I know!” Zoe shoved her phone in her pocket and crossed her arms angrily over her chest. She wasn’t born yesterday, and she didn’t need some random guy who barely knew Melissa telling her things anyone with half a brain cell knew. “You don’t have to be a dick about it. She’s not your best friend. What d’you care?”
“I cared, okay? Past tense.” He ran his fingers through his dark, shaggy hair. “We went on a date last weekend and... But it doesn’t matter now. Just like it didn’t matter when they took my sister. You’re better off moving on, acting like she’s died.”
“There has to be a way to find her. To--”
“Rescue her? From our demonic overlords?” Noah scoffed and shook his head. “You and what army? Oh, that’s right, they destroyed half our armies and enslaved the rest.”
“Fuck you!” Zoe sniffed, tears welling in her eyes again as anger shot through her like a hot knife. She tried the doorknob to Melissa’s apartment and jerked, startled, when the door actually opened.
“What’re you doing?”
“I’m going to see if I can find any information on where they took her.” She didn’t know why she had to justify herself to some asshat who had a crush on Melissa. Noah wasn’t her problem. And she wasn’t his.
He moved to block her from going through the open doorway. “You can’t go in there. It’s trespassing.”
“If you really cared about Melissa, you’d get out of my way.” Zoe balled her fists at her sides, ready to do something irrational and stupid if he pushed her far enough.
Noah pressed his lips into a tight line, but he sighed and side-stepped out of the way, glaring at the hallway’s ugly gray carpet.
Zoe didn’t waste any time rummaging through Melissa’s things. The items would be given to her family to deal with and sort through. But Zoe couldn’t think about the effect this would have on Mr. and Mrs. Nguyen or Melissa’s brother.
She found an open letter on the couch, discarded next to Melissa’s favorite blue and black cardigan. With a shaky hand, she picked the paper up and read.
Congratulations, Melissa Nguyen!
You have been selected by the Human Lottery Commission of the State of California to serve a recent demonic immigrant. All of your belongings are now the property of your next of kin. Your escorts will see you to your new home, where all of your basic needs will be provided until such a time as you pass from this realm. In compliance with the Demon-Human Accord, we must inform you that your new master is legally obligated by the Demonic Council of Earth to ensure you do not expire due to neglect or excessive bodily harm.
Your new master is an incubus who will require your secretions for nourishment.
Do not ask your escorts any questions. Any questions you may have should be directed to your new master upon arrival at your new home. In compliance with the Demon-Human Accord, we must inform you that your new master is under no obligation to respond to any of your questions.
HLC of the State of California
Zoe swallowed, but the hard lump in her throat didn’t dissipate. The letter only gave her one piece of information she didn’t already know, and it wouldn’t be enough to help her help Melissa. She dropped the letter back on the couch, then went through the apartment more thoroughly, looking for any other clues. An hour later, she trudged out of the apartment empty handed.
She stood alone in the hallway, unsure how to feel or what to do. Should I apologize to Noah? Probably. But it would have to be another time--she didn’t feel ready to mend that ravaged little bridge. Not when they were both running high on grief.
She pulled her phone out and scrolled through her contacts, pausing on her mother’s name with the picture of a yellow and black hazard symbol beside it. No, she couldn’t call or text her. Everything turned into a guilt trip with that woman. It was always about her, never anyone else. Not even her own children. Her three little mistakes. Zoe quashed the tiny spring of hope for the moment, scrolling on to her dad’s number. He’d tell her to buck up, to put up strong emotional walls to keep herself from getting hurt. This isn’t our world anymore, Zo, he’d always say. We’ve gotta play by hell’s rules now.
She didn’t need their faux support, their baggage. It was the same story with her older sisters, who were old enough to really remember what the world was like before. They still lived in the past while fearing the future. Zoe didn’t want to live like that, even if she was terrified for Melissa and herself. For everyone she cared about.
That was the spider dangling overhead for all of them: there was no certainty they’d be living their lives as they wanted tomorrow. Even without considering the lottery, humans went missing regularly, or else were found dead.
But the demons didn’t consider human casualties murder victims. They were slaughtered animals. Accidental deaths.
Zoe took the bus home, her mind made up on what she had to do. She’d figure out what Melissa was in for in her new life. And maybe that would help lead her to a much needed path of acceptance.
It wasn’t difficult to stumble across incubus focused forums and cam sites online. Zoe created a fake profile--curiouskitten21--on the most popular cam site. Then it was time to feign interest in learning about incubi for sexual reasons. But via chat only; she didn’t want to show her face, or any other parts of herself, to any demons. Her research was a one-way street.
The first handful of cam shows she tried weren’t anything special. Some sexy dancing, some showing off of impressive cocks and the thick prehensile tails lust demons were known for. But on the second night Zoe found an incubus--majormilkguzzler--was putting on just the sort of performance she was interested in.
He paraded his collection of nude humans in front of the camera, lining them up in front of a wall decorated with an array of restraints. Three of the women acted like they were ready to put on a sexy show by gyrating their hips, bouncing on their heels to make their huge breasts bounce and sway, and giving the camera come-hither looks. Zoe’s eyes were drawn back to their breasts--ignoring the fourth woman with a more modestly endowed chest that she covered with her hands.
Sure, she’d seen demonically altered humans before at the store or on the street, in various states of dress, but it was always a good plan to not make eye-contact with slaves. It put them in a potentially bad position, and it drew the attention of their demonic masters. Staring wasn’t something she could do in public. Neither was engaging in conversation with a demon or their slave if she valued anything in her life. The internet was the only way she’d figure out exactly how the demons did what they did from a position of safety.
Zoe swallowed hard as the incubus--dressed in boots and tight red jeans that showcased the musculature of his thick thighs and the bulge between them--introduced his happy slaves by name and caressed each one lovingly. Ava. Belle. Candy. His fingers stroked the beautiful curves of their huge, swollen breasts, eliciting white droplets of milk from their thick nipples.
A steady, embarrassing throb began between Zoe’s thighs. She didn’t want to think about why, but her mind ran away with the desire to be touched like that, to be wanted and so obviously cherished by a handsome man full of confidence and sex appeal. She reached up to gently trail her fingertips over her own breasts through the fabric of her sleep shirt. Her nipples hardened into tight insignificant nubs, barely the size of pencil erasers. She watched the incubus on her screen lift Candy’s heavy breast to his mouth while murmuring to her, then his long, forked tongue darted out to flick her nipple in all directions. Each flick elicited a moan from Candy and more droplets of milk, the incubus’s main food source.
The incubus turned away from his slaves to check his computer, and Zoe came back to her senses. Her cheeks flushed at her actions and she crossed her arms over her chest, tucking her hands tightly under her arms.
Stop being turned on by this! It’s human degradation at its finest! It shouldn’t be sexy! You shouldn’t want to be treated like that! Or look like that!
Zoe bit her bottom lip hard, closing her eyes tight. That last thought... Where had that come from? No, she knew it had been lurking there, under the surface, for some time. She just didn’t want to acknowledge it, didn’t want to know how long it had been there, hiding shamefully, taunting her with pangs of jealousy every time she saw a woman owned by a lust demon.
There was something wrong with her. Had to be. She glared at the incubus while he typed back to his viewers. This was his fault and the fault of all the other demons like him. They knew exactly what they were doing. Knew the pull they had over the human mind, the human libido.
She was a complete idiot for trying to research their methods of transformation. What did it matter in the end? Melissa was gone, just like Noah had said. Nothing Zoe learned could change that.
It was the fourth woman, the thick, curvy one with short blonde hair.
“This one?” The incubus smiled back at the camera as he touched the side of the woman’s face like one might pet a dog. “This is Dolly, my newest pet. A gift from a friend who was tired of her ungrateful nature.”
“My name is Elizabeth! Elizabeth Becker! I’m from Ocean City, Ma--”
A ball gag prevented more than frantic, muffled sounds. The incubus strapped it tightly to her head while holding her close with his tail. She tried to shove him away, but he was too strong. After a brief struggle, Dolly was tethered to the wall with her wrists strapped snuggly above her head.
The incubus turned and sighed dramatically, running his hand down his abs before adjusting his obvious hard-on. “These feisty young ones, they have no understanding of their place. What should I do with my naughty Dolly?”
On screen, the chat flooded with messages. Suggestions, praise, and--for the first time Zoe had noticed--a slew of viewers begging to trade places with Dolly. She blinked at that, her insides clenching uncomfortably. But if she was still watching, it was for her mission, not because she had issues she didn’t want to examine. This was for Melissa. Or, at the very least, for Zoe’s own sick peace of mind. Although what majormilkguzzler was showing her wasn’t giving her much hope for Melissa’s future.
Major scanned the chat again while massaging his thick length over his jeans. He chuckled. “Bunch of tourists tonight. I’m putting on this show for demons, pets. Not so you humans can jerk it to my slaves and my dick.”
Zoe licked her lips and swallowed, straightening up in her seat with determination. This was her chance. Her moment to find out what an internet search wouldn’t tell her. For some reason, the demons kept the true extent and nature of their powers a closely guarded secret. Zoe could guess it had to do with wanting to prevent human exploitation of them via their powers, or a potential human coup. Which meant this was her only means of research left. Hopefully Major wouldn’t be too guarded.
She hurriedly typed out a message, wondering if he’d catch it in the stream of chatter.
Major smiled, the wicked curve of his lips making him even more handsome. With his head tilted the way it was, his horns out of view and the muscled contours of his chest and stomach visible, he almost looked human.
“Make her breasts grow,” he read aloud, his voice a delighted purr. “Well, looks like Curious Kitten Twenty-one lives up to their name.”
He crossed back to Dolly, who struggled against her bonds and arched away from him. Already her breasts were larger than Zoe’s by at least a full cup size, but they were nothing compared to the other women. Major caressed Dolly’s breast, squeezed it slowly, walked his fingers up to her rosy nipple and pinched.
Dolly squirmed and cried out behind her ball gag. The other women moaned and danced in place, hands clasped behind their backs. Their breasts leaked streams of milk, dribbling down onto their legs and the floor.
“Master,” Belle muttered. “Master, please.”
“Please what, Belle?” Major’s tail whipped into view and slid sinuously up Dolly’s inner thigh. She clamped her legs together tightly, but they were no match for the sheer muscle of the incubus’s tail. He worked the appendage between her legs and wrapped it up over one hip, pressing tightly against her bare pussy.
Zoe’s heart pounded away, her research forgotten. She desperately needed to know if Belle would say something to upset her master. Or something that would delight him. Her mind filled with all manner of scenarios for punishment and reward, each one more thrilling than the last.
“Please make sister Dolly yours,” Belle pleaded, her chest heaving.
“Yes, please,” the other women chimed in eagerly, talking over one another.
“Do you see how sweet your sisters are, Dolly?” Major pinched her nipple again to another muffled cry. She shook her head, no. “They want their master to be happy, to have everything he needs and wants. Soon you’ll learn you want the same. And you’ll know the reason you live is to feed my appetites.”
He cupped Dolly’s breasts, one in each hand, squeezing so tightly his fingers sank into her flesh. This time, she didn’t move away, didn’t fight him. Though she did squirm every time his tail, glistening with her wetness, undulated against her sex. She gazed at him through heavy-lidded eyes, head resting against her shoulder, while he chanted in a harsh, strange language Zoe had never heard before.
His voice sounded like something out of a nightmare--otherworldly and ethereally layered as if many voices spoke at once. Where his eyes had looked a human brown before, they began to glow yellow from within as his chanting increased in tempo. Beneath his hands, red light began to emanate, seeping from his fingers into Dolly’s skin.
She gasped and moaned against her gag, spittle trickling down her cheek as she arched her back into his demonic touch. Her eyes slipped closed and she writhed against him in ecstasy, rocking her hips and chest against his tail and hands. Slowly, imperceptibly at first, her breasts began to swell. Between Major’s knuckles, her nipples turned a darker shade of rosy brown as they thickened and grew in length.
Zoe brushed her fingers over her own hard nipple, tiny and pathetic in comparison. She could imagine how sensitive Dolly’s nipples would be now, how they’d feel, how sexy they’d look trapped beneath clothing that would struggle and fail to hide them. Anywhere Major took her, she’d be viewed as a sexual being no matter how she dressed or acted.
“Appalling!” Zoe blurted out, her voice loud and startling in her quiet studio apartment.
Then why I am I breathing so hard? Why am I soaking through my pajama pants? Why won’t my pussy stop throbbing just thinking about being in her place?
Zoe moved her mouse cursor, ready to close her browser and erase her browser history. She hesitated, watching Major remove Dolly’s gag. His eyes had lost their golden glow and his hands moved to caress Dolly’s breasts. Perfectly rounded, heavy yet perky, they’d grown twice their original size. They were still the smallest on screen, but Zoe wished her own breasts were half as big and beautiful. Major hefted them, testing their weight with a self-satisfied smile before letting them drop. Dolly grunted, sucking her bottom lip into her mouth as she twisted from side to side, making her breasts sway.
“Thank you, Master,” Dolly slurred.
“You were jealous of your sister’s teats, weren’t you? Embarrassed by your small chest, your small offering to your master.” Major licked her saliva off the side of her face with a delighted hum. He wrapped his finger and thumb around her prominent nipple, pulling and stroking it like a tiny cock. Little beads of milk formed, but his fingers smeared them away.
Dolly nodded, ducking her face into her shoulder.
“Your former master made you wait too long. She was causing the problem.” He clucked his tongue in disapproval. “Ah well, you’re mine now. And Master will always take good care of you if you take good care of him.”
Zoe’s breath caught in her chest at the gaze of adoration Dolly leveled at her incubus master. Would Melissa be so lucky to have a master that cared about her in some way? Or would she end up with one who tortured her for fun? Or who would discard her at the first sign of a conflict?
Once a human was in the demon ownership system, they were a slave until they perished. And for some humans, that wasn’t an easy out. Demons had so many powers up their sleeves: magic to imbue youthfulness, longevity, and even to change the internal workings of a human until they were scarcely human anymore. Now Zoe knew at least their transformation magic involved touch and incantations. There was no telling if all their abilities worked the same way; the power she’d just witnessed might be something only lust demons could do.
She closed the cam channel and stared at the myriad thumbnails of similar channels on her account’s dashboard screen. There were too many conflicting feelings vying for top billing in her head and her heart. Her stomach twisted in knots and she felt like she might be sick if she didn’t find a way to destress. Maybe a drink would be good--she had a couple beers in the fridge from the weekend before.
A private message notification popped up on screen. Zoe’s heart leapt and she chewed at a loose piece of skin on her bottom lip. She didn’t know if she should read it or not, but one glance at the username made her suck in a sharp breath.
Heart fluttering wildly, she clicked through.
Don’t run, little kitty. My sweet Dolly wants to show her thanks to you for helping us.
Another notification popped up--an invitation to a private video chat with Major himself. Wasn’t that usually reserved for people paying for one-on-one sessions? She hadn’t even tipped him in chat, other than the initial dollar to join.
“Oh shit,” Zoe muttered. She looked around at her furniture, her bookshelves, her drawn blinds and curtains. Nothing gave her any good excuses to back out. She could close her laptop. She should close her laptop.
But that tight, hot throbbing kicked up again between her thighs and it was hard to argue with her curiosity. What would it hurt to watch a little more? She’d already gone this far. Already embarrassed herself and... well she’d inadvertently helped someone. And a demon. Hadn’t that been part of her goal? Only with Melissa specifically in mind, of course.
This is all for Melissa. I might learn something new in private. Something to help me help her... Hopefully in a very different way. And I can always shut my computer off at any time. I’m in control of my own actions.
She took a deep breath, not fully convinced by her thoughts, and clicked accept.
There was a slight delay while Major joined the private chat, but when he and Dolly appeared on the screen it was a much more intimate shot. They sat together, Dolly on Major’s lap, right in front of the camera. She couldn’t keep her hands off her own breasts, rubbing and massaging them. Squeezing them as she let out little groans of abject pleasure.
Zoe gawked, wondering if the demon’s magic had pleasure enhancing side effects. That was something she’d never read or heard about.
“Hello, little kitty.” Major grinned and brushed a strand of long hair around one of his short, pointy horns. “We’d really like to see you. Won’t you say hello?”
No. That had to be where Zoe drew a line. Her research wasn’t meant to involve her directly--wasn’t that level of anonymity one of the beauties of the internet? She hurriedly typed: sorry, no.
Dolly frowned, but didn’t stop touching her breasts, which looked like they’d grown again while Zoe’d been talking herself into this mess. But that might have been a trick of the camera. Regardless, Zoe had to marvel at the lack of stretch-marks on the beautiful curves of Dolly’s new breasts.
“I’m afraid I can’t give a private show for free, no matter how grateful we are. I have to make money somehow. I’m sure you understand. So I thought it would balance out the lack of compensation if I could watch you while we play for you.” Major pressed Dolly’s breasts together and lifted them, showing off just how pillowy and soft they were.
“Please, Kitten?” Dolly begged, breathless as Major pinched one of her nipples and stretched it playfully.
Zoe checked her hair, then straightened her thin tee, ignoring how her breasts formed sorry triangular peaks beneath it. The incubus couldn’t be expecting some human woman to his taste anyway. If she were demonically endowed, she wouldn’t be on a computer checking out cam shows.
Before she could dwell on how horrible her choices were, she took the sticky-note off of her webcam lens and connected it to the chat. Her nervous face appeared in the corner of the screen, red hair limp and... I don’t need to impress him with my appearance!
“Well hello, little kitty,” Major nodded toward the camera. “Thank you for joining us. Did you like our little show?”
Zoe swallowed around the thick lump in her throat. She had a feeling he’d guess if she lied--she was a terrible liar. And what was the point? If she hadn’t liked it, she would’ve logged off already. “Yes.”
“Dolly wants you to know she’s not a bad girl, but a very good girl. Tonight’s show was one of the games we play. If we can get a request for the reward she’s earned, we give a little private time to the requester.”
“So long as they show their face,” Zoe said, deadpan. Inside she was relieved Dolly’s struggle had all been a put on, a performance. It loosened some of the tightest knots in her gut. But this seemed like some sort of marketing racket, which thankfully made things feel a lot less sexy. Though it was hard to not find Major attractive up close and personal. His shoulders were broad and perfectly toned, his smile charming, and his hands looked strong yet soft. He wasn’t someone who performed a lot of manual labor, so the muscles had to come from a gym or demon magic.
“It’s only fair, don’t you think? Besides, I had a hunch about you and wanted to see if I was right.” He lifted both of Dolly’s breasts to his mouth and licked between them with his sinuous forked tongue. It was like something between a human tongue and a snake’s, and Zoe hated that she wanted to know what it felt like on her skin. “I thought you might be a real live human girl, genuinely curious about demons like me.”
“Here I am.” Zoe shrugged, feigning nonchalance. The fabric of her shirt teased her arousal-hardened nipples as it shifted with her shoulders. She resolved not to move again, placing her hands safely in her lap. “But I’m not a girl. I’m--”
“Right.” Zoe’s cheeks flushed. She should’ve chosen a different number for her username.
“You’re a curious twenty-one year old.” Major rubbed his lips over Dolly’s nipples, mouthing at them to a string of incoherent sounds from Dolly herself. His tongue darted out, teasing the bumpy dark pink nubs to full attention. Each one was nearly the size of Major’s little finger and steadily beading with white flecks of milk. “What are you curious about?”
Zoe opened her mouth to speak, but hesitated. She ducked her head, averting her eyes so she could concentrate on figuring out how candid she could afford to be with this demonic stranger and his human lapdog. Or cow, as it were.
“Don’t be shy.” Major smirked, and then lashed his tongue around both of Dolly’s nipples. It looked impossible, but his tongue was longer than he’d let on and his control over it was as impressive as it was hot. Tugging with quick, tight squeezes, his tongue squirted arcing streams of milk straight from Dolly’s nipples into his waiting mouth.
“Oh God,” Zoe whispered, eyes wide. He was milking her with his tongue. She should’ve been disgusted, turned off. But the rapid throb of her pussy and sudden flood of wetness meant there was no denying to herself she loved it.
Major latched onto both nipples, engulfing them in his mouth to suckle directly from the source. Dolly moaned and sighed, rocking her hips in a circular motion, obviously craving friction and attention in more than one sensitive place.
“I...” I want to know what it feels like to be owned, changed, and used by an incubus. Zoe trailed off, frowning. She’d used Melissa’s loss of freedom and autonomy as an excuse to dig deeper into an uncomfortable sexual fantasy.
“She’s sad, Master,” Dolly said, her fair brows drawn together like a dejected puppy’s. “I wanted to make her happy like she made us.”
He pulled free of Dolly’s breasts and licked his lips. Studying Zoe, a slow smirk spread across his spit and milk slicked lips. “Sometimes, pet, humans become upset when they learn the truth about themselves.”
“You don’t know anything about me!” Zoe glared at the incubus.
“I know that look, the desire in your pretty blue eyes. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, little kitty. And it’s not like you’re the only one to ever want to throw away their boring human life for one with a concentrated purpose.” Major stroked his finger along Dolly’s jaw to the dainty tip of her chin. He gazed into her eyes, smiling with warmth and affection Zoe hadn’t expected to see on a demon’s face. “Dolly knows her purpose and it gives her security she lacked in her old life. Isn’t that right?”
“Yes, Master. I’m here for you.” She said, gazing back at him with the same intensity in her eyes. “To feed you, to please you, to make your friends jealous of your perfect little doll.”
“I don’t want to throw my life away just because I’m turned on by... you.” Zoe shook her head, emphasizing her point with a glare. Major didn’t know her or her thoughts and feelings. He was guessing, trying to get a rise out of her. And it was working in the worst way.
She closed all her browser windows and leveled her angry stare at the sleeping cat picture set as her desktop wallpaper. Throwing away her life wasn’t what she wanted or needed. She needed to move on, to get her life back on track.
Where was she in life anyway? Stuck at a dead-end office job answering phones and filing papers for literal demon lawyers. Her coworkers were awful gossiping meddlers, socially inept, or overtly getting special treatment for submitting to sexual favors. Her family members were fatalistic, toxic, and unbearable. Her last boyfriend had left her for an older, more established woman who was interested in building a family, which was something Zoe felt vehemently against. Why make more fodder for the demons on purpose? Why set yourselves up for a chance at the worst heartbreak imaginable? It wasn’t in her, just like planning for a long term future had been something she’d neglected and avoided.
She didn’t have any real goals other than not losing her apartment. Maybe she’d get a cat eventually, but now she didn’t have anyone local she could trust to take care of it if she ended up with the same fate as Melissa.
In the end, she wasn’t so different from her family, she realized. She’d insulated herself, put up barriers to the outside world while it grew more alien, more terrifying for a human living paycheck-to-paycheck. It was assumed the rich could, and did, buy off the Human Lottery Commissioners if any family or friends’ names popped up. Or maybe they bought them off to have names omitted from the lists altogether. The theories varied, but the results were the same: only the poor and middle class ever ended up chosen by the lottery.
A glance at the clock told Zoe it was eleven on a Friday night and she was at home, in her pajamas. Horny, angry, and alone.
Pulling up Facebook, she scanned her newsfeed before jumping into a private message to a few of her other friends. Maybe a couple of them would want to go out or were already at a club or bar. She might not have trusted them with the more important things in life, but they were fun to hang out and party with.
While she waited for replies, she hurried to get ready in a slinky turquoise dress with a low neckline. She donned her favorite black push-up bra, one she’d bought a size too big and stuffed extra pads into, and adjusted her breasts in the mirror. Her cleavage looked amazing. It didn’t matter that her areolas were barely hidden from the edges of the cups. And if she wanted to have a one night fling, a little areola slip wouldn’t hurt anything.
She checked her messages, and had a single reply from Stacy, who was having an anniversary date night with her girlfriend. It had only been about five minutes, so she put on a little makeup, put some mousse in her hair, and picked out a pair of purple, peek-toe heels.
Another check of her computer showed no new replies.
Scanning her newsfeed, she noticed a new face in the “people you may know” suggestions: Noah Jacobsen.
A fresh idea popped into her mind. It was probably horrible, terrible... but wasn’t that the sort of person she really was? Fueled by frustration she wanted to kill with sex and sweat, she sent Noah a message.
I’m sorry about the other day, you were right and I was shocked and upset. Do you want to meet up? We can go out and have some fun.
Zoe (Melissa’s friend)
Two minutes later a notification of his reply appeared.
I’m not into the bar scene. Wanna come over and watch a movie?
Zoe pouted at the screen and sighed. At his place, she’d be all dressed up and stuck with a guy who’d been into her much prettier friend. There’d be no options for alternatives. But maybe Noah’d be interested in a little rebound.
The door to Noah’s apartment opened and his placid smile turned into wide-eyed awe as he looked Zoe up and down. “Wow, you uh, you didn’t have to dress up or anything.”
“I was ready to go out so I didn’t bother changing again.” She shrugged it off. At least his lingering gaze meant she’d have a better chance of getting him into a compromising position. He really was cute in the boy-next-door kind of way. Very normal, very human.
“Now I feel bad about going the t-shirt and jeans route. And not wearing shoes.” He looked down at his sock clad feet, then smiled at Zoe again and waved her in. “No reason to stand out in the hallway.”
“Thanks, this is...” She looked around as he closed the door, taking in the framed movie posters on the walls and shelves dotted with boxed action figures. Two large bookshelves were stuffed to the brim with DVD box sets and special editions. Another shorter shelf held books, with three towering stacks of hardbacks on top. There went her hopes he was inviting her over under false pretenses. “Cool. You’ve got quite the collections.”
“Oh thanks. Yeah, I... I’m a real film buff. I have a review column in the local paper and I run a movie blog online.” He gestured for her to take a seat on the couch. “Make yourself comfortable and tell me what kind of movies you like.”
Zoe leaned forward, lifting one foot up behind her to slip off a heel. She knew perfectly well the great view Noah had down the front of her dress. Hopefully he liked what he saw. “Movies with a lot of action and maybe a little romance.”
“Like shooting and explosions?” He cleared his throat.
“Yeah, lots of shooting and explosions. Big guns. That sort of stuff.” She tugged off her other shoe and set both neatly by the door. When she straightened up, Noah had moved in closer.
“So maybe I’m reading this wrong, but uh, you didn’t come over here to watch a movie, did you?” He ran a hand back through his shaggy, black hair, looking somewhere between confident and nervous as hell.
“It wasn’t exactly on the top of my list.” Zoe reached out to trail her fingers down his shoulder and over his arm.
Noah’s brows furrowed and he looked at her with a pained smile. He took her hand off his arm and held it in his hands. “When Mel talked about you, she always told me how she admired you for being level-headed no matter what. Even in a crisis. Maybe especially in a crisis.” He shook his head. “What are you doing?”
“Trying to prove something to myself. Trying to move on.” Zoe frowned at him and took her hand back, crossing her arms and looking away from him. She couldn’t look him in the face at that moment--he’d seen right through her, right to the core of her tangled nest of unpleasant issues.
“You really think semi-anonymous sex is going to fix how you feel? That’s not how moving on works. There’s still a mourning process. I’m in the middle of mine, too, so I thought maybe hanging out together we could do something positive in solidarity.” Noah gestured at himself, to his scruffy face, his wrinkled black Pulp Fiction shirt, and his rumpled jeans. “Look at me. I’m barely holding it together. I’m down. I’m angry. I don’t know what to do with myself other than go through the motions and wait for things to look brighter again.”
“I don’t want to wait around for things to look brighter. I want to make them brighter,” Zoe said, looking at him again with a dark expression. Maybe waiting and wallowing was what worked for Noah, but that wasn’t going to work for Zoe. She’d always pushed through, powered by the need to make things better as soon as possible. She wasn’t going to turn into her father or mother. One wallowed while the other lived on the fumes of her own vitriol. It wasn’t an option. “I think I should go. I’m sorry.”
“You can stay if you want, just... not for that.” Noah’s eyes pleaded with her, but she was done. All she could see there was the same pained look her dad wore like a mask.
“Thanks for having me over. Goodnight.” Zoe snatched up her shoes, then hurried out the door while Noah blustered behind her.
Down the hall, she paused beside Melissa’s old apartment door while she put her shoes back on. The government letter stared back at her and she felt the uncomfortable, seething knot resettle in her stomach.
Outside she looked at the nearby bus stop, but didn’t head towards it. Instead she wandered aimlessly down the sidewalk, looking at the businesses she passed. She waited for the light to change, then crossed the intersection and kept on going toward the heart of the city. The more she walked, the more demons she saw walking to and from buildings. Some sported incredible horns, others had cloven feet or claws, a few had wings or tails.
She couldn’t help but stare at a hulking demon who looked like a minotaur out of old Greek myths--his only clothing a black kilt that did little to hide his monstrous package while he sat splay legged on the stairs to an old brick apartment building. He tugged on a thick leather leash, and a naked human man on all fours stumbled down the stairs beside him. The human rubbed his hip against the minotaur’s furry knee and was rewarded with a firm slap on his ass.
Zoe jumped at the crack of skin on skin and walked faster. She didn’t know where she was going, but she knew she didn’t need to stare. Especially not when what she saw turned her on. Getting aroused when incubi and succubi were likely to be around was a bad idea. They could smell human pheromones too easily.
There’d been a decent human run club another block down, she remembered, right around the corner from a human obedience school that used to be a dance studio. The club had been called Angel’s Haven, but Zoe and her friends had stopped going there when the human to demon ratio had begun to shift closer to fifty-fifty.
Maybe I don’t mind anymore. Maybe I’ll find what I want... An experience Mr. Normal couldn’t give me.
What good was normal in this world anyway? Everything hung on a thread of hope it wouldn’t be destroyed by demons, either through their lottery system or some future political change. For now they tolerated the humans’ lobbying for continued voices in government proceedings, but how long would it really last? Zoe had no hopes things would stay the same for the next decade. Already looking around the community she used to know and love, everything had changed. Only a human deli and chain bookstore remained, the rest had been turned into demon run businesses. Some looked like human stores, but Zoe was still of an age to be able to recognize the chains and local businesses demons had bought out. The next generation, though? They’d have no idea, no way of knowing since the demons covered that shit up.
She rounded the corner, excusing herself after almost walking into a scaly demon with leathery bat-like wings tucked close to her back. Where Angel’s Haven used to be nestled between the corner sandwich shop--which now proudly specialized in human meat--and a record store, Earthly Delights sat.
Zoe looked at the window posters depicting scantily clad human men and women, particularly those that had been demonically enhanced. Her cheeks flamed as her gaze settled on what was going on inside the shop. Along each oddly angled wall, nude human torsos were on display. At first, she thought they were disembodied trophies, but watching the demons inside suckling at engorged nipples, cocks, and pussies meant the humans were very much alive and intact.
It was a lust demon café.
“We’re not hiring right now, sorry.”
Zoe jerked upright, hand going to her chest. She looked at the demon who’d silently opened the café door beside her, wide-eyed and speechless. Hiring? So those people aren’t slaves? They’re employed? She’d never heard of that sort of thing--only consignment of slaves.
“We usually have openings every few months. And our other two locations might be hiring right now, I’m not sure,” the demon said with a charming, razor sharp smile. His curling ram-like horns and furry legs indicated he wasn’t a lust demon, but Zoe had no idea what classification he fell under. Something faun-like or satyr-like, maybe.
“They’re not slaves?” Zoe asked, needing to know. If people were signing up to be lust demon dishes and getting magically transformed as part of the process...
“Oh, they’re slaves, yeah, but their masters allow them to work. Or make them work, depending.” Stepping out onto the sidewalk, he pulled a pack of cigarettes and a lighter out of his cargo shorts pocket and lit up. Zoe noticed his nametag read Jason. “You a free agent?”
“Yes.” Zoe stood up straighter, feigning confidence and pride she didn’t feel. And how could she when she craved things no rational human should want.
Her eyes drifted back to the café window and she caught a glimpse of a succubus withdrawing her wet hand from a swollen-lipped pussy. The demon’s forked tongue snaked out to lick every drop of moisture from her own skin before she ducked her head down to bury her tongue inside the still human.
“You haven’t run off yet. You must like what you see.” Jason exhaled a puff of smoke into the streetlamp lit night. “Only problem is, you wouldn’t be able to handle anything our customers would want to do to get at your sweet nectar.”
Zoe glared at her reflection in the window, at her falsely enhanced cleavage and irritable expression. She chose to ignore Jason’s comment since he was being honest and she knew he was right. Her momentary desire to find the other locations and enquire about employment evaporated before they’d been able to take real root.
“Why aren’t the humans moving? Is it the way they’re tethered into the backs of the walls?” Zoe glanced over at Jason, unable to refocus her eyes to see through the glass.
“They’re mildly sedated so they remain relaxed. Any tensing could be bad for their health. Their booths are cushioned, though. Real comfy. And with the walls angled like that, so everything hangs and drips down, it’s like they’re sort of laying down. I’d offer to show you, but I’d get in trouble with my boss. She doesn’t like free agents.” He puffed away at his cigarette and shrugged, flicking ash off onto the sidewalk.
“Oh.” Zoe didn’t know what else to say. What had she expected?
To be less turned on at the idea of being on display for use as a feeding station. To not want demons sucking on my nipples and playing with my pussy, hungry for my fluids.
Zoe’s skin felt hot and her pussy throbbed traitorously, soaking the tiny triangle of fabric covering it. There was definitely something seriously wrong with her. She needed to get on the bus and get her ass home before she did something stupid. Hadn’t she already screwed up with Noah by listening to her libido?
“Hey, there’s a place on Fifth and Oak called Eden Acquisitions. It’s a volunteer agency.” Jason took a long drag on his cigarette and blew out a couple of smoke rings. He smiled at Zoe, gesturing to his handiwork with his lit cigarette. “Not even a smirk, huh? Yeah, you’re pretty jaded, I can tell. Look, if you’re tired of the way things are, they can help.”
A volunteer agency. Zoe knew about those, but she hadn’t thought much of them. They seemed like the sort of route people with no other options took. She still had a life, even if it was mediocre. She had a job, an apartment, a few friends, a dysfunctional family... No matter how far from perfect they were, they were all hers.
“I’m not interested, but thanks.” Zoe said with a polite nod. She stepped away from the window, forcing herself not to look at it or through it again.
Jason hurriedly dug his wallet out of his back pocket and flipped out a business card between two fingers. “Here, just in case you change your mind.”
Zoe took the card, wetting her lips as she scanned the bland corporate typeface and phone number.
Eden Acquisitions. Choose the master of your destiny.
“They make it sound like a matchmaking service, not a place where you sign away your life.” She arched a thin brow, looking up at Jason again. Why did he have business cards for the place?
“It sort of is, in a way. They let you pick the type of demon you want to be assigned to. It’s more than other agencies do.” He shrugged when Zoe’s expression didn’t change. “Hey, my cousin works there. She’s better at the sales pitches than I am.”
Zoe rolled her eyes and slid the card into her bra with her license and debit card. “Good for her.”
She waved and walked off, towards the nearest bus stop, feeling more unsure of herself than ever.
On the bus ride home, she couldn’t stop thinking about the future in a way she never had as an adult or teen. She hadn’t dared fantasize about that since she’d been a child, playing dolls and dress up with Melissa. All little Zoe had wanted was to be secure and cherished, a husband who would find her beautiful and charming, and a few cats to make their house whole.
She thought about Noah, about how open hearted he was with her, how he would’ve been a good match for Melissa. Or for her.
So why didn’t grown-up Zoe want that simple, happy life?
She pulled the business card out of her bra and read it again.
Choose the master of your destiny.
It was so desirable, so close to the core of what she wanted now, what she’d wanted back then but hadn’t needed to reframe for a demonic future. Security at the hands of another. And wouldn’t an incubus cherish her for at least her ability to provide nourishment, if nothing else?
She flipped the card over to find another tagline.
Meet your fate with open eyes.
Her heart raced and her breathing picked up as she considered doing exactly what the little black and white card implored. She’d have some say in what happened to her, and more security than anyone who remained a so-called free agent. There wouldn’t be the fear of being picked by the lottery hanging over her head. She could choose an incubus, avoiding the chance of being given to a sadistic fear demon or a minotaur who wouldn’t change her body in the ways she wanted.
At home she undressed and slipped into bed, grabbing her favorite vibrator from her nightstand drawer. She pinched and pulled on her small nipples, pretending they were thick and long, well used to being sucked and played with by a hungry demon mouth. Her other hand trailed the vibrator between her folds, teasing and dancing over her clit as she bucked up against it. In her mind it was Major’s tongue, flicking and caressing her, tasting her for the first time. She came with a startled moan and thrust the vibrator into her clenching pussy, riding out another wave of orgasm as it crashed into the first.
Panting and tender, she blinked up at her ceiling as she pulled the vibrator free and clicked it off. Lifting it to her mouth, she pressed the smooth tip to her lips before flicking her tongue out to taste her own juices. Slowly she worked the toy into her mouth, licking and mouthing it until it was clean. She stroked her fingers between her pussy lips, wishing her fingers were masculine ones belonging to a sexy incubus as much as she wished the slim, purple toy tickling the back of her throat was a thick, vein-ridged demon cock.
There was no denying what she wanted, what she craved, while she indulged in her illicit fantasy.
It might not be everything she wanted, but it would at the very least give her what she needed. Unlike the timid, futureless, fearful life she’d been made to lead. Tomorrow she’d volunteer. She’d make her final choice, the only one that really mattered. And then she’d start to live.
Stephen Warner: To start off, I am thoroughly impressed. The writing style is somewhat unique, and the plot seemed to move at a nice and steady pace. However, I was not expecting this to be a vampire book! I am usually not one for novels about vampires, but I was pleasantly surprised! You wrote with such grace a...
Catherine Kopf: Wow! This was a really great story. I really enjoy reading fantasy, so it didn't take long for me to become invested in the book and its characters like Jacob. I really liked your writing style, and it seemed to flow very well. The descriptions that you used for your world were also created n...
baguilera79rm: Omg I love this book. There needs to be a part two! The way you wrote this book had me hooked, I needed to keep reading.i really feel a sequel should be made. I liked how you changed the point of view in the story. I also loved how you described their actions.
Marijana1: The melancholy present throughout this story has the power to influence and etch into the minds of the readers, to stay there and refuse to leave even after they have finished reading the story. This is a deep, powerful story, making the readers wonder about everything – about love, about their e...
Hudson: Your story was fantastic Erin! The Rising Sun was one of the first stories I read on Inkitt, and I have to say I don't regret the three to four days I spent pouring through the story.Probably the biggest strength I see in your writing is your characterisation of Eliana, Oriens, and the rest of th...
Sara Grover: Being that this is your first story and I assume first draft, a lot of little mistakes are common, we all have made them; little things like your instead of you're, missed capitalization, missing punctuation, etc. As for the plot, I have a lot of questions and I did leave comments on certain sect...
genlynne2379: I read the other review of this book and I must say that I disagree with it wholeheartedly. I do not believe the author put the apostrophes in the names just to be unique, but because the characters are supposedly of a different race than humans. They are Anmah. They should have different names a...
JONANNA: As an avid reader it is not often I say that about a book. The plot is what was different and the twists where unexpected. This book is defiantly a page turner and enjoyable read. I can't wait to reread this novel after a little editing to finish off the shine on this wonderful novel.
Alisha Banks: You have me hooked! I immediately upon finishing the first book had to start the second. It is a captivating story and I can't wait to finish the other two book! I will definitely be recommending this book to others to read!