“Tourist” Available as Podcast

My erotic time travel short story “Tourist” is now available as an audio podcast on Nobilis Erotica!

I am very grateful to Nobilis for including my stories in his wonderful series of podcasts. When he asked if I would allow him to present “Tourist” I seized the opportunity to have another story turned into a sexy audio treat.  It is so cool to experience my stories in this medium, to hear how the voice talent interprets my words. I am always delighted at the results! 

For “Tourist,” Nobilis tapped the beautiful voice of Rose Caraway of The Kiss Me Quick’s audio-erotica website.  “Tourist” is set in Berlin Germany during the 1920s, and with a scattering of German throughout the story, I knew the production might be a challenge, but my goodness, Rose did a beautiful job, German and all!  The podcast turned out amazing, and it gave me chill-bumps to hear my story so eloquently told. 

You can listen to “Tourist” at Nobilis Erotica, or you can download it from iTunes, and if you like what you hear, you can subscribe to Nobilis Erotica and The Kiss Me Quick’s podcasts and hear more sexy stories!

You can also check out my other stories produced by Nobilis.  There are excerpts from my Eppie award winning erotic fantasy novel Woman of the Mountain and from my erotic sci-fi novel Man’s World, and you can also hear my erotic short story “Calendar Girl.”

If you want to read “Tourist” and other erotic time travel stories (including Nobilis Reed’s story “A Man, A Woman, And A Time Machine”) pick up the Circlet Press ebook, Like the Hand of Time, available at Circlet, Amazon and Smashwords.

“Tourist” in Like the Hand of Time

My short story “Tourist” was just published in the Circlet Press anthology Like the Hands of Time. “Tourist” is the tale of a man who travels back in time to fulfill a fantasy and visit his favorite era of history, Germany in the late years of the Weimar Republic, not long before the rise of Adolph Hitler, when a lot of good parties were replaced by one bad one.

Germany between the World Wars was a fascinating place, not only for the art, theater, architecture, and film that the culture produced, but because German cities, Berlin in particular, were like experiments in a freedom of sexual expression that was revolutionary in modern times and prefigured the permissive societies that became more common near the end of the century.

The book Voluptuous Panic, the Erotic World of Weimar Berlin, by Mel Gordon, is a wonderful history of the time and place and I drew heavily on Mr. Gordon’s volume for the details of my story. A city of endless delight and hedonistic expression, Berlin was also a dangerous place, even without the street fighting. Like so many world events of the 1920s and 1930s, Germany was a crucible where all the ingredients of the coming century were tested and, unfortunately for the world, instead of liberation, monsters were born and thrived on a diet of hatred and repressive madness.

Here’s an excerpt from “Tourist”:

Julie danced at the Mandrake. Her name and a grotesque distortion of her image hung in a tattering poster beside the door. She had been dancing there since ‘22, when Papa had turned her out into the street because he could not feed her. Now she had an apartment of her own, which she shared with a shifting cast of roommates down on their luck, other dancers from the club, men who aspired to be pimps but who lacked the moral fiber, and petty black marketers in between deals.

She appreciated the relative fortune of her simple walls and furnishings but always Julie told herself, “Someday my luck will change. Someday I will have more.”

The night she met Paul, she began to believe the stories she told herself. Paul strode into the Mandrake like a champion, head level, eyes sharp and determined, his very presence shivering Julie’s soul unlike anyone she’d ever met. He wore his blonde hair short, stiff in a funny way and it smelled good with a hint of something exotic. He looked like money. He wore an expensive suit that he told her later was real silk. He had the most perfect teeth she had ever seen, gleaming white in the stage light when he sat at the front table and watched her.

“Pretty Julie,” he crooned with sincerity. “If you will come with me tonight, I will make you a duchess.” He barely looked at Rutger before giving the wicked clown a handful of gold coins.

“I don’t care if you don’t bring her back,” Rutger chuckled as he winked and smiled at Julie. “Good luck. Have fun.”

Paul walked out with her, his arm around her waist, possessive and endearing in his hold. He took her to the Paradise and Inferno nightclub, and Julie swallowed hard, awed and worried that she was not dressed well enough. A bony doorman dressed as St. Peter looked them over. “We want to go to heaven,” Paul told him. “Only heaven is good enough for my Julie.”

Julie smiled as the doorman’s scorn melted away when Paul gave him a generous fold of marks, and then they were inside the most infamous club in Berlin. A nearly naked Cupid led them to a booth on the left side of the stage, shrouded in shadows but sometimes washed by red light from the spotlights and floodlights that danced across the stage. She tried not to stare at the dancing sparkle of diamonds and satin flash when the stage lighting splashed sometimes over the women in the audience. As Julie looked around the cabaret, she wondered, what did it feel like to wear a ring that cost more than food for a year? A gauzy white curtain bisected the theater. On the other side of it, Julie knew from stories, hell’s patrons sat in equal splendor attended by handsome devils and almost-nude lady demons.

Satan, his muscular chest bare and painted red, paraded on the stage addressing the audience. Julie grinned, wondering if the obvious bulge in the tight black pants he wore was real or a stuffed prosthetic. Regardless, the illusion gave many in the audience reason to twitter approval. “So, Berliners, welcome to Hell,” he said to the half of the audience hidden from Julie by the white curtain, before he turned to Julie and Paul’s side of the room. “Our friends over in Heaven, don’t worry! We delight in showing you,” he chuckled with low, wicked delight, “what it is you’re missing!”

Paul sat beside her in the booth, his light laughter a hymn beyond the other merriment in the club. She glanced at him as they both faced the stage and smiled, delighted by his obvious enjoyment.

The he slid his warm hand under Julie’s skirt and stroked her slit through the black lace of her panties. She remembered her price tag, but she also grew wet under his touch, her heart pounding. The giddy wonder of his forwardness surprised her even as a touch of disappointment dimmed the glow of the evening. He stopped after only a moment and leaned to her, pressing trembling lips to her ear. “Remove your panties, Julie,” he commanded with a whisper that rippled through her soul. She started to stand, to find shadows or a powder room, but he traced his hand down her wrist and locked it in a grip that claimed, took, breathed, and promised. “No,” he corrected her. “Remove them here.”

She shifted and adjusted, reaching up and behind and under, unfastened her garter and slowly squirmed out of the soft cotton panties. Anyone in the club who looked at her would surely know what she was doing, but perhaps the shadows concealed her. She surrendered her underpants to Paul and looked at him, waiting. Paul curled his fingers into the white material, his thumb stroking the prim edge, then at Paul’s commanding nod and curt order, the waiter brought a strong brandy and a bottle of good wine.

On the stage, a thin woman, entirely nude, pale as ivory, danced in smoky light, a study in white and black, milky skin, black-ringed eyes, the whipping mane of her raven hair, and the thick tangle of silken black between her legs. Sinuous, precise, she fought with the smoke and made love to it, a teasing undulation of flesh and dreams.

Paul took Julie’s hand and rested it on his hardening cock. She pressed through the smooth material of his trousers, her fingers expert from many nights in the Mandrake. She brought him to full, impressive erection, just as the dancer on the stage twirled one final time and vanished into the billowing smoke.

Everyone applauded. Julie smelled opium and hashish. The smoke and the brandy turned her mind golden and she relaxed against Paul, opening his trousers and reaching in to touch the bare heat of his cock. She smiled and stroked down its pulsing length with one testing finger.

The silky bead at the tip delighted her, the slippery warmth of it, the affirmation of Paul’s desire. She smeared the bead and relished his quickened breath.

The stage stayed dark for a long moment, then a clown dressed as an angel appeared and began to tell stories and make dirty jokes about politicians and Socialists, Frenchmen and Russians. Paul put his hand over Julie’s, his fingertips almost tickling the back of her hand as she slowly pumped him. “Wait,” he whispered, and she stopped, but didn’t move her hand, allowing her to hold the hard, responsive flesh.

He poured wine for her and she drank. “You are an American?” she asked him casually as she tightened her grip a moment, then relaxed her hand.

“Yes I am,” he answered with a little smile. “Have you ever been in this place before?”

“No. Have you?”

Paul shook his head. “I’ve heard a great deal about it—read books about it.”

“Are you a teacher?” she asked him.

“No. Only a tourist, Julie. Like so many in Berlin.”

Copyright 2012 Angela Caperton. All rights reserved. Content may not be copied or used in whole or part without written permission from the author.

New Toys!



Oh, if it were ONLY that much fun…

My blog software has introduced some nifty new templates and features and I will be playing with them over the next few days. Apologies if the blog looks odd or a link accidentally sends you to www.theabyss.com (hey!  just go with it…  It’s like Las Vagas – what happens there, stays there).

…and though I walk through the valley of the shadow of broken HTML, I will fear no evil (except more broken HTML).

Keep me in your thoughts…

~AC

“Katie” in Underworlds!

Contrast is everything.

I just sold another story to Mischief, for their anthology Underworlds.  The story is called “Katie” and is set in the late 1800s.  It is loosely based on the real-life case of Dr. William Crookes, a renowned British chemist and physicist, who conducted experiments in spiritualism with a pretty young “physical medium” named Florence Cook. Of course, the manifestations in my story are considerably sexier than anything Dr. Crookes recorded in his notebooks!

I enjoy writing stories set in past eras, not only because I love history, especially its darker and weirder corners, but also because such eras provide an opportunity to emphasize the power of sexuality by setting it against a background less sexualized than today’s world. Much of the dramatic appeal I find in erotica comes from the contrast of a story’s sexual content against these more inhibited time frames.  I’ve used eras like the 1950s as a backdrop for stories such as “Calendar Girl,” and I drew on the 1840s for my story of Millerite shenanigans, “Rapture,” because those eras make a sharper contrast that allows relatively mild sexuality to appear daring, even forbidden. It’s not an easy thing for an erotica writer to be shocking in the age of Kink.com, but I like the challenge.  If I’m successful, I hope I can craft a story that helps the reader adjust their attitude to see things through other eyes.

The general notion of the Victorian era as a completely repressed epoch is not exactly accurate. Although there was certainly a puritanical streak that dominated polite consciousness, there was also a tremendous amount of barely repressed eroticism that broke out in interesting ways. The erotic elements of spiritualism were certainly not emphasized in contemporary accounts, but more than one female medium conducted her séances lightly clad or sometimes entirely nude, ostensibly to prevent fraud. The effect cannot have been lost on the gentlemen sitting around the table. Also, most séances were conducted in the dark and, although all hands were supposed to be on the tipping table, who knows what might have happened beneath it? Add in the intriguing possibilities of ectoplasmic extrusions and wonderful things are possible!

Writing a story in a historical period, of course, presents different challenges from a contemporary tale or one set in an entirely fantastic world, like my novel Woman of the Mountain, but the advantages are significant. The internet offers limitless research resources and direct access to period detail and texts that have never been easily available to writers before. I love taking advantage of modern technology to embellish my little windows into the past. When you look into that gas-lit chamber, there’s no telling what naughty things you might see – at the tipping table or under it…

Underworlds will be published by Mischief later this year.

What’s New? TONS!

Earlier this month I wrote about my erotic romance Standing Stone being re-published, and at the time, the original publication date was going to be May 1st.  My publisher asked if I was good with bumping up the publication to tomorrow—April 15th.  What do you think I said? So tomorrow you can purchase Standing Stone!  If you would like to read an except, go here!

I love it when my stories are singled out by anthology reviewers. My recent tale, “Before the Autumn Queen,” in Curvy Girls: Erotica for Women, just received a very nice compliment in a review by Steve Isaak, reviewer at Reading and Writing by Pub Light.  You can purchase Curvy Girls here.

In other print news, I am a Mischief author!  The newly launched erotica line by the UK arm of Harper-Collins is headed by Adam Nevill, former editor for Black Lace.  My short story “Rent” will be in an upcoming erotic paranormal anthology called The Visitor.  “Rent” is set during the Great Depression and tells the story of a vampire who operates a rooming house in San Francisco. Mischief has received a lot of attention in the press and I am very excited to be a part of this new venture!

Also, I am very pleased that two of my stories, “The Boiling Sea” and “Barnacle Bill” will be in Maxim Jakubowski’s Mammoth Book of Best New Erotica 11 to be released in December 2012!  Both tales are dark erotica, and I do think they are two of the best stories I’ve written.  “The Boiling Sea” follows a Vietnam veteran while he travels through a late 60’s erotic and psychedelic Wonderland adventure.  “Barnacle Bill” is a dark Lovecraftian tale of karma and transformation.   The stories were originally published in Circlet Press’s Like a Vorpal Blade and in my short story collection Darkness and Delight.

Also recently, my dystopian superhero story “Lawman” has been selected to appear in Circlet Press’s print collection Fantastic Erotica: The Best of Circlet Press 2008-2012.  “Lawman” is the story of a retired, formerly superhuman veteran of a 70-year war on immorality and what happens when he decides to walk on the wild side.  Look for Fantastic Erotica in October 2012.

At the very beginning of this year, my horror novella Springs found a new home at Renaissance eBooks!  Now you can also purchase it at Amazon and barnesandnoble.comSprings is the story of Cherie, a video game music composer and what happens when, under the pressure of a critical deadline, she receives a mysterious music box.   You can read an excerpt here.

Finally, I’m closing in on finishing the edit of Woman of His Dream, the horror serial that appears on this blog.  As soon as I’m finished, it’s off to the publishers!  Look for more on Woman of His Dreams as the year progresses, and if you want to read the serial, you can start with the first episode right here!

So, onward to the rest of the year! 

Coming Soon: Standing Stone

A few weeks ago, I blogged about my erotic horror novella Springs finding a new home with Renaissance E-Books.  Now, another of my earlier stories is being reprinted in a new, standalone edition by eXstasy.

Coming April 15 (bumped up from May 1), eXtasy will publish Standing Stone, a novelette I originally sold to a now out-of-print anthology.  I appreciate  the original publisher returning all rights to the authors as quickly as they did, and since then, Standing Stone has been looking…

I think, for any writer, returning to a work from the early seasons is always a nervous business. It was with some hesitation that I opened the file to see about edits.  Modesty aside, I was very happy with how much I still liked Standing Stone, and at how little touch-up I needed to do!

This short book is comprised of three stories, all set in a valley in Northern Europe, but spanning thousands of years. All three parts revolve around the titular stone, an ancient altar to the gods and goddesses of prehistoric Europe. Part one is set in the Bronze Age, where a mushroom-crazed shaman meets a tribal witch under the powerful influence of a new moon.  Part two takes place in the early days of the Holy Roman Empire, with a full moon in the sky, and part three is set in the third decade of the 21st Century, where a crone moon lies nearly hidden behind world-blanketing smoke arising from the pyre of civilization. Standing Stone is a very romantic story and an optimistic one, but like all of life, there are shadows too.  Ultimately, life is about the journeys we take, through darkness and light, and for some, the discovery of a love that binds paired souls to one divine place…

Here’s an excerpt from the second chapter:

She took Olavus’ hand and led him into the forest. It grew wild, untouched by any axe, the trees like towers, the tangle of their branches defying the light of the rising sun. It seemed they walked for a long time in a golden haze and soon the clanking of his armor’s scales sounded like so much rage and fire.  He tried to tread with a softer foot.

“If you are not Roman,” she asked him. “Who are you?”

“I told you. I serve Kang Karl and he is the vassal of God through the glory of Christ.”

“Yes,” she said, and they walked in silence for a while.

The trees thinned and bright cries of a hunting hawk echoed distantly.

“What happened to the boy’s father?” Olavus asked her.

She shrugged. “He sickened when the moon was dark and died when it was full.”

“I am sorry, Vreni.” He wanted to put his arm around her but, in truth, he feared her.
 
“What happened to your son?” she asked.

His heart bled pain. How did she know?

“I was sent east, against…pagans, and I left him in Westphalia with his mother, where they should’ve been safe. The Saxons came. My wife and son were gone when I returned, without even graves to mark where they had died.”

 They emerged from the forest and into the bright morning. Beyond a little field of tall grass, he saw a standing stone, the gray of noonday shadows, in a cluster of young oak trees. Before the monolith, a rough stone altar glinted with offerings and Olavus knew it to be an abomination to God. His heart began to pound like a fist in a cage of bone.

She led him through the grass. Soft summer heat teased a trickle of sweat from under his helmet. The altar before the pagan shrine lay cluttered with offerings, and he wondered what lives might have been sacrificed here. Behind the stone, a shallow pit had been dug and filled with dry branches and boughs of pine, where fire would burn to the glory of the witch’s god, like the rites of Moloch and Ba’al, Odin and Mahomet the god of the Moors.

“This is a holy place,” Vreni said to him. “We pray and Moan protects us.”

“Do you know why I have come here?” he asked.

She said nothing, but knelt before the altar, her thin shift brushing the backs of her calves. The curve of her butt was round and full. He felt his cock stirring and, in spite of the grimness of his errand, he had to hide a grin of wonder.

He had not wanted any woman since Westphalia, since Calia died, and now, may God preserve his soul, he wanted this one.

His words emerged in a whisper, harsher than he meant it, the exact sentence the priest had given him.

“I am here by command of the Church of St. Peter, in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, to bring the word of truth to your valley, and if you will not hear it, to temper your people until you embrace the true faith and renounce your false gods.”

She looked at him over her shoulder and he saw fear in her eyes and sorrow.

“I will not harm you,” he told her. “Nor will my men, but we must return from this valley with word that you have converted.”

She settled and stretched her bare legs before the altar, resting on one hand, looking up at him with eyes that had turned to azure. Her shift rode low on her breasts and he saw their soft brown swell, the line of a stiffened nipple beneath the linen. “If you harm even one person here, you will have to kill me,” she said quietly.

“Yes,” he said. “I know.”

Copyright 2012 Angela
Caperton. All rights reserved. Content may not be copied or used in
whole or part without written permission from the author.

Too Much Sex?

Here’s a question I’ve been pondering. Can there be too much sex in an erotic story? I almost feel silly talking about gratuitous content in a work of erotica, but there it is.

Woman of the Mountain, was criticized by one reviewer as having too much sex. I saw the reviewer’s point. Since the novel takes place in a world where sex is literally a connection to divinity, the rampant coupling potentially cheapened the sacrament. Woman went on to win an Eppie for best erotica in 2008, but if I were to rewrite it today, I might well remove a steamy page or two.

The easy answer to my question is “an erotic story should have at least as much sex as the story requires.” Many of my tales are, one way or another, about sex. The erotic scenes are central to the story so it’s easy enough to tie the heat and the plot together. In a short story, it’s easier to find the right level of sex, but novels are harder. I’m in the process right now of weaving the 52+ chapters of my blog serial, Woman of His Dreams, into a  novel, so the question has been circling around my brain as I restructure the story. On the blog, I felt like there should be at least a little sex in each chapter, but in a 57,000 word novel, the frequent fucking becomes choppy. Of course. I’m also finding other challenges turning a serial into a novel—pacing, balancing two viewpoints, and such. The process has been educational, though it’s taking longer than I had intended. I’m hoping to have it to a publisher this summer. If you want to read the raw material, with sex in every sequence, it’s all still here.

One unique facet of my chosen genre makes my question even harder to answer. Many readers of erotica read for at least two purposes. Some erotica readers read more for the stories than for prurient interest, but some readers are primarily looking for the kicks that hot, explicit scenes provide. Too little sex in a story definitely risks turning off the reader seeking wank material, while too much may annoy one who reads more for story. Of course, most readers appreciate both elements so, as long as the story justifies the sex, the balance is not too difficult to maintain. For me the ideal approach is to make the sex fit the tale but don’t hold back.

Finally, in erotica, much like horror fiction, I think the best effects are those that are created in a reader’s mind by leaving things unsaid in the prose, which makes the balance between explicitness and ellipsis even more important. Over the five years I’ve been writing, I’ve tried to strike a balance between too much and too little, but I’m sure I sometimes still get the mix wrong. I suppose if I had to condense my experience down into simple advice for a beginning erotica author, I would say, “write just as much sex into the story as you need and then add just a little more.”  

A Tale of a Modern Succubus

I just got word that my short story “The Sorcerer’s Catch” will be published by Cleis in the anthology Seductress: Tales of Immortal Desire, edited by the delightful D.L. King. It’s always gratifying to have a story selected for a book from Cleis, but I am especially happy to see this story going to print.

“The Sorcerer’s Catch” is one of a series of stories that I’ve written over the years that tell the adventures of a succubus named Anastasia. Ana’s tale didn’t start out as a series, but I find myself returning to the character every so often. The very first tale I sold to a print anthology – “Understudy” in Lust at First Bite (recently reprinted in Germany!) – was an Ana tale. Others include “Last Kiss” in Slip of the Lip, a lovely free e-book edited by Remittance Girl and still available here, and “The Blood of Dreams,” which is included in my collection from Renaissance eBooks, Darkness and Delight.

In most of Ana’s stories, she is more of a muse or a catalyst — the inspiration for dark, vampiric dreams in “Understudy” and “The Blood of Dreams,” and a messenger of peaceful transition in “Last Kiss”. This latest story however features her as a main character and is the first time I have really touched on her past and her nature, a background I hope will feed many tales in the future.

Ana is not your typical succubus; she’s a modern girl who came into her full power right around 1900. Apart from the usual succubus mischief, arousing and gratifying sleepers, she also lives in a world of externalized dreams, the theater, movies, radio, all the visions and nightmares that defined   the 20th Century and that continue to haunt us today. Someday I would love to compile her history as an episodic novel, and who knows, maybe I will…

Here’s a short excerpt from “The Sorcerer’s Catch.”  Look for the complete anthology in October 2012!

Excerpt “The Sorcerer’s Catch”
Copyright 2012 Angela Caperton
All right reserved.


Now I have you,” the young man in the black robe said.

He spoke the truth. Anastasia was pinned within the magic circle drawn in red paint around the man’s bed, trapped as securely as the least devil in the hands of Faust himself.

The magician – the first conjurer she had met in the 21st Century — had drawn his circle tightly enough that Ana could not move off the bed even a single step, so she knelt there on red silk sheets, trying to look demure. She had approached his bed gowned in smoke and when he had sprung his trap, bringing her out of dreams and into his world, the smoke solidified into black lace, draping her ivory skin like alluring spider webs that left her all but naked before his direct gaze.  

She covered her breasts, gratified by the disappointment in his eyes. He was very young, no more than twenty-five years old. Was he powerful in his magic or just lucky?

“What shall I call you?” she asked him, trying not sound surly.

“Adam.” She had hoped he would be stupid enough to tell her his real name, but she knew at once that he had given a false one.

“What do you want of me, Adam?”  The name would suffice for now.  It said something about him that he chose that name.  “What must I do to be free again?”

“First, Anastasia, you will teach me,” he said. From within his robe, he produced four golden chains, delicate things, like jewelry, but she sensed the inscriptions on the links, binding runes that would cage her.

He looped her wrists and ankles, pulled tight and spread her face-up on the crimson sheets.  He touched her with strong firm hands, spoke words of protection as he worked, careful, as though he might be fearful of releasing some demon inside her.

No, she conceded as he finished forcing her legs well apart, he was not stupid.

When Adam finished his work, he had bound her to the four posts of the bed and she lay helpless before him. The situation was not unpleasant, even though she faced the direst sort of danger.

“Teach you what?” she asked, tugging the unyielding chains, testing them.

He watched for a moment then reached down to part her robe of webs, baring her breasts and belly and the little wisp of lacy shadow that covered her pussy.

“Carnal knowledge,” he replied formally. “Teach me all things, both lawful and forbidden.”

#

He had called her by her favorite name, Anastasia, a name she had taken from the dream of a Bolshevik soldier long ago. The man had guarded the Romanoff family in Ipatiev’s house and, days later, after the soldier had helped to kill the girl, he dreamed about her. His guilt and obsession had drawn the attention of a bored succubus. It had heralded a new beginning for Ana, awakened her to the dawning century and the grand dreams of men and women with plans to remake the world.

When the whims of dreamers demanded another name, she would take one, to seduce and entice, but Anastasia had become the name she called herself for almost a hundred years.

And now this young wizard, this barely grown man, had summoned her by her name, in the voice of rituals unspoken in three generations, drawn her with the rich lure of her own curiosity. She had descended into his dream and his magic circle had closed like a foothold trap. Now she lay bound to his bed.

“Wait,” she breathed as he reached for the wisp of her panties.

Copyright 2012 Angela Caperton. All rights reserved. Content may not be copied or used in whole or part without written permission from the author.

Woman of His Dreams – Part XXIX

Welcome to Part 29 of “Woman of His Dreams”.  If you’re new to my dark little erotic tale, you can find the start here.

Enjoy, and remember, dreams often have a life of their own…

~AC

“Woman of His Dreams”
Part 29
by Angela Caperton
Copyright 2010


“Here,” Cassie said, indicating a glass door between two weathered metal panels that had once been deco ornamentation. She swiped a pass card through a reader and opened the heavy door. Anthony followed her in, looking around.

The building looked like any of the anonymous buildings from the city’s past, either built during the boom years of the 20s or refurbished then, plaster used to streamline the character-rich Victorian brick. The door opened into an elevator lobby with a dubious caged lift from another era. The shingle on the wall showed the names of various dentists and businesses, but none of them appeared to be remotely current.

He had the sense of disorientation again, as though the world might be shifting around him, and touched the chipped tile wall to assure himself that he was truly awake. Dreams had become dangerous, he knew, a goat potentially still lurking out there somewhere with lust in its eyes.

Cassie summoned the creaky old elevator and they boarded it together, riding it up past deserted floors. He smelled the faint odor of disinfectant and something too sweet, like rotten fruit. She hardly looked at Anthony but when she did, her face was a mask of bored contempt. She wore a black t-shirt with silver snake embroidery, her breasts full and unconfined under the thin cotton, and tight lycra pants painted her from hips to ankles. When she moved right, he could see her clit jewelry and the outline of her pussy lips against the fabric.  His cock jumped and twitched as he grew hard again.

Cassie was like a living aphrodisiac, he decided. He believed he had made her come at least twice, but a sense of failure still gnawed at him that he had not yet satisfied her in any but the most physical sense. As tireless as his cock had become, he could not please her, he thought sadly.

As though she read his mind, she favored him with a flash of dark eyes and a casual stroke down the growing, jeans-covered length between his legs. “Hang on,” she said. “Just two more floors.”

They had ridden forever, he thought, the floors they passed too dark to see within and too numerous to count. No panel in the lift marked their ascent and he knew, his breath quickening, that they had risen above any hope that the building was natural and not another current in the maelstrom of dream and delusion that surged around this woman.

He remembered being here before but the building had been different, the passage upward powered by an enormous eunuch turning a winch. The tower had been crystal then, impossibly tall, and something unspeakable awaited him at the top.

The lift stopped and Cassie opened the door. Anthony found himself grounded again, the floor solid beneath his feet, the sense of dislocation replaced by the reality of musty, still air, and an ornate, paneled door lit by a pallid bulb. “My place,” she said and used her card to open the door.

He was not surprised at the décor — Victorian funeral parlor furniture, exquisite tapestries with graphic sex acts woven into fabric, a live raven perched on the headboard of a low, wide bed– but the view out the window that covered an entire wall sent him reeling to the edge of madness again.

The night sky glittered with thousands of stars, smears of light bright as the Milky Way, the spiraling arms of something like a luminous starfish, and the biggest moon Anthony had ever seen, bone-pale and smooth, not the cratered face he knew. For only a moment he tried to rationalize what he saw, a projection, a trick, but he knew better now. Wherever he was, he was no longer on the Earth, or at least on the Earth he knew.

He trembled, his legs giving out. He sank onto bed, onto a black spread that seemed to be made of thin leather. Cassie was his only hope of getting out of here and he was ready to do anything, promise anything to win her favor.

“Top floor,” she said. “A fucking penthouse. There are buildings all over the world that share this view,” she told him, “and not many people visit them and live. I want you to know just how special you are.”

He tried to speak but his lips shook too badly. Where his hand touched the bedspread, the black hide began to sweat. Cassie pushed him back, her hands busy with his jeans, skinning them off his legs so he felt the pliant, living leather under him, pulsing as she took his cock in her mouth and pulled him fully erect with her lips, her tongue wrapping him expertly. Something shapeless probed his ass, massaged his balls while she sucked and teased the glans expertly. The orgasm rose in him.  He closed his eyes, terror evaporating into the imminence of pleasure.

“Don’t come,” she commanded him. “You’d better not fucking come until I tell you to.”

Breathless, crazy with frustrated desire, he fought against his own body, hardly daring to think what might happen if he disobeyed her, imagining himself out the window and in the void, at the mercy of whatever lived out there, lost forever, body and soul.

Cassie slithered out of the lycra, shed her shirt, and straddled him, letting his rigid cock ride along the cleft of her cunt, not penetrating her, rubbing her clit against the slippery head in long, slow undulations until he bit his lip hard enough to bleed to stop himself from coming. She laughed and leaned to drink the flow from his lips, smearing the blood over his face and hers as she ground and rubbed. Beneath him, the living mantle of the black spread flowed up and over him, wrapping his thighs and ribs, immobilizing him beneath her, positioning him.

He understood that the thing – whatever it was – was an extension of her will, a toy, perhaps a living, boneless creature. Revulsion mingled with desire.  He wanted to fuck the monster or to have it fuck him. His mind frayed, his cock beyond any hope of control, when Cassie stopped fooling around and impaled herself on his shaft, taking him deep, gripping him with hard thrusts of her hips.

“Now,” she screamed. “Come now.”

Something more than semen and seed emptied into her, his mind, his soul, the outer realms of sensation beyond pleasure or pain, something that had no name. He screamed. Her cry joined his as the black skin beneath him and around him shuddered and bucked, and the lights in the alien sky exploded against the revealed space inside his skull, filling him with wonder and with dread.

And he knew that Cassie still would not be satisfied.

Continued in Part 30.

Copyright 2010 Angela Caperton. All rights reserved.  Content may not be copied or used in whole or part without written permission from the author.

An Open Letter to Nathaniel Hawthorne

Dear Mr. Hawthorne,

First, I must tell you, I loved The Scarlet Letter. As a study of real, ordinary people rising above an intolerant society and as a love story, your book is deservedly a classic.

I know you wrote The Maypole of Merry Mount , which I defaced horribly a few days ago as The Looped Cross of Elyssium, about a real incident in American history. You based your story on an early colonist named Thomas Morton who took religious freedom too far.  His colony, Mount Mare or Merrymount, flourished in the 1620s until a company of puritan soldiers from Plymouth sacked his town, harassed his followers, and banished him. Morton’s crimes included admiring the Native Americans, mocking his Puritan neighbors, and, most unforgivably, practicing neo-paganism that, at least in the lurid tales of his accusers, included sexual debaucheries.

Mr. Hawthorne — Nate if I may — I hope you don’t mind that I had some fun with your story, mashing it into mine within the dream of one of my characters. It was meant to be silly and a little sexy. Worse crimes have been committed on other writers. I believe poor Jane Austen has spun herself to dust by now.

There was one passage in your terribly sad (yet morally uplifting) tale that I could not include in my little parody that I especially loved:

In due time, a feud arose, stern and bitter on one side, and as serious on the other as anything could be among such light spirits as had sworn allegiance to the Maypole. The future complexion of New England was involved in this important quarrel. Should the grizzly saints establish their jurisdiction over the gay sinners, then would their spirits darken all the clime, and make it a land of clouded visages, of hard toil, of sermon and psalm forever. But should the banner staff of Merry Mount be fortunate, sunshine would break upon the hills, and flowers would beautify the forest, and late posterity do homage to the Maypole.


Beautifully put, Nate. I fear we know how that one ended.

Someday I intend to read The Marble Faun. I’m told it’s your most sensual novel. Sometimes I wish you and your peers, Edgar and Herman, had lived 100 years later or more. I would love to read the stories you would have told in a more permissive age.

And I could apologize in person.

Yours sincerely,

Angela Caperton   

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