When I turned sixteen, masturbation became something of an artform. I was a late bloomer who hit puberty at fifteen and grew up in a relatively strict household. I was never really good at anything, never really excelled in any particular field, but with whacking the weasel, something just clicked. I switched from overhand to underhand, perfected my stroking methods, and learned a few new twists and turns along the way. Eventually, it started to become a problem. I found myself taking more frequent trips to the bathroom at school. Showers started running the water bill straight into the ground. Even the slightest feeling of something bumping up against my junk sent me into a frenzied red-zone of netherly flagellation. More than once, a gentle breeze from my bedroom window was enough to have me hammering the railroad spikes on the track of my shametrain like there was no tomorrow.

I remember when I broke my personal record; seven times in one day. It was a lazy Sunday afternoon and my parents were both away from the house. I had it all to myself; a chronic stroker’s paradise. I’d just finished my first session and was sitting at my computer desk, disheveled and wheezing, when inspiration struck. I exited out of the frankly boring video I’d been thumping along with and pulled up my favorite site, going straight for my Saved section. Finding a particularly raunchy orgy video that started with some fluffy Eyes Wide Shut type shit and quickly devolved into a harmonious swell of meatslaps and groans, I settled in for the long haul. I managed to finish in under two minutes, but something in the air kept me going and I stayed hard, powering straight through. Before I knew it, I was an hour and six loads deep. I was sore, shaking from head to toe, and covered in a sheen of sweat that would’ve put my neighbor’s Slip N’ Slide to shame.

Raising an aching hand to my distended member, I tried to rustle it awake. It laid dormant. I could almost hear it whining ‘but dad, I don’t wanna go to school today’. But here I was on the precipice of a breakthrough, dangling my doodle just over the finish line. Six was my previous record. I’d come this far; I had to trudge through the last mile. Trembling with determination, I pulled up my holy grail video, nudged my dick into the proper conditions, and took off running. Shaft in hand, I raced the track like an Olympic medalist, handing off the baton to the next waiting participant.

Just as the rippling brute with a shag of dark hair stretching from his chest to his groin slammed himself into the young twink on my screen, cumming with an explosive grunt, my own orgasm tore through me like a California wildfire. It was absolutely monumental. In the throes of my passion, my vision started to peter out and suddenly, I jerked forward. From beneath the veil of my pleasure, I felt a sharp burning pain. Coming back to reality, I looked down and saw carnage.

I’d torn my shaft about an inch under the tip. My palm was full of blood and I could see the veins, throbbing with overexertion, exposed from under the thin, outermost layer of skin.

Oh shit. Oh fuck… fuck, fuck, FUCK. A string of curses rang through my mind as I realized how bad it was. My parents would kill me.  I couldn’t let them know; they’d ground me for weeks. Hyperventilating, I wiped the blood on my shirt and unstuck my ass from the chair. I waddled out of my bedroom and down the hall to the bathroom, cupping a hand under myself to contain any spillage. Thank god my parents weren’t home.

In the bathroom, the fluorescent light shone far too brightly on the damage I’d done. My stomach and crotch were a slick mess of blood and cum, the colors and textures mixing together in a gooey, macabre mélange. I fumbled around in the cabinet for some gauze and bandaids and wrapped myself up as good as I could manage. The pain was unbearable and my dick looked like a bad horror movie prop.

Sleep didn’t come easily that night, wrought with dreams of buff men luring me in with strong hands and then disemboweling me, laughing as I bled to death on the floor.

Not being able to jerk off was absolute torture. Going from multiple times per day to nothing in a week was like dipping my genitals in liquid nitrogen and gently stroking them with a timid finger for hours on end. I was ravaged, aching for release, and could barely think of anything but getting off. School became a blur of dull faces, jumbled numbers and letters, and monotone voices trying to teach brains full of hormones gone awry. Every time I passed a cute guy in the hall, all I could think of was having him slobber on me like a dog on his favorite, well-used bone. Despite my raging desires, there was nothing I could do. I’d managed to keep the wound clean and rebandaged every night, but the idea of trying anything more sent sirens of pain through my head. I’d attempted a rendezvous the third night, and was promptly treated with a fresh split and an hour spent doubled over in agony, biting a clump of my sheets to avoid screaming.

It was on the eleventh night that he visited me.

In a sweat-soaked fit, I awoke from one of the hottest dreams I’d ever had. Steve, the blonde-haired, blue-eyed hunk of a quarterback from school (I’m a cliche, sue me) had been pounding me merrily from behind, one hand clamped firmly over my mouth and the other entangled in my hair, pulling just enough to hurt. In the dream, I was letting loose screams of his name. In reality, I woke up stifling one of horror. Fraught with desire, sleep had led my hand down my boxers and I’d started furiously rubbing myself. Fresh blood had seeped through the bandages and hot tears of frustration poured down my face.

Why the fuck couldn’t I just be normal again?

Then, I heard it. A faint, soft moan from somewhere deep in the shadowy forest of my room. I jolted up, nearly falling out of bed, and looked around, eyes wild and wide.

“Hello?” my voice trembled, tiny and scared.

Silence. Sweat ran off of me in a steamy river. It’d probably just been remnants of the dream trying to lure me back in. I rolled over onto my side and winced, trying to ignore the burning down below.

The voice, hot and needling, ran into me like a freight train. “I can give you what you want”.

I shot up in bed like I’d been electrocuted, frantically snapping my bedside lamp on. I definitely wasn’t dreaming this time. The demented strands of sleep still clouding my vision weren’t enough to prepare me for the sight that greeted me.

Sitting squat on my dresser, he had to be seven, eight feet tall. In my relatively small bedroom, this was even more impressive. I should’ve been terrified; at the very least, mildly perturbed. But this felt right. Natural. Every square inch of his skin was exposed, the muscle pulsating loudly in the still air. Even with the lack of actual skin, I could tell he was absolutely ripped with a physique that would send most bodybuilders crying to the corner. The bloody surface tapered off at his neck, turning his face into a black metallic surface in some queer representation of skin. He was nude save for a silky red scarf, and between his legs swung the largest schlong I’d ever laid eyes on; it had to be as long as my arm. I felt a twitch deep in my groin.

What the fuck, dick? Really? Now?

I scrambled up against my headboard, t-shirt sticking to my soaked body, and stammered out a few choice words.

“I… uh… hi? I’m… hi.”

Real fuckin’ smooth.

The thing laughed and hopped down from the dresser, his massive member flapping wildly like a distressed snake. I noticed a small pool of blood where he’d been sitting, but it quickly evaporated. He strode over to my bed, leaving similar marks wherever he stepped, and sat down gingerly at the foot. I could smell the faint scent of sulphur and lavender. When he opened his mouth, an almost imperceptible movement in the dark vagueness of his face, his voice was deep and sultry, like a huge stone rolling into place in a mossy cavern. A slight English accent slipped over his words like a light blanket.

“Worry not, child. I can give you what you want; what you need. You need release, yes? All you need to do is ask.”

Was this really happening? This definitely didn’t seem like a dream. I absently pinched myself and winced. It hurt. This was real.

I stared at his rippling fleshless torso, watching the raw muscle undulate. The last week and a half had been agony. If I didn’t find some sort of departure from this barren land of futile erections, I was probably going to die. I’d had fantasies a lot weirder than this; what’s the worst that could happen?

Tearing my eyes from the glistening pecs, I gazed into the space where the his eyes should’ve been and felt my mouth go dry.

“I… would, uh, like release. Please. What’s the catch?”

He laughed, looked me up and down with a cursory glance, and placed a hand on my shoulder. It felt warm and moist, even through my shirt.

“There’s no catch. All I request is that you present to me a nightly offering.”

“An offering of what?”

“Seed.”

I sat in silence for a moment, pondering. Duh. Of course. What else would a dick demon want? Finally, I nodded. With what looked like his version of a smirk, he laid me gently back onto the bed and straddled me. My heart sped up, begging to free itself from my chest like an angry caged bird. He lowered his hand onto my prone form and lifted my shirt off of my head in one fell swoop, throwing it against the wall with a resounding plop. Hooking his fingers into my boxers with practiced fingers, he ushered them down my thighs. I felt the familiar twitching in my groin, and the familiar pain started to grow alongside, but he simply looked me in the eyes and whispered something unintelligible. Instantly, I deflated.

“We won’t be needing that,” he whispered. Wilted, I looked into his eyes, now visible and glowing deep in his shadowed skull like crusted jewels, and longingly sought the precursor for ecstasy. I found it.

Stretching out a hard-veined hand over my pubic area, drops of blood began to fall on my naked flesh. When his hand finally touched my skin, it felt like a static shock straight from heaven blessing my entire frame from head to toe. Just when I thought my pleasure had peaked, he pushed inside of me. I watched as his fibrous digits pressed deeper and deeper into the supple skin of my lower stomach, finally separating the skin with a soft pop.

In the cavernous shadow of his face, I saw galaxies form and explode. I saw fantasies I’d never even thought of reflected back at me in the taut embrace of the perfect form to bless them into reality. I saw myself dripping with pretense and set to burst on the meaty, sopping wet lips of eternity.

And then, I came.

I came harder than I’d ever cum in my life. I saw stars, tipped rockets, and became the milky way itself, Orion’s belt firmly wrapped around my neck. Seeming to permeate every conceivable surface, my wasted would-be children seeped from my pores, coating my entire body in a thick sheen of white. Exhausted, spent beyond reason, I watched as the thick goop crawled up the demon’s arm, sentient and wanting, and disappeared into his meaty red corpus with a small whoosh.

I leaned my head back into the pool of sweat that’d formed on my pillow and let the white hot void bubble over and swallow me up.

When I came to, everything in the room was humming with a soft, sweet noise. I looked around, searching for my orgasmic savior, and found him perched in the same place he’d appeared. His skinless form glowed faintly with new life, the shiny exterior swirling in tiny concentric circles. Through my haze, I saw a sly smile split the once again smooth surface of his face, acknowledging my conscious state. Spreading a hand through the air, he motioned to the window.

“I must be going now, child.”

“Can’t you stay?” I whimpered.

Like that of a bemused parent, his smirk cut through my clear need like a unrepentant knife. “I’ll be back tomorrow night for your next offering. As you heal, you’ll be able to provide it with more autonomy. Until then, I will harvest.”

He loped across the room, gripped the edge of the windowsill, and began to disappear into the waiting mouth of the night.

“Wait,” I called out. “I don’t even know what to call you”.

WIth a cursory glance back over his shoulder, he shrugged. “I suppose Palpitare is what your kind might call my name. You can call me Rob for short.”

I raised an eyebrow at the curious juxtaposition, but he didn’t see it; he was already a whisper caught in the choked throat of the now still bedroom air.

After that, time passed like one’s remaining grandparents. I can’t say that what I experienced with Rob was emotional or romantic, but god was it pleasureful. Without expending any distinguishable effort, he absolutely ruined my body every night with surges of pleasure so infinite, so jarring, that I thought I would actually die with every spurt he summoned from me. Every rope of hot white jism was solid enough to form a noose with which I would have gladly hanged myself, and yet, I couldn’t imagine a fate more horrible than to never experience his touch again.

Every night, without fail, he would appear; slate black against the hush of the night. For the first two weeks after his initial visit, I would wait patiently for him, my dick still limp and weak but ready nonetheless. Eventually, I healed enough to greet him with the autonomy he’d spoken of. I’d sit, stroking myself to burning memories and present tensity while he hovered over me, his steaming flesh bending the air around us in a sweet lover’s cocoon.

There could have been nothing more to the world than my tainted body and Rob and our wholly perverted idea of sexual congress, and I probably would have been entirely content. Whiling away my remaining years in the sweaty, pungent embrace of our bodily screwtopia would’ve just been the cricket’s tits. I’d always considered myself an imaginative person, and even I couldn’t conjure up a situation more ideal than my current one; then, out of nowhere, Liam quite literally dropped into my lap.

Four days before my seventeenth birthday, I was riding the bus home from school, exhausted and yearning for Rob’s tender touch. Seated in front of the handicapped spots by the door, I was idly scrolling through my phone when the bus hit a deep pothole and everyone standing was sent sprawling and grasping for a pole. The pole that the dark-haired beauty in front of me grabbed just happened to be my own. Plopping onto my knee and bracing himself against my crotch with a hand ending in smooth, slender fingers, his eyes pierced into mine with a mixture of surprise and something much more telling. Embarrassment flushed his face and he quickly moved his hand, shifting his body to the seat next to me. We sat in stilted silence for a moment, and then he offered me a sweaty paw.

Taking it, I introduced myself.

“José,” I murmured, eyes flitting down to take in his body. A green vneck stretched taut across a full chest and tight arms led down to a pair of cuffed white shorts showing off hairy, tanned legs.

A hint of redness still lingering in his cheeks, he replied “Liam. Uh, nice to meet you. Sorry about that.”

I brushed away his apology and we fell into a deep conversation about nothing. I was so entranced by the way his full, pale lips formed around every syllable that I missed my stop by miles.

No big deal, Liam said. It just so happened that we lived three stops from each other. I could get off at his and be home in about twenty minutes. Needless to say, we got off together at his stop, and then proceeded to get off together a few more times. I hadn’t had the touch of a corporeal human form grace my body since a few months prior to my little accident, and since I’d healed Rob had been taking such good care of my every desire that the idea of seeking anything else hadn’t even crossed my mind. But this was something different; something fiery and passionate and raw in a whole new way. Where Rob gently enveloped me in the warm, practiced, preternatural realm of gentle pleasure, Liam rained scorching heat down upon dry fields, laying waste to an entire season’s much-needed crops. Liam was nineteen and lived by himself, and we took full advantage of that. He bit and slapped and spanked and held tight and didn’t let go until it hurt, and i loved every second of it. We ended that first night in a soaking wet ball of tangled limbs and matted hair and when it was over and we’d shared a sloppy kiss goodbye and phone numbers, I nearly skipped home.

I floated high and heady on that cloud nine up until the second I walked through my bedroom door. Then, Hell literally broke loose right across my face. Rob’s hand left a mark I could smell, my scraggly beard hairs nearly singed from the onslaught. Reeling, I grabbed at my cheek and stumbled backwards, yelping in surprise. I listened intently for movement from down the hall where my parents were sleeping. When the house remained silent, I glared at Rob and whiscreamed “what the fuck was that?!”

Arms crossed, every inch of his body alive with heat and anger, he stared daggers into the wall behind me. His eyes, even shadowy jewels in our most passionate moments, were now glistening scarabs reflecting a depthless moon back at me. The power surging from him was overwhelming.

“You know exactly what that was for.” The words were like a cloak, thick and suffocating. He spat on the ground at my feet, the white foam burning a small hole in the carpet. Smoke curled up around his feet and entwined itself in embers that were beginning to shed from his body.

“Rancid slut,” he whispered through tight teeth. “DIrty fuckin’ wreck.” He clenched and unclenched his hand; deep in the folds of his ancient posture, something slipped. The facade broke, and suddenly, I was facing a monster.

Beggar’s bleedin’ nutfook choice. MANKY TEEMIN’ COCK‘ORE!” Spit flew freely and wildly from the gaping hole in his face, coating me with a layer of hatred I could taste. I stepped back, hugging the wall.

Pacing back and forth, leaving black marks that quickly disappeared with every step, he continued to fume. “Fookin’ goddamn dago ‘ore. Knew you was a bint the minute I set eyes but let me heart get over. Thought you was the one but fook me, am I right?” His once dulcet, countryside English tones were now ragged and crusty, crashing on the shores of a country I couldn’t even recognize. I stared, mind and body reeling, as he continued to dissolve into a misty cloud of pestilence.

Snapping back to reality as a piece of carpet burned up and leapt into the air by my face, I grasped at the words bubbling around in my stomach, but they never found footing in my throat.

“Rob…”

Suddenly, he was upon me. The smell of sulphur was overwhelming, the hint of lavender just a slightly-spicy, stinging tickle in the gentle heart of a feather factory. I breathed in and choked on the promise of ash.

.

“PALPITARE”, he shouted. I felt flames lick at my cheeks and cringed; the temperature in the room shot up a noticeable degree. “My name is PALPITARE, and you will address me AS SUCH.” The smooth operator was back, seated in the gaping mouth of the lord of unholy hosts.

“I … I’m sorry, Palpitare. It just kind of happened. I didn’t think we were exclusive.”

“That’s just your problem, isn’t it? You don’t think. I don’t know if you’ve ever thought.”

“Well… I mean… what are we?”

“Were. We are no more.”

I gulped hard. The idea of losing my demon lover wasn’t something I wanted to acknowledge as a possibility. At the same time, the way he was acting at the moment presented a whole plethora of problems I hadn’t even considered. Maybe this was for the best.

I stared at the wall for a moment. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see his burning rage sweeping away into a bitter sadness. The temperature in the room dropped back to normal, and I glanced sidelong into his eyes. No longer lit, they reflected my contempt for the situation.

“I’m leaving; you won’t be seeing me again.”

As I watched him pass through the window, a thousand words traversed the ruptured bridge between my brain and my mouth but nothing came out.

And with that, he was gone. Left with nothing but the fading smell of burning carpet and hints of distant regret, I sat down heavily on the bed and buried my face in my hands.

Days in the firm cage of Liam’s arms passed like mere seconds. After a few weeks, I’d all but forgotten about Palpitare and his throbbing disposition; my life was too filled with flesh of the human brand to pay attention to the memories of haunted fapparitions.

Spending time with Liam was easy – we were easy. He was a gentle breeze and a hard fuck. There was no hesitation, no uncertainty. He brought into my life all the passion that I hadn’t even known I’d been longing for all of those long, cloistered nights with Palpitare. It didn’t take long for me to start falling in love, and I fell hard.

Despite this, I feared it was a fantasy romance; underneath all of the brash freshness and power of lust, the idea that things wouldn’t stay perfect forever haunted me. I was, however, getting as much as I could out of it and him.

The day things started to go wrong was unnaturally hot; the kind of day you joke about cooking an egg on the sidewalk. It seemed like the world outside was actually melting. Liam and I had spent the entire morning and most of the afternoon at the park having a quaint little picnic and working up a rank sweat. Around 3, we exchanged a knowing glance and took off back to his apartment. Both of us were pretty into public exhibition and horny as a couple of dogs in heat, so the entire car ride home was fraught with restless bouts of over-the-jeans rubbing. We barely made it through the front door before our clothes were tossed haphazardly on the floor and Liam’s hairy chest was grinding coarsely against my back, grunts pushed not so gently in my ear.

When we finished, collapsed in a pool of sweat and murmured nothings, the apartment was dead silent. I hadn’t noticed earlier, for good reason, but I now realized that I couldn’t hear a thing; not even streetnoise. Considering how close Liam’s apartment was to a main road and the time of day, this was slightly disconcerting. Even his neighbor, some freak who was always talking to no one in highpitched whines and referring to himself as “Papa Phillip”, was mute.

I propped myself up on my elbows and looked around the room. Slowly recovering from the lustful thrall of the last half hour, a sense of dread started to creep over my body, leaving crippled geese in its wake. Liam, retiring from his position against the sofa, leaned forward.

“What’s wrong, babe?”

“I don’t know. It feels… strange? Something feels off. Do you hear anything?”

He stopped and cocked his head to the side for a moment, listening. “No, not really.”

“Exactly – isn’t that a bit odd?”

He laughed and pushed my hair out my my eyes. “I mean, we’re not in the middle of downtown; things get quiet sometimes.” Rolling over, he bent closer to me and nipped at my earlobe. I let out a little yelp and he pressed his body into mine. Sliding a strong hand down my stomach, he kissed me deeply and went in for round two. I sighed and leaned my head back, letting him envelop me. His hand wrapped around my cock, which was slowly awakening from its peaceful, sated slumber.

Suddenly, he stopped. Breaking our kiss, he paused, and screamed.

The sound sent a horrible jolt through me and I jumped, eyes snapping open. Scrambling away from me and slamming his back into the couch, he was staring at his palm, wide-eyed. His eyes flit back and forth from his shaking hand to my rigid body. I shook my head in confusion. He turned his palm to face me, and I saw the source of his horror; it was slick with blood. I looked down and saw a matching mess. A scream tore through me and I sat up, unable to comprehend what I was seeing.

It looked like my dick had been degloved; I was still erect, but blood was flowing freely from the base, pooling in the divots of my hips. The skin of my shaft sat crumpled like a deflated balloon against my damp pubic hair, a pale, bloodless white shocking the glistening red. Despite the grisly sight before me, I felt no pain. Unable to breathe, I just stared at the carnage pooled in my crotch. Then, I blinked, and I was looking at the same normal, healed body part I’d had just a few minutes prior.

I looked up into Liam’s confused face, trained on his now-bloodless hand. From somewhere deep in my mind and simultaneously all around us, a distant, deep laughter filled the room.

After the phantom bloody dick incident, things changed drastically. Intent on not losing Liam faster than an erection in an snowstorm, I spilled the whole story, leaving no perverted stone unturned. It took a little bit of convincing, but he eventually believed everything. By some inconceivable miracle, he confessed that he’d been falling for me. The situation somehow drew us closer together.

Having to think about everything that’d occurred and actually saying the words out loud made me realize how absolutely batshit the entire thing sounded. I’d normalized something that was in no way natural, and there was no getting around that.

Our sex life took an expected nosedive, but that’s not what bothered me. The few times we did find the ability to bring ourselves to touch each other, something horrible happened.

I went down on Liam, his dick exploded with a loud, meaty pop in my mouth. Positioned behind and on the verge of entering me, he slammed into a hard, fleshy wall where my asshole used to be. Once, and I wish I was making this up, I went to kiss his stomach while we were relaxing watching TV, and my head plunged facefirst into a gaping mess of intestines and viscera, getting stuck underneath his ribcage. Wherever our bodies turned together, a demented twist was sure to follow. In the background, underneath the blanket of insecurity that’d slowly been twisting around us and binding us together, the deep laughter rolled, satisfied and hungry for more.

After almost a month of mental and physical torment, I’d finally had enough. Hours of researching forums and random websites later, sifting through countless pages of people who were either completely out of their mind or had lost their virginity on a native american burial ground, I found a story pretty much parroting  mine. Same general physical description, same jealous riptide of shit, same everything. Palpitare. I clearly wasn’t his first. A ridiculous twinge of jealousy shot through me, but I quickly shook it off. After wading through mountains of limp-dicked recountings and delirious fantasies, I had a name and a word I thought I’d never see (outside of, maybe, a bad b-horror movie or porn) sitting in front of me.

Dante Beneventi, Sexorcist

The words felt absurd and wrong in my head as I read them, but nothing could be stranger than my reality at the moment. A quick PM to the user got me a phone number and a “good luck”. Dante had worked wonders for him.

We pulled up to the nondescript red brick building at 8 PM. It was a cool night, at least compared to the last few weeks, and the promise of rain hung heavy in the air. Liam killed the engine and stared through the cracked windshield of his rustbucket Chevy Impala. The night was slowly swallowing up the remnants of the dying light around us, lending a note of uneasy, fluttering distress to the pervasive tension. He sighed. I placed a tentative hand over his, feeling his grip on the steering wheel loosen under my touch.

“Everything is going to be fine. We’ll get through this and move past it.”

He huffed. “I hope so. Because I don’t know how much more of this I can take.”

The words and the stinging reality behind them hovered between us like a faint cloud. We got out of the car and passed a neatly manicured lawn. From the center of the wooden door, a gargoyle knocker stared at me, blank and uncaring. I rapped on it three times, hearing the sound echo deep and hollow in the hallway behind it.

After a moment that felt like an eternity, the door swung open. I don’t really know what I’d been expecting, but Dante was definitely not it. Draped from head to toe in pink and white, he stood at least a full foot shorter than me. Jewelry dangled from every conceivable spot of his tanned skin and a faint aroma of an unknown spice clung to him. Opening his arms as wide as he could, he welcomed up into his home with an almost cartoonish Italian accent.

“Welcome, gentlemen! Please, make yourselves at home.”

Liam and I shared a glance and followed him inside. Walking past dozens of portraits of varying sizes and ages, he led us into a brightly lit kitchen. The walls were a deep turquoise, contrasting heavily with the squat pink man before us; the foreign mixture of colors was starting to give me a headache. I chose one of the many chairs surrounding the table and Liam slid into the one next to me. Dante took his place across from us and folded his fingers in a tiny steeple under his chin. Day-old stubble adorned a face that could’ve been 30 or 100; there was just something both ancient and incredibly youthful about his energy.

Unsure of where to start, I stared at a calendar on the wall. It showed the wrong month above a group of kittens sitting in a basket.

“So, boys, what we’re looking at here is a possession, eh?”

I looked at him out of the corner of my eye, and then my head followed. I nodded.
“Yeah. Uh… this man – thing? – and I used to have an…” I trailed off, searching for the proper words.

“Understanding,” Dante finished my thought.

“Yes, an understanding”.

He shook his head. “Palpitare is no stranger to these types of deals. He preys on the weak, the indisposed. His victims are usually young, ignorant, and in need of a quick fix, and thus they give themselves to the broken will of desperation.”

I could sense Liam gaze turning to me, but I kept my eyes focused on Dante with warmth growing in my cheeks.

“Don’t be ashamed; you are far from the first. And,” he shrugged with a huge arch in his shoulders, “you’ll be far from the last. Unfortunately, through all of my years of calling these creatures to head and banishing them to the netherly depths they came from, I’ve only ever found a way to sever their ties to the individual; their continued presence on this earth remains a pestilence and a mystery.”

Giving up any pretense I had left, I gripped Liam’s hand hard and said “we’re prepared to do whatever we need to.”

Dante clapped. “Perfect. Now, listen carefully.”

Over the course of a half hour, he explained with great care exactly what was going to happen; how we were to set up, what we were to say, and what we were to expect.

The host (me) was to provide an offering of seed, just like the first time the entity had arrived. The seed was to be emptied into a vessel provided by the host’s lover (Liam) and centered in a circle of five candles. The host, his lover, and the Caller (Dante) were to link hands around the seeded vessel, and a chant was to be repeated with serious intent.

Mentula. Cōleī. Cūlus. Palpitare. Exsilium.

Given the bait and enough proper intent, this was said to break the entity’s hold on the host permanently.

I sat, going through the words over and over in my head. This was ridiculous, but I was willing to try anything at this point.

Returning from the bathroom a few minutes later, I handed Liam’s sock over to Dante. He gingerly placed it on a shawl in the middle of the table, within the circle of candles, and we took our places. Lights off, we linked hands and I stared deeply into the candle directly across from me; it illuminated Dante’s face with an eerie wash of pale orange. He looked much older now.

“And now, we begin. Do you have the chant down?”

Liam and I nodded in unison.

“Good. Now repeat after me, and don’t stop no matter what happens.”

I took a deep breath.

“Palpitare.”

“Palpitare.”

“My demon lover.”

My d-” the words almost caught in my throat, but I managed to choke them out – “demon lover.”

“Accept this seed.”

“Accept this seed.”

“And make us whole.”

“And make us whole.”

“Mentula. Cōleī. Cūlus. Palpitare. Exsilium.”

“Mentula. Cōleī. Cūlus. Palpitare. Exsilium.“

Dante rolled his head, urging us on.

“Mentula. Cōleī. Cūlus. Palpitare. Exsilium.”

I felt a tremor. Thinking it was Liam, I looked over at him, but his eyes were focused on the sock at the center of the table without a glimmer of fear showing in their deep green.

“Mentula. Cōleī. Cūlus. Palpitare. Exsilium.”

The shaking grew and I realized it was below me, from the floor. And then, the table. Then, the walls. It seemed as though the entire house was humming, a song caught deep and ragged in its belly.

“Mentula. Cōleī. Cūlus. Palpitare. Exsilium.”

I watched as the walls began to flex; just the slightest at first, and then more and more as though tensed muscles in a writhing body.

“Mentula. Cōleī. Cūlus. Palpit-”

Cutting us off mid-chant, the glass in the window behind Dante buckled and shattered, sending shards flying towards us in a sheet. A faint siren of sound spilled into the room, and the candles flared heavily. I screamed, but Dante crushed my hand in his. Raising his voice against the howl of the newfound wind, he continued.

Palpitare. Exsilium.”

Choking back my fear, I rejoined him.

Mentula. Cōleī. Cūlus. Palpitare. Exsilium.

The howl became an unholy scream, our chant a teardrop in a hurricane, and the energy of the room pulsed around us like a heart attack. Then, I could see him. Just a faint outline at first, but with every syllable we managed to spit, his form became more and more substantial. He was hunched over, his body a mess of taut shadow and exposed muscle; he was in obvious pain. I chanted louder.

MENTULA. CŌLEĪ. CŪLUS. PALPITARE. EXSILIUM.

I sucked in a deep breath.

MENTULA. CŌLEĪ. CŪLUS. PALPITARE. EXSILIUM.

He locked eyes with me, burying raw pain and anger as deep as he could go, but I spat into the mass of darkness that had been my everything through so many tortured, fretful nights.

MENTULA.

Dante’s head flung back, only the whites of his eyes visible.

CŌLEĪ.

Liam’s hand clenched into mine with such force that his neatly-manicured nails popped straight through the first layer of my skin, drawing tiny lines of blood.

CŪLUS.

A flash of heat ripped through my body, flooding me with a queer sensation of seasickness, the same feeling I’d gotten every Summer when my uncle would take me and my brothers deep sea fishing.

PALPITARE.

He stopped his violent churning like a switch had been flipped, the vortex of pain still etched in every line of his slate-blank face, and his head snapped back. The sound in the room reached a level almost imperceptible to the human ear and I could see the edges of his body beginning to blur, slowly flaking away like ashes from a long-burnt flame.

EXSILIUM.

The last word sounded as though it were shot from a cannon. The entire house filled with a deafening roar; it felt like it had been lifted from its foundation and slammed back into the concrete slab below. The sound died, choked out of the room, and I watched as Palpitare’s magnificent body folded in exquisite agony; it flickered once, twice, and then a thick layer of white foam bubbled to every inch of his fleshless surface. He snapped in half, backwards, his empty gaze meeting me upside down, and then he burst.

Like the front row at some hellish version of Sea World, the three of us were splattered with a seemingly endless undulation of pulpy globs. Coating every visible surface in the room, it smelled like a bottle of bleach left in direct sun for two days straight. I gagged, threw up, and fell backwards out of my chair.

Bringing a hand up to his ruddy face, Dante scoured away a handful of the quickly congealing slime and threw it to the floor.

Shaking his head, he chuckled silently and muttered under his breath to no one in particular.

“I really need to learn to put down tarps.”