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I HAVE ALWAYS WANTED TO WRITE A PARANORMAL ROMANCE AND I WAS SOOOOO HAPPY WHEN THE GENRE BECAME POPULAR BECAUSE, AT LAST, IT MEANT MY WORK WOULD BE ACCEPTED AND NO LONGER TURNED DOWN FOR BEING "TOO OUTRAGEOUS" OR "THE MOST DISGUSTING THING I EVER READ." IT IS ALSO GOTHIC BECAUSE IT TALKS ABOUT FORBIDDEN SUBJECTS LIKE THE ONES POPPY Z. BRITE AND ANNE RICE AND V.C. ANDREWS ARE ALWAYS ON ABOUT IN ALL THEIR BOOKS. THAT MAKES IT MORE SOPHISTICATED THAN NORMAL PARANORMAL ROMANCES.
EIGHT GRUELING YEARS WERE SPENT BY ME ON THIS PIECE, WRITING AND REWRITING TO UTTER PERFECTION. IT IS SO PERFECT I DO NOT HESITATE TO SAY THAT IT IS MY MASTERPIECE, MY GRAND OEUVRE.
SINCE YOU CAN ALREADY SEE THE FIRST CHAPTER PREVIEW IN KINDLE, I AM POSTING HERE THE SECOND CHAPTER FOR EVERYONE TO SEE.
Morgan Worthington-Smythe was presently thirty years old. Her body was slender, her skin smooth, and she had succumbed to the recent trend for dying her hair a silver color even in one's youth. Her own features were gorgeous enough to get away with it. Back when she had worked at a strip club, the Strippery, she'd varied between being one of the most popular dancers and being the most popular. Her undeniable beauty and her all-out pervertedness impressed the right kind of crowd – that was the kind that paid. Eventually she'd retired from the Strippery to become head hostess of a private club called The Abbey, a discreet reference to a location used within a certain story by the Marquis de Sade for staging acts of perversion. It was located a little ways out of Saint Paul, in an old building that had been used by bootleggers in the nineteen twenties and still contained an occasional trapdoor. The place walked the line of legality – technically no one was paying for sexual services, rather they were paying for membership to a club wherein the members had the option of doing such things by their own volition, with other members. It was less than a brothel but more than a nightclub. Morgan, using her nomme de guerre Fata Morgana, was not necessarily expected to participate in anything with the guests, but nonetheless she oft times did.
On this particular evening she had succumbed to temptation and was currently bent over on the floor, surrounded by eager viewers, while she was delighting in being plowed by a dog. A big old Saint Bernard, just to keep everything on par in terms of size. There were about six more roaming around on the floor beside her. Fata Morgana was ever beloved by the sexually deviant because she seemed to have absolutely no shame, and were Messalina still alive to hold a competition with, the empress would would be beat by a mile if paired against the Fata.
The fact was that Morgan had observed within the first portion of her life the limited opportunities available for women, and realized that the sex industry was probably the best shot she had for success and fun in life. And it was so interesting that things which made others so squeamish didn't bother her in the least.
However, this disconnect was not so strange as it might initially seem. The matter of fact was that Morgan was not really human. In truth, she was not even really Morgan. Shigunden was the name of the fox-spirit which had overtaken the body of the hapless teenaged Morgan, and lived a life in her place. Where the body of Shigunden had ended up, Shigunden's mind and soul didn't care.
As it were, the body of Shigunden, still a fox-spirit but fitted now with a mortal human's mind, was living in a patch of woods in a neighborhood in a suburb of Minneapolis. Humans being social creatures, the mind and soul of the true Morgan had not adapted overly well to her new life as a fox-spirit. She had maintained some power of speech, but the opportunity to talk was irregular. Her view of social skills and fair speech had grown blurry. Meanwhile she'd come to perceive as normal many things which most humans within her culture did not view as such.
The true Morgan, in the body of Shigunden, had seen the teenage boy Mitch from time to time in her woods, but it did not strike her that he was her own little brother, grown much larger. The years had passed so eventlessly that really the past eleven years seemed like they could have been equally one year or one hundred years. She had no concept at all how much time had passed, how old she was or how old he should be. Her life was spent in roaming a patch of woods, which appeared to provide her sustenance by supernatural means. She could not leave the woods for any length of time; within minutes her body would start to weaken, and just by instinct she could tell that any attempt to leave would mean her death. She was trapped in the forest. She supposed that this was why Shigunden had been obliged to possess her human body in order to go out in the world – nonetheless, Morgan had sworn to herself that she would never do such a thing to anyone else.
At age nineteen Morgan had been a normal and cheerful girl, looking forward to her future. It's funny how a little spring walk through the open space near one's home can be the vehicle for an enormous twist of fate, by sheer badness of luck. Poor Morgan had been spotted by the spirit, who had appeared to her in that same form of a fox-tailed, red-headed girl. But the wicked Shigunden had known what she was doing – she deliberately feigned injury and need for assistance, to lure Morgan over to her. Morgan good-naturedly came to help and was attacked by the spirit. It tore the girl's clothes from her body and used the scraps to tie her to a tree. There, a nude embrace occurred – and through that slight exchange of energy, did the exchange of souls take place. The spirit knew how to harness that sense of “being a part of someone else” which happens during sex, and how to use it to literally become another person.
In fact, that incident which befell poor Mitch in his youth, which he imagined had been some effort by his “sister” to molest him, was in fact the spirit endeavoring to overtake a more preferable male body for its purposes. Alas, Shigunden discovered through this that, in a human body, she'd lost the ability to perform the ritual. The wood spirit's absorbing powers, the same energy that kept it foodlessly nourished by the woods, was evidently the key to the ability. Humans did not have it. Shigunden had to keep what she'd taken, and that was the body of Morgan.
Of course, when the false Morgan was discovered in a state of confusion and disrobement in the woods, it was assumed she'd been sexually assaulted. Her family attributed the change in behavior and loss of memory she suddenly showed to some kind of sustained brain damage or severe emotional trauma. The false Morgan soon moved away to become Fata Morgana, and her family gave her up as a lost cause. There was little contact between the Worthington-Smythes and the woman who was only biologically their daughter, these days.
All these events did happen, but it was Fata Morgana alone who was aware of them. Mitch, the true Morgan, and the Worthington-Smythes were all clueless apart from the smallest bits of disconnected data, almost none of which was shared between them. Mitch had been so young at the time of his sister's “sexual assault” that the details were never really given to him; and he certainly had no reason to assume the cosplaying woodland runaway hobo girl near his house was really his sister's mind in a demonic fox-spirit's body.
Weeks had passed, and per his promise, Mitch had been daily coming to visit the mysterious girl in the woods, so beautiful and sad as she was. He was still ignorant as to her name. He typically had to resort to addressing her as “Hey You” or some other call of the sort.
On this day, a Wednesday, he was bringing along a small plastic bag full of some clothing which had been destined for the Goodwill. He figured the forest girl would be able to make more immediate use of it.
In the usual spot, he found her – with that tuft of fur still hanging behind her. The addition of his worn old shoes had helped to ground and modernize her outfit a little, but no one wearing a false tail was going to pass for a regular, sane person. He found the nameless girl to be exceptionally sweet, and he felt an odd bond with her, as if he'd known her for much longer than he had, and as if they were meant to be together. He thought of her often, and his teenaged heart grew ever more fond of her each time he met her. At the sight of her, his heart did a little happy dance in his chest. She smiled at him with those ghastly teeth, and he was even beginning to view them as charming in their own way.
“Hey, you...” he said in greeting.
“And a hey to you,” she replied. Her speech was growing more normal and her conversational skill improving simply from the bit of practice Mitch had allowed her in these weeks.
“I brought you some clothes,” said Mitch. “They're nothing special, but they might fit. They'd at least draw less attention to you than that cosplay getup.”
“Cosplay getup?” she asked as she accepted the bag.
“Sorry... I'm guessing you didn't have much choice about the outfit you ended up in, but really – that's not how any normal person dresses.”
She looked down at her outfit with a frown. “No, I suppose it isn't.”
“You might be able to go around without drawing so much attention to yourself in one of these new outfits, at least. Or just have a change of clothing.”
The fox girl pulled a few items from the bag and examined them. “Thank you. I will consider wearing them at future times.”
The outfit she was normally seen in was a garment of soft brown suede, like a cheap moccasin might be made from, cut into a pleated skirt and long, baggy sleeved jacket which closed with a bow in a mode that roughly and unintentionally resembled the getup of a Shinto priestess, which was perhaps why Mitch kept thinking it looked like something from an anime. There was also that big tuft of fur he could see hanging from the back, he thought in imitation of a tail, and to him that simply screamed cosplay.
“I also did some research,” Mitch continued. “There's a homeless shelter not too far from here – you can walk to it if you have to – where you can get things like new clothes and some food. You don't have to give them your real name, they don't check at all.”
“Thank you, but I won't be needing their services,” she replied.
“Oh, come on. You're living in a park in the middle of a suburb. You need some help. You can maybe get back on your feet if --”
“There is no 'getting on my feet.' This is my lot in life.” She spoke with a frown and a deep sadness that was deeper than her normal sadness.
Mitch decided not to press it. He'd noticed through the weeks that his initial guesses about her didn't seem to be holding water, and indeed she had mentioned at their very first meeting that he was making mistaken assumptions about her. Bravely, he decided he should demand to know the truth. “And why is that?”
“It's the situation I've been put into. I had no choice in the matter – I am left here, and must remain here. I cannot stray from this 'park in the middle of a suburb.' It's not by choice.”
“What, are you going to die if you leave or something?” Mitch asked with a note or sarcasm.
Mitch frowned. “That's ridiculous. No one dies from leaving a place. Do you mean – is someone looking for you that you're afraid of?”
“So... is it some kind of reverse agoraphobia, like you're afraid to go inside buildings?”
“I would love to go into a building.”
Mitch smiled anew. “Well! Let me take you to one. My house is really close to here, we can go there...”
She raised an eyebrow. “How close?”
“Super close. It's right up the street a bit, like three blocks.”
“No, no. It's totally close – remember, I went back home in my socks after the first time I met you. It's no big deal, it's not far at all.” He could see she was unmoved. He decided to try the tactic of encouraging her by making it sound desirable. “It's a two-storey house... a lot of the houses in this neighborhood are only one storey... and it's got an old swing set in the back yard, it still is in good shape and we could even use it if you want... and it's got this loft above the livingroom where --”
The girl went wide eyed and released a gasp. “The house – ! It couldn't be... it's not... are you Mitch?”
He was a little taken aback. In the weeks of their acquaintance, she had never provided him with a name, and so he didn't offer one up to her. Now she'd just guessed his slightly unusual name out of the blue. There seemed to be something going on. “Er – yes, Mitch is my name.”
The girl looked like she might faint. She already had tears welling up in her eyes. “Mitch – !” She collapsed up against him, falling into his arms. He had not expected that, but in a way was happy for the contact. He hesitated for a moment as she embraced him, then held her in return and began to stroke her hair. He noticed now, touching it, what a strange texture it had. It was more like petting an animal than like touching the head of a person.
“Mitch,” she continued. “Oh, of course you would not recognize me now. But Mitch – it's me – it's Morgan!”
DUH DUH DUHHHHH!!!!!! FIND OUT WHAT HAPPENS NEXT BY BUYING THE BOOK (HINT: Mitch falls in love with BOTH his sisters!!!!!)
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