The following morning was Saturday and I got call that my car was ready. The mechanic, Cedric of Cedric and Cousins Auto shop, showed me the bill. Only sixty dollars.
“Why? What’s wrong, was something missed?” I said.
“Nothing wrong we could find,” said Cedric.
“Look,” he pointed to several blank lines in the invoice. “We’re not charging you for nothing. The car was fine when we tested it last night. Checked again this morning too.”
“But it wouldn’t start?” I said. Still elated from the day before, I didn’t get that mad that he didn’t believe me, only a little annoyed.
“We spent four hours checking everything we could,” he said. “I had one mechanic check the other’s work. I didn’t believe it either. Your car is fine, miss. Labor only, with a discount.”
“Okay,” I said relaxing.
I paid him and took my car off the lot. I called Marley and we met at my apartment. I opened a bottle of red and toasted to my car and to “integrated empowerment.”
“Ahh so you went, huh?” said Marley.
“I did, indeed,” I said. I shared my experience with the amazing Illaria. Definitely something that I would repeat. She shared a little of her experience too, including the top of her breasts where red lines marked her skin.
“She cut you?” I said in shock.
“Scratched,” said Marley. “Blood.”
My eyes widened in surprise. It’s unsafe and Illaria never did that with me.
“I’ve always had a fetish for bleeding,” added Marley. “Illaria brought it out of me.”
“So she’s a pro tormentor?”
Marley shook her head.
“She’s everything she says she is,” said Marley. “Let’s pour another toast. For Chicago.”
I had almost forgotten the reason for Gray Temple to begin with.
“I’m not short listed yet,” I said. There had not yet been any evidence that the contract I signed last night was real.
“You will be,” said Marley. Her arm wandered over and her fingers ran through my hair.
“That’s… surprisingly nice,” I said. She inhaled, raising her cleavage. It caught my eye. She caught me looking.
“Yeah?” Marley cooed. She pushed her glass aside. “You seem extra sensitive right now too.”
Her other hand took mine. My heart palpitated in excitement.
“And loose,” she said. “Did Illaria give you the second best orgasm you’ll have this week?”
“Second best?” I giggled.
“Second to one I’m going to give you today.”
Marley and I were unclothed and uninhibited only a few minutes later. Tumbling around together in my bed, we took turns penetrating the other and tasting bare skin. Marley came first, while I had my vibrator pushed inside and my lips around her nipple. Her arm wrapped around me, squeezing me hard as she did. Her fingers dug into my back. Would I too learn to like the pain of broken skin and blood too as she did? Yet after she recovered I contended myself to our next level of play. Marley improvised a flogger out of her belt and brought it down hard on my bare ass, thighs, and even my chest. Then Marley fulfilled her promise. She toyed with my pussy for what felt like days, pulling my brain into a thick miasma of pleasure. I came for my first time that day, shaking all over the bed. That only excited Marley further. We played with each other on and off for the rest of that afternoon. God, the sex was so amazing. Nothing is healthier than falling asleep next to a partner after you’ve had that much group exercise.
Monday arrived and I made my rounds at the hospital ward. One of the nurses interrupted me and indicated that my duties for later the afternoon had been rescheduled.
“Why?” I said startled. I’d been caring for the same round of patients for the last week. This isn’t something that would be taken from me.
“You’re going for an oncology spot in Chicago right?” she said.
I answered nothing. The nerves inside me wouldn’t let me move. I had to think myself out of it.
“Okay yes,” added the nurse. “You have an informative meeting? Like an interview?”
“Interview?” I exclaimed.
“Well no not really. We set up a video conference for you though..”
That had been enough talk. At the scheduled time I entered a video conference with several leads of the Chicago Adventist Oncology department. They had added an opening, had seen my resume, heard of my work, and examined my application. I suppressed my excitement and tremendous trepidation while we discussed the practice of medicine in the most professional manner. There would be a follow up of course. There would need to be a last minute in person interview. All of which would happen quickly as their need was quite sudden.
I called Elliot first. He didn’t pick up and I left an excited and fast speaking message into his phone. We might both be heading to Chicago together, finding a cure for cancer, and be able to continue our fucking. Marley I called next.
“Hey Marley!” I said. “I can barely believe it, but it worked!”
“Ahh, so are you a believer in Grey Temple and integrated Empowerment?” she teased.
“Believer?” I said. That’s not a word I used. Taking steps back mentally, I considered the dangers of confirmation bias. Yet, I hadn’t exactly had any bias to begin with. There had been an agreement. But how did Grey Temple do this? Did they have some connections? Some people?
“What is Grey Temple?” I said. “I mean really? They’re not wellness consultants, are they?”
“The Grey Temple? They’re making the world better. One client at a time.”
“I know that. What I mean is how?”
“That’s all something isn’t it?” said Marley. “I’m not legally allowed to explain. I can promise, Illaria will be happy to meet with you again.”
I don’t call myself a believer. I don’t call Marley and evangelist. Yet there we were.
“Doctor McSweeney?” came the nurse with urgency.
“Yes?” I said holding my cell phone from my ear.
“It’s Elliot,” she said. “You should know…”
Elliot slept in a medically induced coma. I’m not his physician. I can’t know everything about his record, but he had been transported to the same hospital we had worked in. Stitches marred his beautiful face. His left arm was in a cast. Blankets covered his legs and he was immobilized. I asked around for what had happened. A big rig on the highway buckled after a tire blew out. That caused a three car pile up with Elliot involved. No deaths? From everything I’d known about accidents like these there was always at least one fatality. That’s just statistical probability after all. Thousands of cars pass big rigs every day. Statistically, there would be at least a few accidents like these.
But not Elliot. Why? If he was in a medically induced coma, we would not know when he would come out. If that happened, then he couldn’t go to Chicago. If he couldn’t go to Chicago then…
I refused to consider it. Correlation does not imply causation. This is as true for diagnosing patients as it is for years of research to cure polio. There was no way that I could handle what I was looking at right now. Not at Elliot. If I kept looking at him like this I would definitely start foolishly thinking that correlation implies causation. That’s psychology, and I’m not immune to it. There didn’t have to be a reason why this tragedy happened. I knew this also, its easier and often more important to falsify a theory than to confirm it.
I knew how to falsify.
I chanted ‘correlation does not imply causation’ as I drove to the temple. I bumped over a curb as I parked my car and then entered the temple. I observed the receptionist. I walked past her and entered Illaria’s office. Despite my brashness, she gave me an attentive look.
“Jeri,” she said. “Hey there. Why don’t you take a seat.”
“Falsification criteria does not require that I sit.”
Illaria cocked her head to the side.
“Jeri, is something wrong?” she asked.
“Elliot was in a car accident. Did you do that?” I asked.
“Oh Jeri,” she spoke like melting chocolate. I sat down and Illaria reclined near me.
“Now Jeri you’re not worried at all about your position in Chicago. You’re maybe worried about how it happened,” she began. “Is that right?”
“The Old One of the Temple makes things happen,” she began. “We influence the fate of others. We use that to fulfill our contracts within the best and most holistic ethical practices.”
I didn’t know which sounded more nonsensical, ‘the Old One’ or that she said this was holistic and ethical.
“Think of it like this: your future work on cancer will save thousands. Perhaps hundreds of thousands over the course of your lifetime. What’s a few months or a few years in a coma compared to all that?”
“He might not be able to walk again,” I said. “You’ve sacrificed one person’s utility for another.”
“The contract stated that Grey Temple fulfills its part at its own discretion, Jeri,” she said. “The Old One guides those decisions.”
I stood up. I didn’t want to hear anything about an Old One anymore.
“I’ve had enough. Whatever you did, I’m seeing the police about it. You’re not a business. You’re a dangerous cult,” I declared. I headed for the door.
“Would that help Elliot at all?” Illaria spoke, halting me. She had a point. Even if I went to the police, found a good prosecutor, pried their secrets through investigations, Elliot still suffered.
“What exactly do you think you could do? This is medicine,” I said.
“Well, we may be a cult. But we’re a real one,” said Illaria. She rolled up her loose long sleeve. Her left forearm glowed under the light. Then it changed. It morphed. It transitioned like puddy into a long single rust red and white tentacle. She curled it around a nearby vase and lifted it up, demonstrating the strength. I had to have been seeing things, but then this tentacle touched me. A warm, fleshy, weight landed on my skin and I knew it instantly. It had touched me before. It had been inside me. It wanted to return and I, shocked and aroused at once, wished that to be so. “The Old One is real. He whispers to me,” continued Illaria. “Perhaps one day he will whisper to you.”
I cannot deny what I see with my own eyes or touch with my own skin. Still, I stepped away from that frustratingly erotic appendage. I wanted to know everything that was going on this time.
“You said the contract let you do what you want? Okay. So be it,” I said. “Now I’d like another one.”
“For Elliot’s speedy recovery and good health?”
We hashed out several terms. I wanted the Old One to not harm Elliot. In fact, I wanted Elliot in Chicago with me. Furthermore, no more unwilling parties to this deal. I didn’t want to later learn that the Old One killed a doctor so that the two of us could cure cancer.
“You drive a shrewd and specific request, Jeri. The Old One requires more in payment. You must accept a geas, for a term of six years.”
“You will live unbothered. Yet there will be times when the Old One summons you. You will be compelled to return here, and make prostrations,” she said. She looked me in the eye, emphasizing the last point. “You will not be able to refuse the summons any more than you could refuse hunger or sleep. You will come and be ready for the master.”
“That also depends on you,” said Illaria. “The Old One seeks more supplicants. If you introduce us to another client, summons will be less frequent.”
Marley. It clicked in my head. My broken car that wasn’t broken and Marley’s flexible schedule had started all this. I’d been drawn in, but there was no pulling out now. Not if I wanted Elliot to be okay. Hell, things would be better than okay if I made this deal.
“Marley’s a good lawyer,” I said. “Did she write a contract involving this geas?”
“It’s our standard template,” said Illaria smiling. “Let us get it.”
A contract was written. Another pair of signatures were added. In that office, I removed some clothes. I knew what Illaria expected of me. She took me down to the basement. The chains and pillars were ready, but Illaria ignored them.
“Disrobe completely,” she said. Her voice was irresistible. “Now stand in this circle.”
Obeying again, I shivered there. The room darken and Illaria stepped around me, running her tentacle over my flesh. She chanted. The friendly warmth in her voice faded into a dirge. My mind knew this was wrong. A tiny wrong that would produce years of good for the world. I needed to endure for only so long.
And I craved to supplicate.
“Do you wish to know the Old One? To accept his geas? And his touch?” said Illaria. “Of your clear and uncoerced mind?”
“Yes. I do.”
The tiles in the basement shoved aside with the sound of grinding stone. They were pushed away as writing mass of thick, heavy, and long tentacles crawled from the ground. A pair wiggled towards me, twisting around my feet, my calves and upwards. Warm. I found them so unexpectedly warm. Other tentacles wrapped over my arms and torso in a paradoxical, binding of possession and protection. I loved it. I lusted for the Old One as soon as I was hefted into the air.
“The Old One whispers. He is pleased with you, supplicant,” said Illaria. “We will bless you.”
A tentacle emerged before me. Its tip changed to the most wonderful phallus I’d ever seen. I opened my jaw for it and it filled me. I loved sucking it. I knew that I pleased the master. Each pulsating constriction intensified as I sucked it down. Strong cum spurted out and choked me.
“The prostrate must swallow,” intoned Illaria.
Keeping my lips tight the tentacle pulled out, I retained the cum. I suppressed my reflex to spit, chortling against sealed lips instead. I gulped once and then twice. I took the cum down.
“I will have my way with you prostrate,” spoke Illaria for the Old One. “What you have consumed is only the first of many.”
That’s when the beating began. The Old One stretched my limbs as Illaria had only days before. This time, the agonizing strikes came in heavy flurries. The thuds made me shout. I whimpered for mercy, only to be punished again with more wet fleshly lashes. The pain pleasured me so much it messed with my mind, driving further into places that I hadn’t known. A vile seed in my soul germinated. Its roots spanned out into my brain and soon became part of it. Part of me.
The tentacles need not restrain me then. I would have submitted to any whimsy. Yet, I loved the helplessness I had been put into. My clit was tickled by a tentacle tip, and another slid its way in and played with me.
“Fuck!” I roared out. “Please! Please fuck me like that.”
“The slave does not need to speak,” answered Illaria. The cock tipped tentacle entered my mouth and cut off my cries. My pussy grew wet as the tentacle penetrated me more, pumping in and out of me. My eyes closed and my muscles tensed so tight I cried at the pain. Is this what the Old One could do? Could the god get so deep into my mind and soul that my orgasm would be denied? I did not think long on that. I didn’t think on anything. A sudden gush of harrowing pleasure cascaded through me. My orgasm subsided, but it did not stop. It echoed once more. Only the cradle of my new god prevented me from falling to the ground. A mess of cum shot in my pussy and another into my mouth. Prepared this time, I consumed more of the blessing he gave me.
So continued my first prostration. Illaria spoke for the Old One again while I was nothing more than a delirious plaything. I wished for more even when the tentacles sank away lowering me to the ground. Only when they disappeared completely could I reflect on the metaphysical perversity of what had happened. Nothing had made sense in this temple, and I loved every degrading minute of it.
“You may be a person again,” said Illaria speaking for herself. Her tentacle pet my shoulder. “Unless you have enough energy to play with me.”
I wished I could, yet I was so spent. The muscles in the body can only take so much adrenaline before they exhaust themselves. I would no doubt feel the same strain as a mean hangover tomorrow. I needed water.
“My clothes,” I sighed. “I need to head home.”
“Pity,” said Illaria. She retracted her tentacle.
“Will it be like this? Every time?” I said as I stumbled up.
“Sometimes like that. Sometimes longer. Sometimes with several supplicants,” she said. “No one knows.”
“It whispers to you,” I added.
“The Old One whispers, yes. I understand what he wishes. It is not for us to ask why,” she said. “Come let me get you some water.”
I slept well that night, better than I had in ages. After all, for all the manipulation, dense contracts, and humiliations, Illaria would keep her bargain. I could relax with the knowledge that a position at Chicago Adventist Oncology was mine.
Miraculously too, Elliot came out of his coma. I visited him the day after he awoke. We talked for hours of a future in Chicago. I confessed to have missed him for several days, and he pressed if I had found anyone else to play with. Blushing, I admitted that I had.
He was released two weeks later and I wasted no time and took him to bed. He slept naked beside me, I lay watching him contended on the bliss of sex. Then, I heard the whispering. The Old One desired something. Did he want me? No, he desired something of me. It would not be long before I, like Marley, would bring another supplicant to his temple.