ShadowCast 024 Soulless Vessel

Soulless Vessel

by Kimberly Grenfell

Read by Mathew Grenfell

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Slit her throat from ear to ear. Let her feel the pain. Make her writhe in her own lifeblood.
Lamont slid down the corridor of the manor house. With his hand upon the dagger’s hilt, he crept toward the open study door where a single lantern spilled light onto the floor. The black mist swirled before him, though he needed no coaxing. He’d killed for it once; a second time would make no difference.
Slip in, slip out, and be silent. Let them find her body. You will get your reward.
Lamont peered around the doorpost. At the desk near the window, a girl busied herself with her studies, back turned and head bent over the tome from which she copied her lessons. A silver ribbon gathered her red curls. A lantern hung nearby.
Pathetic, he thought.

She works late, the voice rasped. How fortunate for you.

Fortunate, indeed. His half sister never worked this late. The second sun had long set; a pink sliver of moon crested the eastern horizon. Lamont’s gaze searched the corridor. Where was the girl’s keeper? Surely she was ever watchful, but now? Pity such a valuable seven-year-old had been left unguarded. And if the keeper showed herself?
No matter. He was twice the girl’s age, thrice her strength. Her death would fuel the master’s power within, enough to kill the keeper if needed.
Lamont pressed against the wall. His grip tightened around the dagger’s hilt. The mist expanded, pulsating with desire and radiating with an angry heat. It wanted to feed—now. Lamont stretched his pointed nails to it.
“I’m at your mercy, my dark master,” he whispered. “Do with me what you will.” And he braced himself for the impact.
The force struck him like a fist. Face twisted, Lamont convulsed, fighting against the give of his knees as the blackness poured in. It coursed through his blood like an acrid toxin, clawing down his spine and into his limbs, tainting his flesh. A screech ripped through his mind. Lamont clutched his head, doubling over. Teeth gritted, he bit back his own scream. . . .
Silence.
Lamont slowly opened his eyes. Misty blackness veiled his vision. He smacked his lips, tasting the tang of blood, and he grinned, reveling in the churlish feel of the dark master’s power. As it had once been, so it was now—he was omnipotent.
Kill her!
Lamont bolted through the doorway. In a trice he was upon the girl, seizing her and dragging her from the chair. He crushed her close and pressed the dagger tip to her throat.
“One sound, my dear sister, and I will thrust this through your neck.”
The girl whimpered, trembling, her small grip tight upon his arm. Lamont buried his nose into her nape and inhaled. The scent of fear swelled thick in his nostrils, and he shivered at his unexpected arousal—a delectable new experience. His craving for torture piqued.
What are you waiting for—kill her!
Lamont chuckled. Kill her? Why? Why should he kill her, when absorbing her terror was far more . . . satisfying?
“I see you’re all alone,” he said. “And what exactly are you doing, Marisa—playing pretend? Studying for a leadership you aren’t fit to take?” His laughter resonated up from his chest. “Let’s see how well you play pretend with me.” And he traced the blade across her throat. The blade nicked, and Marisa flinched.
“Oh . . .” Lamont caressed her cheek. “What a shame; I’ve cut you.” He wiped the bead of blood with his fingertip, then drew it along his tongue. His eyes rolled back. Salty. Sweet. Terrified. The dark master writhed within.
Give me her soul—now!
Lamont’s passion throbbed, and his mouth twisted with a stiff grin. Marisa began to weep.
“Please, Lamont, please don’t kill me. I’ll do anything—anything. Just please . . . don’t kill me.”
“Oh?” He cocked his head. “Anything, you say?” And Marisa nodded, still sobbing.
Lamont’s brow lifted. Interesting. What could he make her do in the seductive clutches of her fear?
Kill her!
Pain sliced his arm and into his fingers. Lamont winced. He gripped the hilt and steadied the dagger, fighting the urge to slit Marisa’s throat. As the fury ebbed, Lamont’s arousal deepened, and he sought more.
“So,” he whispered, “you’ll do anything I say.”
“Yes. . . .”
“Really, now?” He pressed her closer. “Would you grovel to spare your life?”
“Yes. . . .” Marisa’s voice thinned, barely an audible breath, and Lamont stroked her sweaty forehead, brushed his fingers down her temple.
“Then perhaps you’d carve my name into the flesh over your heart?”
Marisa’s words choked, and she nodded. Lamont grinned. So innocent, so vulnerable. . . .
Kill her!
The dark master snarled, and again Lamont strained against its wrath, consumed by his lust for domination. Last time, the master had control and bid Lamont to slip the blade into its victim’s heart, but this time? Oh, this time, this pathetic excuse for an heir—and her luring scent of terror—was his.
“How desperate are you, Marisa?” Lamont brushed his cracked lips against her ear like a sick lover. “What are you willing to sacrifice to be released from your fear? Would you carry out my secret desire?” he asked. “Would you . . . murder your own father?”
Marisa gasped. A shriek pierced the air. Lamont spun around. In the doorway stood the keeper, her gray eyes wild with rage.
A vehement cry, and the keeper lunged toward him. Marisa wrenched free. Lamont raised the dagger, expecting a surge of power to plunge the blade into the oncoming virago . . . but he doubled over and vomited a black ooze that splattered onto the floor and seeped into the cracks between the planks. His vision cleared, and a chill gripped his spine.
“Out!” the keeper cried, and she knocked the dagger from his hand. “Out, you vile whoreson!” Seizing him by the shoulders, she thrust him through the doorway.
Lamont stumbled down the corridor, spitting gobs of black. Curse the Maker! He smacked the walls. Greedy. He’d hungered for the delicious sensation swollen by his half sister’s fear, and the dark master had drained him, left him unable to fight against a female. Stupid. Shameful. Pathetic.
He collapsed, prone at his bedchamber’s threshold, breaths shallow and cheek mashed to the floor. Marisa’s screams mixed with the keeper’s shrill voice brought forth a heavy onrush of footfalls and the enraged bellow of his stepfather.
Though he struggled to rise, Lamont’s strength refused to return, and he slumped in groaning defeat to await his fate. As it had once been, so it was now—he was impotent, ravaged by the dark master. He braced himself for the grasp that would force him into exile for treason.
But no matter. The mist would seek him out again, and he would experience the rapturous height of his fear-driven lust another time. Because, after all, the master needed a soulless vessel in order to feed.

Kimberly’s website: imaginationether.blogspot.com
Matthew’s website: grenfellmusic.net

This podcast story uses the following sound files from Freesound (www.freesound.org) in order of appearance:
Introduction music [ambience07_Internal] from yewbic
Dark Master pulsation [Noise growing into metallic drone] from Nosebleed Cinema
Striking force [Dumpster_Kicking] from SunnySideSound
Lamont’s possession [eerie strings] from ERH and [crash1_reverse] from Halleck
Marisa’s gasp [Gasp] from Isprice
Chair clatter [malexmedia_woodbangB] from malexmedia
Lamont’s inhalation [deepbreath] from billipo
Lamont’s wince [tense_stinger_A1] from Jackie4Ever
Dark Master growl [GrowlSnarl] from Jamius
Seeping ooze [hallow drone] from DJ Chronos
Hand smack [32] from adcbicycle
Dagger clatter [dagger1] from Halleck
Lamont’s collapse [thud bassy slam] from kyles
Ending music [ambience07_Internal] from yewbi

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