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Incubus

Incubus


Estimated reading time — 11 minutes

We don’t celebrate Halloween where I come from. My main exposure to it as a kid was through Western media, and while I didn’t fully understand the premise, I found the general aesthetic of the holiday pretty neat and wished to experience it someday.

Fast forward about fifteen years and I did end up moving to the US, albeit for more practical reasons. As a twenty-something woman, it was safe to say I had blown my chance at trick-or-treating, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t get into the Halloween spirit in other ways. It just so happened that one of my coworkers was throwing a spooky-themed party at his house as a sort of impromptu team-building event. I admittedly had a thing for said coworker, so I was going regardless of the premise, but the fact that it was Halloween did boost my excitement even more.

As soon as I stepped through that door, I immediately realized how underdressed for the occasion I was. I didn’t expect people to go all out for a work event, but there was Bill from HR walking around in full mummy getup and Heather, our supervisor, strutting her stuff as a sexy witch. Meanwhile, there was I, dressed in an ordinary shirt and slacks and with my dumb little devil horns on, standing in the middle of it all like a complete jackass. I rarely experience social awkwardness, but this was definitely one of those moments, especially since I was the “new girl” still trying to make an impression.

Thankfully the coworker I was interested in was too busy running back and forth from the kitchen to pay me any attention. I figured my best course of action was to just blend with the background and dip after an hour or two.

And then I saw him.

I’m not exaggerating when I say he was the most gorgeous man I’d ever seen. He wasn’t in costume either, but I don’t think it mattered in his case. He could’ve turned up in full tracksuit and flip flops and people would still want to be around him. He was tall, but not so tall that I felt intimidated walking up to him. His hair was brown with a reddish, mahogany tone and fell in long curls that accentuated his cheekbones. He had a short ginger beard that, when combined with his plaid shirt, made him look like he was about to whip out an acoustic guitar at any moment. If you told teenage me to design her ideal boyfriend, it’d quite literally just be him.

“Didn’t get the memo either?” I asked with the most easy-going smile I could fake. I’d never approached anyone first before, but with him it felt so natural, like it was the obvious thing to do.

He lifted his green eyes from the glowing screen of his phone and over to me. My chest fluttered when he smiled. It wasn’t love at first sight—that’d be understating it. It was something more baseline, primal, but just calling it lust wouldn’t have done it justice either. Imagine you’ve spent your entire existence confined to the ground, but then one day the universe decides to give you the ability to fly. You’ve never had the desire to fly before. Now that you’ve experienced what it’s like to soar through the clouds, however, you can’t picture life without it.

“You think I normally dress like this?” He jokingly replied.

We hit it off straight away. Never had a man, especially one I’d just met, made me feel so at ease in his company before. Even though I’d just learned his name, it felt like we were old classmates having a long-overdue reunion.

Oscar. It suited him.

Everything he did, everything he said, it just radiated this indescribable aura. It was captivating and, worse, hopelessly addictive. Every single time he acknowledged me, laughed at my jokes, or gave me a knowing wink, it made me want him all that much more. And it was as if he knew. No, there were no ifs or buts about it—he definitely knew. He knew and he was using it against me, torturing me, seeing how far he could push me before I break. And break I did.

It was I who led him into the upstairs bathroom, away from my coworkers’ prying eyes. It was I who practically pinned him to the wall and locked our tongues together. His stubble against my chin, his dexterous hands down my back…

Euphoria in its most distilled form.

As I began unbuttoning his shirt, he abruptly grabbed my wrist with one hand and the other he placed between us. I protested with a series of exasperated whines, unable to even put my frustration into words. Thankfully, his salacious smirk assured me that this awful craving wouldn’t go unsated for much longer.

“Not here” He said “My place’s just down the road.”

I breathlessly agreed. I tried to sound playful, but my desperation was obvious. This was no longer a want; it was a need that was burning me from the inside out. I needed to feel him. To taste him. I felt like my heart was going to give out if I didn’t.

To my relief, the walk to his flat was indeed brisk. I had to physically hold myself back from jumping his bones while we were alone in the elevator. The first thing I noticed when we entered his apartment was all of the boxes scattered about the place. Either he was in the process of moving or preparing to do so, but I figured we could save that conversation for our pillow talk later. Talking about his living arrangement was the last thing on my mind at the time.

As soon as we crossed the threshold of his bedroom, our dynamic instantly shifted. It seemed as though Oscar had left his reserved facade at the door. He pushed me onto the bed and positioned himself above me. His breath melted my skin, but his lips were quick to cool it. His fingertips were like branding irons as he worked his way down to my thighs, marking every inch of me as his own. My mind went blank. Pain and pleasure mixed together in a forbidden cocktail from which I greedily drank every last drop. Livestock—that’s all I was. That’s all I was ever meant to be. A part of me subconsciously knew that I was going to die that evening, but I didn’t care. What was the point of living if I’d never experience such ecstasy again?

Suddenly, his doorbell rang, scattering the haze clouding my thoughts for a short moment. I looked down and saw the mop of unruly reddish locks pull back from between my legs. He groaned loudly in annoyance:

“Ugh. It’s probably the old bag from downstairs complaining about the noise again. Stay put. I’ll deal with it.”

He threw a bathrobe on and exited the room, gently closing the door behind himself, almost as if he was trying to hide me. I flopped back against the now thoroughly soaked mattress. My vision spun and my entire body still ached with desire. Through the wall, I could hear Oscar and a sterner, gravelly voice exchanging words. How long was this going to take? Against Oscar’s request, I slid out of bed and staggered towards the laminate door that appeared to lead to a bathroom. I felt like I was being boiled alive in my own sweat; I needed to find a way to cool off, at least until he came back to finish what he started. On my way there, however, something else caught my attention.

I couldn’t help but notice that the door to the closet was sticking out in a pretty odd way, kind of like it was being pushed from the inside by something heavy. Must be the typical guy thing of piling all their junk in one place. My brothers were guilty of the same. Still, I didn’t have anything better to occupy me, and Oscar was taking his sweet time chatting up his upset neighbor. Any distraction from the throbbing heat coursing throughout my lower half was a welcomed one.

I approached the bulging door, picking my bra up on the way there and tossing it back onto the bed. The door was one of those fancy slidey ones. As my warm palm met the cold handle, I began to register a strange noise emanating from the other side. It was slow and rhythmic—almost whispery, in a way. I pressed my ear to the wooden surface, closed my eyes and listened. It sounded like…breathing?

There was no way. Surely not. But what else could it have been? A hissing pipe, maybe? Do pipes run through closets? I steadied my own breathing, grabbed the handle more firmly and decided to just rip the proverbial band-aid off. If I was wrong, the worst that could’ve happened was that I would’ve totally ruined the mood and then had to help Oscar clean up.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t.

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Two whole goddamn bodies came tumbling forth from the closet. One belonged to a man and the other to a woman. At least, as far as I could tell. They were so shriveled that it was genuinely difficult to deduce, reduced to little more than skeletons wrapped in a sheet of skin. It was as if all traces of moisture had been completely drained from them.

The man was lifeless. I watched in horror as blood pooled beneath his skull and over the vinyl flooring. I would’ve assumed the woman dead too at first, but she began to stir. She tried and tried to get to her knees, but kept slipping on the other’s fluids. I wanted to help. I really did. Yet I was so utterly terrified; I couldn’t move a muscle. Finally, she succumbed to her frailty and collapsed back onto the floor, where she continued flailing her useless limbs in a pitiful display of helplessness.

What did that fuck do to them? Was he… about to do the same thing to me? The thought caused my throat to contract. Shock became panic and that’s when the rush of adrenaline kicked in. My body was telling me in no uncertain terms to get the fuck out of that hellhole of an apartment. I crouched down beside the two bodies, frantically rummaging through the pile of discarded clothes. My phone had to be in there somewhere. A modicum of relief washed over me when I finally found the pocket where it was hiding and managed to fish it out.

Before I could stand back up, the shriveled woman suddenly lunged at me, grabbing me by the ankle. My first instinct was to pull away, but her grip held surprisingly strong, despite the horrible pop that came from her shoulder.

Her face was difficult to look at. It was so gaunt that I could actually see the shape of her teeth through her cheeks. Her mouth was too dry to speak, so instead she placed the finger of her other hand to what remained of her lips. Then, she pointed towards the bottom drawer of the nightstand. I could tell she wanted me to open it. With tears welling up in my eyes from fear, I gave a nod and did exactly that. Tucked behind pill bottles and a bundle of cables was a gun.

I clutched it against my bare chest, feeling its weight, then checked the magazine. It had all its rounds. I pushed it back in with shaking hands, pulled the slide, and finally released the safety. One of the first things I did when I came to the US was visit my local shooting range. It was just for fun; I never, in a million years, thought I’d actually have to put what I learned there into practice.

Pistol in one hand and my phone in the other, I was finally allowed to rise to my feet. Standing on the opposite side of the bed that separated us was the sick son of a bitch himself. He didn’t say anything, didn’t reprimand me. His expression was one of mild annoyance, as if I were some cockroach that had crawled out of his drain.

“Look, I just called the cops…” I bluffed, waving my phone around while concealing the loaded firearm behind my back. I figured there was no point in escalating tensions any more than they already were. ” If I were you, I’d leave now before they come.”

No reaction, not even a mocking smirk. He just stood there like a mannequin, his face half-illuminated by the arrangement of LED lights on the wall.

“Okay. I get it. You probably want to clean this mess up first. I’ll just go and leave you to it then, yeah?”

Carefully, with the gun still pressed to my lower back, I circled around the bed while maintaining eye contact. As I got about halfway over to his side, his entire head suddenly began to spasm. His body stayed perfectly still, but his head kept jerking back and forth, as if he was trying to snap his own neck. I screamed as what looked to be two ivory horns burst forth from his eye sockets. The gleaming, bony projections extended forward and then coiled against his skull, scraping against the side of it before looping back around, this time with shreds of his own hair and flesh hanging from their pointed tips.

I shut my eyes and blindly ran past the horrifying scene, stumbling out into the living room and making a beeline for the front door. Of course, it was locked. Vision clouded by tears, I started throwing my whole body against it in complete and utter panic. I shrieked for help at the top of my lungs. If the neighbors had a problem with my moaning before, there was no way they couldn’t hear me now.

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There was a wet chuckle from the living room behind me. I snapped back around, gun pointed straight. That thing, that monster, was standing between the couch and the TV, fully in the nude. There was an oozing slit stretching from its naval base to its pubic area. It giggled as it held it open. From it slipped out what I can only describe as a long, pulsating tendril, at the disgusting end of which was something resembling a giant hypodermic needle. So that’s what it did to them…

I took a deep breath, gritted my teeth, grabbed the gun with both hands and opened fire. The first bullet hit the couch, the second grazed the edges of the wall, but the rest found their mark, landing straight in its chest and causing it to stagger. I fired again and again, the recoil of each shot rattling every bone in my arms. I’m not sure how many rounds I let fly before I finally stopped to inspect the damage.

That monstrosity, or demon, or whatever the hell it was, was gone. No body, no traces of blood—just gone. But how? I had my sights set on it the entire time. I slowly made my way to the center of the living room. Silence—nothing but the ringing in my ears.

And then there was only pain. A crippling, all-consuming pain radiating upwards from my left thigh and consecrating around my stomach, as if my insides were being compressed between two blazing hot irons. My eyes dropped to the sight of the creature’s oversized stinger embedded within the side of my leg, wriggling as it burrowed itself even deeper. I couldn’t even muster the coordinated effort to scream. The agony was indescribable. I sank to one knee, then both, before ultimately collapsing onto my side. Despite my best efforts, I struggled to even get a hold of the slippery appendage to which the barbed needle was attached, all the while a web of dark veins extended from the point of insertion and spread across my leg like black worms crawling beneath my skin.

Emerging from the shadows unscathed, the monster grabbed a fistful of my hair and forcibly tilted my head up to face it. All I saw were teeth. Rows upon rows of teeth, filed to a point and glistening with thick saliva. What the fuck kind of nightmare was this? It couldn’t be real. I refused to believe that it was real. I would wake up any second now in my own room, covered in sweat, vowing to never read Wattpad stories before bed again.

I clenched my jaw and pressed the barrel of the gun beneath the monster’s drooling chin. I then shut my eyes tight,

and pulled the trigger.

Things get a bit fuzzy after that. I remember the echo of the gunshot as it resonated inside my skull. I remember my ears popping and the world falling temporarily mute. I remember finally dislodging the creature’s proboscis, or whatever the hell it was, from my leg as it recoiled back, clutching its mouth, and then dragging my useless limb behind me. I remember its foot on my back and a piercing sting near my right shoulder blade. I remember desperately reaching out towards the front door’s handle, only for the whole thing to come flying in, hinges and all. I remember two police officers standing there, firearms raised and looking horrified as they shouted indecipherable demands to the abomination pinning me down against the carpet. I remember the feeling of weightlessness as it held me up by the back of the neck, using me as a hostage while it retreated backwards, only to then dump me back onto the ground and bolt for the nearest window. I remember the shattering of glass, closely followed by more gunshots. And finally, I remember the blackness as it encroached upon the edges of my vision, then promptly swallowed me whole.

When I was taken into custody, I expected them to stuff me in some lab or loony bin, depending on whether they believed my full testimony or not. Turns out, however, that my experience was far from unique. Incubi they call them—shapeshifters that take on the guise of humans in order to lure us in like the sinful little cattle we are and drain us down to the last drop. No one knows where they come from, or if they do, they aren’t telling us. The frequency of reported incidents has escalated to the point where survivors are no longer segregated from society. I was just told to sign a non-disclosure agreement and sent on my merry way as soon as I could walk again. Surprisingly, besides a little numbness in my leg, I don’t seem to have any lasting damage. Not physical, at least.

I know I shouldn’t be openly discussing this, but I don’t think it matters at this point. I bet that by 2025, if not sooner, the whole thing will be out in the open anyway. Until then, whether you believe me or not, just be careful who you go home with.

Credit: Morning Owl

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