The maiden sitting by her pool
was first to hear my pleas
as she gazed into the water
she recited these words to me
Walk not down that road
I cannot tell you where it goes
ask me no more questions
some things you weren’t meant to know
The mother toiling in the fields
her apron full of seeds
she dropped them to the earth
as she recited these words to me
Walk not down that road
I cannot tell you where it goes
ask me no more questions
some things you weren’t meant to know
The greater mysteries
cannot be shown
Divided by three
they are the maiden, the mother, the crone
Finally I found the crone
walking through the trees
she looked in my eyes
and she recited these words to me
Go before the maiden
fall down to your knees
should you win her favor
she may tell you what she sees
The harvest is reaped
seeds are sown
Multiplied by three
she is the maiden, the mother, the crone
~ Maiden, Mother and Crone (The Sword)
Victor frowned and punched the pillow into a better shape. He hadn’t slept much since leaving the Yukon house, and it was easier to catch shut-eye while the sun still lit the sky. Yet every time he closed his eyes, his fractured memories and nightmares wore him out more.
The heavy crimson curtains in the master suite were shut tight, plunging the vast and opulent room into darkness. The Gold Coast mansion had been bought years ago, one of the first of a collection of safe houses around the world.
Not all of them were mansions, but each was equipped with enough security devices to repel all comers, along with many nasty booby traps he’d picked up in his travels. A few of those traps he’d tried out himself, long ago, in one war or another; as home security measures, they were far more effective against intruders to his property than they had been against him.
Each property had a caretaker, most of them humans. They were clever people, carefully selected for proven loyalty and obedience, and paid enough to buy their souls along with that loyalty. The caretaker here kept them all in order, arranged things the way he liked them around the globe, and trained the new ones. He valued her ruthlessness, attention to detail, and her acerbic honesty. She was one of the few mutants who helped him hold the keys to the powerbase they had built together.
Sounds far off in the mansion told him the crone was back from running his errands. Predictably, she didn’t wait to be called to enter the room once she finally reached it across the rambling house.
Moving quietly for a non-feral, she busily laid out the bottle of Cristal champagne in the ice bucket, with two glasses.
“Go ahead an’ hit tha lights, Lenusya,” he said in a low voice at the moment when she was closest to the bed.
Victor grinned at the jump and the angry expression on her wrinkled face. It took a moment for her to recover before she went to the light switch. Keeping the dimmer low, she stared back at him as the chandelier overhead began to glow.
He had sat up with the blood-red thin sheet bunched in his lap, but he knew his nudity didn’t bother her. Not much bothered Lenusya Kaminskaya, after he had stolen her away from a crime syndicate in Moscow in her youth. He had done it because he could, to annoy them, and because she had shown no fear of him. She almost never did, which made startling her more fun.
“I don’t know why you waste your money on this swill,” she complained, gesturing to the bottle. Her Russian accent, which she’d been working hard to shed, was nearly gone. “You can’t get drunk.”
“It’s not ‘bout gettin’ drunk; it’s havin’ somethin’ others can’t – like this place, or a warm bloody heart torn out so fast it still has a few last beats in it, or … like a crusty old crone who takes forever, but gets tha details right every time.”
“You’re such a charmer, Victor. Want it now?”
“Hand me tha bottle, unless ya’d rather blush.”
“Seen it before, didn’t blush then, won’t now.” Even so, she brought him the bottle, and held the glasses out.
He didn’t pop the cork quietly, and figured she could find it later. He couldn’t care when it spilled a bit on the bed, either. Filling both flute glasses, he took his and set the bottle against his crotch.
For all of her complaining, she liked the finer things, probably more than he did. In spite of that, she had never been infected with the vice of greed, which had helped him to trust her sooner and farther than most.
Lenusya sat on the edge of the bed in her gray dress and yellow cardigan. Her long hair was white and drawn into a tight bun at the back of her head. Her thick horn-rimmed glasses hung from a gold chain around her neck, lying on the loose gray cloth over her chest. She’d probably left her cane in the stand at the front doors of the house.
“A toast: t’ tha Ripper o’ tha Windy City.”
“Ha! I thought that had to be you. There are certainly advantages when the ‘new’ monster in town is my monster.”
He downed the champagne and refilled while she sipped. “Want tha gory details?”
“Maybe later. You wanted to know a few things, and I found them out for you. First off, that ‘no longer so new’ player in town, the techno genius called Oscar Ollre – his company built that big brute on South Michigan Avenue – has been making waves by inventing a new energy source. The government, the EPA, you name it, has been crawling around trying to get more information about it to ‘protect the people’. Hard to get any dirt on him, though. ‘The people’ don’t seem too worried. He invents useful things and they all seem to like him for it, though a lot of them would sell him upriver for the reward the rag mags are offering just for one photo of the man.”
“I’m not snappin’ a photo fer ya, but if ya wanna sell ‘im upriver, it’s Doc Ock.”
“You’re sure? We had him in the news a while back, smashing up cars, but no one ever said he and Ollre were the same man.”
“Yup. Left ‘is Adamantium an’ titanium stink all over tha Loop, an’ all over that skyscraper, too. Yer right, it’s a brute.”
“I see. Should we be worried about him?”
“I’m not. He’s a gray hat these days by rumor, but we can share tha same porch; I was plannin’ t’ ignore ‘im.”
“Ah, well then, on to the rest.”
Victor worked through the champagne as she gave her report, refilling her glass when she held it up. Everything seemed to be the same well-oiled machine he’d left her in charge of before. Their system worked well, with only two people besides himself aware of where all of the other safe houses were: the banker and the crone.
Trust wasn’t an easy thing, but he’d saved their lives, they’d saved his, and the bonds that had come out of that had never been weakened. The dream of building a real powerbase had been Ryu Obinata’s vision, and he had helped Victor to see the value of it. They’d needed someone to run things for Victor, and they couldn’t think of anyone better than the Russian with the iron trap of a mind and unique mutant gifts well-suited to the work of protecting his secrets.
In her case, trust was why he’d moved her here from the mansion in Vancouver, after it was compromised by warriors of the Hand and his pet telepath, Birdy. Lenusya had gotten out with the contents of his personal safe there, and then shown up on Obinata’s doorstep instead of selling it all and running off, richer than Midas. They both made things run smoothly, kept the other caretakers and property protected, and did things the way Victor liked them done.
When Lenusya finished, he didn’t worry that his mind had wandered, missing some of the details. She’d take care of everything. One name caught his attention: Réquan, in New Orleans – their latest addition to the caretakers list.
“How’s tha boy doin’ down there?”
“He is shaping up quite well and excelling at his education. You do have a knack for picking them – even if you make most of those decisions from below the belt. Speaking of which, your new liaison for the Sanctuary has been impressively effective at her job.”
“Like ya said, I sure can pick ‘em.”
“When am I going to see that son of yours, Victor? I don’t care if I have to go there – I’m overdue for a vacation, which I’m sure you’ve forgotten about…”
“Don’t matter t’ me, I can pester ya wherever ya are, so do it when ya wanna go.”
“I don’t know how you could leave him, from what Perrin told me –”
“Gotta earn a buck,” he interrupted. “Tha whole system falls down otherwise, don’t it?”
“It isn’t like it was in the beginning, though – the Ryu Foundation and the bank branches are hugely successful at making millions. You could slow down – take more time for yourself…?”
“Stayin’ busy keeps me outta trouble. If tha shark stops swimmin’ fer long, he goes belly-up.”
“You need distractions, yes, but they could be relaxing distractions. I still think you need an island where we can drop people and let you hunt them – very Dr. Moreau.”
Victor growled. “I can hunt people anywhere. Never liked that book – Moreau was too much like Sinister. Truth is more horrifyin’ than fiction.” Upending the empty bottle, he dropped it and his glass onto the bed beside him and got up. She didn’t blush, but watched with a smirk as he headed for the bathroom. “Yer gonna go blind doin’ that.”
“I’m old, not dead,” she said and cackled her high-pitched laugh.
“Plowed a skirt only a decade or so behind ya in Detroit. If ya ever decide t’ play, wouldn’t bother me none. Hell, I’m older by a long shot.”
“Maybe when I’m tired of living, not before. You’re too rough with your toys.”
“They break too easy, is all.”
“Was she willing?”
Victor turned to face her, his expression wary. “Nope. Makes a diff’rence t’ ya?”
“You are what you are, Victor; I’ll not judge what you do.”
“Good answer.” He turned away and entered the black granite bathroom.
She followed and leaned in the doorway, her physical strength at odds with the form she currently wore. “I would like to say that I’m sorry it didn’t work out with that X-Force girl.”
“No yer not – yer ‘bout as fond o’ that white hat bunch as me.” He took the yellow silk ribbon off of his braid and set it on the counter.
Lenusya moved forward and undid the braid for him as he leaned his hands on the counter and frowned down at the sink. “True – but your feelings matter to me.”
Victor snorted. “Don’t tell me yer gettin’ soft in yer old age.” He straightened and turned. “I gotta ‘nother errand fer ya, but it might be a couple days off – wrote tha details at yer desk before I crashed.”
“I saw; you collect rescued damsels of all genders the way most rich men collect cars.”
“Hospital is gonna expect a younger woman t’ get ‘er, somebody matronly.”
She nodded. “What am I doing with her?”
Victor shrugged and turned away. Passing the Jacuzzi bathing pool on its high pedestal at the center of the room, he headed for the large glass-walled shower. “Take ‘er home? I gave ‘er a biz card. If she’ll talk, find out what she needs – money fer rent, sex reassignment surgery? I wanna know.”
“You’re nothing if not thorough. Do you want supper here with me, or would you rather catch it?”
“Yer eatin’ alone, darlin’. I might be in tha mood fer cuisine t’morrow, but t’night I want somethin’ bloody. Don’t wait up.”
“I may head over to that technical conference downtown, if Ryu is free to go with me. You might want to check it out yourself.”
“Yeah, cuz a geek matin’ ritual’s just what I like t’ help me relax.”
Shooting him a sly smile, she walked away in her flat rubber-soled leather shoes. “Suit yourself.”
Victor turned the water on hotter than most humans would be able to endure, and stood still under the multiple powerful jets for a long time. It was an exact copy of the shower in the house up in the Yukon. He growled at the memory of placing the bloody diamond pendant around Tabitha’s neck under the cooling spray.
Not long after that, in tha bath, I first scented that ya were preg. Can’t regret our cub, but… Growling, he shook his head. Don’t matter no more.
~ ~ ~
He had dressed casual in something he didn’t care about much and contained his hair in a thick braid. Pausing to look at his reflection in the huge framed mirror that leaned against a wall, he had to snort at the frown on his face. The hunt would fix that soon enough. He could smell it when the weak sun left the windows beyond the curtains in the master suite, and a sharp jot of hunger told him it was time.
Moving down the grand staircase and through the 115-year-old Gold Coast mansion at 1435 North Astor Street, Victor felt like he could breathe and shed some of his restlessness. Modern structures never allowed him to be as relaxed as something that had remained largely the same for almost as long as he’d been alive.
It was still the most expensive listing the area had, the neighborhood being equivalent to New York’s Upper East Side. It had cost him $22 million when he bought it years ago. It sported thirteen fireplaces, ten bedrooms, and twelve bathrooms, some of which he’d never even gone into. The thirteen foot high ceilings in the rooms never made him feel closed in, even though it lacked the amount of windows he typically preferred.
The 20,000 square feet of house had four stories and a basement, sitting on a lot of 30,000 square feet with a multi-car garage. Built in 1892, it wasn’t as old or as large as the Yukon safe house, especially in the amount of land that he owned around it, but it had the advantage of being right in the heart of a huge American city with an international airport.
In the large foyer, he came up behind Lenusya, his hands lightly grasping her smooth bare shoulders as he kissed the side of her neck. In one of her younger forms to go out, she was now a woman of twenty-five. The designer emerald green corset dress she wore was a present he’d sent from Milan. Her black hair was long and arranged in a stylish up-do, and she was wearing the diamond and emerald choker Obinata had given her at Christmas. Sleek black Gianmarco Lorenzi stilettos turned her long porcelain-perfect legs into something worth purring over. The shoes left most of her feet exposed. The little thin black straps of leather around the pale ankles were distracting as hell.
“Yer a fuckin’ cocktease, darlin’, ya know that?”
“I know that. You have plenty of playmates in this city, my friend.” She lifted her hands to cover his thick fingers on her shoulders. “I’ve told the new servants that you are often a day-sleeper. The veterans will see that they learn the ropes quickly. Try not to scare them off or I’ll have to keep hiring new ones and then we all have to start over again.”
“I’ll behave.” Victor dropped his hands and she turned to face him. “Obinata pickin’ ya up?” He moved back to the foot of the stairs and sat on the third one up. A smirk stretched his lips as he patted the worn denim on his thighs.
“He’s meeting me at the conference.”
Lenusya stepped closer like a runway model and gave him a delicious haughty expression as she stared down at him. Lifting one foot, she set the shoe on his growing erection and shoved it down roughly. The stiletto heel was a threat over his trapped balls.
Victor’s low growl of heat turned into a purr as his fingers touched and stroked the delicate yet strong ankle.
When she lifted the foot, he slid down a step and let her place it over one of his stiff nipples under the t-shirt. His head lowered and his tongue toyed with and licked the ankle and the little strap. Looking up at her, his grin split over his teeth.
“You adore being teased – if I let you have me, it wouldn’t be as fun anymore.”
“If ya found out what my tongue could do t’ yer pussy, trust me, ya’d call it fun. With yer eyes closed, ya could pretend I got tits.”
“Right up to the moment when your dick demands attention? I’m interested in more than just tongues.”
“Still gonna be jealous o’ yer women.”
“That’s fun, too – isn’t it?”
“Fuck, yeah. Ya gotta bring one home sometime that won’t mind bein’ watched while I jack off t’ ya doin’ ‘er.”
“Perhaps – if I can find one so entrenched on my side that she doesn’t just end up in your bed.”
“Maybe ya ain’t as entrenched as ya think – what with how close ya watch me in tha buff.”
“Is it my fault you were made so prettily? You’re a work of art.” When he gave her foot back, she leaned down to embrace him. “Give them hell, Victor.”
He smiled and purred up at her, and she gave him a little kiss. He followed her out and locked up the house for her as Marcus drove the car up and parked. It was the 1929 Duesenberg Model J convertible, top up, gray and black with whitewall tires. The driver nodded to him, but stayed behind the wheel, knowing how his employer liked to do things.
Victor opened her door and helped her into the back himself. “Have fun, doll.” He patted the black top of the car to alert the driver to go.
Turning to face the house, he popped claws on fingers and toes and climbed straight up the limestone to the roof. A short distance beyond the neighborhood, skyscrapers loomed in the gathering dark.
I wanna street corner hooker – tha cheaper, tha better, he thought, one hand absently rubbing the erection in his jeans. Then fer meat, I wanna find me a ruffian, somethin’ that’ll put up a fight – much as it can, anyhow. Thinking of what Claudette had called him, he chuckled. God o’ tha Hunt, huh? Guess I oughta live up t’ that moniker, then.
~ ~ ~
The first hooker he found who came right to him was the one he picked up. She had bright fuchsia lips and he got a ring of color around the base of his cock as fast as he could. He watched as she worked, enjoying the fear she tried to hide as her hand fisted around the crumpled twenty dollar bill she’d asked for.
His fingers ached as she swallowed it when he came, but he held the bloodlust in check. “What’s got ya so nervous, frail?”
“The news says there’s a killer on the streets,” she whispered.
“Yeah? So why’re ya an’ yer friends out here?” He offered his hand and she let him help her up off of her knees. He didn’t put his dick away – he wasn’t done yet.
“We have to work…”
Victor grabbed her shoulders and put her back where his had been, against the gray bricks in an alley by a reeking metal dumpster. “Wanna earn more?” He grinned when she nodded, and then grinned wider when she began to tremble, staring at his sharp teeth and long fangs. He let her go, dug out his wallet and handed her a hundred dollar bill. “Hold yer skirt up – gonna eat that pussy, then fuck it. Here’s tha game – ya stay with yer friends, but ya don’t take nobody else, don’t let ‘em even touch ya. I plan t’ be back this way in a few hours. If yer still full o’ my spunk, gonna fuck that pussy again. Ya do that, an’ I’ll give ya $500. Wanna play?”
“Y-yes … if you don’t hurt me…?”
“Ain’t plannin’ t’ hurt ya, frail. Go on, hold it up – lemme see it.”
He went to his knees to scent and nuzzle, waiting, feeling her watch him as her fear stench rose thick around them. When she started to cry, he began to suck and lick. He’d made her cum twice before she realized she wasn’t being harmed.
When he rose, he flipped her to face the bricks, pulled her hips back, and shoved his dick deep all at once. He wasn’t nice about it and might have bruised her inside, but she didn’t scream. Her face was pressed into her hands up on the wall as she just sobbed and took it.
Right before he came again, he pushed in close and whispered at her ear, “Maybe I am tha Ripper on tha news, huh? Ya think maybe I am?”
“I don’t know,” she murmured, swallowed hard, and then added, “he wasn’t killing women, and they said … no sexual assault…”
Victor grunted and shoved in harder as he came. He pulled out fast and she yelped when his fingers lightly slapped her pussy. “Hold on tight t’ that.” He put himself back together and stepped away from her. “Ya might be right. Catch ya in few hours, frail.”
He hunted and ate only a few, and none of them had any fight in them. When he returned to his new playmate, he could already scent that she had stuck to the rules of the game. Her companions screamed and ran when they saw the blood on his mouth and down his front.
She was terrified, but stood her ground with her back against the alley wall where he’d cornered her once more. He grinned at her, displaying bloody teeth – well aware she could see bits of meat and brain matter on them here and there, whether she knew what it all was or not.
“Let’s see it,” he ordered in a rasping low whisper. As her trembling fingers pulled up her skirt and held it to expose her pussy, he growled in heat, pleased. “Oh, shit yeah…”
He walked up close and freed his cock. It was sticky from the first time, but she was smart enough not to complain. He pulled her hips forward with one hand as she opened her legs, shoved in, and began to thrust into the mess of his cum already inside her.
“I love my own sloppy seconds. Nothin’ like hot pussy full o’ lukewarm jizz…”
His free hand, smeared with blood, groped and squeezed her tits, but he didn’t show her his claws. He worked her body more easily, chuckling at her when her orgasm shocked her.
“Give us a kiss, frail…”
She almost cried out when he claimed her mouth and forced his bloody tongue in. She flinched and got her lip pricked by a tooth. After that, she froze and let him do what he wanted. He kissed her deeply, pinched her nipples and squeezed her tits through her top as he let her terror and disgust fire his heat. When he came, shooting his seed into her to mix it with the rest, he let her mouth go. A breath later, he pulled out and stepped back. She immediately began to fall to her knees, but he caught her under the armpits and eased her to sit on the dirty concrete.
Victor watched her wide eyes stare up at him from a blood-smeared face as he put his jeans back together. He fished her $500 from his wallet and stuffed it back into the back pocket of his jeans. Crouching beside her, he folded the bills and pinched them between two fingers to offer the money to her.
She took it and tucked it away in the small pocket on the inside of her skirt’s waistband.
“That’s it, all better.” Victor rose smoothly and smirked down at her. “Guess ya were right an’ wrong ‘bout me, huh? Bet ya ain’t dumb ‘nuff t’ tell nobody ya saw me…”
“I won’t,” she gulped out.
“Good girl.” Victor turned away and walked back to the street, whistling Monty Python’s Always Look on the Bright Side of Life as he went.
~ ~ ~
Climbing down from the roof, he landed on the balcony of his house and opened the door to go in. He wasn’t surprised to hear the shower start up in his suite. The defense system would have alerted Lenusya that someone was on the roof and entering the house, while his bad singing would prove that the person was him – and stop the house from trying to kill him.
He put his phone and the wallet with its chain on his nightstand, peeled off the bloody t-shirt and dropped it on the polished wood floor. When he got to his bathroom, she was sitting up on the counter by the sink in a long cotton nightdress. It was white and covered with tiny pictures of yellow ducklings. Seeing her little feet swinging, the black hair in braids, he sighed, but then had to smile.
“Glad I didn’t start strippin’ off tha jeans already; creeps me out when ya do that, ya know.” He washed his bloody hands in the sink.
The little cherub-faced girl of ten, the way she’d looked when they had met, smiled back and told him, “Yes, I know.” Her bright green eyes were full of amusement, as well as the knowing wisdom of all of her years.
“Thanks fer gettin’ tha water started. Did ya have a nice time out?”
“We did. Ryu says hello. Help me down?” He lifted her by the waist and put her on her feet. “I’m going to bed. Good night, Victor.”
Author’s Note: Dr. Moreau is a villain in the H.G. Wells book, The Island of Doctor Moreau. He uses vivisection to combine animals and humans into creatures. Ah, Lenusya, another character I created ages ago and it’s awesome to finally introduce her in this story. Thanks for reading! – AnonGrimm (@MET_Fic)