Incubus, the Seduction, excerpt:
My teeth still chattered as the wind slammed sheets of rain against the glass, and I hoped they wouldn't shatter against the force.
Halfway down the hall was a sign that read, 'Psychology.'
Four doors past it I found an open door with a plate on the wall, 'Dr. Matthew Lawrence.'
I muttered, "I'm okay, I'm okay, I'm okay..." as I clutched my purse to my chest like a shield.
I stopped and stared into a tiny, odd-shaped room. It was narrow in the front, as if it had been an entryway at one time, but then opened into a larger space filled with two cluttered tables and wall-to-wall bookshelves. I was intrigued by the odd collection of very old books, crystals, and aged bottles.
"Planning on stealing something?"
I jumped and turned to see the man in the television interview.
"You're a mess. Is this how you always look? Do you have a name?"
"Frankie." I couldn't stop the trembling which was causing an annoying stutter. "Dr. Frankie Harbor. I tried to call ahead but your voice mail was full and your secretary wouldn't let me through."
"I have a secretary? No one told me! Is she nice? I’m Matt Lawrence. Psychology department. So you’re a doctor? I've been having this pain..."
"Ph.D. Neuroanatomy. I work at Mercy General. In Bennington. Dr. Lawrence, I desperately need your help." He handed me a towel, moved a stack of folders and notebooks and one lone shoe so that I could sit on a shabby leather couch.
"My friends call me Matt. My mother calls me Matthew, when she likes me. And my boss, well, you don’t want to know what he calls me. Please, come in. You’re dripping. You look like you could use a drink. I made coffee. Need a little something in it I think."
He handed me a chipped black coffee mug with Einstein's picture on it, then added scotch to the black coffee. I was still shaking.
"I don’t know where to begin."
"Have you always had ghosts and beasties disturbing you?"
I was taken off guard that he had said something like that, something that didn’t sound so crazy as when I said it. "How do you know I have ghosts and beasties?"
"Just a wild guess. You saw my show, didn’t you?"
"Yes. I think it was Vita Mae who turned it on."
"I see. Does she live with you?"
"Not exactly. She doesn’t live at all. She’s a spirit. She said she likes to be called a transcendental displaced."
"I see. And she told you to come and see me."
"Yes, because yesterday I couldn’t find Jonathan."
"Jonathan is lost."
"Jonathan never existed. You see, I’ve researched everywhere and he never existed."
He stared at me for a moment then took the scotch and poured more in his coffee. He made a hrmphing noise, stared more, then took a big drink.
"You look a bit like a raccoon...mascara..."
I wiped my eyes with the towel.
He nodded. "So, you need my help to locate someone who never existed. Perhaps you could hire a fictional private investigator. Sherlock Holmes comes to mind. This is getting more fascinating by the moment. One of us isn't drinking enough. Please, go on."
I sipped my coffee, decided it felt very good going down, and took a bigger drink.
"But he had to have existed or I wouldn’t have known him. You see the obvious logic there. I knew him several times. In the Biblical sense."
"The Biblical, you are lovers then."
"We had sex." I slowly ran my fingers over the edge of the couch.
"But you weren't lovers."
"Don't believe in love."
He nodded. "That's too bad. Lots of songs written about it, plays, books, movies. Hollywood is nuts about it."
"Sex is a physical desire. A need."
"Are you, by any chance, under a doctor’s care?"
"No. Please. You have to listen! You have to understand. I bought this house. It’s very old. It’s called the Pendulum House because it has a huge pendulum clock in it. Built into it. It’s quite extraordinary. And it keeps wonderful time. And it keeps changing. The house, not the clock. Sometimes the walls are different colors and the windows. The windows become the leaded windows from the early 1900’s. I have a book and it shows the old windows. Vita Mae Knox, the spirit, said her grandfather built it. And there’s this other ghost, this very, well, seductive ghost. Named..."
He held his finger up.
"Don’t say its name."
"Okay. It came to me in my dreams the other night. But it seemed very real. And it had sex with me. Lots of ways."
He watched as my thoughts pulled me away.
"And it was so, so good. I mean, unbelievable! And then it possessed this guy named Jet that I’ve known for more than three years. And Jet and I had sex in my office. But it wasn’t Jet."
"Of course. It wasn’t Jet."
"I mean it was Jet, it looked like him but he was the guy you don’t want me to say his name. It had the other guy’s voice. He has this very smooth kind of British voice, not like Jet's at all. And Jet didn’t seem to notice anything about it later. And then I had sex with the guy- you know, the one..."
"...that you can’t say his name."
"Right. I know this sounds absolutely incredible but I’m telling the truth."
"And who is Jonathan?"
"He’s a neurosurgical intern I work with and we’ve dated a couple of times."
"And you’ve had sex with Jonathan? At your house?"
"And now it appears that he never existed."
I got up and walked to the window watching the raindrops rolling down the glass. I touched it feeling the cold seeping in around us.
"I know this sounds absolutely crazy. Give me any crazy test you want. I'm telling you the truth and I don't know what to do. And I don't know how to fix it! When Jonathan disappeared that was it. I just...I can't take it.
"No one knows him at work. There are no research papers published with his name--and he’s been published several times-- his phone belongs to some old lady, and some woman I don’t know--who knew me--has his office. And he gave me a clock, a beautiful mantle clock, and it’s gone now."
I paced and he watched. Then I did something I have only done a few times in my life: I cried.
"Matt, Dr. Lawrence, I’m not crazy. I don’t ever cry. I’ve broken bones before and not cried. Please. I’m desperate. I need your help. I’ll pay you anything. I have some money and I can get money. Whatever it takes."
"I don’t accept money for these services, furthermore, I do believe you."
He stood up and pulled a thick, leather-bound book off the shelf.
"What you’re describing isn’t a ghost. It’s an incubus."
He handed me the book, open to a picture of a character making love to a voluptuous woman with long hair.
"The male version is an incubus, the female is called a succubus. These creatures, or people, some believe them to be people who can time travel, control by seducing. For many purposes. One is to reproduce."
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