The sight of the Pentacle’s interior left Lena and Rosie standing with their mouths wide open. The unusual shape of the fortress attracted attention out of doors, but the exterior walls were flat and unadorned. The inside of the fortress was completely different. Multicolored marble tiles covered the floor, and an elevated view showed that the tiles formed an enormous mosaic of a snake curled around a cross. A massive chandelier hung from the ceiling one hundred feet above the floor of the foyer, and a spiral staircase twisted out of sight to the floors above. Ornately sculpted molding outlined the floor and the ceiling, and gorgeous classical paintings covered every available flat surface. The place looked expensive beyond the girl’s wildest dreams.
“How did you all pay for this?” Lena allowed her awe to show through.
“It didn’t cost a thing. Most of it isn’t even real. If you can’t touch it, then it’s probably an illusion,” Cara revealed. “Most of the tangible work was installed through alchemical transmutation, and good old fashioned conjuring. A small percentage of the sculptures you see were crafted by hand, but everything else came from magic. The designers felt that aesthetic beauty improved the morale of the troops. We fight a very demoralizing battle, so we live in an incredibly beautiful place.”
Lena was disappointed by the answer. She preferred the idea that the place was expensive, because she had always been poor. It would have been nice to think she visited a place of great wealth. There was no denying the beauty of the place, however.
Cara led them up to the second floor, which apparently belonged exclusively to the women of the fortress. They turned up one of the north hallways, and Cara showed them adjacent rooms halfway down the hall. The bathrooms and showers were a few meters further north.
“There are towels and robes in both of your rooms. Rosie, once you get cleaned up we’ll take care of your injuries,” Cara referred to the mass of welts, bruises and cuts that covered most of Rosie’s body. “The Order of True Love maintains a women’s sanctum here on the second floor. Report there when you’re finished, and someone will heal you and provide you with new clothes.”
“Thank you, Cara,” Rosie shifted her feet and studied the ground. “I want you to know that I’m not a bad person, just because I wound up like this. I had a lot of problems back on earth, but I was never evil.”
“You should talk to the commander of the armed forces here, Rosie. I think she could tell you a story that would bring things into perspective. Everybody in Discordia has suffered before,” Cara allayed the girl’s fears gently. She turned and addressed the other woman, “Lena, did you hear what I told Rosie about towels, robes and fresh clothes?”
“Yes, thank you, Cara. I really do need to slip into something more suited to this place. I kept worrying this dress would slip off of me last night while I was running. I doubt I could dazzle the enemy into submission,” Lena giggled.
“I’m sure that there are men among the forces of evil who would love to submit to you, Lena. There are a lot of freaks out there,” Rosie said, trying to be supportive. Her statement missed the mark, and Lena quit smiling. Rosie thought what she said was funny, until she saw the way Lena looked at her.
“I’m going to leave you two girls. If you need anything, then don’t hesitate to ask,” Cara insisted as she backed down the hall.
“Cara, why is everyone so helpful here?” Lena cast one more question to their departing hostess.
“Because it’s our last chance, Lena,” Cara remarked quietly, and then she turned the corner out of sight.
The two girls disappeared into their respective rooms. Lena hurriedly got undressed and found a towel. She didn’t want to be around Rosie. The woman bothered Lena, and it wasn’t just because of the circumstances they found Rosie in. Something about Rosie reminded Lena of herself. It was the way that Rosie walked blindly into terrible situations. That was exactly what Lena always did, and she hated the idea of being just as clueless as Rosie. Lena had made a lot of assumptions about Rosie, almost none of which were correct.
Lena walked out of her room at exactly the same time as the other woman. Lena cast dirty looks in her direction, but wanted a hot shower too badly to turn back. Lena ran her eyes over Rosie’s body, and was quite impressed by the woman’s figure. Lena noticed something that bothered her. Rosie wasn’t caked in grime and dirt. She looked relatively clean.
“If you haven’t bathed in weeks, then why don’t you look dirtier, Rosie?” Lena thought she had caught Rosie in a lie.
“I wasn’t allowed to bathe, but I had liquid to clean myself off with,” Rosie told her. When Lena finally got it, she was very sorry she asked Rosie about it. Lena filed that in her mind under the title, “Things to Forget About.”
Lena fretted over the possibility of a communal shower, and was greatly relieved to see that there were private shower stalls. The water was deliciously hot, and she stood under it for a long time. Clouds of steam filled the large bathroom. Lena sang while she used the soap she found to lather her entire body. Her mother always told her she had a pretty voice, but she never sang in front of anyone. Lena finished showering, dried herself off and wrapped the towel around her. When she stepped out of the shower she saw Rosie examining herself in a large mirror.
Lena almost hurried out without saying anything, but Rosie looked different. All cleaned up, with her hair hanging in wet curls, Rosie struck Lena as a pitiful sight. Lena hoped that the marks would go away when Rosie was healed.
“Rosie,” Lena said sympathetically, “I’m sorry about what happened to you.”
Rosie opened her mouth to say something, but Lena didn’t wait to hear what it was. She left the bathroom and went down the hall wearing only the wet towel. She found the place Cara told them about easily enough. It looked like a stoner hangout. There were three women sitting on big cushions on the floor, and they were all wearing the same kind of robes that Cara wore. They had their eyes closed, but they were humming in time with each other. When Lena walked in they stopped, and one of them stood up to help her.
The woman who helped her was called Moonshadow. Lena asked her how she earned that name. The woman admitted that it was her real name. Her parent’s were hippies. They conceived Moonshadow during the summer of love, and she was born in 1968. Lena thought it was the lamest story she ever heard, and thanked God her parents hadn’t named her Moonshadow.
Lena wound up with great clothes. Her top was wet look latex that hugged her skin tightly, accentuating her flat stomach and her prominent breasts. The top was asymmetrical. It stretched over one shoulder and across her bosom, leaving her right shoulder bare. Lena found out that was to allow greater flexibility, if she were to start using weapons. She got a webbed military belt, with hooks and pouches on it, and a pair of combat fatigues. She liked the baggy way the pants offset her skintight top, and she had plans for the huge side pockets. She kept her tennis shoes. Nothing beat a good pair of sneakers.
Rosie walked in as Lena finished getting dressed in her new outfit. Lena expected Rosie sooner. She hoped they could pick outfits together, because Lena thought it would be a good way to make a fresh start on friendship. Lena imagined Rosie’s tardiness was purposeful, indicating Rosie didn’t want anything to do with her. Rather than ask about it, Lena thanked Moonshadow for the help and the clothes, and stalked out in a huff. Lena always overreacted to small setbacks.
Lena wanted to show her outfit to Jesus, but she didn’t know where he was. She figured there would be time after she got some sleep. She went back to her room and closed the door behind her. The temperature in the room hovered at a comfortable seventy degrees, even though the window was open to the hot Louisiana summer. The more magic Lena stumbled across, the more she appreciated it. She stretched out on the bed and stared at the ceiling. She was trying to choose which dimension she liked better, Earth or Discordia, when she fell asleep.
The dream wandered between scenes of bloody violence and dispassionate lovemaking. Her mind cleansed itself of built up memories through rapid eye movement. Lena tossed and turned on the bed while the scenes replayed in her head. When the stale memories were cleansed from the forefront of Lena’s subconscious mind, she slept peacefully for almost an hour. Then another dream played out inside her.
Lena sat in a restaurant at the top of one of Baton Rouge’s only skyscrapers. She recognized the place. It was one of the most exclusive establishments in the city. It was called Pierre’s.
Lena wore a red sequined evening gown that showed off her cleavage, but at the same time looked tasteful. Vera Wang designed the gown especially for her. Her feet were adorned in Manolo Blahnik sandals with long straps and four-inch heels. A Prada handbag hung from her chair, and it looked as nice as she felt. The waiter complimented her stunning appearance as he poured her first glass of Dom Perignon. It was going to be a special night.
Jesus sat across from her dressed in a custom fitted tuxedo. He looked like every woman’s dream. Lena smiled inwardly at all the stares he was getting from the sexually frustrated wives in the restaurant. Jesus tasted his own champagne and smiled at her. His dark, handsome faced radiated sexual energy, and Lena’s stomach muscles quivered.
They talked about Jesus’ business. Before they got married, Jesus opened a chain of spas in South Louisiana. The businesses provided hair and nail care, tanning facilities and massage therapists, and Jesus made a fortune in no time. The world was full of women who wanted to be catered to and beautified at the same time. Within three years he owned thirty spas in three Gulf States.
The money allowed Jesus to buy them a big house in a gated community. The house contained six thousand square feet, and loads of luxurious touches. The entire kitchen was done in black granite, and all of the windows contained remote controlled blinds. The master bathroom contained a sauna, and a Jacuzzi bathtub big enough for two people to have lots of fun. Lena had her own walk in closet, with a revolving rack for her clothes, and Jesus made sure she had all the money she needed to fill it up with designer outfits. They had a pool and a tennis court, and the yard was an enormous botanical garden. Lena finally reached the level of financial freedom she always deserved.
Sitting in Pierre’s, Lena bent down and unfastened the straps on her sandals. She gave Jesus a naughty wink, and slid her feet across to him under the table. She ran her toes softly up and down his legs, all the while maintaining the conversation without any indication something unusual was taking place. The tablecloth and the soft lighting prevented anyone from seeing, so she slid down a little further in her seat.
Lena placed both of her feet on Jesus’ chair, between his legs. She tickled his crotch with her stocking covered toes, and enjoyed the feeling of his arousal. He smiled at her, and scooted his chair a little closer. She clasped her feet together around the object of her desire, and rubbed them slowly up and down the confined bulge. She couldn’t believe what a lucky woman she was.
After they got married, her perfect husband insisted she fulfill one of her fantasies and get the education she missed out on growing up. Jesus paid for private tutors to come in their home and teach her mathematics, grammar and science. Her tutors marveled at her intelligence, and the fast progress she made. Within three months she was ready for a high school equivalency exam. She passed the exam with flying colors, and got accepted to LSU. Jesus never missed an opportunity to compliment her, and tell her how proud he was of his beautiful wife. Lena found out the American dream was real.
Jesus put his napkin down and stared across the table into her eyes. Lena was busy trying to drive him out of his mind, but he appeared unruffled. He took a small sip of champagne and then leaned closer to her. He motioned for her to lean forward.
“You are a very naughty girl, Lena,” he whispered into her ear. “I want to make this evening special, and I think it’s too early to leave. Will you do something for me, honey?”
“You know I would do anything for you, Jesus,” she responded breathlessly, as he was stroking his nails along the insides of her calves.
“I want you to go to the bathroom and go into one of the stalls. Take off your stockings, your panties and your bra. I want you to come back with them in your hand, and place them on the table. Will you do that for me, Lena?”
“Of course, I’ll be right back,” she told him. Her cheeks were flushed from excitement as she put her sandals back on and pulled away from the table. She could feel men’s eyes on her as she walked to the bathroom. She was, after all, a gorgeous woman.
Once in the bathroom she did what Jesus desired. The dress was partially sheer, and she felt very exposed in the fluorescent light of the ladies’ room. As she walked back to the table the glances from the men took on a new meaning. She imagined she was being paraded nude in front of them, and her nipples hardened from the humiliating thought. When she got back to the table she put her undergarments in front of Jesus and sat back down in her chair.
Just for a second she remembered what her life was like before she met Jesus. In that moment, all of the years of pain and unhappiness flashed through her mind. She sold her body for drugs and alcohol. She killed her first boyfriend because he beat and raped her. She submitted to a lesbian while she was in prison. Sometimes she washed herself for hours, because she never felt clean.
One night Jesus changed all that. He took her away to a magical land, and killed everything that stood in their way. He fell in love with her, and she with him. They returned to Earth on a magic carpet, and got married in a fairy tale ceremony. They were wildly happy. Now she was sitting across from him in a restaurant, with no panties on, while he ran his eyes lustily over her body.
“I want you to reach under the table and pull your dress up above your waist. Then I want you to play with yourself while I call the waiter over. Be sure he can’t see you, but don’t stop while he takes our order,” Jesus commanded her.
Lena did as she was told, because she really would do anything for Jesus. He was the man who saved her. She pulled her dress up and caressed her pleasure spot with purpose. She figured as long as she was naughty, she might as well go all the way. Her husband allowed the pleasure to build inside her for awhile before he called for the waiter.
The felt hot all over as the waiter stood there describing menu items. Jesus kept asking her questions about the food. She had a hard time concentrating on what he said. The mischievous look in his eyes turned her on to no end. The fabric of her dress felt scratchy against her bare breasts, which heaved up and down slightly as she became more excited and her breath quickened.
The waiter finally left their table. [censored] Her eyes rolled back in her head, and every muscle in her stomach and thighs tightened up like the skin of a drum. A dull roaring filled her ears. The pleasure exploded in her pubic region and spread all through her body, bringing with it a comfortable numbness that relaxed all the muscle spasms. She opened her eyes to see Jesus gazing at her lovingly.
“It doesn’t look like you need me, honey,” Jesus teased. “You did just fine all by yourself.”
“Don’t be silly, darling. You drive me so crazy I couldn’t wait. That’s all. I’m all warmed up for later now,” she blew him a kiss.
“I’m not sure I want to wait that long either. I think I’ll get the food to go,” said her perfect husband.
She looked into her Prada handbag, knowing that it was a dream. She was sad that she would have to wake up. She was so close to consciousness that she could almost distinguish the sounds of the Pentacle. She wanted to sleep until she and Jesus made it to a hotel room, because she hadn’t really gotten what she wanted yet. She looked up from her bag, and was shocked. She was no longer asleep, at least not in the conventional sense, and Jesus was no longer sitting across from her.
“It’s called the astral plane. Your body is asleep, back in Discordia, but your mind is awake here,” the man across from her explained.
The man was beyond a doubt the most beautiful thing Lena had ever seen. He had curly blonde hair that radiated a soft golden light, and blue eyes the brilliant color of the sky on a spring morning. He wore a loose fitting white toga that hung off of one shoulder, and that did little to conceal his physique. The man’s body was gloriously muscular. Lena could see each individual muscle, and there wasn’t a hint of fat anywhere. He had a classic face, and the sound of his voice was like music.
“Who are you?” Lena asked him. She was certain that she couldn’t trust herself with the man, no matter where they were. She couldn’t take her eyes off of him.
“You probably won’t believe me, but my name is Apollo. I am really him, though. You just have to trust me.”