Cape City Chronicles
v1: Today the City, Tomorrow...
#21: Shadow War!
by Jennifer Kohl
Writhing tentacles of shadow spread across the floor and walls of the Michelle’s bedroom as the previously sunny day became suddenly extremely overcast. The thing that had been Cara cackled, its multitudinous red eyes gleaming, as the tentacles wrapped and pinned Michelle and Candice’s shadows—and, magically, forced their bodies to follow.
“Cara...” Michelle pleaded. “I know you’re in there... please... I’m sorry... please stop!”
The thing’s cackling became outright malicious, mocking laughter. “Oh, she is in here. My pathetic, weak human half, always so afraid of using our true power.” Tentacles slid and slithered over Michelle’s shadow, and she felt it as if it were on her own body, holding her irresistibly despite her superhuman strength, teasing and caressing everywhere on her body they “touched.” She tried shapeshifting away, but cried out in pain. As her shadow shifted in response to her attempted change, the tentacles pulled it back into human form, pulling her body with it.
“I wouldn’t try that again,” the thing gleefully warned.
Candice was likewise trapped in its grasp, but she had a plan. Twisting around as best she could in its grip, she faced her shadow and shrieked. The sound did nothing, but the cosmic energies of her cry shredded the pure chaos of which the demonic tentacles were made, allowing her to drop to her feet. She immediately sprang up, but now her shadow was behind her, and more tentacles grabbed it. “Big mistake,” she told the shadow demon. “You think you’ve got me caught, but I can scream right at you if you don’t let go!“
“Then do it,” said the thing. “Or are you afraid that hurting me would hurt your friend? It will.”
Candice hesitated, but she had to do it. “Sorry, Cara,” she said, and then opened her mouth to release a full-power Cosmic Cheer.
And then, as another shadow-tentacle reached for the lower part of her shadow’s head, she felt it plunge straight into her mouth, filling it fully to the point it stretched her jaw and choked off her Cheer before it could start. “Mmmmfff!” she cried, but it was no good; she couldn’t use her power, and like Michelle even her superstrength couldn’t overcome tentacles that weren’t actually there.
Both girls hung in midair, struggling feebly, as the tentacles crept teasingly up their thighs. “Shh,” said the shadow demon soothingly. “Just give in. It’ll feel so good to let me devour your soul—and just think of the honor. You will be the first to fall, to become soulless puppets to my will—the first of billions.“
Michelle felt one in her mouth, too, and another creeping up between her thighs. She knew what was coming, and the worst part was that it was already feeling good, different from being touched by Grouper but so tempting all the same. She only had one weapon left, and she had to use it or risk losing herself forever—so she struck out with her mind, reaching into the demon’s in search of Cara.
But all she found was darkness, nothing but an infinite abyss of lust and shadow. It sucked at her, pulling her in, and she could barely resist it—but she was resisting. At least, until she felt dozens of tiny tentacles slipping inside her, teasing and stroking the walls of her pussy, finding and caressing both her g-spot and her clit. She fell into the dark, silently screaming in pleasure and terror, knowing there was no escape.
Suspended in midair next to her, held aloft by the tentacles gripping her shadow, Candice had no idea what was happening to her friend. She only knew that she was being teased and tormented by tentacles that felt like delicate tongues against her nipples, her clit, and as she was, she could feel the darkness closing in.
The shadow demon grinned, its red eyes flaring even brighter. Such delicious, ripe young souls—and only moments away from giving in. And she knew there were even more in the house, fresh and heroic and hers for the taking. Her shadows crept under the door into the hallway, and began to spread.
Tina tapped away at her computer, mind whirling. I have to figure out how to get Alex to a deprogrammer. But first I need to find a deprogrammer we can trust. The obvious choice was to go to Miskatonic—they’d deprogrammed officers caught by mind-controllers before, and half an hour of googling had shown Tina that one of their doctors, Fuchs, was considered one of the best deprogrammers in the country. But the existing relationship was the problem: Miskatonic was a government facility, and that meant official reports. If she went there, there was no possibility of keep it quiet: people would find out that Alex had been mind controlled.
Which means they’ll know she can be mind-controlled, and that’s it for all the rumors she’s immune. And what crook wouldn’t want the head of SCI under their thumb?
No, she needed to find someone else, but who? Who could be trusted that wasn’t already working with the police? But then she found a name, a private practitioner who also worked as an instructor at the university—and who had deprogrammed a bunch of students who fell victim to some loser with an addictive touch the previous year. Dr. Felicia Goode, she wrote down, along with the locations of her private and school offices. I just hope she can help.
“Mornin’!” Alesha chirped cheerily as Stephanie entered their sorority house’s kitchen.
“Blegh,” came Stephanie’s under-caffeinated reply.
“Facts,” Alesha agreed, taking another slurp of her coffee. “I made a whole pot if you want—yeah, stupid question,” she finished as Stephanie made a beeline for the coffee machine.
Stephanie turned, cup in hand, then suddenly dropped it. “Look out!” she cried, her aura flaring, and then she flung herself at Alesha and flew the both of them into the living room, away from the writhing mass of shadow-tentacles that had just started flowing down the stairs.
“What is that?” Alesha yelped, staring at it. “Where are the others?”
“I think they’re still upstairs,” said Stephanie. “Come on, whatever that is they’re probably in danger! We have to get past it and—”
The front door blew open, propelled by what Stephanie could only describe as a gargoyle—about half the height of a human, squat, winged, and ugly. A woman walked in behind it who was its opposite in every way: tall, gorgeous, dressed in an impeccably tailored dark suit.
“Unless one of you is a magic-user or has the power cosmic, there’s nothing you can do here,” she said. “Get out.”
Tentacles flowed and writhed across the floor toward them. The woman gestured, and two tiny, fly-like creatures that had been nestling between the gargoyle’s ears flew out and, with shocking speed, drew an elaborate circle around her and the girls. The tentacles struck it, hard, and the woman staggered slightly—but she stayed upright, and the tentacles seemed unable to cross the circle.
“What?” asked Alesha, confused.
“Shadow demon,” said the woman simply. “A really powerful one. It’s got at least one of your friends, maybe more—anyone unaccounted for?”
“Um,” Alesha stammered. “Cara, Candice, and Michelle are all still upstairs, we think—”
“They’re all dead if I don’t contain this thing,” said the woman.
“Look,” said Stephanie. “Thank you for this... forcefield, or whatever it is, but who are you?”
“Just a local sorceress,” said the woman. “Someone who knows when a demon is rising, and isn’t too fond of the idea of this one getting loose.”
“Okay,” said Stephanie. “That answered nothing. Tell us or—”
“No time!” snapped the woman. “I’m going to stop this. If you want to survive, stay in this circle.”
The gargoyle charged forward into the writhing tentacles, snapping and tearing at them as it went. The woman stepped out behind it, holding a pendant that hung between her breasts and muttering over it. As she did, it began to glow with a pure, white light that seemed to drive back the shadows—and just in time, as the tentacles finally got a grip on the gargoyle and shattered it into shards of clay.
Devildancer sighed as she began to walk up the stairs. “You know how much work it’s going to be to make him a new statue to animate? Obnoxious child.”
The sounds of soft moans led her to one of the doors in the upstairs hall, which had a green sign hung on it that read Michelle. “Not her room, but definitely the source,” she said. “Huh.” She opened the door and arched an eyebrow at the tableau within: the demon, its arms spread ecstatically as its tentacles writhed and flowed over every surface and the two young women moaning and sighing in its grip as invisible tentacles fucked them into oblivion. From the state of the two she could tell she wasn’t too late to save them, but it was close.
She stepped into the room, then halted. The light seemed to hit a wall of shadow a few feet from the demon, the air around it crackling with dark power she could feel but not see. “There we are,” Devildancer said. “There’s your aura.” She held aloft her pendant and chanted a phrase in no human tongue.
The demon shrieked in rage and reached for her, but to no avail: the light of the pendant spread suddenly out and around, forming a ring around the region it couldn’t penetrate, severing every shadow tentacle that extended beyond it. The two girls, suddenly released, dropped to the floor, unconscious but, Devildancer could sense, still alive and fully human. She stepped forward, grasped the ring of light with both hands, and pushed—not with her body or even her mind, but with her soul and her will.
The ring contracted, ever so slightly—and then stopped, as the demon pushed back. “You think to bind me?” it laughed. “You, a mere hedge witch, a simple summoner? My mother was the greatest mortal sorceress in seven planes, and it was all she could do to seal me in shadow—and that was as an infant! I am grown now, and far too strong for you.“
“I... don’t see you breaking the ring...” Devildancer said with difficulty. “I’m holding you... and I can beat you!” She redoubled her efforts to push the ring inward, straining against the power of the demon’s will. It’s probably right that I can’t beat it. But if I can just hold it until help arrives—
As if on cue, the window burst inward as a figure swooped in, clad in the shining armor of an ancient Greek warrior and bearing both an ornately decorated round shield and a glowing golden spear. “What sorcery is this?” she demanded.
Huh, said Devildancer. Not who I expected, but help is help. “Shadow demon,” she gasped. “A strong one. I’m holding it back, but—“
Athena eyed her suspiciously. “You seem familiar... Devildancer?” She leveled her spear. “I’ve heard of you! Did you summon this fiend?”
“Nice to finally meet you too,” she said. “I—oof—don’t know what you’ve heard, but no, I’m not stupid enough to summon something like this! I’m trying to contain it! Help me save these kids!”
“Hmm,” Athena said suspiciously. “Very well, but if this is a trap or trick, you will know the wrath of the gods of old!” Then she plunged through the light into the circle, trying to stab the demon with her spear. It caught the shadow of her weapon and pulled it aside, tugging her off her footing, but she twisted, her magically enhanced strength able to fight the tentacles where mere muscles could not. As she did, Devildancer felt the demon’s focus on the ring of light slip slightly, and she was able to make it a little smaller.
If she can keep it busy long enough... A puff of smoke burst next to her ear, and suddenly her imp was sitting on her shoulder. “Took you long enough,” she told it.
It chittered in response. “Good work,” she said. “Now go find your brother and take him home. Keep him there until I can build him a new body.”
She returned her attention to the battle, and cursed. Athena was now suspended upside down, struggling as shadow-tentacles wrapped around her shadow. As Devildancer watched, they squeezed the magic warrior’s full breasts, and Athena moaned in mingled disgust and pleasure.
“Really?” said Devildancer. “You couldn’t even hold out a minute?”
Cackling, the shadow demon lashed out at the ring of light. Devildancer grimaced, trying to hold it—but then it shattered, and her pendant winked out. Immediately she was pulled up into the air as the tentacles grabbed her shadow. The girls—just stirring back into consciousness—were whisked up alongside her.
Then a soft pulse of rainbow light filled the room, and an ethereal tinkle of music sounded. Where there had been only shadow, a woman stood, slender and small, but radiantly beautiful. “Orev bat Eisheth,” she said, her voice softly musical and yet stern and commanding. “What do you think you’re doing?”
All four women dropped to the floor as the tentacles retracted, leaving only the many-eyed dark figure in the center of the room, which suddenly seemed even smaller than the woman confronting it. “I was thirsty!” it protested.
“I know,” said the woman. “But there is a time and a place, and you know this is neither.”
“Aw, c’mon,” it said. “I just wanted to have a little fun...”
“No, Orev,” replied the woman. “You know the rules. Get back in the shadow.”
“No buts! Cara, sweetie, wake up.”
Dozens of red eyes closed. Two violet ones opened. Where the demon had been was only Cara, as the gloominess of the day outside broke as suddenly as it had began and sunlight streamed into the room. “Oh,” said Cara. “You.”
The beautiful woman sighed. “Yes, me. And that’s no way for children to address their parents.”
It was Cara’s turn to sigh. “Yes, ma’am.”
“I suppose that will do. I presume you can manage from here?”
“Yes,” Cara said testily.
“No thank yous for containing your demon half? Again?”
Cara rolled her eyes. ”Thank you.“
“I suppose it’ll do. See you at winter break.” And then, as swiftly as she’d appeared, the woman was gone.
Athena and Devildancer picked themselves up. “What was that?” Athena asked.
Cara sighed. “The source of my powers. A demon my mother sealed in my shadow when I was a baby. It uh... got loose.”
“Is that likely to happen again?” Athena asked.
“No,” said Devildancer. ”Is it, Cara?“
Cara sighed. “No, it isn’t. Now will you please leave? All of you?”
Athena looked at Devildancer, who shrugged. “It’s a stronger seal than I could make. Good for a few more years at least.”
“Hmm,” said Athena. “Very well. Then you and I need to talk about... whatever this is, and what exactly it is you do.”
Devildancer sighed. “Very well. Neutral ground?”
Athena nodded. “I will meet you there.” The two left the room. Cara stared at the shards of glass all over Michelle’s floor. “Sorry,” she said.
She turned to leave, but Michelle stopped her. “No, I’m sorry. I... I had no idea that would happen. You’re right I—I have a problem, and I need help.”
“I think after this we all do,” said Cara.
The three young superheroes stood quietly. Finally, if only to break the awkwardness, Candice asked, “That woman that suddenly appeared and made you—made the thing stop. Was that your mother? She was beautiful, and she must be a really powerful sorceress.”
“My mother was beautiful and powerful,” said Cara. “That wasn’t her. That was a demon.“
“That?” asked Candice, incredulous. “She didn’t look like a—“
“If demons all looked like demons they’d be a lot less dangerous,” said Cara. “That definitely was one. Eisheth Zenunim, Princess of the Succubi, Eater of Souls.” She hesitated, but they might as well know the full truth. “She’s my father.”