The Erotic Mind-Control Story Archive

The Family Tradition

Story Tags—inc, mc, FF, MF, reluctant, la, horror, father, mother, daughter, aunt, sister

A family discovers its secret tradition when it is forced to resume them, and horror turns slowly to acceptance and enthusiastic embrace. Based very lightly on the works of H.P. Lovecraft, but without tentacles. Written from the father’s point of view.

* * *

The old chest was found in a layer of peat on one of my properties by a crew which was excavating the peat for later sale as fertilizer. There was once a peat bog there long ago that had dried up and been covered over by normal soil in the centuries afterward. Since it was on one of my properties, they sent it to me to decide what to do with it.

Something about the chest intrigued me—the properties of the peat had preserved it remarkably, and someone had sealed it carefully and completely. Whatever was inside had been kept like a little time capsule, sealed from whenever it had been placed in that old, long-ago bog. When I say sealed, I don’t just mean closed tightly, someone had used lead to cover every seam, and had made peculiar signs and sigils in that lead for good measure.

I figured the find would be of interest to scholars, so I had ultra-high-resolution pictures carefully taken of each side and sent them to a group of anthropology and historical researchers at nearby prestigious Arkham University.

After a few days, I got a call from the lead researcher that the markings did not match anything known, and, in fact, didn’t seem to resemble any known symbolism or language.

There was something that rattled inside the chest when it was moved, as if there was something solid, relatively small and loose inside. I decided to try the least invasive way I could to discover what lay within the chest that had been sealed for well over 500 years. We’d drill a tiny hole and insert a fiberoptic camera while the chest was in an oxygen-free inert gas environment.

It took about two weeks to build the room to do it in and assemble the necessary equipment. During this time, my wife got home from a business trip and took an interest in the chest. Everyone’s interest was in high gear by the time the procedure began. The only people physically present were myself, my wife, and the researcher operating the equipment, and we were located outside the chamber separated from us by crystal clear plexiglass four inches thick. A large team of researchers and scholars watched the video feed remotely at the university.

After about two minutes of slowly and carefully drilling the hole with the remote high-speed drill, an incredibly small fiberoptic camera with a light conduct through several fibers to either side was carefully fed in through the hole.

At first, we thought we had another Al Capone’s Vault situation, because it appeared that there was nothing actually in the chest. After several minutes, though, we caught a glimpse of something that looked like it might be a ruby off to one side.

The researcher took a few minutes to maneuver the camera around to get a look at it. As what looked to be a red, faceted jewel appeared momentarily on our video feed, there was a flash, and something terrible happened. First, the remote video was lost as the flash happened, and I felt the most awful tearing sensation throughout my body. I heard my wife gasp, and I must have made a similar noise, myself. The researcher abruptly pulled out the camera on its cable, activated the tool that injected the hole with a sealant, and turned to us and said goodbye. He left quickly as we were trying to decide if we were all right, and wondering exactly what had happened. We would later discover that the researcher had vanished, never to be seen again. He didn’t take anything, didn’t say anything to anyone else, he just vanished once the door had closed behind him. He didn’t even show up on the security video surveillance of the property.

Bettina and I were dizzy and weak, and had trouble standing for several minutes. We looked at each other and knew that the other wasn’t “okay” without needing to ask.

“What... what happened?” Bettina asked me. I shrugged and shook my head, as I had no clue. I did know, and I mean “know” with every fiber of my being, that the chest needed to be lost again, where no one could ever find it.

My phone rang, and I thumbed on the speakerphone function and answered it.

“Mr. Cartwright? We didn’t see anything, the video just died. Was there nothing at all inside?” came the voice of Dr. Lyons from the university.

“Uh, no, no it was empty,” I heard myself say.

“A shame,” Lyons said, “at least the chest itself was interesting.”

“I guess,” I said. “I’ll call you later, I think. Right now I need a drink.”

“I understand, sir. Well, thank you for going to all this trouble! We’ll keep studying the markings and see if they lead us anywhere. You have a good night, sir.”

“You, too,” I answered, reaching unsteadily for my wife. The phone line went dead, and I said, “Honey, are you okay? I feel... I feel terrible. I feel like part of me got ripped out by the roots!”

Bettina nodded. “I feel so weak! Bed, I need to lie down, rest.”

“Me, too. I don’t know if I can get there, though. I think I may fall down!”

We helped each other up, and then to the door, then through it. That door was thick, steel, and looked more like a bank vault door than anything else. I hit the close and lock switch, and didn’t even care to see that it closed and locked as it was supposed to.

Bettina and I stumbled to the elevator, and leaned against the walls holding each other as it ascended past several floors of basement, passed my office on the main floor, then opened in our bedroom. We stumbled to the bed and fell into it, exhausted.

* * *

I came to awareness naked, lying on my back on some kind of cushy floor surrounded by a glaring white circle. I moaned, and carefully looked around. The air was neither hot nor cold, but whatever I was lying on was both soft and firm at the same time. I saw my wife laying similarly about six or seven feet away, also surrounded by a glaring white circle. I lifted my head to look around, and discovered that there was a lot of white nothing around us. The floor and walls and ceiling, if there were any, and all matched each other exactly. The only things that stood out were my wife and I, everything else was just white. I carefully sat up.

“Bettina?” I called. “Can you hear me?”

“Uhhh,” moaned my wife. “Jimmy? Is that you?” I saw her raise her head a bit and then drop it back down. “Ooh, my head!”

“Yeah, me too,” I said. “Where are we?”

“Huh?” She pushed herself up into a sitting position herself, and looked around blearily.

“You look like hell,” she said, looking at me, then around. “This is weird....”

I got up to my feet, and started toward her, but came up short at the glowing circle’s inner edge when I didn’t quite hit something, a perfectly smooth curved wall. I put my hand to it, only to have it slide away to the side, following the curve of the wall. There was something there, but the surface was incredibly slick, completely frictionless. I carefully traced the inner perimeter of the circle. I was completely enclosed. The floor was soft under my feet, like walking on a soft, squishy mattress, but the sensation was odd. I’d never felt anything like it before. There wasn’t anything to pull or tear, just soft, ungrippable surface.

“I’m inside something I can’t quite touch. I can’t get to you,” I said.

Bettina struggled to her feet and found moments later that she, too, was enclosed in exactly the same fashion.

I spent about an hour trying to figure some way out. If there was one, I couldn’t find it. My head and body began to hurt less, but there was nothing to do. What I wanted most was to reach my wife, to hug her, and let her know I loved her. Time passed with no way to mark it, and I’m sure it felt like we had been there longer than we actually had been in objective time.

We waited. We had no idea what we were waiting for, but there was nothing else to do. I told her I loved her, and she said she loved me. After an eternity, we lay down, wishing we could touch, hug, embrace, comfort each other. Finally, in that changeless place, we slept.

* * *

I woke in bed cuddles up with my wife. We hadn’t even managed to take our shoes off before passing out the night before, let alone our clothes. I still felt that odd, hollow feeling, like part of me was missing. I kissed Bettina on the ear, and she woke.

“Oh... wow. That was unpleasant,” she said, then looking at my face, said, “I meant... what, yesterday? Earlier? What time is it?”

“6:25.... AM from the looks if it,” I answered. “How are you feeling?”

She looked at me for a moment as she went through an internal inventory. “Not great,” she said. I feel kind of empty, or something.”

“Yeah, me too,” I agreed. “Maybe we should get something to eat?”

“I guess.”

We stood, still a bit unsteady, and went to the elevator, which was still open. We went down to my office, and then down the hall to the kitchen. Marguerite, our longtime housekeeper/au pair/all-around domestic savior looked up as we came in.

“You two do not look well,” she said. “Did you sleep in your clothes? That’s odd, even for you! Let me get you some food! An omelette, some toast, and definitely some juice to start, then coffee?”

Bettina nodded and thanked her. We both sat down heavily at the table as Marguerite busied herself at the refrigerator. Moments later, she placed a glass of juice in front of each of us and commanded sternly, “Drink!”

We did. It helped a bit.

As she cooked the omelettes, Marguerite asked, “I suppose it did not go well last night? This mysterious chest?”

“Very disappointing,” Bettina said. “Perfectly empty.”

Something niggled at my awareness. “We thought there was something for a moment, red? Reflective? Something... but when we got the camera turned around there was nothing. Just empty. And after all the build-up, we were so disappointed we just went straight to bed.”

“In your clothes?”

“We were tired and disappointed. We just wanted to lie down after all the excitement, and then the disappointment,” said Bettina.

“Yeah, we were... tired? Something... we needed to rest,” I said, trying to sort through some scattered impressions and memories of the evening before and make some sense of them. There seemed to be things missing somehow. Bettina’s explanation seemed to fit, but not exactly, and it just felt somehow incomplete. I could only recall impressions of things. I’d swear I had caught a glimpse of something, but the vague memory seemed to evaporate even as I reached for it. “Now I know how Geraldo Rivera felt during Al Capone’s Vault.“

“Well, what are you going to do with that chest now? Have the researchers study it?” asked Marguerite.

“I am going to make sure it gets lost where no one will ever find it again,” I said firmly.

Bettina looked at me, surprised. “Why?”

“Just a feeling. A very strong feeling. It would be bad for anyone else to find it. I can’t explain, so don’t ask, okay?”

She shrugged. “Okay.”

Marguerite placed the omelettes in front of us, and I suddenly realized I was very hungry. Apparently Bettina was, too, as we wolfed them down even though they were still steaming hot.

Bettina and I sat close together, and we touched a lot more than usual. She felt just out of reach, and I was constantly touching her to reassure myself that I could, as did she.

As we finished breakfast, Bettina talked about our daughter’s upcoming homecoming. Bettina was very much looking forward to it, I could tell. Stephanie was due home from her second semester at college for the summer in a week’s time, and it had been her first year away from home.

After breakfast, I decided to go to my office and make a couple of calls about the chest, but as I stood to go, felt a sudden pang. “Come with me?” I asked my wife.

“Okay,” she said, giving no argument about having her own things to do, which these days was unheard-of. I think she felt it too, that need to stay close today, even though our different schedules usually tended to keep us moving in different directions.

We adjourned to my office, and she sat at my desk as I called a trustworthy manager from one of Florida land reclamation operations. I arranged to have our personal jet pick him up and remain on standby until he met with me here at the house. He was expected to arrive late that afternoon.

Bettina and I spent the day together, and were almost constantly in physical contact. We hadn’t hugged, held hands, and stroked skin like teenagers in love for years, but suddenly, there we were. It was somehow less sexual than you’d likely expect, but much more about the reassurance of the other’s presence.

When evening arrived, it brought Wilson. Wilson had been with me for many years, and was completely trustworthy to faithfully perform any special or sensitive matters as long as they weren’t illegal. In all the time he’d been with me, he had taken care of some peculiar issues for me, including locating and securing the engagement ring I had given my wife when I proposed. This included finding the right diamond with the right clarity and weight, convincing a jewelry designer who had retired to produce one more unique masterpiece and doing all of this under the radar so my soon-to-be fiancee wouldn’t learn of my plans to propose through the press. It did get to the press afterwards, of course, complete with photos of the ring and an interview with the designer explaining how he was convinced to do a favor for an old friend. He later made a lot of money from people using his design, as it was an impressively beautiful ring.

Bettina and I took Wilson to the basement, opened the vault, and I told him I wanted the chest carefully hidden where no one could find it. He made a few suggestions, we decided on several spots, and he left with the chest in his arms covered by a canvas bag. By morning it would be lost forever. I felt a great weight lift from me—that thing was a threat, evil somehow, even if I didn’t know how, or why I knew that. I had a feeling that if we kept it, that evil would spread. People would want to open it, and that was beyond a bad idea, it would be a catastrophe. I was particularly happy that I could never find it again.

Bettina and I went to bed early, and we made love for the first time in weeks. Afterwards, we slept.

* * *

When we woke, I discovered I was not alone in my... what, ‘cell?’ I don’t know what you’d call something with no walls you could see or touch but that you couldn’t leave. There was a youngish-looking naked woman standing nearby. I looked over to find my wife still sleeping in her... cell, alone.

“You’re awake! Wonderful! Good morning, Jimmy!” she smiled. Her voice was familiar, and a moment later, I realized why. She was... no, she appeared to be, my mother. My actual mother had died four years ago. She looked to be about the age when she would have given birth to me. She had the same piercing green eyes that had been my mother’s, eyes I remembered so very well, as my mother had once had very expressive eyes.

“Who are you? What do you want?” I asked.

“I’m your mother, Jimmy. Beyond that, I don’t know.”

“My mother is dead,” I said in a flat voice. I heard Bettina stir, and realized she was watching. Bettina had known Mother, and had been with me at her bedside when Mom passed.

“I know. I remember.” she said, and shivered. “Clearly. If it will make you feel better, call me Jessica. That’s my name.”

“That’s my mother’s name,” I replied tersely.

“Look, it really is all I know,” said the woman. “Well, that’s not really true, I know what your favorite food is, and the name of your best friends in every grade, and what you did with the crayon behind the blue chair when you were three. All that sort of stuff. But as for who I am, I’m your mother. For all intents and purposes.” she said.

“Whose intents and purposes?” I asked.

“No idea,” she said, so like my mother it was spooky. “I’m going to sit down, now.”

“Where are we, Jessica?” asked Bettina.

Jessica looked over, “I supposed ‘here’ is not the answer you want, is it Betty?”

“You know it isn’t, and only his mother was ever allowed to call me ‘Betty.’” snapped Bettina. “And you are not she. I was there when she died.”

“Are you sure you aren’t dead too?” asked Jessica, cocking her head to one side. Thinking ‘Jessica’ did make it easier, I thought.

“I don’t think we are,” said Bettina. “I can feel that we aren’t.”

I nodded. She was right. I was alive. “I remember the chest, and the camera, and there was something like a red gem, sparkly, to one side. We turned the camera, and there was a flash. Then we woke up here,” I said, slowly.

Bettina nodded agreement. “Maybe we’re inside it? The gem?”

I considered. “It could be. This is nothing like the real world I know.”

The figure of my mother had a smile on her face. “Interesting,” she said. “How long has it been since you ate or drank anything?”

“No idea,” I said. “It seems like days, but I’m not hungry or thirsty, and I have no idea of the time, or even if it is moving in the same way here. There is no frame of reference, no cues. No watch,” I said, glancing at my wrist.

Jessica laughed. “I guess that does leave us guessing, doesn’t it?”

“Certainly the two of us. You, I’m not so sure about.”

“Jimmy, I don’t have any idea about any of this.”

“No offense, Jessica, but you are naked, and the you I remember would curl up and die rather than be naked in front of me,” I said.

She looked down at herself. “You’re right. Something has changed. I actually feel pretty and, I don’t know... liberated—I looked good at this age, didn’t I? You did see me naked once, but you were too young to remember it. I used to walk around like this all the time at home, at least until you were three or so, and you got too old for me to do that. From then on, things began to droop and sag a bit, more and more every year. No woman likes to show her age, does she Bett... Bettina?“

“I’d prefer a robe, now. I was fine before.” Bettina growled.

“See?” asked Jessica.

Well, this was just like my Mom, frankly. “So someone made you out of my head? My memories of you?“

Jessica sighed. “Jimmy, I have no idea. I’m just... me. I remember everything up to dying of lung cancer from smoking for decades. I don’t remember anything else. Why would I be here, if you aren’t dead?”

“No idea, Mo... Jessica.” I corrected myself.

“Please sit down, Jimmy. I’m staring at your pee-pee in this position.”

“My...? Sorry,” I sat down.

“You certainly grew up, didn’t you?” she teased.

I rolled my eyes.

“Hey, the last time I saw it you were four, and I was still wiping your bottom. You learned how to do that for yourself early. I was so proud!”

I looked to Bettina with what must have been a pleading look.

“I think that’s enough, Jessica,” said Bettina firmly. “You are not being helpful, and you are not acting like the Jessica I remember. The Jessica I knew would never be such an ass to Jimmy, though she certainly had the capability. You are not Jessica.”

Jessica looked at Bettina coolly. “I supposed you’re right, though you didn’t know me at this age. I had quite an attitude then. It is easy to slip back into that self. I mean, look at me, I’m younger than my own son. Imagine what it would be like to be the you that you were at twenty-three!” She turned to me. “I’m sorry, son. I shouldn’t be giving you a hard time. Believe it or not, you remind me a lot of my father, and I always gave him a lot of sass.” She stopped cold, and then looked away. “It was a... an odd relationahip.” She looked pained, and admitted, “He was a... a bit of a pervert.”

Bettina gasped, and said “Oh!” and I realized Mom’s relationship with her father would have been seen as scandalous. She’d walked around naked until I was three? He had died when I was five, and there had followed a chaotic time in our lives. It made sense, given a few of the things I knew about him.

“I’m not your father, Jessica,” I said, “and your relationship with me was never anything but proper.”

“Yes. I’m proud of that. It took a lot of therapy, and me actually learning what ‘normal’ really was. Did you know?”

I considered. My mother had seen a doctor twice a week all through my childhood, times when I was cared for by nannies or babysitters when I wasn’t in school. Marguerite, our maid, wasn’t able to do that for some reason. My stomach felt odd. She needed that much therapy, and needed to learn through it what ‘normal’ was?

She still wouldn’t meet my eyes. I reached over and put my hand on her shoulder, and she held her cheek to it. “I had no idea,” I said.

“Good. That’s good. I wanted it that way for you. It happened to him, too.”

Oh. Oh! Oh, fuck. I felt the penny that had dropped roll around my mental feet uncomfortably.

“It was a family secret for many generations. I decided to put an end to it,” she said. “I’m sorry. Being naked, and you looking like him and... all, it just... I just slipped back into old times. My father... he was still having sex with me when I looked like this. He did that right up until six months before he died. It was... just the way it was in our family.”

“I... see.”

“I doubt it, but as I said, that’s good. That means I was successful, I broke the chain.”

“The things you learn when you’re naked in a cell with your reconstructed mother and your wife,” I said.

Bettina snorted.

I grinned ruefully at her.

“Where did you come from? What is the last thing you remember before this, being here?”

She closed her eyes with a look of pain. “Trying to breathe, exhaustion, Bettina kissed my forehead as you held my hand. Everything hurt. The pain drugs weren’t enough to stop the pain anymore, but they wouldn’t give me more because they said more would kill me, as if that mattered. All I had the energy to do was to try to draw another breath, and then... I didn’t anymore. And I’m here.”

“I remember,” I said. I did. Those were the last moments of my mother’s life. It was one of the hardest moments of mine.

“From that moment to a little while ago, there’s nothing. Then, there you were. For a moment I thought you were Daddy. I don’t remember anything between. Of course, if someone or something recreated me out of your memories, I don’t guess there would be. On the other hand, I feel a definite sense of self, of me being me. Wait a minute! You said you had no idea about me and Dad, so that would mean I have to be me, the real me, right?”

“Not necessarily,” said Bettina. “It might have never happened, or he might have noticed something subconsciously. Or, this may not really be happening. Or it may just be back-story, something constructed to fill a void in his knowledge or memories.”

“Thanks, Betty. For a minute there I thought I might really exist,” Jessica said with sarcasm, then she turned and looked about, thoughtful. “I don’t know, maybe this is what comes next.“

I shrugged. I didn’t know, I was tired, and I really wanted to be where I could physically touch my wife. I tried to lean back where I could see her, and slid down the barrier. That in itself was frustrating! There wasn’t even a sense of touching anything, just a slide to the side. I groaned as I sat up, pushing against the floor.

“God, you even sound like him, making those old man noises like that!” exclaimed Jessica.

Bettina’s voice asked the question I’d been avoiding even thinking. “Jessica, is your father Jimmy’s biological father?”

Mom froze. My heart thudded in my chest. Slowly, slowly, Mom glanced at me, and our eyes locked. An expression filled her face, a blend of shame, and love, and grief, and pride in me. “Yes,” was all she said.

“And my father... the man who died in the war? You made him up?” I asked.

“No, the man himself was quite real. He was a... a friend. He would have married me if Daddy allowed it and he hadn’t gotten killed. He knew I was pregnant, which is why he mentioned you, the baby I mean, in the letters I showed you. He didn’t know who the real father was. I would have married him. He was a good man, a good friend. He would have made a great father.”

“And you and your father....”

“Until about six months before he died, and he couldn’t anymore. I... lost... three babies. Miscarriages.” She wiped at a tear that was threatening to roll down a cheek. “He was... very fucked up. It had happened to him, too, you see. He told me his mother and her father, and it goes back and back. No one knows how many were born of incest. Most, I think. I guess only the mothers could be sure, and not always then. But it is the reason for some of the family traits and health problems. It’s also why the family line has so few branches. A lot of the kids died, never made it to term, or were too sickly to thrive. Only the very strongest survived.” Tears were running down her face.

“Why? Why did... so many, for so long?”

“No one knows. No one talked about it much, not to me, anyway. Daddy got really drunk one night... he never drank... the night he told me, the night it started. He said it had to be this way.“

“Did you love him, or hate him?” I asked as I took the crying woman in my arms.

“Oh, I loved him! I was ashamed of what we did, but I loved my Daddy! He was really all I had, the only man I....” she wept.

“And your mother?”

“His mother, raised by his childhood sweetheart, whom he married. He... his mother died young, but not before teaching him in the family... tradition. As his father watched. She started when he... oh, Jimmy, this goes so far back...! With just enough new blood to keep the family line alive.” She froze, then looked me in the eyes. “You never... not with Stephanie, right?”

“Of course not!” I said firmly, and heard Bettina repeat my words half a second later.

“Good! Good! Maybe we broke the chain!”

Really, all this was too much. “Why the fuck are we here?” I demanded of the air, irritably, the frustration boiling over. Hearing that everything you’d based your life on was a lie really cuts the legs out from under you.

There was no answer, not even an echo.

* * *

I woke spooning with my wife, feeling her deep and even breathing, warm body pressed against mine. She smelled good, with a unique feminine skin scent all her own mixed with the fading scent of her shampoo. I had a case of morning wood, pressed up against her sex from behind. Even as close as we were, I still felt a need to touch more of her, like I was reaching out to her somehow, and she just wasn’t close enough. It was a most peculiar feeling. Somehow, I felt lost and frustrated inside, though I had no reason for it.

Bettina stirred in my arms, and then wiggled her butt against me provocatively with a giggle. “You feel good,” she said.

“Mmm, so do you,” I replied.

“Jimmy? I had a dream about your mother. She was young and she seemed troubled. She was talking to you about something, something dark and painful,” she said.


“I can’t quite remember it now. But you had this look on your face... like she told you, I dunno, like she was an ax murderer or something.”

I considered, “I woke up with this feeling, all lost, kind of, and frustrated. I feel like something is very wrong, but I don’t have any idea what it could be.”

“You think it has to do with that empty chest,” she said, knowing how I think.

“I don’t know what else it could be,” I said. “Something about is has unsettled me deeply.”

“Well, I think we should do something to take your mind off of it,” she smiled, and gave a slow grind against me. I kissed and nuzzled her ear, and slid my hands up to cup her breasts from behind, finding her nipples already hard.

She rolled over and climbed atop me, sliding my cock into her already wet pussy. I made a happy sound in my throat and ground against her a bit—this was our favorite sexual positition, with her atop me. We began making love slowly, and she gazed into my eyes hungrily with her deep, warm brown ones as she rocked atop me. I toyed with and lightly pinched her nipples as we moved in rhythm. I could not be closer to her—hell, I was inside her—but I still felt a strange yearning for her, like she was still just out of reach. “I love you,” I told her, looking deeply into her eyes.

She grinned, and said, “I love you, too! Feel me, fill me, cum for me, my baby! Fill mama up with your cum!”

Something arced deep in my brain, and I found myself erupting into her warm, clutching slipperiness with a yell. We both were cumming, hard, and I felt her inner muscles grip and pull me even deeper within her, rippling along my cock as they did. Her back arched, her head thrown back as she ground herself into me as I thrust upward deep into her. Finally, she fell forward onto me, with me still buried deep within her as we panted.

As we caught our breath, I looked at her and asked, “So what was that about? ‘Mama’? Where did that come from?”

“I don’t know, it just seemed hot at the time... and you seemed to enjoy it!”

“I did, I think,” I acknowledged. Maybe it was just the unexpectedness. You don’t normally say anything at all during sex! Well, not like that, I mean.”

“I think I got off on the dirtiness of it. It just sort of popped out of my mouth.”

“And you dreamed about my mother last night?”

“I did? Oh, I guess, maybe. It’s gone now, whatever it was.”

“You said that in your dream she told me something dark, like she was an ax murderer?”

“Did I?”

“Mm-hmm,” I confirmed.

“I think... I think she was young. In the dream, I mean. Young, and naked. Attractive, too.”

“You dreamed my mother was naked?”

“Yes, I did.”

“I didn’t know you had a thing for my mother!”

Bettina laughed. “I don’t have a ‘thing’ for her! It wasn’t a sexy naked, exactly, that wasn’t the feeling, I think.” She blushed. “At all, I mean. No... I just can’t recall it, it’s gone now.“

I kissed her, and we started moving to get ready for our day. I felt a pang of regret when we disconnected.

We spent most of the day together again, never far from each other when we weren’t touching, and almost always in the same room. Most of the time Bettina was in my arms, which was good, but somehow, not good enough.

* * *

I woke as I came, spurting across the floor and gasping in pleasure. I looked over to see Bettina with her fingers inside her pussy as she watched. The hand grasping my pulsing cock belonged to my mother, who had a strange, very intent, look in her eyes. As I rolled to sit up, I discovered that she, too, had her fingers inside herself. As I watched, she climaxed, her eyes huge and her face frozen in a look of desperation.

I found, to my horror, that I was still horny, erect and tingling with need. I heard Bettina reach her climax, which didn’t help at all.

“Oh. Oh, honey! I’m so sorry! I wasn’t thinking!” gasped my mother, her hand, the one she had used to stroke me, moving to her mouth in a classic ‘oh no!’ pose.

I have no idea what kind of look was on my face. Tears ran down my mother’s face, which she covered in shame. She curled into herself.

“Honey... I’m so sorry, really! I didn’t mean... I’m sorry!”

I sat still, trying to recover. “Mom, what... what happened?” I blinked sleep out of my eyes. “Shhh! Shhh! It’s okay. Well, it will be okay. Calm down, just... why did that happen?“

“I just... I was curled up with you, and I woke up, and it was in my hand when I woke, and I just... and it... I don’t know why I did that...”

“Okay, okay. Let me think,” I said. I looked at Bettina. “What did you see?”

“I woke up really horny. Everyone else was asleep and I needed to... well, you know. You were asleep, and I think she was too, and her hand was on it, then she just stroked it a couple of times and you came all over the floor. ”

“So we all just woke up horny?” I asked.

The two women nodded. The smell of female arousal and my cum was strong in the air. I was wishing I could hide my erection, but there was no way to do that easily or subtly.

“It was habit,” said Mom. “It was like old times with Daddy. I woke up, and it was warm in my hand, and I just... did what I used to do. I didn’t even think.”

“I see,” I said. A thought occurred to me. “Why don’t I have to pee? I have no idea how long we’ve been here, but I’ve slept twice and I’m sure I should have had to pee by now. I haven’t been thirsty, either. Have you, Bettina?”

“No. No, I haven’t, and I’m not hungry or thirsty either. You’re right!”

Mom shrugged. “Me, either,” she said.

“So this isn’t real, is it?”

“I’m supposed to be dead, so I have no idea,” said Mom shortly, frustration clear in her voice.

“I don’t know,” said Bettina. “I just wish you were over here. I want... I need you.”

I looked at her, and saw my wife with her arms wrapped around her knees. From my vantage point I could see her wet and swollen sex clearly.

Bettina and I had been married a very long time, and I knew her body well. I had never seen her sex so swollen and aroused-looking, and I’d never seen the look of need so clear on her face. She was looking at Mom and me as if she wanted nothing more than to throw herself at us, onto me. Her eyes were glued to my cock, which was still fully erect, throbbing and tingling with need itself.

Mom was facing away, obviously embarrassed by what had happened. I watched her back as she took slow, deep breaths. She had a nice back. I caught the thought and examined it carefully. While my mom did have a nice, well-shaped back, it was a thought I probably shouldn’t have.

I looked back over at my wife, and wondered—was she closer now than she had been before? It seemed so. She kept making abortive movements toward stimulating herself yet again, a hand starting to move and then being deliberately wrapped around her knees.

God, I wanted to leap over and jump on her. I wanted to bury my cock deep inside her, and hear the sounds she made as she bucked against me, her legs wrapped around me. The sexual tension was maddening.

Something moved on the periphery of my vision, somewhere to the side and beyond our little circles of light, not that the whiteness beyond was what you would call dimmer. As I glanced toward it, it disappeared, almost as if it shifted out of focus and faded into the background of not-really-anything white. I still felt that something or someone was watching us.

Bettina gasped, and began to touch herself, dipping her fingers deep into her pussy and then rubbing her clit with a circular motion. “Jimmy, oh Jimmy! Please help me! I think I’m... I’m...”

I felt a movement behind me as my mother turned around and sat behind me, and I found her legs alongside my own. I felt her wetness against my tailbone, and her arms enfold me.

“Jimmy, I’m so sorry,” she said. “They’re here, I think. I didn’t believe Daddy when he told me about the legacy. Can you feel them? I think they make us crazy. I can feel them watching and willing... making me want....”

Her hand grasped my throbbing cock, and she began to stroke it slowly. Bettina watched as she did this, mesmerized, her own finger movements becoming synchronized with my mother’s. I groaned, and somehow I couldn’t summon the willpower to stop what was happening. Bettina cried out as the feelings intensified. I could feel something, presences, around us, watching us, just seemingly put of sight.

“Daddy told me if I didn’t teach you in the family way, they would come for us. They bring madness. They are madness. You have to hold on.” My mother’s voice communicated her great distress.

“What are you talking about?” I demanded, still strangely unable, or was it unwilling, to stop my mother’s hand as she stroked my hard cock, slick with pre-cum, my legs spread wide and leaning into my mother’s breasts hot against my back. I couldn’t look away from Bettina as she jilled herself in time with my mother’s movements, eyes wide, watching my mother jack me off toward her. It was hard to think about what she had said, my attention was almost completely in the feel of her hand on me.

My balls felt impossibly full, and my cock larger and longer than it should be. I mean, I don’t think it actually was, but it felt that way. And it felt good!

“The family, our family, is bound to an old, old bargain. It’s why we... it’s the reason for the incest. I never understood it all, I thought it was some story to justify.... Our family keeps Them out somehow. It doesn’t make sense, or, at least, it never made sense to me.” Mom said, stroking me wonderfully. Even as distracted as I was, I noticed the capital-T of the word ‘Them’ in her voice, but I didn’t have the ability or interest to pursue it at the moment.

My orgasm was building with each slow stroke, and I was moving almost convulsively with each one. Bettina’s eyes were so wide, her mouth contorted into a savage grimace as she said “Yes!” each time. With a final stroke, and a final thrust, I came. The first spurt flew across the intervening space and actually landed on Bettina, who was cumming herself with a scream of release, two of her fingers deep inside herself.

I fell back, and looked up between my mother’s breasts at her face. She looked down at me, her hand still clutching my cock as several more spurts launched; I’m not sure where they landed. I could never describe the look on Mom’s face—it was a blend of emotions far too complicated for words to do justice.

Bettina laughed abruptly, and scooped up the cum that had landed on her and stuck her fingers into her mouth. She giggled and wriggled her fingers inside herself.

That was not the Bettina I knew. It just wasn’t her style. I was filled with a thrill of worry, but also a deep feeling of weariness. The frightening thing was how reassuring and good my mother’s hand felt on my still-hard cock. How could it still be hard? I wondered if it had been four hours yet. Wouldn’t it be hurting if it had? The longing to touch and hold Bettina had quieted, that need answered by my mother’s hand. I smiled at Mom, who gave a sad smile back, blinked, and then gave me a genuine smile.

Still giggling to herself, Bettina lay back, her legs still splayed wide and her fingers still in her pussy. My eyes grew heavier and heavier as exhaustion rolled over me like an avalanche.

* * *

I woke to find Bettina leaning back on her pillows, her legs spread, masturbating. It took me a moment to realize that she was doing this as she looked across the room at the picture painted of my mother and me when I was about ten years old. Mom was behind me in the picture, her arms on my shoulders. She looked as if she were very proud of me in that painting.

I heard Bettina muttering something to herself, and leaned in to hear what she was saying. It was “Cum for Mommy, baby, cum for Mommy!”

I would have been more shocked if I hadn’t been having a strange sex dream before waking, now fading away even as I woke, in which my mother had been stroking me to Bettina jilling herself while watching. It had been disturbingly exciting, and as I woke fully I realized that it had been a wet dream.

Bettina went rigid for a few moments as she came, then looked at me and blushed. My face asked the question clearly.

“I... don’t know. I woke up and looked across the room and saw the painting, and I just... it suddenly seemed... I had this weird excited feeling,” she explained. “Even though I knew you were watching me, heard me, what I said, I couldn’t stop. It even made it better. I’ve never....”

“I was just dreaming something very like that,” I said, and flipped the sheet back, revealing the puddle of cum on my stomach. Bettina trilled and ran two fingers through it and scooped up a bit and sucked it off her fingers. The vision was so like my dream it was spooky, but also incredibly hot.

Bettina giggled and I had a moment of deja vu. I had never heard her giggle like that before, I was certain of it. It sounded... a bit, well, not right. Not right at all. But again, incredibly exciting.

While I was digesting this, Bettina moved up and swung a leg over me. She pulled on my cock several times until it was fully erect, harder than it had been In years, and then slid it into herself with a half sigh and half groan. She was incredibly wet, wetter than I could ever remember, and she rode me cowgirl-style for a moment, then grabbed my hands and moved them to her breasts, closing them on her softnesses with their very hard nipples pressing into my palms.

“Baby?” she said, “baby, I want you to call me Mama as you fuck me... isn’t that delightfully naughty?”

Well, yes, it was somehow, but in a very creepy way, given what she had been doing just a few moments before. It was actually a bit scary, as she was looking at me in a rather peculiar way, kind of hungry and crazy at the same time. And God help me, it excited me all the more!

“Do you like Mama’s pussy? Is it hot and wet for you baby? Are you gonna fill Mama up with your seed? Make Mama’s belly swell with your baby, Baby?”

“Mmm, Mama, your pussy is wonderful!” I essayed in a far more confident voice than I felt should be coming out of me, spooked as I was. “Take me deep inside you, grind your Mama-pussy on me hard, make me cum deep in your belly and fill you up!”

I heard the words come out of my mouth, without willing or thinking about them before I said them, and felt her grind down deep and hard against me. I felt like my cock was deeper inside her than it had ever been before, and I felt every millimeter of her hot velvet grip as she rode me like a horse, her head thrown back in pleasure.

She growled, and as she brought her head back down to gaze down at me I had a shocking moment of confusion because I honestly thought for a moment I was looking up at my mother’s face. It was at that moment that her face contorted in a grimacing grin, her eyes wide, and I felt the ripples of her pussy walls as she came, thrusting herself down so hard, with me so deep, that felt the end of her channel hit the end of my cock. She screamed like a woman possessed as we came together, my balls convulsing with the need to fill her with every drop of semen I had.

It was glory. It was ecstacy. It was pain. Above all, it was incredible pleasure. It was the strongest orgasm I’d ever had, and I was willing to bet that she’d ever had, too. It was just over the line that marked where sanity ended, and I scrabbled my way back across it like Wyle E. Coyote scrabbling back at the cliff above the abyss. I just made it by my fingernails. I felt like I heard Bettina wail as she fell.

Madre de Dios! Madre de Dios!” cried Marguerite as she flew into the room with a skillet, looking like she was expecting an ax murderer swinging away at us. She stopped as she saw us, shocked.

Bettina had collapsed onto me and to one side, and she was making a weird laughing sound, and rubbing her lower belly with both hands. I had pushed myself up against the headboard of the bed, and was looking at Bettina like she had suddenly started blowing bubbles and singing in a little girl voice.

“Fucked Mama good, fucked Mama so good! Mama’s baby is so good!” Bettina was crooning to herself. Holy fuck, it was in a little girl voice!

Marguerite looked from Bettina to me and back again, trying to decipher the situation. I had at least pulled a cover over myself, but Bettina was completely un-self-consciously naked.

“Señor Jimmy?” Marguerite asked cautiously.

“Ah, Marguerite, uh, my wife is, uh, can you help me with her? I think she needs, uh, to come back to herself? Maybe some coffee? Not too hot? Or something...?”

Marguerite approached the bed and looked into Bettina’s face. “Señora Cartwright? Missus Cartwright? Bettina?” She lightly slapped my wife’s face, which seemed to help a bit.

“Wha...? What?” Bettina seemed to orient, and looked at Marguerite and then at me. “What? Why...?”

“Are you okay, dear?” I asked, moving toward her.

Bettina looked down at herself, her hands still on her belly, and blushed. “Oh! Oh. My. God.” She grabbed the sheet and covered herself, which, of course, pulled it off of me.

I quickly stood and pulled on my robe which had been draped over the chair by the bed, pretending not to notice that Marguerite had gotten an eyeful. Marguerite pretended not to have noticed, herself. I was grateful.

“Ms. Bettina? Are you okay now?” asked Marguerite.

“Yes, thank you, Marguerite, I’ll be fine now. I... I’m sorry if I alarmed you! I was, um, very passionate,” Bettina said, blushing beet red.

“I will make coffee,” announced Marguerite, standing and smoothing down her uniform and nodding. There was a hint of a smile as she turned and left the room. I saw her shake her head as she moved down the hall to the stairs to the kitchen.

“Bettina? Are you okay?” I asked, my hand to her cheek.

She nodded jerkily. “I’m sorry... I, um, I think I may have not been fully awake, maybe? It all seemed kind of like a dream, a really dirty, crazy dream....“

“Let’s get you dressed, and go have some coffee, okay?” I asked.

“Okay,” she agreed, pulling the sheet off and moving to stand. Just before she stood, she put a hand to her belly, and shook her head. Then she got up and opened her closet and pulled on a robe. She looked at me. “Jimmy, I... God, this is embarrassing.”

“Shhh. Let’s go get some breakfast,” I encouraged. Bettina clutched my hand as we went down to breakfast together. She held onto my hand all through the meal, and refused to let go or be parted from me even during a shower, later. To tell the truth, I didn’t want to let go of her, either.

I had a strange feeling, like we were walking on bad ice on a lake that had frozen over. It felt like with each step we took, we listened for the sound of the cracking beneath our feet that would herald a plunge into a dark oblivion.

Marguerite seemed to sense it, too, as she was solicitously offering hot cocoa every half hour or so, like it might preserve the brittle calm that we clung to since that morning’s surprise. Come to think of it, maybe it did.

Does all this sound a bit over-the-top and ominous? It certainly should, because that is exactly how it felt. It felt... deeply strange. It felt like we were being watched carefully after being dosed with some kind of powerful aphrodisiac hallucinogen, so that ideas that we’d never have popped into our heads and wouldn’t leave, and seemed extremely erotic rather than appalling. It was like these ideas had something that pulled us into them, and would carry us away with them if we weren’t paying close attention to exactly what we were thinking, and whether it was normal or not.

This was harder to do than it may sound like, because there was a constant temptation to just “go with it”—I mean, how often do you stop yourself from having a daydream, imagining something pleasant, even tame, like imagining eating a bite of a favorite pie or something? Well, if the thought that immediately followed that was licking that pie smeared on a pussy, then realizing that the pussy was that of someone you love that you shouldn’t be having sexual thoughts about but that it excited you... that’s kind of what it was like. Things went too far really fast.

It could be anything. A memory of an innocent family vacation could become an erotic fantasy within a second or two. Like every thought had a sexual gravity to it that would suddenly pull us into a perverse sexual fantasy.

I like cream in my coffee. Between starting to reach for the cream pitcher and pouring the right amount of cream into my coffee, I’d imagine milking my mother into the cup as she had a screaming orgasm, bucking under me on my throbbing cock. And knowing it was wrong to think it only made it worse, by which I mean more perversely pleasurable. I’d have to stop and refocus, shove the perverse thought aside and force myself to stir my coffee carefully.

Everyone was struggling with this, apparently—I saw not only Bettina, but also Marguerite, obviously bringing themselves back to reality with efforts of will. Marguerite kept looking at Bettina, then me, then back to Bettina, and I swear I could see her wondering what I had done to make Bettina get into that headspace, and obviously wondering what it would be like to go that far herself.

Enough! I decided. We were getting stir-crazy, I thought. I reached for my phone and called my office secretary, and arranged for a quick trip to the coast. She made arrangements at a small bed and breakfast inn on an island off the Georgia coast where we’d stayed before, arranged for a driver to meet us, and placed a dinner reservation at a restaurant nearby.

We took the small seaplane down, and were driven to the inn where we checked in, and then went to eat at a favorite local spot where they served huge platters of fresh seafood on a dock where several extremely well-fed cats would mooch tidbits from patrons under the stars beneath the Spanish moss-hung branches of trees. It was a lovely and romantic spot. As we ate and slipped bits of crab and shrimp to a particularly friendly marmalade cat, we felt the tension relax bit by bit.

We began to smile and talk with each other again, and after several glasses of wine served by a tanned brunette with a charming smile and having filled our stomachs (and the cat’s) with plenty of low-country boil, we strolled back out to the car, arm in arm. We were taken back to the inn, and found our room—the Mermaid room—and cuddled together in the bed.

As the night wore on, we began to touch and kiss, enjoying the feel of each other’s body, not feeling compelled or tricked or sucked in. It felt right, natural and loving, and there was no feeling of anything perverted or twisted. We made love together, and it was with joy. Not the slightest feeling of anything skeevy, until we were on the edge of orgasm.

Until I caught what I would swear was movement out of the corner of my eye, and realized that the mermaid painted on the wall behind and above the headboard of the bed was watching us with a smile, pinching an erect nipple on a bountiful breast below my mother’s face. I was looking directly into the green painted eyes and sardonic grin of my mother as I came.

I felt a thrill beyond fear as I recovered, and then I looked again. The picture was motionless, but the resemblance to my mother, which I would swear had not been there before, was uncanny. Bettina saw the look only face and turned to look at what I was staring at, and gasped. “It’s changed! Oh my God, it has changed!

It truly had. Before, the mermaid had been holding a shell in one hand, now, it was pinching a nipple in invitation and wicked delight. The face was a younger version of my mother’s. The painting was motionless, of course, but there was no doubt that it had changed.

There was a long silence as we looked at it looking back at us. The face that had been there before had been, well, not particularly lifelike, with smaller features and an unimpressive smile. What we saw now was a dead ringer for my mother, and the hand and breasts appeared to have been painted realistically from a photograph, or even from life.

I picked up my phone, told our driver we were leaving, then turned and pulled on my pants and shirt. Bettina likewise began dressing, both of us avoiding looking at the painting. We packed our overnight cases silently and determinedly, and once this was done, quietly moved to the door. I gave the painting one last look, to see that once again it had resumed its previous unremarkable and non-erotic appearance, and now looked nothing at all like my mother.

I shook my head, closed the door. We left our key at the unattended front desk with our payment including a hefty tip, and a quick note apologizing for leaving early. We found our driver waiting with the car running and immediately left for the small dock where the seaplane was moored.

On the flight back home, Bettina and I kept darting looks at each other, each of us wondering the same thing: were we losing our minds? “I’m certain I saw a change,” Bettina said.

“Yes. I did, too. I looked carefully. I do not think it could have been our imaginations.” I drummed my fingers on the seat armrest, “Do you think we’re being haunted? Or perhaps someone is trying to make us think so?“

“Who could arrange such a thing, and how?”

“I don’t know. Naughty potions and powders, perhaps?”

“I somehow find that a more comforting thought than the alternative,” said Bettina. “But we only told Evelyn where we were going....”

“And since we arrived, we didn’t have any, ah, issues until we had been there a while. Perhaps some kind of gas pumped into the room?”

“I can’t believe Evelyn would be involved in any kind of evil like that!” declared Bettina.

“Perhaps not. It could be done other ways....” I stopped, and examined my phone, then shut it off and removed the battery. I motioned for Bettina to do the same. I moved up to the pilot and directed him to change course to Pensacola, Florida.

It was 3 AM when we landed in the bay, and pulled over to a marina. We left our cases and phones in the plane, and told the pilot we would be back around noon. He nodded, and said he would stay with the plane, have it refueled and ready to leave by then. Bettina and I strolled to a random nearby hotel overlooking the bay, and rented a room with cash.

* * *

I woke under my mother’s warm body, her cheek and hair to one side of my face, her hips atop mine, her breasts pressed against my chest. It felt good, comfortable, though it should have felt alarming. That in itself made me a bit uncomfortable. That discomfort with enjoying it was reinforced after a moment as I heard the liquid and gasping soft sounds of Bettina masturbating again. I also realized that my cock was hard, and nestled between Mom’s... uh, thighs. Which were wet and slick.

I realized suddenly that with the smallest if adjustments by either of us, I would be inside her. Rather than move at all, I felt guilty about enjoying the situation. I knew, knew, that it was extremely wrong, but I just... enjoyed it, and the tempting, tantalizing potential. Again, I felt carefully and closely watched, judged, and there was a feeling of approval, encouragement, as if hundreds of people I couldn’t see or hear were cheering me on, and screaming “Go for it!“

Something about this place seemed to inspire lust, I realized. While it may have taken me a long time to realize that, I’d also been through a lot in the last... how long had it been? And it seemed to all revolve around incest.

Although, I mean, it kind of made sense that Mom and I would be having physical reactions to each other’s naked bodies against each other—we could only sit crosslegged and upright without physically touching each other except at the knees. But why was Bettina getting so turned on over it? As far as I knew, neither one of us had ever had a... what... thing... about incest before appearing here. Really, I couldn’t ever remember the thought passing through my mind, let alone it actually being entertained, before.

Bettina had always been a sexual woman, yes, but I would never have conceived of her jilling herself off while watching my mother stroke my cock before it happened yesterday. Why would she find that so erotic? Before, I could only imagine her as being revolted, angry, appalled, and very vocal about it.

What was this place, and why was it doing this to us? Was the woman on top of me really my mother? She seemed like my mother, sounded like her, looked like a younger version if her, she even smelled like my mother, if you ignored the scent of her arousal, which was difficult. Where were we? Was anyone looking for us? How did we get here?

Oh, shit. I felt the shift, and I felt my cock engulfed in warm velvet pleasure. My mother jerked, and shifted to try to sit, which drove me in to the very hilt. Oh. Oh, fuck. That was... good!

A groan came from my mother, part pleasure, part trepidation. I must have made a similar sound. We were both rigid.

“Yes! Fucking ride him! Drive him deep inside you, you bitch!” came the cry from Bettina. She sounded like she was closer than she had been. I grit my teeth, restraining the incredibly powerful impulse to thrust, to fuck, to cum. Inside her. My mother. To launch my cum deep into her womb, to fuck her pregnant.

Wait... what?

My mother, also gritting her teeth, her face fixed in a rictus, raised her hips off of me and I slipped out. I felt a deep feeling of despair as she did this, like I was losing... everything. I panted hard to catch my breath, and tears ran down my face at the feeling of loss. I fought the tears, the feeling. It was necessary to stop. We couldn’t do that! I tried to scramble to move, to sit up, but there was that weird sliding feeling again and I twisted my torso and one arm painfully as I did.

Mother moved more carefully, and we discovered that our little cell had shrunk. We wound up face to face in a somewhat sitting position, our legs to either side of each other’s butt, and our sexes once again in contact, but, at least, only on the outside. The thought that we were almost in a sexual position would not leave my mind.

From my new position, I could see Bettina, legs spread and fingers dancing madly inside herself. “Do it! Just fucking do it! Just! Fucking! DO IT!” she screamed. “I have to cum! I can’t cum! I HAVE to CUM! Fuck her so I can cum! PLEASE!” Bettina’s scream was like a tortured soul. It wrenched my heart for her, but it also frightened me. Worse, it excited me and egged me on, and it undermined my resistance dreadfully, like sand being washed away under a wall’s foundation by a flood.

I looked into my mother’s green, green eyes, in which I could see such depths of sadness, love, and need, and I nodded. A tear rolled down her cheek, and we moved slightly together, and she lowered herself onto me again. The feeling was even more pleasurable than it had been moments before, and it was if we were perfectly fitted to each other. We were both on a hair-trigger. We moved together, and in three eternal, ecstatic strokes I fountained into her in an orgasm that lasted for minutes at least, and must have emptied a year’s worth of seed deeply into her, enough that a puddle leaked back out of her onto and beneath us.

At the same time, I felt as if a part of my soul, my heart, my inner substance flowed into her. I know I made some sound, some deep growling howl of claiming possession of her, and I felt her vibrating answering cry of release, or perhaps surrender, at the same time I heard Bettina’s scream and wail of simultaneous release. She came with us. Because of us.

The world swam and spun, completely beyond my control or ability to orient. It was far worse than the most terrible case of the drunk whirlies without the nausea I’d ever had, but at the same time was filled with sexual pleasure, as if the entire universe were having an orgasm, and I was at the center of it.

When the world finally stopped moving, I was looking into the face of my wife, her body clasping and being clasped by my own, my cock deep inside her sex. The eyes that gazed into mine were not my wife’s deep brown ones, but a green/golden brown.

“Oh... Oh!” she said, wonder in her voice. “Oh, my... how? I... you... we...?” The look in her eyes became distant, as something happened inside her mind that I could only see from the outside.

“Bettina...?” I ventured.

She looked at me. “Yes... Jimmy. I’m here... but your mother... we’re both here, but... I’m... me,” she said.

“What? I don’t understand.”

“I don’t really, either,” she said, “but it’s like we’re both... me? I mean, I remember Bettina, and I remember Jessica... oh, Jimmy, she is right about you looking like Daddy, uh, her father... Jimmy, I need to think, now that I can think.“

I was glad somebody could! I’d gone from what had to be the most profound sexual experience of my life to whirling confusion to Bettina... what, being blended with my mother? The mother I had just done something amazing and unspeakable with? And since I had been... in my mother... one moment and then in my wife but whose eyes had changed, and was now, uh, thinking, what was real? What had happened? My world had been turned inside out and upside down and I could only pant in the aftereffects and watch my wife’s face. Her face was still, her eyes unfocused, as she tried to think.

“There was a man, the night before Daddy and I had our first time, there was a funny man in an old-time suit or something, and he talked to Daddy a long time in the parlor....”

“The parlor?”

“Yes, it was a room on the main floor of the house at the front. It was where people met guests and talked. It’s the living room now.”

“I know what a parlor is, I just didn’t know we’d had one,” I said. “Tell me about this man, why is he important?”

“He left Marguerite with us. She was really young, then. But it was after he left that Daddy, well, he got very drunk, and gave me some whiskey, too. He said some things that didn’t make sense then, about the family, and why we... we would... why our relationship changed, why we... had sex,” she said with difficulty, like she was reassembling a puzzle. “It was about our heritage, he said. Something about keeping ‘Them’ out, away from people, the... world? Daddy was very drunk by then, and he wasn’t making a lot of sense.” She continued, “He said it was a family ‘legacy.’ That the family had to have babies together, some kind of bargain or arrangement, that keeps whoever ‘They’ are out.”

“’They’?” I asked.

“That’s what he said. He said ‘They are madness.’ Just like that. Just those words. Then he took me to his room and... made love to me.“

“How old were you?”

“I’d just turned eighteen,” she said. “I was... young, spoiled, silly, naive, not really very mature. Not emotionally mature enough... Nowhere close to what I was like when I met you, uh, when we first met at college.“

Ah. She meant when Bettina and I had first met. One person talking about two different lives was a bit confusing. I felt my cock finally pop out as it began to feel more and more like I’d passed a lightning bolt through it, well, figuratively speaking. It felt raw, really achy, and a bit like it had been burned inside. All of my muscles were going to be aching soon, I suspected.

I moved a bit under her, and she sighed and got off of me. As she did, I felt a bit of a shock.

Bettina looked a couple of months pregnant.

I mean, her body looked like it did when she was a couple of months pregnant with our daughter, Stephanie, adjusted a little for age. She looked down at herself to see what I was goggling at, and her golden brownish green eyes widened in surprise.

She ran her hands over her new subtle curves, and closed her eyes in what I would swear was a look of pleasure. I sat, and noticed that there was no apparent line around us like there had been before. I cautiously felt around, and found no boundaries, none of the slick redirection of my hand in any direction.

“Is it possible...?” I began. “No. No, none of this is possible. This can’t be real. This has got to be all in my head,” I said firmly.

Your head! Hey, wait a minute! Maybe this is all in my head!” Bettina said. “I’m going through some really whacked-out things, here! Of the two of us, I think my grip on what reality ‘should’ be has had the most challenges! I mean, you fucked your mother and now I’m pregnant? And remembering your mother’s memories like they’re my own? Oh, and by the way, I know exactly what you did with that crayon behind the chair so long ago, mister!” She laughed.

I had let that skate, earlier when my mother had said it, but this, I knew, was something only I, my mother and my father would remember. I blushed, but challenged, “What? What did I do?”

“You drew all over the back of that old blue chair. I mean not just scribbles, like you did to the record album covers playing at writing, no, you worked on it like it was a masterpiece, then came and got me and pointed it out, saying, ‘Look what some little kid did!’”

Oh, shit. That was exactly what I did. Exactly.

“Daddy whipped your ass for that, too. You cried for hours, though I wasn’t sure if it was because of the pain or because no one appreciated your artwork.”

Ah. I’d forgotten that part. But it was certainly something my mother would remember. The actual physical pain had faded quickly. I sighed. “Okay, you win,” I said. I couldn’t top that. “But all this feels really real to me in a confusing dream kind if way. I’m guessing it must feel real to you, too. Sorry if I was insensitive and thoughtless! All this seems like it’s my fault, anyway. Or at least, my family’s.” I winced as I felt the sexual vibe or whatever it was resume. My cock wasn’t quite ready for it yet.

“And now I and our daughter are part of that family,” she said. “Your mother is very frightened about that, and she’s making me frightened. More frightened.”

My daughter...? No! None of this should touch her!

“We’ve got to keep Stephanie away from all this!” I said. I was erect again, dammit. Visions of Stephanie were popping into my mind. I recoiled from them, pushed them away with effort.

She looked at me. “I agree wholeheartedly,’ she said. Her nipples were erect again, and her hands were making twitchy movements toward her sex. “How?”

I had no idea.

* * *

We slept deeply for the rest of the night and into the morning, then had breakfast at a tourist spot nearby. The waitress who took our order was an older woman who resembled. as I’m sure you’ve guessed, my mother. Her name was Ruby, she said, and she told us she had worked at that little restaurant for over thirty years. We had not eaten or drunk anything yet that morning, and the place was relatively busy, and no one else seemed unusual in any way. Ruby had the voice of a woman who had smoked at least two packs a day for several decades, and not at all like my mother’s.

Bettina and I concealed our shock fairly well—I guess we were getting used to them—and made congenial small talk whenever she approached. Nothing otherwise untoward occurred, and we dined and left, pretending everything was perfectly normal.

We flew home. Obviously, whatever this was, or whoever this was, could and was following us. Or perhaps we were taking it with us. I had, for a few moments, wished one of us had brought our phone to the restaurant to get a picture of Ruby for comparison purposes. Would someone else see the resemblance to my mother, or was it just us seeing things?

It really didn’t matter, at this point. We were flying over Georgia now, headed northeast and home.

I got a text from Marguerite with the message, “My father has returned. He waits to see you and Ms. Bettina.”

Her father? Who was her father? And why would he want to see me and my wife?

When I told Bettina, she got pale. “I have a bad feeling about this,” she said.

“I didn’t know Marguerite had a father, I mean, not one that was still alive,” I said. “She’s been with us forever! Well, what, fifty years, anyway. She never said anything about him to me, what about you?”

Bettina shook her head and put her hand to her stomach, then quickly grabbed the air sick bag and lost breakfast into it.

“Are you okay?” I asked, concerned.

She shook her head, and after a moment opened a water bottle and rinsed her mouth. A tear trickled down her cheek. “Jimmy, I’m afraid. Very afraid.”

I held her as the plane flew on.

Several hours later, we landed at our private landing strip, and taxied into the hangar to park between the Learjet and the AgustaWestland. We were driven up to the main house, and went in the more private side door and took the elevator to our bedroom, planning to freshen up before our meeting with our unexpected guest. I called Marguerite up to the room as Bettina was showering.

Marguerite entered, looking down at her feet. “My... my father will return in several hours, Mr. Cartwright. He thought, perhaps, dinner might be appropriate.”

“Thank you, Marguerite, that sounds... good, I suppose,” I said. I looked at her. “I don’t recall you ever mentioning your father to me?”

Her Spanisb accent, normally fairly absent, surfaced in her speech as she answered. “No, I have not. I do not remember him well, truly. He brought me to live with your mother and... grandfather. He took my daughter after she was born.”

The pause was slight, but it was there. It caught my attention for some reason, but she went on, giving me no time to consider it.

She continued, “My youth was... confused, and full of many wrong things, but very strict. I do not remember it well. Your... grandfather... was kind to employ me, and your mother was my... my good friend... and was kind enough to continue my employment after your grandfather passed. She helped me to find the, uh, training I needed to serve you. She helped me to understand what my proper role should be, and helped me to feel confident in myself, and in how to get on.”

She looked directly at me. “I know that he is my father, but... he makes me feel... afraid.” She looked abashed. “I do not know what to say. I am sorry. I should not have spoken so.”

“That’s perfectly all right, Marguerite,” I assured her. “I didn’t know you had a daughter.”

“Yes. I have not seen her since my father left took her.” She looked down. “He did not even tell me her name.” Her eyes filled with tears.

“Your father didn’t tell you your daughter’s name? You didn’t name her?” I asked, confused.

“No. That... is not the way in my family,” she said.

Strange family, I thought. “Have you heard anything about her since?”


“Why not?”

“That is not the way in my family, and I did not wish to talk with my father. I have not heard from my father until today, and,” she paused, “...she would not remember me, nor would she thank me for... what is the phrase? Ah. ‘Rocking the boat.’ It would make her life more difficult if I did that. It would only confuse and upset her, if it is at all like mine was before I came here.”

Bettina came in dressed in a robe, and sat beside me.

“So, what could your father want with me?” I asked.

“Nothing good,” Marguerite said. “I would advise you do not trust him, though what he will say is true. He will bring bad news, misfortune, and pain. Have him leave as soon as you may. He will not wish to stay long in any case.”

“How do you know?” asked Bettina.

“He will say what he must, and then go back to... where he comes from. He does not like to be away from the comforts of his home.”

“’Say what he must’?” I pursued.

“He will have to give you a message of some kind. It is like a duty. I do not know what he will say, but it will change things,” said Marguerite. “I don’t know more than that. All I know is what he was like when he brought me. He was unhappy at having to do it, and he made his displeasure known to the rest of us. I am afraid he will be displeased again.“

“Hmm. Well, we will rest and try to prepare ourselves for his visit. If he makes you feel uncomfortable, you don’t have to see him,” assured Bettina.

“Oh, no! I must serve dinner, and answer the door! Pretend I am no one, beneath notice! Pretend I am not even there and he will be satisfied with me!” Marguerite cried desperately.

“Okay, okay, we will!” I assured her, seeing her panic. She must have been really mistreated by her father, I thought. I was deeply offended and angry—Marguerite was kind of like an aunt to me, or even a second mother. She had helped my mother raise me. She wasn’t really a servant, more like family. Well, family that cooked and cleaned and looked after us. And drew a paycheck sizeable enough to afford almost anything she could want after all these years. She still lived in her old bedroom next to the one that had been my mother’s, though, and said she was content.

I noted the privilege intrinsic to my assumptions. God, I was one of those people, wasn’t I? On the other hand, I was very unhappy that she was unhappy and afraid.

“Rest, Mister Jimmy and Ms. Bettina. Whatever my father has to say will be upsetting and make you off-balance. I will have brandy waiting, after. You will need it.”

My eyebrows rose, but I nodded and said, “Marguerite, thank you. Thank you for... everything,” I said.

She smiled, a bit sadly. “Thank you, Mister Jimmy. And your mother! And you, Ms. Bettina!“

She left. As I went to take my shower, I thought about what an entitled prat I was, and how few people there were with whom I was actually close. I shook my head, and rinsed the soap off, then dried off and donned my robe. I went to lie down and rest with my wife. There was a sexual vibe that we did not dare act on.

After a doze, the alarm went off and we prepared for dinner, and our mysterious guest. We went down to the living room, and I read several business reports as Bettina sat next to me, cuddled up to me with her head on my chest. We heard the phone ring, and Marguerite answer it.

Shortly afterward, she appeared in the doorway, and informed us that her father had been delayed, and would meet with us after dinner. Marguerite seemed cheerful about this development, and told us dinner would be served momentarily.

Bettina and I got up, and I put the reports I’d been reading on the desk in my office and went to the dining room to find a wonderful dinner laid out. We each took our accustomed places, and began serving ourselves.

“You seem cheered that your father has been delayed,” I said to Marguerite.

“I am,” she acknowledged. “I was not looking forward to my father’s evaluation of my service to you. I am hoping to be seen by him as little as possible.”

I nodded sympathetically. Again, it seemed she was afraid of her father. “In that case, I believe we can arrange that. There is no need for you to deal with him at all. I can answer the door, and we will speak with him in the living room. You can avoid him completely.”

“Oh, no! I must answer the door and show him in! If you or he requires anything, I will take care of it. Just ring!” Marguerite’s eyes were wide.

“Ring? What, that little bell? Like my mother used to for the serv...? Uh, Marguerite, we don’t stand on such ceremony and division anymore, and you’re more family than anything!”

“Please, Mr. Jimmy, do! Pretend this is very formal, if for no other reason than my sake! This is... important to me. Please? Treat me as if you don’t even know my name, as if I am completely unimportant to you!”

I put down my knife and fork, and looked at her. “Marguerite, of course you are important to me! You helped raise me! Why should I not treat you with respect and love?”

“My father, he is very... ‘old-school’ is the term, yes? I do not wish him to know... I want him to think I am serving you as he would be served, as he is served at home. I want him to believe that I will do anything you might ask of me, without hesitation, and certainly without question! It is not how you or your family have asked me to be, but it is what he expects.“

She looked down, studying her hands held together before her. “If... when he leaves, if you want me to change the way I serve you...” she took a breath, “...I will.”

Bettina and I stared, jaws agape. “What?” I asked.

“He,” she started carefully, “is likely to change your mind about some things. I think things will be different when he leaves, like they were before for your mother and grandfather. I will abide by whatever you choose.”

My mind reeled a bit. This was completely unexpected, and I knew I didn’t fully understand. But I did not like the implications. Who was her father, and why would he change anything in our lives? I already didn’t like what Marguerite’s words, reactions, and emotions had said about her father; this new development was disconcerting.

I glanced at Bettina, who looked back at me with a look of alarm of her own.

“Uh, thank you, Marguerite,” I said. “We very much appreciate you for who you are and everything you do for us. I... hope that things will continue as they are.” I paused. “Look, we can just refuse to see your father if this is going to be too difficult.”

“No! No, Mr. Jimmy, You must see him! If you refuse, very bad things will happen, and you will have to see him later anyway!“

“Hm. I don’t like being forced to do anything!”

“It will be better to see him now, rather than later, Mr. Jimmy. Please see him!” cried Marguerite.

“Very well, we will get this over with as quickly as we can, then,” I said.

Marguerite nodded at her hands. We began eating again, albeit with a large degree of unease. I was very much looking forward to having this evening behind us. Apparently we all felt thoroughly disquieted by whatever this meeting portended.

We finished our dinner, and we rose from the table. Marguerite hurried to clear and clean the crockery and utensils while Bettina and I returned to the living room to await our guest.

A short time later we heard the knock at the door, and I restrained myself from getting up to answer it and invite our guest to leave immediately. Marguerite answered the door, looking ultra-domestic in a spotless uniform. She led our visitor in, and announced, “Mr. Frances Nightingale to see you, sir.” She bowed out and vanished.

Bettina and I stood and regarded the man who stood before us, a briefcase in his hand. His clothing seemed out of date for years, many years, though it appeared to be made of very fine materials and was well-tailored. He was a slight and wiry man with very cold eyes that stiffened my back immediately. He suffered from an unfortunate excess of teeth, which were crooked and ugly, and caused his mouth to look odd. He smiled, which was thoroughly upsetting on several levels at once. His eyes were hard and of a black color that seemed to have a flat surface while at the same time suggesting bottomless depths. His very presence radiated something that talked to the back of the brain, suggesting to it strongly that fleeing as quickly as possible would be the wisest choice a person could make. He did not offer to shake hands, and neither did I.

“Good evening, Mr. Cartwright,” he said. His tongue also appeared to be too large, or perhaps too long, for his mouth. It was crowded in there, and it made him a bit hard to understand even though he was obviously speaking slowly and carefully. “I represent a number of individuals who form the foundation of your family’s wealth.”

My eyebrows rose. “Who are these individuals?”

“Some very, ah, old families. If you consult your family’s lawyers, you will find that your family is bound by a very old contract. I am here to inform you that you are in danger of violating that contract, and that should that occur, there will be some very dire consequences.“

“A lawsuit?” I guessed.

“Oh, no, not at all. You see, your family is a ‘necessary brace’ shall we say, which prevents a collapse of a dimensional and perceptual wall. This wall allows humanity to exist in the world it has created. If it collapses, which it will with your death unless you produce an appropriate heir, then humanity as a whole will be exposed to, ah, certain catastrophic and lethal forces.”

Well, that was certainly completely unexpected. I checked my first, second, and third automatic responses in order to carefully consider. “I’m sure that you are aware that all this sounds impossible, correct?” I asked.

“Oh, yes. I have been carrying this responsibility for longer than you have been alive, so I am quite aware of how it sounds. It is true, however, and it is my... job... to demonstrate its veracity. Before I begin my presentation, might I suggest that you call your family’s law firm? They have a copy of the, ah, ‘current’ contract on file. I believe that one of their attorneys is waiting for your call.“

“Very well. May I get you a drink while I do this?”

“No, thank you,” he grimaced. “I do not require refreshment. I will wait here,” he said.

I rose to my feet and stepped across to my office to make the call.

Bettina still sat, looking at Nightingale, who looked back at her impassively. She stirred uncomfortably. “What is a ‘proper heir’?” she asked.

“Do you know much about genetics?” asked Nightingale.

“A little, not much,” said Bettina.

“There is a... trait, which is recessive. A ‘proper heir’ has the trait genetically, from both parents, a pattern of genes which creates a specialized organ in the heir’s body. This organ is located in the appendix, which for most people is thought to be unused, or no longer used. In an heir, however, it generates hormones and neurotransmitters which have effects on the heir’s brain and body, which in turn have effects on all mammalian nervous systems. The total of mammalian life on earth maintains the wall of which I was speaking.”

“But, isn’t there already a ‘proper heir’? Our daughter?” asked Bettina.

“Do you have a pencil and paper?” asked Nightingale.

“One moment,” said Bettina, and stepped across to the office to get a pad and pencil. As she was getting them, she heard me ask, “It’s how old?!” and glanced at my astonished face “Can that be legal? Legally enforced?...How? You mean they would call the debt due and bankrupt us?“

She stepped back out, and returned to Nightingale, who appeared to have not moved so much as a millimeter in her absence. “Here you are,” she said, handing the paper and pencil to him.

He drew a square, and then split the square into four smaller squares with dividing lines halfway down each side. Above the left top square he wrote an “A” and above the top left he wrote an “a”. He did the same to side of the top left square and bottom left square.

“Very well, attend. This is basic Mendelian heritability theory. The reality is much more complex, of course, but this will do to simplify. In the reverse of the usual notation, we will call the lowercase ‘a’s the dominant genes and the capital ‘A’s the desired recessive. When a dominant gene is present, the trait does not appear, though the recessive gene may be inheritable by the progeny, meaning it can still give birth to progeny with the trait if it mates with another with the recessive gene. A ‘proper heir’ has an ‘AA’ pair,” he said, writing the two capital letters in the top left square, “while those who carry the gene but are not ‘proper heirs’ have an ‘Aa’ pair,” and again he wrote a capital and a lowercase letter in the top right and bottom left squares. “And finally, there are those who do not carry the gene for the trait at all,” he finished, writing the two lowercase ‘aa’ letters in the bottom right square.

He tapped the square with the ‘aa’ inside it, and said, “This represents what most people have, yourself among them, and this is how it changes the matrix...” he erased the letters within and around the squares, replacing the top line with two capital ‘A’s and the side with two lowercase ‘a’s. The squares were filled with ‘Aa’ pairs.

“The top ‘AA’ pair is your husband, the side ‘aa’ pair is you, and your daughter is any one of the boxes. She has an ‘Aa’ pair. Her child would have roughly a twenty-five percent chance of having a ‘proper heir’ were she to breed with another ‘Aa’ pair human. There are two other humans with an ‘Aa’ pair, but both are female, and both have other... complicating genetic factors. The other option has a fifty percent chance of producing a ‘proper heir’.”

“Oh... oh, no! You can’t mean...” Bettina gasped, color draining from her face.

“Indeed, I do,” Nightingale assured her.

“But... but, that’s so wrong!” said Bettina in a low voice. She felt her heart flutter, her stomach acquire a swarm of butterflies, and her hands shook.

“It excites you, does it not?” Nightingale asked.

“No! No, of course not!” Bettina cried.

Nightingale sniffed the air, looked at her again, and said simply, “It does.”

Bettina rocked back, gaping at Nightingale. “No!” then in a frightened tone, she again said “No!” After a moment of silence, she said again with an almost pleading note in her voice, “” She was shaking her head, but it was not Nightingale she was focused on.

“Denial does not matter,” he said. “It is necessary.”

I heard him say this as I returned to the room. I went to Bettina and hugged her. She grabbed me around my waist and hugged me back with such a grip that actually hurt, it was so desperate. I looked at Nightingale in accusation.

“Very well, I have verified your claim. What do you want?”

“As I was telling your wife, I am here to persuade you to return to your familial obligation. A ‘proper heir’ is needed.” said Nightingale.

“He wants you to have a child with Stephanie!” blurted Bettina.


Nightingale handed me the paper with a Mendelian square drawn upon it. “You,” he said, pointing to the top line, “... and your wife,” he ran a finger down the left-hand side of the sheet.

I understood all too quickly. “So my daughter carries a gene from me that is recessive, and you need both recessives present for the desired trait. What is the desired trait?”

He explained, slowly and carefully about the organ and what it does.

“So a fifty-fifty chance with each child,” I summed up.

“Yes. It would have been much, much higher had you bred with your mother, as was intended,” he said. “Your father/grandfather’s death was unfortunate. He understood the need.”

“My father/grandfather? My grandfather was my father?” I asked, numbly.

“Certainly,” Nightingale said, matter-of-factly.

I expected to feel outrage, or at least that the statement was incorrect. Instead, there was a feeling of having known that was the case on some level, if not consciously. Bettina looked at me, and looked away, as if she had known it to be true as well. Perhaps interestingly, there was no accusation in her look, no judgment, only a sense of “Oh. Yeah. Sorry it got brought up.”

“Your family has been honoring the pact since long before the copy you are having faxed to you was signed. This pact has been in existence longer than recorded memory,” Nightingale said.

“So, this practice, the incest goes back...” I started, in a stunned voice.

“All the way back, more or less. New blood enters every couple of generations, and then I get called out to make any course corrections. Of necessity, the specific genes are extremely rare, and because of inbreeding, there are fairly frequent birth abnormalities. I am one of such.”

“You’re telling me we’re related?” I asked, mind still whirling. Nightingale looked nothing like me, or those of my family I’d known or whose picture I had seen.

“Let’s just say I’m a distant uncle,” he said with a wave of his hand. “Either of my living daughters could mate with you to produce a potential heir, but the probability is low and the potential for other, ah, genetic issues is high. It would not be a preferred option,” he said. “It is an emergency provision, for true emergencies only. A backup plan, so to speak.”

“Such as my refusing to mate with my daughter?” I challenged.

“Ah, no,” he said, shaking his head. “That will not be an issue. Say, rather, if you were to die prematurely. We do have a number of frozen samples of your sperm. Sperm samples are not normally required from most men on every doctor’s examination. Of course, if you wish to breed with my daughters, a potential heir is always a possibility, but usually results in a miscarriage, or someone with... difficulties, such as myself. We do encourage doing so, in any case. I was surprised to discover that you and Marguerite are not breeding. It was the main reason she was left here.”

“What?!” This came from both Bettina and myself. Suddenly, I understood the reasons for some of what Marguerite had said earlier. Oh. And she was expected to just be okay with it?

“We’ll come back to that,” I interjected. “Why did you say my disagreeing with all this ‘would not be an issue’?”

“We do learn,” he said. “As has happened a number of times before in the family, your mother made some choices which were... counterproductive, and we have taken steps to encourage desired behaviors. You will be highly inclined to do things which would result in a proper heir, as will your wife and your daughter. This is, from your point of view, much preferable to any of the methods of encouragement used previously. Your father’s mental resilience was stressed past the breaking point, I’m afraid.“

“What did you do to him?” I asked with trepidation.

“As with a number of your ancestors, we allowed him a glimpse beyond the wall, to see what it shields humanity from. The experience is... difficult to apprehend, and comprehension is simply impossible, though the mind continues to try to do so in vain. We believe the current encouragement for compliance will be much less devastating, though not without its own cost.”

“What is it?”

“It is the carrot rather than the stick,” he said.

“My wife? You said my wife has been affected, that she will be highly inclined to do things which will result in a proper heir. What have you done to her?”

“The same thing we did to you, of course, from a different angle. She is now highly stimulated by incest, especially between you and your daughter. Her sexual predilections have been adjusted as well. She is quite bisexual, now, for instance, though she has yet to discover that, among other things. She will wish to participate in your impregnation of your daughter.”

I looked at Bettina, who was shaking her head in denial, her eyes closed and appeared to be trying to verify or disprove his words within herself. Her shoulders dropped, slowly. She was discouraged at whatever she was finding.

“And my mother? Is that why we’ve been seeing my mother?” I asked.

“It is. The mother/son sexual attraction is easy to tap into. It provides an excellent place with which to start shaping the desired behaviors. What we have done is also why you are increasingly libidinous. Your carnal needs will increase for a time, but do not worry, we need you to function normally a great deal of the time. You will discover that your periods of preordained depravity become regular and can even be delayed, with some effort, in case privacy is not immediately available.”

I sat down heavily.

Nightingale stood. “Remember, the point is to obtain as many proper heirs as possible. There will be a number who do not make it to term, and a number who are too deformed, although with the new infusion of fresh genes the likelihood of either falls somewhat. It is my responsibility to take care of those who are deformed, as early as possible. Before you ask, no, they are not killed or harmed, but they do have a different life in which they are accepted and will not feel... ugly or odd or ashamed. Some even have children of their own, and of those, some can be and are trained to become your family’s servants. Marguerite is one of such, as is her daughter, Carmen.”

Bettina kept looking from me to Nightingale. I wondered if she were too shocked, overwhelmed with everything. I knew I was. This man had pulled not only the rug but the world out from under me and set me spinning with no place to stand. I had a growing conviction the fall was built-in, and would be long. I did not understand why, but I believed him. I believed he spoke the exact truth.

“Tell me about my mother. Why are you having to tell me this?”

He sighed. “It is my fault. When I came here last, I spoke only with your father. He did not live long enough to see that the family traditions were passed down to you. You were too young to reproduce when he died, and your mother received a great deal of counseling, counseling which taught her to object to the family’s way. She taught you to be like everyone else, the rest of humanity. As a result, you got married outside the family, which has both positives and negatives. The family needed more fresh blood, fresh genes, as is necessary from time to time. There were a number of failed pregnancies and two very deformed children for your mother. You were the only proper heir. Your daughter is now of age. So, the time has come now.”

“Who, exactly, are you?” I asked suddenly.

“Consider me the arboriculturist for your particular family tree,” Nightingale said. “It is my function to preserve and maintain the health of the tree as a whole. The tree must survive.“

“And who else is involved in all this?”

“A number of very old, very powerful families and the resources at their command. There are affiliations, both tight and loose, who share parts of the secret. There are only a very few who know most of it,” Nightingale answered. “There are also those who seek to destroy the wall, or to see beyond it, or to control what lies beyond it, seeking power. These are, of course, deeply foolish goals, and forunately, those who pursue them most often destroy themselves. Beyond the wall lies madness for humans.”

He moved to the front door. “I do bring Carmen with me. You will find her an excellent servant, and she should help to restore Marguerite to her true purposes. She is Marguerite’s daughter.”

He opened the door to reveal a young woman of apparent Spanisb descent standing on the doorstep, waiting patiently.

“Has she been there the entire time?” I asked, then said to the young lady, “Please, come in!”

“Thank you, Mister Cartwright,” she said carefully, her eyes looking down. She stepped inside, then stood with her back against the wall in the hallway. Carmen was quite attractive, a nubile young woman with black hair, a lovely face, and a figure that curved in all the right places yet not overly so. She went still, waiting.

“Would you like to sit down?” I asked, feeling uncomfortable for her.

“No, thank you, sir,” she said, moving only her mouth in answering. She spoke carefully, as if shaping the words was not second nature, with some of the same care that Nightingale took in speaking.

“Your daughter?” I asked, looking at him.

“After a fashion, yes, with Marguerite,” he answered.

“But Marguerite has been here longer than Carmen has been alive, surely!”

“That is not quite accurate. Time moves a bit differently where we... live. It is how I am able to assist the family through a number of generations. Speaking of which, it is time for me to return.” He took out a business card and handed it to me. “Should you need anything, you may contact me at this number, but that is for emergencies. You can also reach me more easily through Carmen or Marguerite.”

“Wait...” I began, but Nightingale cut me off.

“My time here is up, and I must leave now,” he said and opened the door again. “Good night, and good luck. Remember, the more you attempt to resist the... persuasions, the more difficult they will become to resist. That can lead to a loss of all control on your parts for a time. Choose the carrot, not the stick. If necessary, I will return to show you why you must comply. That would break you, as it broke your father.“

He stepped out the door and closed it behind himself, and I rushed to fling it open. He was gone, vanished, and there was no sign of a car or vehicle, though I spent several minutes looking. He was just gone.

I walked back inside to find Bettina asking Carmen to sit down, which Carmen felt would be inappropriate. I looked at her and said, “Sit down, Carmen. In the chair!” I added as she began to sit on the floor. Nervously, she did so, as if she expected the chair to bite her.

I looked to Bettina, who nodded understanding, and went to get Marguerite.

“Do you remember your mother?” I asked Carmen.

“Yes, sir, Mr. Cartwright. A bit. I have seen recordings. I was young when my father took me away.”

“I would like for you to get to know your mother, Marguerite. She has been with my family a long time, and we care very much for her.”

Carmen gave a short, jerky nod. “Carmen, we will be talking frequently. I want you to relax. Things are different here than what you have come to expect, but it is going to be all right. Okay?”

She nodded, less jerkily. Her body language became a bit less rigid, her expression less fearful.

Bettina and Marguerite appeared in the doorway. Marguerite looked at Carmen like a man dying of thirst in a desert looks at a glass of water, drinking her in.

“Carmen, this is your mother. Marguerite, this is Carmen, your daughter,” I said.

Marguerite came in and sat on the couch across from Carmen, eyes still moving over her as if to memorize everything about her as quickly as possible.

I don’t think anyone expected what happened next. Carmen fell to her knees before her mother, spread her mother’s legs, and plunged her face under Marguerite’s short skirt. Marguerite stiffened in surprise, then held up a finger as Bettina and I rose to stop her.

“It is what she knows,” Marguerite told us. “This has been her life for a very long time. Oh! Oh, my!” She gently but firmly pushed her daughter away, and Carmen fell back. As she did, we saw that Carmen’s tongue was longer than normal, much longer than normal. It was no wonder she had to be so careful pronouncing her words!

“Stop, Carmen. You did well, but that is not needed right now. Let me look at you,” Marguerite said.

Carmen stood and dropped her dress, posing naked before her mother.

“No, I meant your face, let me look at your face!” Marguerite corrected sharply. Carmen dropped to her knees again, breasts bouncing and still naked, and inclined her face to her mother. Marguerite shook her head, and then cupped her daughter’s face in her hands and gazed at it. “My baby...” she said, and ran her thumb over Carmen’s cheek with love. Carmen moved and captured her mother’s thumb in her mouth and began sucking it suggestively. Marguerite turned to us and said, “This is what I was like when I came here. She will interpret almost everything sexually, and do her best to make herself... sexually useful. It took many years for me to change my behavior, with your mother’s help and much counseling.”

Suddenly I realized that Bettina was no longer by my side, but sitting with her legs open with her hand under her skirt, gazing fixedly at what Carmen was doing to Marguerite’s thumb. She licked her lips and kept them parted.

Marguerite saw what Bettina was doing, and looked to me. “This is what I expected when I heard my father was coming. People change when he arrives.” I saw Marguerite’s hand slip under her own skirt. Carmen’s ministrations were obviously affecting her, too. “Ngeh... as I said before, I will understand if our duties change.”

My own cock was hardening. It was becoming hard to think. “Wait... wait! I dragged my eyes from the sight of Carmen’s lips, her red luscious lips working so sensuously on her mother’s thumb, sucking it like my cock, uh, like a cock, uh... oh, God! Carmen’s tongue snuck out and curled around the back and then licked her palm.... I focused deliberately on Marguerite’s flushed face, perspiration breaking out upon it and saw wet spots bloom on her outfit over her nipples. Marguerite gasped.

“Oh, yes! Suckle your daughter at your milky tits!” I heard Bettina’s voice say.

Marguerite abruptly stood and her uniform dropped to the floor. She sat again, and said to Carmen, “Come here, baby.” Her legs were spread wide, and Carmen moved between them, one hand rising to slip a finger inside her mother’s very wet pussy as her lips closed on her mother’s leaking left nipple.“Oh, God, yes, suck it, baby!” she murmured.

“Oh, fuck yes!” I heard Bettina’s voice say. She was fingering herself wetly and loudly. “Make your Mommy cum!”

That made it through the haze that had filled my mind. I turned around to see Bettina with her skirt up, legs thrown wide, working her pussy desperately. The fingers of one hand were moving inside her, while the other rotated on her clitoris, which was very distended. She was dripping on the couch, the stain spreading between her thighs. She was completely fixated on what was happening before her, her face contorting in changing expressions of lust.

I looked at my wife in disbelief, and wondered vaguely where her panties had gone. I heard Marguerite crying out in passion, and turned again to see that she, too, was dripping copiously around her daughter’s industrious fingers. She was cradling Carmen’s head to her breast, her head thrown back in passion.

God, my cock was itching deeply and marvelously, and it was so very pulsingly hard. The thing that truly frightened me was that the woman I most wanted to plunge it into and fuck, indeed, wanted so much I could almost feel it, was, God help me, my Mother. Visions of her and sensations swam in my head. My cock fit inside her warm velvet perfectly... I had a flash of cumming deep inside my mother as Bettina screamed in orgasm. It was like a memory of something that never happened. The feeling was so clear and strong and complete that I actually came, standing there, seeing Carmen finger-fuck her mother in front of me, but living cumming inside my mother in my head. The orgasm was long and so damned good it was... too much.

As I regained my senses as the pleasure faded, I realized that what Nightingale had said would happen was, in fact, happening. I was beginning to be very afraid for my daughter—she would be home so soon; what would happen when she arrived? What was happening to her now? Bettina normally called her once a week, and would pass the phone to me for a few minutes. We should call her tonight and check on her. Maybe make arrangements for her to spend the summer abroad?

The smell of female arousal was very strong, and I heard Bettina give a strangled cry as she went over the edge into orgasm, followed immediately by Marguerite, and Carmen moaned into her mother’s breast. For a time as we recovered, there was a silence broken only by the sound of the air conditioning clicking on, as if everyone were afraid to breath or make a sound.

Bettina began to cry, a sound which broke my heart, and I went to her and hugged her.

“Oh my God, Jimmy! He was right, he was right!” she cried, her words distorted by tears and her face being pressed into my chest.

“Shhh, dear, I saw, I know.”

She wailed, “It was so sexy! Carmen fingering her mother, Marguerite nursing her at her breast, feeding her her mother’s milk...! I never, ever thought that was sexy, let alone got off on it! I’m a pervert now!” Her words became more difficult to understand as they got lost in a flood of tears and wracking sobs.

I heard Marguerite and Carmen moving behind me. Marguerite said softly, “Mr. Jimmy, I am so sorry! I let myself get carried away. I didn’t stop Carmen firmly enough. I am so sorry!”

Still holding Bettina, I turned a bit to look at her. “Marguerite, it’s okay. I think Nightingale planned this to demonstrate his influence and power. It surprised us all. Will you be able to help Carmen understand how things work here, I mean, how they are supposed to be? I think Bettina and I will go upstairs, now. Can you bring us a couple of stiff drinks? That brandy for me, and a whiskey sour for Bettina—we would very much appreciate it.”

“Yes, Mr. Jimmy, I will.”

I turned to Carmen, “Carmen, it was nice to meet you. We will talk further another time, perhaps tomorrow. All right?”

She nodded and curtsied. It looked odd but sexy without clothes.

“Oh, and Carmen? We do try to keep our clothes on most of the time, here, okay? You should probably get dressed again, now.”

She curtsied again, backed up to where her clothes lay in a rumpled pile, and dressed herself again. I led a still-crying Bettina upstairs, leaving the mother and her daughter alone to get reacquainted.

We got upstairs and Bettina went to have a shower as I squished in my shorts. A few minutes later, Marguerite brought in our drinks.

“Marguerite, how much of this type of thing should we expect? Not just Carmen, I mean, but... this is all quite disturbing. That sort of started a chain reaction.”

“I am sorry, Mr. Jimmy. I do not know. The last time my father was here, there was very much sex. I did not know your grandfather before, but Ms. Jessica, she said that he changed very much. He had nightmares if he did not have sex with your mother and me every day, even when she was pregnant. His dying was hard because he could no longer...” she fidgeted a moment, then raised her arm suggestively.

I guessed, “...get it up? He could no longer get an erection?”

Si. Yes. He got worse and worse in his mind, frightened of everything except Ms. Jessica and me, but we just made him sad. Ms. Jessica went to a therapist after that, and then she started taking me.“

“So your father wants me to have sex with your daughter, and with you, and with my daughter?”

“Oh, yes. And Ms. Bettina, too. He wants children. Girls, and boys, too, in case you die.”

Bettina came in wearing her robe. She looked ashamed, and said to Marguerite, “I’m so sorry for losing control of myself earlier! I don’t know what came over me!”

“Do not blame yourself, Ms, Bettina! It is my father. He does these things. That was... tame... for him. I am sorry. Things are changing. The more you fight it, the worse it will become. I do not want you to have the terrors and nightmares!”

I said, “He said that would be different this time, Marguerite. No nightmares. He said he is using the carrot, not the stick.”

Marguerite exhaled a relieved mutter of Spanish I could not make out, then gave us a tremulous smile. “I must go look after Carmen. I will try to help her. She has been trained for many years, and does not know any differently. Call us if you need us.”

I solemnly agreed, and then downed the last of my brandy and went to shower and change, myself. The burn felt good, and I felt the alcohol getting into my system as I was getting out of the shower. I dried off, donned my robe, and went out to sit down on the bed next to my wife.

“Jimmy? This is really happening, isn’t it?” Bettina asked, her eyes red but dry.

“It certainly seems so. I can’t imagine why else anything we’ve done or been going through would happen. You wouldn’t react that way, before. I wouldn’t....”

You didn’t do anything!“

“I did. It was mostly in my mind, I think. I had a memory... a fantasy... or something. It was about my mom. It caused an orgasm. That’s why I needed a shower.”


“Yeah,” I said.

“Honey? We’re fucked, aren’t we? Not in the good way.”

“I don’t know. Things are not looking good at the moment.”

“I’m worried about Stephanie.”

“Me, too.”

“I think we should call her, see how she is.”

“Yes, we probably should. I’ll just listen, in case she....”

Bettina nodded and picked up her phone, brought up Stephanie’s number, and hit the dial button.

After a moment, Stephanie answered. “Hi, Mom, what’s up?”

“Hi, honey! How are you doing?”

“Oh... um, okay, I guess,” Stephanie replied with just a bit of hesitation.

“What’s wrong, Sweetie?”

“Um, nothing really, just, uh, homesick, I guess,” said Stephanie, trying not to sound too evasive.

Bettina looked at me, and we both looked down and our shoulders sagged with the crushed hope.

“We were going to drive up and pick you up...” Bettina started to say.

The “No!” burst from Stephanie before her mind caught up with her mouth. “No, that’s okay, Mom, I, uh, will just drive straight home after my last class tomorrow.” A note of strain crept into her voice. “Um, I really want... need to come home, but I may have a cold or something. I may need to stay in my room for a while before I see you or, uh, um, Dad... I don’t want to give you my cold! Maybe Marguerite could bring me some, uh, soup or something in my room? Maybe leave it outside my door? For a few days?”

“I understand, Sweetie,” Bettina said, glancing at me and shaking her head. “Do you want to talk about it?”

“No!” Stephanie said, too fast and emphatically again. Then, “There’s nothing really to talk about, I’m just not feeling too great at the moment. I’ll be fine. I may go to the Health Center tomorrow, get an antibiotic or something, okay?”

“Okay, Sweetie. We love you! We’re looking forward to seeing you, and hope you feel better soon! Oh, by the way, we’ve got a new, uh, maid here, now. Marguerite’s daughter. Her name is Carmen. She’s a bit shy. You may need to be very careful how you say things to her. She... doesn’t speak English very well yet, we think, and may take you very literally. She... was abused, before, so she may react in surprising ways, so try to be understanding, and... careful. We’ll try to explain better when you get here. Okay?”


“You’ll see when you get here.”

“Okay, Mom. See you tomorrow?”

“We look forward to it, Sweetie! Have a great last day of the semester! Good luck on the exam! Love you!”

Uh... um! Love you, too, Mom!” replied Stephanie, her voice pitched oddly with strain. “Bye!”

“Bye, Sweetie!” Bettina said, with love.

She hung up and immediately turned to me. “Oh, fuck. She was masturbating while talking on the phone to me, wasn’t she?”

“Uh, it sounded like it.” I reluctantly agreed.

“I just about joined her,” Bettina said in a small, lost voice. She glanced at the bulge under my robe, and shook her head. “What are we going to do when she gets home? What if... what if she can’t resist? What if we can’t?“

I didn’t have an answer. I took her in my arms and held her for a long, long time until we fell asleep.