Red Eyes In the Dark

    I wandered through the dark, the ground beneath my bare feet was soft, sort of like carpet. I was bumping into random things as I went, unsure where I was or what was going on. I heard something behind me in the dark, a loud dragging noise and a cacophony of hissing behind me. My heart was pounding and my breathing was ragged as I tried to get away.  I couldn’t speed up, everytime I did I would crash into something painfully and fall to the floor. I tried to pull myself off the floor before being forced back down and rolled onto my back. Red eyes stared into mine behind a veil of darkness. I froze in terror, unable to will myself to move or fight back as something started to coil around my body, up to my neck. The being squeezed me as a glowing, devious smile appeared below the eyes as it began to choke the life out of me. I coughed and sputtered, trying to fight the gripping coils. My vision went dark as a low, hissing laughter rang in my ears. 
 
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    I woke up, coughing horribly. My sheets and I were both covered in sweat-- at least I hoped it was sweat. I slowly glanced around my small room as light flowed through the slightly opened curtains. I sat up and rubbed my face, groaning loudly. I slid out of bed, opened the curtains and pulled the blinds open. I watched as people went about their early Saturday morning, the new shops that had been opened up nearby were convenient, I hardly needed my car anymore. Its not like I could drive it anyways, the ‘demon mana’ in the air was messing with it right now and I didn’t want to pay some gremlin or dwarf to fix it up. I was glad everything was back to relative normality since the monsters came through those portals. I quickly remembered the calamity when this had all gone down. Monsters pouring out of portals and grabbing any single man they could get their hands on. Thankfully, at the time I was at the office, unsure of what to do as electricity, network and cellular all went down at once. I managed to sneak home in the chaos of it all and hide away in my house until everything quieted down. I had been left alone until a duo of monsters arrived, a snake woman and a tall dark skinned girl, to ask me a few questions before leaving, deciding I didn’t need to be assigned a wife. Now, I had my internet back and had gotten to keep my job. Everyone above me on the chain of command had been replaced with mostly monsters. I only just barely retained my network technician job.  
I stretched and went to take a shower. I looked at myself in the mirror, my facial hair was getting a bit scruffy and my hair was getting long and disheveled. I needed a haircut. I showered quickly and got dressed before doing laundry, my sheets had been covered in sweat a few nights in a row now. Ever since these monster girls came to this world in a pseudo invasion, there wasn’t much fighting back on the human side, I had been having these strange nightmares. The settings change, sometimes I’m in the woods, sometimes I’m in a dark house but every time I’m running from some unknown creature before being caught and strangled to death. I shuddered as I loaded the washing machine, thinking back on those burning red eyes and haunting laugh. The feeling of being choked to death made me sweat again out of fear. I knew something was coming, I could feel it. My grandmother used to tell me that dreams meant something. I was starting to think these dreams meant my death.  
 
I walked down the sidewalk, hands in my pockets as I tried to act calm. I strided past specialized stores peddling things like clothes, alcohol and even magic related goods. I nodded in a silent ‘hello’ to a cow woman in a maid outfit standing outside some kind of bar or restaurant advertising numerous kinds of milk. She smiled at me, “Would you like a sample sir?” She offered me a tiny bottle of milk. 
    I shook my head, “No thanks, maybe another time,” I gave a polite smile. 
    “I hope you have a wonderful day!” She gave a cheerful grin as I walked away. I sighed with relief as I got out of earshot. I was thankful for how polite these monstrous women were, I had only one bad experience with them; in the bar I went to every once in a while, the barkeep had married a hell hound and she yelled at me once, thinking I was someone else. I still get free drinks and food from her. I stopped at the edge of the street, across from the place I usually get my hair cut, it was a little hole in the wall situated between two tall buildings. The three story building was a tiny haircut parlor on the first floor and a two floor home above it. It was run by an old man named Bob with a different protege or assistant every month. I wondered if he had found himself a monster wife.  
I peered through the windows as I crossed the street, I saw the open sign up, but the lights inside were off. I approached the door and pushed it open, the bell above the door jingling loudly, as I nervously stepped inside. I was expecting the cheerful greeting of the old man, but I heard nothing, “Hello? Bob?” I called, closing the door and peering around. The usual fishing decor had been taken down, replaced with blank white walls and a single painting of a decaying flower in a vase. The dim light of a single overhead light and the sunlight outside hardly gave me enough vision to see across the room. I heard a noise, a dragging noise before the door at the back of the room was slowly opened.  
A woman poked her head out, glancing at me, “You are not my scheduled appointment...” She mumbled, revealing more of herself as she slithered out from behind the door. She had a snake body below a curvy human torso. The snake body was a glittering emerald green. Her eyes were a bright brown color. She wore a long blue-green skirt, a black long sleeve shirt under a white apron and a white cloth concealing her hair, “Can I help you?” Her gentle, soft face contorted to a soft smile. 
    “U-uh,” I stammered, looking for the right words, “I was looking for Bob... For a haircut.” 
    Her eyes lit up, “I can cut your hair, young man. As for Bob, I purchased the building from him a few weeks ago. He got married to a mermaid and moved to the ocean. Were you close to him?” 
    “Oh, not really. He just cut my hair.” 
    “Well, come sit, dear. Let me grab an apron for you,” I watched her slither into the backroom before I took a seat. She quickly reappeared and threw the apron over me, starting to softly fasten it around my neck, “What can I do for you--” She scoffed, “I never caught your name, darling.” 
    “Oh, I’m Anon. What's your name?” 
    Her fingernails gently grazed my neck, seemingly on purpose as she touched my stubble, “Morrigan. Pleasure to meet you, handsome,” She chuckled, “I mean, Anon. Now, what do you envision for your hair?” 
    I was still reeling from that ‘smooth’ compliment. I blinked and shook my head, “Uh, well I usually get a two on the side and about as long on the top with--” 
    I stopped as she blankly gazed at me, “Darling,” She sighed, “You can do so much better than something like that. I can see the potential on that head of yours. And this--” She caressed my chin, feeling my stubble, “Needs to go, darling.” 
    “I-I know, I usually--” 
    “Shh,” She put a finger to my lips, “Let me take care of it, darling. Close your eyes and I can get to work.” 
    I nervously glanced at her, “How much is this gonna cost me?” 
    “15 for the hair, perhaps five for the scruff on your face you may call a beard?” 
    I nodded, it was a good enough price, “I leave my hair in your capable hands,” I sighed, leaning back.  
    “Tell me about yourself, Anon,” She amusedly instructed me as she started taking a pair of scissors to my hair.  
    I was at first put off by how handsy she was with me, holding my chin, touching my face and leaning against me. But, I didn’t mind because of how cute she was and that these women just had a different culture than what I was used to. I had heard that this was incredibly common. I was sure she was married, she definitely out of my league even if she was single, “Oh, there’s not much to say. I’m just some guy without much in the way of hobbies.” 
    “Oh, come now, you must have some interesting facts about yourself, darling,” She leaned against me got close to me as she asked that question, prying anything she could out of me. 
    “Well, I’m technically knighted by a small European country. I don’t know if that means anything anymore. Not like it did before,” I bought the title back in college, I left that part out because of how lame it was that I bought it. 
    “Oh! Perhaps I should call you ‘Sir Anon,’ now. I actually have a discount for royalty, see?” She gestured over to a whiteboard on the wall listing prices, mostly for expensive hairstyles for women and hair dying prices. She actually did have a 25 percent off for royalty and government workers listed at the bottom of the board. 
    “Ah, wow,” I chuckled, “I’m not really royalty. You don’t need to give me that discount.” 
    “Darling,” Morrigan pouted, “I insist,” I could hear her snake body being dragged around the ground idly as she cut my hair. 
    I took a deep breath, “Yeah, sure,” I reluctantly agreed. 
    “Good, good,” She purred quietly as her hand grazed the back of my neck, “A handsome guy like you must have a sweetheart, tell me about her.” 
    I sighed, “No, I’m single. Haven’t dated since highschool to be honest.” 
    “A-ah,” Morrigan gently and slyly played with my hair, “Y-you... Single... Hmm,” She shook herself, “Sorry, deep in thought. Let me finish this up, darling,” She quickly finished cutting my hair, surprisingly by not asking me to bang her daughter, if she did have one. She took a straight razor to my face as well, quickly slicing the hair off of my chin and cheeks. 
 
    Morrigan pulled the apron off of me, scattering my hair clipping to the floor. I looked at myself, I looked good. The hair wasn’t too out there, I had been expecting the worst, but it was mostly just clean cut and short. The hair on top was a little bit longer on top of my hair and shorter on the sides, the bangs in the front were a little bit longer as they were spiked up a little up, “That was pretty fast for not using an electric razor at all.” 
    She chuckled, “I am trained in old techniques, I do not need modern technology to do my job. To be honest, it would just slow me down if I tried to learn more complicated tools. Besides, mine are demon silver, I’m unable to cut flesh with them if I do happen to mess up,” She brandished a pair of scissors with a heart stamped into the strange pinkish metal. 
    “Interesting,” I ran fingers through my hair, “What do I owe you again?” 
    She reached forward and gently removed a clipping of hair from my shirt, “Ten dollars.” 
    I frowned, it seemed a little low. I knew better than to argue, “Alright,” I gave her a ten dollar bill and a fiver. She looked at me, a distraught look on her face, “Its a tip. Don’t try to give it back.” 
    She clutched the money to her chest, “Thank you. See you next month?” 
    I nodded, “Sure. I’ll see you around.” 
    I could feel her cold gaze burning into my back as I went out the door, the bell jingling as I stepped out. I turned back, giving a small wave, though it was more like just tilting my wrist at her. I could have sworn I saw her eyes glow red from the darkness for just a moment. She looked down at her hand as she tried to mirror the gesture. She gave up on it and just smiled. I felt my heart beat a little faster as I stared into those beautiful eyes of hers. I slowly turned my back on the building and slowly made my way back to my apartment. 
 
    I turned on the lights as I entered my apartment. The small one room apartment had been my home for some time now. I could hardly remember when exactly I moved in. I took off my sweatshirt and threw it on the couch, I quickly checked around the room for hidden monster girls. No one behind the widescreen, no one under my computer desk in the corner, nothing in the fridge or oven and no mice hiding under my couch this time, as charming as that girl was, I am not a fan of my house being broken into. I went to my room, the bed was still a mess and my closet was still wide open. No one could hide in my dresser or nightstand, thankfully. If someone was small enough to, I didn’t doubt I could take them in a fight. I returned to the main room, taking a seat on the couch. I didn’t have a lot to do these days. My backlog of games had nearly been cleared and I wanted to slow down. I heavily regretted selling off my wargaming models a few weeks before all hell broke loose, I would’ve had something to do in my downtime. 
I got on my computer, hoping someone was online for once. Most of my friends had gotten married to some monster girl and spent most of their time with them. The other friends vanished, assumedly ‘removed’ by this new monster dominated world or ran away to be a wizard somewhere in the woods and practice their magics. As I was lost in thought, my phone started to buzz. It was my dad. ‘Odd,’ I thought, ‘he usually preferred to text,’ I quickly picked up, “Hello? Dad?” I was afraid for the worst. 
“Hi, honey!” It was actually my mom. 
“Hey, mom.” 
“How are you?” 
“Uh, fine. You?” 
    “I’m really good! Except for...” She trailed off. My mom was a very kind woman, a devout christian woman that had monsterized into a literal angel pretty quickly after monster girls showed up. The weirdest part of it was that she seemed to be completely unaware of her large white feathered wings. Any time they were pointed out, she would look confused and laugh it off. If she gave you a hug the wings would wrap around you in a soft hug. Some people say her faith changed her, or she always was an angel somehow. I didn’t understand it much. She stopped stammering as she searched for the words, “My phone... Is in... Another language again...” She quietly admitted. 
    “Mom,” I sighed and chuckled a little bit, “I’ll walk you through it. You in your settings?” 
    “Um... Is that the compass?” 
    “The gears, mom.” 
    “Oh! Right! Got it!” 
    I quickly opened up a webpage from my bookmarks to help me through this, “Uh, press the gears again then the seventh option from the top. Tap the top option now, then find english on the list.” 
    “Um... There it is! Thank you, honey!” 
    “No problem, mom.” 
    “Come over sometime, Anon. We miss you. Bring your girlfriend too!” 
    My heart sank, “Y-yeah, maybe sometime soon,” I don’t know how she got it in her head that I was currently dating. 
    “Oh, good! I’ll talk to you later, honey. I have to start lunch soon.” 
    “Bye, mom,” I listened to the tone, noting she had hung up. I sighed, the little bit of warmth that talking to her gave me was fleeting. I put the phone down and slouched in my chair, staring at my softly glowing screen as loneliness crept back into my heart. I went to close the page, stopping as I noted an ad on the side, ‘Date single monsters in your area! Free!’ I stared at it, knowing it probably was a bad idea. Mom expected me to be married and give her grandchildren sometime soon. I really didn’t want to let her down. 
    I sighed and clicked the ad. 
 
    I was standing with a group of other men in a pretty empty bar on the following Monday night. Each of us had a nametag on that also included a number. All the monster girls were in a completely separate room at the time and their tags only included a number. There were tables for two set out all over the bar, perfect for speed dating. Monster girls apparently have an innate magic giving them the ability to tell when a man is compatible with them. My heart was pounding, wondering if I would manage to find a girl that liked me. I was sat down at table 10 by a cupid sporting a beautiful white dress. I slumped in my chair and stared at the floor, terrified as to what my first ‘date’ would be. I waited until I heard the noise of someone sitting across from me to look up. The noise was more of a loud thud as someone slammed onto the chair. I looked up at a massive red oni in a black suit with short white hair. She held a shaking glass of whiskey in her hand, “H-hi, uh, Anon,” She quietly greeted me with a nervous grimace on her face as she read my nametag. 
    “Hello, ” I gave her a small smile. 
    There was a long pause while she fidgeted with her drink and stared into it with a stoney half glare, “Uh, what do you do for work?” 
    “I’m the IT manager at a local company. What do you do? Looks pretty official based on that outfit.” 
    “I...” She blinked, “I-I brew liquor. I borrowed the suit from my mom to look nice,” She went silent, looking at me. 
    “It uh, suits you,” I chuckled. 
    Her already red face turned even redder. She suddenly gripped the glass incredibly tightly, shattering it in her hand covering herself with glass shards and liquor. She looked down at her hand as it started to bleed, “I-I should go,” Tears were welling up in her eyes. 
    I didn’t even have the chance to ask if she was okay before she dashed out the bar door. I put my head in my hands as a quiet groan escaped my lips. I stared at the drink I hadn’t even touched as another woman sat across from me. She looked... human. A blonde woman with long hair and a fancy pink dress. She gave me a nice smile, “Hello,” She looked at my nametag. Apparently my handwriting was so bad it caused people to pause as they attempted to read it, “Anon.” 
    “Hi,” I gave her the most honest smile I could, “How are you doing tonight?” 
    “Just fine,” We both sat silently, nervously glancing at each other. I looked at her reflective pink dress. I could have sworn it was moving around on her torso, shifting slightly as I blinked, “What's your opinion on harems?” The woman asked, blinking slowly, “Like, maybe...” She shot straight up with a slight moan, “T-two girls?” 
    “Uh,” I scratched my face, “I don’t know. To be honest harems were pretty frowned upon ‘till recently and--” I felt something warm and gooey touch my ankle. I looked down at a pink tendril, matching the woman’s dress, “What the hell!?” I tore my ankle away causing the woman visual pain. I looked at her, “Nah, I’m not really into harems,” I told her, just wanting to get away from that pink goo. A simplistic face appeared on the dress as they both glared at me. She got up and went to the bar.  
    I put my face in my hands as I debated just going home. The next round of dating began. I stared at the floor, waiting to offend or hurt the next woman. They sat across from me slowly, “Anon? Is that you?” A kind voice asked me. 
    I shook myself and looked up at a familiar snake woman, “Oh, Morrigan. Hi,” I gave her a small, weak smile. She was wearing a gorgeous, long black and red dress and a wide brimmed black hat with a short veil over part of her face. 
    “You look like you are about to have a meltdown. Or die. Possibly both,” She chuckled. 
    “Both dates I’ve had so far have gone pretty bad.” 
    “I saw that oni run out in tears, what did you do to her?” 
    “She shattered her drink in her hand.” 
    “Poor girl. Mine have been pretty poor too. Both were just...” She trailed off, looking for the right word, “Off. First guy was sort of, um, smelly. Second man didn’t speak much, just looked sort of scared.” 
    “Maybe he was afraid of snakes,” I shrugged. I looked at her hurting eyes behind the veil, “I’m surprised to see you here.” 
    “Oh? I’ve been going to these for a few weeks now,” She admitted ashamedly, “I--” The whistle blew, signaling us to switch places. She frowned, “I-I’ll talk to you later.” 
    I stood as well, “Come on, let's get out of here. I’m not enjoying this and it looks like you aren’t either.” 
    She blinked at me before a small smile spread across her face, “Lets,” She grabbed my arm in hers, leading me out the door, “I know a restaurant near here that I have been wanting to go to, will you accompany me there?” 
    I nodded, still needing a way to kill this dreary Monday evening, “Sure,” I couldn’t help but smile as her face lit up with a beautiful grin. 
 
    Morrigan was right, the restaurant she wanted to go to was right down the block. An Italian restaurant lit up with softly glowing yellow lights. We walked through the front door and were quickly seated by a man with a thick accent. We sat across from each other at a small candle lit table, “Sangiovese for the both of us please,” Morrigan ordered before the man could even ask. He nodded and left us to browse our menus, “What sounds good tonight, darling?” She asked as she reached across the table, peeling off my nametag. 
    “Uh, I think I’ll just get fettuccine alfredo,” I shrugged.  
    “That sounds simply wonderful. Perhaps I will get the same thing,” She mused with a small smile, staring down at the menu, “Why were you at that speed dating event? Surely a handsome man like you could go out and ask any single monster and have them in bed by the end of the day.” 
    I glanced at her, hey eyes looking a lovely reddish color in the low light, “I don’t know what you see in me, to be honest. I for sure thought you were already married, though.” 
    “Oh, how I wish I was,” She sighed, “Why did you think I was married?” She chuckled, “A woman like me cannot charm a single man. Unfortunately I have fallen under your spell, a man that is way above me in terms of looks.” 
    “Don’t say that,” I blushed, “You’re way out of my league, anyways.” 
    “You are such a sweetheart, Anon,” She swooned, her face blushing red, “You must be trying to pull me deeper into your magic spell... Its working~” She whispered. I laughed nervously, not meaning to flirt with her. I got a short moment of reprieve as the waiter returned, depositing glasses of red wine in front of both of us, “Fettuccine alfredo for both of us, please,” I felt like a child having Morrigan order for me. The waiter left, leaving me alone with the snake woman again. I felt something curl around my ankle, needing all of my willpower to not panic, “You really think I am out of your league?” 
    “W-well, yeah. Monster girls have an other worldly beauty that I could never stack up to looks-wise,” I sighed. 
    We were both silent as we listened to the classy music of the restaurant. I looked down at the emerald green snake tail coiled around my leg. Morrigan started to chuckle, “I know next to nothing about you, Anon. What kind of work do you do?” 
    I chuckled, “Tech work. I manage a small group to maintain computers and servers.” 
    She looked at me blankly, “Ah. I do not understand technology much, darling. I keep messing up the settings on my phone and I keep getting errors when I try to use it. 
    “Let me see it,” I held out my hand. Morrigan did as I asked without any fuss. I quickly went through her settings and fixed things like time zone and displays. I saw her storage was 94 percent full almost exclusively through photos. I went to the photos app to see what was up. I saw hundreds of accidental photos, mostly of the floor or a pair of glowing eyes in the dark. I pointed the phone screen at her, “Can I delete these? Your storage is nearly full.” 
    “If you think it is necessary.” 
    I nodded and started the arduous task of deleting her massive collection of photos. Morrigan silently watched as I labored away, staring in wonder. I handed the phone back, “Done. Do you want my number in case you have any issues? My mom already uses me for tech support so I don’t mind much,” I froze at what I had just mindlessly said. I prayed she would say no, she might think I’m asking her out.  
    Her face lit up in a wide smile, “Oh! You’re such a gentleman! Yes, please, I would very greatly appreciate your help.”  
‘That went better than I expected,’ I told myself silently, ‘She didn’t freak out about dating or anything.’ 
Before I could speak again, the waiter came back and placed our food in front of us, “Thank you!” Morrigan turned back to me, “Enjoy your food, darling.” 
 
I walked Morrigan home late at night after a wonderful dinner together. The moon was overhead in a clear sky as it glowed brightly, slightly tinged red on account of the demon mana in the air. We both shivered as a cold breeze blew through us, “Are you cold blooded?” I asked as she grabbed my arm and pulled me close to her forcing me to walk arm in arm with her. 
She nodded, “I have to sleep with an electric blanket. Back home girls like me would find a man as quick as they could to use as a heater,” She laughed, “Oh, we’re here. You make the time go by so quickly,” She noted as we stopped in front of her little store. 
“I’ll talk to you later, okay?” I smiled, ready to head home. 
“Oh, please. Come in, I insist,” I didn’t have a say in it as she dragged me into her home. The inside of the building was warm and inviting, despite the darkness, “I wish to repay you for everything tonight. You pulled me out of that awful speed dating nonsense and paid for dinner tonight. And you... Made me feel like a real person.” 
“What do you mean?” 
She reached up and grabbed the brim of the hat she had been wearing all night. She paused for a moment and released her hat, “Nothing. Just--thank you,” She hugged me and planted a kiss on my cheek. Her tail coiled around my legs gently, it was a nice, almost warm feeling, “Are you alright? Why are you acting like that?” Morrigan pulled away from me, a concerned look on her face. 
“Huh?” I hadn’t even realised my heart had started to pound horribly and my breathing had turned to short, panicked breaths. 
Her softly glowing red eyes smiled at me, “Ah! I see! Lovestruck, hm?” She laughed, “You can have another kiss if you want!” 
I laughed nervously, still unsure what was happening, “I-- I don’t know,” I rubbed my forehead, “I think I need to go home.” 
Her grin turned into a concerned smile, “Get home safe, darling. Oh! Your number. Can you show me how to send one of those texts too?” I nodded and helped her put my number in her contacts quickly. She had very few contacts. I walked her through sending a text and made sure she knew how to make phone calls. She hugged me goodbye before seeing me out.  
 My eyelids were heavy but I could not  sleep. I lay awake in my small bed staring at the ceiling as my heart  continued to pound and sweat poured down my face. I closed my eyes and  tried to sleep, I had work the next day and needed some rest. As my mind  wandered, it landed on an unpleasant memory, a choking, fearful  darkness around me with a cold, dark... Thing wrapping around me. The  feeling of being squeezed and crushed made my heart pound again as red  eyes in the dark laughed at me. My eyes shot open as I sat up, hugging  my knees to my chest. I panted, realising what I was so afraid of. I was  afraid of those red eyes of hers and being coiled in her snake body. I  was afraid of Morrigan.

PT2

    I held my head in my hands, staring at the top of my desk as I fell deep into thought. It was Thursday, the same week I had my sort of date with Morrigan. We had been speaking over texts and phone calls and each seemed to put me in a slightly nerve wracked state. My computer screen glowed at me, unread emails glaring at me and unfinished and work tickets I had not yet started scowled across my monitors. I couldn’t focus, the fear swelling inside my body and mind was making me wholly distracted. I undid the buttons of my polo as I rubbed my eyes, trying to think of some way out of all of this.  
    “Anon,” A voice called out to me, breaking my silence and concentration. My boss, a blue skinned, dark purple haired demon poked her head into the room, “Have you--” She blinked at me, “Are you alright? You have been off for a week or so.” 
    I wiped my face off, “Uh, I think so.” 
    She entered the room and closed the door behind her, “Those nightmares again?” I nodded. She was one of the few people I had confided those fears with. She was a married woman with three kids that had begun acting motherly towards me almost immediately after starting working with me. It wasn’t much of an achievement, she acted like that with most of her workers. She regretted making her children get married before they came through those portals, she would have loved one of them to marry me. She was at least three times my age but didn’t look a day over 30, barely older than me, “Come on, tell me what is wrong,” She sat across from me on the other side of my desk placing her elbow on the table and her chin on her hand. 
    “M-My fears have manifested into a real woman,” I told her, sweat still clouding my brow as my heart beat quickly. 
    “Ah, I thought I smelled mamano mana on you. What kind of girl is she?” 
    “She’s a... Lamia, I believe, colored green with brown or red eyes. She cuts hair and--” 
    “Oh! Morrigan, right?” A shudder ran down my spine as my boss said her name, “I think your reaction speaks volumes, Anon.” 
    “H-how do you know her?” 
    “She cuts my hair, obviously. She cuts a lot of womens’ hair in this town. Its a bit pricey, but her skills are second to none. At least around here. She is actually cutting my hair tomorrow morning!” I frowned, unsure what to say, “Oh, but that is not what we are talking about, hm? ‘Your fears made manifest,’ you said? Why is that?” 
    I sighed, “She seems to enjoy coiling around me and it keeps giving me panic attacks. There’s also those sometimes red eyes, especially in the dark, just like in those nightmares.” 
    “What do you have to worry about?” My boss frowned. 
    “We met at a speed dating thing and we sort of hit it off.” 
    “That sounds cute, but I still do not understand your fears.” 
    “Well, she has my phone number now because I’m an idiot and didn’t even realise why she was making me panic.” 
    My boss frowned at me, “Remember what I said about calling yourself that?” I nodded and hung my head, “Listen, Anon. That Morrigan is a sweet girl. I don’t think she would ever hurt you on purpose. Besides, in your dreams there is a lot of hissing, as if from multiple sources, right? She only has one mouth. It cannot be her,” She gave me a reassuring smile and put a hand on my shoulder, “You will be okay, Anon. I’m sure of it.” 
I looked up at her and nodded slowly, “Y-you’re probably right. I’m just panicking for no reason.” 
“Good,” She went for the door, “That sweet girl could use a win or two,” She smiled at me, put her hand on the knob then turned back to me with a confused look, “Why did I come in here, again? I feel like I had some work related thing to ask you.” 
“Uhh...” I scratched my head, “I have no idea.” 
My boss shrugged, “If I remember I will come back. Speak to you later, Anon.” 
 
Thursday night meant grocery night. I was running out of food and without a car I couldn’t get a lot of groceries at once, so, I had to come back weekly on my way home from work. I meandered through the shelves as I searched for the items on my list. Snacks for that weekend, chicken and beef for meals, bread for sandwiches and fruit and vegetables for sides. My legs carried me to the chips where I picked through the flavors trying to decide what to get. I felt a chill crawl down my spine as a I heard a noise behind me, and felt someone approaching me from behind, “Ah, Anon? Is that you?” A familiar, friendly voice called out to me from behind. 
I turned to face the warmly grinning lamia, Morrigan. She was in a white blouse, a long dark blue skirt, a sunhat and a pair of thick sunglasses, “Oh, come on. You know its me,” I chuckled wearily. I felt relatively calm despite my previous fears, but my heart still pounded in nervousness.  
    “Oh, humor me would you?” Morrigan laughed.  
    “Yeah, yeah,” I sighed, rubbing my eyes. 
    “Darling, you look exhausted,” She frowned at me. 
    “Just had a long day at work.” 
    “I am sorry to hear that darling,” Her frown turned into a smile, “Are you headed home soon? I nearly have everything I need. Would you like me to walk you home?” 
    I frowned back, “Shouldn’t I be the one offering that?” 
    She pouted, “Stop worrying about the specifics, darling.” 
    I shrugged and gave her a small smile, “I’m just teasing. Sure, I’ll let you walk me home. How about I grab what I need and I’ll meet you up front?” 
    “Sounds like a plan, darling~ Better not keep me waiting too long, Anon!” 
    I watched her slither away down the aisle towards the back. I went back to perusing the chips, grabbing a bag before heading to the sweets. There was a monster girl there, an older kitsune with nine blonde tails wearing a warm coat and skin tight pants. She had a shopping cart loaded with groceries, “Excuse me,” I politely got her attention instead of just reaching in front of her to grab my prize. 
    She looked at me with a concerned and confused expression on her face, “S-sorry,” She nodded to me before stepping aside. 
    She had two bags of candy, one in each hand, and was turning them over as she stared at the packaging. I grabbed a pack of the candy I wanted, sour gummy worms, and turned to the troubled woman, “Are you okay?” 
    “A-ah,” She made a noise that could hardly be classified as a light, awkward laughter, “Just confused. Could you help me?” 
    I nodded, “What’s up?” 
    She presented the two bags of candy to me, “My husband asked me to get gummy bears for him and our children and I just cannot figure out which to get and he will not pick up his phone,” She had a big bag of Haribo gummy bears in one hand and Black Forest in the other. 
    I had to stifle a laugh as I looked at the distraught look on her face. I shook my head and smiled, “Go for the Haribo. Most people prefer it.” 
    “Really?” Relief spread across her face. 
    “Yeah.” 
    “Thank you, dear. I just want to make sure he’s happy. He works so hard and last time I bought shredded cheese I got the wrong one and he said it was fine but--” 
    “Darling,” Two hands suddenly clamped down on my shoulders as a chill coursed through my body, “Is this woman bothering you?” Morrigan breathed on the back of my neck as a threatening tone filled her voice. 
    “Oh?” The kitsune tilted her head, “Sorry, I kept your man occupied, dear. He’s such a gentleman helping a stranger in need!” 
    Morrigan’s tone lightened up, “I know! He’s just the best!”  
    “Take care you two,” The kitsune walked off with her cart. 
    I turned to Morrigan, the dark look on her face made me shiver and my heart beat quite a bit faster as her red eyes tore through me, “Why were you talking to that woman?” She demanded in a husghed voice, “You were flirting with her, weren’t you?” 
    “What!?” I exclaimed, shocked, “No, I was just helping her pick between two brands of candy.” 
    “Did you initiate conversation or did she?” 
    “I did.” 
    Morrigan blinked, “Mmmh,” She thought for a few moments before a smile spread across her lips and a happy tone returned to her voice, “Oh, darling, you are so kind! Randomly helping a person in need,” She swooned. 
    “Y-yup,” The 180 in her tone made me shiver. 
    “Are you ready to go?” 
    “Yeah I am.” 
    “Come on then!” She grabbed my wrist and pulled me to the registers, “It is getting dark and cold out, darling.” 
 
    I carried my two bags as well as one of Morrigan’s as we walked. Morrigan wrapped one of her arms around mine, keeping me close to steal some of my warmth. She had removed her sunglasses and squinted as she walked near bright lights as if never truly accustomed to lights. I gazed up at the softly glowing overhead lamps that lined the street as a cold feeling enveloped me, “Anon, darling,” Morrigan began, “What are you thinking about? You look pale.” 
    “Oh, nothing,” I lied, not wanting to let her know I was thinking about her. I didn’t know why I was so embarrassed about it. 
    “Anon,” She said more firmly, trying to pry it out of me. 
    I shrugged, “Just thinking about where my life is going,” A half truth. 
    “What do you mean?” 
    “W-well... I like hanging out with you, from the few times I’ve been able to just hangout with you. I haven’t been able to just hang out with someone in a long time,” I left out the part where she still scares me. 
    “Oh!” Her face lit up, “I like spending time with you too!” She gripped my arm more tightly as she grinned.  
    I nodded, “Any other restaurants you want to go to?” 
    “I can think of a few! But, what do you want to do, darling?” I shrugged silently and apologetically causing her to sigh and giggle a tiny bit, “Perhaps we can watch a movie? I have not seen many human films. Mamano films are starting to bore me.” 
    “I’m surprised by how pornographic monster films are,” I commented. 
    Morrigan looked disgusted, “Pornographic!? What you merely see as two people performing intercourse I see a duo performing the greatest act of passion and love a pair of lovers can!” 
    I pondered this for a moment, not really understanding, “I suppose you’re right. The way we view things are just so wildly different.” 
    “Perhaps,” She smiled at me, “Oh, can we stop by my place? I would very much like to drop off my groceries so I do not have to carry them to your home then back here.”  
I nodded, we were nearly there, anyways. Morrigan led me in through the front of her salon. The unsettling dark room held little more than mirrors, hair cutting supplies and a few chairs. She strutted through the back door and slowly slithered her way up the stairs to the second floor. I followed behind, careful not to step on her tail. She opened the door to her home, and gestured for me to enter. I walked into a sort of living room and kitchen illuminated by softly glowing dim lamps as she flicked a light switch. The walls were barren except for a small painting across from the door of a simplistic landscape. There was a couch with a small coffee table before it that had numerous books stacked on it. There was a small dining table next to a window with a dying bouquet of once colorful flowers in a white vase on top of it, “This is how you live?” I asked, a hint of concern on my face as I turned to Morrigan. 
“I-I have not gotten the chance to obtain furniture, yet,” She took her bag from me and set it in the kitchen, “Go sit down and relax for a few minutes, darling. I need to put some things away.” 
I took a seat on the couch and shot a curious glance at the books. One stood out to me, a blank red book with a pen sitting next to it. Curiosity was gripping me, ‘A journal? Diary?’ I asked myself silently. I looked back to Morrigan, she was humming quietly as she put milk in the fridge. I slowly reached out to it, just wanting to take a peek. Something small leapt onto my lap, causing me to yelp in surprise as it sunk its claws into my thighs, “Darling!?” Morrigan shouted as she quickly slithered over, “Oh! Mrs. Whiskers loves you already!”  
“M-Mrs. Whiskers?” I frowned. I looked down at the white fluffy cat as she rubbed her face on my coat. 
“Yes! Mrs. Whiskers. I need to feed her, come here kitty~” Morrigan tried to pick up the cat from my lap only for it to run off and hide under the dining table, “Ah,” Morrigan sighed dejectedly, “That cat.”  
    “Does this happen often?” 
    “She’s just a cat, Anon. Very skittish. Especially since...” She gripped the brim of her hat for a few seconds before dropping her arms in a disheartened fashion.  
    “Since you came through one of those portals?” 
    “A-ah, yes,” She obviously lied.  
    “Don’t you need to feed her?” I reminded her. 
    “Yes, I do. Give me a few minutes, darling.” 
    I turned my attention back to the blank, red book, ‘I just want to see what it is,’ I told myself, ‘No harm in that, right?’ I quickly flipped the cover of the book open. The first page was adorned with one word, ‘ANON,’ The other things on the page were a few doodles of snakes and hearts surrounding a drawing that I assumed was supposed to be me standing hand in hand with Morrigan. I had a big smile on my face while Morrigan was smiling softly as strange looking hair writhed from her scalp. I closed the book, unsure of what to make of what I had just seen. I assumed the book was just a journal that she had started soon after meeting me. I knew she had feelings for me and I... I had feelings for her, despite my lasting fear of her. 
    “Anon~” Morrigan sang as she sat next to me on the couch, “Thank you for bringing my groceries in. Here, let me do something to repay you,” Again, she wrapped her arms around me as she gave me a kiss on the cheek. Her snake body coiled around my legs and waist. I closed my eyes and focused on my breathing as I tried to get used to the feeling of her gently wrapping around me, “Are you alright, darling?” I nodded silently, my pounding heart betraying my silent words, “Well, I am enjoying sitting here with you. Let me know when you wish to go,” She snuggled up closer to me, holding me in her grip. She shifted, resting her eyes as I did, “Darling?” She called out to me quietly. 
    I opened my eyes and turned to her, “What’s up?” 
    “Are we dating?” 
    “I just kind of figured you had already claimed me as your boyfriend. Especially after how possessive you got at the store. Is that how mamano dating and marriage works?” 
    “S-sorry about that, darling. I am just afraid of losing you to some other, more beautiful woman. A-and I have thought of you as my boyfriend. Why do you think I keep kissing you?” 
    “I dunno, I thought it was maybe some weird friendly thing you did,” I stretched, feeling like a weight had been removed from my heart. I hardly remembered that she was coiled around me.  
    “Well, how about I walk you home now, darling?” She caressed my chest, smiling at me, “It is getting quite late.” 
    I stood and shook my head, “Its cold out there, I can get myself home safe. You take the night to rest.” 
    She blinked at me, standing up as I did, “A-alright, darling. Come here,” She gave me another hug, resting her head on my shoulder. It was a long, tight hug as I hugged her back, “Get home safe.” 
    “I will,” I smiled, lessening the worried look on her face. 
    “Text me when you get home?” 
    “I will,” I attempted to reassure her again. 
    “Thank you,” She led me outside by the hand and watched as I slowly walked out the front door. She had a sad look on her face. 
“Come on, don’t look at me like that,” I sighed, she merely grumbled in response and folded her arms to pout. I rolled my eyes and gave her one more hug plus a small, awkward kiss on the cheek, “I’ll text you when I get home,” She couldn’t respond as she was too enamored by the kiss, clutching her cheek as she blushed. She waved at me by tilting her wrist once to the side. I chuckled and mirrored the gesture before turning and walking off into the night. 
 
    I sat at my desk at work, staring at my phone as I waited for Morrigan to text me back. It was Friday, just a day after Morrigan had confirmed my fears and hopes about the two of us. I had not seen her since then but kept in contact through texts and phone calls. A light knocking on my office door made me sit straight up and yank the headphones from my ears. My boss sauntered into the room and sat across from me, a big grin on her face. I cocked my head to the side, “What’s so funny?” I asked, tapping the desk nervously. 
    “Your girlfriend talks about you a lot,” She chuckled. 
    “Oh god,” I sighed, “How bad was it?” 
    “Not horrible. She just had a lot to say about how ‘wonderful’ you are. She asked me a lot of questions about you.” 
    “Ah, well...” 
    “Thank you for giving her a chance, Anon. I cannot wait for your wedding! You two are going to be so cute!” 
    “W-wedding!? We just started dating!” I recoiled in shock. 
    My boss merely laughed, “Oh, Anon, dear. You will learn about mamano relationships in time,” She started to stand before a look of realization spread over her face, forcing her to sit once more, “Did you see the report I sent you? I need your guidance on a few tech related things.” 
    I shook myself, jumping back into the work mindset again, “Lemme open it right now, chief,” My phone rumbled and I immediately snatched it up, checking the message I got. Morrigan had sent me a few heart emojis. I quickly sent some back and glanced up at my boss. 
    “She has you on a short leash, hm?” She cackled. 
    “N-no... I just...” 
    “Oh, calm down, Anon. I am just teasing you. Come on, I need your input on this report,” I nodded quickly and opened up the report, ignoring my phone the best I could for the moment. 
 
    I made my way down the street, headed for the bar. My olive green messenger bag gently slapped against my hip rhythmically as I strutted down the sidewalk. A familiar sight came into view, the small quiet pub. I pushed the door open, quickly making my way to the bar, wanting to get myself a drink, “What can I get ya?” The large hellhound, Ellen, asked as she wiped down a glass. 
    “How about an old fashioned?” I asked. 
    Ellen nodded, “Comin’ right up, kid. Your friend is in the back,” She gestured towards the back where a man in a hooded grey cloak sat with a half drunk glass of rum and Coke.  
    I thanked her and made my way over to the hooded figure, sitting across from them silently. He silently reached into his cloak and revealed a small wooden box with a red flame painted on the front. I revealed a box from my bag, a black plastic box. We both removed the tops of our boxes and revealed thick stacks of cards wrapped in protective sleeves. His sleeves had a generic anime girl on them while mine were a plain black, “Ah, I see,” He grumbled as I flipped the top card of my deck, revealing my deck’s commander. He showed me his, making me frown as well. I was a bit embarrassed of my old Magic: the Gathering hobby. The man sitting before me was the only person I knew I could play it with. It was used more as an excuse to speak to each other and drink a few rounds. The hobby had gotten a large resurgence shortly after the monsters came through the portals as some believed the ‘Magic’ in the title meant the card game held actual magic in the cards. It died pretty quickly when they realised it had none and the luster of the new game had worn off. Rumors of a few smaller sabbaths formed around the game did circulate on internet message boards, these small women were apparently trying to breath real magic into the game. 
    “Why do you insist on acting so mysterious?” I asked as I started to shuffle my mono black tron deck. 
    “You know why I do it,” He grumbled, taking off the hood revealing his long blonde hair. He started to shuffle his red and green deck. He reached into his cloak and grabbed a scroll tube and handed me a mat for my cards before spreading his own before himself, “How have you been, Anon?” 
    “I’ve been fine, Max. How’s that magic been treating you?” 
    He shrugged, “Oh, fine. I’m still working on casting lower level spells. Once I hit 30 years I’ll become even more powerful than you can imagine!” 
    I laughed, “If you make it that long. You keep coming into town every other week just to see me. Some girl could just nab you out of nowhere.” 
    “You live in this town and haven’t been nabbed yet! I’m safe for now.” 
    “W-well,” I scratched my chin, “I didn’t get like... Raped... But...” 
    “Y-you got married? And didn’t even invite me to the wedding?” 
    “No!” I quickly corrected him, “I just started dating.” 
    “Ah, well... Congratulations.” 
    “Thanks,” I grabbed two six sided die and rolled them, “Eh, four,” I announced disappointedly. 
    Max did the same, frowning as he looked at the results, “T-three.” 
    “I’ll go first, wanna split my deck?” Max nodded and offered me his stack of cards. I took the top card off and looked at it, a simple forest, I cackled and placed the card on the bottom of his deck causing him to make a face. 
    We began playing, the first game taking about 40 minutes for me to lose. I took it in stride and immediately began another match with Max. This was much closer, I barely won the match after about an hour,  “One to one,” Max grumbled. 
    I sighed, “Y-yeah. Gonna go get another drink?” I gestured at his empty glass. 
    “No,” He shot a shifty look at the bar, “There’s a snake woman over there that's been staring at me.” 
    A felt a shiver run down my spine. I didn’t want to look but I knew I had to. I knew who it was. I turned slowly to the emerald colored lamia, Morrigan. She sat at the bar with a bright blue drink in her hand and another sunhat on her head and sunglasses over her eyes. She drank it through a straw as she sat with her back to the bar, eyes fixed on my table, “One second,” I grabbed my phone and went to my contacts. I brought the phone to my ear, Morrigan doing the same as she fished it out of her bag, “Hey, Morrigan.” 
    “You know her?” Max whispered, tapping the table. 
    “Hello, darling,” Morrigan spoke in a deadpan tone as she stared at me. 
    “How did you know I was here, Morrigan?” I asked. 
    “Does that matter?” She got up and slithered over to my table slowly. Max was sweating nervously as she came to a stop next to our table. She hung up her phone and turned to me, disregarding the only friend I was still in contact with, “Who is this?” She demanded as she set her drink down on the table.  
    “My friend, Max. I don’t get to see him often.” 
    “Are you gambling, darling?” She looked disgusted as she looked down at the cards and dice on the table, “I am so disappointed in you, Anon.” 
    Her words stung and crushed my heart, “N-no I--” 
    “Hey, man,” Max interrupted me, “I-I’m gonna head out. Catch you later,” I watched him throw all his stuff back into his cloak before hastily getting up and leaving the building.  
    I turned back to Morrigan as she strictly stared at me, her red eyes looked sad behind her stony gaze, “I’m going home,” I sighed, starting to pick up my stuff. I couldn’t bring myself to be angry. I was just sad, really. 
    “Anon,” She firmly stated, the sadness becoming clear on her face, “I-I-I am sorry. I was merely worried when I heard you were dealing with a shadowy figure quite often.” 
    “How did you even know I was here?” 
    “Ellen told me. I cut her hair a few days ago. I did not want to upset you but why did you not just tell me you were meeting with a friend and not a drug dealer or some other kind of cretin?” 
    “Do I have to tell you everything I’m doing at all times?” I growled, making her sniffle. I calmed my tone down, my uncharacteristic outburst made me regret snapping at her, “I was mostly just being secretive with my dumb nerd hobby,” I admitted, “I didn’t want you to think that I’m a huge loser.” 
    Morrigan let a strange laugh escape her lips, one of worry and sadness, “W-well... I do not care what you do for fun, darling. I just worry about you. If something bad happened to you I would... I... I do not know what I would do,” She wiped her eyes and looked at me. 
    “Hey, don’t cry. Come over and hang out for a few hours. I’ll show you a movie or two if you want.” 
    Her face lit up ever so slightly, “Okay. I will accept your offer, darling. Shall we be off?” 
 
    The walk to my apartment was freezing. The rain had begun to fall as we neared my apartment building. Morrigan shivered and clung to me as we quickened our pace. She laughed as the freezing rain came down. It was a child-like laughter as we hurried through the rain and looked at eachother, both of us should have been looking miserable in our soaked through clothing, instead the two of us had an excited feeling in our hearts. I chuckled back at her as we entered the lobby of the complex. A quick trip up a flight of stairs took us to my apartment. She wrapped her arms around herself as I led her inside, both of us still shivering from the cold, “W-well, this is how you live? Much more cozy than my home.” 
    “I-I’m glad you think so. I’ll get the heat going, can I get you some warm clothes?” I asked. She nodded as I went into my room after setting the temperature in the room a few degrees higher. I quickly put sweats on and a dry t shirt while bringing Morrigan a shirt and a large sweatshirt. I went looking for a movie. I grabbed the three pack of the original Starwars trilogy, something easy to watch and we could just talk over it if we felt like it. I returned to the couch where Morrigan had set out a bottle of scotch and two glasses. She had already poured one for herself. She wore my sweatshirt with the hood up, covering her head like she always did. I was starting to think she was bald.  
    She waved the empty glass at me, “Come, drink with me, darling. It should warm us both right up.” 
    “You had this in your bag? How did you know I like this stuff?” 
    “I have my ways,” She smiled at me as I got the movie going. She leaned on me as the opening text crawl began. She didn’t seem to be paying much attention to the movie, “You like me, right?” 
    “Uh, yeah I do. I wouldn’t be hanging out with you if I didn’t.” 
    She was silent again for a time as she thought about something. She looked at me again, “You are not off put by my form, yes?” 
    “You know the answer to that, don’t you? Or are you fishing for compliments right now?” 
    “N-no, I merely have a few things on my mind,” She was silent again, “Am I the prettiest girl you know?” 
    “Morrigan, what has gotten into you?” I paused the movie and shook my head, “I think you’re very pretty but what does it matter if you’re the top or not? Its not like I’m the most handsome guy ever! I’m sure you know way better looking dudes than me!” 
    She paused again, “I suppose you are right, Anon. How about a drink?” I didn’t even have the chance to say ‘yes’ before she poured me a glass, “I am sorry for acting like that.” 
    “Its fine,” I took a long drink of the liquor, “Do you want me to restart the movie for you? I--” My head started to ring and my eyes started to close, “W-what?” I felt woozy and sick. 
    “Hm? Darling?” A menacing grin spread across Morrigan’s cheeks, “Is something wrong~?” 
    “Did you put something in the--” 
    I froze up as Morrigan coiled around me, pulling my head to her chest, “Ssssh, darling. Let the magic take effect on you.”     My eyes started to water as tears began to flow, “Morrigan,” I  croaked, unsure of what to do. Tears started to well in my eyes,  feeling betrayed by the woman I had finally opened myself up to. I  couldn’t even fight back as my strength was rapidly sapped from my  muscles and the air was pulled from my lungs. Even if I was terrified or  mad, I couldn’t get myself to tell her I hated her, or just scream  ‘fuck you,’ at her. I relaxed, the tears stopping as a sudden  comfortable and safe feeling came over me as Morrigan coiled around me,  her crimson eyes smiling at me with copious amounts of love that she  desired to pour into me. I closed my eyes and let my weariness take me.

PT3

    I had been caught. The shadowy monster coiled around me, holding me tightly. I struggled and writhed in its grasp, trying to get free. I heard hissing noises, the coils bound me tighter as they tried to hold me down and keep me from moving. Air was squeezed from my lungs making a pained wheeze escape my lips. Water flowed my eyes as fear took hold of me, my heart pounding painfully in my chest. I tried to call for help as I thrashed weakly, nothing more than an unintelligible murmur escaped my lips. As I thought I was nearing the end of the tunnel and death was fast approaching, I mustered the last bit of my strength and tried to call for help, “Morrigan,” I barely coughed out. I went limp, losing the energy to keep struggling. I heard a nightmarish cry as I blacked out. 
I could hardly tell the difference between reality and my nightmares now. I was lying on my back on a soft surface with my head propped up by an even softer object. As my eyes adjusted to the dark and I tried to shift my weight to a more comfortable position. I couldn’t move, my wrists and ankles were both wrapped up by something. A slick, cool body with scales that hugged my limbs moved slowly, loosening its grip slowly. Something with dazzling red eyes stood above me, staring at me. I was sweaty, hot and afraid. The thing with red eyes lie next to me, arms reaching across my body to hold me close to it. The creature leaned into me, mouth nearing my ear, “Darling,” A familiar voice cried with a touch of terror in her voice, “Why do you thrash so? What is wrong? Why do you cry?” 
I hadn’t realized I had been crying in fear, “Morrigan, what happened?” I asked-- I tried to, the words were trapped behind my lips that were welded together with some sort of sticky strip over my mouth. Duct tape held my mouth closed as Morrigan caressed my bare chest desperately. I was breathing weakly and she couldn’t notice my movement or the noises I made over her own terror. 
    “I am here, darling, no need to cry any more,” Morrigan whispered soothingly as she pulled my head against her chest, resting her chin on the top of my head. She gently caressed my hair and kissed my scalp as she nervously hummed a tune, “Do not be afraid of me, please,” She begged, “I will not hurt you, darling. I did not want to hurt you,” It sounded like she was crying softly, “I did not mean to. I am sorry, I am so sorry, darling,” She began to sob. 
    I slumped against her, closing my eyes as I tried to catch my breath weakly. A chill crept down my spine as I looked around. Rope sat next to the bed on a nightstand along with various instruments like whips and unlit candles. I struggled against my binds, desperate to remove the tape from my mouth to speak to her as she continued to sob, “Mmph!” I tried to call out to Morrigan, still thwarted by the tape. 
    “Darling,” She choked, “Wake up, please,” She hugged me closer. I looked at what little of her body that I could. She was seemingly completely nude, her nipples right next to my face. Her breasts were quite large and pillowy, something I could rest my head on to sleep or put in my mouth to tease her.  
    “Mmph,” I made a sound of contentedness as I lost myself in lewd thoughts for a moment. 
    “Anon...” Morrigan sobbed, “Please, do not hate me...” I needed to get her attention, I was trying to wrack my brain on how to get her to notice me. Struggling did nothing, I could not shout and I could not move much. I turned my head back to her chest, her nipple mere inches from my face. I frowned, wishing I had my tongue to use. I strained my neck, pushing up and brushed the tip of my nose against her nipple. Morrigan let out a moan, throwing her head back as she began to blush and her tail unintentionally squeezing harder on my limbs. I forced myself not to cry out as she began to calm down, looking down into my face for the first time, “Darling?” Tears began to well in her eyes again, tears of joy, “You... You are alive!” Tears flowed once more as a grin spread across her lips. She once more hugged me to her chest, face right between her naked flesh mounds. I struggled gently, trying to remind her that I needed to breath. I was pulled away from her chest as she dried her eyes, “Never scare me like that again, darling, please.” 
    I blinked and tilted my head at her as she uncoiled my limbs. I rubbed my wrists, “Mpph?” I asked. 
    “Oh, here, darling,” She took hold of the tape and tore it from my lips, taking small hairs with it. 
    “Aaaah!” I groaned in pain. I suddenly felt weak again as I flopped back onto the pillow. 
    “Are you well, darling? Are you... Alive?” 
    “What the heck are you on about?” I cackled, “Of course I’m alive.” 
    “Darling... I was so scared.” 
    “What happened?” I began to slowly remember what had happened as Morrigan tried to tap dance around the subject, too embarrassed to relay what she had gone through, “You drugged me!” I shouted, pointing an accusatory finger at her, “And whats all this?” I gestured to the silk ropes, handcuffs and whip. 
    She ignored my final question, “A-Anon-- Darling... I am sorry to deceive you. I was sure you would never say yes to taking me to bed with you. I-- I need you, Anon. I needed to ‘mark’ you before you found my secret,” She explained, “I knew you would find out soon. But now...” She rubbed her own face, “I am unworthy of being with you. I have hurt you. You are afraid of me.” 
    “What are you talking about? What happened?” 
    “I brought you to your bed after you... Fell asleep and tangled you up in my coils and you suddenly began to writhe and shout so I gagged you and held you tightly. S-suddenly you started crying and shaking then...” She shuddered, “I gripped you even more tightly, begging you to stop and calm down. Th-then... I watched in horror as you went limp after a loud cracking noise. I let out an inhuman howl of grief, thinking I had killed you,” She was shaking again, crying softly. I reached out to her, wrapping my arms around her head and pulling her against her chest.  
I felt no fear of her. Her emotions and fears had been lain bare before me. Something clicked in my brain, she was human, just like me. Perhaps even more human than I was. She wasn’t some horrible, terrifying nightmare monster no matter how similar she was to the creature in my dreams, “I’m not afraid of you, Morrigan. Not any more.” 
    “Any more?” She looked almost disappointed as I smiled at her. A smile appeared on her face momentarily, “You really were terrified of me?” 
    “W-well,” I stammered, feeling a bit ridiculous about it, “I’ve been having nightmares about being crushed to death by a creature with red eyes while voices hissed and cackle at me.” 
    “A-and that is supposed to be me?” 
    “I don’t know,” I shrugged, “But I’m fine now, I’m not scared.” 
Morrigan frowned, “But I still hurt you.” 
    “I’m alright, I swear,” I reassured her with a kiss on the cheek, “Lie with me, I need to rest a little more.” 
    Morrigan nodded and lie down, resting her head on my shoulder. I noticed it was covered by a knit black beanie, “Oh, the ‘toys’ I brought,” She pointed to the nightstand, finally ready to explain, “I--I was planning on scaring you a little bit more. I knew you were slightly nervous around me and my manticore friend said that man ‘tastes’ better when scared.” 
    I frowned, placing a hand on her head. I felt something, as if her hair was long, thick strands. I pictured her in my head with long dreads and couldn’t help but smile and chuckle as I pictured her with long dreads in my head. Morrigan grumbled in response, the strands under her hat began to writhe and squirm. I tore my hand away, “Morrigan?” I asked. 
    “Hm?” 
    “Why are you always wearing hats or hoods? You know I don’t mind if you’re bald.” 
    Morrigan did not speak for what felt like minutes. I thought I heard her snicker before finally speaking up, “I am not bald, darling. Something worse. Something inhuman and strange. Something disgusting and horrible.” 
    I shook my head, “I don’t know what can be worse than bald, Morrigan,” She rose and sat next to me at the edge of the bed. Her snake body was nervously dragging around the floor as Morrigan tried to decide what to do, “Morrigan,” I called out again and sat next to her, “If we are-- If you are to get what you want, what I want as well, we need to be able to trust each other. I need to be able to trust you, no more drugs, tricks, lies or even fear of each other. I want you to trust me as well.” 
    Morrigan turned to me, “Promise me something.” 
    “What is it?” 
    “Promise me you will not cry out in terror and force me to leave,” I nodded, my heart now pounding in anticipation. She reached up to her head and grabbed the beanie. She removed it in one quick motion. Green, thick strands that matched her emerald body were pulled back across her head. She undid a tie in the back of her head and let them drop down around her head to about shoulder length. Snakes. Snakes for hair. I stared in wonder, more mesmerised than anything else by the otherworldly beauty of it all, “D-do not look at me like that,” She shied away from me, looking quite embarrassed. 
    The snakes stared back at me with black eyes, tongues gently flicking out at me, “C-can I touch them?” I excitedly blurted out. 
    “T-touch them!?” Morrigan cried, pulling away from me, “Do not encourage them!” 
    “What?” 
    “These snakes,” She grabbed one of the two that fell down by her face and yanked on it, “I hate them! I want them gone!” 
    The snake hissed in agony as a pained expression crossed her face, “Stop!” I cried as I grabbed her wrist, “Please, stop hurting yourself. I don’t mind them, it looks much better than tearing them off and going bald.” 
    “I have tried that in my seven years in this disgusting form. They grow back. Some medusas even chop off parts of them as some sort of grisly haircut,” She explained, laying across my lap. I thought of the term ‘medusa.’ It was a little strange to hear that as the name of a race rather than a character in an old Greek myth, “Thank you,” She suddenly said to me while I was deep in thought. 
    “For what?” I asked as she grabbed one of my hands and put it on her stomach. She was cold. It was a very comfortable cold that stole the natural heat from my body. 
    She ignored my question, “You may touch them if it would please you. But do not become too attached. I should not have them much longer.” 
    I wanted to ask her what she meant by that, but the dark, foreboding tone made me feel like I would know in time as now was not the time for me to know. It felt best not to rush it. I turned to the snakes that weakly moved around, pressing themselves to my body to steal some of my heat just like their host. I rubbed the head of one and let it lick my hand. It quickly went back to ignoring me, “I can’t believe you hate these,” I murmured, “I find them incredibly charming.” 
    “You know nothing of the pain that they have brought me,” She hissed, her eyes still closed as she rested across my lap. 
    “Do you wanna talk about it?” I asked, gently rubbing her stomach. 
    She opened her eyes, looking right into mine, “Perhaps I will tell you... But, I demand a new fact about you that I do not know.” 
    I scratched my head, “Well, my favorite burger is--” 
    “Extra cheese, raw onions, ketchup and sometimes the special sauce of the restaurant you are ordering from,” Morrigan finished for me with a sly smile. 
    “H-how--?” 
    “I am friends with a ratatoskr. Through her information letting me know who to speak to I know MUCH about you, Anon.” 
    I sighed, “Uhm...” 
    “Come now, Anon. You must have something for me~” She challenged smugly. 
    “M-my favorite drink--” 
    “Orange vanilla Coke, Doctor Pepper or cherry Mellow Yellow.” 
    “Favorite games?” 
    “Metro 2033, Rollercoaster Tycoon and Heroes of Might and Magic Three.” 
    “Y-you... I...” I wracked my brain before coming up with something, “My ear canals are shaped really weird.” 
    “Huh?” 
    “Yeah, my hearing isn’t very good in my left ear because its full of wax near constantly.” 
    Morrigan stared at me. She then reached to the floor and grabbed her bag. She pulled out the journal I had so curiously looked in before. She scribbled something down then put it back and put her bag onto the floor, “Alright. You win. I will tell you my story. Lie down and I will begin.” 
    I did as she said and lay on my back and looked up at her. Morrigan slid onto me, her nude body pressing against my bare chest, “I-if you don’t want to talk about it, I won’t force you.” 
    “No, just hold me as I speak. I desire your support and you are correct, we should be honest with one another. You have been honest with me... About your ears...” She chuckled, “So, years ago I was born in a small human village. I was born human, darling. I had wonderfully long and silky black hair and long, glorious legs.” 
    I touched her snake body, “You--” 
    “No questions until the end, please, darling,” She kissed me on the cheek and took a deep breath, “I took an apprenticeship as a hair stylist and grew into a gorgeous young woman, men fawned over me wherever I went! I moved to a larger town and started cutting hair at the only parlor in town along with multiple other girls. I did this for years, honing my craft and rising amongst the ranks of the beauticians. I was booked a month in advance from all nearby towns!” She swooned, happily remembering a time she considered to be better.  
“But, one day, as I was cutting the hair of another human woman. There was something in the air. You see, monster kind and humanity were sort of at war in the old world. It was a massive stalemate with extremists on both sides taking drastic measures when they could. In a false flag attack Order Paladins set off a sort of bomb, flooding a portion of the town with mamano mana. They wanted to rile up the city to join the fruitless war effort. I was one of the unlucky ones. I remember it vividly, my legs fusing together and my hair fusing into writhing serpents,” She shuddered and hugged me tight as she recalled the details, “I was lucky I was not put to the sword. I was spared and exiled from the town as I tried to learn my new mode of transportation. I met my best friends that day as we tried to make our way... Somewhere. I tried to go home but my family pushed me away. I only had these three other girls that I had just started to consider friends.” 
She lie still, her head resting on my chest, “I...” I touched her head, caressing her gently, “Then what?” 
“I lived with my friends in a monster dominated village and cut hair. Seven years later, those portals were opened and all us monsters were forced here. I bought that building and now I cut others’ hair. I just wish I could cut my own again. I loved doing that.” 
“I’m sorry... Honey. Can I call you that?” 
“You could call me ‘bitch,’ and I would still love the pet name,” She joked. 
    “Well, honey, I’m not calling you that. Now what’s your plan?” 
    “Make you mine. Keep cutting hair. Try to be happy,” She sadly told me. 
    “Morrigan,” I sighed, “I’ll help you in any way I can,” I gave her a reassuring smile as I kissed her on the head.  
    “Thank you, darling,” She got up, towering over me, running hands over my chest, “I can think of something we can do right now,” She reached over and grabbed something, her tail slowly grabbing my wrists gently and pulling them over my head, “You are going to be a good boy and stay quiet, alright?” She brandished something sharp, immediately making me sweat. I quickly realised it was her hair cutting scissors, something that couldn’t hurt me. She was just trying to spook me a bit before having her way with me. I nodded, ready to play along with her, “Good boy~” She reached and pulled my pants down, revealing my semi-erect penis. My heart pounded as I let Morrigan take the lead. She stroked my shaft gently, trying to get me completely hard. I writhed in her grip as pleasure took hold of me. I stifled a moan, wanting more than anything to be obedient to my soon to be snake bodied wife. 
    “Here we go~” She sang. She was obviously incredibly nervous as her once human mind was pushed aside as her monsterous instincts took hold as she pushed herself on top of me. Her arms wrapped around my neck as she started to moan, slowly riding up and down on my shaft. She had a surprising amount of control only taking the tip of my penis. She pressed her lips to mine, suddenly going all the way down on my shaft. We both moaned quietly, our bodies pressed against each other as ecstasy took hold throwing all reason out the window. Morrigan’s tongue slipped into my mouth, playing with my tongue as she started french kissing, her snakes lovingly flicking their tongues out on my cheeks. It was incredibly ticklish. Morrigan suddenly slammed herself against my hips, shuddering violently as she orgasmed. She panted hard, staring right into my eyes. I could have sworn her red eyes glowed even brighter than they normally did and made heart shapes.  
    “Mmmh,” She caressed my hair and felt my chest, “You are so warm, darling,” I smiled in response, my chest was heaving, “Its your turn, darling,” She started again, slamming herself against me again. There was a terrifying hunger in my eyes as she pounded against my hips. She panted, silently begging me to give her what she wanted. I couldn’t hold it in long, I came inside of her, stifling my moans the best I could. She pulled herself up, staring down at our pooling love juices. She smiled at me, “Together this time, darling,” Morrigan’s suggestion was more of a demand as she started slamming herself against me again. She had a rhythm to her pounding, a steady, wet slapping rang out in my quickly heating room. She kissed me again with her long tongue, her snakes again trying to kiss my cheeks, “Darling, please, now,” She moaned after an unknown amount of time. I couldn’t even tell her I was about to as she began to milk me dry. We both howled in pleasure as we simultaneously orgasmed. 
    We panted in unison. I had a big grin on my face, the ecstasy slowly wearing off. Morrigan was silent as she held herself above me. She gently rubbed her stomach, a smile slowly spreading across her cheeks, “Darling?” 
    “Can I speak now?” I asked. 
    “Yes, you are such a good boy~” She ran fingers through my hair, uncoiling her tail around my wrists, “I hope I get pregnant,” Her tail changed positions, coiling around the two of us holding us together.  
    I chuckled, “Yeah, I hope so too,” I turned and glanced at the clock, it was about two in the morning. I felt exhausted again, “I need to sleep, Morrigan.” 
    “I could go another round~” 
    “Honey, please. I can only take so much. My hips are going to shatter.” 
    “Okay, okay, darling,” She slumped on top of me, her head on my shoulder, “I love you.” 
    I closed my eyes and rested my head on the pillow. Her serpent hair rested on my body, bathing in the post sex heat. I caressed her hair and mumbled back, “I love you too,” Before closing my eyes and letting sleep take hold of me. 
    There was still one question on my mind, what did she meant by ‘Do not become too attached. I should not have them much longer,’ I shook the thought from my mind and drifted off to the dream realm. 
 
---------------------------------------------------- 
     I was in the dark again, a forest  probably. I scurried away from a recognizable dragging noise, I felt a  small amount of fear as I hurried through the dark, bouncing off trees  and clawing my way through bushes that tore as my skin. I turned my head  behind me, catching a glimpse of the red glowing eyes behind me. I  turned back in front of me, too slow to see the tree I was dashing  towards. I slammed into it, falling onto my back. I coughed as I lay on  the soft grass. The thing chasing me, hurried up and towered over me  before coming close to me with tears in her eyes. Morrigan looked  mortified, “Are you hurt?” She asked. I tried to reply but no words came  out. She laughed at some unsaid joke, “Darling, stand up. Let us take a  break,” She curled up on her own snake body and stretched out her arms  towards me invitingly. I spoke silently again and sat with her, her tail  coiling around me. She chuckled again and kissed the bruise on my  forehead, “Rest well, darling,” I smiled as I closed my eyes. Her coils  squeezed me lovingly as the serpent like hair flicked their tongues  against my face. My fear had finally subsided and I felt at peace.

PT4

    I woke up Saturday morning, a small smile on my face. I felt happy and content. I was ready to start a life with this woman. There was no weight on my chest or scaley tail coiled around my limbs. The smile quickly fell off when I felt a lewd, wet sensation in my nether regions. I tilted my head up and looked down. Morrigan was absentmindedly licking at my semi erect cock, “H-honey,” I whispered. 
    Her eyes darted to mine, blinking slowly. She said nothing as a small, charming smile spread across her face, instead she used more of her tongue, running it in circles around the tip. It felt amazing, I gasped and moaned quietly as she kissed it then taking it in her mouth half way down the shaft, her tongue still working the tip. I was quickly fully aroused as she bobbed her head up and down slowly. Her fingers caressed my inner thighs as she lovingly blinked at me. Her eyes were half closed as if she was still half asleep. She pulled my now fully erect shaft out of her mouth and put it between her large breasts, moving them up and down slowly, “Good morning, darling,” She chuckled. 
    “H-honey, I-I--” I gasped again as the pillowy soft breasts moved up and down with a slow rhythm. 
    She smiled, “Quiet, darling. Let me make you feel good,” She went back to using her mouth, going all the way down my shaft, still using her tongue to massage it. She grabbed one of my hands, holding it firmly as her other hand gripped my shaft, her pace increased. I twitched and gasped as the pleasure took hold. She removed it from her mouth, playfully slapping it against her cheek, smiling at me. Her hand firmly ran up and down the shaft, “Whenever you are ready, darling.” 
“O-okay,” I gasped. 
    “Come on~ Come for me, darling~” She put it back in her mouth, her head moving rapidly and did not stop until I orgasmed. I moaned quietly as I blew my load into her mouth. She quickly and hungrily swallowed it, panting as I still lay on my back, shuddering. Morrigan slithered up my body, forcing me to be the big spoon for her, “Do not expect oral every morning, darling.” 
    I nodded, “Y-yeah, of course,” I panted, holding her tight to me as she nuzzled up against me, “Thank you,” I awkwardly murmured. 
    “Was it nice?” She chuckled, pulling my arms tightly around her.  
    “Amazing, honey,” I stroked her head, the serpents finally waking up and coiling around my arm, pulling the warmth my body produced as close as they could. I lie still for quite some time, gently petting her head before finally asking Morrigan a question, “Any plans for today?” 
    “Well, we need to get you moved in. Preferably soon.” 
    “Huh?” 
    “Come now, darling, you know what I mean,” She raised an eyebrow at me, “Moved into my home with me.” 
    “Are you sure you want me to move in? I doubt I’ll be the best room mate,” My room was messy and I had a tendency to collect small trinkets that most might find stupid or a waste of money. 
    She turned to me and took my head in her hands, “Darling. Every morning I wake up without you I feel a deep pain in my heart. Every waking moment I spend without you I feel deep agony as I daydream about running my hands through your hair and caressing your face and kiss those lovely lips of yours,” She let out the longest, most painful sigh, “I NEED you. I really want you to move in with me.” 
    “U-uh,” I scratched my head, averting eye contact with her. I was thinking it over in my head. 
    “Imagine all the money you will save and the love you will receive~” 
    “I don’t know,” I sighed, “I don’t want to be a burden on you.” 
“A burden!?” She hissed, obviously offended that I would say something like that, “Darling, you would be no such thing.” 
    “Morrigan, I don’t know...” 
    She clutched my face, the sharp nails on her finger tips digging into my flesh as if she believed that if I got away from her, I would be gone forever, “I can cook for you every day if you please! I have been practicing just for you,” The usual sultry tone in her voice was gone. There was now a clear desperation and need in her voice, “I will do anything you want. I have an unused bedroom that you can use as your personal space and I will leave you to your hobbies if you please,” I was still searching for a response as she clutched me even tighter, “P-please, Anon. I do not want to be alone anymore. I do not want you to be alone any more. Please. I love you so much and--” She started to cry as I stared at her with a blank look, “I love you, Anon. Darling, do you not love me? ” 
    “Morrigan,” I said firmly, listening and watching her desperation was making me just depressed. I smiled and hugged her to my chest, “I do love you.” 
She nuzzled against me, sniffling quietly, “I-I am sorry. I got very carried away. You must be disgusted by my despair. I understand if you do not want to at the moment.” 
“Does it mean I don’t love you if I don’t move in?” 
“No, of course not... I merely got carried away in my pleas.” 
I paused, “You do need some more furniture... And the cold months are coming so you could use my heat,” I was convincing myself more and more. A part of me really wanted to move in with her. Another part of me had my doubts. She had a strange obsession with me that I could hardly understand. 
“You do not have to, darling. I can find heat elsewhere.” 
“I’ll move in. Just stop acting so down, honey,” I pet her head as she nodded, silently soaking in my heat. 
A finger ran down my spine making me shiver, “You are such a good man, darling,” The desperate, disheveled look she had just moments ago was gone. She was now confident and collected, “Come now, we have much to prepare for and we could both use a shower,” She looked down at the two of us, “Together of course~”  
 
It had only been a few days since my close encounter with death and my learning of Morrigan’s ‘horrible secret.’ Although I did not mind her serpent-like hair, in fact I found it quite charming, she still insisted on wearing hats and hoods to conceal them at all times. No amount of consoling or support would change her mind, “Honey, I don’t mind them at all!” I would say. 
“Darling,” She would sigh and give me a disgusted look, “I do not see why you enjoy them, but please, I do not wish to remember they exist,” I was just glad she would not go to bed with ridiculous hats on. 
    My dreams had turned quite sweet-- maybe a bit too sweet to be honest. I no longer dreamt of death but I dreamt of marriage and happiness. I had dreams of standing at the altar with Morrigan by my side, her snake hair on full display showcasing her otherworldly beauty and charm as we smiled gently at each other and said our vows before I princess carried her out of the building, filled with some inhuman strength as I supported all of her body with my arms. Morrigan would wake in the morning and describe the exact dream back to me, as if we were sharing dreams with one another.  
I did not have too many things to move into my new home so the move only took two days starting at about noon on Saturday. The moving company my new wife hired was a team of massive onis, hellhounds and a dragon all guided by an anubis. The move was surprisingly painless. Morrigan’s home was a three story building, the first floor being her dimly lit salon. The entire home was usually dimly lit as she, along with some other types of monsters, had a strange aversion to bright lights. When we went out in public she would wear thick sunglasses to protect her from the sun and overhead lights. The second floor was a comfortable living area with a living room, kitchen and dining area. We had purchased a large screen TV to complete the room. The third floor was where we had our bedroom, my ‘office’ and a large bathroom. Our bedroom was cozy, two mattresses were on the floor next to each other so Morrigan’s entire body could rest on the softer surface as opposed to the cold, hard wooden floors. The bathroom had a massive bathtub in it. It could easily hold the entirety of Morrigan as well as myself very comfortably.  My office was filled with my trinkets and electronics. My computer, my TV along with each console I had collected in my adulthood. Despite Morrigan’s previous promise to leave me alone when I was in there, she spent a lot of time in there with me. Her curiosity about movies had died down as she started playing video games with me. I quickly taught her some of my favorites and set her up with a DS of her own to play casual puzzle and simulation games like Professor Layton and Animal Crossing. She refused to ask me for the answers to puzzles which made me immensely proud.  
 
I returned to work on Wednesday having taken Monday and Tuesday off to spend with my wife and get myself comfortable in my new home. I sat at my desk, slowly tapping away at my keyboard as I tried to get my work done. My boss walked in, sitting across from me, “How was your little vacation?” She asked teasingly. 
“Really good. Got moved in with my wife and--” 
“You move in with her!?” She excitedly shouted. I was too shocked to reply as she reached across the table and grabbed one of my hands, “Oooooh, Anon! I am SO excited for you!” She shook my hand in congradulations. She smelled the air around me as she got close to me, “That woman just claimed you as her husband and yet you are here at work!?” 
I blinked, “I have work to do here! We’re deploying--” 
    “No, no, no,” She interrupted me, “David can take over for you. This is a wondrous occasion for you, Anon! You need to start planning your wedding, and having kids and...” She took a deep breath and calmed herself, “Take the rest of the week off. I will cover the vacation time, Anon. Go enjoy yourself for a few days.” 
    I slouched, trying to come up with an argument. I knew she wouldn’t take anything I said, “Alright. See you Monday,” I stood and went to my team’s area and talked to them quickly on what needs to be done in my absence. My boss stood nearby and stared at me expectantly, silently demanding that I go home and take my time off. 
 
    I returned home through the front door of the parlor as I usually did. I stepped out of the bright sunlight and into the dimly lit parlor. Morrigan was there, staring at me with her bright red eyes in the dim light. She was standing behind her usual hair cutting chair, “Oh, darling! Why are you home? Is something wrong?” 
    A loud voice rang out, “Oi, Morrigan, you know this cunt?” The tiny person on the chair, her current client made herself known. 
    “Yes, I do. That is my wonderous husband,” Morrigan explained to the small fairy. I stepped closer and into the dim overhead lighting, “Anon, this is Fíon. She has been a regular of mine for years.” 
    “H-hi,” I stammered out at the surprisingly intimidating fairy.  
    “Sup, cunt,” She crossed her legs and leaned back cooly. 
    “Fíon, I need you to sit still. This is hard enough with your size,” Morrigan reminded her. 
    “Sorry, sorry,” She sat back up as Morrigan got back to work using small tools on the seven inch tall fairy’s orange hair. She was sitting on a stack of books with a tiny apron around her neck. 
    “Darling, take a seat, we can talk in a few moments,” Morrigan told me with a worried smile. I nodded and sat in a comfortable leather chair. She was quiet as she worked on the small woman’s hair. Morrigan was dressed in a thick blue sweater with a black apron over it. Her snake hair was hidden beneath a sort of makeshift white cloth hat like the first time we met. I played on my phone for 15 minutes and looked up as the door was pushed open. A man entered with a thick coat worn on his shoulders like a cloak.  
    “Oi, hon-- My loving cunt of a husband,” The fairy greeted him, “Ya got ya wallet this time? Morrigan here deserves to get paid.” 
    “Yeah, yeah I got it ya little self warming fleshlight with wings,” Her husband retorted making the fairy grin wide, “I got some of the good shit too,” He revealed a small bottle of a brown liquid she smiled even wider, “Morrigan you asked for this stuff right?” He presented a familiar bottle, my favorite liquor. 
    “Yes, thank you,” Morrigan smiled, “Go ahead and hand it to my husband over there,” She gestured to me. 
    The man turned to me with a surprised expression and passed the bottle, “Hey. I probably wouldn’t have called my wife that if I had noticed you were here,” He admitted quietly. 
    “Nah, its fine,” I chuckled quietly. We introduced ourselves to each other as our wives finished up their own gossip. 
    “Oi, honeycock,” Fíon flew off the chair and over to her husband. I got a better look at her. Her green butterfly looking wings glowed a soft green that matched her green coat, “Go ahead and pay Morrigan, would you?” He nodded and got up, quickly exchanging greetings with Morrigan. The fairy turned to me, her hair was now cleaned up, “What’re you looking at, chump?” She smelled of alcohol. 
    “Fíon, leave him alone,” Her husband sighed. She pouted in response, sticking her tongue out at me before flying off over to her husband, tucking herself into his shirt pocket. They finished paying and headed out the door, saying goodbye to my wife and me. 
    “Goodbye,” Morrigan watched them leave. She turned to me, hurrying over, “What is wrong? Did something happen?” She grabbed my face and jerked it around, checking my skull for damage. 
    “Nothing happened!” I pushed her hands off of me as my neck started to hurt, “I was talking to my boss and she made me go home to spend the rest of the week with you. Since we got married in your culture’s eyes and all.” 
    She breathed with relief, “I thought you were going to tell me that you lost your job,” She quickly pulled me into a hug and ruffled my hair, “I have a few more appointments today, darling. Then we can... Hang out? As I believe you called it?” 
    “Yeah,” I chuckled. My expression suddenly turned darker as a familiar question echoed in my mind. Something that had been eating at me. Morrigan tilted her head at me, a kind smile was spread across her lips. I searched for what to say as she resumed petting my hair. I did not want to offend her or upset her. 
    I started to stammer once more just as a voice squawked out, “No!” As the front glass door was pushed open, jingling a bell. A man entered dragging a harpy with long black feathered hair and black feathered wings. One of her wings was in a light blue sling that had been doodled on with bird and flower shapes, “I don’t want to!” She squawked loudly again. 
    “Eve, please,” The man begged, taking hold of her one good wing. I was surprised that he was able to overpower the frightened harpy as she held her tightly in his arms. He turned both of them to face the confused and concerned Morrigan and me, “H-hi,” He stammered, the harpy with him averted her eyes from the two of us and stared at the floor, “I-- Do you do walk ins? I couldn’t find any information online.” 
    I looked to Morrigan for the answer and made a note to make her a website or at least update her page on maps. She shook herself and got herself back into a calm mindset, “I do have a bit of time before my next Appointment. What were you hoping to be done with her hair? Or yours?” 
    The man sighed with relief, “I just need her hair to be cut a little bit. She can’t see past her bangs. Anything will do.” 
    Morrigan nodded, approaching slowly, “What is your name, dear?” 
    The harpy shook, as if afraid of the gentle snake woman. The man leaned down and encouraged her quietly, whispering into her ear, “E-Eve-Harpy,” She introduced herself strangely. 
    “Eve-Harpy?” Morrigan echoed. 
    “Hubby-Lovey named me that.” 
    “Oh,” Morrigan must have realised her strange speech was just a small quirk of hers, “How cute. What do you want your hair to look like, Eve?” 
    She shrugged, still staring at the floor, “She just needs her bangs cut. Maybe something shoulder length. It doesn’t need to be styled or anything. Its not like she will style it herself every morning,” Her husband spoke for her. He talked so lovingly and sweetly about her even with that last comment that could have been seen as rude to someone else. It made me jealous, wishing I could constantly speak of my wife like that. It was as if the man was constantly under some sort of spell from the look in his strangely foggy yet completely alert eyes. 
    Morrigan nodded and led them over to the chair that she usually used to cut hair. She removed the stack that Fíon had been sitting on just moments before and gestured for her to sit. Eve shook her head violently again, “N-no,” She protested quietly, looking up for the first time at Morrigan, fear filling her eyes as she looked at the snake woman.  
    I saw a deep, crippling sadness filling Morrigan. First her eyes, her face, her chest then down to her entire serpent body, “I-I-I--” She stammered unsure of what to do. 
    “Here,” I stepped in, standing in front of the now slouching Morrigan, “I’ll do it. Just come sit down,” Eve looked up at me, into my eyes and lit up a little bit. She sat down as if Morrigan wasn’t there now. Her back was to us now and I turned back, winking at Morrigan. She still looked terribly sad, “I’ll talk to her, just work your magic and cut her hair, honey,” I whispered as quietly as possible. Morrigan looked at me as if I was some genius and quickly started gathering her tools. The sadness remained, but there was now a burning purpose in her eyes. I took the apron from her and gently put it around the harpy’s neck. Her husband stood nearby awkwardly, he seemed to understand what Morrigan and I were up to. I leaned close to him, “Hold her hand. Hopefully it will keep her calm.” 
    He nodded, “Hi, hubby-lovey!” Eve happily chirped as her husband reached under the apron and took hold of her little claw hand at the end of her wing. 
    “Close your eyes and sit still, Eve. It will be quick,” Her husband instructed, patting her head softly with his other hand. 
    I looked to Morrigan expectantly. She nodded and got to work, quickly chopping off large sections of hair as I stood behind Eve, praying she would not look behind herself. I made some small talk with the pair as Morrigan worked quietly. Large chunks of black hairs fell to the floor and onto the apron with little snakes sewn onto it. In a little more than half an hour, Morrigan was done. She put her tools into my hands and stepped back. I used a little mirror to show Eve her hair, “How does it look?” 
    Eve smiled, her eyes sparkling as she looked into her own eyes. She wasn’t even looking at her hair, just cocking her head back and forth making strange faces at herself, “Forgive her,” Her husband sighed with a small laugh, “She can be oblivious and is completely enamored with certain objects. It looks very cute. Thank you,” There was a quick pause, “How much?” 
    Morrigan quietly told him the price and led him over to the front desk. He paid quickly and gestured for the harpy to follow him. She hopped up and turned to me, “Thank you human-stranger!” I didn’t even have time to react before she pressed herself against me and hugged me kindly with her good wing. I looked down at her then up at my wife. I saw an inhuman, bestial rage on her face. I felt fear. 
    “Eve, come on, we gotta go!” Her husband quickly grabbed her, quickly reading the situation.  
    She turned to him, blissfully ignorant,” Carry-hold?” She asked excitedly. Her husband sighed and nodded, turning around and crouching down a little bit, she climbed onto his back. He shot an apologetic look at Morrigan and carried the harpy out the front door. 
    Morrigan looked like she was feeling a lot of emotions. She stood still at the front of the store, staring at me. I stared back at her, feeling guilty, then turned my eyes to the floor. She started to move, slithering past me into the back room of her salon. I frowned and looked at the hair scattered on the floor. I grabbed a broom and swept it up slowly, still trying to figure out what to do. I pushed the door open to the back and poked my head in. Morrigan sat at a round table with a sad look on her face. She had a steaming cup in her hands that she was slowly sipping on, coffee from the smell of it. She had let her snake hair down. She idly stroked the snakes as they brushed themselves against the sides of her head as if trying to console her. 
    I sat next to her, “I-I swept up the hair out there for you,” I smiled at her. 
    Morrigan didn’t look at me, just back down at her drink, “How do you not see it?” She asked me. I didn’t have time to answer, “How hideous and disgusting I am. I would bet that the feeling of hugging that harpy even if for only a moment was multiple times better than any feeling you would get from me. Even that little harpy was afraid of me without seeing these.” 
    “She was afraid before she even came in the front door,” I countered. 
    “You are just trying to make me feel better,” She brushed my comment aside, “I am a monster. A horrible, ugly, disgusting monster,” She started to cry after coming to that conclusion which seemed like the millionth time she had in her entire life, “I just want to go back to normal. That is all I have wanted for seven years now. I want people to not be afraid of me any more,” I watched her as she began to break down. She put her head in her hands as tears began to flow. I got up and wrapped my arms around her. I looked to the couch at the back and took a deep breath. I put an arm under Morrigan and one on her back and lifted with all my might, carrying her over to the couch. She weakly pounded her hand against my shoulder in protest. I sat down on the couch and held her in my lap. Her arms squeezed around my neck and her tail coiled around my hips. She cried into my shoulder as I pet the back of her head. The wailing hissing of her snakes sounded like crying as well. We sat together and cuddled for 10 minutes or more. She had stopped crying and instead sniveled quietly as she clung to me. 
    “Yoo-hoo!” A feminine voice called from the main room,  
“Morrigan? Are you in here?” Another female voice cried out. 
    “Ah, shit,” Morrigan swore. She rubbed her eyes and dried her tears, “They are early.” 
    “I can go stall for you,” I told her, offering her a quick kiss. 
    She grabbed me, kissing me deeply before looking towards the door, “Yes, go, please. I need a moment.” 
    I hugged her again, “I love you, Morrigan. You’ll never be a monster to me. You’re one of the most human and normal people I have ever met.” 
    She stared at me, looking like she was going to cry again, “I love you too. Go, please I need to make myself look presentable.” 
    I took a deep breath and prepared myself to bull shit to some ladies that had just shown up. I couldn’t have been prepared for what I saw when I entered the main room. A purpley gooey, eldritch like woman was humming a tune while sweeping the floor. She turned to me with hollow, glowing yellow eyes. She was covered in eyes that all turned to look at me and mouths that opened and closed as if they were breathing. Her clothing, a maid uniform, seemed to be made of the same goo she was, “Who is this?” Her voice sounded scratchy and alien with strange echoes coming from everywhere around me-- and a little bit like she had an accent like someone from Boston. I was already sweating just from the look of her. She seemed to glide across the floor with a wet, sucking noise as she approached me, tilting her head as she waited for a response. 
    “A-Anon,” I breathed out weakly. 
    “I ADORE that name,” The goo woman smiled with tens of mouths. 
    “Did Morrigan mention an Anon?” Another woman stepped out of the shadows, multiple legs tapped on the floor as she came near me. She had the upper body of a normal woman and a massive spider body from the hips down approached me. She had long silvery, silky hair and thick glasses in front of a multitude of completely red eyes. She wore a generic heavy metal band shirt and a black skirt, “I cannot recall.” 
    My vision flicked to the side as I saw movement. Eyes peered at me from the dark on long black eye stalks all attached to small woman with ashen skin and a black ooze covering parts of her body underneath her clothes, a white tanktop and jeans. The woman herself had long black hair and one massive eye in the center of her face. She grinned with sharp teeth, “Anon? Name sounds kinda familiar but I know that name used to be super common.” 
    Hands clamped down on my shoulders. There was a woman floating behind me with a blue body, white hair done up in a ponytail, a black dress and her legs turned into a sort of flaming chandelier, “Where is Morrigan, Anon?” She breathed in a ghostly voice. 
    I couldn’t just tell them she was in the back room, they would surely go and check. I had so many eyes on me, I needed a way out, a way to stall. I was surrounded on all sides so there was no running. I thought about faking a heart attack or just collapsing. It would just make it easier to beat me up, “W-well,” I stammered, poking the back of my hand. I asked myself if faking autism could get me anywhere, “She-she’s um,” I asked myself if it was too late to pretend to be deaf or disabled somehow. I looked into their faces, the hands on my shoulders gripping harder and the women around me were losing their patience. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath, “She’s upstairs. She needs just a few more moments,” I blurted out the truth. 
    The women all looked at me with mixed looks. They then looked at eachother and frowned, “Hold him,” The spider woman commanded. She had a length of spider silk in hand. The goo woman and the eye stalk woman grabbed my arms. I closed my eyes as my heart pounded, just waiting for them to take me down. 
    The purple goo woman leaned towards me, smelling me quietly, “I smell our Morrigan on him,” The spider woman paused and looked at the goo woman with a confused look. 
“This one?” The ghostly woman behind me mused, “Her standards are much too high for a man like this,” I felt my heart drop as a pained look spread across my face, “Could she even get a man with her... Condition?”  
A flash of anger spread across my face. It was enough to scare the eyestalk woman and make her let go of me. The goo woman put up no resistance as I pulled my other arm from her and turned to face the ghostly woman. She protectively held her hands up as if I was going to punch her. I pointed a finger at her, making her flinch. I opened my mouth, feeling like I was going to shout. I stopped myself as I looked at her fearful expression. I coughed, retracting my hand and shoving it into my pocket, “Please don’t talk about her like that,” I asked quietly, “I love Morrigan very much.” 
    The ghostly woman got closer to me, looking me in the eyes, “Did she really...?” She cleared her throat, “I apologise. Its hard for all of us to find a man. I did not mean anything by that comment. But that lucky snake got you, huh?” A small laugh escaped her lips as she sadly stared at the floor. 
    “Anon, was it?” The spider woman spoke up. I nodded in response as I sat down in a chair, “We got off on the wrong foot. My name is Delaney.” 
    “Alexandria,” The goo woman introduced herself to me. I still had a look of confusion on my face as she spoke, “I am a shoggoth.” 
    I didn’t have much time to take that in before the woman with eyestalkes spoke, “My name is Pricilla. Gazer.” 
    I turned to the ghostly woman expectantly. She was still staring at the floor with a sad look. Alexandra leaned close to me, “We call that one Willow. She did not know her own name when she returned to life as a willowisp.” 
    “How tragic,” I mumbled, leaning back. 
    “Are you, like, Morrigan’s apprentice that she seduced?” Pricilla asked excitedly. 
    “N-no.” 
    She huffed, “Damn. That would have made an incredible story.” 
    “You could write it without it REALLY happening, Pricilla,” Delaney sighed. 
    “That is not the same! Reality is stronger than fiction, Delaney! We have been over this before!” 
    “What are you talking about?” I asked, curious now. 
    The gazer turned to me with a smug look on her face, “I write amazing smut stories that I sell online! I love using real world examples as a basis for my writing!” My eyes lit up, I was intrigued. 
    Delaney rolled her eyes, “Anon, please do not encourage her. She needs to find a real job.” 
    “Morrigan approaches,” Alexandria mumbled. 
    She was right, Morrigan exited the back room and straightened out her coat. She removed her apron and set it on a chair, “Hello,” She greeted simply. Delaney and Pricilla said greetings in reply. Willow was still staring at the floor. 
    Alexandria approached her slowly, “Why has Morrigan been crying?” The shoggoth hugged the medusa. 
    “I am fine, my friend. Thank you,” She turned her eyes elsewhere, “Willow? Are you alright?” 
    The willowisp finally looked up and spoke, “When can I have a husband?” She started to sniffle, “I want a husband too, Morrigan.” 
    I watched as each of the other girls went into action as they consoled and comforted each other. It brought a very feel good vibe to the room that made even me smile from where I sat on the other side of the room. It seemed to me like they had been through this hundreds of times with each other. I missed my own friends and when we would all sit around and bullshit with each other, “Anon!” Morrigan waved me over to the group, “Come get lunch with us. The girls want to talk to you.” 
    “A-are you sure?” I stammered as Morrigan gripped my arm. 
    “What? You want to stay here and look sad all afternoon?” Delaney challenged. 
    “Come on, I have a lot of questions to ask you,” Pricilla pestered. 
    “Okay, okay. I’ll come with,” I was easily pressured into going.  
 
    I sat at a round table with the five women. I couldn’t help but notice the looks we got as they quietly discussed what to eat, “Anon,” Pricilla whispered, a tape recorder in hand, “How did you and Morrigan meet?” Multiple eyes stared at me, she was hungry for a new story.  
    “I walked into her salon looking for my old barber. She agreed to cut my hair,” I explained. 
    “Anon, do not encourage her,” Delaney sighed. 
    “Stay out of this Delaney! My big break is coming soon!” Priscilla whined. 
    I turned away from the two that were bickering. Alexandria was staring at the table with blank eyes and a tiny smile. Some of the eyes on her body turned to look me in the eyes. I looked away from her and over to the ghost. She still looked pained, but faked a smile at me, “Do you have any friends? Single ones?” She asked quietly. 
    As soon as she mentioned that the entire table stopped their conversation and looked at me, “You are going to introduce us to his friends, right Morrigan?” Delaney desperately asked. 
    Morrigan shrugged, “I have no interest in playing matchmaker. I have only met one of his friends and I scared him off.” 
    “I don’t even know where most of my friends went,” I frowned. 
    “They vanished? I wonder if they got sent through the portals,” Willow murmured. 
    “I hope I may meet them some day,” Alexandria stared off at the wall as if she could see something we didn’t. 
    “You will all find your man. If I managed to seduce a man I know you all can,” Morrigan tried to lift the tables’ spirits. 
    I looked around the table at the currently present pity party, “I don’t understand,” I turned to Morrigan, “You’re all good looking--” I saw a twinge of anger on my wife’s face, “You look the best of course, honey. You’re all good looking girls, have you looked into dating? You were at the speed dating, Morrigan.” 
    I got exhausted looks from everyone but Alexandria, “We all used to be human, darling,” Morrigan reminded me, “We do not know about Willow, but we used to be human. Going from human to these frea--” 
    “Don’t,” I pointed a finger at the gorgeous snake woman in front of me. 
    “Freakish forms,” Delaney finished for her, “Forms that we were taught to be afraid of and to hate.” 
    “It is hard to not feel hatred and anger,” Pricilla took a sip of water as her eyes darted around the room, “At least Morrigan can hide her...” She looked at me in fear, “Part that scares some people.” 
    I tapped the table and looked at her. I had no recourse or retort. I rubbed my face having already been dealing with Morrigan’s horrible depression and self hatred. I at least knew how to make her happy, or at least let her make herself happy using me. I slowly started to speak, “So what then? You’re going to live your entire life in anger and loathing? That doesn’t sound like any way to live.” 
    I just prayed they didn’t have an answer. Alexandria perked up, “There is a way.” 
    “Yes,” Delaney nodded, “We do have a plan.” 
    “The Demon Lord herself,” Willow whispered as if she was a soccer mom forced to use The Lord’s name in vain. 
    I had a confused look on my face, not knowing what this was going towards, “You... Are going to try to get an audience with the current ruler of most of the world? To do what?” 
    “Do you know anything?” Pricilla groaned. 
    “Pricilla. We cannot expect him to know,” Morrigan soothingly spoke, “Her daughters, the lilim, carry her power as well. One of them could change what kind of monster we are. There was a legend of a witch needing more power to woo her sweetheart. She went to a lilim and begged her to give her a more powerful form. She was transformed with the flick of the lilim’s wrist and turned into a baphomet.” 
    I finally had my answer to something my wife had said moons ago and seemingly some evidence for this to possibly work, “Y-you want to change from a medusa...Into...” 
    “Into anything else. I assume any type of lamia would be an easy change. I would be happy with that,” I just stared at her uncomfortably as she rubbed the snakes under her hat. 
    “I am fine with the whole mono eye thing but these eye stalks scare children,” Pricilla mumbled. 
    “I am too far gone,” Alexandria mumbled, “My mind from then cannot return to me. I have become the mind destroying horror and it has destroyed my own mind,” I watched as she actually started melting, turning into a puddle of gibbering mouths and frantically blinking eyes. 
    “Perhaps a centaur,” Delaney smiled wistfully, “I am sure much less men are afraid of horses compared to spiders. Anything else, please.” 
    “I wish I had a corporeal form to have changed,” Willow sighed, “But I suppose I am somewhat happy with this form.” 
    I stared at all of them, I thought they were bat shit insane. But what did I know? I knew I didn’t understand monsters, but this seemed extreme to me. I looked up at Morrigan into her gorgeous, smiling, shining, lovely face. I had so much I wanted to say and tell her. Feelings for her I could never put into words. I loved her and wanted her to know that it didn’t matter to me how she looked. I thought she was the most beautiful thing on the planet. But I knew she could never be happy like this. I wiped my face and removed the exasperated, sad look. I put on a smile, the most genuine and kind one I could muster, “I support you, honey. If this is what you want, I’ll help you anyway I can.”
     “Thank you, darling,” She put a hand on the side of my head  and kissed me on the lips. I could feel the rest of the group’s  jealousy. Morrigan merely smiled at me and held my hand under the table  for the rest of the lunch outing.

PT5

The rest of the evening went quickly. I learned a little bit about what each of them did for a living. Delaney was a seamstress that commonly used her spider silk in her work, Alexandria cleaned houses, Pricilla wrote smut on commission and Willow bummed around, not really needing to sleep or eat. Pricilla kept trying to pry sexual information out of me while Alexandria was asking me about single men that I know. Delaney talked to Morrigan about warmer clothes while Willow interjected with quips about the cold she felt from her loneliness and asked if the spider could spin her a coat to keep her warm from that. The women all joked and gossiped as I continued to wrap my head around their plan. I had already pledged my help to their goals and now I needed to figure something out with them. I frowned as I stared at my food, unsure what to do next, “...Anon?” Morrigan ended a question with my name, one I hadn’t heard.  
“Huh? Sorry I was spacing out,” I mumbled. 
    Morrigan chuckled, “How are you liking the food, Anon?” 
    “Oh, its good, thanks.” 
    “You look so tired, darling. You can rest all you want when we get home, alright?” 
    “Thanks, honey.” 
    She leaned in close as her friends started talking about music, “Perhaps a bath tonight, hm?”  
    I nodded and smiled, “Yeah, that would be nice.” 
    “A nice massage~ My fingernails running up and down your back~ Kisses on your neck~ Perhaps... Something fun?” She whispered into my ear before kissing it. She knew how to excite me. Her fingernails ran across my chin before she sat back and smiled at me as if nothing had just happened. I continued to space out for the rest of the lunch ‘date,’ only speaking when spoken to. My previously terrifying encounter with Morrigan’s group of friends must have drained me and I hadn’t realised it. Before I even realised it, just Morrigan and I were left at the table. She chuckled at me as I blinked quickly, trying to wake myself up, “Ready to go?” She teased. 
    “Yeah, sorry. I don’t know why I’m so out of it,” I sighed. 
    “The girls let me know how much they spooked you when you first met. Hopefully your track record of being afraid of monsters goes for ALL monsters and not just my friends and me.” 
    “I think that fairy was the scariest person I met today,” I shuddered horribly. 
    Morrigan laughed, “She is quite intimidating. Come now, we should get home. I have an appointment in 30 minutes, darling. Do you need me to carry you, sleepy boy?” She pulled me to my feet and gripped my hand, tugging me along. 
    “N-no, I’m fine, I can walk.” 
    “Then prove it to me and hurry up!” 
 
    “Lean back,” Morrigan sweetly ordered. I nodded and leaned backwards, dipping my hands into the hot water to support myself. She used the small wooden bucket to pour water onto my hair to rinse the soap out. Morrigan smiled at me, “Does the hot water not just soothe your pains and sores?” 
    I nodded, “Yeah, it does,” We were sitting in the middle of the bath, it was roughly only knee deep towards the middle and quite shallower on the edge but wide across. Morrigan’s snake body was lazily in circles around me, soaking in the hot water. She was leaning back on a foam thing attached to the side. 
    “Come. I have promises to make good on,” She beckoned to me with one hand. I did as I was told and sat in front of her, my back to her. Her snake body wrapped around my hips, pulling me close. Her hands felt my shoulders, “So tense, darling,” She started to rub them, getting the kinks and pain out of them. Her hands moved lovingly and gracefully across my skin as she hummed a tune.  
    “What song is that? You hum that pretty often.” 
    “Oh! ‘Sweet Caring Love’ by Amanda Dawn.” 
    “Huh. I haven’t heard of her. I’ll have to look her up tomorrow.” 
    Morrigan wrapped her arms around my neck and held me against her, “I hope you like it, darling. I know our tastes in music are not the same.” 
    “They’re similar enough,” I closed my eyes and let myself soak in the hot water. 
    Fingernails ran across my skin, “Enjoying yourself?” 
    “Yeah. Do you need a massage too?” 
    “Oh! Yes please!” Morrigan quickly moved to be in front of me, sitting on my lap and leaning forwards. Her skin was pristine and soft. She was usually cold to the touch but now she had absorbed copious amounts of heat from the bath and was hot to the touch, “Right here please,” She pointed to a spot between her shoulders. I nodded and put my palm against it, rubbing it roughly as I tried to get the knot out of her muscles. Morrigan moaned at my touch, “Oh, darling right there! Yes~” She lewdly cried as I worked on her, “Such a deep message~!” As soon as I was done, she fell backwards, pressing her back against my chest. She removed my arms from the hug around her stomach and placed them over her bare breasts, “These could use a good rubbing too, darling~” She grinded her butt against my crotch as I started to do as she asked. 
    “Why are you always so lewd and sexy,” I sighed, rubbing her large shapely breasts. 
    “Only you could call me sexy, Anon.” 
    “Morrigan,” I moved my hands down her stomach, sadly resting my head on her shoulder as I let loose a loud sigh. 
    She turned around to me, her snake hair turning to me as well as she sadly frowned, “I am sorry, darling.” 
    “Its fine. Just try to be more positive, for me, okay?” 
    She nodded slowly, “I will try. The water is cooling off. Want a quick one before we get out?” She made a lewd up and down motion with her hand. I knew she wouldn’t take no for an answer. 
 
    I woke up to my phone ringing. Morrigan had left the bed already, presumably to get ready for work. I scooped up my phone and answered it without looking, “Hello?” I mumbled. 
    “Hi, honey!” A cheerful voice cried. 
    I rubbed my eyes and rolled over, “Hi, mom,” I was expecting her to beg me to fix her phone again. 
    “Are you coming over tonight for your sister’s birthday dinner? We sent you an invite on Facebook and you never replied.” 
    I sighed quietly, “Mom, I’m never on that site anymore. Calling and texting are the best way to get ahold of me.” 
    “Okay, okay... But are you?” She asked again. 
    “I guess so.” 
    “Are you going to bring your girlfriend? We really want to meet her!” My mother begged. 
    For the first time she asked this, I actually did have a girlfriend. Though she was more of a wife now, “If she wants to come I’ll bring her.” 
    “Yes! Wonderful!” My mother was obviously giddy.  
    “Who are you talking to, darling?” Morrigan reentered the bedroom. 
    “My mom,” I replied. 
    “Oh! Is that her? I’ll let you go, Anon,” My mom said. 
“I’ll see you tonight,” I stretched and started to get up as my mother hung up her phone.  
    Morrigan stared at me with wide eyes, “Y-your mother?” 
    “She invited us to dinner tonight.” 
    “Tonight!?” She started to panic, “Why did you say yes without asking me?” 
    “Honey, calm down--” 
    “I am completely unprepared, Anon,” There was a touch of anger in her voice. 
    “You have nothing to worry about,” I tried to calm her down. 
    “Nothing to worry about!?” She shouted. I froze up as she glared at me, “Darling, stop looking at me like a frightened child. I do have to worry about your parents not liking me. And this,” She pulled her snake hair back and did it up into a sort of bun or ponytail, “I have to worry about this too, Anon.” 
    “I-I’m sorry. I’ll go myself and tell her you couldn’t make it. I never said yes to you going,” I stared at the floor. 
    Morrigan took a deep breath and let it out slowly. She put a hand on my chin and forced me to look her in the eyes, “Oh, darling, stop making that face. You look so much cuter when smiling,” I frowned a bit more and wiped my face, trying to put on a nice smile, “That is better. I will go. It shall be best to open this wound now rather than let it fester. I am sorry if your parents hate you after dinner tonight,” She wrapped me in a hug. 
    “Even if they for some reason hate you, I still love you.” 
    “I love you too. I apologize for snapping at you. Go ahead and rest a bit more. I have already eaten and need to open my salon soon. Come down stairs when you are ready and spend some time with me, okay?” 
    I nodded and sat back down after she kissed me on the lips. She hesitantly let me go and slowly slithered out of the room, looking back at me as she went. I smiled and stretched my back. I frowned again as soon as Morrigan was gone. I grabbed my phone again and opened up a music streaming app. I wracked my brain as I tried to remember the name of the song that Morrigan liked. The tune remained in my mind despite having never heard it myself. The name of the artist pounded into my mind like someone was suddenly slamming some cymbals together. Amanda Dawn. I looked her up and managed to find the song Morrigan had mentioned, ‘Sweet Caring Love.’ I put my headphones in and leaned back, closing my eyes as the smooth acoustic guitar washed over me. It was a simple song about caring for an ill husband as a single voice, that of a woman, seemingly retold a cute real life scenario. There only seemed to be three or four instruments in the song, the before said acoustic guitar, some quiet drums and one or two wind instruments that kicked in during the chorus where she went on about how much she loved her husband despite the goofy things he did. I could see why Morrigan enjoyed it but it didn’t seem as amazing as she made it out. It did give me heavy folk and country vibes.  
I stood up and got ready for the day. As I shaved, I found the song reverberating in my mind. I mumbled the words to myself as I did my hair, spiking up the front with a little bit of gel. I looked myself in the eyes, unsure of why I was so into this song. It obviously was not made for me. I shook my head and got dressed, trying to push it out of my head. I preferred classic rock and metal to folk and country but I just could not get this out of my head. I headed to the salon and watched as Morrigan finished up styling the hair of Pricilla. Her eyes immediately swung to me, “What is up, Anon?” She asked. 
    “Hey, Pricilla,” I took a seat on the second seat. 
    “Darling, your hair is looking a little long,” Morrigan commented after a small glance at me.  
    “Eh, if you wanna cut it that's on you. I don’t mind much,” I stretched and opened up my phone again. I found myself looking up Amanda Dawn, quietly humming the tune.  
    “You as well?” Precilla groaned, “Morrigan LOVES that song.” 
    “Yeah its pretty good,” I shrugged. I grunted as I saw she had some social media presence. She seemed to mostly be a writer for a few other people and bands and as such her follower and post count were both relatively low. There were very few pictures of her. She had white hair, grey or silver horns and red eyes with black sclera. Definitely a very pretty girl with some kind of otherworldly beauty. She had nothing on my Morrigan, of course.  
    “What are you up to, Anon?” Pricilla asked. 
    “Just looking up some music.” 
    “If you want to listen to more from Ms. Dawn I own multiple of her CDs,” Morrigan let out a long sigh, “I pray I can see her in person someday.” 
    “I dunno if she will sign multiple CDs at once, Morrigan,” Pricilla crossed her arms underneath the apron. 
    Morrigan frowned, “I just think she is a good musician. Unfortunately she is not too popular.” 
    I looked down at the social media page. I knew Morrigan might be upset if she caught me speaking to another woman. Did talking to her favorite musician, that was already married, count especially if I was just asking her a question for my wife. I took the risk and sent the musician a quick message, ‘Hi, Amanda. I was wondering if you ever went on tour. I can’t find anything about it on any of your social pages.’ 
    “Darling,” Morrigan’s sweet voice roused me from my spacing out, “Your turn,” I nodded silently and traded chairs with Pricilla. Morrigan got to work on my hair, “Same thing as last time, darling?” 
    “Do as you want. You’re the one that will be looking at it the most,” I leaned back and closed my eyes as I let Morrigan caress my chin and cheeks.  
    “Ya sure there ain’t some kind of fetish thing going on for you, Morrigan? The way you touch and feel him is... A little intimate,” Pricilla was obviously a little heated up. 
    “Why don’t you write about it? You’ve been obviously trying to pull a story out of us so far,” I frowned as I opened one eye at the gazer.  
    “M-maybe I will! If someone pays me for it...” 
    “Do not expect us to, Pricilla. If those other girls kick you out do not come crying to me,” Morrigan was a little more venomous than she usually was. 
    Pricilla looked sad and folded her arms, “I... I am sure I will start making some money soon.” 
    Morrigan folded her arms, “Pricilla--” 
    “I do not want to give up my dreams, Morrigan. Please do not make me. I just want to be a romance author,” Pricilla sighed, “I just need to make ends meet then I can start my novel!” I couldn’t tell if she was trying to convince us or herself. 
    “I believe in you, Pricilla,” I smiled at her before Morrigan could put her down again. 
    She stared at me with every eye she had. I could have sworn each began to tear up, “Why is your husband so nice, Morrigan?” 
    “He is the best,” Morrigan laughed. 
    “I am... I am going to go do some writing. Thank you,” She smiled and stood up, brushing back her hair before walking confidently out the door. 
    Morrigan sighed, “You should not have encouraged her,” She warned. I shrugged as the apron was removed from me, “Coffee?” I nodded and got to work, sweeping up the clippings. My phone vibrated once, making me check the glowing screen. She had replied, Amanda Dawn had replied to me. I was feeling a little intimidated as I went to open it, a little starstruck even if I had only heard a few of her songs and read of her songwriting talents.  
    ‘Hey man,’ She nonchalantly greeted me, ‘I don’t really tour my solo shit. If I’m on a tour its with a band I write for that I’m good friends with. Using magic to play 4 instruments at once TBH. You a big fan or somethin’? I’m already married BTW,’ She ended that with a devil emoji. 
    I took a deep breath, ‘Thanks for replying! I’m only a little bit of a fan, though I am impressed by your music writing credits. My wife is a pretty big fan of yours and was talking about wanting to see you perform.’ 
    She replied almost instantly, ‘Ah. No need to be so formal BTW. Where you 2 at?’ 
    I told her what state we were living in along with the city after some hesitation. 
    ‘Man, I’m a whole country away from you!’ She put in a laughing emoji, ‘I’ve been wanting to get over there and get some inspiration. Haven’t put anything together in a while.’ 
    ‘Its a nice place. Quiet and small.’ 
    ‘I thought NYC would help me pump out music but everything here is so suffocating!’ There was a pause before she sent another message, ‘Tell you what. Let me crash at your place for a while and I’ll meet with your wife. I won’t be around your place much. I wanna do some hikes n shit out there and see the place.’ 
    My eyebrows raised. We did have a basement with my old bed in it and a few other sparse pieces of furniture. It was set up to rent it out to someone else, ‘I need to talk to my wife.’ 
    ‘Oh, let it be a nice surprise for her, eh? I’m sure she’ll love it.’ 
    I shrugged as if she was really there, ‘Sure.’ 
    ‘This weekend?’ 
    Again, I shrugged, ‘Yeah, I guess that will work.’ 
    ‘Rad. I’ll message you before I teleport in, boyyy!’ 
    I shook myself as I sent only an ok hand emoji. Morrigan walked in with two cups of coffee in hand, “Something the matter?” She asked as she offered me a cup. 
    I took it and took a sip, “Nah. Just talking to someone.” 
“Well, I have another appointment in a few minutes. I would appreciate it if you could finish sweeping up for me before then.” 
 
Morrigan clutched my arm. I didn’t know what was worrying her more, my driving or the fact we were going to my parent’s house. My car felt alien to me now, new dials and knobs lined the dashboard each with different functions that I didn’t understand. The gremlin that ‘upgraded’ my car didn’t explain it very well. There was a strange metal box attached to my hood with numerous tubes down into my engine. I pressed a button and turned on the heater installed in the passenger seat, doing anything I could to calm Morrigan down. Her eyes focused on the radio that was quietly playing some music by Amanda Dawn, “Maybe this was a bad idea, Anon,” The usual kind tone in her voice was gone and it was replaced by horrible dread and fear, “Perhaps I should stay in the car or at home. I could get a lot of chores done without you there to distract me.” 
I glanced at her, “You said it yourself. We just need to get this over with. If things go sour, which I doubt they will, we can leave.” 
    “But your mother is human, is she not? There is no way she could accept a beast such as me.” 
    I made a face at the windshield as the rain lightly bounced off it, “Well...” I trailed off, really unsure of how to explain my mother’s condition. 
    “Well what?” 
    “You’ll see. Look, we’re almost there. Let me give you my coat. Can’t have you getting that dress wet.” 
    “Always looking out for me... Thank you, darling,” She was in a cute and stylish blue and black outfit that complimented her scales nicely. She, of course, wore a hat to cover her head.  
    I pulled up to my parent’s home slowly. A pit formed in my stomach. I was starting to feel nervous too. I was technically married to Morrigan after all. I didn’t know how well my family would take that news. I just hoped my love for Morrigan was strong enough to overcome any challenges, “Ready?” I asked. 
    She grabbed the collar of my forest green polo and straightened it out before pulling me into a passionate kiss, “I love you,” She threw the coat over her outfit and got ready to slither to the front door. 
    “I love you too.” 
    I led her to the front door, dashing through the rain together. I stopped at the front door, standing on the stone porch and stared at the door. I hesitated as I reached my hand out to knock. Morrigan grabbed my other hand, squeezing it tightly. It could have been for her benefit or for mine, “Daring,” She whispered with a shaking voice.  
    I needed to be strong. For her. I took a deep breath and-- 
    “Hi, Anon,” A voice behind me shocked me out of what I had been focused on. I whipped around to face her, my sister, as she strutted up the steps with an umbrella in hand. 
    “Hey, Erin,” I nodded at her. My sister was still human, somehow, “Happy birthday,” I quietly added. 
    “You gonna keep your lady out here in the cold rain?” She glared at me. 
    “I-I was--” 
    “Let me get that door for you,” She looked right at Morrigan when she said that. She pulled a key out of her pocket and unlocked the door, “Mom! Anons here!” She called before heading to the kitchen. 
    Morrigan shuddered and grabbed hold of me again as quick footsteps approached. She stood behind me, anticipating and steeling herself. She let out an audible gasp as my mother approached with a smile on her face, “Oh, there’s my baby boy!” She pulled me into a hug, her big, feathery wings wrapping around me, “I missed you!” 
    “M-mom,” I stammered as I hoped she would cut it out. 
    She pulled away from me, just smiling at my face. She quickly turned to my wife, pushing me aside to get a good look at her, “I’m so happy to finally meet you, dear!” She reached out a hand as if to shake with Morrigan. Morrigan nervously outstretched her own hand, shaking it gently, “What is your name?” 
    “Morrigan, pleasure to meet you Mrs. Anon,” She greeted politely.  
    “Oh, you can just call me mom, dear. You have such pretty eyes!” My mom blurted out. Morrigan’s face was lit up red as she tried to stammer out a ‘thank you,’ “And your scales-- Sorry, is that weird to compliment you on? I’m still getting used to this.” 
    “Only as weird as me complimenting you on those gorgeous wings.” 
    The smile dropped off my mother’s face as she let out a sigh. Morrigan looked terrified, “You too, dear? Anon did you set her up on this prank as well? Its getting old.” 
    “No, mom,” I sighed, “She probably just senses that angelic aura like every other monster girl.” 
    Morrigan looked so confused at me. She looked scared. My mother dusted herself off, “I need to get a few things together. Come sit on the couch and chat, won’t you dear?” 
    “Um, y-yes. I will, thank you,” Morrigan smiled and waited for my mother to leave. I started taking my shoes off, “What was that!?” She whispered in a hushed panic. 
    I waited a moment and finished sliding my shoes off, “Want me to take your coat?” 
    “Anon,” She grunted, “What. Was. That?” 
    I gave her a concerned look and spoke in a low whisper, “She either can’t see them or her mind refuses to acknowledge them. I can’t explain it. They move with her as if she has control of them but she thinks she's still human. I don’t know.” 
    Morrigan blinked at me, “Strange,” She closed her eyes and brought a hand to her chin, “I wonder why that is.” 
    I shrugged, “Wanna see my old room?” 
    “Yes!” A cheerful grin spread across her lips. I led her upstairs to the first door and gestured for her to enter. My room had been converted to a guest room. I had things stashed in some boxes in the closet that I directed Morrigan towards. The dark blue walls felt incredibly nostalgic and comforting to me. My wife picked through old things like blankets and stuffed animals. She pulled out a big teddy bear and held it against her chest. She sat on the floor and coiled up around herself comfortably.  
    “You look really cozy, honey,” I chuckled. 
    She nodded, “Can I take some of these home?” 
    “Sure. I kept that stuff for when I have kids.” 
    She stared at the soft bear in her arms, “Are we going to have kids?” 
    I blinked at her, “Haven’t we been trying that?” 
    “I... Suppose we have. I forget that the monster fertility rate is quite low. I am going to set some things out to take home.” 
    I nodded and watched her pick out blankets and stuffed animals to take home, “Hey,” My sister poked her head in, “Dinner is ready soon. Going through Anon’s old stuff?” She walked in and looked at what the snake woman had grabbed, “I’m Erin, by the way.” 
    “Oh, Morrigan. Nice to meet you. Happy birthday, by the way.” 
    “So... Uh...” My sister nervously started. 
    “Yes?” 
    “How does someone like me turn into something like you?” My sister asked bluntly. Morrigan said nothing as a feeling of dread came over me, “Like, I know it can happen. My mom had it happen to her and look how beautiful and kind she is now. She used to be this crabby old woman that I would dread being around. And now--” 
    “Stop,” Morrigan demanded quietly, “You do not want to be like me.” 
    “Morrigan,” I tried to interject. 
    “I know what I want,” My sister retorted.  
    “You only see the allure of beauty.” 
    “What don’t I see? Magical powers? Wings? Enhanced senses?” 
    Tension was building in the room and I needed to stop this, “Hey--” 
    “I mean you will lose EVERYTHING that you once knew and loved about yourself!” Morrigan hissed. 
    “How would you know that? You’re a gorgeous snake woman. I would kill to have half your looks!” Erin grumbled. 
    “I WAS human!” Morrigan clenched her fists as my sister recoiled, “I lost everything I loved! My salon, my family, my friends, my HAIR. I believed I was doomed to be alone forever.” 
    “Y-your hair?” Erin stammered. 
    Morrigan turned to me, a concerned look on her face. I nodded. Morrigan turned back to my sister and removed her hat and letting her hair down. The snakes nervously moved as they tried to hide themselves, “I lost everything, Erin. I--” Morrigan wiped her eyes, “Coming here has given me a second chance. Please, you do not want to take that gamble. I know a lot of miserable girls that got turned into something horrible.” 
    The two awkwardly stood across from each other. I walked up to Morrigan and wrapped my arms around her from behind. She tilted her head against mine and reached up, pushing on my cheek to bring my head closer to hers, “No crying, honey,” I whispered. She nodded as her snakes pressed up against me for comfort and warmth. 
    “I’m sorry,” Erin bowed her head, “I--” 
    “You could not have known. If you could please give me a few moments with my husband to gather myself.” 
    “H-husband?” Erin repeated in shock, “Ooooh, Anon,” Her jovial tone returned, “Congratulations you two.” 
    She left, leaving me alone with the snake woman. She tried to pull away from me but I held her tighter and kissed her on the cheek, “Are you alright?” I whispered. 
    “Yes, I am fine,” She silently coiled a bit of her snake body around me, “I should not have snapped at her like that.” 
    “Maybe,” I grumbled, “At least she took it well.” 
    “Did she seem frightened by me?” 
    I let Morrigan go, taking her by the hands, “No, she didn’t seem afraid. I feel like you’re afraid of yourself more than anyone else is afraid of you.” 
    I felt like the rage I saw on her face could kill me. I felt cold as my ability to move left my muscles. Fear shot through my entire body. Morrigan snapped out of her mood and looked at me with a sad expression, “I... I am sorry. I...” 
    “Hey, stop beating yourself up over all this. Let’s go have some dinner, okay? I’m really hungry.” 
    She took a deep breath, “Alright,” There was dread in her tone. 
    Morrigan went for her hat, “She’s going to make you take that off. She considers hats at the table to be rude. I was lying. I needed to get her out of her comfort zone and I felt this would be a good opportunity. She nodded solemnly without a single word. She put the hat down and had a look on her face as if I had just condemned her to death. 
 
    We sat down at the table. Morrigan was staring at the wood of the table and tracing the lines on it with her finger. My sister was sitting across from us, her eyes were on the two of us as we held hands under the table. My parents finally came to the table and set dinner out. Roasted chicken, mashed potatoes and rolls. My mother brought out a bottle of wine as well, “Morrigan, dear. Would you like a glass of wine?” 
    Morrigan slowly looked up at her, confusion on her face as her snakes looked around the room. My dad was looking right back at the snakes with a blank look on his face, “Uh, y-yes please,” She stammered. 
    “Here you go, dear!” Morrigan’s tail wrapped around my ankle. I could have sworn she smiled a little bit, “Erin I know its your birthday, but I have so many questions for Morrigan here. When did you two meet?” 
    “H-How long ago was it now, darling?” Confidence was still completely absent in her voice. 
    “Um... Maybe a month and a half?” I guessed. I hadn’t been keeping track. Morrigan nodded silently to back up what I had said. 
    “Well, what is it you do for work dear? Do you work with computers like Anon?” My mom asked. 
“No, I-I am a beautician. I own my own parlor,” Morrigan corrected her. She immediately regretted mentioning that last part. 
“Oh! You’ll have to tell me where it is sometime! I could use a haircut soon!” My mom laughed. 
    Morrigan laughed nervously and messed with her snake hair, “Just ask Anon. He lives there now and should know the address.” 
    “You live together?” The jovial tone left her voice. 
    “Mom,” I jumped in, “We’re sort of married according to monster society.”  
    “My baby boy got married and I wasn’t there?” My mom looked like she was going to cry. 
    “Mrs. Anon,” Morrigan took back over, “The monster method is quite... Personal. We have spoken of doing a traditional human wedding. We will invite you to that, of course.” 
    My mother quickly calmed herself down, “Sorry, dear. I forget how different our cultures and ideals can be. Will I get to meet your parents then?” 
I could hear Morrigan hold her breath. Erin was looking at me to do something. I squeezed Morrigan’s hand. She turned to me with a sad look on her face and drooping snakes, “Want me to tell her?” I whispered. 
She shook her head, “It is my story, darling. Mrs. Anon, I do not know how to say this any other way; I was human seven years ago. I was transformed into this and my family and friends at that time disowned. I really only have Anon and a small group of friends.” 
    “I’m so sorry, Morrigan,” My mother looked incredibly guilty, “If you ever need anything or Anon is giving you any problems, call us. If Anon loves you enough to marry you then we love you too.” 
    Morrigan sighed sadly, “You do not need to grant me that. I know I am unworthy of love.” 
    My mother gasped, “Dear. Why would you say that?” 
    I squeezed my wife’s hand again. She only glanced at me. I was smiling weakly at her, knowing the pain she felt. She looked at me longingly as if wanting to cuddle before bed. She squeezed my hand back before turning back to my mom, “I apologize. I am trying to not have outbursts like that.” 
    “Well, I hope Anon is showing you enough affection,” My mother folded her arms. 
    “Anon is doing his best,” Morrigan chuckled. I frowned. 
    “Can I ask a question?” My dad finally spoke up. Morrigan nodded, “Stop me if this is... Strange or offensive to ask. Is having the snake body and... Snake hair inconvenient?” 
    “Not terribly inconvenient to have a body like this,” Morrigan mused as she rubbed her chin, “A lot of public buildings were remodeled to accommodate women twice my size. The hair, well, Anon seems to like them but I find they scare a lot of people. Usually I wear a hat to conceal it.” 
    “We appreciate you being comfortable enough with us to not wear a hat,” My mother smiled. 
    “Anon said you would not allow hats at the table,” She turned to me with a stony look. 
    “Well, we usually do not but if it was something that made you comfortable I would have made an exception for you,” My mother covered for me and shot me a wink that Morrigan did not see. 
    “Ah, I see.” 
    “Mom what kind of cake did you pick up?” Erin asked, trying to turn the birthday dinner back to her. 
    “Ice cream cake, dear. Just like you asked for,” My mother replied. 
    “Are you two gonna hang out after dinner?” Erin turned to us, “We might play some board games or those video games that you play through the phone.” 
     I turned to Morrigan expectantly, “I will stay if you wish to play games with your family.” 
    “Do you not want to play?” I asked her with a frown. 
    “I-I am no good at games, darling. Especially electronic ones.” 
I smiled, “You won’t learn unless you try. We have traditional games too,” Morrigan nodded nervously. 
 
“I am sorry, darling,” Morrigan laughed at me as we loaded into my car.  
“I can’t believe you tricked me like that,” I groaned. 
“It was just a game!” 
“I know...” I started driving us home. 
“Can we play that game again? I had a lot of fun.” 
    “Well, maybe we can play Catan again next time we see my parents. I’ve got some better games I can show you, too,” I smiled, praying she would want to play something else. 
    “Hm, perhaps,” She chuckled smugly, “Only if you will not throw a fit when you lose~” 
I slumped, “Y-yeah. Keep those slices of cake safe, alright?” 
    She looked down at the box in her hands, “I will, darling,” We were silent as we stared at the dark streets and overhead gently glowing yellow lights. I gently pushed the brakes as I approached a red light. There were no other cars out on the road in the light rain and slight fog. Morrigan leaned over and kissed me on the cheek, “Thank you.” 
    I looked at her with a confused glance, “What-- You’re welcome.” 
    She said nothing for a while longer, “I never thought I could be happy again. But I am so happy with you. I finally feel fulfilled in life.” 
    “That means a lot to me, Morrigan. You make me really happy too. Are you going to give up this dream of wanting to change who you are now?” 
    “I do not think I ever can. But I do finally feel comfortable with who I am.” 
    I frowned for a moment before smiling again, “Alright. Hopefully we can find some fantastic wizard to help you.”  
    “Thank you, darling. Can we go straight to bed tonight? We can shower in the morning,” She gently caressed my arm as she gave me a sultry smile.
     I nodded, “Yeah. I’m okay with that.”

    I felt a little bad about keeping our guest a secret from Morrigan, but after how smug she was about winning a game of Catan last night, it didn’t really matter to me. I was still doing this for her after all. Morrigan stirred where she lay. She had a large stuffed animal in her arms, preferring to cuddle with the fluffy toy that smelled a little bit like me rather than the real thing. The blankets she covered the two of us in were all from my old room and also smelled like me. I figured the smell was incredibly comforting to her as well as the blankets being either quite warm or soft. A smile was on her face as she rolled over to face me, the stuffed toy still in her arms, “Good morning, darling,” She whispered.  
    “Are you talking to me or Malone?” I asked, gesturing to the bear. 
    She tossed it aside and coiled around me, “Plans for today?” 
    “Gonna see Max again.” 
    “I should bring one of the girls around to talk to him!” Morrigan’s face lit up. 
    “I-I don’t know. Just don’t overwhelm him. It took me all week to get him out of his hole after you spooked him,” I sighed as I sat up and stretched. 
    “Alexandria is quiet. How about her?” 
    I shrugged, “I guess.” 
    Morrigan beamed at me and wrapped herself around me. She pulled me into a deep kiss and took a glance at the clock, “Mmmph, I do not have time.” 
    “For what?” The words hardly escaped my lips before I was pinned on my back.  
    “Oh, I just thought we could have gotten a little frisky this morning. Perhaps tonight. Come shower with me at least, darling,” I nodded slowly. I couldn’t say no to this woman and her loving smile. I kissed her on the forehead just before I helped her up. The snakes on the top of her head ‘kissed’ me with their tongues. I quickly gave them scratches under their heads. 
    “You should tie bows to them,” I murmured. 
    “Hm?” 
    “Bows. On the snakes. I think it would look really cute,” I admitted. 
    “Perhaps. Perhaps I should chop a few of them off in the front to make bangs. Or better yet cut them all down to the stalk,” She offered darkly. 
    “Its your hair, do whatever you want,” I sighed, easily defeated. 
    “Darling,” Morrigan cupped my cheeks, “I know you mean the best. I am sorry I keep talking like this.” 
    “You’re improving at least. You didn’t call yourself an ugly monster.” 
    “So you admit that I am?” Morrigan smugly laughed. I frowned and folded my arms as I turned my gaze away from her, “H-honey, stop looking like that,” I didn’t stop, instead I kept glaring at the wall, “H-honey, please,” She whined, “I take it back.” 
    “Good,” I gave her a kiss like giving an animal a treat after doing a trick, “Don’t we need to go shower?” 
    “Y-yes, of course.” 
 
    I sat in the living room, staring at the TV as I waited for lunch. As always, my mind wandered. It wandered to Morrigan mostly as I thought of her body and the way she swayed her hips when she walked or how she shook her rear to tease and entice me. The way her eyes glowed in the dark and the anger that they expressed so vividly when I upset her. The way she laughed and cried when we cuddled and just talked late into the night. The way the water flowed down her perfect breasts and down her soft belly. The food she cooked that made my stomach rumble just thinking about it. I thought of how much I loved her, something impossible to quantify.  
    I was torn violently from the pleasant, green colored visions in my head as my phone started to buzz. I pulled it out of my pocket and checked the number. I didn’t recognize it so I set the phone down and went back to daydreaming. I brought the ice cold cup of water to my lips and blinked at the TV playing some commercials in between reruns of some new mamano comedy skit show. My phone started to buzz again. I groaned and silenced the call. I turned back the TV, now too aggravated to just daydream again. A third call. I rolled my eyes and picked it up, “Hello?” I growled. 
    “Sweet Mother, Anon. Took you long enough to pick up,” A feminine voice growled back. It was somewhat familiar and nostalgic as if I knew this woman since childhood. 
    I took a moment to collect myself and respond, “Who is this?” 
    “Amanda. Amanda Dawn. Can I teleport over now?”  
    “How did you get this number?” I answered her question with another question. 
    “Look, dude, when your great, great... Great grandmother is the ruler of the world you can get your hands on anything you want. I don’t like to talk about it. Can I head over now?” 
    I couldn’t even process what she had told me, “Yeah, whatever do it.” 
    “Okay, your TV is on right?” 
    “Y-yes.” 
    “Okay, radical,” The phone hung up. My TV made a horrid scraping noise before turning completely blue. I was too stunned to even scream as three bags were tossed through. A woman climbed through, gracefully stepping onto the hardwood floor. She coughed and breathed heavily, “Mother...” She panted, “That was more difficult than it should have been.” 
    I blinked at Amanda. Just like in the photos I had seen, she had white hair, silvery grey horns and red eyes with black sclera . She dressed modestly in jeans and a black Metalica shirt with torn jeans and red shoes. She had a tail, a long silvery tail with a heart at the end, “Hey,” I scratched my head awkwardly. 
    “Yo! Anon! Good to see ya, kid,” She approached me like I was some kind of long lost friend as she put out her hand to shake. I took it thoughtlessly as she grabbed my hand, pulled herself towards me and patted my back like we were frat bros, “Damn, man. The air smells GOOD here. The air back homr still needs to be cleaned up a bit more. But man I can smell the mountains even inside.” 
    “Heh, yeah,” I felt completely at ease as if I had known this woman forever. 
    “Wanna show me to my room?” 
    “Morrigan will hear us go to the basement. She’s working right now so I don’t want to surprise her yet.” 
    “Ah, fair,” The confidence and jovial attitude suddenly dropped off as she glanced around, “Nice place.” 
    I nodded, “Its cozy. So, uh, what are you planning on doing now?” 
    “I was hoping to talk to your wife-- Morrigan, right? I need some inspiration before I start writing some songs.” 
    “Well, make yourself at home, Amanda. If you need anything, ask me, please,” I sat back down on my old couch and turned off the TV. I watched as the demon woman stepped over to the book shelf. She glanced over the DVDs with a disinterested glance. She turned to the CDs and ran a finger over them.  
    She scratched her chin as she removed a CD from the shelf, “Man. She must be a fan,” Amanda murmured, “This album was soooo bad,” She showed me a CD with a cartoony tree and campfire on the front. It had her name on the front, ‘Flaming Forest Songs.’ She opened it up and examined the CD, “I kinda regret getting these printed.” 
    “How did you get so many CDs made in such a short period of time after going through the portals?” 
    “I had been writing music back home. They got around through word of mouth as bards traded music. I still had all the sheet music on me and my husband, bless him, convinced me to get some CDs made for fun. Don’t get me wrong, dude. I was having fun. But my experimentation with metal and rap in this shit... Great Mother, its so bad.” 
    I shrugged, “I don’t think I’ve listened to it. Morrigan is a little shy about her music.” 
    “Good. I don’t need you to think I’m a bad musician too.” 
    “But I’ve heard a bunch of music you’ve written and that stuff was good!” 
    “Yeah, yeah. Thanks. Oh! She’s got--” She gasped, “Damn THIS one's good,” She flashed me a copy of another CD with a white cover and a black silhouette of a woman sitting on a cliff with an instrument in hand. She sighed happily, “Sorry. I’m just wandering down memory lane.” 
    “Hey, do what you want.” 
    “Darling~” Morrigan called as she entered the living room from her parlor downstairs. She removed her hat and let her snake hair down, “What are we--” She looked up at the demon woman on the other side of the room that was still looking through CDs, her back to us, “Darling. Who is that?” She asked me with worry in her voice. 
    “Honey, what are you talking about?” I joked with an obviously goofy voice. 
    “Darling!” She gripped my shoulders in a panic. 
    Amanda turned around with an assuring smile on her face. She was holding another CD case in her hand. This case had a photo of herself on the front with a smug grin on her face. Amanda was copying the look on her own face. Morrigan just stared at her, mouth slightly agape, completely mystified and confused, “Are you alright, Morrigan?” I asked, getting up from the couch. 
    “I-is that...?” She wouldn’t even look at me. 
    “Morrigan, right? Good to see you    !” Amanda put down the CD and approached Morrigan with an arm outstretched and a friendly smile on her face. Morrigan nervously took her hand and was pulled into another frat hug like I was. Morrigan was held a bit longer than I was. Amanda held her at arms length, taking in the look of my wife, “Such pretty scales,” She complimented gently. 
    “You really think so?” Morrigan nervously stroked her hair, “Thank you, Amanda.” 
    Amanda collapsed onto the couch, “I-- I need to take a break,” Her cheerful tone was completely gone. Morrigan sat next to her, trying to offer some kind of support to the exhausted artist. 
    “Hey, I’ll start lunch,” I offered. 
    “Anon, that’s my job,” Morrigan protested. 
    “Oh, you don’t need to feed me, bro,” Amanda grunted, obviously drained from her teleportation. 
    “Stop using your charm magic, you are just hurting yourself now,” Morrigan warned. Amanda nodded and leaned on the arm rest of the couch, “Take a nap if you need to, I will help my husband prepare lunch,” The demon woman merely nodded and closed her eyes, taking a pillow that Morrigan offered her with a silent thanks. 
    Morrigan pulled me to the kitchen and grabbed my shoulders, “How?” She asked in a hushed voice, “How did you get Amanda Dawn in THIS house?” 
    “I just reached out on social media and she asked if she could come here to get away from home and write music,” I shrugged. 
    Morrigan stared at me, “Okay, darling. Funny. Now please, how?” She faked a tiny bit of a chuckle. 
    “I offered her a three way with the two of us,” I said sarcastically, “I’m telling you the truth. She said she wanted to come out here and asked if I’d house her. I said yes thinking you two might get along or you would at least enjoy meeting her.” 
    “I hope I do get along with her,” Morrigan grinned. She looked incredibly happy. 
    “Well... Did you like the surprise?” 
    “Yes, darling. Thank you,” She hugged me tight and kissed me on the cheek, “What do famous songwriters like for lunch?” Morrigan wondered aloud.  
    “She’s just a person like you or me, Morrigan. What are you hungry for?” 
    “But she’s...” Morrigan paused for a moment, “I... Just a person...” She stared at the window out at the cloudy sky. 
    “I’m gonna throw some fries in the oven. We can have grilled cheese or something,” I chuckled. 
    “Anon?” Morrigan grabbed my arm gently, still looking completely mystified, “Do you really think I am just as good as her?” 
    “Of course. What would make her any better than you? You’re just as talented if not more, even if its in a different field,” I told her as I pulled out a tray and tore a bag of steak fries open and dumped it onto the metal tray. Morrigan put her hands on her cheeks, obviously blushing, “Hey, I’ve got a question for you. You mentioned magic when talking to Amanda. How do you know about that stuff?” 
    “I know about her species’ innate abilities. I also have learned a few about magic, despite not being a caster myself, from a powerful cat witch that I have been cutting the hair of for some time. It is all she talks about.” 
    “Neat. Well, we got half an hour till these are done. How about we let our guest rest while we go play a quick round of something upstairs?”  
Morrigan shook her head and took me by the wrist. She brought me up to our bedroom and pushed me against the wall. Her snake tail coiled around my ankles and wrists, holding me still while her hands wandered up and down my body, “If we want our guest to recover, we need to put some mana in the air, darling,” I gave her a confused look and was about to ask her what she meant, she shut me up by pressing her lips against mine before switching to french kissing, her long tongue teasingly playing with my much less dexterous tongue. She rubbed my quickly erect little trooper as it stood at attention. She had gotten good at this, making me squirm and moan as her hands moved up and down my body. My pants were removed and she stroked me gently as her own clothing was removed. Morrigan’s breasts and hips had both gotten larger. She also seemed to have gotten a bit taller as when she fucked me her head was a little above mine rather than about eye level with each other. Her pussy quickly enveloped my cock down to the hilt and she started to move her hips back and forth as she slammed hard against me. Her arms wrapped around my head and held them against her breasts. She skillfully milked me, quickly bringing me to orgasm. She orgasmed as well as her body mimicked mine. Morrigan moaned quietly as my own moans were muffled by her luxurious, pillowy breasts. She untied me, her body leaving mine as I slid to the floor, panting heavily, “Good boy~” She praised as she leaned down and petted my hair, “Clean yourself up, darling. Lunch should be ready soon.” 
 
I returned to the kitchen after having wiped myself down and changing clothes. Morrigan gave me a kiss on the cheek and handed me a grilled cheese with fries stacked on the plate. Amanda was still sleepy but she sat across from Morrigan and to my right at our little round table. Amanda stared at the floor where Mrs. Whiskers meowed at her, begging for food, “Cute cat,” She commented. 
    “She's quite loving. At least to my Anon. Unfortunately she does not love me ever since I changed into this form,” Morrigan sighed. 
    “I thought I sensed that on you,” Amanda nodded. I felt a chill down my spine as a ghostly whisper echoed throughout the room. I glanced around at the closed windows, confused, “Something wrong, dude?” 
    I scratched my head, “I thought I heard--”  
    There was a chilling moan from the living room as a woman rose from the floor. Willow stretched and looked around, “Morrigan! Where are you?” She whined. 
    “Willow, I am over here,” Morrigan waved at her.  
    “Can I rest here for a time? I was at the--” Willow turned and looked at the confused Amanda, “You have a lilim here and you are feeding her grilled cheese?” She gave me a disgusted look. 
    My heart jumped, “A l-lilim?”  
    Willow ignored me and turned to Morrigan, chewing her out, “Did you tell the other girls that you found a lilim!?” 
    Morrigan shifted nervously, “Willow--” 
    “Morrigan, you all finally have a chance! There is a LILIM at YOUR dining room table!” Willow kept going. 
    I got distracted by Amanda’s exasperated, blank look. She glanced at me, almost angry or disappointed, ‘What?’ I mouthed. She looked away from me and back towards her food.  
    “You can get your hair back!” Willow was pestering Morrigan still. 
    “Willow,” Morrigan hissed, “Stop trying to force my guest into this.” 
    Willow folded her arms and huffed as her blue flames increased in intensity, “What will the girls say when they find out?” 
    “Willow,” Morrigan’s snake hair hissed this time with her, “She just got here. Leave her alone. I will talk to the other girls later.” 
    Willow grimaced, “Anon, I am going to go play your Xbox.” 
    “Willow--” I glared at her. 
    “Ooooh noooo, I cannot heaaar yoooou,” She made a ghostly noise and waved her arms at me as she started to float up and through the ceiling. 
    I slumped my shoulders and shook my head. Morrigan nervously glanced at me then to Amanda, “I must apologize for my friend.” 
    “Did you really not know?” Amanda turned to me, still angry. I started to stammer unsure of what she was talking about, “You really had no idea I was a lilim?” I shook my head silently. Her glare softened as she turned back to the table then down to Mrs. Whiskers, still staring up at her with a hungry look, “You really just happened to reach out to me because of my music, huh?” She closed her eyes and picked at her food. 
    I turned to my guilty looking wife, “Morrigan. Should we tell our guest what that was about?” 
    She nodded slowly, “Amanda, I hope you do not hate us for this. Anon had no idea when he invited you here nor did I have any intentions of thrusting this upon you, but knowing Willow’s big mouth you may have a visitor or three here,” Morrigan began to explain. Amanda looked curious as she folded her arms and sat back, “As I mentioned, I used to be a human. For the longest time I loathed this snake form that I had been...” 
    “Gifted, as She would put it,” Amanda finished the sentence for her. 
    “Yes, well, my friends still hate their bodies. I have learned to love it thanks to this one here,” She put a hand on mine, “We hatched the plan a few years ago to find a lilim to change our forms, even if slightly.” 
    “Thank you for your honesty... But I’m not sure if I can do it,” Amanda spoke quietly and as if she regretted everything, “I am not a skilled caster like my siblings, cousins, mother, aunts, grandmothers or whoever else are,” The resentment was palpable in her speech, “I’d bet that cat witch you were whispering about earlier could help you more than I could.” 
    Morrigan frowned, “No need to beat yourself up, Amanda. I am very happy you even came here. Like I said, I am happy with myself now.” 
    “But those other girls are not. I’m expected to help people and monsters and all I can do is write shitty music,” Amanda looked up at Morrigan, ‘I’m sorry. I’m sitting in front of the first fan of my music I can recall meeting and I’m venting and whining like a little baby.” 
    “Sounds like you need a vacation,” I commented. 
    “I think you’re right, bro. Perhaps I should start acting like this is a vacation.” 
    Morrigan smiled, “I know its your magic doing it, but this feeling like you are an old friend is wonderful. Stay as long as you need to. We do not need the basement for anything.” 
    “Thank you. I feel like you two would offer the room to me even if my magic was not affecting you both,” Amanda stood from the table, “May I do the dishes before I go hide myself in my room to rest before wandering around town?” 
    Morrigan shook her head, “Alexandria should be around soon to tidy up. Before you ask, she should not bother you with talks of changing her form,” Amanda tried to protest. 
    “I gotta head out soon. I’ll see you both later,” I stood and stretched. 
    “Where ya headed, dude?” Amanda asked. 
    “Bar. Meeting with a friend to get my ass kicked at a card game.” 
    “Drinks any good?” 
    “They’re fine. Bar food is great though. That hellhound behind the grill must be using some kind of magic.” 
    “Have fun, darling!” Morrigan called as I grabbed my messenger bag and coat. Before I out the door she quickly kissed me goodbye. 
 
    “Mountain. Tap two. Dragon Fodder. Swing with three goblins,” I mumbled to Max. 
    Max shook out his cloak and adjusted his hood as he scratched his chin, “No blockers,” He grumbled, not wanting to sacrifice his few creatures. He knew me well enough to know that I had some sort of trick up my sleeve. We went back and forth as I quickly built up a red rush deck and flooded the board with cheap creatures and damaging spells. Max hardly had the time to build up his mill deck. I took a win and let out a sigh of relief. Max grumbled, “I’m taking this deck apart.” 
    “Aw. Come on, you just need more practice. Gonna get us both another drink, right?” 
    Max looked towards the bar. He stared, unable to look away from the bar. I watched as terror spread across his face. Before I could ask him what was up, four figures walked up to the table, “Hey boys~” Amanda laughed, pulling her sunglasses down. She was wearing a hood over her horns and a pair of sunglasses hid her face. 
    “Thats him?” Willow asked disappointedly as she stared at Max. Alexandria’s many mouths indistinctly gibbered excitedly.   
    “Scoot over, darling,” Morrigan demanded as she pushed me deeper into the booth. She leaned up against me as Amanda took the spot on her other side. Alexandria trapped Max in the booth by sitting right next to him. Willow just floated nearby, sipping wine out of a fancy glass. 
    “How are ya, Max?” Amanda asked. 
    Her charms weren’t working on him, “Stay away from me l-lilim,” Max shook in fear.  
Amanda’s shoulders slumped, “I’ll try to forget you said that,” She muttered under her breath. 
“A-and you!” He pointed a finger at Alexandria. Her eyes lit up in excitement as the finger got less than a foot from her face, “I c-cast... Sh-shock!” Max couldn’t utter the magic words correctly as the fear made him stutter and shake. A wizard needed to keep his emotions in check when casting. Alexandria leaned forwards and put his outstretched finger in her mouth, licking it suggestively. They stared into each other's eyes, both of their faces blushing. Max looked at me, a mixture of horror and arousal on his face. 
    “Looks like you two are connecting!” Morrigan clasped her hands together.  
    “Take your new girl home, Max,” Willow commanded. 
“B-but I’m so close to my wizardry,” Max protested. 
“I can wait,” Alexandria held his palm against the side of her face. The goo of her body covered his hand and held it against her face. Max shifted uncomfortably and took a sip of his drink. Alexandria’s eyes were glued to her supposed partner's eyes. She rested her head on his shoulder and released his hand. Ooze wrapped around his arm, holding him still. 
“Just let her be your maid until you are ready for something more,” Amanda told him. There was a flash in her eyes. 
Max nodded, a dull look in his eyes, “Y-yes. I suppose I should. A faithful eldritch  maid is just what a wizard like me needs.” 
    Alexandria swooned for him, “Mastah, we should be getting home~ I am sure your home could use a good deep clean~” 
    Max nodded his head and started packing up his cards. I was sad to see him go, afraid I was going to lose another friend to their monster wife, “You will see him again, darling,” Morrigan whispered as if sensing my worry, “Do not fret,” I nodded and looked down at my own cards, sorting through them to be sure I don’t take any of his cards home. 
    Amanda grabbed a few cards and sorted through them, “This game any fun?” 
    “I can’t recommend getting into it,” I shrugged. 
    “Darling, can I buy you another drink?” Morrigan asked, hugging my arm as the new couple left hand in hand. 
    “No thanks. I don’t want to get hammered before four in the afternoon.” 
    “Well that’s one couple down,” Amanda commented, moving to the other side of the booth followed by Willow, “Gotta find her a man now.” 
    “Oh?” I folded my arms. 
    “Well, like I said I want to help people any way I can. From what little Morrigan told me and what some magic said he sounded like a good match for the shoggoth. I’m struggling to figure something out for her, though.” 
    “What about a man that’s already dead?” Morrigan proposed. 
    Willow shuddered, “I-I do not know. It feels wrong to do that.” 
    “But you’re a ghost? You could get with another ghost,” I was just throwing out ideas and hoping they worked. 
    “The man you get is going to spend the rest of his days in that cage body of yours. Might as well pick one that is already dead, hm?” Amanda put it lightly and casually as if this was a normal occurrence for her. 
    “There's an apparently haunted theater downtown,” I proposed. 
    “Sounds like a fun trip! Come on, finish that drink and let's get out of here,” Amanda smiled. Morrigan quickly agreed and Willow reluctantly nodded. 
 
    I led the three to the old theater. I had only ever been there a handful of times as a child. Amanda finished conjuring a short spell then stretched. I looked up at the stained glass windows and felt a chill down my spine, “I can hear them,” Willow whispered. Amanda frowned and stared up as well. Morrigan grabbed my arm and shook with fear.  
I tried the door and frowned as the door resisted my tugs, “Locked,” I announced, turning to the three women that followed me there. The old theater’s front doors wouldn’t budge for me. Willow had a blank look on her face as she drifted forwards and phased through the door. 
    “Hold on,” Amanda pushed me aside and waved a finger over the lock. I heard the lock’s tumblers rattle and groan as the doors were unlocked for us. 
    “Are you sure this is fine?” I asked quietly. 
    Amanda and Morrigan both turned to me with incredulous glances, “I am one of the descendants of the world's ruler. I could do what I want, Anon,” Amanda pushed the door open and Morrigan followed her. I rolled my eyes and followed. 
    Willow was floating towards the theater, her fiery lower body was bright with passion as she kept lazily hovering onwards as if in a trance. She phased through another wall and the three of us unlocked a thick wooden door to enter the main theater. We stood before row and rows of plush red chairs all pointed towards the main stage. It was completely dark as no windows let sunlight into the room. I saw Willow standing before the stage, staring at some unseen person. I took a step down the aisle before a hand was put on my shoulder. I turned back to Morrigan, her beautiful red eyes staring at me in the dark. She silently shook her head and led me to a chair at the very back. The three of us sat and stared. Amanda and Morrigan had looks of wonder and amazement as the willowisp got on stage as if pulled up by some unseen partner. I watched as the form of a man began to appear as they danced together. A blue, spectral form of a man in a nice suit danced with Willow. They said nothing and danced together in a musicless, dark room. As they finished their dance, they turned and bowed to an almost empty audience. The two started to speak to each other quietly as if nothing had just happened. I could hardly hear their introductions to one another. Morrigan took me by the wrist and led me out of the theater. We started the walk back home. 
    “That music,” She murmured. 
    “So haunting yet romantic!” Amanda commented. 
    “I-I couldn’t hear anything,” I frowned. 
    “I am sorry, darling,” Morrigan frowned. 
    “Its okay. I’m just glad that she finally looked somewhat happy.” 
    “As am I. I plan to go out for the evening, I hope you do not mind,” Amanda sheepishly told us. 
    Morrigan smiled warmly, “Oh, take your rest. Dinner will hopefully be ready by seven. If you are not back at that time, feel free to eat anything from the fridge.” 
 
    I woke up alone in bed on a sunny Saturday morning. No sounds of guitar strings or sleeping medusas graced my ears. I rolled off the mattresses on the floor and stood up, throwing a shirt on from my closet. I checked my phone for messaged to see a string I didn’t respond to from Max, ‘Yo dude,’ The first one read, ‘Does anal count as sex for wizardry?’ Four hours later he sent another, ‘I guess it counted. At least I don’t have to live in this god forsaken swamp any more.’ 
    I chuckled and quickly wished him well and congratulated him. I found Morrigan and Amanda around the dining room table along with an exhausted Pricilla. She perked up when she saw me, “Anon! Look!” She held up a white binder stuffed thick with pages of paper. She had written, ‘Love Story Ultra’ on the front. 
    “You must have not slept for a few days,” I sighed. 
    “Right! No sleep! Your encouragement helped me finish what I had already started,” She downed a cup of coffee and went for another, “I wrote about one of those magical girls, like in anime, fighting crime at night and fighting for love during the day! And she's in high school!” 
    “Now what?” 
    “I go get it published, right?” 
    “Well, its not that easy. You should maybe get it edited or join one of those clubs or groups that share their writing,” I suggested as I was handed a cup of coffee by my wife.  
    Pricilla didn’t look interested. Amanda spoke up, “I’m sure there's another lonely person in one of those, specifically a man, that might be interested in you,” She gave the gazer a wink as her eyes sparkled.  
Pricilla looked at the binder in her hands. She sucked in her cheeks and nodded hesitantly, “I-I guess I should try.” 
    “What’s the worst that could happen?” Morrigan smiled. 
    “That he thinks I am gross,” She picked at the blackish ooze that covered parts of her ashen skin. 
    “You’re all there to get better at writing. I’m sure you’ll make at least one friend,” I gave her a reassuring smile.  
    Pricilla looked at me and smiled back, “Alright. I will look into it. Morrigan, can I take a nap here?” 
    “Go ahead,” Morrigan nodded. Pricilla took her book with her and trudged upstairs, “How did you sleep, darling?” 
    “No nightmares,” I shrugged. 
    “That’s good!” 
    “Were you haunted at some point, Anon?” Amanda asked. 
    I sighed, “I had nightmares constantly after the portals opened of being chased by a woman in the dark. She would always eventually catch me and crush and or suffocate me to death. The way she glared at me with red eyes and cackled and hissed is forever burned into my mind.” 
    “Sweet Mother, Anon... And you married the girl that could DO that to you?” 
    “Oh and I did! I did do it to him!” Morrigan laughed like a madwoman, “Darling, I am sure you remember that!” 
    I shuddered, “Y-yeah. I remember,” Amanda looked mortified. 
    “I thought I had killed him!” She was still laughing, “I had drugged him that night and took him to his bed and he started to have one of those night terrors. I coiled around him tightly and tried to keep him still as he cried. Then his back popped incredibly loud and he went limp!” She demonstrated by coiling around my torso and giving me a squeeze and twisted me slightly. My back popped loudly on command, “See!?” 
    “You cried so much,” I wheezed.  
    “Mhm... But I still got you in the end,” She sighed happily as the memories came flooding back to her. 
    “You two are so strange. And very cute,” Amanda chuckled, “I have been away from my husband for less than 24 hours and I already miss him.” 
    “You should have brought him with you!” Morrigan frowned. 
    “Can’t. He’s a very busy guy,” Amanda frowned. 
    “Amanda, weird question, but why do you use contractions? No other monster girl I’ve met does. You even say ‘dude’ and ‘guy.’ Morrigan has only ever called me dude as a joke,” I asked out of curiosity. 
    “I’ve been looking into your world for a handful of years. I may be 472 or so years old but I wanted to be ‘hip’ and ‘cool,’” She laughed, “I wanted to come here and make fresh music with cool new words... I haven’t been able to write a new song in years. Being in this world has not helped one bit.” 
    “Well...” My shoulders slumped, “Hopefully you get that muse back. Since I got with Morrigan my desire to explore my hobbies has come back.” 
    “What’s your story, Anon? Morrigan already talked about herself.” 
    I glanced at Morrigan as she glanced at her phone with a confused stare. She was typing into her phone as I spoke, “Not much to say. I’m just a tech guy that is into some nerd hobbies. My friends since middle and high school all vanished a while ago. I’ve only got Max now, really.” 
    Amanda scratched her chin. She stood and looked out the window, “I’m gonna go do some writing,” She grabbed the acoustic guitar that she had left sitting on the couch last night. She started humming a song, “I’m gonna go hang out on the roof.” 
    Morrigan turned to me with a loving, sultry expression, “Darling? I hope you didn’t have plans today.” 
    “What are your plans then?” I asked. 
    “A lot of cuddling~” She took me by the wrist and dragged me to the office. I was thrown onto the loveseat just before the snake woman coiled around me. She pulled out the DS I had loaned her and rested her head on my shoulder. She leaned over and kissed me on the neck before turning her attention to her game. 
 
    Morrigan’s hand brushed my cheek. My eyes opened slowly to see the gazer standing over me. My wife was still sitting on my lap, “Anon, could you walk Pricilla home? It is dark out.” 
    I turned to my wife and nodded, “What time is it?” I asked. 
    “A little after seven, darling,” She informed me. I glanced out the window at the dark sky, “Pricilla is just a little nervous walking home on her own this late at night.” 
    “Understandable,” I sat up, “Wouldn’t want anyone to steal your life’s work, right?” 
    “Right!” Pricilla nodded with a little sparkle in her numerous eyes. 
    I stretched, grabbed my shoes and coat and quickly got ready to leave. Amanda was sitting on the couch with her instrument at her side and papers scattered all over the coffee table, “Hey,” She greeted with a glance to the three of us. 
    “Christ, what’s all this?” I asked. 
    “Song writing,” She grunted, scooping up the papers seemingly at random, “Going out?” 
    “Anon is walking Pricilla home. I will be starting dinner soon as well,” Morrigan explained. 
    “Hey, I’ll tag along, if that’s fine. I need to stretch these legs.” 
    “Of course! You should meet Delaney! She would be so mad if I did not introduce you two,” Pricilla told Amanda. 
Morrigan waved us off as we walked out into the cold night. The streetlights overhead glowed a bright yellow, illuminating the sidewalk as we went. Pricilla walked to the side of me, “I looked up some of those writing clubs. There is one at that new local book store.” 
    “You gonna go?” I asked, still staring forward. 
    “Do... Do you think I should?” 
    “Yeah you might as well.” 
    “Okay. Thank you for pushing me to finish that book. I was more than halfway done and I couldn’t get myself to finish it.” 
    “Just pass that onto someone else that needs that little push.” 
    “I will. Thank you,” Pricilla smiled and fell silent as she stomped down the street. I looked around at the streets and noted how much they had changed. All the little stores had changed from faceless liquor stores and convenience stores to extravagant instrument shops with the windows full of exotic instruments I couldn’t pronounce the names of, stores full of magic trinkets and spellbooks, clothing stores for every kind of mamano and even candy and sweets shops full of flavors I could never name. My mouth salivated as I looked at bright colored boxed sweets. The one thing Morrigan could never get right were sweets. Everything else she made was more than satisfactory, but she tried to make everything she could from scratch. I rubbed my chin and glanced in a potion store. The undead woman behind the counter stared at us with cold, unblinking eyes. I shuddered and hurried past.  
    “I love this town,” Amanda muttered, “If I lived here I could just walk everywhere. I do not enjoy driving.” 
    “Then move here,” I shrugged. 
    “Maybe I will, Anon. Perhaps you and my husband could form a band with Max.” 
    “I have no musical talent. No artistic talent at all.” 
    “Oh, I’m sure you could learn!” 
    I gave her an apologetic smile and kept walking. A few minutes later, we had arrived at Pricilla’s home. She led us inside and disappeared into another room. Amanda removed her hood and tinted glasses, preparing herself for meeting another person. I had gotten to the point where I could sense her magic in the air whenever she switched on her natural magic. 
    I heard tiny clacks on the tile as a nervous spider woman poked her head around the corner, “H-Hello, ma’am,” Delaney showed her entire form as she squeezed through the door frame. She quickly went into a bow before the lilim. 
    “Oh, come on, just shake my hand,” Amanda chuckled. 
    Delaney graciously shook her hand, “Can I get you anything? Do you need any clothing? I make my highest quality items with real spider silk. Very nice. B-but I am sure you already know that, your grace. I--” 
    “Hey, hey. Calm down. I’m just a person like you or even Anon here. I’d love to see your work sometime.” 
Delaneys face lit up a little bit, “Th-thank you. But is it not blasphemous for me to put you on the same level as someone like myself? Or even Anon?” 
    Amanda took a deep breath as she tried not to get frustrated, “Its okay. Calm down.” 
    Delaney nodded quickly, “A-alright. If you get the chance, please stop by and browse my wares.” 
    “I will. I will most likely be going back home in a few days, but I suspect I shall return soon.” 
    “Any luck finding a man?” I asked Delaney.  
She sadly shook her head, “I know the two of you have been helping the other girls but I believe I am beyond salvation.” 
    “No one is beyond salvation,” Amanda hissed, “I will help find you a man.” 
    “Y-you will? My lady I could not accept such--” 
    “As the descendant of your ruler you shall do as I have commanded.” 
    “Y-yes, my lady.” 
    “Good. Now, where have you looked for a man?” 
    Delaney tapped her fingers together idly, “U-uh... T-the supermarket... The liquor store... The store I work at...” 
    Amanda shook her head, “Is that it? You are a supreme hunter, able to lay a trap and spring it on potential unsuspecting mates. Why have you not stalked dark alleys?” 
    “My lady, I do not want you to think that I would spurn the gifts of The Mother--” 
    “I know you and your friends have felt cursed by these gifts,” Amanda spoke softly and carefully, “I cannot completely change your form on my own, friend. But, I will help you find happiness.” 
    “Th-thank you,” Delaney looked like she was going to cry. 
    “Hmm... Anon,” Amanda turned to me, “Do you have any locations where we could search for a partner for our spider friend here?” 
    I scratched my chin, “I’ve been thinking about it. There are exotic pet expos that happen every few months. There are a lot of spiders there. I have no idea what these expos look like now with monsters being around.” 
    “I like that idea. I’m sure you could find a man there that likes your spider body,” Amanda nodded her head in satisfaction. 
    “That is not what I want!” Delaney was taken aback by our suggestion, “I do not want to be FETISHIZED for this body. I want a man that likes ME, not what I am!” 
I hung my head. Amanda would not give up, “Have you tried just talking to people?” 
“B-but the man is supposed to initiate conversation between a man and woman,” Delaney frowned. 
    “Monsters seem to be the ones to take the initiative now,” I told her from first hand experience. 
    “Could you help her with online dating? Perhaps that would be easier,” Amanda continued speaking calmly, her magic obviously waning. 
    “M-maybe. I would like a bit of time to consider my options,” Delaney sighed. 
    “If you need support, just turn to your friends. I’ll be seeing you,” Amanda turned to leave. I followed her back out into the dark night. She put her hood back on and started to slowly walk. I followed her as she took an alternative route back to my home. Amanda glanced at me from behind her tinted glasses, “Anon,” She called out to me as she started into a local park, slowing to look at the calm pond. 
    “What’s up?” I asked as we walked onto a small bridge and leaned up against the railing. 
    “I wanted to thank you.” 
    “For?” 
    “You helped me help those girls. I have this innate desire-- no, NEED to help people. I don’t think I could have helped them myself to the same degree.” 
    “You’re not giving yourself enough credit,” I chuckled, “I’m just some guy.” 
    “You and your wife also helped me. I feel like I’ve gotten my desire to write music back. I wrote, like, three songs so far that I am actually happy with,” She smiled at me, “Well, I wanted to do something for you. I already have a plan for Morrigan, but what do I give you, the man who already has everything?” 
    “You’ll do anything?” 
    “Yes.” 
    I almost immediately responded, “I want you to give Morrigan her hair back. That’s what I want.” 
    She slumped her shoulders, “You could ask for anything for yourself... Yet you choose to further help that woman. She’s a lucky girl,” She sighed and looked at me, “I’ll make some calls. Just don’t tell her. I’m still not sure I can do it.” 
    I nodded, “Thank you.” 
    “But still, what do YOU want?” 
    “I just want to make Morrigan happy,” I looked at Amanda. She didn’t seem to accept that answer. I thought for a few moments, “Can I cash this in later?” 
    She rolled her eyes, “Yeah, sure,” She huffed a little bit, “Come on, your wife is making dinner and I’m starving.” 
 
    I tiptoed into my bedroom and shined the dull flashlight at the ceiling. Morrigan was lying in bed, seemingly asleep. I walked towards her quietly and put a hand on her shoulder. She turned to me, eyes half closed. She smiled, “Darling?” 
    “Ssssh,” I kissed her on the forehead, “Sleep now, honey.” 
    She nodded and drifted back off to sleep. I glanced at the clock, 11 PM on Sunday. Amanda and I had done nothing but research and prepare for this moment today. It had been difficult to keep Morrigan off of our plan. I didn’t know why I liked to surprise her so much. Maybe it was because of how happy she looked when I gave her a nice surprise. Amanda tapped me on the shoulder and motioned for me to step back. She produced a piece of paper and glanced at the letters. I put out my hand and let her gently carve a rune into the back. I put my hand on my wife’s head and turned to Amanda. She started to whisper the magic words as the air became filled with an indescribable sweet smell that made my head hurt. I felt the stamina being sapped from my body as the still lying snakes slowly began to turn to stone. I watched as they fell off my wife’s scalp. I quickly collected them and put them in a small cardboard box. I stopped myself from rubbing her now bald head. Amanda put a hand on my head and her other on the head of my wife. She continued to utter magic words. My head itched horribly as my hair receded into my scalp. I watched in amazement as the hair began to grow on Morrigan’s head. It was the same color as mine as it grew to a short length. I frowned at Amanda. She held up one finger and grabbed a second, smaller page. She touched the hair again and said two words. Morrigan’s hair faded to a black color and grew to a long, messy pixie cut. Amanda nodded in satisfaction and suddenly began to pant. She looked exhausted. I nonverbally tried to offer her some help. She pushed my hand away and pointed at Morrigan. I got changed and got in bed with my wife. I ran my fingers through her soft hair and closed my own eyes, falling asleep quickly as the exhaustion from sacrificing my own energy hit me. 
 
    There was a shriek early in the morning. I leapt up, heart pounding as I looked around the dark room. A light came from the bathroom. I stumbled over to the door, crashing into the dresser as I hurried. I threw the door open and looked at a startled Morrigan. She touched the mirror then her own cheek. She was in a stupor as she reached up on top of her head nervously and ran her fingers through her hair. She tugged at her hair as she tested if it was real. I slowly approached her, “Honey?” I called out to her. 
    She turned to me and tilted her head, “Darling? What happened to your hair? What happened to my hair?” She breathed, still confused, “I must be dreaming... I must be dreaming...” 
    I put a hand on her shoulder, “Honey. Calm down,” I spoke firmly and calmly. 
    She looked up at me. The red glow was gone from her eyes. She couldn’t stop herself from crying as she stared into my eyes, “D-darling... Thank you,” She sobbed as she wrapped herself around me. I caressed her hair and hugged her tightly, “It-- It feels so good when you pet me now,” She wailed, “I love you so much,” She sniffled. 
    “Shh,” I whispered, “I love you too.” 
    She continued to hug me as she kept her face pressed to my shoulder, “Darling... How?” 
    “I don’t understand the magic behind it. We were able to remove the snakes and give you my hair. I’m sorry its not very long,” I explained. 
    “It could be the buzz cut you have now and I would be profusely happy,” She wiped her eyes, “I love you. Thank you for not giving up on the dreams that I already had.” 
    “I love you too. We need to get ready, right, honey?” 
    She shook her head, “Please, do you need to go to work?” She whined. 
    “You have work to do as well, honey. I’ll be home before you know it. Aren’t you cutting Amanda’s hair today and doing her nails?” 
    Morrigan nodded, “Just hurry home after work? Okay?” 
    “I will. Don’t brag too much about your hair today, alright?” 
    She nodded, “Come bathe with me, darling. Let me bask in your warmth and love for a moment longer,” She smiled sweetly at me but I could see something else in those eyes of hers. She had looked at me before with love in her eyes, but this was something different. She clung to me tighter as she expected me to nod my head. I knew she would rape me on the spot if I said no. I nodded and let her drag me to the tub. Her hips were already pressing against mine as she used her tail to turn the water on.  
She was soaked through her underwear and it was starting to soak through mine. Her underwear was just a little patch of cloth worn over her womanly parts. She peeled off her underwear and bra then quickly tore my shorts off. She stroked my shaft and invaded my mouth with her tongue. She slipped into the hot bath water and beckoned for me to come to her. I did as she silently commanded and got on top of her. Her tail coiled around me and forced my cock inside of her. She instantly started breathing heavily as she held me still. Her entire body quivered as she moved her hips back and forth. I was on top of her but she was in complete control. My hands were bound behind my back and hips were kept as still as they could be with Morrigan slamming herself against me. She smiled at me before pulling me close with her arms and kissing me on the lips again. She held onto me and just stared into my eyes as her hips expertly milked my shaft. I let out a loud moan as I blew my load inside of her. She kissed me again and slowly uncoiled around me, “Your turn, darling,” She grinned, “Take the lead.” 
I nodded and started gently thrusting my hips, trying to get the rhythm of it. I grabbed her breasts and rubbed them, eager to listen to her moan. I got exactly what I wanted as she threw her head back, her lips curled back into a smile as she moaned loudly. My body took control and I started to thrust harder and faster. Morrigan threw her arms around me, clinging to me and raking her claws across my back. It stung horribly but the hurt only made me harder. Her body shuddered as she orgasmed. Involuntarily, her entire snake body wrapped around me and gave me a squeeze as if her life depended on it. Her hips got to work again as she took control back from me, “Come on, Anon. I want to have your children. We are going to be such a wonderful family,” She chuckled as I came again. She pet my head as every last drop was milked from me, “Good boy~” I went limp in her arms, “Let us get you cleaned up, darling. Just relax. I will take care of you,” I nodded, leaned back, and closed my eyes as her delicate hands gently scrubbed my body, “I love you,” She whispered. 
“I love you too,” I groaned, hips and body aching. 
 
    “Here you are,” Amanda handed a thin wrapped package to Morrigan.  
    “You did not have to bring me anything, Amanda,” Morrigan graciously took the package. 
    “I thought you would want it as soon as possible,” She shrugged. 
    Morrigan tore open the packaging and gasped loudly, “You actually did it!” It was a CD and vinyl record of a new album Amanda had in the works called: ‘The Woman With Snake Hair.’ Three songs on the album were about Morrigan. The rest were other people’s local love stories. 
    Morrigan put a hand on her pregnant belly as she handed the items to me, “Thank you,” She grinned. A few other people sat around the room, Alexandria and Max stood together in the corner whispering to each other. Pricilla and her husband, another writer, sat on the other couch with Amanda and her husband. Willow and her ghostly husband, a singer from the early 1900’s, floated near the ceiling. Delaney, recently having turned into a papillion after being forced through a metamorphosis by lilim magic.  
    The other people in the room started conversing with each other. I turned to Morrigan, “Enjoying your birthday, honey?” 
    “Of course, darling. It is more than I could have ever asked for,” She gave me a big smile and brushed her mid-back length hair over her shoulder.  
    I leaned in and kissed her on the cheek, “Here. Just a little gift for you.”  
    She took the tiny package from me, “Darling, you did not need to,” She quickly tore the packaging apart to reveal a small felt box. She opened it up and gasped again, “Darling!” She held the ring I had bought for her in two fingers before quickly slipping it on. It was a simple silver band with a few diamonds in it. 
    “I hope you like it.” 
    “I love it!” She grinned, “I love you.” 
    “I love you too. Are you ready for cake?”
     “Yes! The birthday girl demands cake!”

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