A sharp, white light burning into the core of my brain, scalding all trace of their existence... their very presence, as if to say "It never happened. We were never here." As if I could just forget the past few days and not wonder why. And yet even now I can feel my memory fading. The thoughts stripped from my brain, like weeds in a gardener's dirt crusted hand. Then the white light takes a shape... a shape that I now understand, but doubt I will until the next Halloween. When it will all start again. Now the bright, white shape increases in intensity, the only thing my confused mind can concentrate as it burns itself into my mind in place of all the memories.
All I see is a grouping of circles. One large circle forms the perimeter of the symbol. Four circles are then contained within the major circle. Somehow I know that all four inner circles are the exact same size. One of the circles is directly in the center of the outer circle. The remaining three circles form a triangular pattern, their centers lying upon the circumference of the center circle and their own circumferences coincident with the outer circle. This is the shape that haunts me in these days before Halloween. This is the shape that seers its brand into my mind like a cattleman's stake of claim, as if to label me as someone's property. If my mind would only let me focus on that thought long enough to realize its heavy truth.
But alas, I cannot.
The Gathering is upon me, once again.
My body reacts in violent protest to images that fade from my memory like cold breathe on a winter's night. Bracing myself up on sweat-soaked arms, my heart pounds madly in my chest and my lungs pump furiously as if to fight off suffocation. Perhaps that is not such an unusual physical response. Staring around the room I feel trapped somehow; pinned inside the plane white walls and ceiling and floor. On the recesses of my memory I catch a fleeting image. A single brief shape.
A grouping of circles.
My body shudders suddenly from the cold of the room and my sweat-covered body. At least that's what I tell myself. Tossing off the sheets and climbing out of bed I decide to go for a midnight jog.
Well, not quite midnight, but whose counting?
The cool night air feels much better on my mind and skin than I'd thought and my fears eventually drift away. All, that is, save one.
That damn grouping of circles. I find myself staring at generic patterns in an attempt to make some sense out of it. The Martins' mailbox post and its wrought-iron rings. The Thompsons' doorknocker. All are subtle reminders of that image, so that eventually I find myself anxious to once again crawl back into the sanctity of my bed and try and forget the dream.
Entering the apartment-complex parking lot I throw my arms above my head and walk around in a slow circle so that my blood can settle down for a bit before I make my way up the stairs. Suddenly the light to one of the rooms across the lot from mine comes on and I can barely make out two figures dancing with each other. Wishing that I could enjoy the same kind of intimate relationship I decide to let my blood simmer inside and stomp quietly up the stairs, if that is even possible.
Opening my door I toss the keys onto the kitchen counter and say a few soothing words to Oliver, my old gray Tabby, before wandering back to my room and stripping off my sweaty clothes. As soon as I've finished I realize that I can see directly into the room with the light on and the two figures are still dancing. Taking out a pair of binoculars that I'd bought for the weekend college football games, I steal a glance into the window and am stunned when I see two extremely beautiful women dancing with each other. One is slightly taller than the other, possibly due to a pair of fuck-me pumps, but I can't tell from where I'm standing. Her tight black dress stops just below the cleft of her ass and the tiny straps that drape over her shoulders can barely restrain the bulge of her cleavage. Her hair is shoulder length and black, and as she tosses it to the side, to get it out of her face, a brief note of recognition flashes in my mind. But it is forgotten as soon as it appears. Then I take in her partner. This one is clad in a low cut skirt that doesn't fall much lower than the dress of her friend. She also has on a spaghetti strap top, much too small for her full upper body figure, and, as a result, flashes a great deal of her stomach and cleavage. Her dark red hair cascades almost seductively down the curve of her back, ending just above the curve of her ass.
Immediately I realized that I was sporting a rigid erection as the two fondled each other through their clothes and I found myself tempted to stroke it a little in tribute to their little show. Then I realized what I was doing and that if anyone else was watching me watch these two girls that I could get in some serious trouble. Shaking my head I put down the binoculars and opted instead for a nice cold shower to sooth my racing heart and blood.
Resting my weight against the wall of the shower beneath the showerhead I exhaled harshly as the cool water ran down my face and shoulders, relieving some of the tension, but not enough for comfort. Just then I heard someone knocking at my door and I cursed stupid people everywhere for the late-night interruption. The knocking became louder and more aggravated just as I stepped out onto the bathroom floor and threw a towel around my still-drying waist.
"Yeah, I'm coming. Keep your shorts on!!!" I yelled down my hallway. Stomping through the apartment I didn't even bother to check the peephole in the door before slinging it open madly. Which is why I found myself standing there in my doorway in nothing but a towel on and my next-door neighbor staring wide-eyed, with her fist hanging in mid-air where the door should have been.
Awkwardly she and I both stuttered out apologies as the embarrassment of the situation dawned on us both. She too was caught off-guard I soon realized as she stood in my doorway in just a white t-shirt, and it appeared nothing else.
"D-did you want something?" I asked, trying to hurry the situation along so that we both could return to our respective comfort zones.
"Oh. Yes. Right!" She flustered. "I heard a noise outside my door and stepped out to check it and the door locked behind me. Can I use your phone to call the landlord for a replacement?"
"Uh... sure!" I answered a little too quickly and hopefully.
Stepping aside I let Julia walk by, stealing a quick peak at the hint of her butt beneath her shirt as her hips swayed back and forth. Julia was a cute little number; a little bit shorter than most of the girls that I knew, but her pert little ass and tits more than made up for it. Her short blonde hair, cut off just below the ear, finished off her tiny stature, making her appear all the more innocent.
"Phone's in the kitchen." I called as I closed and locked the front door and turned on the living room light. I went and sat down on the couch and turned on the T.V. while I heard her talking to the landlord in the next room. Again my eye was caught by movement from the apartment across the way and I found myself gawking as the redhead had the other girl bent over, on all fours, and was pumping her from behind madly with a solid black strap-on. Again I felt an erection stirring and I immediately sat back down on the couch and focused on the T.V. I knew that I was pitching a tent beneath the towel, but I hoped that it would die down before Julia returned and I completely embarrassed myself.
Just then I heard the phone hit the receiver and Julia came stomping into the living room as she sulked down into the seat across from me.
"That was the landlord and he says that he doesn't have a copy of my apartment key. Says that he gave me the copy a few months ago when I was having the remodeling done and that I never gave it back to him. So now I've got to wait till the morning for a locksmith. I hate to ask you this, but could I stay here tonight?"
On any other day I would have considered myself the luckiest man on earth. A beautiful girl, begging to spend the night in my apartment with nothing but a thin white t-shirt and a towel to separate us. But right then I wanted to release the tension that had been building up in my balls for the past few minutes. But, I did what the nice guy would do.
"Sure Julia, you can take the bed and I'll take the couch, just give me a bit to go get a change of clothes and you can have it." Standing up I started my walk to the back bedroom when Julia suddenly spoke out loud.
"Oh my god, would you look at those two women!"
Turning I found myself mesmerized as the two women were now locked into a violent and passionate sixty-nine position, their heads and legs vibrating with an intensity that I've never seen before. I was hypnotized by their lustful sex act. That is, I was until I felt something warm wrapping around the shaft of my cock.
"Well, I guess you did get a good look at those two women." Said Julia as she gently stroked the length of my cock that was pushing the towel away from my body. Following the length of her hand from the shoulder I saw it vanish at the bottom edge of the towel and my legs began to give a little as she stroked my shaft deliciously.
"But that looks much too uncomfortable. Let's let you relax a little bit." Julia added just before grabbing one of the seams of the towel and pulling it so that the self-made wrap unraveled and piled into a heap at my feet. There I stood, transfixed as I stood naked before her, my cock pointing out towards her face, like a divining rod. When I saw her lick her lips my heart skipped a tiny beat as I held my breathe in anticipation of what I hoped was about to happen.
"I usually don't do this for just any guy, but this once I'll make an exception." And having said that she resumed her stroking rhythm upon my member and slowly and appreciatively began to lick the tip of the head. Tilting my head back I leaned back against the back of the chair that she was sitting in as she continually devoured my head into her hot, moist mouth, running her tongue around the base of the head in tight-fitting circles. Stealing a glance I saw her pull her shirt up and over her hips as her free hand found a warm place between her legs, rubbing small circles around her clit as she savored the taste of my never-ending pre-cum.
"This is hurting my neck a bit dear, why don't you move your leg up here so I can really get down to business."
Following Julia's lead I let her lift my right leg up and place my foot up on the armrest of her chair, spreading my legs wide before her, my cock pointing straight out from my crotch with its characteristic upward curvature.
Reaching forward Julia took the base of my shaft into her hand, encircling it with her forefinger and thumb as she pressed her lips against my head. Slowly as she pushed her head forward I watched inch by inch of my head, and then shaft, vanish between her full pink lips. All the while her tongue ran back and forth along the underside of my cock, moistening it as she went to make it easier to swallow.
Glancing downward I could still see her finger working away at her pussy, only now she had two fingers side by side thrusting in and out of her opening, making loud slurping noises with each penetration. Once she'd pulled the entirety of my cock into her mouth she slowly started pumping her head back and forth, using her tongue to drive me closer and closer to outright insanity. Hungry with lust after so many years of abstinence I could help but relish the delicious feel of her mouth and tongue. Placing my hand on the back of her head I grabbed a handful of hair and proceeded to thrust my shaft in and out of her pretty lips.
Removing her lips from my cock with a loud popping sound Julia took my slick shaft in her hand and proceeded to stroke it very slowly as she lowered her head and whipped her tongue out onto my balls. I moaned loudly in response as her tongue toyed with each of the balls, before she finally swallowed one of them in between her lips. Gently she suckled on the solitary nut as her hand continued its treatment of my shaft. Then she moved her tongue down and started tonguing the region of my balls closest to my ass. The sensation was peculiar at first, almost like a tickle. But soon she had me moaning in outright ecstasy. Finishing with my balls, Julia trailed her tongue back up my shaft, stopping just south of the head where she placed her lips and began to suckle powerfully, as if to give my cock a hicky. Intense pleasure shot through me as she did this, whipping her tongue out between sucks to cool the nerves a bit. Then, satisfied with her work, Julia slid her lips back over the rim of my cock and sucked it in.
Just then I looked up and caught a glimpse of the two women across the way, their bodies thrashing around wildly as they ground their pussies together in a wildly energetic climax. Julia chose this time also to begin her own orgasm as her body began to tremble noticeably on the chair and a muffled moan vibrated against my cock. Then as if to add one more chime to the chorus, I heard the hour bell go off on my alarm clock signaling that it was midnight, and I lost it.
My head felt like it was swimming through a river of warm jell-o as my cock twitched inside Julia's mouth and six large jets of cum erupted inside her mouth. Soon after I fell off of my cloud and realized that large droplets of sweat were running down my back. I too realized that Julia was moaning deeply on the chair in front of me and was still pumping my slowly softening cock in and out of her mouth. Sighing and wiping my forehead I let my foot fall back off the chair, forcing my cock to slip out of Julia's mouth, which elicited a short-lived pout. Stumbling backward I found myself collapsing onto the couch as every ounce of energy that I had drained out of my body. My eyes felt heavy and droopy as I felt myself nodding off to sleep.
Then I felt Julia climbing onto the couch on top of me.
"I'm sorry Julia. I don't think I can go another round."
Giggling, she wrapped her arms around me. "Who said you needed to? Are you satisfied?"
"And how!!" I yelled.
"Well, so am I." She giggled again. "Now get some sleep, you've got a long day tomorrow."
I started to ponder the curious nature of Julia's words just before I found myself once again trapped within the dream that had awoken me earlier that night. And throughout the many times that I woke up beneath Julia's sleeping body, the only constant was that damn grouping of circles.
The next morning I awoke to find myself alone except for Oliver, who made a very dramatic show of being hungry when he realized that I was awake. Stumbling half-blind to the kitchen I poured him a small bowl of dry mix and saw the note from Julia thanking me for the wonderful bed to sleep on and a few other pleasantries. Rubbing my hand through my hair I tossed on a pair of boxers and had a quick shave and shower. Then I ate a quick bowl of Cheerios and threw some clothes on in an effort to keep myself from seeing those circles. Those damn circles. But everywhere that I went... they were there too.
Until finally I'd had enough of it. Flipping the switch to my computer on I sat down and typed in the search "circles", which of course gave me nothing even close to what I wanted. So then I decided to focus my search in on patterns. "Circular patterns" also came up with nothing substantial, but I did notice a link referring to archaic symbols and patterns. Adding that kind of branch to my search came up with a huge list of sites that gave me some general information, but nothing specific enough for my needs. But I looked through most of the sites for a few hours, taking the chance that I might come across something meaningful.
And finally, some time around 10:00 a.m. I got lucky. On a site almost at the bottom of the search results list there was a page detailing mathematical symbols and their pertinence and importance in ancient archaic languages and magiks. The last part of what the page talked about scared me slightly, possibly because of my recent nightmares.
The symbol that I had seen in my dreams belonged to a family of similar symbols known as tetragrams because of the grouping of four equally sized geometric shapes in symmetric respect to each other. When I thought of the definition the symbol of the pentagram immediately flashed into my mind and I could only imagine how that one symbol must also belong to a larger "family" of symbols, but because of its repeated appearance in witch mythology it had come to hold the family name as its own.
Next I tried to find a bit more by typing the search "tetragram" but again I came up with nothing. I tried a few more related terms to no avail and finally gave up to the fact that I'd discovered all that I could online. To find out anything else of importance I'd have to take my search to the library.
Throwing on a baseball cap and my backpack I locked the door to my apartment and jogged down the stairs and hopped into my car, revving it up and shifting it into a gear.
"Excuse me! Could you wait a second!" came a woman's voice behind me. Turning I saw the redhead from the window across the parking lot. Shifting the car into neutral I waited for her to run up to my car in a pair of high heels and another low-cut skirt and top.
"Excuse me but you wouldn't happen to be going to campus would you?" she asked me, with obvious need in her tone. "My roommate left this morning without me because I slept in and if I don't make it to work on time this time I'm out of a job."
I let a minute sigh escape my lips before I caught a brief flash of her cleavage as she bent over to readjust one of her heels. At the very least I'd get to ogle her for a bit, at a much closer view than before, so I agreed.
"So where to on campus?" I asked as she tossed her purse in beside her.
"Oh I work at the campus library." She informed me.
"Well, you're in a lot of luck this morning. I was headed there anyway." I said with a quick smile. Smiling back she closed the door and I pulled out of the parking lot and onto the open road.
"So did you and your roommate have a fight this morning or something?" I asked.
"Do what?" She almost jumped at my question.
"Your roommate? Is that why she left this morning without you? Did you two have an argument?"
"Oh... heh... yeah." She blushed slightly. "We had a bit of a tiff this morning and she stormed out and left me stranded."
"Well, I guess your misfortune is my fortune, huh." I said as I gave her my best charming smile.
Turning slowly towards me she flashed me one of those "give me a break" glances and said, "You're not one of those guys who thinks that just because you're giving me a ride that I'm going to fuck you, are you?"
Her open and blunt honesty caught me by surprise. "Bu... well, I... uh...No, of course not." I said as I stared straight ahead.
"Damn, that's too bad, cause I'm really frustrated right now and that would be a terrific way to start the day."
Staring straight ahead silently I cursed myself, unwilling to press further to find out whether she was just joking or being serious.
Finally, after a quiet remainder of the way to the library, we arrived and she almost leapt out of the car before I even had a chance to park it. Reaching over the seat she grabbed her purse and turned to trot away before she stopped and turned around to face me. Leaning over she moved in close to my ear and her hand clutched the bulge in my pants.
"You know, I'd have let you fuck me if you'd just asked." Then with a smile and slight squeeze she was jogging off towards the library, leaving me with an aching erection and a head full of confusion. Shaking my head, I took my backpack out of the backseat and locked my door and made my way into the library.
As I'd expected my search was a bit more fruitful in the hardcopy archives of the library, both in the area of tetragrams and archaic symbols in general. Twenty minutes after entering the library I had my nose buried in a pile of a dozen books pertaining to the topic that I was interested in. For the next few hours I read book after book, learning that tetragrams, like pentagrams, were used in archaic languages and could also be connected through history to the myth and hysteria of witches.
It was claimed by some that the two different families of symbols actually represented two different families of witchcraft, in reality. That the pentagram symbolized a grouping of four witches, calling themselves "corners" and usually each pertaining to one of the four primal "forces" while the fifth was an overseer or protector that the four "corners" where innately unaware of. Over time many of the people who still practiced witchcraft had forgotten the meaning of the five sides to the pentagram and often forgot to pay homage to their protector, which ultimately lead to their ruin. The tetragram however represented a family of witches and witchcraft that relied entirely upon themselves, leaving out the impact of a protector or overseer. This omission in truth was rumored to be the reasoning behind the prevalence of the pentagram witchcraft. One was more willing to experiment in the forbidden mysticisms with a protector in the circle. Instead the tetragram witchcraft relied on three primary "corners" calling themselves sisters, since they were more likely than not all female, and a fourth "center", also known as the brother, since he was usually a male. The fourth "center" was more of a familiar to the three "corners" than an actual witch himself and usually provided the three sisters with the focus of their magical powers. Another factor leading to the prevalence of the pentagram witchcraft was the intense bonding that was required by the tetragram witchcraft. These witches made up for the lack of protection provided by a fifth entity by solidifying emotional and spiritual bonds among the three "corners" and the "center". In essence all four beings were required not only to love the other with undying devotion, but also to commit themselves for the rest of eternity. A version of marriage that far transcended typical weddings.
Then on the very last page of one of the articles was a direct copy of the image that I'd seen in my nightmares. Reading on I learned that it was perceived to be the strongest of the tetragram sects because of its perfect symmetry and stability. All four pieces are of equal importance in the tetragram. The outer three "corners" being free to explore the uses of their "magiks" while the core "center" being held them together, forming the most stable union possible.
Closing my eyes I tried to think back into the nightmare, pushing the edges of my memory for some glimmer of recognition.
"Hey what's up good lookin'? What ya got there?"
Slamming the book shut I looked around startled to find the red-haired girl from earlier that morning standing behind me.
Her eyes wide, she backed away a little bit. "Okayyyy...sorry, man, I was just coming over to see if you were up for some lunch." Turning she moved to walk away, but I quickly leapt up and cut her off.
"No, please. That would be great. I'm sorry."