"You see the match last Saturday?" Jonny Harris asked Teddy Demme.
The other man unlocked a padlock and swung open the chain-link gate in front of them.
"Nah, had to do a job for Mr Herbert. Caught the highlights on Match of the Day."
Jonny and Teddy walked back to Teddy's BMW. They drove through the gate, stopped the car, got out, closed the gate and locked it behind them.
"I reckon it's the Gunner's year this time," Jonny said.
"Nah," Teddy replied.
They got back in the car and drove down a small tarmac driveway towards a large warehouse. Teddy parked the car around the side of the dilapidated building and both men got out.
"Nah?" Jonny parroted. "Unbeaten at home, top of the league on Boxing Day ... it's their year for sure."
The Eye and the Gherkin could be seen off in the distance, but this was a flat, grey, forgotten part of the city, still waiting in vain for the economic upswing that would lure the developers back to throw up even more shrines to the worship of capitalism. Until then run-down warehouses stood empty and green weeds reclaimed the tarmac margins inch by inch.
"Nah," Teddy said.
He unlocked a side entrance and pushed open the door.
"They'll fuck it up on the road again to Stoke, Birmingham or some other Northern shithole. Wenger will give it the usual whine about his kids being kicked off the park while Fergie grinds out another title for United. Same as it always is."
On the other side of the door was a small hallway with a little office on the left hand side and exits both ahead and to the right of them.
"You gotta have faith," Jonny said.
Teddy smiled and shook his head.
They took the door to the right. It led through a pair of fire doors, up a set of stairs and into a small observation room that overlooked a large black space.
"Got to hand it to Sir Alex," Jonny said. "I can't stand the grizzled old bastard and United are scum, but you got to respect him. Year after year, he keeps picking up those trophies. If only they could get him for the England job."
"He's Scottish," Teddy said. "And far too smart to get stuck with that poisoned chalice."
They walked down another flight of stairs and into a short corridor that terminated in a heavy metal door. It looked like a recent addition, as did the fancy electronic card reader on the wall next to it. Both seemed a little excessive for such an uninteresting-looking warehouse.
"Shame," Jonny said. "He'd soon whip that overpaid bunch of pampered tossers into shape. We wouldn't be losing four-fucking-one to the fucking krauts under him, that's for sure."
Teddy inserted a card into the reader and punched in a code. Bolts slid back with a loud clank. He pushed the door open and they walked through into a cavernous room. Teddy pulled a switch on the wall and floodlights flared on, illuminating the whole room with a harsh white glare.
Jonny paused and looked around in wonder.
CCTV cameras whirred back and forth on wall-mounted brackets. A circular section of the floor, about ten metres in diameter, was cut out. The pit was surrounded by a sturdy metal railing about five feet high. A couple of plastic chairs were arranged around its circumference. The top of a cage, its walls thick metal bars, rose up out of the centre of the pit.
"This is all a bit James Bond," Jonny commented.
"It needs to be the highest possible security," Teddy said.
"Yeah, but this is like something out of ... I don't know ... the X-Files or something. How can Mr Herbert afford all..."
Jonny stopped talking.
They'd advanced close enough to the pit for him to be able to see over the rim and into the cage. Something sat cross-legged on the floor about two metres below them.
It wasn't human.
It had red skin. Red like blood. Black wings like those of a bat scaled up to human size were folded behind it. A pair of black horns grew out of its temples and curved down behind its pointed ears. Instead of feet it had a pair of cloven hooves. A long black tail with a spade-like tip lay curled around it.
Jonny turned to Teddy. "What the fuck is that?"
Teddy shrugged. "What does it look like to you?"
Jonny knew what it looked like, but it couldn't be that. They didn't exist. All that religious stuff, it was a load of bollocks, wasn't it? I mean she--for Jonny was close enough now to see it was a she--might look like something out of an old horror film or one of those computer role-playing games, but that didn't mean she was an actual...
"Demon?" he said.
Teddy shrugged again. "As good a name as any," he said.
It didn't mean she was an actual demon demon. She could be an alien that looked like a demon. Or some kind of top secret experimental mutant that looked like a demon.
"What's she doing here?" Jonny asked.
Teddy shrugged. "Mr Herbert acquired her. Cost him a right old pretty penny, I heard."
The demon looked up at them. She was actually quite shaggable, Jonny thought, for something with horns, wings and a tail. There was an elfin quality to her face, like one of those hauntingly beautiful model waifs. There was also a slutty air about her. It was hard to say what exactly. Something about the pout of her full lips, in the line of her cheeks, in the way her long, silky black hair cascaded onto her slender shoulders.
And mainly because she was stark bollock naked.
Those were some gorgeous titties, Jonny thought, a real overflowing handful. They hung above her flat midriff like ripe round fruit. Her crotch was hairless and Jonny could see the folds of her vagina. She didn't seem bothered by this in the slightest.
Yeah, the kind of girl, if you took her home after pulling her at a club, you'd know exactly what you were in for, Jonny thought.
"See that circle," Teddy said.
He pointed to a circle drawn on the floor in the centre of the cage. It looked odd. Jonny could clearly see it was drawn in ash or some other black powder, but right in the centre of the line he thought he saw speckles of red light, which could be the glow of flickering embers ... if it didn't look as though the fire was burning in the ground far far beneath them. Lines criss-crossed the circle in a star pattern. The devil girl sat in the centre of it.
"Supposedly that's all that's needed to keep her ... it," he corrected, "right where it is."
"Then what's with all these bars?" Jonny asked.
"To stop you having any foolish ideas of getting too close to it," Teddy said.
Still seemed a little excessive to Jonny.
Those eyes did unnerve him. It looked like someone had injected crude oil into her eyeballs and filled them up until they were solid black all the way through. They weren't eyes, they were wells and Jonny had a feeling he didn't want to find out how deep they went.
"What am I here for?" Jonny asked.
"You pulled guard duty," Teddy said.
"Yeah. Mr Herbert wants someone here at all times to keep a close eye on it. The cameras aren't enough. Shite electrics. Keep cutting out all the time. So he wants a good old-fashioned human to keep watch and raise bloody hell if anything funny happens. You brought a book?"
"Yeah," Jonny said. He pulled a battered old true crime paperback out of his back pocket.
"Good. I'll be back for you at six," Teddy said.
With that he turned and walked away. The metal door shut behind him with a metallic clang. Jonny was alone with ... whatever it was in the cage.
He raised clenched fists. "Yes!" he said with an excited hiss.
He was in! He had to be. They wouldn't have let him see this if they had no faith in him.
And asked by Mr Herbert himself, fuck yeah. No more breaking heads down at the Dog and Duck every Saturday night. He was on the move. He was doing real jobs for the organisation now.
He hadn't expected anything as weird as this, though. He walked around the circular railing. The demon, or at least the thing that looked like a demon, sat cross-legged at the centre of the circle within the cage. They were definitely wings folded up behind her back--black and leathery like a bat's. He saw the point where her spine extended out into a long black tail, as slender as a whip. The spade-like tip flicked up and down, dispelling all notions it might be some kind of elaborate costume.
Devil. Demon. Look them up in an encyclopaedia and he'd see a picture looking a lot like her.
This was too fucking freaky.
He knew Mr Herbert had influence, but this ... What the fuck was the boss mixed up in?
He completed a full circuit and stared down at her. The demon stared back at him with a dispassionate gaze.
"What's your name?" she asked, causing Jonny to startle as if a gun had gone off close by.
She spoke? She spoke English?
"Jon," he replied. "Who are you?"
"Melacetia," the demon girl replied. Her voice was sexy smooth. Smooth like melted dark chocolate.
It wasn't the right question.
"What are you?" Jonny asked.
That was the right question.
"A succubus," Melacetia replied.
Nope. Didn't help.
"What's one of them when it's at home?" Jonny asked.
"A sex demon," Melacetia answered, "a mistress of the forbidden arts of pleasure."
The way she rolled her tongue around pleasure sent a little shiver through Jonny's bollocks. Well, she was naked after all.
"What, demon as in demon-from-hell demon?" he asked.
Fuck. This was heavy. Jonny had stopped going to church some years ago. Didn't seem like such a good idea now.
"How did you end up here?" Jonny asked.
"I was summoned," she said. "Several of my kind are in the service of a powerful rival. They're studying me to learn how to better fight them."
"Study, as in experiment on?" Jonny asked.
Melacetia didn't answer. She looked down at the floor.
Jonny felt a little sorry for her at that moment.
"They must think you're real dangerous," he said, rapping the thick metal railing with his knuckles.
"Do I look dangerous?" the succubus asked.
Take away the horns, wings, tail and that red skin, and she'd look a well fit bird. Even with them she looked completely fuckable.
"Dunno," Jonny said. "Are you?"
Melacetia smiled and for a moment there was the hint of something in her black eyes that made Jonny glad there were two sets of bars between them.
"S'pose it doesn't matter either way with these in the way," he said, thudding his hand against one of the solid metal bars.
The succubus said nothing. She resumed her serene cross-legged pose in the centre of the cage.
Jonny sat in one of the chairs and opened his book. He struggled to immerse himself in the real-life derring-do of East End gangsters from the sixties. It wasn't happening. He read the words on the page, but they might as well have been intelligible squiggles. They couldn't penetrate behind his eyeballs. Something else was whirring through the machinery of his mind.
A demon. An honest-to-fuckness real life fucking demon. From hell. The Hell.
It opened up all kinds of questions. If she was from hell, then there had to be a heaven, right? Did that mean there were also angels? A god?
Jonny thought he should start going back to church on Sundays.
He tried getting back into the book. It was no use. There was a burning curiosity consuming his thoughts.
"You're from the other side, right?" he asked the demon. "So you must know."
Melacetia looked up at him. Her empty black eyes were doorways into fathomless depths.
"What happens to us when we die?" Jonny asked.
"Your souls come to us and become our playthings," Melacetia answered. She turned her head away as if the topic was of no interest to her.
Jonny felt a cold chill, like someone had stepped on his grave. It was best if he didn't ask what being a plaything entailed, he decided.
"Yeah, but that's only the bad people, right? The sinners. What about the other place?"
"Other place?" Melacetia said.
"Yeah, you know. Heaven. The place where the good folks go. Where God and his angels hang out."
The demon didn't, judging by her blank expression.
"Heaven," Jonny tried again, opening out his arms and pointing skyward for emphasis. "The place you were kicked out of after you and all the other fallen angels tried to rebel against God."
Melacetia gave a Jonny a bemused smile.
"I am and always have been a succubus," Melacetia said, "a mistress in the arts of seduction and sinful delights."
Jonny gave up in exasperation. Maybe it had been so long they'd forgotten. Or the memory had been blanked from their mind or something.
"Do you consider yourself a good person?" Melacetia asked, her gaze uncomfortably penetrative.
"Yeah, mostly," Jonny said. "I mean I've done the occasional dodgy thing to get by, but who hasn't. I'm sure JC will understand when he meets me at the pearly gates."
Once he started going back to church and making up for several year's absence with plenty of ass-kissing prayer.
"JC?" Melacetia queried.
Jonny jerked his head back with a quizzical expression. "Jesus Christ. The main man. Son of God."
Did demons not know anything?
Nope, judging by her expression of languid indifference.
Jonny shook his head and laughed. "They really keep you guys in the dark down there."
He returned to his seat and sat down. Didn't know who Jesus Christ was, maybe she couldn't help him with his questions after all.
Jonny struggled on through his book. Now that the initial excitement had worn off, he was getting bored. Nothing was happening and nothing was going to happen. The demon was locked up tighter than if she'd been imprisoned at Wormwood Scrubs. She wasn't going anywhere. She continued to sit cross-legged and stare into empty space.
Jonny crawled through a few more chapters. He checked his watch. One o'clock. Was that all? He still had five hours to go and he was started to feel tired.
His head drooped forward. He jerked it back, blinking.
He'd been out real late last night as well--celebrating the Arsenal win with the lads.
His head drooped forward. His eyelids closed.
His dreams were not peaceful.
Melacetia was out of the cage and sitting in his lap. She was fucking him. She panted in pleasure as she bounced her hips up and down on him. Jonny was fixated by her heavy boobs as they swayed and bobbed in front of him. He watched as her wet pussy swallowed his dick right to the hilt--
Jonny jerked awake. There was a massive boner in his boxers. He looked at the cage. Melacetia stared straight back at him, her black eyes unreadable.
"Is that you?" he asked.
Melacetia turned away and didn't answer.
Jonny returned to his book. It wasn't long before his eyelids were getting heavy again. His head nodded forward--
--and he thrust into the demon's sweet cunt from behind. She braced her arms against the bars and thrust back at him, her heavy breasts swaying beneath her. Jonny gripped the luscious flesh of her ass and--
Melacetia was staring at him again.
"Stop it!" he said.
"I can't," she said. "It's involuntary. I broadcast images of lust into the dreams of any man within range. I can't help it."
"So I can't sleep without jizzing my pants," Jonny said. "Great."
The succubus cocked her head. Her face took on a mischievous cast.
"Are you fully satisfying your sexual needs?" she asked.
"What," Jonny said, his hand straying over to cover the noticeable bulge in the front of his pants.
"I sense a build up of tension and frustration," Melacetia said.
Dawn, his girlfriend, wasn't exactly the most responsive in bed. She refused to suck his dick as well.
"Would you like me to help you with that?" Melacetia asked.
"And how do you intend going about that?" Jonny said. There were two rows of thick metal bars and some kind of weird mystical circle between them.
"I know a lot of very dirty words," Melacetia said. "I can help you bring yourself to a most satisfying release." Her eyes brightened with suggestive intent.
Jonny laughed and shook his head. "Nah, it's okay. I'm quite capable of having a wank on my own, thanks."
He was tempted to slink off to the toilets right now and rub one out. Melacetia's naked body was weighing heavily on his mind, especially after those damn dreams. He didn't. He suspected JC and the man upstairs would take a dim view of whacking off over a demoness from hell. Fuck, what he wouldn't do to put his hands on those titties, though.
Cool it, Jonny thought. Read your book.
Like he was going to be able to do that. Those fucking dreams. He looked at the words and turned the pages, but all he saw was the hot body of the succubus bouncing up and down on him, her plush lips pouting as she gave him the slutty eyes.
Fuck, he thought, tossing the book onto the chair next to him. Think of something else.
Like Arshavin's goal that won it for the Gunners last night. Top corner. Take that, fucking Chelski.
His happy football reminiscing was interrupted by moans coming from the cage. Melacetia was no longer sitting cross-legged in the circle. She was on her back with her legs apart. Her mouth gaped open in ecstatic moans as she inserted two fingers into the velvet depths of her pussy and worked them back and forth.
"What are you doing?" he asked.
Stupid question really. It was obvious what she was doing. She was frigging herself off.
The demoness paused and stared at him with cold black eyes.
"I'm a sex demon," she stated. "I have needs I must take care of."
She turned away and resumed pushing her hips up against her fingers. Little droplets of perspiration ran down the soft slopes of her breasts.
"Doesn't it bother you someone's watching?" he asked.
Melacetia gave him a dirty smile.
"I prefer it when someone's watching," she purred.
Dirty cow, Jonny thought.
"Do you want to join in?" she asked, her face both sweet and suggestive. "Your little man looks eager. Why don't you let him out?"
Jonny felt that eagerness pressing out against the fabric of his trousers. He was also conscious of the security cameras whirring away behind him.
"I don't think that would be a good idea," he said.
The succubus carried on anyway. He watched her body thrash in the centre of the ring, her back moving like a wave as she thrust her hips up against her questing fingers. She brought herself to climax with a loud cry. Her body trembled as she pushed her hips up as far as her knees would allow.
Jonny smelled her sex. It was a moist aroma--sinful and enticing. The scent slithered up his nostrils and wrapped his mind in hazy gauze.
"Mmm. Go on. Let him out," the succubus purred.
Her voice was different--deeper, oozing seduction. It burrowed into the soft crevices of his mind and took root.
Jonny felt weird. Fuzzy. He undid his belt and dropped his trousers to the floor. His cock, red and bulging, sprang free. He enfolded it in his palm and absently tugged up and down.
"Mmm, yes," Melacetia hissed.