Say Your Prayers - Crystal Ash Page 0,1

deep and rich, layered with complexities as one would find spices in a hearty broth.

After my virgin, I relished in one who had a flavor of sorrow, an eagerness to please tinged with self-loathing. He found comfort in me, soaking up tenderness and affection while holding nothing back. It was too bad he was a priest—his desire for women nearly overpowered that of his faith.

And with the third one, I almost didn’t come back for seconds. But I couldn’t tear myself away from his unique flavor of sadness. He had a sweet quality to him too, hidden under many layers of despair and loss. While he found some physical comfort with me, my presence barely scratched the surface at easing his pain.

Maybe that was one reason why I kept coming back for more. I related to their struggles, their tangled emotions. We were all living out our versions of the loop-track of hell since the rising, but when I stole those moments in their dreams, I let myself pretend that I was free. If nothing else, it was a break from the toxic flavours I’d been barely surviving on in the bowels.

I kept returning to feed from these men, neglecting my duties at Hell’s Mouth to indulge in them like a junkie. The lines between comfort food and necessary fuel blurred until I couldn’t even bring myself to taste another damned soul. My Fathers became my favorite and only food source, their untainted flavors just as refreshing as they were fulfilling.

I didn’t intend to dream-feed from three faith-filled men who’d taken vows of celibacy, it just happened that way.

Forgive me, Fathers, for I have sinned since long before your species walked the earth.

The same earth that was now scorched and blackened, an eerie likeness to the dark realm that had been my home for thousands of years. Hell’s royalty had watched and cheered as the human population was slashed to under one billion in a few short years. It was a grand victory for them.

“We have risen! Just like their precious fucking Christ,” Belial had cackled to his fellow kings.

Hell’s kings had been planning this overtaking for centuries, but to humanity, the apocalypse came out of nowhere. Millions of people died unexpectedly and painfully. My feeding on freshly acquired souls was just the first step in Hell’s welcome pamphlet. I calmed them from the hysteria of recently dying, making them nice and compliant for further corruption.

In moderation, I didn’t mind the taste of fear, the anger, grief, and helplessness—but not even a succubus could withstand eating only such bitter flavors day in and day out. So could you blame a girl for skipping them in exchange for more…satisfying meals?

It was only a matter of time before I was caught, and then reprimanded for neglecting my duties. So I spent an extra few hours with my virgin, knowing it could be the last time I savored such a flavorful meal. I enjoyed his sated, human breaths and his tentative affection—soft caresses of my face and hair while ignoring my horns, naturally.

He seemed to feel better with the knowledge that I was just a dream, a fantasy he could partake in without turning his back on his vows. All humans saw me as just that—a fantasy. Something safe, a conjuration from their baser instincts to indulge in dark fantasies.

Completely unmotivated to feed on fear and terror again, I paused on my way to the new arrivals to sit on a ledge overlooking the barren, conquered earth.

“What would you do if you knew I was real?” My leg dangled over the opening of the cavern, toes wriggling a few thousand feet over my priests’ cathedral.

Behind me, Hell’s Mouth bustled with legions of demons preparing an onslaught of hellfire. The legion commanders, marquis and presidents in the demon hierarchy, grumbled to each other about the resilience of humans. They were easy enough to kill in large numbers, but small pockets of them adapted, persisted. Even now, with the victory overwhelmingly in Hell’s hands, the demons had to spend precious resources to keep the pesky humans under their fists. If they slacked off even a little, the humans would repopulate and adapt, much like cockroaches. Privately, I was rooting for their success.


The sound of my own name crawled over my skin like claws, echoing off the vast caverns of Hell’s Mouth. I forced myself to not look at Kimaris standing behind me, knowing I had to conserve my energy for what would come later.

“You look