“This vodka is shit,” Samael says, swilling his shot glass in another of Asmodeus’ dive bars. This one has succubi draped across the men and women like jewels, breasts hanging like necklaces from their chests. I’m cozied up to the Devil on his lap – the crown of the Prince of Darkness is a bubbly blonde ditz. I’m laughing at the ladies of the night and drinking one of those fruity fizzy red cocktails that Sam fucking hates.
“Hell no, tastes like a strawberry fart.” Samael chugs the last of the stale vodka and tips his glass then flicks it so it rolls off the counter onto the beer-stained black carpet.
There are black lights flashing, bio luminescent demons and daemons and dreams. They dance in cadence with the bass of the moon, sinuous and arcing as lips lock and hips gyrate. I bob my head to the music, stroke Samael’s shoulder, and this is a place no angel besides the lost would dare step foot in, the perfect place to fall into sin.
“Your lips will have to suffice for my intoxication,” Samael whispers, razing a claw down the back of my dress. He puts out his cigarette and scoops me up and carries me out of the dive bar – not before I grab a fry to crunch on.
“You’re boring, grumpy, and old…” I murmur, teasing. “Not hip enough to party anymore, eh?” I’m cradled in his arms and my red dress swishes in the vespertine wind. He deposits me on the back of his pale steed – a white crotch rocket, hands me a helmet, and tilts my chin up with his thumb.
“Eternity is best spent with the ones you love – the novelty of Hell wears off when you’re a permanent resident here, and then it’s governing and judging souls during the day, reaping the dead, and quiet nights by the fireside with the other half of your soul. Why do you think we spend every other night in my library?”
I hug his hips as we speed off down the rainy street. It’s an almost-summer storm, with a light gray drizzle.
“Because you’re a recluse!” I shout, laughing. “And you can’t hold your liquor.”
Samael speeds past a red light. He never cares much for the laws of traffic, and we arrive at his estate on the borders of Pandemonium, which backs up into the backwaters of the galaxy, where the woods grow wild and dangerous. It is a towering, sleek, obsidian castle, with pins of towers and blades of turrets that cut blood from the sky.
“Right, and even more right,” he parks under a willow tree and Pallor – his steed – reverts back to a horse. He strokes Pallor’s braided mane and ties his bridle to a trough. “But I hold it better than you, Miss Streaker.”
I look at the time, grasping at lucidity. Some impossible number: 13:11. How time works in Hell, I have no inkling. We walk hand in hand through the rose garden to the mote, then over the bridge. He picks me up and flies up the stairs to the den, great bat wings feeling like warm leather on my cheek. I imagine he has the wings of a dragon, and that is one of his forms.
“Hey Sam, you know that Russian movie, He’s a Dragon?”
Samael groans as he stokes the hearth. “Not another one of your shifter romances. Read a philosophy book, for fuck’s sake.” He settles into a leather armchair and pulls out a cigar.
“Hey! You’re the weredragon – stealing princesses and antisocial and shit. Also, very gruuuuuumpy.”
I bounce onto the bed and roll about, nesting under black wolf fur.
“All you read in my library are illustrated grimoires and romance novels written by demons. Picture books and drivel.” He puffs on the cigar. “You’re a creature of comfort. And I am not a “weredragon,” shit, I’m the Beast.”
“Not that Crowley Revelations shit, ugh! Just admit it, you’re a shitty paranormal romance novel protagonist.” I flip so I’m sitting on my stomach, kicking my feet in the air and watching the fires flicker. They dance in the shape of snakes.
He laughs. “If I, Satan, am supposed to be a romance novel protagonist, I don’t have high hopes for your race. I’m much too twisted for all the middle aged women reading Fifty Shades. Unless they enjoy being dissolved alive in a cloud of the abyss or fucking corpses.”
I throw a pillow at him. “Are you kinkshaming me!”
“I can’t lie,” he sticks out his labret pierced tongue. “I can only tell twisted truths, or flat out drag you.’
I grumble and roll onto my back. Samael grins like a shark and comes over to me. Gasoline, hungry hands that are gentle with their talons, rip off the dress, rolling and turning hay. I inhale expensive spicy cologne and graveyard dirt, thirsting for a mouth that tastes like aqua vitae. I make a list in my mind of what he drinks: whiskey and vodka and absinthe on occasion. We are Taninver. We are Leviathan and She-Leviathan. We are Rahab churning the primordial waters of bodies of unborn souls.
I burn and I sate myself with his blood. Suckle at the red at his wrist as he sinks his fangs into my neck. Blood from the heart, blood from spurting arteries, christening the bed damp with iron and hemoglobin. It tastes like providence.
“More,” Samael growls as he descends to feast, and I ascend to suck the generations out of him. I am Lilith stealing seed, I am Lamashtu eating children.
“Fuck, oh god,” I whisper, then I can’t breathe, then it’s all stars and the rocking of an ocean of black, in and out, crash to shore then recede in foam. Burning, freezing, all.
The fire flickers as we lay in each other’s arms.
“Let’s have more nights in.”