Elaine brushed right past Josh, without looking at him, ashe entered the shack they’d discovered nestled half way up the slope from thewater a quarter of a mile east along the coastline from Discovery Bay. It hadbeen Elaine’s idea to answer the call of the fortuneteller sign, which was scrawledon a small wooden plank on one of the pillars barely holding up a porchspanning the front of the weather-beaten wood hut. That’s why he had let her gofirst. He wouldn’t have gone in at all if he wasn’t walking on eggs with Elaineand giving in to any whim she took the effort to express.


Josh Cameron had brought them down to Jamaica at the end ofOctober—the whole family—to see if they could salvage something of normalfamily life. But the walk with Elaine along the island’s northern coastline hadbeen the first time she’d thawed enough even to recognize he was there.


The inside of the hut was dark and smoky—and smaller thanhe’d imagined it would be. The fortuneteller, who told him her name was MadameLamesha, was a big blob of a jet-black woman with dreadlocks and wearing amuumuu sack that must have exhibited every color of the rainbow. A black scarfwas tied around her head, and her mouth was a vermillion slash of scorn.


“You must be him,” she muttered in a thick Jamaican accentwhen Josh entered and while he was trying to adjust his vision to the darkness.The woman’s muumuu and her lipstick were the only color in the dingy room. Theinside of the hut was as weather-beaten as the outside had been. Narrow rays ofsunlight filtered into the interior of the hut through chinks in the wall,giving the impression of crossed laser beams. He wouldn’t have been surprisedif the walls collapsed around him.


She motioned to a straight-backed chair on the other side ofa small round table, and he sat. He had expected a crystal ball. There wasnone; just a shiny black cloth spread over the surface of the table.


When he’d gotten over the wound-like slash of the woman’slipstick, he was focused on how beady her pupils were in contrast to the vastwhiteness of her eyeballs, which were boring into him accusingly.


“We really don’t have to do this,” Josh started to say. “Itwas just my wife’s idea to—”


“Do not speak to me of your wife,” the woman hissed. “Youhave too many wives, and you are impure. There is nothing I can do for you, nopotion I can give you, until you have purified yourself. The blood of thelamb—”


“Potion? You have no doll I can stick pins in to make thepain go away?” Josh asked, harshly. This really was too much for him toswallow. He wanted to cut into her act before she’d gone into the trance sheobviously was building up to. Her chubby arms were stretched out on the tabletop, gripping the far edge on either side, and the table was jittering, likeJosh was supposed to believe it was moving on its own. Her head was turnedtoward the cobwebby ceiling, and her eyeballs were beginning to roll up underher eyebrows.


She snapped out of that and leveled a disdainful look atJosh. “That is voodoo. We do no voodoo here. Here is the realm of Obeah. Potionsboth to bring out the good and to dispel the evil. When you are in the grip ofthe Devil, you first must dispel the evil before building up the good.”


“I didn’t come here for potions,” Josh said. “I came in herebecause we were passing by and my wife was interested and thought—”


“There are no potions for you—not until you atone for yourtransgressions, until you want to do good. Obeah can do nothing for you untilyou release this demon of yours. Once the Devil has his claws in you, it isvery, very hard to—”


“OK, I’ve had enough of this. What did my wife tell you?”Josh angrily demanded, as he rose from his chair. He was red faced and suddenlynonplused. What had Elaine told this woman? This was beginning to makesense—sense that he most certainly didn’t want to start dealing with. “I don’twant your advice or your potions,” he growled as he backed the short distancetoward the door he’d entered by.


“You will be back. The Devil is very powerful. You will needthe potions of Obeah,” the woman said. She was cackling and waving her arms infront of her face dramatically. “But you must shuck off the demon that is inyou before you can combat the Devil that is in the world. If you cannot freeyourself of the demon within you before Hallow’s Eve turns to the dawn of allthe saints, you will be back.”


Josh was already out the door—where he stopped dead in histracks before climbing down from the rickety porch. He felt foolish. It wasjust the usual fortunetelling mumbo-jumbo scam, and the woman wasn’t even muchgood at it. She was way over the top. He couldn’t imagine why he’d explodedlike that from that claptrap she was spouting.


But then he could imagine why he’d been affected as he had.Elaine must have spent her time in there spilling her guts to the woman, andthe fake fortuneteller had turned that on him as soon as he’d entered theshack. Elaine had been spiking him like this back on Long Island, and she wascontinuing to do so here. Punishing him for the humiliation he’d brought uponthe family.


And speaking of Elaine . . . He looked around. She wasnowhere to be seen. She must have taken off for the house at Discovery Baywithout him. The fortuneteller must have wound her up tighter than a drum andcaused her to snap. Elaine had been ready to explode since they’d arrived inJamaica—for weeks before that, if truth be known.


He scanned the coastline in all directions one more timebefore striking out himself—in case she was there in the cove or on the slope,somewhere, huddled into that fetal position that had become a favoritewithdrawal mechanism for her in the last month. He didn’t see her, but therewas a man standing on the rise toward the east and looking down at the hut.Josh’s attention riveted on him as soon as he saw the man. He was young, andvery black—a Jamaican muscle man. He was wearing baggy shorts, but that wasall, that dipped at the hips almost obscenely, and extended down to his knees.He was serious body-builder muscular, a real hunk of a man. Maybe in his midtwenties, with dreadlocks that tickled his shoulders. The dreadlocks rang anote of familiarity.


His attention was focused on Josh, who blushed at the rawsensuality of the young man. There was something familiar about him, eventhough Josh was having trouble distinguishing one young, well-built Jamaicanman from the rest. There was something that nagged at Josh as he turned andstarted walking west along the rugged northern coast of Jamaica toward thevacation house on Discovery Bay. Again, it must be something about the dreadlocks,although those were common enough on the island as far as Josh could tell.


He sensed that the young, hulking Jamaican was following himfrom a distance, and when he was able to, he furtively took a glance back tosee if he was right—and, of course, he was.


Josh made it almost all the way around the curve ofDiscovery Bay to the Fontland Point vacation house compound on the other sideof the bay before it dawned on him who the young man was. It was the clips ofgold at the end of the dreadlock strands that surfaced the disturbingidentification.


* * * *


Josh had first seen Demonde three days earlier at the SirDonald Sangster International Airport west of Montego Bay on Jamaica’s northerncoast. He had been an arresting figure, one that easily drew Josh’s attention.The young man was speaking to Elaine outside the baggage claim area as heloaded luggage into the back of an large SUV.


After locating all of their bags—with practically no helpfrom either of their children, Ellie or Jason, both of whom were acting likethey had been kidnapped to be here—and setting them outside on the curb of thearrivals area to await the promised transportation to their vacation villa,Josh had gone to the Security offices to pick up the Glock 42 he’d checkedthrough from JFK International.


Elaine had been livid that he was bringing a gun on theirCaribbean vacation, but he had been adamant. “Have you heard nothing about therampant crime in Jamaica?” he’d asked.


“And so you’re taking your loving family to Jamaica to bemugged and murdered?” daughter Ellie had asked. The miracle was that she’d evenheard the comment, given that she had ear buds connecting her to a boom box andseemingly permanently growing out of her ears.


“It’s certainly something I’ve seriously considered doing,yes,” Josh had answered. He’d used his “I’m kidding” voice, but he was “thatclose” to meaning it.


Going from Long Island this late in October to vacation onthe islands was something he had considered as a Hail Mary attempt to keep theCameron family from imploding. It had been a month since Elaine had confronted himover where frustrations with life in general, and Elaine and the kids inparticular, had taken him. And it had been just over two weeks since he’ddiscovered that Elaine had been no angel either. The back breaker, though, waswhen both Ellie, twenty, and Jason, eighteen, had returned home in lateSeptember. Both were supposed to have been tucked safely away in theirrespective very-expensive universities. But Ellie had decided that college wasdull and she needed to experience life and pursue a singing career. Conversely,Jason had been virtually noncommunicative on why he wasn’t in school—andcouldn’t be, according to the university administration. The collegeauthorities refused to tell Josh and Elaine why, saying they would have to hearit from Jason, as he legally was an adult now. But Jason didn’t want to talkabout it either. Jason wanted to spend his days shooting hoops.


When Josh returned to the arrivalscurb, he found a Land Rover idling outside the baggage room door and Demondespeaking to Elaine. The exclusive vacation rental company had told him theywould be picked up at the airport for the ride to Discovery Bay and would haveuse of a car and driver, the driver also being the general handyman that wentwith the villa. A tall, very well built young black man in shorts and a tightT-shirt was standing at the back of the Land Rover, in deep conversation withElaine. Ellie and Jason already were in the backseat of the car, putting on anact that mixed boredom with the reaction that could be expected from ashoplifter imprisoned in the back of a police cruiser.


Before he got caught up in the bustle of getting all of theluggage packed in the car, Josh had the sensation that he had interruptedsomething between Elaine and the driver, Demonde, a strapping young Jamaicanbuck, with a body-builder’s bod and dreadlocks that went down to his shoulders,with golden clips on the ends that glittered in the sun when he moved his head.Josh could just think what was going through Elaine’s mind about this youngman, and Josh instinctively knew they hadn’t left their marital troubles backon Long Island.


There was the ever-so-slight feeling that the two werestanding a bit too close together and speaking a bit too seriously for anairport transport pickup. The sensation didn’t last long for Josh, but it wasto recur a few times over the next several days.


Josh looked around him at what appeared to be a whole lot ofunnecessary foot traffic around the entrance to the airport. He sized up mostof the milling crowd as locals who didn’t have a connection to air travelbeyond hitting up travelers for handouts and perhaps picking a pocket or two.Incongruously, he felt threatened by having a gun holster under his arm, as ifhe might become the focus of violence himself. The warnings he received fromall quarters of the high crime rate in Jamaica made him want to hide thepossession of an expensive firearm from all—including the driver, whose challengingphysique had a dangerous element to it. As the driver was hefting luggage intothe back of the Land Rover, Josh surreptitiously opened the glove compartmentand stashed the Glock and its magazine of bullets behind the packets of papershe found in there.


As Demonde drove the Land Rover fast but expertly along thetwisting coast road known simply as the Major Highway, he spoke in a richbaritone of what the family might be interested in doing for the two weeks theywere on the island. Josh sat in front with him, and Elaine sat in the middle ofthe backseat, her eyes occasionally meeting Demonde’s in the rear-view mirror,while the two children each were turned toward their respective side windowsbut studiously avoiding actually looking at any of the breathtaking scenerythey were traveling through.


“You have come in time for Hallow’s Eve and the parade ofthe saints,” Demonde said. “And you are in a good location to celebratethem—the village just ahead, Rio Bueno, has perhaps the most impressive paradeon the island. This was the center of the Obeah culture in Jamaica.”


“The Obeah culture?” Elaine asked from the backseat.


“Yes, a rich and primitive mix of the animistic and mysticalreligions, brought to the island by the African slaves and embellished by theearly Baptist movement here. Some liken it to voodoo, but there is morereligion in Obeah; it is more Satan centered.”


“Hallow’s Eve? Is that like our Halloween in the States?”Elaine continued. “We were told that they don’t mark Halloween in Jamaica.We’ll be here over Halloween.”


“Not the Halloween you celebrate, no,” Demonde answered witha rich-toned laugh, “with children’s costume parties, bobbing—it is saidbobbing, isn’t it?—for apples, and collecting candy. No, Mon, in Jamaica it is linkedwith the church day it is the eve of, All Saints’ Day, on the first ofNovember. Hallow’s Eve is still couched in mystical religions and deep beliefsof the Devil and the fight between good and evil.”


Wonderful, Josh thought. They were here because of howtiresome that fight had become in the real lives of each of the Camerons. Andnow they would experience it in a darker, more “woo woo” fashion.


“You must see the parade starting after dark on Hallow’s Evein Rio Bueno,” Demonde continued. “Very dark—and sensual.”


Josh looked up to see that Demonde was looking into thebackseat through the rear-view mirror, but, sensing that Josh was looking athim, the young black man turned his gaze on Josh, who found himself tremblingat the primitive beauty of the man. If there ever was an image for the word“sensual,” Josh thought, it would be someone like Demonde. Raw and unbridled.On the edge of danger, with a sense of brute power just under the surface. Sucha man could travel the whole scale between gentle and rough, Josh surmised. Hischocolate-brown muscled torso must be something to behold unclothed.


“Only in Rio Bueno do they pull out all of the stopsconnecting the evening with the tenets of Obeah,” Demonde said. “We do notdress up like fairy princesses or Roman emperors or cowboys as you do in theStates. We pull out the deeper meaning of the occasion. One of the Obeahbeliefs is that the Devil runs free on earth that night and that only thosemaking themselves up to already be dead—ghosts and ghouls—can escape Satan’spower to grab their souls. So that is how those in the parade dress, and theywear fierce wooden masks to frighten the demons away from them. Obeah has alsopicked up an ancient Catholic practice of wearing their clothes inside out on thatday and walking backwards. They believe if you do that, at the stroke ofmidnight on Hallow’s Eve, those possessed by Satan will reveal themselves toyou and thus can be avoided throughout the coming year. Sometimes they are yourclosest neighbors, or even your own spouse maybe.”


He turned his gaze on Josh and gave him an inscrutablesmile.


“Charming,” Elaine spoke up from the backseat. The fact thatson Jason, at least, wasn’t paying a bit of attention to the discourse wasshown in his not reacting to any of this. Josh knew Jason would eat this sortof sorcery up if he was listening to what Demonde was saying. “I shudder at thethought,” Elaine added.


“And there are snakes. Many, many snakes,” Demonde said in asoft voice that left the impression that he himself was eating up the concept.


“Snakes?” Josh asked in a sharp voice. Elaine’s reaction wasmore of an intake of breath and a sound of disgust. “Why snakes?”


“Very Obeah, are snakes,” Demonde replied. “Snake venom isat the root of the religion. It is based on belief in the power of potions—onesto bring about good, to counter bad . . . or to do bad to your enemies. Snakevenom is a key ingredient in the potions. Yes, there will be many snakes there.You must come and behold.”


“Don’t count on me,” Elaine piped up from the backseat. Joshsaid nothing. The whole discussion and turning his head to watch Demonde speakof these things—the sensual allure of ancient myths and practices—were givinghim a warm feeling in his loins. It also made him feel guilty; such feelingsand sensations were what he’d come to Jamaica to avoid.


They certainly were far, far away from the McMansions,stark-white pasture fences, and the dark secrets of the plastic, smilingfamilies of Long Island.


At least they were until they rolled up to Fontland Point,which was a sprawling mansion on the western point of Discovery Bay, with asmall artificial harbor, square miles of terracing, and an infinity pool thatjutted out from the great room and seemed to spill over the rocky shorelineinto the Caribbean Sea. It would have been right at home on the shores of LongIsland.


The compound was all that the rental company’s brochurepromised that it would be—much like home, just not under the judgmental gaze oftheir community.


And, although the brochure had promised that there would bea cook, a maid, and houseboy slash driver, Demonde was far, far more than waspromised in the latter role.


“We were told that there was a staff provided,” Josh said,as he and Demonde unpacked the back of the Land Rover and Elaine and thechildren started to explore the grounds, both Ellie and Jason tryingdesperately and unsuccessfully to pretend that they weren’t impressed. “So,there is you . . . and a cook and housekeeper too?”


“Ya, Mon,” Demonde said. “but the cook and housekeeper havefamilies and live nearby. I have a room in the lower level of the house—and canbe at your call, as you need me.”


Josh blushed a bit when Demonde looked at him with thosesleepy eyes of his, but then he stiffened as the young man’s gaze slid awayfrom him to take in the voluptuous figure of Elaine as she walked over near theswimming pool.


Why, Josh wondered, as laid back as the amenities of thevacation villa compound were, did he feel electricity and tension in the air?


* * * *


If Josh had expected that the change of venue and isolationwould bring the Camerons together into the happy family that most of theirfriends on Long Island thought they were—or had been before his publiclyrevealed transgression—he was grossly mistaken. In the days running up toNovember, the members of the family barely saw each other, let aloneinteracted. Elaine took to sunbathing by the pool and reading glamour magazineafter glamour magazine, always with a tall drink beside her, with coconut andrum being the main ingredients—heavy on the rum.


Sometimes Ellie was at the pool too—but always on the otherside of it from Elaine. And always she was hooked up to ear buds thattransported her to another planet altogether. Jason was perpetually off playingbasketball at a nearby, less-extravagant vacation resort at the center ofDiscovery Bay. Demonde had hooked him up with vacationing teenagers and localplayers there and often accompanied Jason. On the rare occasion the family didcome together, it was over the dinner table. But Jason was hardly ever thereeven then and Ellie only on occasion—still off in another universe, swaying tothe music playing in her ear buds and singing the lyrics to herself in a sweetsoprano.


The walk east along the coastline that had led to thefortuneteller’s hut had been the only sojourn in the first week that Josh andElaine had taken together—and even that had led to Elaine running back to thehouse on her own and locking herself in her room—or at least Josh thought shewas in her room. She didn’t answer to his knock. They hadn’t slept in the sameroom since Josh’s name had appeared in conjunction with a police raid in NewYork’s Chelsea district in the middle of August.


Even Demonde wasn’t around as much as Josh had expected himto be—which was somewhat of a relief because Josh found his presencedisconcerting. He had been absent so much initially that Josh hadn’t recognizedhim at first the day of the encounter with the fortuneteller. He had found hisfollowing Josh home at a distance disconcerting, though, and after a couple ofagonizing hours alone by the pool with a six-pack of beers, Josh had gone downto the lower level of the house, where the garages and storage rooms—andDemonde’s bedroom and bath—were to seek him out.


As he approached the bedroom door, which was slightly ajar,he realized that Demonde wasn’t alone in his room—or alone on his bed. From themoans and the sighs and the glimpse of lighter-tan skin under Demonde’s deepchocolate and the way Demonde, stretched out, was rising and falling on thefigure underneath him on the bed, Josh realized that Demonde was having sex.


Josh was fast to anger at this knowledge as he stepped awayfrom the door, but he quickly recovered. Demonde wasn’t his employee—really—orhis responsibility, and it should not be surprising to anyone that a young manwith such a powerful, beautiful body wouldn’t have sex—and his choice of sexpartners.


From that time Josh hadn’t come near Demonde’s room in therun up to Halloween and had rarely seen him. He wasn’t even in evidence whenJosh decided—having no takers in the family when he suggested they all go—to gointo the village of Rio Bueno on Hallow’s Eve to check out the parade Demondehad told him about. Demonde couldn’t be found to drive him, but the keys werein the Land Rover, and Josh knew how to drive himself—and he remembered thatthere had been a sign on the Major Highway for the turnoff to Rio Bueno.


He didn’t get to Rio Bueno until well after dark, and the paradewas already in full swing, snaking slowly down the village’s haphazardlywinding main street between bystanders holding up lit torches that made thewhole scene even more garish and mystical than it normally would be. Theparaders were chanting to the gentle stroking of African drums, the fourdrummers sitting in the bed of an old pickup truck at the rear of theprocession. The scene indeed was as ghoulish as Demonde had told Josh it wouldbe, with more than half of the procession being composed of figures covered inwhite bedsheets with elongated wooden devil masks hiding their faces, each onemore gruesome than the one before it but also each a work of art. These maskswere on sale in the tourist stores at other times of the year and were theprincipal folk art of the region.


The rest of those on parade were wearing their clothesinside out, had their faces covered in ash, were beating maracas in an off beatfrom that of the drummers in the truck, and were weaving back and forth insidethe parade columns—and all shuffling backwards on bare feet. Many of them hadankle bracelets with jangling bells on them. In all, the sound was raucous buthad a certain mesmerizing harmony to it.


The image of “snaking” down the street was emphasized by thepresence of live snakes draped around many of those parading down the narrowstreet between adobe and wooden shacks and bungalows set close together. Joshassumed the snakes were nonpoisonous ones, or ones that had been defanged, asneither the noise or the writhing nature of the collective beast shuffling downthe street seemed to have caused any medical emergencies.


Still, when he realized that what was moving on the bodiesof the paraders were living organisms—slithering snakes—Josh found himselfstepping back into the darkness of an alley between two buildings. There was asensuality to all of it that took his breath away. A heavily sexed man himself,he had not gotten off in several weeks, and he found himself going hard at themesmerizing primitiveness of the celebration despite the ghoulishness of itall. The drumbeat of the African drums became the beating of his heart,drumming in his ears, and he began to pant.


He sensed that he was not alone in the alley before hebecame fully aware of the fact. A white-robed arm, the arm of a ghost dancer,he was sure, encircled his waist from behind and drew him a bit deeper into thealley, but not so far that he couldn’t still watch the procession passing bythrough a vertical slit of torch-lit space between the buildings.


The figure embracing him closely frombehind was a man—tall and powerfully built—and breathing as heavily as Joshwas. The feel of the man’s erection through the white cloth of his ghostcostume left no doubt in Josh’s mind that the connection between them was asexual one rather than a random mugging. And suddenly, because of all that washappening around him, because of all that had brought him to Jamaica, andbecause of his great need, a sexual connection was something that Josh achinglywanted. Still, he shuddered and started to hyperventilate as he felt movementon his arms and realized that the man had, like many of the others, snakeswound around his body.


The man held him close, making soothing sounds at the backof his throat, while Josh controlled his trembling and terror and came toaccept that the snakes wouldn’t bite him. In fact, in some primeval way theyadded to the atmosphere of the encounter, undulating between the two bodies,making them one by winding around one man and then partially over the other.While Josh was calming down, he relaxed and began to moan softly. Only thewhite material of the ghost costume and Josh’s own trouser and brief materialseparated the two. The man was in massive erection, and as the snakes rewoundthemselves, binding one man to the other, the ghost’s erection inserted itselfbetween Josh’s thighs, under his balls, and the two swayed against each otheras the ghost dry fucked Josh’s thighs, which Josh closed willingly to encouragethe friction.


Now was the time for Josh to break away, to deny the demonthat plagued him. But Josh made no move to do so. When his assaulter slammedhis back against the adobe wall and exhibited a fierce wooden mask, sportingsmall devil’s horns at the temples and with a large, round, mouth openingthrough which sensually thick, brown lips protruded, Josh just sighed andturned his face toward the vertical slit at the alley opening through which hecould watch the parade proceed.


Giving over all to his present need, he trembled and placedhis hands on either side of the dreadlocked head, as his Hallow’s Eve loverknelt before him, unzipped his trousers, and pulled his hard cock out andbetween moist lips, taking the shaft deep inside his mouth cavity through thelarge mouth opening in the mask. A snake was wound around Josh’s arm, its taildraped down the shoulder and back of the ghost, but, by now, Josh had acceptedthis as yet another sensual element of the coupling. Josh panted and moved hiships, his buttocks hitting the adobe wall behind him rhythmically as his greedythrusts inside the ghost’s mouth took up the beat of the African drums in theback of the pickup truck.


It seemed like the parade was going on forever, and, indeed,the truck passed the slit of his view beyond the alley three times during theraw, primitive sexual encounter. So the parade, he reasoned, must be in a loop,going down this street, up another, and back down this one again until all werein frenzy-induced exhaustion, and Hallow’s Eve had turned into All Saints’ Day.


With a cry to the narrow slit of dark blue sky over thealley that was swallowed up in the strange but compelling music of the parade,Josh came down the ghost’s throat in a profusion of pent-up need of more than amonth’s duration.


He felt so spent and exhausted—and satisfied—that he couldhave just slid down the wall into a heap at its base, but he was being held upby the strong arm of the ghost now standing, leaning down, and resting theforehead of the grotesquely evocative wooden mask on Josh’s forehead. Thevelvety brown eyes behind the mask were boring into Josh’s own eyes.


“And now me—my pleasure—if I have guessed right,” the ghostmurmured in a rich, smooth, Jamaican-accented baritone voice.


“Yes, yes, please. Fuck me,” Josh murmured in a strangledvoice.


The ghost turned Josh’s cheek to the wall, and once moreJosh’s eyes focused on the glimpses of the passing parade, as he heard and felthis belt buckle being undone and his trousers and briefs being pushed down tohis ankles.


He whimpered as a broad hand palmed his belly and anotherone grabbed the back of his neck, keeping his cheek plastered to the coolpebbled surface of the adobe wall. A snake slithered up his thigh and encircledhis hips and lower belly. It wasn’t large enough to choke the life out of Josh,but it constricted its muscles and released them throughout the fuck in acadence that Josh fancied matched that of the drummers in the truck and of hisassaulter’s rhythmic thrusts inside him. Never before had Josh felt this highduring sex.


“Present your ass to me,” the voice, rougher, more insistentnow, cut through the darkness, and the palm on his belly prompted Josh to juthis buttocks back from the wall as he raised his stance on the balls of hisfeet. He was willing, open, wanting for what he knew was coming.


His eyes were watering and he was giving little yip, yipsounds as one of the thickest cocks he had ever taken began to enter andstretch his channel. And enter and enter and enter. Hold. And then begin a long,slow, familiar, sought-after pumping action that became faster and faster, asJosh writhed under the fierce onslaught of the taking, the faster beat of thecock inside him seemingly being matched by the rise in volume and beat of thedrums.


He couldn’t be mistaken. The drums were, indeed, beatingfaster, the crowd, indeed, was growing more frenzied and louder in its cries,the fuck indeed was becoming ever more vigorous, frenzied. There was nomistaking it, as Josh’s yodels merged with the song of the crowd, Hallow’s Evewas coming to a climax. And so did Josh again, his spunk splashing against theadobe wall. And so, Josh could tell by the trembling and jerking of the cockinside him and by the heavy breathing and snorts and groans of the ghost who wasfucking him, did his assailant.


The was no feeling of the spurt of cum inside him or of warmsemen lathering the mammoth cock and dribbling down Josh’s thighs, which madeJosh aware that the man must have worn a condom. Despite the safety itsignaled, under the circumstances of their primitive sex act, Josh felt theloss of rawness of what would have made his sense of surrender peak, as hisbody now, at last, slid down the wall.


He was alone. And, as he raised his head and focused hiseyes, he realized that the sounds beyond the alley entrance were dissipating.The parade had passed him by. It was the morning of All Saints’ Day.


The house was dark when he returned to the Discovery Bayvilla. Elaine’s door was closed, as were those of Ellie’s and Jason’s bedrooms.All was normal—unfortunately.


And they had made no progress on the reason why they hadescaped Long Island for Jamaica. At least he hadn’t. The same issue that hadexploded his marriage—their marriage—at least his contribution to theexplosion, still existed. He still wanted to be with men. He still wanted to befucked by men. That devil still had him by the throat.


Although the sexual encounter in Rio Bueno had brought allof his wants to the surface and had, momentarily, been satisfying in a primitivesort of way, it had only reopened his wound. He spent a fretful hour alone onhis bed, fantasizing about the fuck in the Rio Bueno alley—alternating betweenwanting it not to have happened and wanting it to have gone on longer, forever.Wanting to have seen the body of his lover and to have had the opportunity tomake love to it.


This had been a new level of sensuality for him. In theencounters that had gotten him into trouble in New York, he shied away fromsucking another man’s cock. But tonight he had felt the loss of not having beengiven the opportunity to do so with the ghost in the alley. He knew the cockhad been thick and long—as it had possessed his channel fully. He felt theencounter had not been complete because he had not been able to fondle and makelove to it as the ghost had done for him. He found himself trying to imaginehaving that cock in his possession.


There was a divine male body he’d seen here in Jamaica—thatof Demonde, the driver and handyman. Each morning Demonde skimmed and cleanedthe swimming pool, wearing only a skimpy Speedo. In spite of the demon he hadto fight, Josh had taken to being on his bedroom balcony each morning to watchDemonde clean the pool, his magnificent chocolate-brown muscles rippling in theeffort, his dreadlocks gently moving in the breeze, the gold clips at the endspicking up and reflecting the sunlight on the surface of the water in the pool.


The Speedo had done little to conceal the thickness andlength of Demonde’s cock.


As he lay there on his back, in the nude, during the morninghours of All Saints Day, thinking of big cocks and hunky men—and of Demonde inparticular—Josh began to stroke his own cock. He arched his back, played hisnipples with his free hand, and moaned softly. He came, but he was stillrestless. It wasn’t enough.


Perhaps just a glance of him. He wouldn’t touch the youngman—not unless he was invited to, of course. Perhaps Demonde slept in the nudetoo, Josh thought. He rose from the bed, shrugged into a short robe, tied itssash around his waist, and padded quietly down to the lower level.


Demonde’s bedroom door was half ajar, but, as before, itquickly became evident from the sounds coming from inside the room that Demondewasn’t alone and was engaged in sex. Josh didn’t pull back quickly this time.He had recrossed that Rubicon the previously night. He had little reason now tofight his proclivities. He maneuvered around to where he could get a partialview of the bed, bathed in the moonlight streaming in from the chamber’s openwindow.


The woman was on the bed, facing the window, on all fours.Josh could not get a good look at her because Demonde was covering her closelyfrom behind. His cheek was brushing hers, taking more than the impression of thewoman’s long, blonde hair away from Josh. Demonde had one hand on her belly andthe other one cupping an ample breast. He was fucking her from behind, slowly,rhythmically. And she was moving her buttocks against his groin and moaningsoftly. It was hard to tell, but Demonde was riding her buttocks so high thathis cock may have been in her ass.


It was too dark to determine whether she was a Jamaicannative. The blonde hair belied that, and the texture of her skin was decidedlypaler than Demonde’s deep chocolate. There was no dearth of Scandinavianbeauties vacationing in the villa compound where Jason was spending his timeplaying basketball—if that was what Jason was spending his days doing up there,it now occurred to Josh. Jason was a good-looking, strapping young man. For allJosh knew, his son was spilling his seed at that villa compound rather thanplaying basketball. If so, Josh thought, more power to him.


What <i>could</i>be discerned was that she was being well fucked. On every third or fourthstroke, the cock was being pulled almost to the surface before thrusting backinside. Demonde was built long and thick and his balls hung low. In hisfantasies and from his observations of Demonde cleaning the pool, Josh hadconvinced himself that this would be so.


Josh’s attention went to the forward and backward movementand clenching and unclenching of Demonde’s bulbous buttocks. Josh’sthoughts—despite all of his struggle with this demon—were consumed with theimage of him being in the place of this woman under Demonde. Taking it in theass—hard and deep—as she appeared to be doing.


When he observed Demonde’s buttocks tighten, move faster andmore frenziedly for four strokes, and then relax with a sigh from him and a cryof “Oh god, yes!” from her, Josh felt the cum spurt from his own hard cock,which he, unknowingly, had been stroking, and dribble down his legs.


Spent, finally, from three ejaculations in the night, Joshwithdrew to his room—and to fretful sleep and the realization that the tripsouth had done nothing in dispelling the demons that had brought him here.


* * * *


Both Josh’s ire and his gorge rose the next morning as heappeared on the terrace by the pool for breakfast. Both Elaine and Ellie,atypically, had appeared for breakfast as well, and they were bothsmiling—again atypically—and they both suddenly were blondes.


“When did this happen?” Josh blurted out.


“When did what happen, dear?” Elaine asked. It was almost acoo rather than what had become an accusing jab in the last month. Josh feltthe knife go in on the possibility of what had made her suddenly mellow.


“The blonde hair. Both of you.”


“We got bored, Daddy, and wanted a change,” Ellie answered.Was that a sense of having been satisfied from her as well, Josh wondered. “Wenoticed how much attention blondes were getting down here and decided we’dlatch on to some of that.”


Josh started to say something, but then he couldn’t. Notafter what he’d done the previous day. They were down here to smooth overrifts, not to feed them. And there was no proof . . . not really, not anythinghe could hold onto as leverage in an argument. But which one of them, hewondered. Or has it been both? He had no idea what Ellie’s experience was, butshe was twenty—she could collect experiences if she wanted, and he had no saywhatsoever in the matter. Other than that her feet were still under his table.She wasn’t paying her way. He started to say something, but he stopped himself,realizing that if Demonde was fucking his daughter, his real objection was thatDemonde wasn’t fucking him instead.


But it could be Elaine too. When he’d been exposed for whathe did, she’d gone off the deep end and helped herself to it as well. If heaccused her now, there was no telling what she’d drag into the fight—and afterlast night in Rio Bueno . . .


No, he thought, as he clamped his mouth shut. What we needis to start all over again. And I need to reset as much as any of the othersdo.


He dredged his mind for something to say thatwouldn’t lead to a fight, but then he saw that he didn’t need to say anything.The attention of both women was riveted on the swimming pool, where Demonde, inhis skimpy Speedo, was doing his morning skimming and cleaning.


In frustration and disgust—disgust with himself and his ownweaknesses as much as with anyone else—Josh wolfed his croissant, gulped hiscoffee, and quickly rose from the table and went into the house. As far as heknew, neither of the women had any inkling he’d left the table at all.


Time to separate and work on a tan, he thought, as hechanged into a bathing suit and rustled up towel, suntan lotion, paperback,flip-flops, and sunglasses.


He needed to be alone for a while. There were several pocketbeaches nearby—small plots of sand, surrounded down to the water with rockformations and accessible only by narrow pathways between the rocks. He pickedout a deserted cove, stretched out his towel, ran into the surf and tiredhimself out with the Australian crawl beyond the breaker line. Then hestruggled back to the sand, stripped off his suit to work on an all-over tan,and lay on his belly on the towel.


He read until he was drowsy and then put the paperbackaside, rolled over on his back to even out the tan, and dozed off.


When he opened his eyes, Demonde, naked and manhood swingingbetween his thighs, almost down to his knees, was walking out of the surftoward him. But it was more than Demonde. It was the Devil incarnate—the verydemon that had been plaguing Josh for months. It surely was Demonde. But italso was more. His muscular body was magnificent—all power and virility. He hadan evil grin on his face, and there were short goat horns protruding from histemples. And there was a swishy tail. The hoofs instead of feet became evidentas Demonde walked out of the surf.


He walked toward Josh and then stood over him, hoofs plantedbeside Josh’s knees, and grinning evilly, knowingly, down into Josh’s face withbig, brown, velvety eyes.


Josh’s attention was elsewhere, though. He was staring atthe monster cock swinging between Demonde’s thighs. He sat up and reached outfor it with one hand, the other one cupping the low-hanging ball sac. He moanedas he took the phallus in his mouth and began to suck it. This was what he’dwanted to do with the ghost the previous night and, denied that, had not feltfully satiated—and entirely new sensation for him as, though he had jacked aman with his hand, he never sucked a man off before.


He had almost to unhinge his jaw to take the thickness ofthe cockhead inside his mouth cavity. Demonde laughed deep in his throat as hebegan to move the phallus back and forth over the surface of Josh’s tongue,moving deeper toward the throat. Josh moaned at the possessiveness of thisentirely new sensation, feeling the cock throb and harden even further. Demondeplaced his hands on the back of Josh’s head and Josh reached around Demonde’ships and palmed the man’s bulbous buttocks, as Demonde set his hips in a slowfuck motion. Although Josh had never done this for another man before, he feltfully engaged in the unity of the connection. He was exhilarated at thesensation of total connection in this act, and wondered why he hadn’t gone thisfar with another man before now. At the same time he was frustrated from theknowledge that his intentions were to forego all such sexual activity.


Josh was lifted to a new sensual high when Demonde stoppedmoving his hips and began moving Josh’s head back and forth on the hard andslick cock. Josh involuntarily dropped one of his hands to his own, fullyengorged cock and began to stroke it in rhythm with the forward and backmovement of Demonde’s hips. With a jerk, Josh came. Demonde laughed and pulledhis cock out of Josh’s mouth.


Josh was then turned over on all fours by Demonde’s strong,guiding hands, with Demonde crouched over his hips, fucking him deep and slow.The cock was impossibly thick and long. Josh realized he knew that cock—fromthe previous night, in the alley in Rio Bueno on Hallow’s Eve. He moaned insatisfaction—greater satisfaction as he could tell that the cock wasn’tsheathed. He could feel every vein, the cock so hard the veins were popping outat the surface, as it moved along his channel walls, sending his passagewayinto shimmering satisfaction.


Demonde lowered his face to the back of Josh’s neck andlatched onto the scruff of his neck with his teeth like a mother cat would dowith a kitten she wanted to subdue.


And he fucked and he fucked and he fucked, as Josh moanedand writhed under him. And his flow flooded Josh’s channel deep and seeped downthe sides of the phallus and out of Josh’s entrance and down his thighs. Andthen, as Josh collapsed onto the towel, Demonde followed him down, still hard,and began to pump again, this time faster and deeper and faster and deeper . .. An ejaculation. Resumed pumping and another ejaculation. Pump and flow; pumpand flow.


When Josh woke, he was alone, belly to towel. His thighswere slick with cum.


But was it his cum or Demonde’s? Or was it the Devil’s?


Josh remained there another hour-until he started to burnfrom the sun’s rays, savoring whatever he had just experienced, whether it wasa dream or real life. Whatever it was, it had mellowed him out and given him aseries of tension-releasing ejaculations. And the sex with Demonde had felt soreal and so satisfying.


He was whistling as he approached the villa and then changedto soft humming as he entered the silent house and walked to the kitchen for abeer. The cook, Angelina, a large, heavyset, jolly Jamaican woman was workingon a lunch that Josh wondered if anyone but he would appear to enjoy.


“The house is quiet,” he said, not wanting to just passthrough the kitchen without acknowledging her presence. There were many timesduring their residence there that Josh thought the Angelina was the only glue thatkept the family from being pitched out in all directions by the centrifugalforce of the mounting tensions between them.


“I don’t know where mistress is,” Angelina answered, “butMaster Jason went to the vacation villas on the bay early this morning, takinghis basketball. And Miss Ellie left just now to take the sun in one of thecoves, she said. Do you want lunch now, sir?”


“No, I can see that you’ve just started making it. I’ll eatby the pool later. You can leave it in the refrigerator and leave for theafternoon. I know you must have much to do at home.” She would be back to fixtheir dinner.


He flipped open the beer can and walked over to the wall ofglass in the great room that overlooked the pool, hoping, he realized, to catcha glimpse of Demonde, cleaning the pool—a Demonde who, if he was here, couldnot have been in the cove fucking Josh just now. But Demonde wasn’t there. So,Josh went up the stairs to have a shower and wash the sand off his body—and, hethought, perhaps, with a sudden warm feeling, out of his channel. Could thathave gotten in there while he was swimming in the sea, he wondered. Or could ithave entered later—with Demonde’s cock?


He heard the sounds as he hit the top of the stairs, comingfrom Elaine’s room. They hadn’t even bothered to close her bedroom door.


Demonde, naked, was lying on his back in the center ofElaine’s bed, his head nestled on the overlapping wrists of his bent arms, hisfists grabbing the slats of the headboard above his head, a big smile on hisface. Elaine, her arms thrust back and the heels of her hands pressed into hispecs, was riding his cock in reverse, her pendulous breasts swaying with therhythm of the fuck and a look of supreme satisfaction on her face.


Both of them looked up as Josh stood in the doorway, bothobviously seeing him there. Neither seemed surprised or alarmed, though. Elainehad a “take that” expression on her face when her eyes went to Josh. Demondelooked half amused and entirely uncaring and in control. To add to the insult,he reached down with his hands, gripped Elaine’s waist, and raised her a bunchof inches up off his cock to exhibit just how big the shaft was, and thenlowered her hips again to show just how far up into her he reached.


Josh turned; walked down the stairs, nearly in a trance; andout the front door. The doors of the Land Rover were unlocked, as was the glovecompartment. The Glock 42 was where he’d put it as well as the bullet magazinefor it. Taking the gun, he reentered the house and walked deliberately back upthe stairs.


He found Elaine alone on her bed, on her back, the fingersof one hand playing in her folds and of the other tweaking a nipple. She seemedneither surprised nor shocked by the gun.


The French doors to the upper terrace were open, and Joshwalked over to them. Demonde, still naked, the bulbous buttocks the sameinviting orbs Josh had seen in Demonde’s room before—and perhaps had graspedwith the palms of his own hands just recently—had somehow made it down to thelower level and was walking away from the house, in the garden—more saunteringthan making an exit one would expect of a man caught by a husband in a trystwith his wife.


Josh turned from the window and lowered the gun.


“Were you going to shoot him or me?” Elaine asked in a calmvoice.


“Perhaps both. I hadn’t thought about it,” Josh answered. Hefelt guilty at the knowledge that his first reaction was to shoot her—that whathad set him off was seeing her as competition for what he couldn’t help wantingfor himself.


“You are good about not thinking, Josh. He told me aboutlast night—in Rio Bueno. You just can’t help yourself, can you?”


Confirmation that Demonde had been his ghost lover in thatalley—not that he needed confirmation anymore.


“And you can’t stop punishing me for it?”


“No, I suppose not,” she answered. “But there are sidebenefits. He gives one magnificent fuck.”


“I know,” Josh said.


There was a flash of anger from Elaine when he said that.Then she said, “Are you going to shoot me now, or will you put that gun away?”


“I may have to shoot us all,” Josh answered. But he loweredthe gun further, left the room, and replaced the Glock in the glove compartmentof the Land Rover.


There wasn’t much he felt justified in doing for havingfound her fucking Demonde. He knew that was her answer to what he had done—andeven, apparently, with Demonde, although that had just now been confirmed forthe first time.


No, he had come here to salvage whatever he could of hisfamily. But Demonde would have to go. He couldn’t be permitted free rein tocover both husband and wife at will. Josh called the rental agency and arrangedfor Demonde’s removal. The answer, he decided, was not to dwell on what hadhappened but to erase all temptation—for all of them.


And then the guilt set in as he realized that his thoughtsimmediately had gone to how he might hook up with Demonde beyond the sphere ofthe villa and Elaine.


* * * *


Another fretful, hot night, the French doors thrown up tocatch the sea breeze, and Josh lying on his back on top of the sheets, spentbut not fully satisfied from a masturbation session and dreaming of Demonde’scock—and now not only with it possession his ass; now Josh wanted to fondle andsuck it as well. With a groan, he turned onto his belly and dozed.


He felt the heavy body stretch out full length on top of himand the labored breathing in his ear. And the arms embracing his torso, and theteeth as they closed down over the scruff of his neck. With a sigh, Josh dughis knees into the surface of the bed and raised his buttocks to provide hislover the perfect angle. A throbbing, thick cock pressed its bulb at Josh’shole, and he relaxed his channel, knowing that the shaft would stretch him andreach deeper than any ever had done before. And it did both, and they both laythere, panting shallowly, as Josh adjusted to the invasion.


Then the deep pumping began, and Josh lifted his head tostare at the back-and-forth of the heavy teak headboard as it ground gentlyagainst the wall to the gentle rhythm of the fuck. He opened his mouth toscream, but a hand covered his mouth, with a thick thumb invading the chamberfor Josh to suck on. He reached up with a hand, running his fingers through thedreadlocks and continuing to the forehead of his assaulter—his lover. His handfelt the protruding nub at the temple. A small horn?


That’s when he noticed the swishing of something against hiscalves. The end of a tail?


Something moved across his outstretched arm. He looked overin that direction. In the dark, he couldn’t be sure. The coils of a snake?Suddenly it seemed the whole surface of the bed was alive with the slitheringof snakes. He cried out and had to reach his arms up and grab the slats of theheadboard, because his ass was being pounded hard and deep. Pounded, pounded,pounded.


The headboard was slapping against the wall and the springswere moaning from the pounding. Josh cried out again and again. “Yes! Yes!Yes!”


And then the eruption and flooding. Another ejaculation andthen another. Ending in a maniacal laugh.


And then . . . silence.


Josh came to in a puddle of cum? All his? Surely not. Heturned over and moaned. Not satisfied. Still wanting it. Wanting so much moreof it. Wanting to suck it as well as feeling it move in his channel. What wasreal and what was not? Why had he sent Demonde away? Why could he not have justshared him?


But then he beat his fists into the mattress. How in thehell could he shake this demon that had him by the balls?


* * * *


The next three days were suspiciously quiet. Suspiciously,Josh thought, because all of his family members were acting as if they werewarming to this vacation. Not to each other, but, individually, mellowing tothe pace of life here. Scowls had changed to small, interior-oriented smiles,flashed when they thought that others weren’t watching—as if each had asatisfying secret to savor.


Everything seemed normal except that Demonde wasn’t there.And what was abnormal about that was that none of Josh’s family members hadremarked about the man’s absence. Now the rental agency was sending someonefrom a pool maintenance business to clean the pool every other day. And, toJosh’s relief, everyone they sent was an ugly older man. He had said nothing tothe cook or housekeeper about Demonde being sent away. Let them find out intheir own way and for whatever reasons they were told—if they noticed he wasgone during the family’s stay at all.


The afternoon of the third day, those secrets began tounravel.


After the noon meal, Josh stripped down to a bathing suit coveredby a T-shirt, because he was beginning to burn, walked east along thecoastline, seeking time alone to argue with himself about two nights ofsolitary confinement with no aided release—reasoning that this was what he’dstarted, the start on the road to pulling the pieces of his family together andshaking his addiction, even though he ached for Demonde to visit him in thenight. Whether real or an illusion, he didn’t care. Well, he did care, ofcourse, but any release was better than none. At the same time he realized thatthis exactly was what he had to shake if his life ever was going to return tonormal.


Whatever normal was since he had become aware that he achedfor big-cocked muscular men to fuck him.


He had a thought to try a new cove that was rimmed by a rockcliff. When he reached the rim of that, he looked down into the curve of sandto discover that it wasn’t deserted as he had hoped. There was a couple downthere, having sex. The closer he looked, the more he realized that it wasDemonde—and not just Demonde, but also the Devil Demonde, tail swishing, hornsprotruding, dreadlocks flying, the gold clips on the end of them catching thesun’s rays and sending beams around on the sides of the cliff walls in adisplay of vigorous fucking.


The woman, with long blonde hair, was on all fours, and theDevil Demonde was crouched over her hips—fucking her in the ass. His taut torsomuscles glistened with sweat from the exertion.


And it wasn’t just any blonde, Josh realized in horror. Itwas Ellie. His daughter, Ellie. With a cry, Josh started plunging down thesteep pathway descending from the cliff face to the sand below. But almostimmediately he stumbled and fell, scraping his knee on a rock. He had to workhis way down more slowly and gingerly from there, his knee screaming its pain,keeping his eyes on the pathway to prevent another stumble.]


When he reached the sand, only Ellie was there, on her backon a towel, with her bikini bottoms in place, a paperback in her hands. Shelooked up at him and said, “Dad. I didn’t expect to see you here.”


I jolly well bet you didn’t, Josh thought, seething inside,but aware, from recent experience, that what he’d seen from the top of thecliff might have just been an illusion created by his overwrought imagination.And also aware that, at twenty, he should see his daughter’s sex life as byright rather than as competition for him.


But then, while as casually as he could, he said, “I waslooking for a private cove myself; I didn’t see you here,” he began to discerntelltale signs that he hadn’t been hallucinating—at least not about someonejust having been fucking her. The hands holding the paperback were shaking, sheseemed a bit out of breath, and the nipples of her pendulous breasts werepuffy. He turned his head, looking out to sea, and he was convinced that hecould see a head bobbing around a rock that went down to the sea toward thewest—a head with dreadlocks splayed out on the surface of the water—a hint ofshort horns peeking out of the black strands at the swimmer’s temples.


Josh knew. He knew that hadn’t been an illusion. It wasn’tjust Elaine. Demonde was fucking Ellie too—and probably had been for some time.This was really too much, although he knew there was no high moral ground forhim to stand on. He didn’t linger there. He walked back to where the path upthe cliff side started, mumbling something innocuous back to Ellie’s casual,“See you at supper.”


At the top of the cliff, he turned east, rather than west,back toward the villa at Discovery Bay. He kept on walking along the coastline,trying to remember the path he and Elaine had taken days ago, back before thisnightmare—or delightful dream, Josh was still fighting that internalstruggle—had begun.


He realized that he had chosen the right path when he couldsee the fortuneteller’s hut ahead of him, clinging half way up the slope downto yet another secluded cove.


“You have come back. I knew you would,” Madame Lameshacackled when he entered the dimly lit, dingy shack. She didn’t seem the leastsurprised to see him enter her hut. She was still sitting at the small round,black-cloth covered table, clutching the far edges as if the table would spiralup through the roof if she didn’t hold it down. Her clothing was the same asbefore, as if she had been just sitting there, waiting for him to return.


“I have rejected my demons, but they won’t let me go,” Joshsaid, standing there, refusing to sit down. Not knowing why he’d come, exceptthat he was at the end of his rope.


“And you have come to me for help.”


“You said there are potions—poisons—to dismiss the Devil inthis Obeah religion of yours.”


“And you want me to give one to you.”


“I am weak. I cannot fight this myself. I need something tohelp me—if only a psychological crutch.”


“My potions are not psychological crutches or toys,” thewoman responded with indignation, pulling her puffy chest up and squaring hershoulders.


“Will you sell me a potion or won’t you?”


“Oh, yes, I will sell you a potion. I know that your demonis a particularly strong one, and is growing stronger rather than weaker. Itwill have to be a particularly strong potion.”


For the first time in either visit, she rose from her chairand waddled to the back wall of the shack. She was humming as she rattled jarsand pulled items off shelves and put them back. She returned with a blackleather necklace strand with a vial of some sort hanging from it.


Josh looked at it as she held it out to him in her palm. Itwas a glass vial, but it was in the shape of a cross. He could see that it hada metal band around it under the cross beam and that it was filled with abluish liquid.


“If you raise this to the Devil, he will have to back off,”she said. “But if you want to dispel him, you will have to snap it where thismetal band is and touch him with at least some of the potion. He will dissolveon the spot.”


“And you say this works?”


“Yes, of course it works. It is strong Obeah. I made thisbatch on the just-passed Hallow’s Eve.”


“And he will never come back?”


“Never. You will be finished with him.”


Josh hesitated at the implication of this. But then hebucked up and said, through clenched teeth, “How much?”


“Nothing if you try it and it doesn’t work—if you don’treally want to dispel the Devil.” At this, she gave him a penetrating look thatJosh didn’t much like. “You will give me much if it does work. We will discussthat when you return after it has worked.”


“And the Devil won’t return?” Josh repeated.


“If he is truly gone, yes. If you believe you have dispelledit but only are fooling yourself, all will be illusion.”


Clutching the vial in a fist, the necklace around his neck,Josh returned to the villa at Discovery Bay. Something told him he knew whathe’d find there, and he was right.


Elaine was splayed over the side of the bed, belly tomattress, her feet on the floor, her eyes focused on the door to her bedroomwhere Josh appeared. She was showing a smile of deep satisfaction. Demonde—theDevil Demonde, complete with horns, hoofed feet, and swishing tail, was standingbehind her, holding her waist between his hands. He was fucking her in her ass,taking long, deep strokes. He too was looking at the doorway where Joshappeared, a smug look of victory on his face.


The expression changed, though, immediately after he saw thenecklace around Josh’s neck. Josh raised the cross-shaped vial, stretching itout toward Demonde as far as the leather strand would permit.


With a slurp, Demonde pulled out of Elaine’s ass and backedtoward the open French window, with an arm thrown across his face, his upcurvederection monstrous.


Josh stepped forward, his hand tugging at the vial, workinghis fingers to where he could break it at the metal band. The leather strandsnapped at the power of his pull and the distance between him and the Devil wasbeing narrowed.


But Josh . . . just . . . could not carry through—at leastfor the extra couple of seconds it took Demonde to back through the window anddisappear from sight. But then the vial snapped where Josh’s fingers had beenpressing on it, and the liquid dropped to the Oriental carpet underneath, whereis sizzled and burned holes through the thick carpeting as acid would.


Angry at himself. Resolved now—perhaps for the first timegenuinely resolved, he believed—Josh turned and ran out of the room, down thestairs, and out of the house. He ran all the way back to the cove where thefortuneteller’s shack was located. He moved in a frenzy, muttering to himselfthat he needed more potion. That this time he would carry through. That this holdof the Devil’s must be broken—for the first time convincing himself that hebelieved not only in the physical nature of the Devil that besieged his lifebut also in the power of Obeah.


But when he reached the cove he sought, the shack was notthere. There was no evidence it ever had been there. Was this what thefortuneteller had meant about it <i>all</i>being an illusion if he wasn’t genuinely prepared to exorcise his demon? Wereeven the shack and the fortuneteller—and the very basis of Obeah—illusions tothose unable to believe?


But he was a believer now, he whined. Ah, but you weren’tthen, a little voice inside his head said. You weren’t a full believer thatDemonde was the Devil when you stood before him and could have destroyed him.


“But I am a believer now,” he repeated, saying it out loud.Turning and screaming it to the sea. “I am now! I am ready to free myself ofthe Devil now.”


The only sound that came back to him was the sound of thesurf of the Caribbean sea lapping against the sand of the cove below.


He trudged back to the villa, his mind working on what hecould do to combat this demon. Regretting now that he was entirely on his ownin doing so. As a last resort, he knew, there was the Glock in the Land Rover’sglove compartment. It could be an ultimate answer for him and the rest of thefamily—if it was not an answer for Demonde and the Devil inside him. Josh waswon over now. Demonde wasn’t just a randy Jamaican hunk. He was the Devilincarnate. Josh’s own personal demon.


When he got back to the villa, the cook had returned tostart preparing dinner. The Land Rover was gone. Had Elaine left him? Joshwondered.


“Where is Mrs. Cameron?” he asked Angelina, trying to keephis voice casual.


“Mrs. Cameron and Miss Ellie are in their rooms,” Angelinaanswered. “I was just upstairs and I saw them both. They are sleeping.”


The Land Rover, Josh wondered. Who had taken the Land Rover?Had Demonde stolen it?


“And Jason?” he asked. “I guess he’s still at the DiscoveryBay compound.”


“Oh, no, Mr. Cameron. He wasn’t before. He just was throughhere, raiding the refrigerator. He and Demonde. But he may be off to thevacation compound, playing basketball, now. I hope that son of yours is a verygood basketball player. He seems to have devoted his life to it.” She toppedthis observation off with a hearty laugh. Josh attempted an appreciative smile,but what she said was pounding at his brain.


“He and Demonde? Demonde was just here?” Josh asked,fighting for breath, his voice sharper than he had intended.


“Oh, yes. He was just here. With Master Jason. He said theywere going to Discovery Bay. To play basketball.”


Something roared in Josh’s brain. He knew now that he shouldhave told Angelina that Demonde was not supposed to be here anymore. The fearthat gripped him wasn’t just that Jason had never taken the Land Rover beforeto go play basketball at the Discovery Bay villas compound. It was what Joshhad seen in the front foyer just now.


Jason’s basketball. He never went to play basketball withouttaking his basketball.


Demonde had Jason. Josh knew that as well as he knewanything. Demonde undoubtedly was fucking Jason too—and had been all along—andwas fucking him now.


The image of his eighteen-year-old son, bent over a rocksomewhere, with Devil Demonde mounted on his young hips, tail swishing,raucously laughing at Josh as his thick cock moved up inside the tender channeland Jason, rather than crying out at the assault, panted and begged for thefuck—more competition for Devil Demonde’s attentions—was overwhelming.


Josh collapsed into a straight chair and lowered his headbetween his knees, fighting the nausea and racked by frustration and despair.Not the frustration and despair that he had brought himself to believe in. Thefrustration was that Demonde was fucking Jason and not him. The despair was therealization that he never was going to shake this demon. That he never wasgoing to deny Devil Demonde’s power over him.


And with the Land Rover gone, so was the salvation of theGlock.



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