Satori stands in the centre of his bedroom. His fingers and the lace cuffs of his shirt are stained from the charcoal he uses to scribble symbols. Markings cover every surface: the bare floorboards, ceiling and walls. Even his wardrobe and door are covered in intricate black sigils.
He unbuttons his shirt, swearing as he leaves fingerprints on the cotton. After tossing the garment on to his bed, he unzips his jeans, and forces the denim over his legs and to the floor. Standing naked, he smells himself. There is no trace of her scent on his body. Realising this feels like losing her all over again.
His fragile-looking, angular body is lost in the forest of writing. It expands around him, a web of ancient knowledge. The tips of his fingers prickle with energy.
He pulls silver rings from his fingers. Pushing back his shoulder-length hair, he removes the hoops from his left ear, and finally the silver stud from his sharply pointed nose. His jewellery jingles like tiny bells as he lets it fall, scattering like distant stars across the midnight duvet. On his pillow, dozens of photographs lie like fallen leaves. Some are intact but most are torn or defaced. Her face holds his thoughts for a moment: pale, perfect and framed by a mass of ebony curls. He shakes his head to clear her image. After this is over he will make her love him again. Maybe she will beg for his forgiveness. A wolfish grin grows across his face at the thought of Star on her knees, begging him to take her back. He licks his lips. His face feels hot, his body cold. In spite of his impatience to start the ritual, he waits. Sucking deep breaths in through his nostrils, he collects his thoughts—he mustn’t rush. He must be in control of himself and his desires.
Whispering, he draws the same glyphs on his body. He starts with his toes and the soles of his feet, moving upwards and over his skin with practised dexterity. Charcoal drags against his skin, which blossoms pink below each mark. The growing tattoo obscures his features.
Although he knows the words he needs to say, he reads the passage again, to be certain. He draws two circles on the floor and steps into one of them. With the fingers of his right hand he traces a pentagram in the air before him. Then he recites the words, his voice slow and clear, pronouncing each syllable with care.
‘ … This is my will,’ he says finally.
Lifting a silver dagger above his head, he concentrates. An excited grin spreads across his graffiti covered face and with tremendous force he plunges the knife downwards, severing the air in front of him. Through the tear he can see swirls of darkness: Chaos. He calls to Furfur, creator of love between man and woman, to share with him his demon’s power so he can win Star back.
A long, slender leg steps through the gap, followed by a lily-white body. The interloper is female, naked and hairless.
‘I am Satori,’ he says. His voice quivers with fear and excitement. He coughs and tries to speak with more authority. ‘I have brought you—’
‘Brought me? I think not. I saw the door and came to see the fool who caused it to open.’ Her emerald eyes are full of contempt.
Satori’s confidence withers. Malice thickens the air like gelatine and the demon’s aura chills the room. Although he suspects it is fear rather than the cold that makes his body shake so violently. Staring at her in silence, he realises he has made an error. Through all his planning and preparation, he did not see this coming. What went wrong? Instead of Furfur, contained and compelled to do his bidding, ready to elevate him back into the arms of his beloved, he is faced with something else, something threatening. He raises his dagger above him again, ready to expel her before it’s too late, but before he can open his mouth she knocks the dagger away with the back of her hand.
‘I am your guest not your minion, and you will not dismiss me,’ she says.
Satori falls to the floor, nursing his wrist and looks at the thousands of drawings that swim before his eyes. She steps into view, her pale feet smudging the glyphs.
‘I need clothes,’ she says.
Satori vaguely wonders whether she is making the demand of him and watches, transfixed, as her white toes sharpen into a point and black ectoplasm spreads over them and the sides of her feet until they meet at the back, forming a shiny slipper. The back of her foot is raised higher and higher, making her feet arch as stiletto heels stretch beneath the soles. He looks up at her, spellbound, and sees the same process in action. Over her breasts and stomach a leather corset is growing and moment by moment the material becomes more defined, like the fast rewinding of decomposition. From the black leather rise five red trimmed straps that decorate the front, each with a silver buckle in the centre. From her crotch, lace panties spread and a shock of red hair can be seen beneath them, over those a shiny black mini skirt, so short it barely touches her thighs. Her face is now painted. Her lips red, as is the mass of long hair which grows from her scalp. Across the seam of her closed eyes thick, black lashes sprout and above these two perfect eyebrows arch downwards toward her delicate nose. When she opens her eyes again Satori’s body responds to her beauty. She laughs.
‘I am not yours, magician,’ she says.
Those cold, green eyes sweep around the room, and her body flexes and tightens. Satori watches as a frown creases her forehead and chin.
‘Open the door,’ she demands.
‘Who are you?’ he asks at last.
‘Lilith,’ she answers then she seems to forget he is there at all and walks past him towards the door.
‘No,’ he whispers. ‘I have to send you back.’
She turns to him. Crouched on the floor, he feels her judging him. He tries to stand, but under the power of her scorn his limbs feel like liquid. She steps towards him, her movements like quicksilver. Holding his breath, he watches. He has never seen anyone, human or feline, move as gracefully or effortlessly. Fear strengthens his body; he takes a deep breath and tries to rise. The mocking smile on her face makes his stomach twist and tighten. He feels anger at her dismissal of his power, yet his penis still aches for her. His body rebels against his will. She turns away.
‘These symbols,’ she says, ‘will not hold me.’
She opens her hand and raises her palm towards the door. The charcoal shapes move and twist across the painted wood. They detach themselves with a final tug and swirl and dance through the air before racing across to Satori, buzzing around his face like mosquitoes. Confused, he bats them away with his arms, then calms himself, clears his mind and wills the airborne glyphs away. When he opens his eyes again the swarm and Lilith are gone.