Felix awoke lying in a lovely white courtroom. All the pillars were made of fine white moonstone, and flowering trees grew from the soft cloud-like floor. A lovely perfume arose from the flowers, and Felix had never felt so calm in his life. He simply breathed in the sweet, calming perfume. He didn’t even care that he was naked. He didn’t remember getting naked, or how he got to be here in the first place, but he felt too relaxed to worry with such trifle things.
“FELIX AMES!” a voice shouted, shattering his peaceful thoughts.
“W-who’s there?” Felix got up and looked around franticly. He saw that the courtroom was built much like a theater—he stood on the stage, and in the seats, (there were only two, and were more like thrones) a beautiful golden-haired lady, and a cloaked individual that Felix assumed was male, sat.
“We are the ones who will decide your fate, son,” said the golden-haired lady. Her blue eyes flashed, and when she opened her mouth, fangs showed.
“My-my f-fate?” Felix had by now remembered everything about his life—especially how it ended. “I…I’m dead, aren’t I?”
“’Fraid so, Ames. Got what was comin’ to ya, if I do say so meself.” The cloaked figure removed his hood to reveal a glistening white skull. “But, the lady here wants to give ya a second chance, so here we are.” The skeleton gestured around the courtroom.
“Yes, dear.” The woman stood, revealing a pair of bat wings and a whip-like tail. Her tight black dress slid provocatively off her shoulder. “Since you committed a great offence, and betrayed your soulmate, you will not be allowed to be with her in Summerland. She will be reincarnated as soon as she dies in each life, sometimes into a human, sometimes an animal or plant. But she will not enter Summerland.”
“But she’s done nothing wrong! It should be me to suffer that—“
“Let the lady speak, or you ain’t goin nowhere, sonny.” The skeleton took out a long scythe with a long, black, curved blade.
“Now now, Mort, calm yourself. He has every right to be upset.” She turned to Felix. “As I was saying, you have two choices. You can either go to Summerland, but be miserable without your soulmate and never be reincarnated, or, you can become an incubus and live forever.”
“An…incubus?” Felix had heard of them before, but surely this beautiful woman didn’t mean for him to become a…sex demon, could she?
“Yes, Felix. An incubus. Surely you have noticed that I am the queen Succubus, ruler of all succubi and incubi? I am giving you this chance out of the goodness of my heart.”
“But…surely you don’t mean to make me a—“
“A sex demon? That’s exactly what I intend to make you. The perfect punishment for infidelity, no? Needing to cheat on your beloved to survive…but this way, you may be able to see her reincarnation from time to time…”
Felix thought about this. “All right, make me an incubus. I want to see my Lovette.”
Mort and Succubus started. “Didn’t think ye would decide so quickly, sonny boy,” said Mort.
Succubus flapped her wings. “Very well, if you are completely certain…don’t you wish to know the details of being an incubus? How—“
“I don’t care. If I can be with Lovette again, I’ll do it.” Felix was determined to set things straight, no matter the cost.
Succubus stared at him for a moment, an unreadable expression in her sapphire eyes. “Very well then,” she said at last. “Come here,”
Felix walked slowly up the cloud steps, sending little puffs of mist up with each step. When he finally reached Succubus, she gestured for him to kneel. “Felix Ames, do you accept that once you become an incubus, you are immortal, and can never enter Summerland?”
Felix nodded, a nervous tingle in his stomach.
“Good,” Succubus said slowly, then quick as a snake she grabbed his shoulders and sunk her fangs into his carotid artery. Felix’s eyes dilated, and he opened his mouth to scream, but all that came out was a gurgle. Black smoke rose from Succubus’s lips where they were on Felix’s skin. Felix threw his head back and closed his eyes, silently screaming from the burning pain. The smoke rose and danced around his body, changing him. His hair turned from straw-blond to ink-black, his skin from a sandy tan to a ghostly ivory. Succubus unlatched her fangs from his neck, licking the blood off her lips. “This pain will continue for a few more hours…too long for it to be entertaining to me. Come, Mort. We have business to attend to. A murderer in Singapore is dying.”
“Wouldn’t want ‘im ta go to limbo ‘thout a chance at retribution, would we?” Mort chuckled. They disappeared in a cloud of smoke.
Felix was still changing, though. Everywhere the smoke touched burned like a blacksmith’s anvil against his skin. His eyes were changing from ice blue to bright, sunset purple, the pupils dissapearing. He hunched into himself, clawing at his scalp. His muscles bunched and squirmed, rippling until two big, leathery, black, bat’s wings shot from just under his shoulder blades. He jolted upward again, no longer silently screaming. His voice rang through the courtroom, amplifying his howls of pain until it seemed there was not one man, but thousands, screaming as if being burned alive. Felix’s spine rippled, thinned, and elongated, until it emerged from the base as a thin, whip-like black tail. Felix crumpled to the ground, in too much pain to scream any longer. He panted, his canines elongating into pearly fangs. His nails blackened and elongated into obsidian claws. His wings folded over his longer, more lithe frame. Felix closed his eyes and did something he had only done twice before.
He lost consciousness.
Felix was getting tired of waking up in strange places, especially after being hurt. He looked around, noticing that he was still naked, but marveled at his new body. He stretched his wings, touching a maple tree. The full moon glistened on his wings and inky hair, and he could smell everything the forest had to offer. The maple tree had been scratched recently, and bled sweet sap. Wild roses grew somewhere behind a thicket of blackberries, which were not quite ripe but still smelled delicious. A squirrel was eating acorns above Felix, in an oak tree.
Felix could also see better in this lovely moonlight than he ever had in the sunlight. He turned around, looking for the aforementioned roses when he spotted Succubus. Felix froze, afraid she might tell him he wasn’t done changing and bite him again.
“Well well, Felix! You make a fine incubus,” she said, circling him. “As I knew you would, of course. But it does an old heart good to see a job well done.” She faced him and looked into his eyes. “Welcome to Le Ville Noir. Your new life starts now.”
“Le Ville Noir? ‘The black village?’ What are you talking about?”
“This is a village entirely composed of succubi and incubi. It’s not the only one—there are incubus villages all throughout the earth, even in the New World—so you don’t need to stay here if you don’t wish. But for now, this is where you will live.”
“So there aren’t any humans in Le Ville Noir?”
“Well, some incubi like to keep them as…pets, I guess you could call them, but other than that there ore only incubi and succubi.”
“So what? I just go in there and say ‘Hey guys, I just became an incubus cuz I couldn’t keep it in my pants long enough to get married’? And ‘Felix’ doesn’t really sound like a name an incubus would have.” Felix was starting to wonder if he should have just gone to Summerland. He didn’t know other incubi would be involved….
“Actually, that’s exactly what you are supposed to do. Oh, you can change your name if you wish, by the way.” Succubi looked like she was getting annoyed.
“I can? To anything?”
“Why wouldn’t you be able to? You’re starting a new life, after all.” Succubi was definitely annoyed now. Her wings flapped and tail lashed.
“Then I will be Azrael from now on.” It meant ‘blessed by the gods’, and Felix—Azrael—felt he needed all the blessings he could get.
“Very well then, your name from now on is Azrael. Le Ville Noir is right through there,” Succubus pointed towards the blackberries, “And a girl named Moka will greet you and tell you what to do.” She eyed his naked form. Azrael blushed. “Ask her for clothes as well, would you?” And with that, she left.
“Wait! What? What am I supposed to do after I talk to her?” Azrael yelled, but noone answered. “Guess I’ll find out,” he said, and flew towards the brambles.
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