Wren was going on about how exciting it must have been to fly. Adam sighed and shook his head. “What’s wrong?” Wren put her hand on his leg.
“Imagine having your body put through a damn woodchipper, Wren.” Adam met her eyes. “That’s what it feels like every time she…”
“Oh.” Wren’s voice was small. “That’s…” She looked away. “That’s why you screamed.”
“Yeah, Wren. That’s why I screamed.” He leaned back. “I’d almost rather she leave me a rabbit than keep…” He shuddered.
“I figured out how to make the wax stop hurting you. Maybe I could find a way to…”
“Find a way to get us out of here, Wren. Please.” He caught her hand.
“I am, Adam.” She smiled.
He wished he could believe her, but half the time Renee entered the room Wren looked more excited than afraid. Adam rubbed his arms. Since most of the time he was left in animal form, Renee hadn’t bothered to provide him with any clothes. Half the time it seemed he was lucky if either woman remembered to provide him with food.
“I think I could do it.”
“Wren?” He looked up at her.
“I was watching, when she was shifting you. I think I could do it. It would have to be a dog or a cat, those are the only animals I’ve really been around long enough to be sure of getting it right, but I think I can do it.”
Adam stared at her. He’d told her how bad it hurt and… “Wren.”
“I’m going to try a cat, okay?” She stood up, shaking out her arms.
“Please, don’t…” He started shaking his head.
She took a deep breath before half closing her eyes and putting a hand on his shoulder.
A scream tore from him as his bones began to break and shift.
Adam’s scream echoed in her ears before changing into a yowl. She looked down. A black cat looked back up at her, and hissed.
Renee entered the room a moment later, and narrowed her eyes. Wren swallowed. “I just wanted to try —”
“I told you not to perform spells without my supervision, girl.”
“But you told me I could do whatever I wanted with him when we were in here.” Wren shook her head.
A small growling sound escaped Renee, and she turned to look at the cat. Renee smirked. “So you turned your boyfriend into a pussy?”
“I…” Wren couldn’t quite stop herself from snickering. “Guess so.”
She stared at the book, her head starting to pound. Renee leaned over the table and stared at her. “Are you ready, girl?”
Wren swallowed, looking at the cauldron. “I don’t —”
“Let me put it this way.” Renee jerked a thumb at where Adam was chained to the door, in dog form again. “You’ll do it, and you’ll do it right, or I’ll make you take a whip to him.”
“I…” Wren stood. “Okay.”
She focused, concentrating her will on Adam as she made him follow the instructions Renee had written on the paper. Despite knowing the consequences if the spell failed, she could feel him fighting against her. She increased her focus, and saw him pale slightly as he continued carrying the wood toward the fire.
“You could make him hold his hand over it, girl. Let him watch his own skin blister and burn while he was unable to remove it from the flames.” Renee had a small smile on her face.
“I don’t —”
“Oh, I’m not going to make you do that to him. Not today, anyway…” Renee shrugged. “Using someone as a puppet is simple enough, even one like this, who can’t resist.” Renee smiled. “Making them functional, able to interact with others while you control them, that’s a much harder thing. Especially when you are making them do something that goes against their nature.”
Wren turned toward Renee. “What do you mean?”
“As powerful as we are girl, they have the strength of numbers.” Renee narrowed her eyes. “Thus, we must conceal ourselves, and use our power in more subtle ways.” She waved at the vehicle. “Put him in the van.”
It took only a faint amount of concentration to direct Adam to get in the backseat of the van. Wren climbed into the passenger seat as Renee started the vehicle.
Despite the fact he could move freely now, he could still feel Wren in his head. And the hag still had his talisman. If he tried doing anything either woman didn’t want him to do, he’d be called up in short order. Which meant as tempting as it was to try opening the van door and throwing himself out onto the highway, he didn’t try. At least he’d been dressed this morning, though granted he hadn’t been allowed to do so under his own free will.
It wasn’t like he particularly wanted to die. It was just an option he’d begun evaluating more often lately. Time had gotten away from him. Depending on which animal form he was placed in he had trouble tracking its passing. Yet the season was changing again, which meant it had been months. Months since his brother and friends had been brutally murdered by the monster driving the van.
In the front seat, Wren and the hag were discussing magic. He tuned out the conversation and let his mind drift. The last time he’d been in a vehicle was… Adam swallowed. Was the night the hag had murdered his brother and their friends. He and James were supposed to be off to college this year. James was a full year older, but Adam’s skipping of a grade in elementary school had put them in the same year. His sister would be starting high school.
Who had found the bodies? Another driver, or employees of the gas station? With one son dead and the other missing, what state were his parents in? Had they given up hope of finding him alive? Or… A chill went through him. Or did they somehow think him responsible? He still didn’t know why the hag had decided to kill them. He and Wren hadn’t been there when it had happened.
He pushed the thoughts away, and turned to look out the window. Adam found himself torn between hope and dread that he’d run into someone he knew, someone who would recognize him. Except that if he did, the hag would probably just kill them. He exhaled, and tried not to shiver.
Renee pulled the van onto the exit, then into the small parking lot of what looked to be a dive bar. Wren frowned. “Where are we?”
“A place people come when they don’t want to be noticed.” Renee smirked. “Take control of your pet.”
She focused her will around Adam’s mind, and immediately felt him start resisting. It didn’t do him much good. “Okay.”
“You pull this off, girl…” Renee smiled. “Then tomorrow I will teach you something new.” She shrugged. “Fail, and I’ll make you hold his feet to the flames.”
“I…” The thought of learning something new was enticing. Wren nodded. “What do you want me to do?”
“The people here have certain…” Renee shrugged. “Tastes. You and I, girl, are going to sit down and have a drink.” She glanced into the backseat to nod at Adam. “You’re going to be riding his mind though. But you’re going to be subtle about it. Make him act naturally.”
“Okay.” Wren nodded. She looked at Adam, who was sitting there, silently. Take Adam into a bar, let him have a couple drinks while acting naturally. That shouldn’t be hard, and he might even be cooperative. “I can do that.”
“The key is, girl, you’re going to be making him act naturally while making him do something that goes against his nature.” Renee’s smile turned cruel. “Something he adamantly does not want to do.”
“I…” Wren turned to look at Renee. “What?”
“This is a gay bar, girl.” Renee chuckled. “You’re going to make your pretty little pet pick up some lucky fellow and convince them to fuck him in the bathroom.” She shrugged. “Or behind the building, I’m not picky.”
Adam’s mind recoiled so strongly from the notion she nearly lost her grip on him. Wren’s own eyes widened. “No, I —” She couldn’t do that to Adam. He was fighting her power, struggling against her grip even though his body didn’t move.
“You’ll do that…” Renee ran a finger down her cheek. “And tomorrow I’ll teach you how to do a glamour. An illusion that will enable you to pass among the normal folk without being seen, to disguise yourself and your belongings.” She shrugged. “Or you can refuse, and get in plenty of healing practice treating burns.”
To create illusions? That was power. If she could do that, she could travel the world unnoticed, do almost anything she pleased. Wren nodded. “Okay. So, how do I…”
He focused all his will on just trying to scream. And his body simply continued moving on its own. Adam had hoped being out of Wren’s line of sight would let him regain some control, but that hope had been dashed like every other hope of the past few months.
His head tilted back, and his lips parted to allow the biker’s tongue access to his mouth. The man’s hand slid down the front of Adam’s pants, and he heard himself making an encouraging sound. The biker laughed. “Oh, you’re an eager little bitch, aren’t you?”
“I like leather on a man.” His voice. Wren’s words. She’d said the same to him when they’d been out on a date. Exploring the mall while waiting for a movie to start. He’d tried on a couple leather jackets, and she’d all but pressed him against the wall.
The biker shoved him into the wall, pinning him there. “Bet you like it rough too, don’t you, pretty boy?”
Even if he’d been in control of his own body, he’d have been hard pressed to fight the man off at this point. The guy outweighed him by a good fifty pounds, and he’d caught a glimpse of a gun. The hag had pointed the guy out to Wren. Wren hadn’t hesitated before sending Adam in his direction. “You know it.” They could have at least let him have a drink first.
Adam was spun before being shoved back into the wall. The biker’s foot kicked his legs apart as hands yanked his pants down. Wren don’t. Please don’t do this to me. He had no idea if she could hear him, but he silently pleaded anyway. Please, Wren. The biker’s teeth scrapped the back of his neck.
Then there was pain as he was penetrated. The biker made pleased grunting noises as he slammed into Adam over and over. To his horror, he heard himself making encouraging sounds, asking to be violated harder and faster. The biker obliged, making Adam feel as though he were being ripped apart. “Take it, bitch.” The biker’s hand came forward, fondling Adam with rough strokes.
At first his body didn’t respond, then he felt a tiny shift to the aura around him. The caustic strokes of the biker’s calloused hand began to feel pleasurable, and he found himself moaning. Oh god, Wren, don’t. Please don’t. Please don’t make me like it. Wren, please.
Wren stared into the surface of the drink. Renee projected the glamour onto it, letting her see what was going on so she could direct Adam’s actions. She found herself squirming a little in her chair as she watched him taken from behind. The biker Renee had chosen was heavily tanned and tattooed, his massive and hairy form providing an oddly pleasing contrast to Adam’s youthful build.
The contrasting sensations coursing through Adam made the control difficult. Sometimes it seemed she was picking up on what the biker was feeling as well. At least, she was fairly certain the delighted sensation wasn’t coming from Adam.
It had been a tiny bit galling when she’d seen the biker roll on a condom. She’d forgotten to have Adam ask for one. At least he was safe.
The biker made him cum first. Or rather, Wren’s magic had. Adam felt his face smiling as the biker kissed him, shoving a tongue down his throat again. The man combed fingers through Adam’s hair before returning the smile. “I, uh…” The biker exhaled. “Damn kid.”
“Thanks for that.” Adam felt his hands begin fastening his pants again.
“I’m just passing through but uh…” The biker shrugged. “Don’t suppose I could get your number or something?”