The years have numbered one score and five, almost to the day, since I fled Sydney’s darkened alleyways cloaked and choked in the inarticulate wog girl shame of who I was. I journeyed by mail train, longing to be engulfed in the tropical steam trailing in tattered drifts outside my window, as I lay through the long night, hungry and huddled around a ‘hot box’ for meagre warmth. My creaking polished ‘dog box’ mausoleum lulled me, carrying me through unfamiliar terrain as I awaited my rebirth into new adventure. Hording my secret desire to begin again, to start afresh, to write a script of my own choosing.
It was within the leafy canopy of a Toowong ‘Queenslander’ that I became enchanted with views of the rambling graveyard. And it was here that my succubus – ‘that which lies below,’ – stole seductively into my life on bat wings of heroin desire. The ethereal allure of her hypnagogic nocturnal visitations were persuasive. Her supernatural beauty caressed me, separating me gently from my slumbering body with a new lover’s sighing promises.
Even after returning to Sydney, some time later, I was blind with lust for her. She became my soul’s desire in every waking and dreaming moment. I had fallen prey to her hypnotic charms. I lay entranced; my free will had tethered itself to my dreams of her. My energy drained freely. Her kisses sucked in my spirit with each breath that she took from me. I knew my soul was being stolen. Still, though, I felt I could choose.
When I came near to that point of utter exhaustion, the prelude to final extinguishment, I vacillated. Should I willingly offer up my last essence of self to her or clutch my remains in my own hands, and thus leave the fetid comfort of her embrace?
Resolute at last, determined to feel and countenance my pain again, I stand and face my jilted lover. But she intercepts my utterances and I swoon beneath her lips and the feel of her skin erotically insinuated against my own. I feel my resolve dissipating, yet cling, wondering why.
She anticipates my resistance and thrusts me to the bed. Why am I resisting? I have forgotten. I only know I must… must… Must I? Must what? But before my thoughts can clarify she has become a crushing, claustrophobic pressure on my chest. I feel I am suffocating. Fearfully I look in my lover’s eyes. Her unearthly beauty has metamorphosed. Grown huge and angry. Commanding and compelling.
I turn my head when her lips seek my failing breath, but I can resist no longer. As she looms above me, shapeshifting grotesquely from Succubus to Incubus, I am only dully aware of the demon’s prick, impregnating me with the seed of this shapeshifter’s viral load.
And as the Incubus courses through my blood, I now know my sexual deviancy has been a mortal sin against god. That I am deserving of my fate. Eternally damned. I have not found escape from my entrapment at all, at all. Now she will haunt me perpetually to death’s door.
For years I kept my shame deeply buried within the basement floor. The twisted key to the cellar door hung heavily at my throat. And thus I managed to keep her venomous touch at arms length still, with herbal sprigs and decoctions, holy water and full moon incantations. Until that fateful day I felt in my body that she had broken loose; she was no longer held at bay, and ascended emblazoned in fury.
My liver flailed and howled in impotence at her assault; her scarification, her withering. My daily doses of tinctures and glycetracts no longer warded off her poisonous cirrhosis. My succubus had once again shapeshifted and in a measured scrambling ascent from her sepulchre in the depths, metamorphosed yet again into the Incubus; into ‘that which lies above’ and must be countenanced. The virus, no longer slumbering, torrented relentlessly through my veins, caustically wreaking havoc in every organ, tissue and bones’ marrow. My jaundiced viral load now transfigured effortlessly, evading all my natural defences. Beguiled no longer, I became increasingly concerned.
The physicians, who previously had held out little hope for my condition, now offered me salvation in the form of a drastic new healing. But, and here was my inducement, it came with the lure of a cure. The odds of success were fifty/fifty, the treatments highly noxious and of one full year’s duration. For half the patients the results were everlasting! Could it be that my penance may be payed in full, at last? My philandering past put behind me? Ah, to be unleashed bfrom the haunting of hepatic shadows of guilt and shame: to grasp my birthright’s claim to health and to have a life lived fully.
Donning my cape, one rain slicked afternoon, hat pulled low over my eyes, my silent feet padded the mortared steps of Lismore’s merchant district. Stealthily I slid between wooden doors and overstuffed chairs into a round-tabled boardroom under phosphorescent chandeliers.
Other furtive hepers slipped through the doors in ones and twos. All of us wore the shame of our seduction, our flirtations with our Succubi, emblazoned defiantly across our breasts, their shadows looming at our backs. And as our fears were shared; peeling away in the garnered courage of tales retold, the spectres of our demons were dispelled. It was only then that I knew I possessed the courageousness to see this through. Thus in the company of this motley crew, my guard has slipped, my shame is borne, in camaraderie and optimism my journey towards redemption has begun. ©