“Yes,” you say, not wanting to lose Claremont after only knowing him a few short hours. “How do I…bind you to me?”
He points to the book, Latin phrases etched in a jagged dark red letters spilling off the page. “This spell of hers should do it. Oh, she will be enraged if I can slip her grasp.”
“A spell of whose?” you ask, your hackles rising.
Claremont seems to read the concern in your and says solemnly, “The woman who put me in an early grave.”
Probably not much love lost there. Bowing your head, you take in the words scrawled across the page. “Audite verba haec,” you begin, your heart beating faster. Claremont cups your back, his face floating behind your shoulder. “Audi clamorem meum, contra spiritum.”
The walls begin to shudder, paintings rapping against their frames. Wind rises in the room like a cyclone, your hair twisting around you into a cylinder above your head. You cling to the book, your tongue drying.
“Keep going,” Claremont encourages.
Bowing tighter to the book, you read aloud, “Veni ad me.”
A scream rips through the air, setting off a lightning bolt. It lances off the scones, shattering every one before striking the piano. Ivory keys and strings rip free from the crumpled body. You cry out, staring at the deadly wire about to slice you to pieces, when Claremont stands before you.
The wires strike against him, but go no further. You cling to his shoulder and find that you can no longer see through him. “Don’t stop for any reason, my lady,” Claremont cries.
Gulping, you hold tighter to the book and say, “Ego vocare te.”
The last of the light dampens in the fireplace and from the smoke comes a face screaming in rage. Gray skin peeling like ashy bark and eyes of a cruel red shriek through the air. It grows larger, the mouth opening to swallow you whole.
Ducking down, the winds rattling the breath from your lungs. Your body pitches back and forward on your haunches, but you refuse to bend. Clinging tight to the book the wind’s trying to rip from your hand, you shout, “Partitus tanta cruce!”
The flying piano keys fall to the floor, the paintings cease their rattlings, tipping to the side off their hooks. And the terrifying face that came to eat you vanishes into a puff of harmless smoke. There is no light left in the room save a single blue glow rising off of Claremont.
He holds his hands before him and twists them back and forth. “You’ve done it, my lady,” he cries and reaches for you.
As his hand catches yours, the mysterious book falls to the floor. The wood below it cinders to red-hot ash, melting away and taking the book with. You walk past it, being swept into the solid arms of the ghost bound to you.
Claremont cups your cheeks, trying to tame your wild hair. But as he pushes it down, all you can focus on are his parted lips. You reach for them, darting up on your tiptoes, when the entire house shakes.
“The witch is enraged,” Claremont says. “We must flee.”
“What?” you ask, but the ghost holds your hand in his and begins to run. As you go, the floorboards rip free from their nails, revealing an aching chasm bubbling in lava just below your feet. Clinging tighter to Claremont, you run past the walls rebounding in hurricane winds.
Together, you reach the front door, only for it to slam shut in your face. The entire house is in a rage, splinters, nails, and broken glass spinning in a vortex. It sucks up the chandelier, crushing the gold into sharp points and twists it to you.
“Nice try, witch,” Claremont sneers. “But you’ll have me no longer!” He raises his foot and smashes the front door to pieces.
Taking all of you in his arms, the ghost leaps off the porch just as the gnarled chandelier heaves through the air. It slices not even an inch above your head, a dribble of forgotten wax catching in your hair. Claremont keeps running with you down the path. The trees shake, their branches straining to catch you, but none can stop Claremont.
You burst onto the road, the last of the knotted forest and manor left behind. Breathing hard, you turn to face the mansion. An unholy scream rises from the earth itself. The ground cracks, swallowing the whole building into its infernal hell.
At the last second, a piece of shrapnel flies free. It’s coming straight for your head. You try to dodge away, only for Claremont to tug you into his arms.
“That…” you sputter, your breath lost. Staring down you find the plaque from Waining Manor, the last attempt of the witch to kill you. “You saved me.” Turning in his arms, you stare up into his ecstatic face.
“No,” Claremont muses. Tipping your head back, he says, “You saved me.” He kisses you, sending a cascade of shivers through your body. You cling tighter, drawing your palm down his chest.
Claremont catches your fingers and you wait for him to pull them away. But he guides them to the top button of his jacket. “I’ve grown ever so exhausted with this attire,” he whispers in your ear. “Would you be so kind as to rid me of it?”
Kissing him, every touch of his lips a mind-twisting tingle down your spine, you work down the buttons of his coat, then his vest. Claremont sheds his clothing while walking you to your forgotten car.
As you approach, the door opens by magic. Claremont picks you up, slotting your legs around his naked waist. “My lady, let me show you wonders your body could never dream of.”
“Yes,” you proclaim, Claremont carrying you to the backseat.
True to his promise, the ghost lights an inferno in your veins, bringing you to heights of pleasure you never thought possible. And in doing so, he manages to restart your car. Together, hand in ghostly hand, you leave the manor with your new soulmate.
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I chose the charming ghost in Ellen Mint’s Choose Your Own Reverse Harem Halloween Adventure. How far can you get? https://ellenmint.blog/ellen-mints-halloween-harem-adventure/Tweet
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