The court at last settled down into a disturbed murmuring.
Skelemis pointed his gavel at Hyacinth. "Miss Thermise! Any further blasphemy and I will have this court cleared and hold you in contempt. From now on, if you must reference that... that concept, please use a circumlocution such as 'the L-word.'"
Hyacinth lowered her eyes and smiled to herself. "I understand, Your Horror. It won't happen again.
"Despite what I had seen in his eyes, I continued to visit him, as I said. My illness had taken total control of me. The pain in my chest was ever present now, and alongside it a hollowness demanding to be filled.
And yet, as full of orgone as I became, it was never, ever enough.
He would leave pictures of me on the table. There were never any pictures of us fornicating and I began to worry whether I was really giving him pleasure. But surely the copious orgone that would invariably flow from him was evidence enough of his delight in my body, wasn't it?
Why was I so worried about how he felt about me? As my disorder worsened, I found myself more and more obsessed with such sentimental concerns.
I started to appear the same time very night, contrary to all my training, and so the day finally came when I arrived while he was still awake.
He was sitting on the bed, his back to me. I knew I should turn and leave, but instead I hovered in a dark corner as a shadow, watching him.
"You're here, aren't you?" he said after a while. "I can feel you."
I made no reply. I'd never spoken to him, I realised then.
"Can you speak?" he asked.
I panicked, but I didn't flee. Instead I answered him.
"Yes, I can speak."
His shoulders relaxed. "Your voice is beautiful too," he said.
I knew, then, that the heat I'd started to feel on my face sometimes was a blush. The blush spread across my face and lingered there.
"You're a demon, aren't you?"
"Yes," I replied. "A succubus."
A pause. Then: "Why me?"
"You're very full of orgone," I replied at last, knowing full well he wouldn't understand the word.
"Sexual energy," I replied. Of course, I could have said that before, but I'd begun to enjoy this conversation. Yes, it was a conversation, now. Not just a few words calling to me as I fled from him. His voice was low and gentle and it made my blood surge to have him speak to me.
He laughed. The sound shocked me. There is not much laughter down here in Hell, and even in the upper world it's becoming less common. His laugh was neither cruel nor derisive, but gently mocking.
"Figures," he says. "They said you'd become a wizard if you stayed a virgin for long enough. I guess I must have become one and summoned a succubus."
"No," I corrected him. "You didn't summon me. I came here myself."
"For my orgone?"
I remained silent. I should have answered yes, and yet I couldn't. It smacked of a lie and I was finding it harder and harder to lie now.
"What's your name?" the human asked me.
"Hyacinth," I said without thinking.
"Hyacinth," he repeated. Repeated in his voice my name sounded beautiful to my ears for the first time. "It means constancy and sincerity in the flower language, isn't it?"
"I don't know," I said. "My older sisters have often told me that I was given the name at my ceremony as a reminder to never go beyond where I should. A throwback to that story of Apollo and Hyakinthos. Plus, the name supposedly enhances the perceived delicacy of my body."
I was babbling nonsense now. The human turned. Forgetful of where I was, distracted by our conversation, I'd become material. His smiling eyes considered my form.
"Yes, I can see that," he said. Then he blushed and turned away. "Are you always naked, down there?"
I blinked at him. "Down where?"
"Uh, in Hell, I mean."
"It's very hot," I replied. "And this form is more pleasing to human males bare."
He cleared his throat. "Uh, it is very pleasing. But you know, I think maybe you'd look good in clothes as well."
"You're referring to those pictures you drew." I grew angry, my tail whipping back and forth. "Why did you draw me dressed in those things?"
He turned back to me. Shame lit his face. "I'm sorry," he murmured. "I've offended you, haven't I? I won't draw you anymore."
"No," I said. It was answer to both the things he had said. "Your drawings don't matter to me. Only your orgone."
"Are you going to take my orgone tonight?" he asked. His voice was soft, child-like in its tentativeness.
Of course. He'd mentioned earlier he was a virgin. Or had been a virgin, before I'd come and...
I gazed at his aura. Orgone was flowing from him in waves. He was experiencing desire. Hunger gripped my entire body, but with it came a strange, new sensation.
Flustered, I replied, "I have to go."
"I understand," he said. His voice was matter-of-fact but tinged with disappointment. "Will you come back again?"
"I don't know," I lied, dissolving away into shadow.
Our conversation had unsettled me. I didn't immediately return to harvest him. I went days without a taste of orgone and grew steadily weaker. One night I was driven by hunger to again rise to the upper world. I detected a source of orgone, a different one, far from the habitation of that particular human who so haunted me.
I hungrily fell on the male as he slept with his female beside him. I pressed shivering fingers against his body and when I felt his skin, so different from the skin of the other human, I pulled my hands away, repulsed.
Even wracked by this overpowering hunger I couldn't go through with it. Fornicating with another felt wrong.
This sickness was going to destroy me, I knew then. I was going to fade away from a lack of orgone, growing steadily weaker until I suffered total dissolution. I was doomed.
But instead of accepting that fate I found myself flying to the human's habitation. The agony of my hunger had forced me out into the human world far earlier than usual that evening, and I knew from before that the human would still be awake.
And yet still I went.
I grew stronger as I came closer. When I saw the light in the basement I shivered in excitement. I slipped through the wall, a sheet of shadow.
The human was indeed still awake. He was sitting at his desk, focused on the paper in front of him. His hands, those graceful, tender hands, swept back and forth, scratching the paper with lines. He was drawing.
Still shadow, I floated over his shoulder and looked down.
I saw a picture of myself, as before, in that same floral dress with the straw hat. I was in a field of flowers. A beaming smile graced my face as my hand reached out from the perspective of the paper and held another's hand, clearly intended to represent that of the viewer..."
The courtroom gasped.
Hyacinth shrugged. "I apologise for the graphicness of my description, Your Horror. But that's what I saw."
"Please continue Miss Thermise," said Skelemis with a wave of a talon, clearly exhausted from the previous uproar.
"He finished shading the viewer's hand and returned to my tail. He seemed unhappy with the shape of the fork and redrew it. It looked much better, then. My tail was high in the air, as often it is when I'm filled with pleasure."
So he'd noticed such a detail! I blushed, and as I did I grew material and floated down to the floor.
He stopped drawing and looked behind him. I took a step back. A look of delight burst onto his face, as always. I took two more steps back. His face suddenly switched to one of panic. He raised a hand, his eyes desperate.
"Please, no. Hyacinth, don't go," he said. "I promise I won't touch you. I... I just want to talk to you."
"Talk?" I glared haughtily at him. For all my hunger, my need to see him, finally having him before me filled me with rage. He was the source of this illness, this hideous compulsion. Talk? Rather I should kill him! I flexed the claws of one hand. It would be a simple task to incinerate him.
Fire blossomed, its yellow tongues flicking from the palm of my hand. The human's eyes went wide and he cowered back against his desk.