Welcome to Incubus Tales: A Thousand Words by Hushicho. In Noctemberg, it is always night. Dhiar, proprietor and gay incubus, welcomes you to Phantasies, a very special shop. Sensuality is more than just Dhiar’s stock in trade, it is his raison d’être. NSFW.
A new chapter appears every Thursdays. This week is Chapter Fourteen.
14th Night—Jidai (Time Goes Around)
Dhiar could not face the warm colours of the neon in the front window of Phantasies. It just burned at his eyes. The lonely shop only reminded him how much he missed Evvin already.
But he had to do what was right. And there was always the happiness of having had what they had. It wasn’t over, not as such… but he knew how things like this tended to go. At least he also knew that the young man would be happy.
The Incubus rarely came to the fancier parts of town. It wasn’t that the prices were outside of his range; eternity made the accumulation of money a simple matter. The people there, however, tended to make him feel like an outsider. The part of town with Phantasies and the nearby club, even if a little dirty and unprestigious, possessed a certain homely trait to it. It felt like home, much moreso than the rest of the city.
He pushed open the door to a bookshop. Inside, it glowed as if all afire, the warm, soft lights given new depth by all the wooden shelves, the walls panelled with cherry wood, and the countless books, one after the other packed together. Side by side they stood. He could not estimate how old most of them must have been. But despite their apparent age, the place had scarcely a speck of dust on its shelves.
Dhiar took in a breath through his nose. The scent of old paper mixed with the citrus aroma of clean wood. His boots clicked against sleek wood, until they reached the narrow carpets lining the aisles.
Books were always something he could rely upon. Even if he couldn’t make time to sweep back to Dis, back to his birthplace, he could at least travel in his mind to other destinations. He reached up to tug one of the tomes off the shelf and laid it open between his palms.
Barely a handful of words flashed before his eyes, and then a sweet voice met his ears.
“I don’t think I’ve seen you here before. Welcome.”
He turned to settle his eyes onto the woman who spoke: dark golden hair, inky eyes, and a fashion flair for reds, golds, and browns, an ideal match to the decor of the shop.
“Oh!” Dhiar closed the book and turned to replace it on the shelf. “Thank you! I’ve just been a bit restless, I thought I might visit the city I so rarely see.”
“I don’t get out much either.” She laughed and extended her hand, though in a delicate way, a way of a lady not entirely accustomed to the modern age. “I am Miranda.”
“Dhiar.” He dipped down to kiss her hand, bringing it up to his lips, and released it as he rose again.
A look of surprised satisfaction crossed her face. Her lips stretched into a smile. “It’s been a quiet time, lately. I haven’t had a visitor in three days. Would you like… if you do not think it forward, that is… would you like to share a glass of wine? We could discuss books. Perhaps I could help you to find a story that would please you.”
“Naturally, I’d love to.”
“Excellent.” She swept her hand to the centre of the shop, farther inside.
It had many qualities like Phantasies: it was so warm, so welcoming, and full of things arranged in a way that made it seem larger than it actually was. The colours all soothed the eye, like a wonderful fluffy blanket in midwinter. He felt comforted just by being there.
They continued to a sort of love sofa, made of rich red-tinted wood and scarlet cushions of velveteen. Dhiar lowered himself to one end, watching as his hostess slipped off into the maze of bookshelves and rectangular wooden pillars, the flattering fabric of her dress rippling behind her.
Maybe he just needed another place as comforting as Phantasies, but in a different way. This bookshop seemed to be a kindred spirit. He let a sigh pass from his lips and, for a moment, let his eyes close.
“I hope you like red,” Miranda’s voice came from nearby, and Dhiar’s eyes instantly opened again. “My favourite is Spanish wine.”
Dhiar sat up a little straighter. “The company is what makes a wine great. I’m sure it will be a pleasure for both of us.”
Her cheeks coloured as she sat, handing the bottle to Dhiar and setting two glasses down on the table before the sofa. She motioned to him and produced a corkscrew.
In his hands he took it, and screwed it in the cork, working it out easily and smoothly. Handing the cork to her, he poured up two splashes of the wine in the glasses. “There. Let’s have a taste of the aroma first.”
She ran the cork just under her lips, parting them and breathing in. Her lips curled upward, and she reached over to accept her glass from him, bringing it up to her face. This aroma, this tickled her palette. She took the slightest of sips and held it on her tongue. In seconds, it unfolded to spice, and sweetness, and slid down her throat.
“Yes, it’s wonderful, isn’t it?” Miranda returned the glass to the table.
Dhiar slowly nodded his head. “Marvellous.”
As if automatically, he picked up the bottle and filled their glasses this time, setting it down again and holding out Miranda’s glass to her. Then he took his own and raised it.
“To absent friends.”
She lifted her own glass, the ruby liquid inside shimmering as the lights danced in it. It seemed, in that moment, like a mask for her and a well for Dhiar’s thoughts and emotions. They swirled in its depths, in the infinite depths of a single glass, tinted the slightest of greens. It made it look older.
Miranda, however, looked ever younger, more innocent, perhaps more vulnerable. He had not met a woman like her for many, many years. It had defied his expectation so much. But perhaps that was what he needed, on this solitary night.
She inclined her head slightly forward. “To absent friends.”
* * *
About the author: From an early age, Hushicho held a special passion for storytelling. Throughout his life, he has worked in numerous media and various places in the world. He is the author of the long-running Incubus Tales webcomic, upon which this serial is based.
Welcome to the intriguing city of dreams, Noctemberg, where it is always night, and to Phantasies, a very special shop run by Dhiar, proprietor and gay incubus. Sensuality is more than just Dhiar's stock in trade, it is his raison d'etre. In Incubus Tales: A Thousand Words, Dhiar meets new loves, rekindles relationships, and bring his special brand of sexual healing to lovers and readers alike.
Also available in paperback!