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 Thursday. This week is Chapter Thirty-Five.
35th Night—Say You’ll Go
Dhiar sat sipping tea in the oriel window, reflecting on the recent past. The months previous had been spent far away from Noctemburg, with a contemplative solitude for part. A letter from Dhiar’s sister changed all that.
“Little brother, you have to come and spend some time here! It’s the berries!”
As usual, he did not quite understand the entirety of what she meant by what she said. Her words were always chosen from the vernacular speech of her favourite period, the 1920s. And in the endless layers of dimensions and worlds in the cosmos, stacked like onion-skin infinitely, there was one such place where the period lasted indefinitely. It was a time of excitement and what Chana gleefully called “new thrills”.
When Dhiar arrived, he shut Phantasies up and flipped the sign to read “closed” to the outside world. The shop always seemed to take the place of vacant buildings, just for the time it was there; passers-by would just think it was closed whenever they passed. What an odd store, they might think. It never seems open.
He almost stepped out in his usual attire, but after a little consideration he changed his mind: instead, he wore a suit more appropriate to the time, with braces and even a happy little hat made of straw and ribbon.
The speak-easy made his head swim with the different smokes mingling, the people packed into such a small area, and the music drowning out the rest of the attempts at conversation. He spotted Chana immediately, but without saying anything, she led him back past a strong-looking man at a door and into another lounge entirely.
Here the place was quieter, with intimate conversations between the pleasant people, and all sipping a variety of drinks. Alcoholic drinks, Dhiar could tell.
One of the disadvantages of the period was the ridiculousness of Prohibition, making alcohol technically illegal; the speak-easy proved it was not particularly difficult to get, nonetheless. Chana brought two cocktails to their table and set them down, one on each side, and sat with hers, motioning for Dhiar to take the seat in front of his.
She clasped his hands excitedly, before he had the chance to take a sip of his drink. “Oh little brother, I’m so glad you came! You’ll see. This is going to be just what the doctor ordered!”
He couldn’t help himself, and he smiled at her enthusiasm, squeezing his fingers around hers. “I’m glad for the company.”
The thoughts and feelings running through his mind since leaving Noctemburg had left him despondent and disillusioned, but he knew somewhere in his heart that it was only because it felt like he had failed, somehow. He hadn’t. He had just outgrown the place. It no longer suited him or his life, his choices, or the things he wanted.
How often, he mused to himself, does one stay in a place only because it has been home for so long? At the point it ceases to be home, why is it not left behind? A variety of reasons, none of which he could say applied to him. He could pick up and leave at any time. Just as his friends in Noctemburg had mostly done as well.
The singer in the lounge had such a different sound than the one outside, probably by design: the one inside, in the secret room, crafted her art with a silken-smooth voice that coaxed at the ears and soothed the soul, even while breaking the heart with the words she sang. Dhiar took in a deep breath and slipped his hands back, to take up his glass with one and raise it in salute to Chana.
“What shall we toast to? We’re supposed to toast, aren’t we?”
She grinned, raising her own glass in response. “You’re right! What should we toast to… I don’t know, I hear ‘to absent friends’ all the time.”
“To absent friends, then.” Dhiar’s eyes darkened slightly, his smile faded only a little, but it returned better and brighter than before as he lifted his glass to touch it against his sister’s, then brought it to his lips, to drink.
“To absent friends,” she echoed.
They drank quietly for a time. Both looked a million miles away at one instant, completely and utterly there the next. They could do that so well, much better than most of the humans around them. The others in the lounge probably had not the slightest clue as to the nature of the two at that table.
“You look good,” Dhiar spoke at last.
“Thanks!” And Chana did, of course: from her deep scarlet flapper dress, a flat rectangular block with a little frill, to her gumdrop-shaped hat, her insouciant hairstyle, her polished-to-shine shoes, she cut a striking image. “You look pretty grand yourself. Where’d you scare up that outfit?”
“Scare… oh!” Dhiar chuckled, looking down at himself. “Well, I am a tailor. I just modified a few things. The hat was in storage somewhere. You know I’ve got all those storage spaces in the shop.”
She smiled again, motioning with the hand holding her drink. “I still have yet to see this lovely shop! I’ve heard about it from Lydia and Lydie.”
The memory of the twins’ visit brought a smile to Dhiar’s face now. “Yes… they seemed to like it quite a lot…”
“They did! They couldn’t stop talking about it.” She laughed now, setting her glass down after another sip. “Want to go back there and have some coffee or something? We can go from there to the party later.”
“Party?” Dhiar’s brows shot up.
“You didn’t think I was going to have you come to see me and not show you a good time, did you?”
“I suppose not.” He turned his glass around slowly, by the lip. “Are you sure it’s something where I’ll be welcome? I don’t want to bring your night down.”
“Please.” Her response was dry and dismissive. “Like you could bring it down! Anyway, these parties are dime-a-dozen. I don’t know a night where there’s not a party going on. You should just let go of all those sob sister feelings and cut loose for a few hours. You’re sure to get a few bites!”
“Interest.” Chana gestured vaguely. “You know.”
“I think I’m going to be very interested in this party.” Dhiar grinned broadly.
* * *
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!