She stared down at the coin nestled on her palm. But it wasn’t her palm. The palm was too broad. The fingers too thick, too short. Her hand was slim and womanly … the one thing about her that was, she remembered her brother grumbling. She flexed the fingers and saw them move. She blinked, felt strange facial muscles react.
‘What the …’ her voice was different, it was masculine and she finished the statement with a growled, ‘… fuck?’
Her eyes flicked up to the young man. He had a strange look om his slim face. The stubble on his chin made him look childish rather than a grown man. His hair was cropped close to his head. His eyes bore into hers and she stared back. ‘You tell me,’ she told him. Her voice was sharp, deep. Not hers. A movement to the side caught her attention and she turned to the fair-haired man who held a glass of water out to her. She took it and sipped the liquid, hoping uselessly that a drink would make her voice her own. That some miracle would return her accent and diffuse the eastern-coast American. ‘Walter Sykes, I assume …’ her voice was still masculine and she looked down. She was dressed in a dark suit and shirt with shining dress shoes. Her eyes travelled across the floor and her breath hitched in her throat. On the other side of the room, crumpled and lifeless, was a body she recognised. She sat back, her hand trembling and spilling water across her thigh. She swiped at it, cursing angrily. The man in the wheelchair was watching her – a look of amusement on his face. She set the glass down before she could give into the urge to smash it across his face. Hmmm, perhaps this body came with a little more restraint than her own. She stared back at her body and shook her head.
‘Marcus was a little … heavy-handed …’ Sykes explained, his words as dispassionate as if he were explaining why a cheap mug had been smashed. She turned cold eyes on him. ‘But I need you, Ms Wells, so Marcus volunteered to help.’
She flicked an eyebrow at that and instinctively rubbed her hand across the back of her neck, pausing at the strange sensation of short hair and exposed skin there. She flinched and when she brought her hand – his hand – well, her hand now, there was blood on the fingers. ‘Yes, volunteered …’ she commented quietly, ‘… I see.’
‘I’m surprised it actually worked,’ Sykes laughed, ‘I’m pleased it did, of course, I would have hated to change my plans.’
Change his plans? She stared at him. He had used the Janus coin and put her consciousness into another person’s body, effectively killing him. Her body, Emily Lake, was dead on the floor behind him. If it hadn’t have worked then there was a good chance that this body – Marcus? – would have died anyway and her mind would have been lost forever. Yet Sykes’ relief was only for himself and his plans. She reached out and her fingers closed slowly around the glass. She lifted it to her lips, felt the strange sensation of stubble on her lip. She sipped, watching Sykes over the glass. He was smiling again. That same amused, superior grin, as if he were Master of all he surveyed. She felt her new lips lift into a grin. Time to prove him wrong.
There were so many other things she could be doing. Better things. Less risky things. She was free and she quite literarily had a new identity. She could go anywhere. Do whatever she wanted. Yet here she was, in Univille, hiding in the shadows and waiting. The disused shop was boarded up, the large entrance covered by a rusted metal sheet. She was standing at the mouth of the alley next to it. Behind her was a side door into the old warehouse.
She had kicked the side door open during the early hours of the morning and explored the interior with flashlight in hand. She had cleared a space on the floor a few metres away from the door and set up a bedroll. She ate snack bars and drank bottled water. Then she lad lain back, hands behind her head and feet crossed at the ankles. She had bought a change of clothes in Featherhead and travelled to Univille using a large SUV she had found at the disused airport. The stonewashed jeans, white t-shirt and pale blue dress shirt had looked appealing on this new body. After she had stripped out of the dark suit after she had taken the time to admire it in the mirror, unclothed it was just as nice to look at. Marcus Diamond – she had found his name on his driving licence – had looked after his body. He had been an excellent specimen. The three rounded scars on his chest had been of great interest to her. Clearly bullet wounds, she had marvelled at the wonders of modern medicine that had allowed him to survive such an injury. Those thoughts had followed her into sleep where she had dreamt strange dreams of a rhythmically ticking metronome.
She had awoken at dawn and found an early opening diner that had served a huge breakfast. Another interesting change was her appetite – she had already eaten more in the twenty hours that she had been in this body than she would have eaten in a week! It was a strangely pleasant experience.
She had sent the text while waiting for her breakfast. A simple message. I have information about HG Wells. Come alone. She had added the name of the popular coffee shop – which just happened to be opposite where she had spent the night – and a time to meet. It was fifteen minutes until the time she had set and she had been standing here for twenty minutes already, pondering her decision over and over again – like a stuck gramophone. There really were a hundred other, wiser things she could be doing. She could be on a plane and heading out of America at this very moment. Heading for London or Paris or any of a dozen locations she would happily choose as a new home. She shook her head at her own foolishness.
And then she saw her and any doubts flew from her mind. This was where she needed to be. This was the only place in the world where she wanted to be right now. She looked down at her phone, perhaps expecting another message. Helena waited – staring. Myka Berring was a good Agent and she would sense someone watching her, she was confident of it. And a few moments later, sure enough, Myka looked her way. HG felt her heart slam against her chest and her lips curled into a smile. She lifted her hand in a simple wave. Even from across the road she saw Myka’s eyes narrow suspiciously. She cursed under her breath and took a step backwards. Seeing Myka had caused her to forget that she wasn’t in her body anymore. She cursed again and stepped further into the alley – she knew that Myka would follow. She also knew that she would be armed. She leant against the wall, arms crossed over her chest, and waited.
Myka appeared at the mouth of the alley, gun hanging loosely at her side. HG watched the gun lift and point straight at her chest - Diamond’s chest, she had to remind herself when a surge of disappointment seared through her.
‘You work for Sykes …’ Myka said carefully, the gun steady in both hands, ‘Turn around, hands behind your back!’
HG shook her head, ‘Sorry, Myka, I can’t do that, but I promise you, darling, I am unarmed.’
Myka took a step closer, eyes narrowing, ‘Who are you?’
‘Would you believe me if I said I was Helena Wells?’
Myka’s laugh was a harsh snort, ‘What do you think?’
‘It’s the truth, darling,’ she breathed and smiled, ‘Sykes used the Janus coin to put me in …’ she directed with her hands, ‘… this body.’
‘Right …’ Myka drew the word out, she clearly wasn’t believing a word of it. HG couldn’t exactly blame her.
‘Okay,’ HG said carefully and uncrossed her arms, ‘Can I show you something?’
Myka adjusted the gun, making it quite clear that she was prepared to shoot at the slightest provocation, ‘Move slowly.’
She nodded and reached into the breast pocket of the shirt. It was still strange to feel hard muscle under her fingers as she pulled the item from her pocket, ‘Here …’
Myka directed at the floor with the gun. Nodding, HG set the napkin on the floor and backed away, hands raised. Myka stepped forward and squatted, grabbing the napkin and lifting it. It was a simple, cotton napkin. Old but clean.
‘Read it,’ HG told her.
Frowning, Myka flipped the napkin over and scanned the handwritten words. ‘It’s Portuguese,’ she announced.
Helena nodded, ‘It was written in the sixties by Paulo Coelho de Souza … it came to him as he sat in a café pondering life … I assume.’
‘Paulo Coelho … the Brazilian writer?’ Myka asked.
HG’s smiled widened, ‘I should have guessed you would know him …’ she nodded at the writing, ‘… read it, please.’
Myka eyed her suspiciously and then read the words aloud, firstly in the Portuguese and then in English, ‘The eyes are the mirror of the soul and reflect everything that seems to be hidden …’ She shrugged and scanned the words again. Then she looked up and their eyes met. She froze. ‘Helena?’
HG breathed a sigh of relief, ‘Hello, darling,’
Myka’s gun shook in her hand and she quickly lowered it. ‘Helena?’ she said again, eyes wide as she looked up and down the masculine body. She looked back at the ice blue eyes and the napkin felt warm in her fingers. ‘What the hell?’
HG took a small step forward, ‘Sykes is dead. Thankfully he had that …’ she pointed at the napkin in Myka’s hand, ‘… amongst the artifacts he had acquired.’
Myka slipped her gun back into the holster and stared, open mouthed. ‘This is very strange …’
‘Yes, it really is,’ HG laughed.
‘No … I mean, yeah … it must be really weird for you … but …’ Myka closed the distance between them and looked up into face of Marcus Diamond but saw, and felt, the soul of Helena Wells. Tears welled in her eyes as she whispered, ‘I thought I’d lost you.’
The smile that creased the lips was all HG and Myka inhaled sharply a moment before she was grabbed and those lips were crushing hers. She groaned against them even as she pushed against the hard chest.
‘Stop …’ she tried to say, hands pushing uselessly against the hard muscle.
HG felt her fingers tighten on Myka’s upper arms. A heat coursed through her body and she growled against Myka’s mouth, spinning her to the side and slamming her against the wall. She swallowed Myka’s cry of surprise as she forced her tongue between the full lips. Myka kissed her back, tongues dancing. But then Myka shouted and used all her strength to push her away. HG stumbled backwards, eyes filled with lust. They stared at each other for long seconds before HG threw herself forwards, large hands slapping against the wall either side of Myka’s head as she pressed her body hard against Myka’s. She pushed her hips forward, groaning loudly as she felt Diamond’s cock swelling in the jeans. Myka gasped and half looked down as the hardness pressed against her stomach.
‘HG?’ her voice quivered with nervousness, ‘I don’t –’
HG rested her forehead against Myka’s and closed her eyes, ‘Please, darling, don’t ask me to stop … I don’t think I can. I want you, Myka. I need you … more than I have needed anything in my life. I have always needed you.’
Myka tilted her head, lips finding HG’s in a gentle kiss. ‘Then take me …’ she whispered.
The growl was both terrifying and desperately arousing. HG’s hands reached down to grip Myka’s thighs. She lifted them, pushing her groin hard between her legs as Myka looped her thighs around her waist. She gasped as the now swollen and very hard bulge pressed at her centre. She opened her mouth to Helena’s and was devoured by a brutal kiss that stole her breath. HG pulled back from the wall and carried Myka to the door, forcing it open and stumbling inside. She kicked the door shut behind them and carried Myka to the bedroll. She dropped to her knees and Myka fell back. HG ripped her shirt off and yanked the vest over her head. Her torso – Marcus Diamond’s torso – was smooth with rounded pecks and defined abs. Myka’s palms stroked down the smooth skin and HG winced as if in pain, teeth gritted.
‘Myka … I …’ she shook her head, hands clenching. Sweat was standing out in droplets across her forehead and her face was flushed. The bright blue eyes, when she opened them, were desperate. Her body quivered with need. ‘… I don’t want to hurt you but …’
Myka sensed her desperate passion and nodded, ‘It’s okay … take what you need …’
HG’s large hands pushed her back and then tore the jeans and underwear from Myka’s body, casting them aside with her shoes and socks. Then her hands roughly lifted her sweater and vest, tearing the bra beneath and exposing Myka’s breasts to rough kisses and sucks. Myka’s back arched and she gasped loudly. The sound was too much and HG quickly unfastened her jeans and forced the material down as far as her knees. The cock that sprang from the roughly shoved down underpants was long and thick. Pre-cum glistened across the swollen dome. HG hesitated, face twisted in a mask of near pain as she struggled with her frenzied desire and the fear that she would hurt Myka.
‘It’s okay, ‘Myka whispered, her own voice trembling, ‘I want you to,’
HG gripped the base of her cock and closed her eyes for an instant. Then she was touching her tip to Myka’s hot opening and any conscious thought disappeared. She slammed forward and sheathed herself in Myka’s slick pussy. Myka screamed, back arching, eyes screwed shut. The feel of Myka’s heat surrounding her cock was incredible and she closed her eyes as she slid back. The friction along the thin skin made her gasp and groan. And then she was sliding back in and the heat that surrounded her cock became an inferno that filled her body. She moved fast. Hard. Almost shouting with every thrust. She plunged back and forth. There was no finesse. Just the desperate need for release. She fucked Myka hard, slamming her against the floor with every thrust. Myka’s cries of passion matched her own. It was a hard, brutal coupling that wouldn’t last for long. She held herself on her hands, hips plunging down and forward. Beneath her, Myka writhed, face flushed, eyes and mouth wide.
‘Oh god!’ Myka suddenly screamed as her body arched, ‘Yes! Fuck! Oh – fuck!’
HG felt a sudden wetness around her engorged cock and she shouted. Her abdomen tensed painfully and her balls suddenly felt rock hard. She slammed into Myka again, then again and then … OH GOD! … she held herself deep as her whole body seemed to flow down and then explode from the very tip of her cock. She quivered uncontrollably with each spurt that seemed to be turning her inside out. Lights danced in front of her eyes and she could feel roaring in her chest, hear it in her ears. Her arms suddenly gave out and she fell onto Myka – instinct made her roll to the side where she lay panting and quivering.
HG lay with her eyes shut, wondering if her heart would ever stop pounding so violently in her chest. She was concerned that if it continued at is current rate, she would surely expire within a few minutes. Thankfully she didn’t – although she barely registered the passing of time – but her heart did eventually slow down to a more normal rhythm. Although it was a cadence that was very different from her own – or the one she remembered – because Marcus Diamond’s heartbeat had an unnaturally steady tempo.
Her breath hissed suddenly and she lifted her head in surprise. Myka’s eyes lifted to hers and her lips, currently circling her semi-hard cock, lifted in a smile. She flicked her tongue out and circled the ridge. HG tipped her head back, arching her neck and groaning. ‘This is very bizarre, darling,’ she whispered.
Myka lifted her head, fingers gently circling and stroking her penis that quickly hardened fully under her touch. ‘It is …’ she agreed, eyes roving up and down HG’s new body, ‘… I mean, I can see you … I can feel you … you are Helena Wells … but you are in this body …’ Her hand gripped tighter and HG’s hips flicked up in response, ‘… it’s a bit of a mind-fuck.’
HG chuckled, the sound was rich and deep, ‘An interesting turn of phrase, darling,’
Myka laughed softly, making HG quiver as the heat of her breath stirred the dark curls of hair. Then her lips were sliding down her shaft and HG’s eyes snapped open as she sighed loudly. She lifted her head to watch, her arousal growing exponentially as she watched Myka’s head bob up and down. The sensation as she paused to flick her tongue over the particularly sensitive ridge, was indescribable.
‘Myka …. darling?’ HG said, her voice filled with both regret and concern.
‘Hmmm?’ the sound vibrated along her cock and her hips bucked involuntarily.
‘Myka!’ she gasped in alarm, ‘I’m not really used to this body and I’m not sure how to … hold off …’
Myka licked from the base of the shaft to the very tip and sighed softly, ‘Well, we wouldn’t want anything happening prematurely now, would we?’ she chuckled and moved so she could slip HG’s jeans and lace-up boots off. She stripped the last of her own clothes, tutting with mock annoyance as she discarded the ruined bra. Then she climbed over HG’s thighs and lifted her cock. They both sighed as she settled herself carefully and then slowly slid down. HG couldn’t stop herself from lifting to meet her but then Myka pushed down hard, grinding their bodies together and making both of them groan. HG’s hands came to rest on her hips, holding her as she moved. Myka’s fingers traced lines up and down her chest, her nails scratching lightly over the smooth skin and making her writhe. Myka leant forward and kissed the skin of her chest, sucking gently on the small nipple. The sensation was different but no less pleasurable and the way Myka’s hair tickled her sides was a very pleasant accompaniment.
The sound of Myla’s breathing changed and HG opened her eyes, mouth falling open at the sight. Myka was leaning back, hands resting on HG’s thighs as she rocked herself. As HG watched, Myka moved one hand to her breast while her other dipped lower and she slid trembling fingers through her slick folds. The deep moan and quiver told HG that she had found her clitoris.
‘Come here …’ HG suddenly gasped and pulled Myka towards her. They kissed, hard and forcefully, HG’s hands tangling in the wavy locks. She started to move her hips, pressing her feet into the floor and bending her knees slightly so she could drive into her. Myka lifted from the kiss and dropped her lips to HG’s neck, offering her own to teeth, lips and tongue.
‘Oh, god …’ Myka whimpered into HG’s neck and then pushed herself up, quivering with need. HG’s eyebrow lifted questioningly as Myka slipped from her but then Myka moved onto her hands and knees and looked over her shoulder, her expression desperate. ‘Please …’ she near begged.
HG was on her knees in an instant and had barely positioned herself before slamming forward. Myka threw her head back to cry in delight and then dropped her front, deepening the angle. She pushed back against every thrust, tossing her sweat soaked hair as she cried and sobbed. HG slid her hand round and slipped her fingers along the groove of her sex, eliciting a hiss of delight. She stroked gently at the tiny bud of nerves and revelled at the vibrations that ran through Myka’s buttocks.
The stimulation quickly had Myka panting and she lifted her head, gasping, ‘Please … harder … god, please …’
HG moved her hands back to Myka’s hips and she gripped tightly, short nails digging into the flesh of Myka’s hips as she yanked her backwards.
‘Ah, Christ!’ Myka screamed, ‘Yessss!’
HG had sweat in her eyes and she was struggling to catch her breath but there was no way she was stopping. The muscles of her legs and back were burning but Myka’s cries were so wonderfully erotic, so fantastically passionate, that she couldn’t stop until those cries reached their crescendo. And when they did, when Myka’s cries became suddenly silent as her body tensed, back bowing, head flung back, HG cried out herself and thumped her hips forward as she climaxed.
Myka whimpered softly and slumped forward. HG fell next to her and used the last of her energy to throw her arm out for Myka could crawl into her, head falling against her heaving chest.
HG was dozing softly, drifting pleasantly on a cloud of sensual exhaustion.
‘Why?’ Myka asked softly, sleepily.
‘Huh?’ HG queried.
Myka ran her nails across the firm pec muscle, making the skin ripple, ‘You could have gone anywhere … why come here?’
HG turned her head and kissed the top of Myka’s head, ‘I thought that was obvious, darling,’
Myka sighed softly but said, ‘You could have test-driven your new equipment with anyone,’
HG winced at the crassness, ‘Myka …’ she sighed, ‘… there’s no where else I would go.’
‘Because of the Warehouse?’ Myka asked nervously.
HG rolled onto her side and slid down so she could stare into Myka’s eyes. In the shadows, her eyes were dark and Myka could actually see Helena Wells. She sighed softly and kissed her gently.
‘I came for you … not the Warehouse,’ HG told her and Myka felt tears stinging her eyes, tears that spilled over when HG added, ‘… I was always coming back to you.’
‘I really thought I’d lost you,’ Myka whispered, ‘When I walked away and Pete picked up that rock … my heart actually hurt.’
HG kissed her again, deep and hard, trying to help her forget or at least replace the memories with better ones. She sighed into the kiss and moulded their bodies together. They fitted perfectly and HG knew that no matter what, this had been their destiny, their fate to fulfil.
They dressed in silence. The regret at having to get back to reality was almost tangible.
Myka was the first to break the silence, ‘Do you think we can get you back into your old body?’
HG sighed and shook her head, ‘Honestly, darling, I don’t know … I don’t even know if the Regents would allow it. They’d probably rather shove me straight back onto the Janus coin.’
Myka shook her head firmly, ‘No – I’ll leave the Warehouse before that happens.’
HG smiled softly and pressed a thumb to her jaw, stroking gently and then pulling her in for a kiss. ‘And then what, darling? We run away together?’
Myka looked up at her, her eyes twinkling, ‘Maybe …’
HG smiled back and watched as Myka headed for the door. She chased after her and grabbed her arms, pulling her sideways and pressing her against the wall. She pushed her hair from her neck and pressed her pelvis against Myka’s buttocks. Her lips found her neck and she nibbled gently, laughing softly. ‘Maybe?’ she asked, ‘And would you marry me, Miss Berring?’
HG didn’t hear the answer as she suddenly stumbled back, hand pressed to her chest. She gasped, tried to breathe but couldn’t make her lungs work. ‘Myka?’ she gasped with the last of the breath she had. She pressed her hand harder against her chest as the pain grew. Her eyes started to water and she dropped to her knees. She looked up at the silhouette in the doorway. The silhouette moved towards her and she manged to focus on his face.
‘That’s what you get for touching my friend, you bastard,’ Pete said quietly, eyes dark and hateful as he stepped closer and held up the stopped metronome.