The Wailing Maiden Part Two (A Halloween Story)

And here’s part two to liven up your Halloween, or Samhain, whichever you prefer. I’ve always loved a good ghost story so I hope you enjoy this one. As always I love to know what you think. It helps me know what people want to see more of.

If you missed part one, head over here to catch up The Wailing Maiden Part One.

The Wailing Maiden

Chapter Three

She went to bed and found herself trapped on a pirate ship in the middle of the ocean. Her mind was completely in the moment. She was a pirate. Tom was her captain, and the Wailing Maiden was their ship.

Distantly, in the back of her mind she knew this wasn’t her life, but it was so faint she could barely connect with the memories of reality. And there was no time to try to compare the two worlds because she had been dropped into a battle. They were being attacked by a ship that was sailing under the French flag. This was no rag-tag pirate ship. They were corsairs, financed by the crown.

She held a sword in her right hand like she’d been using one for most of her life, and without even thinking used it to cut through the attacking sailors. She fought her way to Tom’s side, and they pressed, back-to-back, defending each other. It felt good. The exhilaration gave her extra energy and she held out longer than she thought possible.

It wasn’t exactly a victory, but they were able to make the French rethink their position and when the losses climbed too high the corsairs retreated to their ship. Gwen watched them flee and then turned to Tom with a fierce predatory grin curving her lips. He pulled her into his arms and claimed her lips with a passion born of blood and battle.

The kiss was intense enough to start a hunger in her, but first they had to see to the crew. There were dead of both sides littering the decks and they were disposed of in much the same way, although their crewmates received gentler handling and a few words of blessing before they were released to the sea.

Death at sea was the fate most sailors expected. But that night the survivors’ blood would sing with gratitude for another day of life. The men and women of the crew would celebrate in much the same way that she did with the captain. It was not something that was spoken of off the ship, but Tom believed it brought the crew closer together.

She didn’t care what the others did, but she enjoyed her night with Tom. Or at least most of it. Her captain had a particular hunger that had to be filled first. He took great pleasure in whipping her backside with a cruel leather strap until she sobbed and writhed. Only when she begged tearfully for him to stop did he toss it aside.

He felt between her thighs and gave her a knowing look that made her flush. Even now she was still embarrassed that he knew her so well. Despite the pain she was slippery with excitement and desperate to feel him fill her. Maybe even because of the pain.

Making love didn’t really cover the passion and intensity behind what they did in his cabin. The wooden bed shook with the force of it and though she tried to keep her cries muffled at first, she knew that it was a losing battle. It didn’t matter that all over the ship others were doing the same thing—making the same sounds in couples or groups.

It was still mortifying to know people could hear her and Tom knew that. He took pleasure in forcing her past the ability to be quiet. With each thrust he brought her closer until she screamed his name without inhibition. Later she would soak in the humiliation of knowing that everyone could hear her with him, but in that moment it no longer mattered. She was the captain’s woman, and he would use her as he pleased.

When she fell asleep in his arms, she woke in the real world. Her body was drenched with sweat and there was a wet spot on the sheets. She’d climaxed in her sleep again. Her body was still humming from it and the occasional aftershock spiked through her.

She felt a drop of something tickling as it ran down between her breasts and for a second, she imagined it was blood. Not hers, but from the battle. She looked down with a gasp, but it was just a drop of sweat. Her hand shook as she wiped it away. “What is happening to me,” she whispered.

There was no longer rest in sleep. Her dreaming life seemed to be more exhausting then her waking one. She struggled through a few more days of work and then gratefully spent her days off in bed, sleeping when she could. Occasionally she managed a few hours without visions of her pirate lover and over the next two days she gathered enough of those to lose the edge of weariness before she was back to work.

It did get worse as things continued. At times a day or two went by without any dreams and then she slept like the dead, but there was almost a feeling of disappointment when she woke from those much needed off nights. The intensity gradually increased and when that happened, she needed those days of dreamless peace even more.

The effects of the dreams were beginning to carry over into the real world. Not just her own body’s reacting. It went further than that. There had been a few times when one of the dreams was so intense that she’d actually thought she was feeling things after she woke up, but it always faded. The day she woke up to find that her butt was red, sore, and welted…she realized she was in big trouble.

She knew all about psychosomatic illnesses and she supposed that maybe the dreams had been so vivid that her body believed it was happening. But as she stood in front of the mirror and brushed the tips of her fingers over the welted skin, she couldn’t help but think it was something darker than that.

She tried to push it out of her head. It was uncomfortable sitting that morning and for a change she was glad to be on her feet at work all day. But the skin itched and throbbed under her uniform to remind her.

When she came home the book was sitting on the table and she stared in confusion. “I threw that out…” She was sure she had, but there it was. Maybe the lack of sleep had mixed her up and she’d only thought she’d thrown it out.

Well, this time she’d make sure of it. She took the paperback in her hands and ripped it in half, breaking the binding and scattering pages across the floor. Then, just to be sure, she gathered it up, stuffed it into a trash bag and took it out to the dumpster.

That would turn out to be a mistake.

Strict Tom was angry with her that night. In her dreams he grabbed her by the arm, dragged her over to the nearest cannon and forced her to straddle it. Her tight breeches were cut up the seams with his dagger, and they fell to the deck in pieces, leaving her naked from the waist down.

He’d pulled off his thick leather belt, doubled it in his fist, and began to whip her without mercy. He’d never punished her so hard, and there wasn’t even the slightest bit of sexiness to it. She tried to hold back the tears, not wanting to look weak in front of the crew but eventually she let go with a torrent of sobs.

She thought crying publicly would convince him she’d had enough, but he didn’t stop, not then. He continued until she was wailing and squirming desperately to avoid the leather and then he leaned down close.  

“Replace what you destroyed, wench. Or you’ll have this nightly.” He growled the words with a harsh promise, and she shivered.

She didn’t understand what she’d done for a moment. She was so immersed in the historical scene that it took her time to pull back enough to remember this wasn’t her world. It slowly dawned on her that he meant the book. She’d destroyed it and he wanted it fixed.

The first thing she did when she woke up, was rush into the bathroom to look at her backside. She knew from the heavy, throbbing pain that had followed her to the waking world what she would find. But the purple splotches that covered the center of both cheeks were still a shock. This was beyond a little pinkness, beyond a few welts. Could your body really create bruises from a dream?

No. It was time to accept that there was something supernatural going on. She’d never been a fan of ghost stories. Her belief in the afterlife was vague at best, and she’d always thought those ghost hunting shows were made up for entertainment. Now she was starting to realize she’d been wrong.

It didn’t help her much, knowing it was real. She still had a problem, and she was pretty sure this wasn’t the kind of thing a priest could help with. Not that she had the balls to tell a preacher that she had a kinky ghost haunting her dreams anyway.

Her only option seemed to be doing what Strict Tom wanted. She threw on her clothes and ran out to the dumpster hoping to recover the book before the trash was picked up. It was too late. The bin mocked her with its emptiness, while her butt twinged to remind her of what was going to happen if she couldn’t appease the spank-happy spirit.

It was a book. A real, solid, physical book that she had purchased from a used bookstore and read a bunch of times. So why was it that every place she went that day had never heard of it, or the author who’d written it? Even hopping online and trying to order a copy didn’t work, though it did at least convince her she hadn’t imagined the whole thing.

There were references to it, even pictures of the cover that she remembered so well. The muscled, shirt-less pirate seemed to leer at her from the screen, but everywhere she looked it was unavailable and out of print. Even the library was unhelpful. She would happily have stolen a copy and paid them for the loss, but they didn’t have one.

The same helpful librarian was there to shake her head. “Sorry, honestly we don’t keep romances longer than a few months. There are too many, and people read them quickly, so we have to rotate them out. They go into the used book sales three times a year. One of that age… sorry, it would have been sold ages back.”

“Can you check the interlibrary system and see if it’s available somewhere else?” Gwen asked. She tried to ignore the edge of desperation in her voice, and hoped it wasn’t audible.

“I can, but I suspect it’s going to be the same issue. Hold on a second.” She ducked behind the counter. Her fingers danced across the keys with impressive speed, but in less than a minute she was shaking her head again. “Sorry, nothing available. Maybe you could check the used bookstores?”

But Gwen had already done that.

She dreaded sleeping that night, but coffee could only hold it off so long and eventually she succumbed to the dream world. He was waiting for her and didn’t look pleased. All of her explanations meant nothing.

Another punishment scene played out, even worse than the last. By the end she sobbed helplessly, and no longer struggled against the crew members who had to hold her in place so he could finish.

“Why do you disobey me? You were given a simple task and yet here you are again.” He squatted down next to her tear-streaked face, giving her a disappointed look.

“I tried. I really did! I don’t know how to fix it.”

“Yes, you do,” he said.

“I don’t; I swear!”

“If you cannot find another copy, you’ll have to create one.” His tone dripped with condescension.

“C-create?”

“Yes, girl. Come, it’s not that hard to put words to parchment. I want to see my story in your words. Write it.”

It was such a simple solution, at least to him. He must have thought she was stupid not to think of it. The problem was she had no idea how to do that. She wasn’t a writer. Except for dabbling with a little fanfic in her teenage years she’d never written a thing, and now he wanted her to write a book?

“But I don’t know how.” Her tone was full of whine but under that was fear. How would he react if she couldn’t accomplish this task?

He grabbed a handful of her hair and used it to yank her head up so he could stare directly into her eyes. “You will obey, or you will suffer until you do. Each night will be worse than the last.”

He released her back to her world then. The transition was immediate, and she found herself sitting up in bed disoriented and dizzy. Sore, exhausted and overwhelmed at what was taking place in her life, she simply fell back to sleep. This time it was the real sleep she needed so badly.

Chapter Four

The next days of her life passed in a haze of misery. She used her sick days to escape work as often as she could, because every waking minute was spent trying to write. She hated it. For every sentence she got down, she ended up deleting two others that sounded horrible.

And it did matter to him. The first day she’d just tossed words on the screen, telling his story in brief and considered it done in ten pages. He was furious.

Being stripped in front of the crew was starting to become a common occurrence, but this time she was tied to the mast. A whip snapped through the air and wrapped around her hips with a brutal bite that made her scream. Ten times the lash whistled through the air and ten times she couldn’t hold back the cry of pain that burst from her lips.

It wasn’t the worst he could do. She’d read enough about naval punishments to know there were far crueler things, but it was enough. He left her there after for hours, hanging from her wrists and the next day she’d seen vivid rope burns imprinted deeply into her skin.

As she typed the marks of his anger were a constant visible reminder. “Do better,” he’d said. She tried. She thought back to the journal and it dawned on her that the paperback romance had simply been another version of the same thing. No wonder the author had never written anything else.

It took time and thought but she began to understand what he was doing. He wanted his story to continue on and was constantly upgrading the format of it. It had probably started with oral tales, then with journals before moving on to romance novels.

Now… what would she use to bring his tale to life? A book, as hard as she tried, didn’t seem to be working for her. On the days she made good progress, Tom seemed content with her. They would return to their old sexy romps and the pain would be arousing, not punishment.

But she could only manage so many of those days because she kept getting stuck and bogged down. Eventually she realized that she just wasn’t cut out for writing a novel. Sure, she’d slowly learned to manage a fairly credible page or two, but it never lasted.

He didn’t accept writer’s block as an excuse for not progressing. And every day she didn’t write he punished her, which created a constant state of anxiety. She stopped eating, and even on the nights she wasn’t pulled into dreams, she had trouble sleeping.

She had no sick days left, but she looked so awful at work people had begun to ask if she was okay. What could she tell them? She began to laugh hysterically as she thought about explaining her ghost problem. Imagine that.

But there was an answer and a few weeks into the grueling routine she discovered it. It had been hard forcing her tired brain to work through her situation, but she knew there had to be answers somewhere. She just had to put all the facts together.

He wanted his story told. It was more than that, he needed it told. One night, when she was curled up in his arms, he’d let that slip. When she’d asked, he’d mentioned the curse.  He refused to give her any other details and when she pressed him, she was returned to her own world immediately.

What had the book said? That a jealous husband had cursed him to walk the Earth forever? That didn’t sound right. Tom seemed in no hurry to pass on to the afterlife, so it wouldn’t be much of a curse.

What if it was something different? What if… Tom continued to live as long as people knew about him? It wasn’t true life, of course, but clearly, he’d adapted well to his dream domain. Was it specifically women he needed to know about him? Hadn’t Smitty talked about many women going missing after researching him?

A spike of fear went through her. What then would happen to her when she did recreate his story? Would he take her to his ship permanently? Would she just be… gone?

If she shared his story, then it would put more women in the same place she was now and she had mixed feelings about that. In the beginning it had been fantasy fulfilling. She’d loved it and if she’d had the option then of staying in the pirate dream forever it would have been a huge temptation.

Once she told his story maybe things would go back to the way it had been. Most of his harshness came from his need to drive her to produce, so without that … maybe. The story was the price for living the fantasy, she supposed.

That didn’t mean she was comfortable about passing her troubles on to the next woman who became captivated by the pirate legend. There was a serious moral quandary there, but in the end, what other choice was there? She couldn’t handle the increasingly cruel punishments and she couldn’t live her life fearing sleep like she was in some horror movie.

She would tell his story, but like the women before her, she would tell it her way. She was not meant for novels, but she knew of an alternative that would fill his requirements.

She’d start a blog. A pirate fantasy blog where she could spin tales of Strict Tom and his crew aboard the Wailing Maiden. She could use her own adventuring dreams to build the stories. It wouldn’t be much different from writing fanfic and she knew how to do that. Of course, if she threw in all the sex and kink that would probably bring all sorts of readers in.

Tom might take some convincing, but she was sure she could talk him around once he saw that people were reading. But that meant she was going to have to do more than write stories; she would also have to get readers over to see them.

She took to blogging like a professional. Posting daily was only the start. She also had to post about the blog all over social media in order to get people’s attention. Her experience with social media was pretty basic so there was a learning curve.

For the first few days Tom was reserved. He didn’t punish her, but it was clear he was keeping a close eye on how things were going. But then people started to follow, read, and even comment now and then.

She made the stories more graphic, and she had plenty of experience on that to draw from; the numbers went up. The daily views and subscribers seemed to increase every day and Tom made it clear he was pleased with the progression.

Things did return to the way they had been before. She got her exciting pirate adventures, with plenty of sex. And all of those adventures were written up for her blog. The kink had turned back into things she could enjoy, and she actually began to feel fulfilled and happy.

And then everything changed.

After months of hard work her blog had really taken off. The daily hits were amazing, and she was starting to think about monetizing it and making it her full-time job. Her nights were split fairly evenly between deep sleep, and dream adventures, though there was no schedule. She was enjoying her life and starting to feel successful.

It was about six months in when she woke up to the feeling that something was wrong. There had been no pirate action that night, just empty sleep. Which was great because she had plans for Halloween and she was going to need her rest.

She was joining a group of friends for all day activities. Ghost tours, scary movies, and haunted houses were on the agenda. She had her costume ready and naturally it was a sexy pirate outfit. It seemed only fitting since she spent so much time as one.

But now, in the very early hours of the morning she’d woken up with the oddest sensation. It was like she wasn’t alone. Her eyes strained in the dark house and there, sitting at the bottom of her bed, was a figure.

She screamed and scrabbled for the light desperately. When she finally managed to turn the lamp on she saw… him. Thomas Bedlam as she’d always seen him in her dreams. Exactly as he’d looked on the cover of the romance novel that had introduced him.

“T-Tom?” Her voice wavered, full of confusion. Was she still asleep?

“Captain Thomas, if you please. Since this is technically our first introduction in the flesh, as it were.” His face was handsome as always, but it had a cruel cast to it. The flinty eyes raked over her, but he smiled with approval.

“What are you—how are you here?” She didn’t even question that Tom was real anymore. If her dreams had taught her anything, it was that life existed beyond the usual forms. Now, she was just lost as to how he was here in the physical world.

“’Tis Halloween, O’course. The night when the veil between worlds is thinnest. The one day of the year when I can pass through.”

“But…” She had read something like that before, but she’d never given it much credence.

“You’ve done well, lass. I’m pleased with this bloggy book you’ve made about me. ‘Tisn’t what I expected mind, but it’s working.”

“T-thank you. I tried. We’ve picked up a hundred new followers this week and I’ve got some blogging ads running on…” She trailed off when she realized he had no clue what she was talking about. She cleared her throat. “It’s going well.”

“Yes, it is. And now ‘tis time for a reward.” He reached out a hand to her and she slowly extended her own to take it.

“What um, kind of reward?”

He watched her for a moment, and she saw the shadow of a predator in his eyes. “The kind where all your dreams come true, lass. Wanted to be a pirate now, didn’t ya? You’ll join my crew and sail with us forever.”

She cringed back. A flash of Smitty talking about missing girls in October shot through her brain like lightening and suddenly it all made sense. She liked how things were now. She liked spending a few nights a week dreaming about pirates and having sexy times with a ghost, but she didn’t want to do it forever.

“Oh, no. I can’t. I have to stay and manage the blog. There has to be new stories to keep people interested, or else they’ll stop reading,” she said desperately.

He was shaking her head before she finished. “The momentum will continue long enough. Then there will be another in your place. Your time here is done.” There was a firmness there that said he would brook no arguments, but she couldn’t help trying anyway.

“I don’t want to go!” She tried to pull her hand out of his, but his grip was like iron.

“Well, now, that’s a shame, isn’t it? Because you’ll obey regardless, wench, or you know what’ll happen. Do you want to warm my bed and enjoy yourself, or would you rather the cold barrel of the gunner’s daughter between your thighs?”

Phrased like that there wasn’t much choice. Over the months as she sank deeper and deeper into the supernatural world, she had wondered how Tom had such power over her. She still didn’t have an answer. But she knew, to her depths, that she wouldn’t win if she fought him. She was his now, and always would be.

Epilogue:

Three weeks later Smitty threw the newspaper down with a snarl. Another one! He’d warned her, but like the rest it didn’t seem to do any good. He was tempted to burn the journal and anything else that had even the slightest reference to that damn pirate. But the historian in him just couldn’t do it, and in the end, they remained safe in their cases.

He decided that he would deny any knowledge of Tom and his ship when they came looking. It wouldn’t do any good. These girls were on the path long before they came to him, but he wasn’t going to be part of it again.

Of course, he’d said that before and he seemed to be just as stuck on the path as they were. Whatever devil’s bargain compelled the pirate, it seemed to keep things in motion and no matter how he tried, he couldn’t break free of it anymore than those poor girls could.

He sighed. Maybe it was time to close the museum and retire. He’d put in enough time. He’d earned the rest. His wife had been pushing him to move to Florida for years now, and it was high time he took her up on it.

But somehow, he knew he’d still be there when the next curious young lady showed up asking about Strict Tom and the Wailing Maiden. There was no breaking the cycle, not for any of them.

If you liked this short story you might enjoy my full-length Paranormal romance novels in the Gifted Affinities series. They are all about a Dominant ghost with a penchant for spanking and this is the perfect time of year to read them.

Click to go to Amazon

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