For the first time in a long time Scrim found herself…waiting.
In-between hotel rooms and summonings there had always been a sort of hibernation period. She’d know time had passed, know she was wasting through eternity until someone else decided it was time for her to come out. Completely powerless to do anything. But it was more of a passive feeling before.
Now she found herself knowingly in this space between times and the consciousness of it was almost unbearable. She wondered why this was different – so tedious.
She tried to distract herself. Part of Michelle’s musk had absorbed into Scrim’s ashy body as it had reformed each time in that cramped room, and she tried concentrating on it. Visions of Michelle’s naked body dancing around the hotel room helped keep Scrim thinking – sane. She gave Michelle her every passing thought.
Yes…thought. Scrim realized her predicament was like she was waiting for someone to give her a passing thought.
Suddenly she felt it; the tug of being summoned, the rush of her fiery body forming in the cold air of a room. Other than the temperature, her inert flesh felt nothing.
As her being formed into the somewhat womanly shape Scrim had become accustomed to over the years, she also regained her vision. She looked around the room. It was mostly dark. It was a wooden room, small, with a rickety bed and small table. A door was nearby. The moon shone its light through a window near an eave.
Scrim remembered being grateful for moonlight in a past life. It was almost like she had been in this room before.
As she floated slowly through the space Scrim’s flaming hair gave off the only other light. Suddenly little sparks seemed to appear over the bed.
Startled, Scrim pulled away, and a nude man appeared seated on the bed. After another moment clothing suddenly appeared on his form.
His dress was more modern now, a wide brimmed hat and a dirty and brown floor length duster. A pair of jeans adorned his legs with a set of work boots at his feet. But whatever he wore Scrim would know the man from anywhere.
This was the man who had turned her into an ifrit over three hundred years ago at the tavern – in this room! For her betrayal he had turned her into this impossible creature, cursing her to travel endlessly from tavern room to room, forced to grant a request to each traveler. Punishment far beyond what was proper for trying to defraud a man with the false promises of assistance.
She remembered how the curse warped and adapted as the carriage stops of the age had phased out, replaced by motels, hotels, bed & breakfasts…oh she had seen so many and had her powers warped so much since 1792.
And how she hated this man. Three hundred years of furious anger had been taken out on so many travelers because of this one. This man who had ripped her humanity from her. This man who had robbed her of her body and will simply because she had tried to rob him of his gold. How Scrim wished she had realized back then the very advice she had given Michelle before appearing here now.
“Well, I was just thinking about how you were doing,” the man said, the shadow from the brim of his hat revealing only his smug grin. He placed his manicured hands up to his chin and stared at Scrim. “So glad to see you…what was it I named you?”
There was a pause before she answered.
“Ah yes, Scrim…hmmm, not one of my best names, but I think you were one of my earliest ifrits,” the man said, leaning back as if to enjoy his handiwork. He gave a harsh accent to Scrim each time he said it, like a heal crushing a bug, “And my last, now. Did you know I gave up on that curse? No, you wouldn’t, would you? Do you know why you are here, Scrim?”
“No, I do not,” Scrim replied softly. Every ounce of her wanted to rush forward and choke the life out of this man, but she resisted. She knew her powers had come from him, and that her magic was as helpless against him now as her body had been in 1792.
“You broke your curse,” the man replied.
Another moment of silence.
“Don’t make me repeat myself,” came the response, the man standing up and waiving one hand at Scrim. A dull light emitted from his fingers, “You broke the curse and now you get to be human again, congrats.”
Suddenly Scrim felt a weight to her body. The fire and ash never really had any mass to it, but now it felt like she suddenly had…bones? Scrim looked at her arms and hands as she felt muscle returning, forming within her unnatural body. She could actually feel the ash on newly grown skin. She felt tresses of hair fall around her shoulders. She felt.
She also suddenly realized she was still floating a few feet in the air – and was no longer an ifrit.
Some of the ash was knocked off her nude form in a smoky cloud as Scrim fell hard on the rough wood, landing with hands and bare feet. Standing up, something practically alien in itself to her at this point, she eagerly ran her hands over her hips, stomach, breasts, face, and hair, testing to make sure it was all there.
It was all solid.
It was all her.
Repeating it to herself over and over, Scrim patted little clouds of ash off of herself as her inspection continued. She was almost exactly as she had been three hundred years ago – as an ifrit her proportions had been filled out a little more thanks to the disgusting wish of one man she had run across. Her breasts and ass had not always been this big, but they were flesh and that was all that mattered.
Scrim couldn’t believe she was really human again, and without thinking let out an enthusiastic, “Oh, thank you!”
“Do not thank me,” the man said, returning to his seat and leaning back, crossing one leg atop a knee, “All you needed to do was legitimately help someone for no other reason than from the goodness of your heart. The moment you did that I’d be able to find you and turn you human again. So congrats on whatever you learned to do that.”
“Thanks…thank you,” Scrim repeated anyway, tears of joy cutting canals through the ash on her face. She could not believe how much she owed Michelle. Suddenly Scrim felt a sensation she hadn’t felt in ages – she was horny.
Scrim wasn’t sure why, but she wondered if some of the musk absorbed into her cinderous form had also become a part of her in flesh and blood through the metamorphosis. She didn’t think on it long, she was just happy to be human again.
As she stood a moment, hands clasped and smile stretched across her face, she realized something.
“Please,” Scrim spoke up, kneeling in front of the man, “Can I have my old name back? I still can not recall my human name.”
“Well, that’s up to you,” the man said, pulling her former prison from out of thin air. Clicking open the amulet, the man held it up to his ear like someone listening for the ocean in a seashell, “Let’s see just what you did to learn this little lesson.”
Scrim was suddenly worried. She had been quite nasty to quite a few people.
“Hmmm…turned one man into a toilet. Why was that?” he asked, voice almost a little empty as if he was looking off into another world.
“He…he was into scatological interests and requested that he be able to be used for such without anything thinking it strange,” Scrim replied timidly.
“I see…and the woman whom you turned into her boyfriend’s penis?”
“She was jealous of the time he spent pleasuring himself and requested that she be the focus of his attention.”
“Uh huh…” the man replied, and Scrim wasn’t sure if he was even listening, “And I see you turned a quartet of sorority sisters into an orgy and then made them into a marble fountain.”
“Well, they were really unclear and implied they wanted to always be together and be at center of their school’s student life.”
“And you certainly found plenty of other people to help before learning from this last woman,” the man tsk-tsked and closed the pendant, placing it in his jacket. “I’m afraid you’re stuck with the name Scrim, my dear, for some actions cannot be forgiven. Thus you will be forever reminded of what you did as an ifrit.”
“I understand,” Scrim said, realizing how much of a monster she had been.
“What I will do for you, however, is put you back into reality where you desire,” the man said, standing up and approaching Scrim. She remained kneeling and wasn’t sure what to do as he approached, so she bowed some more. He stood over her, seemingly indifferent to what she was doing, “I cannot return you to your old life, as time manipulation is beyond me. This room is simply a construct…a reminder. But I can place you into any area you may have grown fond of since.”
Scrim thought for a moment. She considered a number of places she had been to around the world. Exotic locales. Places of paradise anyone would kill to live in.
But she actually felt that would be…selfish.
There was someone she wanted to help.
“More than where to send me,” Scrim asked, looking up into the man’s shadowed eyes, “I know who I want you to send me to.”
The man – the Traveler – smiled.
The next part of Room 2739 continues tomorrow!