It’s Saturday night, and Avi’s apartment is lifeless when he returns home from his kitchen shift. He wishes he had the stamina to grab an after-work drink with his coworkers, but he can think of little else he wants to do than take a hot shower and crawl into bed.

His bathroom is cramped, but at least the shower had been updated when he moved in—rectangular subway tile marbled with a hint of gray, with shiny chrome fixtures, factory fresh.

He turns on the taps and sits on the lidded toilet, scrolling through his phone. When steam drifts from behind the shower curtain, he strips, leaving his clothes in a heap on the bath mat.

As he climbs in and closes the blue shower curtain behind him, something murmurs over the downpour of water and the radiator’s hiss.

Hello, pet.

Avi jerks his head around, certain he’d heard a voice, swirling in his ears and all around him at once, as if it slithered up from the drain at his feet. He yanks the curtain aside to see his bathroom filling with steam, and all he hears is the rush of water from the shower head.

Avi’s convinced it was just a collusion of echoes off the bathroom’s tile, and pulls the curtain shut again. He tips his head back into the stream. He washes his hair with shampoo that smells like a spa, works his fingers into his scalp until his lips are parted. His utilitarian touch while bathing usually did nothing for him, but his body begins to stir, like it knows something he doesn’t.

He rinses the thick lather from his hair, then glances at the shower drain as he reaches for the soap in the corner. He hadn’t really heard a voice, had he? Surely it was just good bathroom acoustics, or a hot pipe bobbing inside the wall.

Avi works the soap up his neck, across his shoulders, down his chest. He feels the heat between his legs as he soaps up from hip to hip across his stomach, grazing the height of his pubic hair.

After every crevice has been sanitized, he gently scrubs his skin, then rinses off the stench of beer and disinfectant with the soap. His thighs are pink from the high temperature, and he reaches back to adjust the shower knob.

Leave it.

Avi freezes, then straightens up. Now he’s certain it was a voice he heard, not an echo or the distant clang of metal sealed beyond the wall.

“Hello?” he asks.

Nothing replies.

Avi finishes rinsing his body, feeling the tension unwind from his muscles as he starts to get hard. He thinks about the vibrator in his nightstand, wondering if he should cut his shower short and use it before he passes out on his feet. He’s never been able to successfully jerk off in the shower, though he’s tried several times. But right now, he’s oddly turned on, just from cleaning himself.

Avi leans his shoulder against the shower wall and closes his eyes. He drops his hands to his stomach, runs his fingers through the hair below his navel, the sensation rippling to his skin in a flickering tingle.

Are you ready, pet?

Avi shivers as a sensation riddles his bare back, like long fingernails trawling his skin. He thinks that maybe this is some sort of lucid wet dream, that in reality he skipped the shower and went straight to bed, still horny and wound up from ten hours on his feet.

But as he drops his fingers lower, something tells him not to be frightened. He crests the mound of his crotch, and lower still, he can feel the slick between his legs.

“Yeah,” he murmurs. He’d been asked a question, after all.  

Low laughter right in his ear sends a chill down Avi’s neck, despite the pounding hot water.

Show us.

Avi bends one leg, foot against the lip of the tub. He parts his lips with his fingers and rubs the sensitive skin, teasing himself. He’s starting to feel it—the warmth spreading like moss. And the undeniable feeling of eyes on him.

Louder. We want to hear it.

Shit,” Avi murmurs, tilting his hips as he works his fingers over his cock. He hardly makes noise when he does this alone—doesn’t see much reason, since there’s no one to hear him. But now, the sound is hardly forced. Everything feels different, feels more; as if a presence thicker than the steam clings to the air, eyes unseen roaming his body. “Ah, fuck—”

Good. More.

Avi splits his fingers and spreads himself wide. He looks down at his cock, rosy-tipped and glistening. He closes his eyes and pictures the hands attached to the spectral whisper—thick nails, almost claws, tipped in black, sliding between his legs.

Avi gasps when something trails across his hip, his eyes flapping open. The steam hangs like fog and somehow, he can almost make out a face.

Then the steam flutters. Speaks. Hello, pet.

Avi reaches into the stream, disrupting the misty visage with his fingers. The features reform when he pulls his hand away. The touch returns, like the pinch of nails into Avi’s side, a warning that comes with a stern, Continue.

Avi’s skin flares with goosebumps. He rubs himself again, looking down as he pulls his skin back with his fingers. He groans as he tilts into his own touch. His eyes slip closed and he tries to concentrate on not concentrating too hard. If he thinks too much, the rush of climax evades him.

After a moment, it feels good stroking his cock for an invisible audience, but it’s not enough to finish. He thinks about the vibrator again.

So eager. That laugh again, a metallic growl. Avi feels a tight hold on his hips. He gasps, eyes popping open, and he almost screams.

The steam thickens, and a figure stands before him in the limited shower space. Avi trembles, pulls his hands away from his crotch and backs up against the other end of the shower. “What—”

The form grows opaque, then darkens, pulling shape and color from nothing. The head appears first, with black eyes and thick horns. There’s almost a nose, like a bat’s snout. The body comes next—gangly arms and fingers tipped in black.

“Fuck,” Avi mutters, frozen in terror as it edges closer, running the claws of one appendage along the shower tile.

You are not meant to be hurt, it says, almost comforting. It touches Avi’s arm, needling and feather soft. Continue.

Avi can’t move, but the urge to obey curls into his nostrils right along with the steam.

Ah, but you are frightened. The thing smiles with a stack of teeth. Let us help.

The face lowers, and something slithers against Avi’s stomach. He drops his chin watches the creature drag a black tongue across his navel. Another shiver runs through him, and his whimper is drowned out by the hiss of the shower.

Spread, it says.

Avi presses his back against the shower wall, warmed from his skin, as he lifts his leg and places it on the edge of the tub like before. He feels the skin between his legs nudged apart, as the black tongue laps lower, ghosting his swollen cock. “Ah,” Avi moans.

Yes, pet. Make it loud for us.

If this thing were human—or at least fully corporeal—Avi could hold onto a head of hair to steady himself. But there’s nothing he can cling to, and his legs shake as the tongue passes firmly over his cock, drawing delicious sounds from Avi’s lips. It’s not shy, this creature, exploring his body as if it knows exactly what brings him pleasure.

The tongue gives way to a mouth, closing tight around Avi’s cock. It sucks him hard, drawing in his full length before it slides out. Something else—a hand, perhaps—slides across Avi’s left nipple, rubs it greedily before pinching it hard. The sting is more like a static discharge, the right amount of pain to make Avi’s head roll back against the wall as he moans again. The creature tugs on his other nipple, out of tandem, and it’s almost too much.

“Please,” Avi whines, not sure what he’s even asking for.

Oh, pet. You beg so pretty. The mist slithers up his front. Perfect, even, it murmurs, sliding its black tongue along Avi’s neck.

Something harder touches his cock, like fingers, sliding around the base and rubbing his reddened flesh. “Oh,” Avi sighs, and yes, he could come from this. Too close, too sudden. He bucks into the touch, whimpering, needy.  

We enjoy your pleasure, pet, it whispers. We will have you undone.

“Yes, yes,” Avi whispers, wishing again there was something he could grab onto—hips, a strong arm, anything, with his knees threatening to buckle. “Fuck—I’m coming—”

His climax blooms heavily, threads down his thighs to his knees, and his muscles release without command. Avi braces, expecting the hard floor of the shower to hit his ass head-on, but it doesn’t come.

It’s holding him up, this thing, this specter.

We have you, pet. The mist thickens and Avi feels pressure against his cheek. You unraveled magnificently for us.

Avi doesn’t try to move until his breath settles. The thing seems content to hold him there, suspended, and he can’t deny that it’s nice. He’s never come so hard he lost his balance, never been held in place, suspended as if floating in the ocean.

When Avi’s chest swells with even breathing, he rearranges his legs beneath him. The steam recedes, and the touch leaves with it.

Would you like us again, pet? it asks softly.

“I… think so,” Avi says, reaching out to where he thinks the thing’s chest is. “I want to touch you, though,” he says, then pauses. “Would you want that?”

The creature lets out a gleeful trill as it fades. We would let you.

Avi shivers at the promise, and watches the patchy mist disappear through the chrome drain. He bends over to shut off the shower, his last spike of energy a tender reserve in his bones.

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