It was like stepping into a blazing corner of hell. The smoke was getting thicker, filling the room with dancing chimeras that kept vanishing. The fire leaped down at Alec, fondling his hair, and the crackle of the flames became Vivian's voice calling to him in an irresistible siren song.
In a sudden flare of brightness, he saw her. She was stretched out on the bed, her beautiful body naked except for the scarlet ribbon tied around her neck, the same red ribbon she had worn the first time he had made love to her. She called his name again, her voice filled with longing. And this time she wanted him, not the others. He moved closer, and she whispered, "You're the only one I ever loved."
And Alec believed it. He had had to punish her because of the things she had done. But he had been clever - he had made those others pay for her sins. The terrible things he had done had been for her. As he moved toward her, Vivian whispered again, "You're the only one I ever loved, Alec," and he knew that it was true.
She was holding out her beckoning arms to him, and he sank down beside her. He embraced her, and they became one. He was inside her, and he was her. And this time he was able to satisfy her. And he felt such pleasure that it became an exquisite pain beyond bearing. He could feel the heat from her body consuming him, and even as he watched in wonder, the ribbon around Vivian's neck turned into a vivid tongue of flame caressing him, licking at him. In the next instant, a blazing beam from the ceiling crashed on top of him in a fiery pyre.
Alec died as the others had. In ecstasy.