Foreword and disclaimer: Please don’t read this story if you have a weak heart.
I’m stretched out in the middle of a large bed, hands and feet bound to its four corners by tight strips of leather and apart from a pair of boxer shorts that have seen better days I’m as naked as the day I was born.
Nothing unusual in these sexually liberated times I hear you say, a little spice added to perk up the foreplay, a bit of harmless fun between consenting adults and all that.
OK, let’s add to the scene two black candles, one on either side of the bed, each with an uncomfortably short lifespan providing the only light in the room. In the encroaching darkness someone or something is in here waiting with me for the last dying gasps of the candles. And then whatever is out there will move towards me, not as a lover towards the object of its passion but as a predator towards its prey. Still sound appealing?
The waiting is making whatever it is grow impatient and if it wasn’t for the fact that it’s capable of speech I would have imagined a ravenous dog waiting to be fed. A voice, like nothing I’ve ever heard is saying things I don’t want to hear and I can assure you there is no sexual thrill in what it has in mind for me and to add to my misery the tall dark lady who drew me to this room with promises of passion beyond my wildest dreams has up and left me to my fate.
I go over the details leading up to this situation with a clarity that amazes me, searching for an answer to the question I’ve spent a life-time asking…why me?
The scene is an average pub in a suburban town with little going for it apart from a football team that has just managed to avoid relegation.
“It’s your round; you’re just dragging this story out so that you don’t have to buy another drink before closing time.”
My friend Ritchie puts on a phoney hurt look and says, “How could you think such a thing?”
“Because I know you and the tricks you play.”
I said it and meant it.
“We’re celebrating your good fortune in finding a job… and… at the same time I’m letting you be the first to hear my latest horror masterpiece, before I actually write it down that is.”
“First off, my good fortune happened six months ago and you’re still using it as an excuse to get me to buy the drinks…and… I get to be the first to hear your latest unwritten horror masterpiece because there is no other sod that will listen!”
Then I get the same old bullshit I’d been hearing for years about how he’s going to write a book of horror stories that will set the publishing world on fire.
“My name will be up there with the greats in horror fiction and you’ll be proud to say you’re my buddy. But I’ve gotta change the name, Richard Whitehead doesn’t sound menacing enough. Come on; give me a couple of ideas.”
“Well, there’s always… Dick Dickhead.”
“Yeah that’s original.… I haven’t heard that one before.”
“What can I say Ritchie, you’re using this so-called writing career of yours as an excuse not to go looking for a job. You think you’re too good for the nine to five.”
“Just suppose Stephen King, James Herbert, Clive Barker and the rest had you for a friend, where do you think they would be now? Packing bloody shelves in a supermarket, that’s where they’d be!”
“Ritchie, how can I tell you…their stories scare the shit out of people, and so far your stories bore the shit out of me.”
He had that hurt look on his face again and this time it looked genuine so I decided to go easy on him.
“O.K, perhaps it’s just me, you know I don’t scare easily. “The Exorcist”, “The Omen”, and so on…Bo-ring! And… let’s not forget that movie you were on about…The Blair Witch thingy or whatever it was called, a cure for insomnia if you ask me.”
He seemed to brighten up a bit.
“Yeah, true enough you’re a tough bastard to scare. I think your panic button must have short circuited years ago. When I get over this writer’s block I’ll show you what I can do.”
“Writer’s block? Ritchie… you need to be a fuckin’ writer to get writer’s block! Put something down on paper even if it’s just your grandmother’s shopping list.”
I drifted away to thinking of my upcoming three week holiday; an 18 to 30 club promise of sun, sea and sex on a cruise ship. Ritchie wouldn’t be coming; I didn’t mind buying him a few beers but I wasn’t paying for his bloody holidays too. Friendship has its limits.
Those three weeks went by like a dream…no…make that a nightmare. I now know why they call it a “singles holiday”; I was single for the whole three weeks. Though I hated to admit it (even to myself) I had as much success with women as Ritchie had with writing. While his ideas never quite made it to paper my seductions never quite made it to bed. Now the annoying thing is… Ritchie, without a pot to piss in and no real effort on his part gets not only his share of women but my share and everybody else’s I can think of. In that department I hate him.
I’m back at my local pub; my holiday a thing of the past and I’m sporting a good tan (thanks to all those lonely hours on the upper deck while everybody slept off their night’s sexual athletics.) I get some envious looks and admiring nods from pale-skinned regulars who spend all their savings on middies and schooners. Ritchie wants to know how many notches I carved on my P&O bed and this is where my ability to string out a few lies is needed most.
“You know me Ritchie, I’m not one to exaggerate but I got my fair share of the action. You know the old saying: those who talk about it don’t do it and those who do it don’t talk it but I’ll tell you this…”
I leaned forward, as if letting him into the great secret, “…if you can’t pull a woman out there on a regular basis…you may as well join the priesthood.”
I realized too late that I’d made the wrong choice of professions.
“I don’t know about that Jackie; the newspapers are full of stories about kinky priests.”
I’m brought out of my vivid reminiscence and back to this candle lit room again by the chilling voice of my companion lurking in the shadows.
“I’m hungry and that bitch could have put the candles out before she left!”
Incapable of speech myself I can only listen as I am taunted beyond belief.
“I can smell the blood coursing through your veins.”
I think I am beyond tears at this point.
“Your heart is beating nice and strong, not only music to my ears but …food for my belly.”
I can hear but not see him shuffle from one side of the room to the other, frustrated at the time taken for the candles to expire. But, at least in the silence that follows I can continue examining the fateful journey that led me here. Anything is better than contemplating the coming darkness.
“So, how’s the writing coming along since I’ve been away?”
“I have got a great one lined up for you Jackie, if this one doesn’t loosen your bowels you have my word that I’ll give up on my writing career and do a regular job…how’s that?”
I was about to ask him what writing career he had in mind but decided to let it go.
“So, where is it then?”
“I’m… just putting the finishing touches to it now.”
While we were chatting I noticed a drop in the level of conversation in the room and looked around to see what had caused the effect. And then I saw what I can only describe as a vision of sexual elegance walking towards the bar. Ritchie noticing that I wasn’t listening to him followed my eyes to their destination.
“Now that…is really something”
I thought about what he had said but it didn’t go far enough to describe her; absolutely fuckin’ amazing was nearer the mark. Remembering just in time that I was supposed to be laid back after my three week stint as holiday stud, I came back as cool as I could, “Yeah I’ll give you that, she stands out in this backwater but nothing exceptional where I’ve just been.”
“I’ll say she stands out! And the way she’s dressed…I’ve got a leather fetish I didn’t know I had.”
I tried to keep up my attempted show of indifference as he rambled on.
“You have to ask yourself, what brings a babe like that to a place like this? Maybe her car broke down and she’s looking for help? Maybe she’s looking for a bit of rough or maybe…”
I cut in to bring all this speculation to an end.
“Maybe your imagination is just running away with you again.”
“Yeah, you’re probably right… No point in longing for something you can’t afford.”
I tried my best to keep my attention focused on Ritchie as he returned to talking about how he got over his writer’s block, but that face and that unbelievably stunning body tightly wrapped in black leather made anything Ritchie had to say worthless. And then he said something that made me have to ask him to repeat himself.
He looked at me as if I was stupid.
“I said… she keeps looking at you…Dummy!”
“Who’s looking at me?”
“Jesus you can be so slow at times. Her…The babe in leather!”
Had the heating just been turned up or what?
“What makes you think she’s looking at me? I’m not the only one in this corner…it could be you.”
“Is she still looking?”
“Yeah, she’s still looking.”
“Well, I’ve got my back to her which means she’s either really interested in the back of my head or it’s you she’s looking at…what do you think?”
I was thinking; what the hell would she want with me? But I couldn’t own up to that thought.
“I don’t know, maybe I met her somewhere but I can’t remember where.”
“You little stud…maybe she followed you from the cruise ship! Why don’t you go up the bar and ask the barman what she’s drinking and send one down. Take it from there.”
I knew that if I didn’t do something it would be a serious loss of face. So I got up, winked at Ritchie and tried to look a picture of cool. Using the idea he came up with I walked to the opposite end of the bar and enquired what the lady was drinking. Next thing I knew the barman was pointing me out and then…her eyes fell upon me.
She raised her glass and smiled and I, trying to do the same in return, spilled half my beer over the bar. She suppressed a giggle, raised her index finger and beckoned me over. On the way there I scrambled around in my brain for a decent opening one liner but the best I could come up with was, “Congratulations, you’ve just found the most boring bar in the country.”
Not very inspiring but under the circumstances… you think of a better one.
And then in a sultry voice with more than a hint of an accent she said, “So what’s my prize?”
“Prize for what?”
She gave me the look you give someone who is slow on the uptake. Recovering as quick as I could I said,“Ah, we’ll have to discuss that one night when we both have some time.”
“You’ll need my phone number for that…yes?”
I couldn’t believe my luck and blurted out, “Yes, that would be a good idea.”
I watched her as she wrote her number on a piece of paper and resisted the urge to run my fingers through her long black silky hair. Handing me the precious piece of paper she drained her glass, smiled and said without taking her eyes off me, “I look forward to my prize.”
Watching her as she exited the most boring bar in the country, I wanted to run after her and never come back but I had to play it cool.
I returned to my seat, waved her phone number under Ritchie’s face and waited for the comment that was sure to come.
“Well, it’s amazing what a tan and a bit of bullshit can do! Congratulations are in order… and you can buy me a drink for pointing her out.”
This time I didn’t mind buying him another drink, I needed one myself.
I’m brought swiftly back to the present as my tormentor starts taunting me again.
“She said that you were amusing company. I just hope that you taste as good as you sound.”
Though I’m terrified, a small voice in the back of my head is trying to tell me something but whatever it has to say keeps getting lost in the background. I drift again; my desperate flight from my present situation.
Three nights later I took her to a quiet little restaurant where nobody knew me; I didn’t want any of the riff-raff I hung out with to spoil the evening. She sat across the table from me looking stunning. Didn’t say a lot but when she did her words danced up and down my spinal cord.
“Don’t you think that eyes tell more than words Jackee? Yours fascinate me…remind me of the expression…windows of the soul.”
She said my name the way the Thais do…and I liked it. Then I realized I was the one who was supposed to be giving the compliments here not her.
“You know the annual competition for Miss World? Amazing how many times one of the Asian countries win that. I’m not too good at geography or recognizing where people come from but I would hazard a guess that you come from one of the SE Asian countries…right?”
“Good guess…One of those countries, but I’ve travelled a lot since. Anyway listen, talk is overrated and…” Her eyes drifted down my body and settled at an uncomfortable level. “…I’m sure you have a more pressing engagement in mind for me…naa?”
I called for the bill, forgot which pocket my wallet was in, fumbled, dropped some change and over-tipped the waiter before we made our way out onto the street.
“I live not far from here, let’s walk or would you rather go home?”
“No, I like walking,” I said, “and the night is still young.”
“I thought you might say that.”
She lived in a big house in a neat little cul-de-sac, and it looked like the neighbours went to bed early. How I got from the front door to the bedroom in such a short space of time I will never know. The bedroom itself, probably the biggest I’d ever been in, looked as if it had been awaiting my arrival; a large bed with red satin sheets, two black candles throwing out just enough light to cover the bed and the immediate vicinity and soft ethnic music to round it off; cosy yet spooky at the same time.
Next thing I knew, I was being stripped down to my boxer shorts and tied to the bed. And then, to the sound of those haunting ethnic rhythms, she started to disrobe in time with the music. Even her flimsy underwear was in black leather. No sooner had I started to respond to the slow motion movement of her body, when she looked over into one of the pitch-black corners and said, “And are you enjoying the show too?”
I was just about to ask her what the hell was going on, when a strange distorted voice came out of the darkness and replied, “Yes… indeed.”
Then she climbed on top of me as if nothing had happened and started kissing my neck and face.
My enthusiasm had already gone south and I pulled back from her as best I could.
“Who the hell is that in the dark?”
“You’ll find out soon enough.”
“No! This isn’t my idea of a good time…untie me for fuck’s sake!”
“Mmm…I like the look in your eyes when you’re angry Jackee. Are you sure you don’t want to give me my prize anymore?”
“Not like this.”
She climbed off me with a sulky expression on her face.
“OK, suit yourself.”
Not only did she get off the bed, but she exited the room slamming the door behind her.
And then that strange voice somewhere in the darkness spoke again, “Isn’t life a bitch!”
Though I felt scared and vulnerable, I still had enough anger in me to spit back, “And who the hell are you, the perverted husband getting it off watching someone porking his wife!”
“You’ve got fire in you for someone in your position…I like that. No, I’m not the husband or anybody else you can think off. My interest isn’t as basic as simple sex, no my taste is more refined than that.”
“What the fuck are you talking about? And at the same time, why don’t you stop hiding in the shadows for Christ’s sake.”
“Blood, plain and simple… wine to my lips.”
That’s all I needed, some freak who thought he was a vampire. And the question that frightened me was…how far was he willing to take this? Then he started up again, “You all come here like moths to the flame, but you’re not very bright are you? You should have taken what was on offer. She gets something, you get something…and then I get something.”
No, I thought…this can’t be human. The voice…I’ve never heard anything like it.
That brings me back to the present.
One of the candles starts to flicker, and then to my horror, it expires. Darkness is closing in on me, and at the same time, I hear my tormentor gaining ground.
Yet that small voice inside is still trying to draw my attention. I need to know what it has to say before…
“Know any good prayers?”
Yet while it taunts me with a guttural sound that passes for a laugh, that small voice in the back of my head is becoming clearer.
His lips make a smacking sound followed by, “Ah… where shall I begin.”
And then, something amazing happens. That small insistence at the back of my head explodes into life and finds a voice, “Ritchie! You arsehole! How long are you going to keep this up!”
The figure comes out of the darkness.
“Bugger! How the hell did you know it was me?”
“Easy…there was something in the corny lines that were coming out of your mouth that made me think…now where have I heard that before?”
“Shit, I thought I had you there!”
“OK, you’ve had your fun; now how about getting me out of these straps…I owe you a smack in the mouth for that.”
“Perhaps I’d better leave you tied then.”
He sets about unbinding me and at the same time looks over his shoulder and shouts, “Thanida! You can come back in now.”
The door opens and there she stands, still in leather underwear… a sight enough to make my ordeal temporarily forgotten. She comes over to Ritchie and presses herself against him with a smile on her face and say’s, “Did you manage to scare him Ritchie?”
I was back in the land of the envious …and I hated him all over again.
“Like I told you Thanida, this guy doesn’t know the meaning of the word fear.”
Pride stops me from telling him how much he had succeeded. Instead I say, “So where did you two meet?”
Though I would rather be hearing it from her, Ritchie speaks up and I have to draw my eyes in his direction.
“It was something you said before you went on holiday started me doing something about my writing career…”
If I hear those two words “writing career” one more time…I’m going to choke the bastard.
“I joined a creative writing course, and that’s where I met her. I think you would agree that she’s an inspiration.”
He makes a grab at her arse in order to impress me: I’m not. She gives him a playful slap on the cheek and then brings her hand to rest on the side of his neck; long black nails gently scratching behind his ear. Mesmerized by the display I almost miss out on the next thing he says.
“Sorry about her leading you on like that, it was my idea not hers.”
“That’s all right, forget it.”
I say it…but I don’t mean it.
“How did you make that weird voice?”
He opens his hand to reveal a little plastic looking thing with a mouth piece.
“It’s called a voice emulator…great little gadget.”
I want to shove it up his arse and hear what kind of sound it makes up there but instead I say, “Didn’t you promise that if you couldn’t scare me, you’d start looking for a real job?”
“Well…let’s not rush things here.”
I want to smash his teeth down the back of his throat and wipe that stupid smile off his face but again I resist and say, “Has she got any sisters?”
We laugh at that one and then Thanida brings her other hand up to cup Ritchie under the chin and then something happens that neither Ritchie nor I would ever have thought of.
Laughter dies on his lips as his head is violently twisted far enough to hear his spinal cord snap, and while his body dances the dance of death Thanida holds his head firmly between her hands and without hesitation… sinks her teeth into his neck.
She looks up; the lower half of her face covered in blood and at the same time lets Ritchie’s body drop like a rag doll to the floor.
I look towards a door that suddenly seems so far away, but before I can set my legs in motion, it slams shut. Seconds later, what seemed like my life-line not so long ago, that solitary candle… hisses…and then expires.
The room is now black as pitch, and the only sound I can hear is my heart racing. And then I feel her hot breath on the back my neck. Warmth gathers, spreads and then trickles down my leg. Shame now mixes with fear as I try not to cry. Then I feel her tongue run its course all the way up my neck to just behind my ear and I can smell the blood on her breath.
I manage to blurt out, "Yes."
"Do you know what fear is now?”
Comments to follow. Sorry, I am busy like crazy at the moment!