“They heard a low moaning and a rubbing noise; then a creaking like someone was rocking in the chair. The creaking stopped, but the sound of footsteps made their way closer and closer to the bedroom door sending chills down their spines.”
It was mid-October and the leaves on the trees were turning their vibrant colors of yellow, orange and red. Usually fall is regarded as the beginning of the end, but in Stacey McKinney’s eyes, it was the beginning of a most anticipated life. She graduated from the local university last spring with a degree in Journalism and worked at the Dairy Mart over the summer while she sent out resumes. Last week the position of junior reporter at the Country Star came knocking at her door and she got the job. It was a good start, and the pay was enough for her to strike out on her own, over the protests of her parents.
That fine Friday morning, she and her best friend, Maggie Turner, set out to explore secondhand shops and any leftover seasonal garage and yard sales. The goal was to find furniture to fill Stacey’s new apartment. They went from store to store and sale to sale finding nothing. Ready to give up, they discovered one last shop which was bursting with odd pieces. Its surrounding ambiance oozed of all things past that exuded character and seemed to trigger bizarre imprints upon shoppers.
They went up one row and down another and were entranced in the furniture area by a curious recliner. Its design appeared to be askew, but when Stacey sat in it, she was overwhelmed by comfort and security. Even though the color was a garish bright orange and in some places the upholstery was a little threadbare, the price was right. The chair called to her.
The girls approached the checkout counter with giggling enthusiasm. The owner, who was as peculiar as the store asked, “Is this the first furniture purchase you’ve ever made?
“Yes, it is and it’s the first piece of furniture that will go into my first apartment.” Stacey beamed with pride.
“All things have a story. It is a unique piece and will require respect and attention.” The store owner eyed Stacey with skeptical curiosity.
Maggie piped in, “What do you mean? It’s a chair.” The girls snickered.
“Hmm… you should always be grateful for things in your life and value them for what benefits they still have left to give. You never know when fortune will turn on you.”
Wanting to escape the ominous conversation, Stacey said, “I will… it’s all good.”
After the purchase was made, the tug of war began to get the chair into Maggie’s SUV. The chair seemed to control the efforts of fitting it into the car. If it didn’t like the way the girls pushed it, the reclining end flipped out. If they were too forceful, one of them got a finger jammed. The peculiar conversation with the store owner haunted them and it shook the girls’ perception of the chair. With pinched fingers and bruised arms, they were at last able to get it into Stacey’s apartment. It looked lovely by the window, and because it was her first piece of furniture, Stacey chose to decorate her new home around its wild orange color.
The first weekend at her apartment Stacey breathed in newfound freedom. There was no one to answer to; no curfews, and drinking could happen without the monitoring of concerned parents. So, a small housewarming was planned. As it so happened, there was a new guy who bumped into Stacey at lunch the week before and he also was extended an invitation.
People started to arrive including Stacey’s new friend, Braden Adams. One at a time, guests sat in the chair to try it out as it had an aura that beckoned them, but none of them stayed in it very long as they seemed to be repelled by it and were more comfortable with the pillows strewn on the floor. However, Braden stubbornly stayed in the chair – punching and wriggling. He found it interesting. The gaudy color and its uncommon design mesmerized him. Although he finally made friends with the chair, he did not fit in with Stacy’s group. He was disrespectful to her home and spilled his drink on the floor in a drunken stupor; he closed the refrigerator door with a kick and wiped his hands on the chair’s arm after eating Cheetos. He laughed when someone brought his boorish manners into question saying that the chair was so orange no one would notice it anyway.
As the night progressed the partygoers left one by one, leaving Braden behind alone with Stacey. He got out of the chair and grabbed Stacey and kissed her. He plopped down in the chair and pulled her with him. It reclined back as Braden got aggressive. Seemingly with a mind of its own, the recliner’s extension dropped down on Braden’s ankle. It trapped it in the space between the chair and the kick bar. It wouldn’t loosen, but instead increased its grip.
“Stacey, get me out of this damn chair! Goddamn, it hurts. I think it broke my ankle.”
“I’m trying. It won’t budge. I’ll get help.” Stacey ran out of her apartment to her neighbor’s. They returned with a crowbar. As soon as the crowbar touched the chair, the clutch released, and Braden’s ankle was free. It was swollen double its normal size and Stacey and her neighbor had to take him to the emergency room.
The next day, Maggie popped over to help Stacey clean up after the party. “Hey, how did it go with Braden?”
Stacey, still tired from the overnight escapade to the hospital, described in detail the strange events that followed the party. “Honestly, Mags, I could not get the chair to loosen the hold it had on Braden’s ankle. It was like it wanted to hurt him.”
“Please tell me you don’t like that jerk. I say yay chair. He is not a keeper.”
Stacey laughed, “It’s true. What a supreme assaholic. He came on to me fast and creepy, and when he got too familiar, the chair kind of… attacked him.”
The girls laughed at what appeared to them a piece of dumb luck believing Braden got what he deserved. It took all day to clean the apartment, yet plans were made for the next party. Halloween was closing in and because of her fascination with the macabre, and since it was her favorite holiday, Stacey wanted to host a gathering of ghouls. The girls sat on the floor with their glasses of wine and lists of things to do. An icy chill traveled passed them and their breath became visible.
“Whoa! What fresh hell is this?” Maggie’s face whitened.
“Yeah, huh,… it’s probably nothing. Just an apartment quirk I need to get used to. An air conditioner gone awry?”
“Okay… well… do you want to explain why the chair is rocking by itself?”
The girls crawled closer to each other. The chair was indeed rocking on its own. It kept it up for about five seconds and then stopped. They looked at each other and rolled on the floor laughing at themselves for being so naive. It was chalked up to the wine, the apartment’s air flow, and their active imaginations.
Monday morning came around and Stacey was late for work. She had misplaced her cell phone, and without her phone her job was impossible. Frantic and hurried, her phone ringer went off near the chair. In her flurry she realized that it was tucked down into the side of the recliner. This was curious as neither Maggie nor Stacey wanted to sit in it after what happened to Braden, so she had no idea how her phone ended up in the chair. With that query lingering, Stacey left the apartment to go to work.
On the way to her interview, the cell phone pinged. Stacey checked the message. It read, “Beware of BA.”
She immediately texted Maggie. “Did you just text me?”
“Nothing. Stop by later.” A little frightened she was perplexed as to who sent the message and how they got her number. There were no people who knew both Braden and her. She wanted her day to be over, yet the unknown message unnerved her, and Stacey, who lived for adventure, needed to solve the mystery.
Her workday seemed to drag on and Stacey was glad to be home. She opened the door to her apartment. To her amazement, the chair was moved away from the window to the other side of the room. From behind, Maggie’s rushing footsteps startled her.
“Hey. What’s going on?”
“Things are getting very creepy.” Stacey stepped aside to reveal the chair.
“Oh, did you decide to move it?”
“No, I came home to it like this. Then there is the text message I got.”
“What text message?” Maggie was confused.
“Today. I got a text message telling me to beware of BA. Here let me show you.” Stacey tried to find the message, but it was no longer in her phone. “Okay, now I’m really freaked.”
“BA. You mean like Braden Adams? Do you think he sent it to scare you?”
“I don’t know. But, if he did, how did he get to my phone to erase the message? I haven’t seen or heard from him since the party. Listen, can you spend the night with me? I am really spooked. It would be nice to have a fellow victim in this Halloween sequel.”
Maggie laughed. “Yeah. Come with me to pick up some things for tomorrow.”
Just the break from the scene at the apartment was enough to set things right again. They were still at a loss as to how the chair got moved, but that was a puzzle for another day. The friends got Chinese take-out and picked up another bottle of wine. When they got back to the apartment, they ate and made further plans for the Halloween party. Well mellowed, they went to bed and fell fast asleep.
In the middle of the night, Stacey awoke to something moving around in her living room. She shook Maggie. “Mags wake up. Someone is in the living room.”
Sitting up in bed, the girls held their breath. Visions of Braden armed with a butcher knife seized them. They heard a low moaning and a rubbing noise; then a creaking like someone was rocking in the chair. The creaking stopped, but the sound of footsteps made their way closer and closer to the bedroom door sending chills down their spines. They stopped outside the door. The girls clung to their blankets and each other. Hampered breathing could be heard from the other side as if whatever it was, was making the decision whether to kill them or not. Afraid to move, Stacey and Maggie sat straight up in bed. The door never opened, the footsteps stopped, and the breathing died out.
Lying back in the bed, relieved but still frozen with fear, Stacey said, “Let’s go check it out!”
“You know what? Let’s just count our blessings and wait until morning.” Maggie was the practical one.
“Maybe we should call the police.”
“And report what? We heard creaking in the living room? No, let’s just wait it out until morning.”
“No, no. We need to see…” Stacey was altogether too eager to flirt with this unknown danger.
“What do you mean we, Kemosabe? I’m not going out there.”
Over Maggie’s whispered protests, Stacey got out of bed and slowly tip-toed her way to the door. Putting her ear next to it, she listened. There was nothing. She turned the doorknob and began to open it.
“Stacey, don’t open it!”
THUMP! There was a hard knock on the door, and it slammed shut sending Stacey careening back to her bed where she landed on Maggie. They were beyond terrified. As they clung to one another the door creaked slowly open. A mist floated in and drifted in front of the bed where the girls held their breath in shock, and then it shifted towards the dresser mirror. The reflection of an old woman appeared. Stacey and Maggie screamed in terror and ran out of the room and out of the apartment.
Still in their pajamas, they went to sit in Maggie’s car until morning, but they realized that her car was locked, and the keys were in her purse in the apartment. It was freezing cold. There was no other choice but to go back into the apartment to get the keys.
“Alright, look. We go together. My purse is near the door, so it shouldn’t be so bad.” Maggie tried to convince herself that everything was okay.
“Yeah, okay. We go together.” Stacey agreed.
When they got to the stoop by the front door, hanging from the doorknob were Maggie’s keys still on the lanyard where she kept them. No purse, but the keys were there for the taking. The night held no end of freakishness. They had been booted from the apartment. Whatever it was, it seemed to know their every movement and thought, and it just kicked them out. It was Stacey and Maggie’s very own little Day of the Dead Special, and Maggie thought Stacey was getting a weird form of delight from it.
Morning found the two huddled together in the back of the SUV. Still charged with trepidation, they worked up the nerve to go back into the apartment. To their astonishment, the chair was once again moved next to the window. It had a washcloth hanging over one arm and the mark left by Braden’s fingers from his Cheetos revelry was gone; rubbed away by the washcloth which had the telltale signs of orange powder on it. Everything was like it had been the first time Stacey arranged her apartment around the chair.
Because of her attraction to the paranormal, Stacey had heard of a local woman with extrasensory gifts. She called her that afternoon and arranged for a meeting in the apartment for later in the evening. Normally, Maggie would have balked at the idea of a psychic, but last night convinced her that something was amiss, and she was more than curious.
On her way to another interview for the newspaper, Stacey was engrossed in her notes. A man’s hand grabbed her arm and pulled her backward. She spun around to be face to face with Braden Adams.
“Braden, I thought you broke your ankle.”
“No. It’s pretty banged up, put I can still walk… or, you know, limp.”
“Oh, well. Glad to hear it. I have to go; I have an interview.”
Braden held onto her arm. “Umm… maybe we can get together sometime.”
“Listen, I don’t think so.” Braden was no longer appealing to Stacey. She wondered how she never noticed it before, but he was pushy and arrogant, and it was not at all attractive.
Still holding on to her, Braden threatened, “No, we’ll see each other again. I know it.”
“Let me go, Braden… now.” Stacey lifted her high-heeled shoe aiming at his injured ankle. He immediately let go.
“I won’t always have this limp, you know. Just biding my time, Stace. Some day you will look over your shoulder and I’ll be there.”
Shivers flooded Stacey’s already freaked out body. “Don’t bet on it.” That’s all she needed right now. Still creeped by the crazy stuff going on in her home, Braden Adams was the least of her worries.
Evening set in and Stacey and Maggie were ready. For what, they weren’t sure, but something had to be explained. Sierra Cummings was a well-known psychic in the area who had an interview with the newspaper and that’s how Stacey knew how to contact her.
As they all met in front of the apartment, Sierra grew quiet. “She’s beckoning me. There is definitely something going on. Let’s go in. She’s waiting.”
Maggie and Stacey gave each other a look and followed Sierra in. Not missing a beat, Sierra sat down in the chair. The girls were intrigued. After a few minutes of silent meditation, she got up and cleansed the space with sage and lit white candles dragged from her bag. She said a prayer and then motioned to the girls.
“Come sit with me ladies. Hold hands. Myra has a message for you. Clear your minds of all that bothers you… take some deep breaths.” The girls dutifully sat down and followed instructions. A few more minutes passed, and Sierra began to speak. “Myra Schultz was the owner of this chair. She wants you to understand its importance and why she haunts it. She became a widow in her middle age. Her life spun out of control after her husband died because he was the bread winner and she was a homemaker. He didn’t have life insurance and he died too soon, leaving her with nothing. They had no children, so she soon became homeless. Not on the street, homeless, but she still had to live with various members of her family until she got on her feet. She says that people don’t know what it’s like not having a space to call your own. You are forced to rely on others for food, heat, electricity… it was a horrible experience for her, and she swore that when she got on her feet, the first thing she would buy for her home was a chair to call her own. This chair became her space to be. It was hers and hers alone. She cared for it because it was a symbol of her personal freedom from a life of reliance on other people, and to her it was sacrosanct. It was her place to feel comfort and security when the world threatened her. She wants it to be respected. If she can trust that you will do that, she will go into the light.”
“I get that, but why did she scare us to death last night?” Stacey was confused by this sweet spirit who seemed so threatening the night before.
“She cannot control her energy yet, and she is also very worried and wants to warn you about a young man that was here during a party you had.” Sierra jerked into a trance and her voice aged and weakened. “… he… is… bad… he is dangerous… he wants to hurt you… hurt you. Don’t let him near you! He has raped… killed others… beware of him… he is coming for you. Beware of roses…”
“Holy shizzles.” Maggie shuttered, and her words broke the trance.
“How then? How can he be stopped?” Stacey was concerned, especially after her encounter with Braden earlier.
“Well, she’s gone now.” Sierra was frustrated and wasn’t sure whether Myra had crossed over. But there was a more desperate situation going on here.
“Sierra, Myra’s message is true. Braden ambushed me this afternoon in front of the newspaper office. I was on my way to an interview and he practically threatened me.”
“You didn’t tell me that, Stace.” Maggie was surprised.
“I didn’t have time. Listen, I’m worried. What could Myra have meant by beware of roses?” Stacey pleaded with Sierra.
“I don’t know. But she gave you that message, so she wants you to stay away from him, or… catch him and stop him.” With that, Maggie’s face wrinkled. There would be no catching and stopping; not if she had anything to do with it.
The next day, Stacey researched any rapes or murders that involved a rose. In the police reports there were three rape/murders where a rose was left behind by the killer. How was she to alert the police to Braden Adams without sounding ridiculous? It didn’t seem likely that she could work with law enforcement. Braden was out in the world lurking and that petrified Stacey, mostly because he didn’t seem like the kind of predator that was easily discouraged.
The Halloween party was scheduled for the following Saturday. Now that they thought they had rid it of its haunting, the apartment was a pleasure to live in the last few days, and Maggie and Stacey were excited for a good time. The week raced by. The girls were out purchasing some dry ice for effect and other party necessities. Packages weighed them down, so they were distracted with carrying everything into the apartment, along with the hundred pounds of dry ice. They didn’t see the dozen red roses looming on Stacey’s kitchen table until all the items were unloaded.
“How did he get in?” Stacey’s heart pounded. Her hands shook as she opened the card that read, See you soon.
“Stacey, I don’t know, but we should call the police. This is too weird.”
“No, no. I can handle this jerk.”
“You’re kidding, right? Stacey…”
“What would we tell them, Mags? A psychic told us that a ghost in my apartment warned us against a guy who sent me flowers? Really? Just let me handle it. I have Halloween on my side.” Stacey mimicked the scary guy’s laugh who is telling a horror story. Maggie chuckled and rolled her eyes.
Both girls supposed that Braden would show up at the party that night. But, Stacey refused to divulge her plan, and Maggie’s stomach clinched with nervous nausea at Stacey’s present demeanor. She didn’t believe Stacey had a plan at all but instead was spellbound by the idea of a murderer and rapist attending the party. It was as if she were someone else. Stacey always loved the thrill of the unknown, like her willingness to get out of bed and confront the ghost on the other side of the door. Her abnormal interest in all things creepy shook Maggie down to the core.
Their costumes were fun. Maggie dressed like a killer clown and Stacey was a dark fortune teller with long grisly nails and a big wart on her chin. Everything was set up and ready to go. Maggie watched as Stacey set up prank after prank all meant to terrify the living guts out of people. Chilling screams were triggered when someone walked by certain figures that were motion activated, an automatic hand reached out and grabbed at people. There was a bowl of fake worms, and eyeballs floated in a jar. Stacey’s phobophobia was intensifying, and it all kick started in response to Braden’s threats.
The living room had drinks, and food, and music. A werewolf, followed by a zombie came through the door, and partygoers filed in dressed in everything from funny characters to frightening ones. Maggie and Stacey scrutinized everyone, keeping a lookout for Braden. They hadn’t considered he would be in costume, making Stacey easy pickings.
Stacey’s bedroom was turned into a fortune telling den complete with Ouija board and tarot cards with Stacey reading palms. As the night progressed, a group of guests asked her to conduct a séance with the spirit board. Gathering around it, vampires, witches, clowns, and werewolves rubbed shoulders. A Freddy hung back in the corner of the room decked out with a fedora and sharp cutlery. Uneasy with this guy, Maggie and Stacey caught each other’s eye.
An icy chill seeped into the area around the spirit board. A little surprised, they all just went with it, and to Stacey it added to the intrigue. The Ouija board spelled out, “beware of B A.” Maggie looked around for a familiar entity. Everything got eerie. Freddy shifted uncomfortably in his corner. Working wildly around the board, it spelled “… I warned you… he is here…” The hodgepodge of ghouls were now stimulated by the intensity in the room.
One asked, “Who is here?”
The board spelled out “… rapist…”
A chorus of “ugh” and “yikes” and “damn, this is spooky” were heard from around the table. It caused such uproar that when Maggie and Stacey looked for Freddy, he had left without detection. He was nowhere to be seen.
The pointer moved aggressively around the board in a circular motion throwing some hands off, while others clung to keep the spirit focused on her message. “… he … will… be… back…”
Stacey asked, “Who will be back?”
“… B… A…”
The commotion in Stacey’s bedroom attracted others from the living room. It was jam-packed with interested guests. So fixed on what was happening with the spirit board, no one saw the face of Freddy look through the bedroom window from outside. No one except Myra, that is.
“… he… is… here…” The pointer continued and then dropped off the edge of the board pointing to the window.
So hair-raising was this exchange with Myra on the spirit board that the energy in the room was electric. They could have levitated something if they had tried. Slight whimpers of, “God, this is terrifying” to “I think I want to go home” were heard around the room.
“Where is he? Is he in this room?” Maggie wanted answers.
“… outside…” A rush of guests ran outside to look around. There was no one there. They agreed laughing that the spirit board was just a great hoax, and they abandoned it for the rest of the party. Meanwhile, Maggie and Stacey stayed close to one another.
As the party wound down, guests left one at a time, but Gemma, the last to leave had a little too much to drink and needed a ride home. “Stace, you need to come with me. You cannot stay here by yourself.” Maggie was concerned about Myra’s warning.
“I would, but what if he sneaks back in the apartment while we are gone? Come on, it’s just a few blocks away. Take Gemma home and come right back. I should be okay.” Reluctantly, Maggie agreed, and she guided a puking Gemma outside and left Stacey alone.
The apartment looked like a cyclone hit, so Stacey locked the door, and she began the cleanup. She moved some leftovers into the kitchen and wrapped them up for the refrigerator. As she walked into the living room to retrieve more leftovers, a chill swept past her and the chair began to rock. Then a hard knock sounded from the bedroom. Stacey titillated by fear and adrenaline, walked into the bedroom. Once there, the door slammed shut and Braden emerged from the shadows.
“Braden, how did you get back into the apartment?” Her fear was heightened.
“When everyone came back in from trying to find me outside, I came back with them. No one knew that I was the one your ghostly friend was hinting at. I must admit, you had me going, too. I mean, how did you know?”
“She really is here. That wasn’t me manipulating the board… and she is here right now.” Stacey looked around for Myra. “This would be a good time to show up, Myra.”
Braden’s hands came from behind his back. He dropped a rose on the bed next to Stacey, and then revealed the knife he had concealed in his other hand. “Here, my love. Something romantic before the fun.” He grabbed her holding the knife to her throat and then tore open her top.
A force came from behind and pulled Braden to the floor. “What the hell! What are you, a witch? How did you do that?”
Stacey seized the opening and kicked Braden in his sore ankle. As he struggled to get up, he was shoved down again by the unknown force. He screamed at Stacey, “What is that?”
“Her name is Myra, and you shouldn’t have messed with her chair.”
Braden, whose ankle was again pretty well battered said, “To hell with this!” and dragged himself to the door. It slammed shut.
Stacey walked over and kicked him again. “You know I always knew that some guys only think with their lower body parts. Don’t you know how unattractive that makes you?” Preparing to give him another swift kick, this time somewhere a little dearer to him, Maggie was heard pounding on the front door. The bedroom door automatically opened to let Stacey through and then slammed shut again as Brandon lay screaming on the floor.
Opening the front door for Maggie, Stacey said panicked, “He’s here … in the bedroom…”
“Are you kidding?” Questions filled Maggie’s head.
“We need to call the police. Myra has him locked in.”
While Stacey was calling the police a confused Maggie’s face puckered, “What?”
The police arrived and Stacey filed a police report for the assault. She told them what she had found out in her research and gave them the rose and the knife for evidence. Braden was carried out of the apartment in handcuffs on a stretcher.
The girls sat down on the floor of the living room and stared as the chair rocked back and forth with clear peace and ease. When it stopped, they heard soft footsteps go into the bedroom. Trailing after them, the girls saw Myra’s reflection appear in the dresser mirror. She smiled, blew a kiss, and faded away.
After that night, both friends believed in the paranormal, and held a deep respect and gratitude for life’s gifts and they never forgot Myra and the help she gave to escape a murderer’s dark intentions. The chair stayed with Stacey for a very long time under her careful protection.
“His breath shortened while his body trembled. Claw-like nails emerged, his canines surfaced,…”
A shadow stood amid the trees in the dark of the night gazing up at Lila’s well-lit room; her curves sensuously slid across the folds of pink silk that adorned her body. His own body pulsated with desire from head to toe. Though sexual in pretense, he played that part in many lifetimes, and in each period of living, his style reflected the sensuality of the times. Mysterious and erotic, he enticed ladies into his darkness, and they succumbed to his allure. In each lifetime his desire grew with the blood lust that cursed him. But, it no longer was enough for him to ensnare his prey. The ravenous need for blood now lacked the interest it used to, and Lila was the first woman of late to pique his interest and who might dare to satiate his unexplained appetite.
Stas Bardhi’s jet-black hair, sleek black jeans, custom made black leather jacket and boots, all enhanced the power he needed to lure 21st century ladies to his crypt, but this century kept him on guard for those girls who lived his lifestyle. Vampirism was now blood sport and humans enjoyed a certain fascination with the legend. They understood nothing about the reality – the salty but slightly metallic drink of human blood meant to furnish life to centuries long dead people. Still, they knew enough to thwart his plans if they got too close. Thanks to them, Stas was able to control his craving for blood due to the vampire group that so enthusiastically recruited him – amateurs… human… and willing. The women fell at his feet. His charm was irresistible to them. But, this one… this one showed no interest – not even a glance.
Lila stood before her mirror, she brushed her blonde hair with sensuous strokes, making love to the honied locks. Song drifted from her elegant mouth. Stas hissed a sigh of feral desire. Her magnetism levitated him to the second-story window where longing very nearly exposed him. His breath shortened while his body trembled. Claw-like nails emerged, his canines surfaced, and he haphazardly scratched the pane closest to him. It was enough to startle him out of his stupor.
With a voluptuous twist, Lila stopped brushing her hair and gazed undisturbed at the window. Without breaking her song or her stride she slipped out of the silk robe, exposing long legs and a nighty that covered just enough, but not too much. Stas’s heart pumped fiercely. “Control, Stas… control!” he stammered. He dropped to the ground and ran away.
Lila Pernell was slotted to sing at The Treble Clef the following night. New talent came and went through those doors. Some went on to more illustrious careers while others were content to play and sing for themselves. Lila didn’t seem to have that hunger for celebrity, and Pete Burger, the owner of the establishment was just fine with her coming every week to sing. She had a following who were hypnotized when she sang, and they were all drinkers. If a guy was lucky, he left with Lila at the end of the night. Pete never saw repeats, but always a new one mesmerized by Lila and thrilled to be chosen.
The cool evening settled in. October breezes juddered the leaves from their branches and keen bargoers bustled into The Treble Clef. Alone and out of sight, a frustrated Stas waited across the street for the provocative temptress who not once gave him an encouraging look.
“Hey, girl! You singing tonight?” A lovely young brunette called out to Lila who just seemed to manifest out of the park next to the bar.
“Yes, I am. Are you coming?”
The girl linked her arm into Lila’s and said, “I am.”
Lila brushed something from her shoulder and as it fell to the ground, Stas waited and then retrieved it after the ladies entered the bar. It was a feather. It wasn’t a small feather either. It had to be at least ten inches long. Striking blue and yellow, this climate was an unlikely place for this kind of bird to exist. Where in this park would there be a bird with this kind of feather? He pocketed it and went into the bar.
As he found a table, Lila had already settled in behind the microphone. The small crowd, mostly men, hushed with anticipation. Lila’s sultry voice began singing a bluesy melody that sent shivers down Stas’s spine. The same excitement continued from last night and grew within him. His ears throbbed. Blood pumped potently through his veins… ka-thump, ka-thump, ka… “What can I get for ya, Stas?”
Stas’s intense physical reverie was disrupted by Pete Burger. “Uh… uh… what?”
“Can I get you a beer or somethin’?” Pete smiled as he chewed his gum, knowing what Stas had on his mind.
“Uh, yeah, sure. A beer. That would be good.” Stas smiled and then directed his attention back to the oh so stimulating tones of Lila Pernell. Lila’s deep V-cut dress revealed a plump cleavage which rose and fell with each controlled breath she took. Stas was entranced and had to find a way to get her attention. He was not used to being ignored.
“Here ya go. Would you like an introduction?” Pete asked as he plunked the beer down.
“You… uh… you can do that? I mean, you know her?” Stas had never been so bemused by a woman. Usually, he was the one who did the flummoxing.
“Sure, stick around after her set. I’ll let her know you want to buy her a drink. That work?” Pete loved watching these guys get thrown over. It was a sick kind of fulfillment, but it floated his boat.
“That’s great. Yeah, thanks.” Stas managed to keep a level head while Lila sang one sexy song after another. Sweat seemed to surface with each quiver. To date, he was unaware that vampires perspired. He swiped at his brow oblivious to the effect she had on him.
Lila finished her set. He saw Pete whisper something in her ear and she looked in Stas’s direction. Stas managed a suave kind of smile. She slayed him and he didn’t know why. She returned the smile and coolly walked over to his table.
“Hello, my name is Lila Pernell.” Lila held her hand out.
Taking her hand in his, Stas kissed it and then blurted, “Yes, I know. Uh… I’m Stas Bardhi. Won’t you sit down?”
Lila slid into the chair next to him. She leaned in and said, “Do I know you, Stas?”
“I… I come in to hear you sing. Maybe you remember me from here.” Stas stammered.
Lila moved in closer. She lifted her lips to his ear and whispered. “Do you make a habit of slinking around a girl’s bedroom window?”
Stas gasped. He turned to face her. “I… you are the most appealing woman I have ever seen.” He took a second to regain composure and then gazed into her eyes. “And, you see, I have known many, many women.” Stas, feeling his old charm, moved his face closer to Lila’s. “You…” Stas swallowed, “… you unnerve me. You take my breath away.”
Moving even closer Lila said, “Ohh… well, we should leave and maybe I can give you your breath back.” Lila’s lips barely touched his.
Stas’s heart launched into rapid drumbeats against his chest. He had to squelch a rising growl in his throat. “I would like that very much.”
Her neck pulsed with such intensity that Stas didn’t know if he would be able to control his desire. His fangs were right there – right next to her jugular. Her heartbeat was strong and steady. He was stimulated to the point of clumsy. He stood up and stumbled over the leg of a chair. Captivation overruled embarrassment. He followed the enchantress out. Another feather lay on the ground before him.
Once outside, Lila took Stas’s arm and led him into the park. It was dark, but Stas liked the dark – the darker the better. He was trying to decide whether to toy a little with his prey. The kill should not be tonight, but another night when he had finished feeling every sensual caress, smell, taste, and touch this exquisite creature had to offer. Only then would he finally plunge his canines deep into her sweet, porcelain neck. Maybe a third night should be added to foment the blood that coursed through that luxurious body.
Lila eyeballed the young vamp walking so suggestively next to her. She stopped to molt a bit and shake off the down before he saw. He didn’t know. She was surprised, because she didn’t think her real self could be hidden from other cursed creatures. But, here he was… all hers. She took him deep into the park, but before she got to her lair, Stas stopped. Lila said irritated, “What?”
Stas pulled Lila into himself. He placed his arms around her firm body and brought her close. She sighed a breathy song as he licked her neck and nuzzled her breasts. He pulled her body close enough to bring her breasts to his ear. He could feel and hear her beating heart. Lila was so taken aback by the passion that her defenses softened, causing her song to escalate. It hypnotized Stas. His fangs emerged and his nails grew, but before he lost total control he fought off his animal urges and stopped. Lila’s song ceased. They stood apart regaining control.
“Well… that was…” Lila gulped “… that was something.” She didn’t know what to think. The heat between them was baffling. Why didn’t she just continue her song? Why didn’t she lure him into her lair? She had the advantage. He didn’t know her real secret.
“Yes. Well, that was quite… unusual.” Stas wanted more, but he needed to wait. He moved nearer to Lila. “Let’s do this again… tomorrow.”
The fascination was so strong. He craved her; to taste her just once more before he left. Lila rubbed up against him. She began to hum a hot, sensuous tune. Stas tried to control himself, but it was all too much and again they found themselves entangled. In a fever, he recognized that if he wanted more it had to be drawn out for only one more night. Lila’s power over him was too much.
Knowing that she too wanted to tease her plaything, Lila wrapped her arms around him, but as she began to kiss him, down sprouted from her follicles. She stopped her song and let Stas continue to nuzzle her, but when he noticed that she was no longer singing he lessened his grasp. Lila’s arms reverted to their normal smooth and silky appendages. Surprised and entranced by each other and still breathless with desire, they brushed lips, stepped apart, and departed.
Stas walked back to his crypt. He was hungry and knew he must find a willing participant. It was a mere necessity. If he wanted to prolong his encounter with Lila, he had to be satisfied. The vampire group would have to suffice, so he arrived there and found ample women to feed on. None of them was Lila; none of them lifted him to the heights that she did. None of them riled his blood… none but Lila. After eating, he went to watch… just watch her once more.
Lila’s bedroom was perfect. She made sure that the windows were long and wide so if she wanted her prey to see her, they could. She felt his eyes devouring her. It was her snare, but she felt the most comfortable in the cave she inhabited in the woods – her lair. It allowed for her to be in her natural state. She could preen her feathers and if she lost a few it didn’t matter.
Standing in front of the mirror, Lila stroked the long hair that took the place of her beautiful plumages. She pondered how she would get Stas into the lair. He might just go willingly. There she could seduce him, and no one would hear his growls and hisses. It excited her to think that she had caught the eye of a vampire. He was divine – handsome, sexy, and oozed obsession. It was such a shame that he would only last another day as he was about to become her greatest conquest. His death deserved passion; a death song meant for carnal bliss.
The next evening, Stas joined Lila at The Treble Clef. As they sat together at a secluded table, their legs touched. Sparks ran through them and drove them to impatient attraction. Lila had just finished singing her set, which pushed Stas over the edge. Body heat nudged them to the bar exit, and they left to walk through the park, but this time Lila walked them deeper near her lair.
“Lila, let’s talk.”
“Are you going to tell me that you love me?”
“I can tell you that I love you as much as someone like me can love.”
“Is that it? Should I sing to you some more?” Lila pressed her body against him laughing.
“No, please, not just yet.” Stas laughed. “I need to tell you something. It will probably shock you, and I may lose you.”
Lila pouted her lip, “You gonna tell me that you’re a vampire?”
Stas was stunned. Did Lila really know? “Are you kidding?”
“I’ve known from the beginning. What you don’t know is…” She slithered closer, “… that I’m a siren.”
Stas jolted away from her. “Okay… wow. That’s why you affect me the way that you do.”
“Yes. It leaves us with quite a dilemma, don’t you think? Do I kill you or do you kill me?” Lila laughed at the quandary. “I mean, we’re monsters. That’s what we do, right?”
“Lila, I’m a vampire. I don’t die.”
“But, I’m a siren. I have the ability to sing you into sweet insanity, and then to death.”
“You mean I could die, like die, die?”
“It’s what I do. So, what will happen to me if you drink my blood?”
“I can either drain you completely, and you’ll die, or I can turn you into a vampire like me. That’s what usually happens. But you are a siren, so that’s up for grabs. What’s left for us?”
“I don’t know. What do you want to do?”
“Look, all I know for sure is that you send me into orbit when you sing to me and when you sing while I am turning, it’s all I can do to stay sane. It has been a long while since someone could do that to me. I have never felt such excitement and I’ve lived over two centuries, so… look… if it kills me then it kills me. I mean, what a way to go, right?”
“I don’t die unless someone escapes me. When I start my death song, maybe you could run like hell away from me. Then I would die.”
“Trust me when I tell you that I may not have that kind of willpower. I say we leave it up to fate. But, until then let’s enjoy.”
Lila giggled. “Let’s play.” She slinked toward him singing her sexiest blues tune.
Stas was helpless. He moved in on her and found new places to explore as his fangs crept out and his fingernails grew to claw-like points. Lila maneuvered Stas into her lair all the while letting him gently nibble on her neck. He grazed it with his canines. Lila shivered. They tripped through piles of bones that lined the cave. Lila’s singing quivered from excitement and Stas became even more aggressive. They didn’t know who would live through it this final time and they didn’t care.
When Stas tore her clothes with his nails, Lila’s song reached a feverish pitch. Stas howled with excitement. He couldn’t get away, he didn’t want to run away, he wanted to devour her. He lunged at her knocking her on her back. He straddled her and Lila’s song intensified. Stas’s fangs plunged into the sweet, soft neck he fantasized about, and her blood gushed into his mouth and trickled down her throat reaching her breasts. He licked and sucked the red substance from her breasts and Lila’s voice lifted to a deafening pitch. Stas screamed in pain, holding his hands over his ears. Lila’s passion was out of control as she sang the siren’s death song. Her monster could not stop. Stas reached out to her one last time before he disintegrated, and his ashes joined the bones strewn across the ground of Lila’s lair. She finished her death song as her neck pumped out her final bit of blood. She dropped drained, closed her eyes, drew one last breath, and died.
Monster love – ain’t it beautiful?