Having sex with a werewolf just before the full moon’s rising was not Allen’s smartest idea. Matters were made worse when the obnoxious ghost from next door floated in.
“What’s up, bros?”
Romeo died at a frat party. Freak accident. For him, the party never ended.
“Hey, deadbrain,” growled the lycanthrope currently pumping his hips, “we’re in the middle of something.”
“By all means, carry on. How about I order pizza and we can hang out after you guys finish. That cool?”
Allen lifted his head up from the pillow to say, “Pizza would be great, actually.”
Romeo was just about to reach for the phone when he stopped and looked back over his shoulder.
“Pineapple, or nah?”
The response: a bone-chilling howl and the sound of the wooden bedframe snapping in half.
Chance dragged the rocker along the splintering floorboards up to the window. He drew the dusty curtains back, brushed away the cobwebs. He sat in the chair, stared straight ahead, and did not look away.
“Dude,” Romeo said, holding back a laugh as he drifted down from the water-stained ceiling. “You hear that up there? Something broke. And I’m not just talking about the bed.”
“He’s out there,” Chance said, voice soft like a whisper.
The specter craned his neck and peered out the window. All he could see was a street painted purple with the glow of sunset.
Chance’s lip trembled. “The Headless Horseman.”
“Oh, that dude? He’s just a wack job, bro.” Then Romeo narrowed his eyes. “Kinda early for him to be running around, isn’t it?”
“He’s waiting for something.”
“Me too, my dude. Pizza. You think Seabuscuit out there likes pizza? Wanna see if he’ll chill?”
Chance turned slowly to face Romeo. Black ink began to spill from his eyes, running down his cheeks like streams of tears. He parted his cracked lips and let out a shattering scream that shook the entire apartment.
Romeo winced. “…That’s a yes, right?”
The neon lighting in the lounge cast her in glaring red.
Iris sat with her legs crossed, the tight fabric of her black dress pulling against her figure. Manicured nails tapped against the leather cushion rhythmically.
When he entered the room, her eyes came to life and a smile played on her rosy lips.
“What sort of gentleman keeps a lady waiting?”
“I’m sorry?” said the gentleman as his eyebrows furrowed in confusion.
“Don’t tell me you forgot about our appointment already?” She stood, then closed in on him, hips swishing. Next to him, she was overwhelmed by his scent– warm, savory flesh and expensive cologne. There was nothing that set her cravings off like rich, gorgeous men.
“You’ll have to forgive me,” he said, taking her hand and planting on it a gentle kiss. “I do not often forget arrangement such as these.”
She ran her hand down his velvety vest. “You can make it up to me.”
And make it up to her, he did.
However, she knew something was wrong when he became very insistent on biting her neck. And she was absolutely certain that something was wrong when she dove in to drain his soul out through his mouth but there was, in fact, no soul to suck.
She bolted up and pouted. “You’re a vampire.”
“And you are a succubus, but shall we put these petty matters aside and continue?”
By the end of the night, he was covered in lipstick kisses and she in bitemarks.
“I’m being tormented by a succubus.”
The handsome psychiatrist merely nodded. “Could you be experiencing night terrors?”
Hart sat hunched over in the padded chair and stared at the carpet. He had answered the doctor’s questions concisely, plainly, and in the same dull tone. It wasn’t that he did or didn’t want to be there. It was more of a necessity. Being a human in a world of monsters wasn’t easy.
“I know I’m having night terrors,” he asserted. “She’s in them. I ‘wake up’ in a different lounge every night. She’s wearing the black dress and acts like we’re supposed to be meeting there. But she’s insane.”
“Why do you say that?”
“She’s been at this for weeks. I’m gay.”
Just then they heard the furious sound of galloping hooves outside.
“It’s the Horseman,” Hart said as the trampling grew distant. “He does this every night. Between him and the succubus, I can’t sleep. I’m gonna lose my mind.”
The psychiatrist set his notepad down and leaned forward, speaking in a smooth lull. “Do you want to end it?”
Hart lifted his head. “My life?”
“I could free you.”
Time slowed as the patient’s heartbeat quickened. Ice ran through his veins. His limbs went cold and numb. Paralyzed. He could do nothing as the psychiatrist crept toward him.
“Dr. Blackwell,” Hart gasped, “you’re one of them?”
“I am a shepherd,” the doctor said with a tender smile. “I want to help you find your way, lost lamb.” He placed his hand on Hart’s. “You see, I know pain. I was born from agony. I lived my life in a prison of gilded pleasure, and I bought my freedom with death.”
His voice may have remained sweet, but his appearance did not.
Darkness crept up his arms, cracking his skin and painting it black. Beastly claws ripped through his fingers. That once charming face twisted into the snarling scowl of a monstrous creature. The shadows of the room became one with the phantom, and soon Hart saw nothing but the glowing white eyes of his shepherd.
When the monster spoke, Hart heard only the voice of a demon.
“Now, we feast.”
With her eyes, she stalked the child.
The lite girl hummed softly to herself as she pulled a small, ornate box from under the bed. Her braided pigtails bounced when she plopped down on the floor. The flower-shaped rug, the dollhouse, the little tea party table, and the play vanity had all been pushed to the sides of the room. In their place was a single white bedsheet, a pentagram etched into the fabric with dampened red crayon.
The doll’s excitement heightened.
They’d tried to kill her–hanged her, burned her, drowned her. Then they realized that the only way to subdue the most powerful witch in the realm was to trap her. For centuries she rotted, sealed away in a body she could not control. Then along came an admirer–a loyal patron ready to help her break the spell.
“Here we are,” said the girl as she gingerly lifted a dead bird from the box and placed it in the center of the pentagram.
Standing up and stepping back, she muttered a few words in an incomprehensible language. The pentagram ignited and gave off a black mist, which then wafted through the air and coiled around the doll.
The girl met the witch’s piercing, cerulean gaze. “Lady Bellamira, welcome back.”
Bellamira stood up slowly, plastic joints stiff from the long slumber. When upright, she opened her toy mouth to declare in a throaty, metallic voice:
“THE LIVING WILL BURN.”
Then there was the sound of hooves pounding against cobblestone.
The child smirked.
“Your chariot awaits.”
Photo by ErikaWittlieb at Pixabay