Frank slouched happily on his bar stool riding the best buzz of his life. Joe sat next to him, nervously scanning the room.
“Holy s**t, Joey. Just… holy s**t. There was something in that last one. Dunno what it was but whoo mama! I gotta get me another one of those!”
It was Saturday night and the bar was crowded with twenty and thirty-somethings, a dull roar of conversation filling the air as they joked and flirted. Despite this, Frank was being loud enough to draw some annoyed glares from the patrons closest to where they were sitting. Joe gave the cute blonde next to him an apologetic smile and she rolled her eyes before turning back to the Clint Eastwood lookalike currently chatting her up. Joe swallowed hard.
“Would you shut the f**k up, Frank? First, you can’t have another one of those because you got us kicked out of that bar. Honestly, man, I have no idea how you’ve survived this long the way you act. That chick’s boyfriend is gonna be pissed after what you pulled and I’m not totally sure they didn’t follow us here.”
Frank’s drunken ebullience turned sullen in an instant as he sulkily leaned across the bar, his scowl fixed on the bowl of peanuts resting between them.
“Whatever, Joey. Let ’em come. Flower power back there wants to make an issue of it, he’s more’n welcome to try. I’ll feed his head to his own a*****e. Prick has a problem with me, he should learn how to keep a tighter watch of his woman.”
Joe sighed. He’d been out with Frank enough to know there was no reasoning with him when he got like this. “Yeah, I’m sure you would, Frank. Anyway, we should think about getting back to the house. You know how pissed Boris gets when we miss curfew. It’s getting late, and if we don’t get back soon we’re gonna be toast.”
“Awe, Joey, you little b***h. F**k Boris. You know that asshat just likes to think he’s got control of us. What’s he care if we come in at two or three? No difference. I’m getting another drink before we go.”
Joe reached over and pulled on Frank’s shoulder. “Dammit, Frank, you don’t need another drink! You’re drunk enough as is; any more in you and you’re likely to start something that’ll have us against the whole damn bar! And I don’t care how tough you think you are, if that happens we are going to most likely get the s**t kicked out of us! Then we’ll be lucky if we can crawl back to Boris’ place and even luckier if he lets us inside!”
A cold metallic sheen slid over Frank’s eyes and his mouth drew into a hard line as he reached up and took hold of Joe’s wrist in a crushing grip.
“Get your f*****g hands off me, Joey.”
Joe let go of Frank’s coat and gulped. “Yeah, sure, Frank. Whatever you say, man.”
A single bead of sweat rolled down Joe’s forehead as Frank increased the pressure of his hold, tight enough to leave bruises. Abruptly, Frank smiled and released Joe’s wrist. “See there? That wasn’t so hard, was it? Now don’t get your p*****s all in a bunch. One more drink and we’ll head back to the house so old mother Boris won’t be concerned, OK?”
Joe slumped unhappily in his stool rubbing his sore wrist. “OK. Yeah, OK. One last drink. Just… just try to control yourself would you? For me?”
Frank laughed, “Only for you, Joey! Now then, let’s see; what do I want? Better make it something special since you’re rushing me over here and… what is that smell?”
Joe noticed it too, the scent of fresh bloomed lilacs ever so subtly laced with something muskier. The two men turned to look at the same time and were simultaneously struck, dumbfounded. The woman that stood in the entryway of the bar was a vision. Large almond eyes the color of dark chocolate were set above lips as plump as ripened cherries. A careless tumble of jet black curls framed the incredibly pale skin of her face, hair so thick it seemed to beg a man to run it through his fingers. She was dressed in a modest black dress that nevertheless served to accentuate her soft curves, the effect exponentially more arousing than any of the far more revealing outfits most of the other female patrons were decked out in. The roar of the room had descended to a quiet buzzing. Taking a moment to survey the crowd, the ghost of a smile reached the corners of her mouth before she made her way to the bar, the gentle sway of her hips holding the profound attention of every man in the room as well as the unmasked disgust of many of the women. Sliding smoothly onto a stool ten feet down the bar from Joe and Frank, the spell was abruptly broken and threads of conversation began to pick up again around them.
Frank turned to Joe excitedly. “Joey, I am gonna tap that s**t.”
Joe sighed. “Frank, really? Every other guy in here just thought the same thing, man. I mean look at her! No way is she dumb enough to go anywhere with you. Let’s just get out of here. That chick is trouble, I can feel it. There’s just something about her that isn’t… right, you know? Something off.”
Frank grinned. “Yeah, there’s something off. See that pale skin? Profound lack of Vitamin D. Fortunately for her, I have the cure. Watch and learn.”
“Look, if she shoots me down, we go home ok? I won’t even try to get another drink.”
“Fine, I’m holding you to that. I’ll see you back here in two minutes, then we’re gone.”
Frank flashed a tooth bearing grin and laughed before sauntering towards the woman who already had three other men clustered around her. Joe leaned back against the bar, ready to observe the comedy that was surely about to unfold.
He could see her watching Frank out of the corner of her eye as he approached, only turning to give him her full attention when he’d gotten close enough to throw her one of his patented pickup lines. “Here it comes,” Joe thought, “the part where she throws her head back and laughs her a*s off. Maybe if he uses one of his extra special lines those other guys there will do me a favor and lay him out. Then I’ll just have to get the bouncer to help me cart the shithead to a cab.”
He could see Frank say something then, to Joe’s amazement, the woman’s mouth curled into a wicked grin, her eyes burning with lust filled desire as she hungrily stared at Frank. She raised a single finger to the lips of the man standing next to her who had been obliviously trying to carry on a conversation before grabbing Frank by the hand and pulling him behind her towards the restrooms at the back of the bar. Frank had time to flash Joe an excited thumbs up across the room before the door slammed shut behind them. Joe’s mouth dropped open in shock.
“Holy s**t,” he muttered to himself, “maybe I should see about getting another drink after all.”
Instead he simply sat at the bar, waiting for Frank to finish whatever the hell he was doing back there. Five minutes passed, then ten. Then fifteen. After twenty minutes Joe began to get worried. At thirty he got up and started to make his way back to the restroom. Frank would be pissed if Joe was interrupting, but dammit, they’d already missed curfew. He shoved through the bathroom door and stopped, unable to believe what he saw.
Frank stood slumped against the back wall of the restroom, his arms held on either side by men built like professional linebackers and looking like he’d been beaten to hell. The sultry woman standing in front of him was wielding a pair of pliers. As Joe watched she reached into Frank’s mouth with the tool and, accompanied by a sickening series of cracking pops, ripped one of his teeth out to join the small pile already on the tiled floor beside her. Frank moaned softly as bright red blood steadily pulsed out of his mouth and down his chin and chest.
Joe stepped farther into the room. “Hey! What the f**k are you doing to him?” If he could get one of those guys off Frank, they might just stand a chance of getting the hell out of there. He briefly registered movement to his rear and realized another assailant must have been hidden behind the door. Before he could turn he felt the sharp stab of a needle, then something like liquid fire injected into his neck. Joe fell to the floor screaming and writhing in pain as the poison did its work before finally passing into blessed unconsciousness.
Ice cold water poured over his head woke him up, sputtering. Joe coughed and blinked his eyes, a dull burning still echoing from his neck where he’d been injected earlier. His mouth was so dry, it felt like sandpaper. He looked around. He was sitting, tied to a chair in the middle of a nondescript warehouse, the pale light of dawn shining through the dirt encrusted windows high above. To his right he saw Frank was secured to another chair in a similar fashion, so battered and bruised that if Joe didn’t know better he would have thought the man was dead. The woman stood in front of him holding a bucket, flanked on either side by a pair of her black clad goons. She’d changed out of her dress from the bar into the same military style clothing the men wore. She smiled as Frank moaned through his mouthful of missing teeth, his head lolling in a circle.
“So sorry to wake you, boys,” she purred, her voice velvet over steel, “but I wanted to make sure you were conscious for the big finish.”
“F**k, lady! What the hell is happening?” Joe croaked. “Who are you? What the f**k are you doing to us? Please, give me something to drink!”
She gestured to one of the men standing beside her, “Maurice.”
The man stepped forward and Joe saw he held a pint sized bag of blood in his enormous hands. Fingers moving deftly for a man of his size he inserted one end of a small plastic tube into the bag and held the other end over Joe’s mouth. A few, small drops bled from the tube onto Joe’s tongue, salty and so rich he almost gagged. Then the man called Maurice was gone, administering the same to Frank before returning to the woman’s side.
“There,” the woman smiled, “one last drink. In answer to your previous questions, my name is Morgana Fontaine. What is happening is I am avenging the death of my darling sister and countless other victims of your horrific appetites.” She turned and walked to the sliding cargo door on the side of the warehouse. “And what I am doing,” she said, heaving at the chain to raise the door, “is ridding the world of two more godforsaken parasites.”
Facing east, the light of the morning sun streamed through the doorway directly onto the two prisoners strapped in their chairs. As the first rays touched them, the men’s skin began to blacken and steam before spontaneously bursting into flame. Now fully alight, Joe and Frank’s screams echoed throughout the empty warehouse, pockets of fat under their skin bubbling and popping, their eyes melting in their sockets. Morgana and her companions stood watching the conflagration, unblinking, until all that was left of the creatures were two small piles of dust and a pair of greasy black stains.
Approaching the remains Morgana noisily hocked and spat a healthy wad of phlegm into the ash.
“For my sister. Let’s get this cleaned up and get some breakfast, boys. I’m hungry.”
With that, the hunter turned her back, heavy boot heels clicking as she walked through the warehouse door into the welcoming light of day.