Chapter 9 The Devil’s Den
Two large iron doors stood before them. Holly noticed the handles were t*****s female vampires with tiny red eyes. This made her feel slightly uncomfortable. She smelled smoke, and could hear the sound of music coming from inside. Flashes of neon lights made their way under the doors, and Holly could feel the vibrations of the base speakers booming.
She glanced at Aidan who looked slightly bored as he opened the large heavy doors outward. Immediately a trail of fog rolled out toward their feet, and the booming base sent vibrations all over her body. The music sounded odd. It was a mix between Gothic rock, and trance. It reminded Holly of raves in her world but it had a dark, almost evil sound to it.
Two large bowls were on both sides of them, and they were filled to the rim with what appeared to be blood. Holly wasn’t sure. She wasn’t sure she wanted to know. In the center lay a platform with a giant black pentagram painted on it. Strange symbols were glowing at all five points on the inverted Star.
She could see large black lights mounted on the walls, but they weren’t turned on. Lazer lights shot beams of red, green, and blue colors all over the place in an disorganized pattern. It was so loud Holly couldn’t hear herself think.
Dozens of Vampires were on the platform dancing. Their bodies, and arms moving wildly as they lost themselves in the music. She could see many of the females grinding against the males, and even eachother as they bore their fangs to one another. Some were even biting into others on their necks, and shoulders as they cried out in pain. Or was it pleasure? Holly couldn’t tell. It looked more sexual and sadistic.
Above the platform, and suspended in a giant cage like structure was the DJ. A tall lanky red eyed vampire was spinning madly with headphones on.
She noticed four more smaller cages around the DJ, and in them were half naked female vampires dancing. Their pale bodies glistening against the lights. Holly Felt completely out of place. This was definitely far from home. It was unlike any rave she’s ever seen.
To the left was what looked like a long bar. On the wall behind it there were shelves with large bottles all filled with red liquid. Many vampires were drinking this substance from glasses. Holly assumed it was blood. She could see many tables, and booths scattered around the far ends of the platform in the middle.
The half naked women in the cages were biting themselves, and aiming the spurting wounds at the crowds dancing below. Some ignored the blood splashing on them as they danced while others welcomed it by opening their mouths. Holly wanted to turn her head in disgust, but she didn’t want to appear weak and out of place.
In the very center of the Devil’s Den was a large inverted cross on the back wall with blood red lights underneath that illuminated it. At the top of the wall was a large rectangular window. Holly assumed it was the owners booth.
They both slowly stepped forward with the doors locking closed behind them. They loud locking mechanism turned alot of heads in their direction. Some pointed, and got the attention of others. More and more turned their heads until finally even the DJ looked up while stopping the music. The entire room fell silent.
Holly felt her chest sink in as everyone’s eyes were glaring at them. She could feel herself start to sweat. She could feel her body tense up, and she grabbed Aidan’s cold hand. She could hear somebody whisper “it’s him” somewhere off in the crowd.
Aidan tensed up. His gaze was fixed at the rectangular window on the wall. Holly looked up, and saw someone peering out the window at them. Suddenly the sound of a PA system turned on and a loud voice echoed out.
“Aidan. What a pleasant surprise. You have returned. Stay right there. What’s wrong everyone, haven’t you seen a demigod before?! Don’t let him stop the party, MAKE SOME F*****G NOISE!!!!”
The crowd started roaring, and the music continued like nothing happened. A small figure appeared from a staircase that led down from the booth, and made his way to them. He was wearing a long black cloak, and smiling at them wildly as he made his way across the platform.
“The prodigy has returned” he says laughing giving Aidan a big hug. He turned his eyes towards Holly and smiled.
“and who’s this lovely human?”
Holy stepped forward boldly, and stuck out her hand. “I’m Holly.” she screamed over the loud music.
“Holly it’s lovely to meet you. I’m luka. I run the place. You two must stay awhile. Take a seat, and please enjoy yourselves” he yelled.
“Aidan, Esra and Maggie are over there.” he said pointing at the booth at the far right.
“do say hello. They will be happy to see you have returned with a human. I must depart, Holly it was so very nice to meet you.” he lifted her hand up, and kissed it. His lips were icy cold.
“thank you luka. You’re party is as wild as to be expected.” Aidan said. Luka took a bow, and made his way back to the staircase.
“Esra is one of my best friends miss. I think you will like his master Maggie. She could help get you settled.” Aidan said.
Holy looked over at the booth, and saw them. Esra had his arm around her, and they were laughing. He was drinking that red stuff Holly had seen at the bar. Maggie looked familiar. She had dark hair that was made into dreadlocks. She had olive skin, and a wild look about her. She was pretty. Her vampire Esra looked young like Aidan. His eyes were a pale blue, and his hair was shaved into a fade. His fangs flashed every time he laughed.
Aidan took Holly’s hand, and they slowly made there way toward them. They bobbed and weaved between dancers as they walked. Maggie looked up from the table and shrieked when she saw Aidan. Aidan smiled and waved.
She jumped from the table, and leaped into Aidan’s arms laughing.
“You son of a b***h! Why were you gone so long? Esra was starting to think you decided to stay on Earth.” she yelled.
Holly noticed she didn’t have fangs, and was relieved to finally see someone besides her without them. Maggie was the first human she’s seen since she’s been here. She was calm. Unlike holly who obviously stood out. She was trying to look casual but clearly failing.
“Aidan, you two come sit with us!” Esra yelled from the booth waving his hand.
“it’s good to see you Maggie.” Aidan said.
“I want you to meet Holly. She’s my new friend.”
Maggie turned to Holly and smiled. She wrapped her arm around her. “hey Holly. It’s always good to see another new human around here. Come join us” she said happily.
“yeah it’s good to see a human in here.” holly said laughing nervously.
They all sat down at the table. The loud music didn’t let up. She noticed Esra nestling against Maggie’s neck as she sat down. As he did she saw a strange marking on his neck. It was like a tattoo of some sort… a capital “C” with a horizontal line through the middle of it.
She saw that Maggie had the same tattoo on her neck. Holly remembed Aidan mentioning markings. This must be what he was talking about. Esra was Maggie’s vampire. She could see it with the way Esra was acting around her. They way he looked at her. It was pure devotion. Maggie wrapped her arms around his waist and cuddled him.
Holly saw the same look in Aidan’s eyes when he looked at her. The softness, and submissiveness reminded her of animals towards their owners. It was so strange. At the same time it seemed nice. They way Esra was behaving around her, she could tell he was hers.
“it’s good to see you Aidan. I’m surprised you brought a human back with you. I was under the impression you didn’t want to.” Esra said.
“yeah Aidan’s a bit of a loner” Maggie teased.
“You’ve been gone awhile. You missed out on the fun. A large pack of ferals breached the gate. They seem to get bigger each time” Esra said.
“how many? ” Aidan asked concerned.
“hundred at least this time. New record.” Maggie chimed in.
“yes… At this rate Lord Theylnn may run out of crosses for the killing fields. Hardly any good they do anyway if you ask me.” Esra say’s while drinking some red liquid in a glass.
“you’d be proud of Maggie. She took out a few of them herself.” he continued.
“ahh. It was nothing. Those bastards look tougher than they really are” she said.
“still though, don’t you find it strange so many keep appearing? Things are getting worse. It’s a good thing you’ve come back Aidan” Esra said.
“yes. I’m home.” Aidan replied.
Maggie smiled, and looked over to holly who was sitting there patiently. She could sense her discomfort. Maggie chuckled to herself. It reminded her of herself the first time she stepped foot inside the Devil’s Den.
“so… Welcome Holly… I’m sure you have tons of questions. We all do the first time here.” Maggie said
“yeah… I’m uh… Taking it all in.” Holly replied
“oh!” Esra interrupted.
“Aidan try this!” he says holding out the glass he was drinking.
“it’s Fay’s New synthetic blend. She created this from real Red blood cells.” he said excited.
Aidan reached over, and took the glass from him. His eyes widened after taking a drink. “it almost tastes like the real thing.” he said.
“yes. Here soon it will. Fay is a genius. Still, it won’t ever be the real thing. I couldn’t imagine never being able to imprint, and having to live off this stuff.” he said.
“maybe that’s why Ira is so angry all the time.” Aidan replied.
“Holly.” Esra turned his head in her direction
“how much about Aidan do you know?” He asked
“enough to know he is different.” holly replied
“different is an understatement.” Maggie said sticking her tongue out at him playfully. Aidan smiled shaking his head.
“Aidan here is the strongest warrior we have. Be prepared to handle a lot of attention as long as you’re with him.” Esra said.
“oh believe me I know that already.” She replied.
Holly glanced over at the table across from them. There were two half n**e female vampires sitting on each side of a male feeding on his wrists. His head was back against the seat. He seemed to be enjoying it. Holly once again felt her chest sink in.
It was strange. All this blood, and biting, and everyone was so comfortable even the humans. She looked around at the other tables, and saw other vampires lounging with their humans. Most of the vampires were either laying on them or holding them. It was easy to tell who was who.
The vampire on the left of the male glanced up, and saw Holly turn her eyes away. She gave the other female vampire a devilish grin, and pulled away from his wrist. Her mouth was covered in fresh blood. Her black hair was up in pigtails. Her bangs lightly covered her brown eyes. She giggled something to the other female, and then made her way over to Holly’s table.
wearing nothing but a short skirt, knee highs, and shoes similar to red chucks she flashed a wet Erie crimson smile at Holly. She passed a server holding a dish tray of blood lollipops, and snagged one off the tray.
“Hey Aidan… Who’s you’re little Play toy?” she softly says licking the blood lollipop provocatively.
“well… Look everyone it’s count s**t-ula right on time” Maggie barks out
“mmm…. There’s nothing wrong with indulging in the lesser desires of the flesh. I love to f**k… so what… You should try it sometime b***h. You need it.” page said.
“Holly meet Page. Everyone else has.” Maggie says flipping Page the finger.
“umm… Cute skirt…” holly slowly says not knowing how to respond, and trying to not look at her breasts.
Page giggles, and bites her lower lip. “you’re adorable Holly! Anytime you wanna get off you know where to find me. Vampires don’t need to breathe if you catch my drift.” she says flashing her blood red fangs. Holly felt chills run down her back.
Page looked over at Maggie and winked. “bye mags” she said, and walked away back toward her table.
“ugh… What a skank.” Maggie said rolling her eyes.
” I told you miss. Not all behave as we do.” Aidan said embarrassed.
Holly chuckled. Seeing him embarrassed was cute. A loud burst of laughter erupted from the booth across the platform. Holly looked over and saw two vampires sitting on the ground facing eachother. They were staring at one another. There was a crowd around them watching.
“what’s going on over there?” she asked puzzled.
“ah! The battle of will.” Maggie laughed.
“it’s a competition. Two vampires have a face off to see who has the strongest willpower. They get inside each other’s heads and dig for their most embarrassing memories. The loser has his concentration broken, and the memory is revealed.” she continued.
Holly looked over at Aidan who was watching them with a grin on his face. She could tell he wanted to play.
“What do you think Aidan?” Esra asked
“I already know you’re secrets” Aidan replied.
“but they don’t know yours.”
“Is that a challenge?” Aidan asked grinning.
Esra looks at Maggie who is shaking her head. “go. I know you want to.” she says laughing
Aidan looks over at Holly. Although he didn’t speak she could tell. His eyes were waiting for her approval.
“You don’t need my permission.” she replied.
They both darted out of the booth. Esra almost knocks over his glass in the process. For the first time both Holly, and Maggie were alone at the booth.
Maggie sits back, and crosses her arms. Holly notices she’s looking at her smiling.
“go ahead.” she says.
“what?” Holly asks confused.
“OK… What’s it like?” she asks slowly
Maggie leans forward excitedly, “it’s f*****g incredible” she barks.
“I mean Your whole world changes. The rules change. Things will never be the same for you again. The power is fantastic, and the devotion… It’s 100% real.” she continues.
“but isn’t it strange? Don’t you feel… I don’t know weird?” holly asks.
“at first yeah sure. Then you see how genuine it is. I mean Esra is happy, and I don’t know… It makes me happy. It’s hard to explain it. It works. You can’t see it from the outside, but from the inside it just does.” She says.
“OK think of it like this… It’s like p*****g you’re pants. Everyone can see it, but only you can feel it’s warmth.”
They both start laughing.
“OK bad comparison but you get it.” she chuckles.
Holly Looks at her eyes. There is something wild about them. Maggie looks so familiar to her yet she can’t pin it. She looks down and sees scars on her wrists. They were long, at least four inches and the scars tissue was thick. Maggie see’s her looking, and turns them away from her while looking off toward the platform.
“those were from a different life.” she says with a sad undertone in her voice.
“You don’t owe me an explanation. It’s none of my business.” holly says.
“girls like us… We don’t belong on earth. We never have. I was in and out of the system since I was eight.” she scoffs, not making eye contact with holly
“I would never unpack my bags you know? I’d find a foster home, and they’d act so happy like I was some pet… Some dog. I was just someone’s tax write off or trophy. A mouth to feed. But it didn’t take long before they’d ship me away again.”
“what happened to you’re parents?” Holly asked
“I’m not sure. I think I have a dad somewhere. It doesn’t matter. What matters is here and now. I’ll never go back you know. I mean… I do when Esra feeds but I live here. There’s nothing there for me anymore. Him and I together was the best thing that ever happened to me.” Maggie said
“how’d it happen? Did he stalk you in an alley like Aidan did to me?” holly said smirking.
“No. Esra saved my life. I was running through the woods, and I fell. I ended up rolling down a hill and got my leg stuck in a tree root. I couldn’t get free. It got dark, and cold… And I kinda just gave up ya know? Then there he was. He set me free, and the rest was history. I’ve been here ever since.” she said
“it kinda sounds like you were running from something.” holly said half playing.
Then it hit her. Holly’s eyes grew wide. She realized why Maggie looked familiar. Her face was on every major news station, and paper. Yes. That was it. Holly Remembered her face on Nancy Grace. That’s where she first heard the story.
“wait a minute! I know you! You’re Maggie Paulson aren’t you?! Holly barked
Maggie smirked, “as I live and breathe” she said.
“oh my god, you’re like famous back home. You’ve been missing for three years! You were assumed dead! They said you and five other girls were kidnapped, and forced to do terrible things! The serial killer what’s his name? Umm…. ”
“Gregory Dixon” Maggie interrupts staring off into space.
“yeah that’s him! He ran some cult back in Arkansas. Oh my god Maggie! You were part of that?!”
“yeah… Greg had a way with words. That was his thing. He targeted broken women, made us feel special. He made us feel like we mattered. He skewed the lines between good and evil. So we did it. All of us. God… We were so stupid… But love has a way of making you do things you know? So we did.
“did what? Holly cautiously asked.
“we killed people. A lot of people. We broke into their homes, and we stabbed them to death. Men… Women… Kids… It didn’t matter to us. We felt like we were doing the right thing.” she said sadly.
Maggie’s eyes started to tear up. She reached up and wiped them away then laughed at herself.
“I learned something when I was with him. Hate is a powerful tool. It digs deep inside you, and corrupts the soul, and when you aim that hate toward insecure people you can blindly achieve any crime with the right amount of charisma, and confidence.” she said
“well they found him you know. Some old shack off route 45. He was murdered. I guess he had it coming. They never found the other girls though. So if that makes you feel any better…”
“I know he was” Maggie said.
“I couldn’t go on living knowing that b*****d was still out there. Knowing he was doing those awful things.” she continued
Holly’s eyes got wide, “did you have something to do with that?” she asked
“No. Not Esra. I’m no stranger to murder Holly. I did it. I killed him, and I don’t regret it. I’d gladly do it again. You think you see monsters when you look around you but real monsters hide themselves. People hide. People are monsters. I was a monster. Esra saved me. I stabbed the f****r to death. It was like someone else was doing it though, like I was watching myself from the outside. I just kept stabbing, and stabbing, and screaming until he stopped moving. Then I ran.” she said
She wiped her eyes again, and made eye contact with Holly. “there was blood everywhere. I got scared, and ran. Then Esra found me. I was lost, broken, covered in his blood. He saw the whole thing.” she continued
“I’m so sorry Maggie” holly softly said.
“don’t be. I’m not. I sleep better now. When you choose this life… If you choose this life… The rules change.”
“oh… I don’t think I could ever murder someone” Holly says.
“No not that. You become something more than you are. To imprint with a vampire… It’s… It’s like opening you’re eyes for the very first time. You see things, feel things you never felt before. There is so much more to life then you think. The scribe… It’s the most mind blowing thing you’ll ever see. You become a part of something much larger.” she says.
“I know you’re confused. I was too. We all were. You’ll have you’re answers soon enough. You’ll understand. When you walk in you’re just Holly. When you step out… You are so much more. You see things in a whole new light. It’s holy ground. You do it alone. Vampires are forbidden to enter.” she continues
“forbidden? why? Who is the scribe?” Holly asks
Maggie chuckles, “not who… What… What is the scribe? That’s the question you’re asking.”
“OK… Then what is the scribe?” holly asks
“it’s no vampire that’s for sure. You’ll see. I’m not allowed to say anything. It’s a strict rule.”
“yeah I’ve noticed.” Holly says slightly annoyed.
“so do you like him?” Maggie asks
“yeah.. I mean it’s all so new and uncomfortable, but I do. He’s different. He’s polite. Scary.” holly says laughing
“yeah he is. Aidan is a teddy bear to female humans through. You are lucky…. He’s pretty amazing. Don’t get me wrong Esra is perfect but Aidan is seen as a god around here. It’s good and bad. It’s a lot to take in but I like you. I think you’d be fine. There has to be a reason he chose you.” Maggie says
“a little advice though. Don’t over think things. Just go with it. Let things happen as they are. Everything tends to fall in place.”
“OK thanks.” Holly says smiling.
The crowd let a roaring laugh as Aidan stood up the Victor. Esra embarrassingly shakes his head, making his way back to the table.
“he cheats.” Esra says laughing.
“ever see a pale vampire blush miss?” Aidan asks Holly laughing.
“aww it’s OK” Maggie says to Esra teasingly.
“come here Esra” Maggie says to him. Her voice soft, and slightly authoritative. He made his way over to her. She cupped his face, and pulled him to her, and kissed him. He nestled against her neck as she looked over at holly who was staring.
“just let go.” she says again. She again turns her attention to him, and starts kissing him deeper.
Holly meets Aidan’s eyes. He looks down embarrassed. She feels her face grow hot. Was she flustered? The thought of anything between them never crossed her mind before. Could she? Does she? A small part of her wanted to explore the possibility. “I mean… What do you do with a pet vampire?” She thinks to herself
The idea of intimacy is uncharted grounds to her. She never considered it real. Not really.
Aidan looks up at her. “May I miss?” he softly asks. The submissiveness, and vulnerability was unmistakably present. It was the same look he had when they first met eyes in the alley. The innocent childish looks that hide his incredible power is like a mask. Or was it the other way around? Which was the real Aidan?
He sat there patiently waiting. His eyes soft, and kind. His smile slightly displaying his sharp deadly fangs. Holly was growing used to them.
“fine weirdo…. Come here.” she says giggling
Aidan sat next to her, and leaned in. He nestled the side of his face against her warm neck breathing in her scent. His face was cold but nice. It reminded Holly of a cat almost with the way he moved his head onto her. His eyes were closed. Her heart was pounding. “why?” she thought. Perhaps it was because she never touched anyone. Holly couldn’t remember the last time she had been touched by someone else other than a handshake or a quick empty hug.
Maggie glanced over and smiled at her. Holly Looked at the symbol on Maggie’s neck. She wondered what it was like, the imprinting process. She already felt the odd power dynamic between them. She sees it with Esra and Maggie. It was so strange… But nice.
The sound of the PA kicked on, and a loud voice screamed out.
“IT’S TIME! WHO’S READY FOR A F*****G BLOOD BATH?!” it barked out
The crowd went wild screaming at the top of their lungs as the mass gathered onto the platform. Suddenly all the lights shut off, and the music stopped. Holly grabbed onto Aidan tightly completely confused by what was happening.
It was pitch black. All she could hear was the sound of everyone screaming. Some were chanting “Blood bath! Blood bath! Blood bath!”
Holly heard a mechanical hum, and black lights filled the entire place. The base thumped simultaneously as large pots of blood were thrown all over the crowd of vampires sending white liquid splashing all over the place. The trance music erupted again as vampires thrashed around madly.
Holly yelped out loud as some of it got on her, and then started laughing. She playfully splashed some on Aidan, and Maggie.
“I think it’s time we leave now miss.” Aidan yelled
“yeah! Holly has a date with scribe! Hurry up and take her, and imprint already so you can officially be one of us!” Maggie yelled at them as they made their way out.
“that… That was interesting.” holly said
“yes. Luka loves his parties.” Aidan said.
“what do you think of Maggie?” he asks
“she’s nice. Wild… but nice. She told me what happened. I thought that was her but I wasn’t sure.”
“yes… It was tragic. You see now why I don’t like many humans. They are very unpredictable, and do not follow any code. No morals.”
“we aren’t all like that. I’m not.” holly replied.
“No miss… You are not.” he said smiling at her softy
“so… Can I finally see the scribe?” she asks
“yes… It’s time. We are heading to the center of the city. But I have to tell you something miss.” he says
“You must do this alone. I can only show you the door. From there you are on your own. You’ll exit from the other side, and that’s where I’ll meet you.” he says.
“should I be nervous?” Holly asks
“its a normal feeling miss, but I’ll be here with you once you return.” he says taking her hand.
Aidan led Holly toward the very center of kanthos where the Great five story Cathedral stood towering over the entire city.
As they walked, and the massive church came into view, she couldn’t help but feel the winds of change. She didn’t quite understand why, but as she neared she knew that everything was going to be different. One question kept burning in her mind the entire walk…
Who… Or what… Was the scribe?