As I mentioned, I’m highlighting the other fabulous authors of The Animal Collection with Booktrope Edge. I can tell you that in reading the various stories, we all have very different yet defined view of evil – human style. I’ve known this author for only a short period of time but she’s fabulous and has a very devious bent to her. These stories should give you goose bumps and require you to keep the lights on at night. While the concept of vampires and were-features is delicious, isn’t the understanding that a demon lives within all of us rather awe inspiring? I like to think so which is why the collection was born. Enjoy the fine and rather creative evil buried inside of Scarlet Darkwood.
Halloween was a perfect night for revenge. Crystelle Saunders turned her eyes upward, admiring the full luminous moon perched in the starless, cloudless sky. She wrapped a sweater around her, warding off the crisp chill. She’d been planning this moment for years. Through the window of Scully’s Bar, she viewed her demon sitting on a bar stool, slugging back a beer. Joel Newhouse had been her never-ending source of pain and rage, filling her thoughts during waking hours, and haunting her dreams during sleep.
Tonight, she’d made the decision to end it all for good, driving three hours from college back to her hometown, a suburb outside of Boston. She’d been checking Joel out on the sly, keeping her distance, studying, learning his habits. As usual, on a Friday night, he sat drinking himself into a stupor. In the trunk of her car, she’d stowed everything for fulfilling her ultimate fantasy. The intent to carry out this plan burned inside her, unadulterated and unwavering.
Joel had thrown back his head, laughing at some joke. He pounded the table for another beer. He gawked at the girls walking by, the ones with blonde hair, curvy hips, and buxom tits, his tongue all but wagging as they gave him a knowing grin and kept on walking. How many of them had he fucked over the years? Crystelle checked out her physique in the light spilling from the bar.
Enough years had passed since he’d last had a good look at her. She’d traded in a heavy-set body, black bobbed hair, and gothic-style cosmetics for a svelte figure, trailing blonde mane, and a cover-girl face. From the looks he gave the girls, he’d give her tits two big thumbs up without blinking twice. If she played her cards right, she’d have him right where she wanted him. Unfortunately, sex figured in as part of the deal. Crystelle cringed a moment. To pull off a perfect plan, sometimes a person had to go through the motions. She pulled open the door, taking in a deep breath. Showtime.
The inside heat warmed her face. Loud chatter and the distant buzz of a blender blared in her ears. Luckily, no one had taken the seat next to Joel, and Crystelle made a beeline for it, planting her ass solidly on the seat. She tossed her hair back, sitting up straight, thrusting her boobs out enough to attract Joel’s attention. The bartender however, beat him to it.
“Hey, pretty lady. What’ll it be?”
Crystelle licked her lips. “Do you have a Halloween night special? Something that’s wicked good?”
“Coming right up.” The bartender flashed her a wide smile.
“Hey, Arnie, put her drinks on my tab.” Joel waved several five-dollar bills, showing he meant every word.
Just as she’d suspected, he was the typical sleazy pick-up guy, complete with a charming enough face, invasive gaze, and leering grin. His fingers tapped against the bar, eyes burning into her. Crystelle stared straight ahead, maintaining sight of him out of the corner of her eye. To her chagrin, he still wore the sterling silver ankh he’d stolen from her two weeks before graduation. In place of the chain, the piece hung from a thick black cotton cord. She had not forgotten the afternoon he and his buddy waylaid her in one of the back hallways after school. Joe egged him on, hot breath blowing against the back of her neck, holding her arms while Joel removed the pendant.
“This is cool. Where’d you get it?” Joel’s lips curled up in a nasty sneer.
“My favorite aunt gave it to me. Give it back, you damn thief.” She thrashed against Joe’s grip.
“Aw, your auntie gave it to you. Well, it’s mine now.” His eyes flashed a cold stare. “You tattle or do anything sneaky, I’ll do something way worse than this.” His hand traveled up her blouse, wiggling beneath her bra, clutching her nipple and rolling it hard between his thumb and forefinger. “A weird-ass chick like you probably likes her tit squeezed.” He moved in close to her face. “You let toads and snakes suck your tits? I’ve heard witches do that, you know?”
“You’re a sick bastard.” She kicked at him.
He dodged her, jumping to the side. “I bet you’re the sick one, sticking broomsticks up your pussy. Witches do that, too, don’t they? They cover it with some funny drug that makes them feel like they’re flying.”
Both guys laughed. When she struggled to free herself, Joe held her tighter.
Joel squeezed and flicked harder. “Just remember, any funny stuff, and you’ll get more than your tit squeezed.” Joe released his grip, following his friend out the back door. This violation, a badge of ultimate shame and self-loathing, topped the previous years of petty thievery and social shaming. Worse, she despised how he’d elicited an involuntary surge of arousal when he flicked his finger over her nipple.
Research on victims of assault, and several visits to a psychologist had helped relieve some of her confusion. Yes, she hated him with an intensity beyond measure; hated what he’d taken from her, more than mere possessions.
“I haven’t seen you here before. You new in town?” Joel turned around, facing her.
She blinked a few times, clearing her head. “Um, I’m just on my way back home. Thought I’d get one for the road.” She mustered up enough nerve, fixing her eyes on his. The hot blue burning in the sockets bore the mix of lust and booze.
“You’re one hot chick, and I’m not just saying that, either. I see pretty girls all the time.” Joel paid the bartender while Crystelle nursed on a green-colored cocktail with smoke made from dry ice swirling around the top. She closed her eyes, savoring the flavor and burn of alcohol as it slipped down her throat. At least the liquid would calm her just enough to get through small-talk with Joel, but gridiron intent and cunning would get her through the remainder of the evening.
“You come here often?” She grinned. “It’s cliché, but I couldn’t help asking.”
Joel’s lips spread into a proud smile. “All the time. Arnie’s got my back when it comes to good drinks and hot women, don’t you Arn?”
Arnie shook his head, cheesy grin on his lips, and turned back to blending another cocktail.
“Dude sends the chicks my way. I get a piece when I want it. Know what I mean?” Joel elbowed Crystelle, a smug expression crawling over his face.
“So you pretty much have your pick of women.” She nodded, taking a sip of her cocktail.
“All the time.” He winked, chugging back another swallow of alcohol.
The glittering ankh in the bar light mesmerized her, holding her gaze as if under a spell. Or was it the alcohol and adrenalin? She fixated on the piece, riveted, bringing the cocktail to her lips with the smooth motions of an automaton. “I like your pendant. Where did you get it?” Did she really just ask that?
Joel’s eyes widened. “Oh, this?” He thought a moment, fingering the pendant. “Just a gift from a favorite aunt. She liked me a lot.”
The sight of his fingers caressing the ankh broke her trance, and a flash of anger ricocheted through her. All the years of torment flooded through her, reminding her why she had returned home. Crystelle viewed Joel, studying his features, the dark blonde hair, molten eyes, and crooked grin. He hadn’t been bad looking in high school; didn’t look too bad now. Her gaze dropped below the belt line. She licked her lips, rubbing the rim of her glass.
He let out a sigh, leaning toward her. His breath bore the stench of a night spent drinking. “You want a piece of me? I’m all in, if you are.” Lips curling into a lusty smile, he sat back on his stool, satisfied.
“You’re on.” Crystelle stared at the rows of liquor bottles, nursing the last of her cocktail. Her head hummed with a light buzz, but she still had her wits about her. “You up for a girl like me? I like it wild and kinky.” She turned, another surge of bravery taking hold, and smiled. “But I bet you’re not that wild, are you?”
“I’m pretty wild! I like a girl who gets creative.”
“Let’s go.” Joel clapped the empty mug on the counter. “Hey, Arn, here’s your money.” He plunked down several fives. “My lady and I are off for a night on the town.”
“I’d watch it if I were you. He’s a scamp.” Arnie laughed, swiping up the bills. “See ya around, bud.”
Joel scrutinized the graveyard. “Oh man, you do like it wild and kinky, don’t you? I’ve done it in lots of places, but never like this.”
“It’s Halloween. Live a little.”
In the distance, the spotlights from the high school football stadium illuminated the sky. The muffled sound of cheers and the referee’s whistle split the air. All those people so close, yet so far away from the dead who lay moldering in coffins. Inside, Crystelle prided herself in this accomplishment, a plan coming together. Over her shoulder, she carried a suede bag holding everything she needed for her moment with Joel. In the other hand, she carried a lantern with a large pillar candle.
“Here’s a good spot.” She placed the bag carefully on the ground next to a stone slab outfitted with rusty iron rings on each corner. The open space held a silvery glow from the moon. Candlelight and moonlight made the perfect combination for this ritual. She’d longed for this moment and had planned it down to the last minute detail.
“You ready?” She shifted her gaze from Joel to the slab, and back again.
“I’m more than ready. I bought you a drink, so I deserve it.” He chuckled, pulling her close.
Crystelle wrapped her arms around his neck and cooed in his ear as she licked his earlobe. “Trust me, you’ll get what you deserve.”
She guided him down on the slab. “Let me do this first.” Reaching inside her bag, she pulled out some cuffs.
“Are you one of those chicks who like bondage? Haven’t tried that before, either.” Joel lay back as she secured his ankles to the rings.
“I’ll make sure this night stays with you forever. Besides, I don’t want you trying to get away.”
“And miss out on a babe like you? Not a chance.” Joel obliged, watching every move.
She straddled his hips and unbuttoned his shirt, catching the vision of his eyes narrowing with lust. Lowering her head, she ran her tongue in circles on one of his nipples, prodding at the nub.
He let out a sigh and stroked her hair. “I like a woman who knows what she wants.”
Glancing up, she smiled, finishing off her tender touches with a firm bite. He flinched. She played with the other nipple, ending with another bite so firm he winced and cried out. “Easy, hon. Getting a little carried away, there.” He chuckled.
“Your turn. Something tells me you like playing with some hot nips.” She slipped off her top, remaining in her bra. The chill didn’t bother her. “I’ll let you enjoy the rest.”
With a greedy rush, Joel removed the bra, gazing through bleary eyes at her chest. “I’m not so drunk that I can’t appreciate a pair of great tits, and yours are gorgeous.” He reached up, clasping on to both sensitive nubs of flesh. Crystelle closed her eyes and sucked in her breath, telling herself over and over why she allowed him to touch her. She fought back the memory of that hateful day he’d taken what didn’t belong to him. After all, what Joel had said about witches was the truth. The pagan ways had always intrigued her, but tonight, she embraced the dark side.
Thank you Miss Scarlet
Kisses and leave your lights on…
Coming in a couple of short weeks