Saturday, October 23, 2010
Halloween Series: Short Story: "Drained"
Todays creepy thing in the blog world. He's showing Halloween-ie cool music videos. I love it!
This is another in my Saturdays in October series of short stories. Enjoy!
He never ventured out after dark. It wasn’t that he feared it. No, Holger’s reasons were ever so practical; he had poor night vision. If he even tried to drive on the roads, headlights from oncoming cars looked like blinding sunbursts. He cringed when he recalled the last time he drove at night, precisely one year ago this evening.
The things you do for love.
Pleased that on this Valentine’s Day he didn’t have to trek out to an overpriced restaurant for a meal he didn’t like, he made himself comfortable at home. The whole romance thing was grossly overrated. He knew from experience it was a sticky trap that ruined a man’s confidence. It wasn’t like Jenny Lee had just up and taken his heart with her when she exited his life, but she did leave a bad taste in his mouth.
She seemed like a perfectly sweet and pleasant woman when they met but, over the last year of their relationship, became a demanding, angry, and resentful woman. The distortion of her once delicate features into a twisted rapidly aging face made him shudder.
Did I do that to her like she said?
Admittedly, he did tend to overwork. When he was stressed and tired, he didn’t want any more demands on his weary brain such as pointless conversation. He wasn’t raised in an affectionate family. In fact, his mother was from Holland and his father was from Germany, so it left him rather inaccessible to a passionate Irish woman. It was true he didn’t like kissing. It was a messy business and he had poor enough vision that she was a giant blur up close. So, maybe he could go for weeks without sex and be just fine with it. He was in his 40s now, his drive was waning. And giving compliments? It wasn’t in his makeup. If someone did well, they didn’t need their ego stroked more. Humility was always the best practice.
And how did that philosophy work for you, idiot? Well, it’s her fault too. She should have asked for what she needed, been direct. I’m too tired for games and mind-reading nonsense. The next woman in my life will be ballsy and assertive. And I won’t have to do a thing to please her!
With a sigh, he stroked his terrier, Millicent. The alarm on his watch sounded and it was time for bed. Holger strolled off to the bedroom to begin his methodical routine. First, turn down the bed, gather up his pajamas and socks, go to the bathroom where he would undress from his work clothing and lay out the pajamas while he took a shower for precisely 5 minutes, followed by socks first, briefs next, bottoms, and then top. He would brush his teeth for two and a half minutes, floss and then cleanse his sinuses with a neti pot of warm saltwater rushed through his nostril and out the other. Clear his throat, blow his nose, and turn out the light.
Holger climbed into the center of the bed, lying on his left side facing the doorway. He closed his eyes with a sigh. He was weary, well and truly spent, completely drained. It had been a long week with many demands, longer hours than he liked. In fact, this evening he barely made it out of the manufacturing facility before it got dark with the winter-short days. He sighed again.
A firm knock on the door startled Holger to life. He sat up, confused what to do. Admittedly, it was a Friday night and 10 pm, but he was ready for bed. And now the inconsiderate person at the wrong door was making him put on his slippers and robe.
With a groan he swung the door open, not even caring at that moment if it were a knife-wielding predator. In fact, it might put him out of his bored routine to cut through his mental numbness. His passion for life was completely anemic at this point and there was nothing but cold emptiness within. When he was once satisfied by routine and order, he was now feeling a pronounced howling void.
He blinked against the porch light as it cast a glow on a tall slender woman with long shining black hair and crystal blue eyes. Her skin was pale and perfectly flawless, her lips full and red. He blinked again.
“I’m sorry to bother you. My car broke down.” She pointed over her shoulder. “I don’t have a cell phone.”
“Me either.” He remarked awkwardly and then realized he should practice the social graces. It was like practicing a foreign land’s customs when it came to niceties. “You need to use my phone?”
He opened the door and let her step inside. She glided in very gracefully, her rounded buttocks and long legs stunning in her dark jeans and high-heeled boots. Holger never considered him self an ass man, but hers was perfectly tear-drop shaped and he was a man who admired details, symmetry and balance. It was in his father’s German blood to look for flaws. He wasn’t finding them.
“Ah, it’s over there.” He gestured to the bar counter.
“Thank you so much. I’ll try not to be long.”
“It’s fine.” He admitted and then looked down at his plaid robe and old-man slippers. He ran a hand through his thick sandy hair and cleared his throat as the woman dumped the contents of her purse on the counter and scattered through them.
“I don’t know my car club’s number.” Her voice was husky with a slow drawl and a hint of foreign accent. She examined each card. “Here we are.”
He was glad he wasn’t needed for conversation because, honestly, he could replay this scene of her in his condo a million times over the next few months, imaging how close he was to having a living breathing woman and a gorgeous one, at that, in his very own home. He’d even be able to contribute to a conversation at work. Finally.
The beauty sighed as she set down the phone. “They said it will be 90 minutes since it is a Friday night and Valentine’s Day, at that.”
She studied him and he felt a flush of self-consciousness in his nerdish nighttime attire. He wasn’t a dresser. In fact, he wore the same things he’d seen his father wear to bed.
“Thank you for letting me use the phone.” She wandered towards the door in a trail of jasmine and sandalwood.
“It’s cold out there.” He told her.
Jesus, you don’t state it as a fact, idiot! You present it as a question. At least act like you have social graces. Pretend to be human.
“Do you have a place you’re going to wait?”
“My car, I suppose.”
“No.” He cleared his throat. “I mean, it’s too cold out there. Why don’t you wait here? You can see the tow truck pull up from my front window.” He nodded.
”I don’t want to impose.”
“You’re not. I was just…” He looked around, “going to watch some TV.”
She tilted her head, the veil of black silky hair falling forward. “I don’t think so. I think you were going to sleep and I interrupted you.”
He shrugged. “I wasn’t asleep, just thinking of it.” He offered.
She yawned and stretched, her long arms rising above her head, her round breasts rising, as well. He tried not to stare but her nipples were hard beneath her clinging sweater. Holger swallowed past a dry spot in his throat.
“I’m tired too. I don’t blame you. What a week!” She leaned down and undid her boots. Her breasts swayed inside the loose neckline of her cashmere sweater and he could see the rosy tips brushing against the lucky fuzzy cloth. “You don’t mind, do you?” She asked as she kicked the boots aside.
He shook his head mutely.
”Kasha.” He said dumbly. “That’s a nice name.”
She wants your name, idiot!
She stepped up to him. “Holger.” She said thickly. “I like that name. It suits you.”
To his utter shock, she reached out and her fingers curled around the lapels of his robe.
“It’s chilly in here, you like it cold, Holger?” She purred.
Tell her you’re too cheap to put the heat above 65.
“I can turn it up.” Holger told her, his voice lowering strangely. “The heat.” He clarified awkwardly.
“No, I like it. It feels good.” She murmured as she played with the nape of his neck where the hair had been trimmed to try and squelch the natural waves. “What do we do for 90 minutes?” She raised a dark brow, her lips curled into a pretty little bow.
He licked his lips. “I-I don’t have board games or movies. I have books.”
“Nonfiction, no doubt?” She laughed throatily and dropped her hands. “You’re too fun to tease, Holger. You really don’t know how to play games, do you? Another man would have given me some god-awful line and had me spread out on his coffee table.” She waved her hand in that direction.
Holger studied his Ikea coffee table that took three hours to assemble. Somehow, the imagery of her splayed out on the cheap birch wood confused his practical mind. Instead of wondering if it could hold her weight without incident, he imagined her rippling body undulating against the cool surface, a study in contrasts.
Where the hell did that come from?
“W-we could watch the late news, if you like?” His voice squeaked.
She pouted. “Why don’t you sit down and I’ll make you a drink, Holger? Consider me your Valentine’s date.” Kasha winked. She walked confidently into the little kitchen and foraged through the cabinets.
“You’re my guest.” He insisted.
She stopped and pivoted, studying him. “Holger, I suspect you are not a cook, are you? Why not enjoy having a woman in your home for a time? I have no one to share the evening with. We will be a little pretend date. You can be my Valentine for 85 minutes, hmm?” She turned away to pour some vodka into two cups.
He watched her open the refrigerator and search for a mixer. Kasha tapped a red fingernail on each milk carton. “One, two, three. All labels facing forward. In fact, everything is flawless. You’re an engineer, aren’t you, Holger?” She turned and smiled.
He nodded self-consciously, waiting for that moment when the woman would decide he was a settled-in-his-ways middle-aged OCD nerd. He had absolutely nothing to offer in the way of romantic notions.
“I appreciate this more than you can know. I too like things to be in neat order. We’re so alike.”
He wanted to choke on that comment. What could this gorgeous creature have in common with him? They were barely of the same species. She was everything graceful, charming, and captivating, and he was cold and dead inside, an “emotional vampire,” as Jenny Lee like to accuse.
Kasha poured some cranberry juice into the glasses and set the container back on the shelf in the refrigerator in exactly the position he’d left it. She turned and studied him as if looking for his approval.
Holger nodded, his heart beating wildly that such a woman existed that understood he wanted no one marking his territory. She was a guest in his home, and she must leave things as if she had never been there because he had to live there the rest of the time. Jenny Lee never understood that when she came over and began shuffling through his things like a mouse from its cubbyhole while the humans slept. In an ideal world, Kasha would only leave a lingering scent on his sofa and memories of her company as his ideal Valentine’s Day of all time.
“I really don’t want to disrupt your life.” She handed him the drink. “I’m sure I’ve shot your routine to hell, hmm?” She purred as she took a long sip.
“No, really. It’s fine.” He couldn’t have her trying to leave so soon.
She breezed past him, wafting the light scent of her perfume in his nostrils. He watched her get comfortable on his sofa, caressing her glass.
Holger looked around. She had placed herself directly in the center of the sofa, leaving him to have to sit unnatural close to her, but he did it. The drink sent a heat to his groin and he felt relaxed. Alcohol only seemed to make him more sober outwardly, but inside he tended to feel warm and loose and less self conscious.
“What is it you do?” He was immensely proud he recalled that line from the “Bachelor’s Handbook” online.
The beauty dipped her finger into the drink and licked the droplet of vodka and cranberry juice from her long red nail. Normally that unhygienic gesture would have made his stomach turn. Right now, he was fascinated with the drop of red liquid dripping from the squared off tip of her nail onto her tongue. He licked his lips as if he too could taste it.
“I’m on the road much, Holger.” She sighed wearily.
“You travel a lot?”
With photographic memory he recalled rule #7 from the manual “Repeat what the woman says so she knows you listened.”
“Yes. It is my work.” She sighed. “I’m researching the cure for anemia.”
A scientist? His admiration for her soared even higher.
“It intrigues me, helping those who need more red blood cells. Red is my favorite color, you know?” She waved her fingers before him, the perfectly enameled nails taking on a robust symbolism.
Kasha leaned back and sighed, her finger swirling in her cup and sucked on the tip of her finger with pleasure.
Holger choked past a dry spot in his throat and swallowed some more drink.
“What do you do, Holger?”
“I’m an engineer. I work on stress analysis in--”
“No.” She put her hand on his. He studied the red nails and the long slender fingers curling around his squared furry knuckles like beauty and the beast intertwined.
“Where is your passion, Holger?”
“I-I enjoy designing sound amplifiers and speakers when I have free time.”
“You like music, then?”
“Well…” He couldn’t admit that he didn’t like music so much as he appreciated the very best sound recordings and getting the potential of their pure sound to come across through his creations. The challenge was in getting it as crisp and clear as possible.
She sighed and squeezed his hand. “Yes, I understand. You want to master the music beast, not be its hypnotic victim like the masses. I like that.” She purred.
She makes me sound positively fascinating. Where has this woman been all my life?
She looked around the room. “You have no women’s touches, Holger. I take it you are alone?”
“You must not look for the woman. The woman must find you. You are unique. Most women will not understand your ways. There is a method to your orderly world. I appreciate that. The right woman will see that in you and find it comforting. She can count on your stability.” She studied him with her crystalline eyes. “You do not know how to flirt, do you, my dear?”
He nodded, completely hypnotized by the feel of her finger rubbing the back of his hand.
“You like this?” She looked down at their hands and rubbed the silken back of her hand against the hairy back of his. “Women like their men hairy. You know why? Because we like the contrasts. The rougher you feel, the silkier we feel. We’re like kittens rubbing up against men.” She purred.
He shivered and swallowed tightly as she leaned into him.
“Let me guess, your last girlfriend was undisciplined and ruled by emotions? She didn’t understand the benefits of an orderly life and logic-guided emotions?”
“Are you psychic?” He frowned.
She laughed throatily. “I understand what it is like to be ruled by logic and directed by duty and discipline. I could not survive if I weren’t rather ruthless about my business.”
Where had this woman come from, just falling into his lap and on Valentine’s Day as if mocking all the attempts at traditional romance?
It’s surely a statistical impossibility.
She ran her finger along the soft worn lapel of his robe. “I like a no-nonsense man. I’m very frank about what I want.” She lowered her eyelids and studied the tie of his robe, reaching out and undoing it easily. “I’ll make it very clear to you so you’re not left to wonder about the intricacies. Holger, I’d like for you and I to go to your bedroom, remove our clothing, and lie down on the bed. You don’t have to do a thing. I’d really like to do it all. I don’t require any sort of preparation or kind words or show of affection. I’m talking about just pure sexual gratification for the purpose of an orgasm. Are you in?” She raised a brow.
Holger swallowed and nodded silently.
The hypnotic moment was broken as Millicent rushed into the living room and attempted to jump on his lap, only to stop on her haunches and growl lowly, the hairs rising on her back.
“Oh, I love pups. They are so trusting. She doesn’t seem to like the competition, hmm?” She smiled.
The dog raced from the room.
“She’s claimed the bedroom, no doubt. Let’s start here.” She murmured. “I am not a kisser, dear. I hope you don’t mind.”
He cleared his throat. “I-it’s fine.”
The corner of her red mouth drew up. “Oh, I do like you.” She leaned into him and her breath puffed on his neck. It left a strangely cold shiver. Her tongue licked the length of his neck and he moaned lowly, trembling like a young man bursting to pump himself into his date.
Why would this beautiful stranger want to go to bed with me? Maybe she’s going to rob me? Steal from me once I’m asleep? Jesus, who cares? Just, please, let her take what she wants from my body first!
She murmured something about liking his taste and Holger trembled uncontrollably as her teeth grazed his flesh. His entire body responded and he arched up against her as her teeth clamped tightly to him.
“Ah.” He gasped, completely unable to move. His entire body became paralyzed with an astounding combination of pleasure and pain. It was the most alive, animated and impassioned he had felt in his entire life. He moaned out loud as she continued to suckle his neck greedily. Holger’s head lolled to the side weakly and he was barely conscious when she withdrew. He smiled deliriously as his eyes rolled closed, feeling well and truly…drained.
Kasha sat back and studied the man. Jenny Lee had sought her out to drain Holger literally in retaliation for draining her emotionally. The bitter woman was ridiculous and didn’t realize the danger she had posed seeking out her kind. Kasha let her live, but only to learn more about this engineer with the rigid lifestyle, not encumbered by emotions.
She headed to the bathroom and turned on the shower to clean up the blood dripping onto her sweater. She should have known better than to wear cashmere for such a night, but lonely men so loved soft things.
Oh yes, she would keep this newest pet. He was much like her, uncomfortable and awkward with emotions and intimacy. He was a dream mate. In fact, never in all her hundreds of years had she found a man who was more like the undead in his mortal state than a vampire. And now, she had ensured he was drained of the last of his humanity to join her without conscience in search of the “cure” for their anemia.
And Kasha knew just the first feasting she would offer her new lover. A brittle, dried up woman tied up in her car’s trunk.