On a clouded, windy night, down a dingy backstreet in the City of San Francisco, a lone woman strode boldly and alone. Her low-heeled steps, emitted by knee-highs, crunching audibly upon loose gravel and discarded needles. The sounds magnified against the looming brick walls on either side. Rats, roaches, and other such vermin scurried from her path and those cast-off peoples who dwelled there on the ever-shrinking fringes of society shrunk away, covering their faces so as not to catch her eye.
If one were to take in naught but her appearance, one might suspect she were lost, or else recently set upon a course of prostitution and drug addiction from which few claw their way back out of. To gaze into her eyes, however, would be to know that she was perfectly at ease and that she was, furthermore, indisputably, far more predator than prey.
Of course, there are always those too arrogant or too substance-addled to recognize a threat when clearly posed. In this instance, such people were embodied by three men who stepped out at her suddenly as she neared the street’s end, their silhouettes emaciated, their bodies twisted grotesquely by whatever additive they had deigned to imbibe that night.
“You lost miss?” One wheezed, his teeth rotten, the taint of his breath a clear hint to the fate that would soon befall him.
The woman took in his stance and appearance with a detached air one might grant a fly only if it were exceedingly bothersome.
“Silly question from someone whose mind is more rotten than his teeth,” she rebuked, her Latina accent strong and landing her heritage firmly, and recently, in a country just shy of the Isthmus of Panama. This ancestry was further supported by the morena tone of her skin and the rich hue of her silken hair, a hue reminiscent of terra preta, a texture suggesting satin.
The man let out a giggle that bore eerie similarities to those sounds secreted by hyenas while they stalked wounded prey on the Serengeti. A comparison made all the more accurate when it was echoed by his fellows as they moved to surround the woman.
“Are you going to resist?” He asked, still giggling. “I like when they resist.”
The lone woman retained her bored demeanor but small, deliberate movements, as well as the long, low exhale that escaped her full lips, belied her preparations for a conflict to come. And come it did.
In a haphazard fashion, the two men behind her rushed in, their footsteps staggered, their movements jerky and impulsive. There was hunger in their eyes, the basest of lusts on their brains overstimulated pill or powder. So blind was their headlong rush that it was a delayed realization of theirs that the woman was no longer before them and they crashed together, their hands grasping at one another as if the other were she, and they fell in a writhing heap upon the pavement.
“The fu…” Their ringleader began to utter before his own delayed senses perceived a presence behind him. There was a briefest of pressures upon his back that he intrinsically identified as the pressing of breasts. The sensation pulling from his subconscious memories of his sister, several years his elder, holding him close against her from behind as they watched the EMTs swarm the lifeless body of their mother, Narcan a moot point given the length of time since she had stopped breathing.
As if flung down a tunnel, he fell down a winding lane of memories. His sister and he placed in foster care, separated. He never saw her again. The bullying, the beatings, the humiliations. Landing in juvie for the first time. More beatings. Being introduced to the needle by someone he had met inside, his first love, the first cock he had sucked, the first person who had held him as his sister had all those years before. His second love, the needle, always the needle, giving life even as it stole it. Stole it from his first love. Then, only the needle.
All flashed before him in an instant as the force pressed against him from behind and he was left gasping, stumbling away, tears falling as they hadn’t since before the needle took over.
“Are you going to resist?” The woman stood there, her eyes now cat-like and green when before they were so very human.
He gasped, stumbling from her. His fellows, having disentangled themselves from one another, fleeing, the discordant sounds of their footfalls receding. His world, however, filled now only with her.
She began walking towards him, her stride seductive. Her loose, black skirt sashaying. Her chest thrust forward to strain against the black, spaghetti-strapped top she wore.
“Will you resist?” She asked again, her voice morphing, taking on a Cali lilt. Her figure changing before his eyes to resemble that of his sister. Fifteen and trying to be strong. Trying to shield him from what horrors life was about to inflict upon him. She retained the seductive stride, however, ever approaching, now as his long lost sister, as he retreated from her, his breath ever more coming in gasps. His back hit the bordering wall, brick rough against flesh, and he began to slide down it as she loomed above him.
“Don’t resist,” she cooed, her smile wolfish, her features blinking between that of his sister and the mysterious woman. The fear becoming too much for his already worn-out heart, worn out from lack of sleep and a crystal-only diet. He clutched at his chest as his eyes bulged, his vision fading whilst the nerve-endings in his brain flared. Within moments his body slumped and the last gasp of air wheezed from his ragged lungs.
The woman stood over his body for a moment longer, her appearance that of she who had begun her walk down that road earlier. Then, with a derisive sniff, she turned on her heel and strode away, continuing on her original course.
Across from the street where she had been accosted, the woman approached the entrance to a subway tunnel. One long abandoned by the city and now a haven for those for whom civilized living was no longer an option. With quick steps she descended, the flickering glow of fires below haloing her and glinting within her less-than-human eyes.
Upon reaching the stairs’ bottom she paused to survey the new habitat which encompassed the entirety of the derelict subway landing. A living, breathing entity that could only be described as a refuge camp of the city’s refuse. All about the place were strewn tents and lean-tos, among which crouched, crawled, and scampered all manner of humanity. The stench was amazing. The level of degradation far more shocking.
Narrowing her gaze, she squared her shoulders and strode boldly onward. Her footsteps went unhindered, and few looked up to mark her passage. About her slumped figures shot poison into their veins as their souls took the back door out. Shadows rutted among filth and some excuse for food simmered or smoldered over open flames.
All of this she ignored with a finality with which it avoided her. It was as if she were not there. Nothing more than a phantom flitting among wraiths.
Near the landing’s far end a larger cluster of lean-tos and tents had been formed into a more uniformed structure. A manor of sorts among the degradation. Approaching the front entrance to this structure, the woman was confronted by a pair of women with skin of jet, and an air about them of sobriety bereft of the place that surrounded them.
“Why come here, Hemlock?” The women chorused.
The woman stepped back, placing one hand on a shapely hip and adopting a pose of perplexed annoyance.
“Why bar my passage?” She asked. “You know damn well that my reason for being here has nothing to do with you two tumors.”
Neither of the women facing her showed any emotional reaction to her words. Rather, they merely looked at one another, then back to her in adamant stoicism.
“Any reason to enter has to do with us,” they responded, again in unison.
“No, it doesn’t,” the newcomer’s reply was as forthright and steel-faced as theirs. “I am here to see him. If you two bottom-feeders wanna stop me, just come on and try.”
The two identical women looked once more to one another before returning their gaze to her, nodding slowly, and assuming positions one might associate with some martial art.
“GRANT HER PASSAGE.”
The voice echoed throughout the landing though none but the three women seemed to perceive it. Immediately, the supposed twins stood erect and stepped aside, allowing the newcomer passage.
“Thank you,” she offered sarcastically, dipping her head to them before striding between them and entering the structure.
Within was a miasma of smoke breathed forth from diseased lungs and stenches reserved only for the mass graves belonging to the more malcontent regimes of third world countries. Bodies discarded by their own souls lay strewn about, ensorcelled by conjurations far beyond the capabilities of their meager minds comprehension.
“Come hither my Coca Leaf,” a voice hissed through the fogged halls of the dwelling, encouraging her further into its depths.
Steeling herself, the woman pressed onwards. She sought no barrier between her nostrils and the stench within. By all appearances, it bothered her not, and she delved deeper into the labyrinth of loss without any hesitation.
Somewhere deep within the miasma, she came to an antechamber of sorts. An audience chamber of a kind only reserved by those who sought court with the dead and the damned. Filling the chamber were more twisted bodies, none dead but most nearly such. At the chamber’s center sat a man, pale of flesh, flesh festooned with tattoos of a mostly cartoonish nature, and short of hair, hair that might have been blonde were it clean. He wore a soiled wife-beater and greasy jeans. Grime-encrusted Timberlands covered his feet, and he reclined upon a worn lawn chair sat upon a great mound of comatose bodies, their limbs stuck at grotesque angles.
In his own time, the man looked up to meet her gaze and he grinned a wicked grin full of crooked and diseased teeth.
“Ah, Hemlock,” he wheezed, his flesh taking on a sickly green hue as he spoke. “You enter my domain for what reason?”
As he spoke, a woman near his booted feet rose and gazed at him imploringly. Waving the newcomer to silence as if she were about the speak, the man bent to look directly into the emaciated woman’s eyes.
“You want some medicine, dear love?” He asked, stroking the woman’s gaunt face with fingers one might easily misperceive as twigs from some diseased plant. Her parched lips parted in some desperate plea, one that came forth from her as nothing more than a plaintive wheeze.
“Should I give it to her?” The man asked, looking up to meet the newcomer’s dispassionate gaze. At her disinterested shrug, he bent once more to the desperate woman at his feet. Reaching towards her, he produced out of seemly nowhere a needle and directed it to her outstretched arm, in the crook of which was nestled an open sore, weeping and begging for more heroin. Without further hesitation, the man plunged the needle into the sore and depressed its plunger. The plaintive woman arched her back in supposed bliss and crumpled to his feet, unresponsive even as her flesh rippled and roaches burrowed forth. Breaking flesh that would not keep them and scurrying away to seek shelter near her deflated breasts beneath rotten cloth she had no doubt worn for nigh on a year.
As the women crumpled, the man looked up once more to the newcomer and grinned a sickening smile, one she returned only with a disdainful glare.
“If you seek to sicken me, Bael, you’ll need to try harder than that,” she said scornfully.
“Oh, Hemlock,” the man wheezed, reclining once more upon his lawn chair. “You came here to see me, I only seek to entertain you whilst you are in my company.”
“Little bug,” she hissed, stepping forward, a dark light igniting in her feline eyes. “I came here not to bandy words with diseased slugs.”
“Do not speak to me…!” He began to utter, sitting forth but was immediately slammed back as she, in turn, took a step forward, opening either palm at her sides to emit a blast of force.
“Do not? Do not?” She asked, taking a threatening step forward. “You do not command me, beast. Me who answers only to your masters.”
“It will not always be so..” The man croaked, resistant despite her obvious dominance over him. In response, she sent another blast of force towards him, sending him further back in his dilapidated chair.
“It is so!” She insisted, pushing harder against him. As she did, his eyes rolled back into his sunken skull and flies began to buzz from his sockets.
The voice echoed about the antechamber and the woman ceased her assault upon the man, leaving him gasping and fly-swarmed within the chair.
Straightening, she directed her gaze over the far corner of the room where one of the prostrate figures was rising to assume the form of a full-bodied, healthy man in a casual button-up and jeans. Within moments, the gaunt frame of the drug-induced filled out to press against the shirt in a well-muscled fashion, and his features morphed into that of a hawkish-faced man with a widow’s peak and short, spikey brown hair.
“I assume that it is I that you are here to see, Hemlock?” The recently risen man said with a slight southern drawl, stepping forward from among the twisted forms about him. His own work boots, slightly scuffed and blood-marked, though significantly cleaner than the man upon the lawn chair, stepping nimbly among the bodies to avoid any excessive filth.
“You interrupt my discourse!” The man in the chair wheezed, sitting forward and doing nothing to shoo away the flies that buzzed about his face.
“By discourse, if you mean getting your ass kicked, sure Bael,” the better-dressed man said, coming to stand beside the woman who stood relaxed amongst the disgraced, a look of relief on her face since he had made his appearance.
“Fuck off!” The diseased man waved a desiccated hand at them. “I am in no mood for games!”
“Yes sir,” the man in the button-up said, dipping an imaginary hat to his counterpart, before turning to regard the woman only-until-now known as hemlock and entreating, “shall we.”
She dipped her head to him, a suggestive smile tracing her lips, before turning and spitting and Bael’s feet. Pivoting, she strode away as boldly as she entered. The well-groomed man dipped his head once more to the man in the lawn chair, a gesture met only with a sneer, before he hurried to follow the woman out.
“You know you shouldn’t antagonize him like that,” the clean-cut man said, following the woman out of the subway tunnel and back onto the street.
“He’s a worm,” the woman said, turning to face him, the crisp night air kissing both of their faces and blowing away the stench of filth that emanated from the tunnel below.
“The air ain’t so much fresher up here,” the man retorted, glaring at the encampments of homeless on either side of the roadway about them. “Should we go somewhere more quiet to discuss your exact needs, darlin’?”
She smirked in his face in reply, and, pressing herself against him, whispered, “You don’t know just yet what it is I need.”
Stepping from him she elaborated, “All you know thus far is that I wished to stick a finger in the eye of Bael.”
“Yeah, well you overpowered him quite easy,” the man said, watching her pace from him with obvious interest. “Though why exactly that is remains elusive to me.”
Her coquettish look evaporated and she once more stepped near to him. Casting a glance up and down the street, she whispered, “perhaps somewhere more quiet would be better. Maybe buy a girl a drink?” As she uttered the last phrase her Latina accent warped into a perfect southern drawl, one matching his own.
“Gotta hotel room someplace nearby,” he replied. “Gotta minibar and everything.”
Cocking her head up at him, a slight smirk playing at the corners of her shapely mouth, she nodded and motioned for him to lead on, making no effort to hide the fact her eyes roved his body as he turned.
Sometime later, in a slightly nicer part of town, Hemlock and the southern man were making their way through the deserted parking lot of a red-roofed, double-tiered hotel. The soft breeze disturbed fallen leaves, rustling them across broken asphalt, or else stirring them within the grime-encrusted pool at the lot’s front.
Never once in their trek through alleys and side-streets had the man glanced in any other way but forward. Never once had his stride faltered. Just as the woman, Hemlock, had through her initial journey to the abandoned metro station, he seemed perfectly at ease in their less-than-ideal surroundings. There was certainly a kindred spirit between them that stretched beyond their apparent connections to the macabre.
Approaching the farthest room on the hotel’s ground level, the man inserted a key in the lock and twisted, shoving his shoulder into the stubborn portal to grant them entrance to that which lay within.
Inside, it was completely dark and Hemlock waited in the doorway as her counterpart searched for the lamp. As he pivoted slightly in his search, she glimpsed the crimson glow smoldering within his eyes, a sight that sent a shiver up her spine she was hard-pressed to suppress. At last, he found the light and ignited it, prompting her to push off the doorframe and enter, closing the door behind herself.
Having shed light within the dingy, one-bed room, the man now set about digging into the room’s minibar as Hemlock stood somewhat awkwardly near the door.
“Never knew you to be subtle, Hem,” the man drawled, turning to regard her, a pair of whiskey shooters in one hand, a couple plastic cups in the other. With the cups, he motioned her to sit at the room’s small, window-side table. “What can ol’ Sam do for ya?”
Arching an elegant brow, she inquired, “is Sam what you’re going by now?”
The man shrugged, pouring a shooter in each cup before coming to join her at the table, handing her one of the drinks as he did.
“Seems as good a name as any,” was his reply once seated.
Hemlock shrugged. “Suits the image you’re going for I suppose.”
“What image is that?”
Taking a swig of her drink, she gave him a classic ‘oh please’ expression. “This whole southern charm, disarming thing you got going on.”
“You don’t like it?”
“Didn’t say that.”
“What is it you want from me, Hem?” All playfulness left his voice as he spoke these last words, his features taking on a more serious look.
“Small talks done? Fine then,” she replied crisply, setting aside her cup and leaning in. “I need some of your blood, Sam.”
His eyes narrowed slightly and the dangerous, crimson light shone briefly within their depths.
“You’ve taken some already,” he said, his tone guarded.
“I need more.”
“Reconsider that stance, darlin’,” he almost growled, his voice seeming to echo within his chest. “Or do you think you could squash me as you did Bael.”
“I wouldn’t even try,” she said, appearing offended. “Come now Sam, you and I have known one another a long time. I had hoped we had developed a certain rapport.”
“That we have,” he replied, relaxing somewhat and taking a swig of his own whiskey. “But not all of those meetings have been on the sunny side ‘o the hill have they?”
“People like us don’t like the sunny side of the hill,” she said, a lascivious smile teasing the corners of her mouth.
“Fine then,” he conceded. “You want my blood. What have you to trade?”
“Oh come now, Sam, what’s a little blood between friends?”
In response, it was his turn to give her an ‘oh please’ look.
“I’m a demon, Hem, or did my southern charm thing cause you to forget that,” he said. “An’ when you dance with the devil, the devil gets paid.”
“You’re a Harbinger of Death, Sam, not a demon,” was her tired reply. “You aren’t beholden to deals or what rules go with them.”
He chuckled. “Potato potato, darlin’,” he shrugged. “You want my blood for a purpose unknown, I want something in return.”
As he spoke, his eyes narrowed, his gaze dropping slightly to her ample cleavage.
Following the line of his gaze, her lascivious smile returned. “Done,” she said, draining her whiskey and standing. Before she could take a step further, however, his hand shot out and gripped her forearm in a painful vice. In an instant, he too stood and flung her forward forcibly upon the no doubt unclean sheets of the room’s bed.
“Oh, so that’s how you want it is it?” She purred, arching her back, pushing her knees apart on the bed’s surface, and thrusting her ass into the air. Just as she did he was behind her, his strong hands gripping her thighs, leaving angry welts in their wake before he drew them upwards, taking her skirt along with them, baring her fit ass and the lacy, black underwear she wore. With one hand continuing its perusal of her goods, his second slipped beneath the lacy fringe, his fingertips teasing the moistened lips of her sex before, with a vicious yank, he tore her underwear from her, eliciting a shocked gasp from her.
Tossing the now ruined strip of cloth aside, he positioned himself behind her. Face-down on the bed, Hemlock heard the audible unzipping of his jeans, as well as the jingle of his belt opening. Stretching her arms forth over the sheets before her, she balled clumps of it into her fists in preparation for what was to come. And come it did. She was barely able to register the steaming head of his engorged phallus against the lips of her pussy before he was in her, penetrating deeply with a single, hard thrust. She cried aloud at his forced intrusion. His hands gripping her hips with enough force to bruise, perhaps even draw blood, he began pounding into her with the force one might expect from a steam engine. Taking his length over and over, Hemlock pushed herself off the bed, swinging one hand back to grip the back of his head as her other grabbed at her own breast, seeking the nipple so as to accentuate her own pleasure.
Digging her fingers into the nape of his neck, she wrenched his head forward, twisting her own so that she might gasp in his ear, “not there, demon boy.”
With a growl of frustration, he slammed her back down into the bed hard. Pulling his now slick cock free of her velvet depths, he repositioned its throbbing head at the puckered opening of her ass.
“There you go,” she barely had time to whisper before he once more thrust his way in hard. Biting her forearm to keep from going hoarse due to screaming, she felt his full weight bear down on her, the pounding continuing for several more minutes before he at last stiffened, his breath coming in short gasps, hot on her neck, his steaming seed spilling within her.
Not long after, the door to the room opened to emit Hemlock back out into the night, her stride still focused, if somewhat unsteady, a glass vial filled with a deep, red liquid clutched in her hand. Still within the room, Sam the Demon lounged on his chair at the table, his jeans still opened, his breathing labored. A small incision was already closing up on his wrist.
When he was sure she had gone, he produced his own vial of blood from the sleeve of his button-up, gathered from the witch’s hip as he fucked her ass. Gazing deeply into the thick liquid trapped within the glass, he smiled.