(WP) The Blind Date from Hell

(WP) The Blind Date From Hell

               The bar is crowded, packed wall-to-wall with people, laughing and talking over drinks, some in the middle of the dance floor, arms up in the air, lips and hips moving to the music. The smell of perfume, beer, and something fried hang in the air like a thick, heavy curtain, and the man flashing his ID to the bouncer runs a hand through his hair, cheeks and neck flushed, fingers twitching even as he shoves them in his pockets.

               Perhaps he should have had a drink after all, before he’d left his apartment. He’d spent the evening getting ready, changing his clothes three different times before he’d settled on an outfit: a suit, an Armani number that was gifted to him from his late father. Maybe he is overdressed for the small, private bar at the corner, but he wants to make a good, lasting first impression, and if he does say so himself, he cuts a clean figure in it; he flashes a grin at himself, checking his reflection in the mirror that faces opposite the bar.

               He doesn’t know exactly why he’s so anxious; it’s not as if this is his first blind date. He looks around, eyes narrowing, looking for his blind date. He spots a tall, dark-haired woman standing at the bar, a half-drank martini in front of her. She’s wearing a tight, emerald green sheath with flowers stitched into the bodice, and her legs go on for miles. He’s a goner; he’s always been such a sucker for a woman with long legs.

               Was he late? Had he wasted time, in checking his appearance so diligently? His stomach winds into tight knots, and mentally, he shakes himself.

               Get it together, Henry. You’re acting like an eighth-grader at a dance. She’s not going to bite.

               Walking up to the woman, he reaches over and taps her on the shoulder, lightly, so as not to startle her.

               “Excuse me? Are you Karen?” His voice is surprisingly steady, and his heart is beating a fierce tattoo inside of his chest.

“I’m so sorry if I’m late, I hope you weren’t waiting too long for me.”

“Oh, not at all,” Karen replies, and she turns around, her hair brushing his face just slightly; she smells of orange blossoms and rose, sharp and floral. “Are you Henry?”

“Yes, it’s great to meet you,” He says, and takes her hand in his, pecking it gently. When Henry looks back up at her, he could swear that her eyes flash crimson. But just as quickly as he sees it, it disappears, her eyes reverting back to amber.

This creature was bewitching, he has to admit, at least to himself. Maybe putting himself back out there wouldn’t be so bad after all…

**

“May I refresh your drink?” Henry asks, a little bit later when the bar begins to empty, people leaving in pairs or small groups. But that is fine with him; he is more than happy to have the place to himself. He and Karen have been talking quietly to one another; she insisted upon buying him another drink, this one a whiskey sour.

“Please, that would be fantastic, Henry,” She replies, smiling at him, tilting her head to the side slightly. She squeezes his arm, and he grins at the electricity that flares from the touch.

This is going so well, he thinks as he stands up with her glass, helping himself to the olive that she hadn’t eaten. Perhaps he’s been making a mistake, keeping to himself so much…

He buys her another martini, asking for it dirty this time. He should ask her if she wants anything to eat; maybe they could go to dinner at a real restaurant, after they’ve sobered up, of course.

As he waits, he leans on the bar, turning toward his date. Karen is on the phone now, a smile on her face, lips forming words that he couldn’t hear, even in the quiet. But she laughs, and the sound is high and bright, like the trill of harp strings. At least it doesn’t seem urgent.

Realizing he has to use the little boys’ room, he asks the bartender to take the drink to his date, and the woman happily obliges. He runs to the bathroom, trying to make sure that Karen isn’t waiting too long.

**

Henry finishes up in the restroom and starts heading back to their table, tucked in the corner, right next to a window. Karen is still on the phone, brushing her hair back from her face impatiently.

Curious but not quite sure why, he gets close enough to hear her talking, then stops. Her voice is deep, guttural, and so distinctly other that it brings him up short.

“Oh, don’t you worry, Boss. I’ve got this adorable human eating out of the palm of my hand. I’ll feed this vessel, and then, once we get back to his place, I’ll eat his heart and deliver his soul straight to you. But remember, we had a deal. You renege, I keep the poor sucker’s soul for myself. A human soul is a source of great power.”

There was a short pause, and Karen’s lips tighten, as if she does not like the response she receives.

“Just hold up your end of the bargain, and I’ll do my part. Don’t doubt me.”

Karen looks up, and sees Henry standing there. She beckons him closer, smiling seductively, but he can see this time that her eyes are red, the color of old, congealing blood. Her teeth are sharp and pointed, more like fangs than human teeth.

“Come, Henry. Haven’t we been having a good time?”

**