Sunday, May 22, 2011

Short story: Scarlet Night by Ashley M Christman

Ashley M Christman is an urban fantasy writer whose book, The Witching Hour, is available from Lyrical Press. To contact her, visit her website
Today Toad shares Ashley's short story, Scarlet Night.

* * * *

The decadence of the 1920s and its jazz scene had always appealed to me more than the bleak and dreary Victorian or Edwardian ages. The booze, the jazz bands, the brightly lit nightclubs—oh, how I adored them. And no matter how many times I had seen the dabber men in their pressed tuxedos, I never got enough of them. I devoured them, consumed them and sometimes women, but it was the men I adored most of all. The alcohol that filled their blood and the way their hearts seem to beat faster in their chest, pumping more of their elixir throughout their bodies as they grew aroused; that was what I loved.
Tonight was no different. As I made my way across the room, drinking a very expensive champagne, I was on the prowl. Observing every nuance, every subtle twitch of the lips, the gestures of the hands—I knew what I was looking for. And I found him, standing in a corner near the black lacquered piano with a glass of scotch in one hand and a cigarette in the other.

Even from across the room, I was able to lock on to his scent; the smell of sweat just starting to surface from his pores in the heat of the summer night. As my body slid from the bar stool and slinked through the crowd towards my target, a sense of silent satisfaction washed over me, warming me from the inside. My hand instinctively reached towards him, extending itself, giving him a clear glimpse of crimson painted nails that matched my lipstick. “Do you have a spare?” I asked coolly, with a glint of mischief in my eyes. Everything about this singular moment oozed seduction and sex.
Cole Porters’ “Let’s Misbehave”, began to play as the orchestra leader took his place in front of the gold plated microphone. The parquet flooring of the dance floor was filled with young inebriated couples dancing the Black Bottom to the upbeat melody.

“Spare,” the youth replied with a lithe in his voice, making his statement an obvious question. I pointed to the cigarette hanging from betwixt his fingers. He nodded and stammered, “Oh, terribly sorry. I didn’t realize. I have another, yes.” He reached into the inner pocket of his jacket and produced a gold cigarette case. He flipped the clasp open on it and selected a neatly rolled white cigarette.

Reaching into the decadent sparkling clutch that matched my white dress, I produced a fourteen inch cabriole cigarette holder with a rhinestone tip. The young man placed the cigarette in the end of my cabriole and lit it with a match. I took a long drag of it and then exhaled the smoke, making little o’s.
He watched me as I did this, slowly licking his lips. “I’m Edward,” he said in a distinctly British accent. He sounded well educated and upper crust. It was an accent that one would associate with the royal family. He was obviously either very rich or a blue blood, possibly both.
“Do you have a last name Edward?” I questioned with a smirk.
“Cromwell,” he answered returning my smirk with one of his own. It was in that single look from him, that I knew that he was nowhere near as innocent as he appeared. He was a cad, a delicious cad. “What’s your name?”
“Do you have a last name, Lucy?”
“Just Lucy for now,” my smirk turned into a grin.
He finished the last of his scotch and set the crystal glass on the tray of a passing waiter. I continued to smoke my cigarette, enjoying the atmosphere and the music. “Do you happen to like long moonlit walks just Lucy?” He grinned at his joke and then took the a puff from his cigarette.
I let out a small chuckle and put out my cigarette in a nearby ashtray. Wrapping my arm around his, I let him escort me out of the club and onto the balmy Parisian streets. Every so often a car would pass or a couple speaking French would walk by. “So tell me something about yourself,” he asked as we stopped in front of the Tiffany’s shop window. The display was a series lamps on one side and signature Tiffany diamonds and silver on the other.
“What do you want to know.” I turned to him, my eyes catching his. Both of ours smoldering like embers fresh from the fire.
“How about your last name to begin with?”
“What is the incessant wish to know my full name?” I replied.
He shrugged, “I’d like to know the name of the woman who has bewitched me.”
Of one thing I was absolutely sure, he was charming. He had managed to successfully combine the naivety of youth and the charming subtle seductions of a man with more worldly knowledge into one complete persona. If he were good in bed, I wouldn’t kill him.
“It’s Kincaid,” I answered stealing the name from a tag that I had managed to glimpse on the inside of his jacket. “Miss Kincaid.” I emphasized the fact that I was single.
He smiled once more and then leaned in to kiss my lips. I kissed him back with a fervent passion that was inappropriate for a sidewalk on the Champs-Elysee. Breaking away from the kiss, I whispered, “My flat is not far from here.”
He smiled and nodded as I pulled him further down the boulevard to a large apartment building with a doorman on the outside. I winked at the doorman as he held the door open and led Edward through the empty lavish lobby to the elevator. The poor guy was either about to meet his maker or be given the opportunity to play for a very long time.
There was a flurry of hands and a sense of urgency as we disrobed. Our clothes were flung here and there, pale flesh touching and caressing as we hit the silk sheets of my palatial bed. I climbed atop of him, mounting his pelvis, but not yet allowing him to enter. My skin began to glow in the darkness as my inner demon took hold. He entered me and I took him. The cantankerous sounds of our love-making, my feeding, filled the room and carried themselves out of the open doors to the balcony and the night. Edward hung above me, kissing me gently. “What are you,” he whispered. I grinned and knew that he wouldn’t die.
Not yet at least.

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