Wow, 3k words and I didn't even notice it. I will edit it a lot later, but for now, this is the story. Enjoy...
He looked around the room in alarm. A small favor, walking a lady back to her home after dark, was turning to be something quite different. The gurgling sounds and wrathful thrashings of the monster in the room adjacent to his, was making him break into cold sweat. He pulled out his trusty hand gun and the dagger he had looted from a dead cultist some time ago. He didn’t know why he kept it, but it was sharp and made from pure silver as far as he could tell. He had moments to think of something, before the beast broke the door down and killed him…
“Good evening, lady MacAllen!” said John Davies from the ladder, as he put some books back into place. His perpetual stubble and messed up look never stopped customers from coming into his shop searching for rare books.
“Mr Davies.” She greeted back and made for one of the shelves loaded with books on every subject. It was quite close to closing time and the sun was setting. Not a good time for anyone to be out and about in the town of Worlsend Gate, especially someone that could not protect himself or herself properly. He, of course, could do so, and many a night had he walked about the streets of the town, to and fro the den of a certain mistress Lyssa. Add to that the casual cult that tried to destroy the world or sacrifice innocent people (imported from all over the country, almost none was innocent in this town) to their dark gods, plus his work in the book store, he was a busy man day and night. Everything to forget his failure.
“So, what kind of book would you like today, lady MacAllen?” he asked as he looked at the dipping sun worriedly.
“I would like a poem collection.” she answered and he groaned inwardly. That could take hours. And hours it did take, as they skimmed through books of poetry, from Shelley, to Poe, to Elliot and finally to a little known writer of pulp horror, H.P. Lovecraft.
“These things are atrocious!” said the woman looking at the book of poems of the last writer. “They will never be popular!” she concluded with conviction, as she turned them back to him.
“I rather like them myself.” He argued. He looked at the time. “Lady MacAllen, I will have to insist that you choose something now, or come tomorrow. I should have closed shop at least an hour ago, and the streets, as you know, are quite dangerous after dark.” he said to her looking at the dark streets.
“Oh yes. I will take these five then.” she answered and he put them in a rather large bag. They were too heavy for her to carry.
“So should I send someone to deliver them to you tomorrow?” he asked hopefully, but she just smiled.
“Oh my, I really need them tonight! Could you bring them to my house? I have an important meeting, and I do so much would like my bookshelf to be filled with these books!” he groaned inwardly again, but she was paying and money like that meant that he could afford to have one of the girls to himself for almost all night. Lady MacAllen was a rather good looking woman, with skin white like porcelain, deep blue eyes and curves that were accentuated by the dresses she wore. She turned her charm on, fluttering her eyelids and smiling her sweetest smile. He sighed while he picked up the books, got out, locked the shop, and followed her down the street, his trusty weapons as always on him.
Twenty minutes later, after some walking and hushed chit chat, they finally arrived to her house. It was near the outskirts of the town, about a ten minute walk from his night destination. It was a big mansion type, newly painted and fixed. Her husband, as she had said, was some kind of oil tycoon and this was their summer home. She lived here with only a manservant, while her husband roamed the world and the country to forging new business deals daily. She had stated more than once and with various degrees of obfuscation how lonely she felt, and how glad she was a strong and handsome young man like him made sure she arrived safely, and that she could think of many a ways to reward him. John was feeling his stomach making flips. Something was wrong. The woman was too aggressive, the lights in the house were too bright as they got closer, the manservant, a negro in an immaculate suit was too friendly. He knew he was paranoid, but you did not survive in this town without developing some kind of sensitivity to danger and things out of place (except for Taxi. You didn’t need any sensitivity to know that something was wrong with him).
“Well, here we are.” he handled the books to the negro. “I am afraid that I will have to bid you goodnight, my lady.” he said and bowed.
“But no!” she whined. “Please, come in! Have a drink as token of gratitude for escorting me back! We have a brandy that has been casked before the end of the century!” she continued, her eyelids fluttering again, and looking at him with her best “come hither” look. He could not deny such an obvious invitation without being rude.
“Well ok. One drink only. After that I have to go.” he finally agreed and followed in, a sweet smell coming from the house. They sat in the living room, the negro pouring a glass of brandy for him and a glass of sherry for her. He took one sip and almost spat it out. Instead he let the liquid fall in the glass again. The drink was poisoned. He knew not what poison, but, after having drunk himself to death one or two times, he had learned how a poisoned drink tasted.
“That is indeed a really good drink, lady MacAllen.” he said. She smiled at him, watching him with interest and intensity. “If you excuse me, can I go to the private room?” he said as he stood up. She gave him directions and he stepped out of the living room. He hid and heard a hushed conversation between the negro and the woman.
“He figured it out! We have to kill him!” hissed the woman, as the black man nodded. “You should change when he gets back. Knock him out and bring him to the basement.” She concluded as she stood and left the room. The negro grinned, his teeth pointy and deadly. John stepped back in after a while.
“Sorry for making you wait.” he said as if he just gotten back. The negro smiled at him and invited him closer. “Ah, I am afraid not.” John said creeping outside the room again. The man was getting larger in front of his eyes. Setting the trap off was not that wise a choice after all. He slammed the door behind him, as the black skin changed colour into a bogish green, a foul smell assaulting his olfactory senses.
He pulled out his gun and his knife. He had to somehow destroy that horror. And he had a hunch that his gun was quite useless. He searched and found an oil lamp, full with scented oil to the brim. At that time the door exploded and flew over his head. The green skinned monster, like a gargantuan carp with pointed and sharp teeth charged at him. John jumped back and avoided the charging beast, as it slammed on the wooden wall. It froze stunned for just a second, and he slammed the lamp on it, setting it on fire. It howled and begun hunting him around the house, setting everything on fire as they ran around, finally succumbing and dying, a rotten smell coming out of it. He looked around almost everything but the bookshelf on fire. Without thinking about it, he grabbed the books and through them out of the window that was near them. He would take them later, if he could. He ran outside the house, now the fire blazing, and headed to the cellar.
Mistress Lyssa was furious. Some of her girls have gone missing, and since they did not ask for her permission or informed any of the other girls, she was quite worried about them. The fools she had asked to search for them have turned up empty handed, and Solstice had gone missing two hours ago. And as if not that was bad, there seemed to be a fire in progress near her establishment. She believed that this would be a slow night, as most people would go and check the fire. No one moved. She walked in the parlor, her body covered by a gorgeous black dress that hugged her on all the right places, and she was instantly surrounded by admirers. She smiled as she had no worry in the world, a glorious shiny smile.
“Well darlings? Have you found my poor, lost, little lambs?” she asked the men, and all looked away ashamed. Inwardly she was ready to murder someone, but she kept her smile on, pouting at the men. “Oh my poor girls… Where have they gone?” the men vowed to keep on looking for them. As time flew by, one of her girls came and whispered to her that Solstice was back and wanted to talk to her. She disengaged from the gang of admirers and walked to the office, where Solstice was waiting.
“Where have you been!” she almost screamed at her. “I was dead afraid for you! What would I do if you had also been taken?” she was looking at her dangerously, as Solstice seemed to shrink a little. She took a deep breath.
“Well, love? Where have you been?” she asked a little more calmly.
“Searching.” Solstice mumbled, and then produced four amulets from her pocket. Each and every girl had one, it showed that they were employees of the parlor. Lyssa sat down, awestruck. For her to have them, it could mean one of two things.
“Are they… dead?” she asked in a small voice, quite unlike her usual. Solstice just nodded.
“You should tell me everything that happened.” said Lyssa and looked the tall girl in the eyes. “And do not spare me any of the details!” she insisted. Solstice took a deep breath and begun her tale…
The cellar was not affected by the fire. Actually it was rather hard to know that something was going on outside of it. From the second he stepped in it, it was like someone had killed the outside world. He descended carefully, his gun and knife ready for anything. Ten steps, twenty steps, thirty steps. He began sweating. After twelve more, the descent finished. He found himself in a naturally created corridor. Looking nervously around him, he kept on. There was water running somewhere close, and the sound of it grew greater by every step. Finally after a corner, he found himself to his destination. His eyes grew rather large by the sight before him.
Lady MacAllen was naked. Her perfect body gloriously sensual as she sat on a throne made of bones, bones that looked like they could belong to human beings. The walls of the cave were covered by a skin looking material. He touched it with one hand, and shuddered, keeping his bile with difficulty. It was skin. On an altar before her, a dead man in an expensive suit was lying, his arms crossed on his chest.
“Welcome, little morsel, to my lair!” she hissed, and looked at him with eyes blazing. “I take it that Saul is dead then?” she continued.
“If you mean that creature, yes.” he answered, as he raised his gun.
“Oh, but we will not need that, now will we?” she pouted, and he felt the insuppressible urge to put the gun down. He did so and looked at her bewildered.
“Please, have a sit!” she smiled at him. He could now see her clearer. Her natural beauty was enhanced by some weird tattoos on her body. Her skin looked so smooth, he had the urge to go to her and touch it, lick it, worship it. Her smell filled the room, a womanly smell that promised him pleasure beyond anything he had ever felt. He gulped.
“Oh, you are so darling!” she said and walked to him, her tattoos slithering inviting. She leaned close to kiss him, something that a screaming part of his mind was telling to him that would kill him, but he was too much in her thrall to resist. Her lips where so close, he could smell her breath now, a scent so inviting that almost all resistance was lost. Just before their lips touched, a thunderous sound filled the cave, and they flinched. The spell was broken. He could now truly see her, her face horrible and so like a birds that he could not believe he ever mistook it for human. Her body has lost its human form too, revealing the body of an ugly huge bird. With a growl he used his knife and slashed at her. She screeched away and tried to avoid him by jumping over the altar.
“You fool! Your death would have been a quick and easy one! Now you will suffer! Your life will be used to bring my love back!” she laughed madly as she circled him. John looked around to find something to use against her. Every moment that passed he could see her shape blurring again, her body turning back to human. Her aluring visage was coming back, and he new that if she could use her charms again he had no chance of escape. He lunged once, twice with frantic slashes, trying to end her before she could reaffirm herself. The creature was screeching and laughing, the two sounds blurring into one as time went by. He was desperate. A gunshot was heard from the entrance of the cave, and the creature was forced to duck. Without turning to see who shot, he lunged in and sheathed his dagger to the creatures heart. She screamed in pain and then dropped dead at his feet, her body convulsing. He took a deep breath and turned to meet his savior, but none was there. He hurried to the entrance, and all that he was able to see was a tall, lithe figure running away. For a moment he thought he knew her, but she was gone before he he was certain who it was, her long limbs carrying her away with great speed. He returned to the cavern, and looked around in disgust. He found a can of oil, the same oil that was fueling the lamps on the house, and he began drowsing the room with it. He also found a leather bound book, written in what seemed an ancient language. After all where dowsed with enough oil, he set the place of fire and took off by himself, the book held in his hands…
The next day he returned to the now burnt remains of the house. Nothing survived the blaze but the books he had thrown out, and a safe that could not be burnt. He looked at it and thought that it would be almost impossible for him to unlock.
“Hey, bookworm! What do you have there?” asked Jim, a huge man with shady past that strode towards him.
“Well, the lady of the house owed me for five books and she forgot to pay me. So I am trying to figure out how to take my money back.” Jim whistled, as most of his books were of the expensive kind. “So I have this safe and…”
“Say no more!” he said and grinned. “I know how to properly open a safe!” he took out what looked suspiciously like dynamite and placed it on the handle of the safe. He lit it up with his lighter, and then him and John ran away for cover. The dynamite did its job, without damaging the content.
“You have a lot of experience with this, big guy?” asked John with wonder in his voice. Jim just shrugged. He looked at the safe and took a small box. He opened it and it was full of jewelry.
“You don’t mind if I took all this?” he asked grinning. John looked at them.
“Well… I think you should give this to mistress Lyssa. Might put you into her good side!” he said pointing to a necklace with red and blue gems on it. And I would like this one, if you don’t mind?” He took a pair of earrings with gems looking so black as a starless night. Jim shrugged and sped off with his trophy, leaving John with the contents of the safe. He took the money and a book that looked like a diary, alongside some other trinkets…
“So what did the diary say about her?” asked Solstice, sitting on the hand of his sofa, since the mistress has threatened that if he took her on his lap again she would perform a very painful maneuver involving his male anatomy parts and a steel toed boot.
“Well it seems that she was a Harpy. A real one.” he said as he sipped his drink. The mistress wore a stupendously beautiful necklace, and had more of a thunder this night than usual. “She wrote that she fell in love with a human, and made him rich. But after fifty years he kind of… died.” He looked around and saw Jim with two girls sitting on each side of his chair, as they made merry. He should ask him where he found the dynamite next time.
“Anyway, she found a ritual in a book. She would have to construct a temple of shorts first, and then sacrifice someone so that her love could live again. She somehow convinced that fellow of hers to follow her. Charmed him most probably.” he drunk the remainder of his drink and nodded for another one. Solstice jumped up and came back quickly with his refill.
“So, how did you resist her, if she could charm people?” she asked with feigned indifference, something he didn't quite catch as his mind wondered.
“Well…” he began turning a little red. “I didn’t really. She had me. There was something akin to an explosion, and I shook it off. Plus when I was able to kill her, someone had taken a shot at her. Couldn’t see who. Looked like a tall woman though.” he concluded, looking at his drink. “Anyway, I never got to thank my savior. So I decided, since I will be hard pressed to find her, to give you her part of the spoils. When I saw them, I thought that they would suit you.” he took the earrings from his pocket and gave them to her. “I hope you like them.” She smiled at him, one of her rare smiles. And it was this above all else that made him feel better than he had felt for days.
The news of my demise were highly exagerated.