The night we got engaged, she kissed me, and all that I could taste was cheap, cherry alcopops, fizzing feverishly against my tongue. It was divine. The floor was sticky and a relentless bass line buzzed in the air. She pulled away, took another swig of her drink and then pulled me back to her passion, both of us, intoxicated and enchanted by the night.
It wasn’t my usual haunt. God knows, I knew I didn’t belong somewhere like that. My partying days were long behind me, but she was there, and so, almost compelled, almost bewitched, so was I.
I knew that something wicked waited for us back at the house, but I didn’t care. I couldn’t care, because my mind was racing and my senses were swimming in the lust I’d lost as the years had gone by.
She was my temptress, the one and only vice of a sensible woman who had grown sick of seeing the world pass her by.
She made me feel young again, my stomach bursting at the seams with butterflies every time I thought of her. I had never met anyone like her. I knew I never would again. It sounds pathetic to say it, but I needed it. I needed to feel like I was part of the world again. No longer invisible, finally listened to, desired and adored. I clung to how she made me feel, so sure that I’d do anything she asked of me.
I didn’t know how true that was.
It’s love, isn’t it? It drives you crazy. I’d think of her day and night. I’d watch her sleep, spend all of our time apart texting her. Texting! I never really texted, until Lacey. I got an Instagram account, posting a new picture of her every day, my heart pounding when she’d leave one of those little love heart pictures as a comment, emojis, I think she said they were called.
I’m not as old as I’m making myself sound, but I was old enough to know better, and yet, I still fell for her. I fell into her world and now I can’t get out. The worst part is, I don’t think that I want to.
They’re always following us. They can’t get enough of her. Everywhere we go, I can see them. They never come to us directly, but they’re always there, hiding, watching, giggling and staring.
I thought it was the age gap at first. Twenty six years is a lot, even if she’s not a baby. I could understand the staring. A beautiful woman with a middle aged matriarch who’d never got round to having a family of her own.
It wasn’t that. I’d stare back, always wondering, but it wasn’t me, or the differences between us. It was her. They’d fallen into her world too, and they adored her, worshipped her even. They couldn’t bear to be apart from her, and once I knew, I understood them, because neither could I.
If it was just that, I suppose I could live with it. Even with everything else, I’ll learn to live with it, caught up and captured by the jazz that plays every time she looks my way, her sweet, sultry song that seems to echo all around me when I’m in her arms.
It was inevitable. We all have our weaknesses, even Lacey. Her weakness was a hunger for the weakness of others. She couldn’t stop herself, and neither can I.
I tried not to see it, but it’s the kind of thing you can’t look away from. At first, it was easy to forget, as if it would catch the corner of my eye but be blown away by the sight of her. I’d look at her, deep into her dark eyes, and there was no more doubt or fear, for a little while.
She’d fix me with those little looks, holding me in her healing stare, a soft, sweeping kiss on my trembling lips, and there were no more questions, but the longer it went on, the more questions arose and the less effective her gentle gaze became.
Last weekend came the moment when I couldn’t avoid it anymore. I unlocked the front door, walking through the dark house and trying to ignore the slurping up ahead. I’d hear it every few days when I returned from work but I’d just think of her, my beautiful girl, and it all went away.
“Catherine…” She sang my name, the slurping stopping for a moment as the kitchen light flickered to life and I turned towards her voice. “Come here baby…” She was surrounded by them, all crowded around her, crouched on the kitchen floor, and she was at the centre, straddling a struggling man. “Come to me Catherine…” Her long eyelashes fluttering as her tongue ran across the blood that dripped down her lips. “Do you want some?” I staggered back, watching her return to the man, digging hungrily into his chest with sharp, spindly claws, the cracking and crunching of his bones, repulsive.
It was disgusting, but as she raised her head from his body once again, her soft, bronzed cheeks covered in blood, she was bewitching, and I was back under her spell. I can’t be sure, but I’m not sure I was ever free of it. I don’t know that I ever will be.
They’re here too, you know. Dotted around outside your house. One of them even made it into the house with me, he’s under your desk over there.
Don’t look, it’s really not worth it. It won’t change anything.
You’ve got a minute or so, but you won’t escape from Lacey, or, to give her her full title, Little Fawn, The Princess of Darkness. No, it’s not a joke. I suppose I just had a lapse. A little crisis of faith for a moment, but just now, through the window, she looked at me, and I was back, trapped inside her world again, just like all of them, and in a sense, just like you. You won’t serve her, like them, or love her, like me, but you’ll belong to her too.
We all do, whether we are the food in her stomach, the servant at her feet or the lover in her bed. Whatever Lacey wants, Lacey gets, and right now, she’s hungry.
She likes it in this world, you know. Her Dad doesn’t like her spending so much time here but she absolutely loves it. She can have anything she wants here. Anyone she wants. I suppose I feel special that she chose me, and you should too, even if she wants something less enticing from you. Don’t be so jealous. We’ll all get a look at lovely Lacey, and we’ll all be covered in scratches by the end of the night, so just try and enjoy it while you can.
It isn’t personal, by the way, all this. We’re not picking on you, it’s just, she’s hungry, and, well… you were in.