Bottle Service #7 (Thirty Stories in Thirty Days) by Cherie Ann Turpin

Bottle Service #7 (Thirty Stories in Thirty Days)
by Cherie Ann Turpin
bottle_service_main
A quiet crowd hovered in the alleyway between [] street leading up to the dull, gray door of Aremwen’s Parlour near opening time, 11 p.m.  Two Nephilim hybrid brothers, one with Black skin, one with White skin, stood at the entrance as security, quietly surveying the makeup of the chic crowd.  Both men wore matching black suits, sunglasses, and Secret Service style earpieces, but they reserved the electronics for human eyes and ears, as they were adept at telepathy and teleportation.  They were quite useful as security not just for their  7’8 height and massive chest and arm muscles, but because they were magical beings like the clientele of this private club.
BOTTLE-SERVICE
The bar was located in the alleyway near an art gallery just before the C&O Canal at the bottom of Georgetown.  It was the only venue that openly welcomed Phorzhicoans, witches, vampires, demons, angels, shifters, warriors, extractors, telepaths, fallen deities–in other words, all uber-natural beings often not welcome among humans in social settings.  Mary, who was a vampire, owned Aremwen.  At 300 she still looked like a slender teenager with smooth, dark brown skin, and a tall Afro cut down the sides into a mohawk.  She was originally brought to the New World as a small child from Ghana.

After surviving the Middle Passage, Mary was sold into slavery to a small farm outside Jamestown, Virginia.  Her Vampire Mother, under the guise of a freedwoman midwife, rescued her from the lecherous slave master whose nefarious intentions had already resulted in an unwanted pregnancy and birth of a stillborn girl.  After smuggling the almost dead 19 year-old from the farm, the “midwife” offered Mary the choice of a quick death to relieve her of the painful, uncontrollable bleeding that would certainly result in her eventual death, or a new life that would free her of human pain and enslavement.  Several centuries later, Mary owned a high-end bar that offered Bottle Service to VIPs, a complicated but extremely profitable service, given the special appetites of her VIP clientele.

Few of the ordinary patrons who sailed through the bar could afford Bottle Service–contrary to the myths, most supernatural beings these days struggled to make ends meet by working like the humans–but there were a few who had not been around long enough to know of Mary’s wrath who deemed themselves cocky enough to attempt to run a scam, i.e., get Bottle Service and skip out on the bill.  Such was the entourage of new vamps in the corner, loud enough to partially drown out the techno music pumping through the bar.  Some of them were too young to even have the knowledge of comparing vampire powers.  Had even one of them known the full extent of Mary’s power none of them would be destined to be tied to each other with heavy silver chain links, prone, and in a pile like logs to be set afire in the venue’s basement.

Mary would soon have a nice talk with the Nephilim brothers, because they were either clearly off their game tonight, or she had two very strong creatures who were in on the scam.  Either possibility brought dread and not a little bit of irritation to Mary, as she stared at the quivering set of baby vampires in the corner.

This was not going to be a good night.

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“Rehab” #27 by Cherie Ann Turpin (30 Stories in 30 Days) #30Days

“Rehab” #27

by Cherie Ann Turpin

(30 Stories in 30 Days)

#30Days
junk
So, I’m on a plane headed to Santa Fe, New Mexico.  Mind you, I’m in my traveler’s coffin, the one with the tacky sky-blue lining and extra pillow to help me sleep (I have neck and back issues).  I don’t want to go, but my vampire posse staged an intervention and threatened to kick me out of the group house and report me to my maker, something I fear more than being homeless in a city known to be hostile to derelict vamps.

My drug of choice is heroin, or more accurately, heroin addicts’ blood.  The first time I got high I was at a party and I ended up feeding on this frat boy who I thought was drunk.  I didn’t realize he’d snorted some heroin/oxy party powder in the kitchen earlier.  I almost puked the blood out the first time, but after a few minutes I felt like I was floating into space.  He didn’t even feel me biting him again, but I was careful not to drain him.  I wanted to keep my drug cow healthy enough to keep me high.

It worked for about two months.  He’d score the drugs, and I’d pay him to let me feed on him after he snorted or injected himself.  Then, after a two month run, the frat boy dropped dead from an overdose.  According to one of his frat mates at the frat house where they found him, he thought he could do more of the drug and not get sick because he believed I was sucking away his addiction.  Maybe I was, but if I did, I ended up with an itch that burned through my core stronger than my urge to drink blood all by itself.  It set my hunger on thermonuclear, and made me a danger to not just humans, but other vampires who smelled like they recently fed on addicts.
opium
When my friends found me I was staying at a motel with a recently deceased prostitute who, like my frat boy supplier, OD’ed after spending two weeks with me on a heroin binge.  He sat on the toilet with a glassy-eyed stare, the needle still stuck in his arm.  I’d already fed on him, but I guess he wanted to top off his waning high to augment what my feeding had done to him.  He looked disappointed, a corpse not happy to be a corpse.  The vamps quietly wrapped him in sheets and dumped him into the river.

Clearly, I am not the only one dealing with this issue:  human junkies have been showing up in ER with gaping bite wounds and severe loss of blood by the dozens over the last six months.  The human authorities still don’t know we exist, but it’s only a matter of time before that changes.  If that happens, the Vampire Council will put me down like a rabid dog for sure. That’s why right now I am packed away in the baggage area, waiting for the plane to land so I can be transported to the vampire rehab facility just outside of Santa Fe.

I hear detox feels like you’re being exposed to the sun.  So not looking forward to that.

No bloody sunscreen.

Love Magick #24 by Cherie Ann Turpin (30 Stories in 30 Days) #30Days

Love Magick #24

by Cherie Ann Turpin

(30 Stories in 30 Days)

#30Days

 

love
Ego can motivate a man or a woman to do some really dumb things in the pursuit of satisfying sexual desires. It can also lead one to make a less than smart move just to gain the attention of a would-be conquest.  It makes no sense to me why a man would view a woman as an object of prey when the objective is love, affection, and all the things we associate with lifelong happiness.  On the other hand, if he views love as a battle to be won, and if he views a woman’s body as a commodity to be possessed, processed, and used for his comfort and joy, he will do everything in his power to own her, even if it means it is against her will.  Sometimes, a man like that meets his soul mate, and while that sounds beautiful, a soul mate for a man who is mostly nightmarish to the women who have been unfortunate enough to encounter him would need to match or surpass his psychopathic tendencies.

Hence, love as a bloody battlefield that would render a woman into submission was the thought process of a man in his mid-thirties who visited a tattoo artist and magician who had expertise in all manner of sex magick and ritual tattoos for those willing to pay a very high price for satisfaction.  Ron was determined to capture a certain woman’s heart and body through whatever manipulative means he felt would be most effective in compelling a yes from her.

After much meditation and consultation with a Nameless One, the tattoo artist/magician drew a special sigil on the left side of Ron’s back and began filling it in.  As instructed by the Nameless One, the artist/magician neglected to tell Ron of the caveat of the spell being literally carved into his back, that the entity who had been summoned to act on his behalf was not pleased with Ron’s past endeavors with women, and would certainly make sure he received what he asked for, and plenty more.  Just not in the way he expected it.

Ron had not been a very nice man when it came to romance.

His first marriage to a college sweetheart ended after one year of constant arguments, one night in jail after he punched out two of her molars and broke her eye socket, and an extremely expensive divorce (she hired an attorney to protect her inheritance).  His second marriage ended after six years due to mutual indifference to maintaining a relationship to a woman who he believed did not really exist, save for family functions and office receptions.  She was a con artist who’d fooled him into believing she loved him.  At least that was what he told himself when she “accidentally” drowned during their last trip to the Bahamas.  He dumped his two mistresses one month after the finalization of the life insurance payout, and moved into a condo near the harbor.

He had his eyes on a nurse who lived not far from the coffee shop he frequented, a petite, demure woman who seemed to be in mourning.  He wasn’t wrong about that either; Lana recently lost her husband to cancer, and lately spent her weekend mornings sitting with her coffee, and staring at the dark sea water of the harbor.  She barely noticed him as he came in daily for his large skinny latte.  His invisibility changed after the tattoo job.  He caught her staring back at him on a Monday when he blew in to grab his latte before heading to the office.

By Friday she was waiting for him outside the cafe, smiling.  She treated him to his morning latte and talked him into taking the day off.  One month later, they were a couple headed into a long-term relationship.  Lana didn’t ask him about the strange tattoo on his back when they first started sleeping with each other.  Her mind was on other things, things to set into motion.  One year later they were married and living on the harbor in his condo.

Sitting in her new kitchen drinking coffee and watching the sun come up, Lana wondered if she really had to wait six years before putting her second husband to sleep.

 

Avoiding Conflict Can Keep You Alive Sometimes #22 by Cherie Ann Turpin (30 Stories in 30 Days) #30Days

Avoiding Conflict Can Keep You Alive Sometimes #22

by Cherie Ann Turpin

(30 Stories in 30 Days)

#30Days

Wolf

He sent me a birthday card right out of the blue.  I decided not to open it, but that proved to be ineffective when he called me on my birthday.  He asked me to show up to a lecture he was giving at the college.  I knew then that there was a reason why I bought a ticket to a performance that would keep me away from him that night.  In fact, I knew there was a reason I was not supposed to be in town.  When I told him I would not be in town in the middle of the week because of family issues, he seemed confused at the idea of me traveling to West Virginia in the middle of the week.  Only part of what I told him was a lie, so I was able to convince him.

When I first saw the email about the featured writers performing at Cultural Space in Providence, Rhode Island I almost deleted it.  My familiar whispered a suggestion that made me pause before clicking on the link instead of clicking on delete.  I looked at the inexpensive ticket price, and calculated the hours it would take to drive there and back, coming to the conclusion that it was too much of a pain in the ass to bother.  My familiar’s specter came to me in full manifestation, insisting that I buy the ticket anyway and keep it just in case.  Just in case of what, I asked.  Doing her best version of barking orders, she said, just do it.  I pulled out my Discover card and typed in the numbers, saving the electronic ticket while muttering all manner of fuckery and other choice words.

Two months later I scrounged up that same ticket and gassed up my car to drive down I-90 towards Providence. I did not want to admit that I was leaving my home to avoid running into my ex-boyfriend when he came to town.  I didn’t like having to leave my own apartment and my own town just to avoid seeing him, but I knew why he called me late at night–and it wasn’t just because it was my birthday.  The two possible outcomes of me seeing him were unacceptable to me, and quite frankly, I did not want to die.

I did not curse him when we split for good those many years ago.  I spoke a prophecy brought forth in the midst of emotional and spiritual turmoil, where crises of the heart often lead to a certain clarity as to what the future will yield for us, regardless of what we believe or want to believe we deserve.  I did not curse him.  Okay, maybe I wanted to right at that moment, but I didn’t do it.  I just knew that where he was headed would lead him to be at a certain place at a certain time, and so would the lycanthrope who would tear his left shoulder into ribbons and infect him with a blood lust that compelled him to travel to other cities once every six months to hunt for human flesh.  What happened to him in France was devastating to him, something he could not share with his wife.

We stopped speaking one year ago after he invited me to come with him to Maine to visit his family’s summer cabin.  He didn’t invite his wife.  I knew one of two things would happen:  either he would try to eat me, or fuck me.  Or both.  Rather than being terrified, I was insulted.  Good enough to fuck and eat, but not good enough to marry.  I wondered then if he blamed me for his curse.  Figuring myself to be likely to be seen as prey if I brought attention to the obvious, I ignored the werewolf issue and focused on his invite as a way of turning me into his mistress.  After spending about 30 minutes cussing him out for trying to treat me like a whore, I deleted him from my Facebook page, hoping he wouldn’t show up to Springfield, Massachusetts wolfed out.  He kept his distance.  Until my birthday.

Sooner or later I would need to confront the monster stalking me in slow motion.  Short of becoming a lycanthrope myself, I had few options, and my gifts, while formidable in deception, defense, and retreat, were ultimately ineffective against bone-crunching jaws and knife-sharp claws.  Eventually, he would tire of hunting substitutes and come for me, the woman who had the nerve to move on from him. I needed a bigger monster to stop him.  Or a hunter.

Follower #20 by Cherie Ann Turpin (30 Stories in 30 Days) #30Days My bank is stalking me.

Follower #20

by Cherie Ann Turpin

(30 Stories in 30 Days)

#30Days

My bank is stalking me.
shadow
I don’t have a credit card with them (though they’ve tried and tried to get me to take one from them), and I don’t overdraw my account.  I don’t owe them money.  They follow me everywhere, monitor my movements around town, listen to my phone calls.  I know my house is watched by them.

When I go to restaurants I see them sitting near my section, monitoring my menu selections and conversations like vultures ready to pounce on a perceived slight or miscalculation in the affordability of the bottle of wine I have selected for my table.  When I mention my plans to travel to my lover they stand over my table, waiting for me to mention an expenditure they have not yet anticipated.  When I hail a taxi, they watch me tell the driver of my destination, calculating the mileage of every trip I make around town.

I cannot shake them off, nor can I complain.  Believe me, I’ve tried.  I’ve even tried to close my account, only to discover to my horror that I cannot do that without restraining order from the court, and that will not happen unless I can verify that I have successfully connected with yet another banking monolith that is just as controlling and obsessive as the one who is now tormenting me with follows, phone calls with meaningless messages, phone calls with heavy breathing, inexplicable interruptions of transactions, and even worse, invasion of my home through virtual presence.  I threw a chair at the binary ghost the first time I saw it, thinking it was a thief or maniac.

From what I understand, most people do not experience such torment from their bank.  Even those human representatives I’ve spoken to say that something in their Supreme System may have taken a personal interest in me, something akin to an obsessive focus normally associated with a human pathology.  An investigator has been dispatched from human management to determine the origin of this “glitch.”  I am hopeful, but uncertain about the outcome of their efforts to contain the power of the machine that owns their bodies and souls.  A resolution cannot come soon enough.  They are escalating, no longer hiding.

A more drastic course of action may be necessary if this does not work.

Squatter #19 by Cherie Ann Turpin (30 Stories in 30 Days) #30Days

Squatter #19

by Cherie Ann Turpin

(30 Stories in 30 Days)

#30Days

You are breaking the rules.
squatter
You find this squalid space while crawling your way through the remains of the old city not yet submerged into the seawater, desperate to escape the floating shantytown that surrounds the shiny new city like a rusty, filthy ring stuck on a finger too fat to let it slide off.  It’s a fair analogy:  the people who live in this shantytown come via ferry to work as cooks, servants, cleaners, and low-level office workers in New Manhattan, only to float by to makeshift squats, large floating structures made with scraps of metal, styrofoam, and melted plastic.

You are already aware that this building, formerly a factory turned into condos, has been condemned as a harbor for unsavory elements not seen by most humans.  The empty rooms of one of the corner units are mostly empty, save for a mattress crusty with blood and other dried fluids, a chair, a set of drawers, and a beautiful Persian rug that seemed out-of-place.  You find yourself wondering who would leave such a beautiful rug to rot away like that.

You hear whispering in one of the back rooms, telling you that you are not alone, and that if you want to squat here for more than just a night, you need to clean house.  You begin the ritual, a series of chants, smudging, then silent sitting within a circle to draw out and carefully banish each unholy spirit.  You have been told by the beggar-witch who sold you the ritual kit that under no circumstances are you to allow yourself to fall asleep while performing the Zari-koozhari banishing ritual.   The one ritual you have been carefully instructed to follow to the letter in order to fully rid your squat of wretched haunts, spirits, demons, and listener-familiars loyal to the Phorzhicoa is the very same one that you are now breaking as you nod off to sleep in front of the makeshift altar space you just drew.

Your impatience and unwillingness to wait through the night till morning has borne foul fruit.  The candles flicker as your sleeping body is surrounded by a merry band of evil-doers who see you as a gift of sorts, a gift of “food.”  And like so many predators who come upon a tasty meal only to find their competitors there at the same time, these merry entities soon turn on each other, prepared to tear each other apart.  You keep your eyes shut, waiting for the winner to emerge, waiting to banish the one strong enough to destroy the others, but not strong enough to defeat the Word.

You know by morning you are not meant to survive by following the rules.  You start cleaning up the remains of the destroyed, and begin settling into your new home.

”Hank” #17 by Cherie Ann Turpin (30 Stories in 30 Days) #30Days

“Hank” #17

by Cherie Ann Turpin

(30 Stories in 30 Days)

#30Days
nightlight

 

 

 

“There’s a ghost in your bedroom.”

“I know.”

“Well, if you know, what have you done about it?”

“Done?”

“You have a spirit in your house.  Have you done something to get rid of it?”

“Should I?”

“Are you serious?  I could hear things moving on your bookshelves last night.”

“Did you get enough sleep last night?  Did anyone bother you while you slept?”

“No.  Well, no.  It just felt….it felt like someone was watching me sleep.  It felt creepy.”

“Creepy how?”

“I don’t know, you don’t seem to be too worried about it.”

“Why should I be worried?”

“Who is it?”

“Hank.”

“Who’s Hank?”

“He used to live here back in the 60s and 70s.  He died in this very apartment sometime ago.  He started showing up about six months ago after I had the apartment renovated.”

“You’ve seen him?”

“Yeah.  He comes around to listen to my jazz music, watch t.v.  He watches the apartment while I’m on travel.”

“Why is he watching me sleep?”

“Maybe you need watching.  Have noticed that your back and neck pain are gone?”

“How’d you know about that?”

“He told me after he chased off that bad spirit following you around.  Hank’s good for that too.”

“Does he hang out in your bedroom when you bring your boyfriend here?”

“Hank’s a bit of a voyeur.  And by the way, your vibrator was a bit loud last night.”