It’s not like I’m addicted. I could stop anytime. Right now, if I wanted. But why should I? Nothing compares. Nothing even comes close. Don’t believe me? Try it. I dare you. No?
I don’t know why you’re so uptight about the club scene. Everyone was a newbie once. A little scared, a little repulsed. A lot turned on. You’ve got butterflies in your stomach and a squirming itch farther down. You emptied your bank account for the shiny black dress and the seven-inch heels.
Your finger’s on the doorbell. The password’s on your tongue.
Maybe you should forget the whole thing. Go look for vanilla. But you paid more than you can afford for this night. You should at least get your money’s worth. You press the bell. You speak the word. The door swings open like a prayer to a very dark god.
Death metal pulses in waves through your blood. A beat truer than your own heart. Someone hands you a drink. Blood red, thick and tangy. You don’t ask questions. You tilt your head back and gulp it down.
A delicious chill seeps into your veins. Inhibition takes flight. You dance, arms in the air. Not knowing. Not caring. Until…
There. In the shadows. He’s watching. You pretend you don’t see.
A smile touches his lips and your pulse jumps. How fast can a heart beat before it explodes? Will he choose you?
He doesn’t. Not yet. You dance into his reach.
His touch is cold. You knew it would be, but it’s still shock. Death’s a chill you’ve never felt before. Funny how it doesn’t cool you down. It heats you up.
His breath is like frost. His hands, velvet ice. They move over your body.
He leads the way. Through the crowd, down a hallway. The death metal fades. Now there’s a different sort of music. It seeps from under closed doors, following you as you follow him. A throaty melody, full of need. It’s sung by people just like you.
He halts. His face is white, his hair dark as midnight. A faint red glow illuminates his irises. He doesn’t look quite comfortable in his black trousers and turtleneck. A cape or frock coat would fit him better.
How long has it been since he stood in the sunlight? Years? Decades? Centuries?
He opens the door and bows. There’s no thought of hesitation—you enter. The room’s small and dimly lit. Red and gold wallpaper. You expect a bed, but there’s only an old-fashioned fainting couch with a gilded frame and green brocade cushions.
You sink into it. Soft. So soft.
He looms over you. His scent is that of a winter day. A cold finger tilts up your chin. His gaze strokes your neck. Your pulse jumps.
“First time?” he asks.
“Yes,” you say. “Yes.”
You can tell he’s pleased. A decanter and a single glass stand on a table. He pours the blood wine. You sip it slowly.
You feel languid. He touches you. You shift, opening. Your dress straps slip down your shoulders. The zipper catches, then slides. Now you’re wearing nothing but your shoes and stockings.
His mouth is like nothing you could’ve imagined, nothing you could’ve prepared for. His teeth are a benediction on your skin. You arch into them, wanting, begging.
His weight covers you. Your buttocks scrape deliciously on the embroidered brocade. His fangs press into the pounding pulse in your neck. He’s cold, so cold. Yes, even there, where his cock prods between your legs.
His jaw closes; his hips surge.
Pleasure is too tame a word. Bliss, too peaceful. Ecstasy? Too bright. His possession is like exploding starlight. It shatters you. No. You shatter yourself, hoping that if you do, he’ll never stop.
But he does. He does.
You sit up. You’re alone. When did he leave? You start to call out, then remember you don’t know his name. Cold is no longer a good feeling. You feel used, and yet, still aroused. You’d do it again in a heartbeat.
You remember how it was yesterday. Before you got here. You wish it were still like that. You know it will never be like that again.
You don’t want to leave. Maybe if you stay, he’ll come back. But when the door finally opens, it’s one of the bouncers.
“Five minutes. Or—” His eyes flicks over your nakedness.
You cover yourself with your hands.
He leaves his sneer lodged in your chest. You move in slow motion. You get up. You dress. You weave down the hallway and into daylight.
Your entire body tingles. Sparks of bliss race over your skin, explode between your legs. Tiny orgasms go on and on. For how long? You don’t want it to stop. It’s all you have left.
At home, you look in the mirror. There’s no mark, but you know the exact spot where his fangs penetrated your neck, as if the ghosts of his teeth are still embedded there. How much did he drink from your veins? No matter how much, you would’ve given him more.
You would’ve given him all of it.
By the time the sun is overhead, the pleasure is dead. It leaves a black hole inside your chest. You can’t stand it. You’d do anything to fill the void.
Guess what? It can’t be done. Not out there in the light. You’ve gotta go back. But you’re broke.
That’s all you can think of now. Finding money. Buying another night. Baring your neck. Feeling your blood drain. Opening to the pleasure he pours into you.
You’ve sold everything. You’re homeless, and hopeless. You live from fix to desperate fix. That’s when they tell you there’s a way you can stay, a way that doesn’t cost money.
Give up the light, they tell you. Give up your life. Become one of us.
You say yes.
You understand now, don’t you?
original publication date: June 21, 2017