Figures move about within the gloom. The only light is from candles on tables on one side of the room, red neon strips along the bar on the other, and a flickering lighter illuminating faces within a pack at the center.
Red light rising from the bar gives the bartender a spooky appearance, and her spiked Mohawk completes the look of a warrior from a previous century. Kandy orders two glasses of white wine. Turning away from the bar, she waves at the pack. A slender fellow breaks away and slinks over.
There is no mistaking the lanky man, the rockstar from Torx’s apartment.
“Hey, Zee,” says Kandy. She wraps her arms around the man and smooches his cheek leaving a glaze of lipstick behind. “I don’t recall if you’ve met Steve Reynolds, but don’t worry. He’s ill with amnesia or something.”
“Seriously, Steve?” Zee holds out his hand. “You lost your memory?”
The skinny man with slender fingers has a surprisingly strong grip. Steve returns the squeeze. “It appears I’ve somehow misplaced it.”
“Well, damn, man. Describe.” Tipping in different directions, Zee waves his hands at the air. “Maybe I seen your memories wandering about.”
Grabbing a wine glass, Kandy pours the entire contents down her throat and sets the empty glass on the bar. “Excuse me while I powder my nose. And by that I don’t mean anything kinky. You boys have sick minds.”
Steve watches her strut away. Even without music, she seems to dance, stepping to her own beat.
“Yeah, man. I don’t understand what the hell she’s talking about half the time.”
“I believe I remember you.” Lifting the glass to his lips, Steve sips the crisp wine. “Do you know a young man that goes by Torx?”
“Can’t say I do. You remember where at?”
At a party full of college kids, broken bottles, discarded pizza boxes. “That I don’t recall.”
“Man, memory problem has to be the worst.” Zee shakes his head throwing long dark hair around.
Looking away, Steve scans the room taking in the patrons. Most stand in groups, drinking and talking. A bunch gather at the back beside a stage full of instruments and stacks of speakers waiting for the band. Some of the guests appear to be Itoril surrounded by Homo sapiens.
He tips his glass towards the pack. “They know, don’t they?”
“Oh, sure.” Zee glances around. “Most of them are wannabes, addicts. Shit, man. The youngest ones nearly pass for human. I can barely tell them apart sometimes.”
Taking a closer look, he considers that some of the others may actually be Itoril.
“Every generation is less like Ithuriel. Children today. Pathetic.” Leaning back, Zee appears to nearly fall over, but props an elbow on the bar. He waves a finger. “Elders are all hush.”
“What do they think of Yasmine promoting vampire mythos?”
“Politicians.” Zee shakes his head. “Always with their agendas. I can’t believe Kandy bothers with that club. I think she just likes to show off. You know what I mean?”
Rubbing his chin, Steve looks down at the floor as he considers how to extract more information. There is no doubt this is the same Itoril from the apartment. Looking up, he watches Zee’s wandering eyes. The Itoril man seems to look everywhere avoiding eye contact, which seems unusual for a predator. With all the tipping and weaving, Zee also appears high. Is it an act? Maybe Zee hides something. He seems too forthcoming about Itoril politics with a stranger.
Steve empties his wine and sets the glass on the bar. “Are you certain we’ve never met before?”
Leaning the other way, Zee looks over finally meeting the gaze. “No. I’d remember a face like yours. Man, you look military. Marine or something.”
Lights blink. A pair of spotlights flash the stage a second time.
“That’s me.” Pushing away from the bar, Zee weaves through the pack bumping shoulders and pushing guests aside. Climbing onto the stage, he grabs a guitar.
Three others join Zee. A female dressed all in black sits behind the drums, a male wearing an expensive suit stands at the far end holding a violin, and a man towering above the others grabs a guitar. Kandy climbs the stage, and takes the microphone. Hushing, the pack moves closer to the band.
An orange glow, a cigarette, bobs and weaves; the tall musician takes a drag.
Clicking drumsticks set the time.
A lullaby, the violin swims out of the quiet, floating on currents, haunting. Spotlights explode, drums crash, and the guitars sing complementing the eerie violin. Holding the microphone in both hands, leaning towards the audience, Kandy sings like an angel.
Steve feels cold creeping inside. His legs weaken. It is like a spell holding him, enraptured by the music. He listens to Kandy’s every word about love and dancing in the night.
Singing into the microphone she asks, “Will you bleed for me?”
Somehow he feels the rhetorical question deserves an answer, but there is only one answer. Kandy, sweet Kandy, is full of spice along with a heavy dose of killer instinct. Everyone bleeds for Kandy.