Gift From A God Ch. 08byAbbeFaria©
I appeared down on Mill Avenue, in the parking garage near Harkin’s Movie Theater. He’d got me dressed so that I wasn’t walking around in swimming trunks. Mill Avenue is the main drag where a lot of college kids hang out. It runs right through the middle of campus. There’s several clubs and restaurants and weird little shops and art galleries. It’s a pretty fun place. It’s great for just girl-watching. Unfortunately that was not on our agenda this evening. I was still too weak to put up much resistance to whatever was in my head, but thankfully he was also to weak to risk fighting me.
He never seemed to calm down. You would think that in the intervening time from when I was fighting Hermes he would have relaxed a little bit and just let it go, but he was still thirsting for pain. It seemed to be the only emotion he possessed; anger and hate.
We walked down a couple of flights of steps and emerged outside, appearing behind an Island’s Restaurant and he began weighing his options. I simply sat back inside my own skull. His rage ran into me, sucked me along in it’s wake, but I wasn’t exactly unwilling, I just wasn’t calling the shots. I was along for the ride, seeing how far I was going to go. His anger was infectious. Even though I wasn’t so far gone as to hurt Kristel, his hunger for suffering became my hunger.
Power was coming from my skin like a heavy fog. Men backed away from me, not sure why they were doing so and women, the kind who were drawn to the alpha-male types, were attracted to me, not really understanding why. I certainly didn’t look like the types of men they went for. Although I was tall, I wasn’t cut like the athletes and the tough-guy types. Still, my presence made them forget their conversations briefly and turn in my direction. The thing in my head paid them no mind. He was searching for different prey tonight.
He was a true predator, searching for the weakest of the herd and the most defenseless. It’s not that we didn’t possess the power to take down larger game, it was a matter of taste. Sex was of course on his mind but not the most of important thing. Mainly he wanted fear. He craved terror and pain and the sweetest, most preferred vintage, came from the innocent. He used sex only as small expression of his cravings. In the wrong hands sex is not about love, but about dominance.
Our gaze penetrated stone and steel as we walked, looking for the perfect victim. The miasma of evil that went with us made some of the more sensitive people in the area shudder as we passed. They would stop and look around, suddenly wishing they were anywhere but here, having a drink and laughing with friends. By sensitive I mean people who were slightly psychic. A lot of people are to varying degrees, they just never realize it. Some of them can pick thoughts from a person’s mind and go through their whole life believing they are just incredibly intuitive. For others it’s nothing more than a knack for finding lost car keys. The more gifted ones would wake that night in a cold sweat after dreaming about a man in a dark suit with glowing red eyes.
We found her outside a bar called Dos Gringos. It’s actually on University, which intersects Mill, but everyone just says ‘going down to Mill’ even if where they’re going is on a street two blocks over. It’s a place I’d been to several times. One of its more popular selling points for a lot of people is two-dollar Coronas. I can’t stand Corona myself (or any beer for that matter), tastes like piss, but plenty of other people enjoy it. They also have good bar food, mostly Mexican themed stuff. Its main business is done outside, with an outdoor bar surrounded by high tables and large stools and long picnic tables. It’s all fenced in with a small entrance at the front where a guy stands to check IDs as you enter. It’s a great place to just hang out and have drinks and meet people.
We had been scanning minds constantly as we walked, searching for whatever it was that would set him off and signal him that he’d found whom he wanted. He didn’t let me in on what exactly the criterion was, but it was unmistakable when he found her. There was a surge of excitement as my pulse quickened and my body tensed. Exactly like a big cat preparing to pounce.
She was sitting at one of the tables on the edge of the restaurant, near the fence, sipping on what looked like a margarita. She had short, brown hair with blonde highlights and quiet brown eyes. She was wearing a red dress with white spaghetti straps and a flower pattern. There was a white strip of cloth that went just under her breasts and tied in a small bow in the middle. The dress hugged her body nicely and stopped mid-thigh. Her skin was tan and smooth and even though she wasn’t very tall, her legs were long and made her look taller. Amber was her name.
Amber was sitting with another girl who was busy chatting up a guy she had apparently just met and was completely ignoring her. Amber had a look on her face like she felt out of place. Like she’d rather be somewhere else, away from all the crowds and the noise. It looked to me like she had been delegated to wingman status by her friend and was only there so the other girl wouldn’t have to go by herself.
She was a wallflower. Large crowds were not her thing. She hated all the people pressing in around her, making it hard to move. She hated having to shout to be heard, not that she felt she had anything to add to the conversation anyway. As much as she hated it, she wished that a guy who wasn’t a total loser would come up and talk to her for once. Every time she went out with Shelly, her roommate, it was the same thing. Shelly would start flashing her big tits in guys’ faces and the drinks would appear like magic. Amber would sit quietly until Shelly decided she was either going to go home with one of the guys or that it was time for Amber to drive her back to their apartment. Amber just wasn’t comfortable in bars. It wasn’t that she wasn’t attractive, she was very pretty; it’s just that in the glare of Shelly’s tits, guys tended to overlook her. She was quiet and unassuming. Shelly’s personality overshadowed her.
We breezed past the guy at the entrance and he didn’t notice a thing. The crowd of people parted before me like the ocean around the bow of a ship, and all of them were unaware of my presence. Or to stick with the cat metaphors, like a tiger stalking through the grass of the savannah. I didn’t know how he was affecting the entire crowd like that; it seemed to draw an enormous amount of power. Then again, I didn’t understand how he had stopped Tetisheri either, he just did it. As I said, I wasn’t in control. I could have at least tried to stop him, but I was too drunk with his rage and need to worry about it. My heart raced with the thrill of the hunt and the scent of my prey on the air.
I felt him nudge Shelly and the guy out of the way and to another table, which left Amber sitting alone, looking even more forlorn. She cast an angry glance to the oblivious Shelly and took another sip of her drink. We approached her.
“Mind if I sit?” My voice was back to normal now, no longer that weird, double-pitched tone he had used when he’d been talking to Hermes.
Amber looked up, startled and checked to make sure I was talking to her. She looked me over quickly, trying to decide if I was the normal drunken looser who started to approach her as the night wore on. Half the time it was one of the cast-offs from Shelly’s many admirers. I certainly didn’t look like it to her. My clothes were nice, pressed and creased, black pants, a solid burgundy shirt, the color of blood, and a silk tie so black it seemed to pull light in from around it. The perfect camouflage for hunting in the urban jungle.
“Sure, okay.” She gave me a nervous smile. My face smiled back warmly.
“I couldn’t help but notice that your friend was getting all the attention. That’s not really fair.” I nodded in Shelly’s direction, who now had two guys hanging on her every word. She definitely knows how to use what she’s got.
“Oh. Yeah. She’s certainly...popular.” Amber made a small face, feeling guilty that she’d said something bad about her. “Shelly’s okay, she’s just a little single-minded I guess. She’s a decent roommate though. I only have to get on to her about stealing my clothes every once in awhile.”
“I don’t really want to talk about Shelly.”
“Oh. Well, okay. What would you like to talk about?”
“How about we start with your name? I’m Stephen.” I offered her my hand, which she took with a smile.
As I took my hand away I let my fingers slowly trail the underside of her palm. She noticed and she blushed gently and tried to hide it by bowing her head and taking a sip of her drink.
“Your drink is almost empty. May I get you another one?”
“You aren’t just trying to get me drunk, are you?”
“I would never do such a thing,” I assured her with a smile. “If you’re going to like me, I’d like it to be for me, not because of how much alcohol I was able to get you to drink.”
“Well...when you put it that way, sure you can get me a drink.”
“Not another margarita though, you don’t strike me as a margarita kind of girl.”
“Oh really? And just what kind of girl do you think I am?” she retorted playfully.
I made a show of studying her for a moment, acting like I was really thinking about it. In truth I had already mined the information from her head. I knew her favorite drink, her shoe size, her favorite way to eat a bagel, when her last period was and how she liked to arrange the clothes in her closet.
“Let’s see...Ah! I have it. You, Amber, are a Southern Kiss kind of girl.”
Her mouth dropped open in complete astonishment. “Okay, you’re freaking me out. How did you know that? That’s my favorite drink!”
I just looked at her with an innocent smile. “It’s sort of a gift I have.”
“Yeah, but that’s not a common drink. Half the time I get blank stares from bartenders when I ask for it. That’s why I’m drinking a margarita, the guys here don’t have a clue and screw it up half the time when I explain it to them.”
“Well hold on just a moment and you’ll have a Southern Kiss just like mom used to make.” Leaving her in amazement I went to the bar and ordered the drinks, making sure the bartender made it just right. It’s a simple drink, just a little Southern Comfort and Amaretto. She liked hers without ice. All I got myself was a glass of lemonade. We didn’t feel like drinking. I sat back down, drinks in hand.
“I forgot to tell you–”
“No ice,” I interrupted.
“Wow. You’re good,” she told me with an approving smile.
“I do what I can.”
“Let’s test you out.”
“What else can you tell me about myself. You’ve got my favorite drink down.”
“Ah, a challenge. I like it.” I looked her up and down, again pretending to work things out. “Hmm. If I had to guess, and I never do, I’d say you are from Illinois. Chicago, specifically. You’re a student at ASU, sophomore maybe. Pursuing a degree in something like marketing or communications and your favorite color is yellow.”
I got her major wrong on purpose. I didn’t want to seem like I knew everything about her. She said nothing, just stared at me wide-eyed.
“How’d I do? “
“Wow! You... Not to bad actually. Four out of five. Have you been stalking me or are you psychic?”
I smiled and laughed. “Neither, just very observant. Which one did I miss?”
“My degree. It’s Political Science. So? Explain. This I have to hear.”
“You’re accent gives you away. It’s not heavy, I’ve definitely heard worse, but it tells me you’re from Chicago. So then I ask myself ‘Well now what would a young, twenty-something girl like you be doing so far away from the shores of Lake Michigan?” Going to school was the obvious answer. As for the color, I took a stab. Your dress is red but the flowers are mostly yellow. You don’t seem to me like a girl who likes to make a big statement and even though the red is very flattering on you, I thought maybe the more understated yellow was why you chose it. Plus your purse is yellow too.” I motioned to her purse hanging on the arm of the chair. “A girl whose favorite color was red would have accessorized with a red bag”
She was shaking her head in wonder as I went down my list. “I think I’m going to have to start calling you Sherlock Holmes from now on.”
“As long as you call me.”
“We’ll see about that,” she said and laughed. “Hey, you know what’s really weird?”
“We don’t have to shout to hear each other. Normally you have to almost yell to have a conversation in this place. I mean listen to how loud it is in here.”
“Yeah, that is weird, isn’t it?” I gave her a smile.
I was amazed at the skill with which he handled her. I should have been taking notes. I almost felt bad for the way she walked willingly into his trap. We talked until last call, which in Arizona is twelve forty-five (fucking Mormons!), and by the time she polished off her last Corona she was convinced I was the most charming guy she had ever met.
“Amber! You’ve got to take me home; there’s nobody here worth me going home with. We should have gone to Six. I don’t know why you don’t like driving to Scottsdale.”
Shelly had come walking up to us as we were preparing to leave. She was fairly drunk, definitely to drunk to drive, and she figured Amber was her way home. We let Amber make the decision on her own. I think he wanted to test how well he had roped her.
Amber, buzzed but not drunk, rolled her eyes at the old argument. “Because, traffic going up Scottsdale Road when the bars close is a fucking nightmare. If you drove you’d understand that. And anyway...you’ll have to take a cab or something. I’m going with Stephen.”
She looked up at me, a little unsure, but hopeful. We hadn’t really talked about it. Him and I specifically avoided it to let her believe she decided to ask. Which she did, but how fair is it when you’re reading the persons mind and telling them exactly what they want to hear. He wanted her to tie her own noose. It was more fun that way. The tiger licked his lips.
I made like I was surprised at the suggestion. “Yeah, sure. I was just going to ask you if you wanted to come with me to my friend’s house in Chandler. He has little after-parties at his place on the weekends. You’re more then welcome to come. I’d love it if you came, actually.” I smiled at her and she smiled warmly up at me.
“Oh, well I’ll just tag along with you guys,” Shelly announced.
“Yeah, about that, my car only seats two.”
“We can take Amber’s car.”
“I can’t drive a stick and Amber is too drunk to drive. So are you.”
“But...how will I get home? Amber, you can’t just leave me here!”
“Here,” I took out twenty dollars from my wallet and handed it to her. “It’s my fault you lost your ride so I’ll pay for the cab. The bar will call one for you.”
“Yeah, but...” she stuttered. She couldn’t believe that Amber was being chosen over her. In her mind it was totally unfair that Amber was going to an after-party and she had to go home alone.
“You ready to go?” I asked her.
“Yep. See you later, Shelly. Tomorrow maybe.”
We left Shelly staring dumbly after us as we made our way out. The crowd dispersed more and more as we walked down University back towards Mill. By the time we made it to the parking garage where I had appeared earlier in the night there were only a few people left. Amber wasn’t concerned; she was still amazed at her luck that this cute and charming guy, with the beautiful blue eyes, had picked her over Shelly. That was a definite first.
“You’re in here,” she asked.
“Yeah, up a couple of stories, we can take the elevator up. Unless you feel like a little work-out?”
“No, that’s okay. The elevator will be fine.”
We entered the florescent glow of the parking garage, walking along the sides to avoid the cars filing out, and headed to the back towards the bank of elevators. My heart hammered in my chest with excitement. I had to divert a couple of people with silent commands to use the stairs instead, but it was no problem. When we got to the row of doors we were alone. I pressed the button to call the elevator down.
“So does this guy throw good parties?”
“Yeah, not too bad,” I told her. “He doesn’t invite a lot of people so it’s never too crowded or noisy.”
“Sounds awesome, I don’t like big crowds.”
She gave me a little look at that, but let it pass. The elevator chimed and the doors slid open revealing the empty space inside. “After you,” I told her.
“Thank you,” she said with a little grin walked forward. I stared at the lines of her body, especially her ass, as she moved ahead of me and felt a growl deep in my chest. I positioned myself behind her and reached forward to press the roof button. As I drew back I placed my hand on her bare shoulder, letting my hand slide over her skin, plucking playfully at her shoulder strap. She didn’t say anything, although she was a little surprised.
“You’re very pretty, Amber. You smell so...innocent.”
“Thanks. I guess.” She acted like she was shifting her feet and stepped away from me a little. Of course she wasn’t that kind of girl. That’s why he picked her. She wasn’t a virgin, but she also wasn’t the kind of girl to give it up to just any guy. She liked me but she didn’t really know me. Not enough for this kind of behavior. I kept my hand on her shoulder as she stepped away and let it slip off and I trailed a finger down her back until my hand came back to my side.
“Too soon for that kind of thing?” I asked her in an apologetic tone.
She turned to look at me and blushed. “Yeah, just a little. I like you, but I hardly know you.”
“You’re coming to the party with me.”
“Well yeah, but...Stephen I’m sorry if I misled you, but we’re just hanging out. That doesn’t mean we’re going to...I mean if I thought this obligated me I wouldn’t have come. I mean, it’s a possibility, but definitely not tonight. I don’t kiss on the first date.”
“No, of course not. You’re right. I’m really sorry if I made you uncomfortable. We’re just hanging out for tonight.”
She took my hand, as if to reassure me things were fine. The elevator chimed and the doors slid open, letting in a nice breeze. “After you,” I repeated.
She walked ahead of me to an empty parking level. No cars were up here.
“Where’s your car? God, I hope someone didn’t steal it? Are you sure you parked up here?”
I released her hand and trailed slowly behind her as she walked forward looking around the corner for some sign of my car. Which was not there, of course. The elevator doors closed with a quiet thunk and dropped back towards the ground level.
“My car isn’t up here, they keep this area locked up at night. You need a special key to get to the roof. For the elevator too. Even the stairwell is locked.”
“I don’t understand. How did we get up here? You didn’t have a key to the elevator.”
“You’re right, I didn’t. You don’t miss a thing, do you? I don’t need a key.”
“Stephen, what are we doing up here?”
I didn’t say anything. I just smiled at her and then walked slowly to the ledge, and looked down.
“Look, it’s really late, I think I’m just going to go home. I don’t really feel like going to a party tonight.” She walked back to the elevator and hit the button. After waiting for a few minutes she hit it again. And again.
“It won’t come,” I told her, looking out across Tempe from four stories up. “I told you, you need a key to work it from here. No one gets up here without a key and so the elevator won’t come unless you have a key to call it. See the little keyhole under the button? Employees only, babe.”
“Look, what... Just make it come up here so I can leave. Please?”
I turned to look at her, still grinning. “I don’t have a key.”