You sat there, awaiting word. There had been rumors, whispers about a man who had been seen wandering the underworld, in search of something, of someone…you. The throne upon which you sat was made of finery though anyone could have walked within a few feet of you and would not know as such. There was no light here, ever because that was the way you liked it, desired it, required it. Light had been your only weakness, your only worry until now. Now there was...this man.
You had spent more than a few lifetimes as the huntress, never as the hunted and as you stood from your chair, your heels clicked across the cobblestones, angry chatter to match your mood. The time had passed from whence you had expected to hear answers to your questions, your patience and your nerves both nearing their end. Finally you heard the two approaching, both tall, statuesque women, followers loyal to their queen, each kneeling the moment they saw the look in your eyes.
"You're late", the two simple words spoken softly yet you watched the two shudder at its sound, not daring to speak until they heard, "Tell me what I require to hear, now."
"Yes m'lady, the man is here, we saw him as he walked amongst the derelicts and the homeless, asking questions about you. No one would speak to him, we had already assured that as you instructed but he still draws closer. "
"Surely this isn't everything, you have kept me waiting for such little information, this trinket?"
The one of your right shook her head, her voice shakily saying, "No my liege, we, I followed him, I approached him as he returned to his hostel, using the guise of one of those commoners in disguise."
You lifted her head up, your hand intertwined in her hair, your hazel eyes burning even in the dim light as you said, "Tell me."
She forced her eyes to remain on yours though you could smell the fear, her own perfume and sweat assaulting your olfactory senses as she managed to say, "I asked him if he was looking for company for the evening, that I was available for a price. I could have taken him for you m'lady, I could have if", her words were cutoff as quickly as her air, your hand slipping from her hair to her neck, squeezing it tightly, lifting her like a rag doll.
Your voice this time rose in volume, the words washing over the woman whose eyes grew wide, both from lack of oxygen and the murderous intent in your eyes. "THE MAN IS MINE. I WILL DECIDE IF HE DIES AND WHEN, IS THAT CLEAR?" Words weren't possibly, only a brisk shake of the head as you dropped her like a stone, her body falling to the concrete and she began to cough and sputter. "Now, tell me what he looks like, how he acts, your impression of him and do dare not fail me."
Her voice was hoarse, her throat already bruised, swelling shut as she rasped, "He is like most of the common dwellers m'lady, truly not handsome nor repulsive, his hair is brown, longer than others, average in height and weight and though his eyes are blue, they reflect dull, his life seeming to be draining from him with each passing moment. I see not how he could be a worth adversary to you, he seems incapable of even protecting himself."
You stood there, listening and then with a cold smile saying, "Well, he certainly has excellent taste in women, he turned you down, didn't he?"
This time her face which had been ashen moments before turned a scarlet red, the insult staggering her as her head hung down and she spoke softly saying, "Yes m'lady, this he did."
Nodding you began to walk away before stopping and saying, "His name, did you get the name I required?"
Lifting her head, she nodded as she replied, "Samuels, his name is Jonathan Samuels my queen."
As you flew through the city during the remaining hours prior to dawn you let your mind mull over their words. You knew not of this man, nor of his quest to find you. You were unsure if he meant you harm or what his motive might be but you would have your answers. By the time you arrived back at your lair, the two were still in place, kneeling, waiting as you said, "Tonight, you will watch for him to leave and when he does I will enter his room and see if there is more to this Jonathan Samuels than meets the eye. Return at dusk and do not speak of this to anyone, or else."
That night, when word had been sent, you walked confidently through the doors of the hotel, striding to the front desk where a young woman looked up at you with a smile saying, "Yes miss, how can I help you."
Your eyes met hers, seeing the look, the effect take place almost immediately as you said, "I desire a key, a key to the room of the man Jonathan Samuels and I require it now, is that clear?" She nodded stiffly, typing into the computer, pulling up the room number and quickly coding a card which she handed to you.
You smiled, nodding your head in return before saying, "In thirty seconds you will awaken yet you will not remember me, this key or our conversation" and what that you turned and made haste towards the waiting elevator. Minutes later you were inside, the lack of lighting not a problem, the signs though of a man and his solitary existence evident. A single suitcase, a few meager items of clothing, nothing personal in nature, at least nothing you saw until you took in the book on the nightstand, the journal awaiting your eyes.
It was several hours later that you put the book down, shaking your head in wonder. He was not seeking you, not the woman who brought such fear to those in the world below but the woman, the Lady D. who you had left behind several years ago, another lifetime, another world. How on earth he could have possibly tracked you here, why he would seek you was beyond your grasp but the remembrances of such times did bring a smile to your lips as you closed your eyes and pictured it.
Lady D. had commanded only the finest in submissives, her stance as the premier dominatrix in Chicago earning her legions of followers, eventually an army, one which had commanded the underworld for several years only to be brought down by…and it was at that moment in time that you finally remembered where you had heard that name before. He, he was the writer, the reporter who had sent you scurrying from the city like a frightened chattel. He was the man who had caused you such pain, losing all you had worked so hard to build, destroying your empire with a single stroke of his pen.
You stood, your body shaking in its fury, your hands clenched tightly, blood streaming from where your nails dug into your skin. You felt the presence, the two of them coming to tell you he was returning but you were blind to the fact, needing to make a statement, to do something to strike fear into such a man and as you screamed your revenge you opened your hands, walking over to the wall where you used the palms of your hands to scribe the words, the simple phrase "FEAR ME".
Arriving back at the hotel, I was weary, bone weary from the past few days traveling up and down the bowery, all it seemed for nothing. You were here, that was evident in the look of many of the homeless, desperate people whose eyes had betrayed their tongues. I could have sworn that night there was someone watching me, following me but every time I would turn, trying to catch them off guard there was only the night and its darkness behind me.
I knew the moment I opened the door that something was amiss. The coppery sweet smell of blood, the absence of any light except for the streetlight causing shadows to reflect words, my face turning ashen gray even in the darkness at the two words which I stood there woodenly staring upon. "FEAR ME", the meaning obvious, the threat evident as I felt the chill of sweat as it trickled down my back even in the room as cold as a winter's night could be. There would be no rest this night as I poured myself a drink, checked to make sure the windows and door were locked and sat down to look out into the night sky watching, waiting, wondering.
As the hours passed and I tried to drink myself into oblivion I thought back on what had transpired in Chicago. How my editor didn't share the same zeal for my quest and had finally decided that a parting of the ways would be best for both parties. I'd not handled it well, destroying basically my severance package as I had stormed out, ready to search near and far for the woman who had eluded me, my greatest story, my great American novel, the Queen as you were known in some circles.
I'd once caught a glimpse of you, fleeing the scene of the debacle in Chicago, your brown hair flying as you moved effortlessly, eluding the police and the trap that had been set for you. You had turned when you reached the corner, looking directly at me and I still shivered remembering your eyes, hazel orbs which had turned dark, staring into my soul and promising me we would meet again. Almost the hint of a smile on the corner of your lips as you turned and vanished like the smoke which had begun to fill the burning building.
I took a final sip, the glass slipping from my hand, falling silently onto the carpet of the room, my arm hanging limply as my eyes closed and I surrendered to the darkness. My dreams as always were filled with a vision, a figure walking towards me, moving closer and closer, her silhouette cast in shadows but her identity easily known. It was you, I knew it and though I wanted to flee, my feet seemed rooted to the ground, incapable of movement. I could hear you in my mind, telling me you had come for me, to offer me that which I desired most. Not the folly of the book, it was merely a façade for my true desire, you.
While I slept my tortured sleep, you had sat, thinking, plotting, and planning until finally you stood, walking out into the night, looking at the stars and letting the wind caress your face. Closing your eyes you pictured your quarry, a smile formed on your face, laughter ringing out as you felt the familiar stirrings of the hunt, a thrill you hadn't felt in quite some time but were eager now to explore. He would pay, oh how he would pay for what he had done to you. Revenge was a dish best served cold and the season was now.
I woke up in the chair, my body stiff, and sore from what little rest I had managed. Standing, stretching, feeling the aches and pains of a body which I had long left behind any sense of care for reflected back at me in the mirror. I also saw the red light on the phone flashing, indicating a message. I sat down on the edge of the bed, wondering what it could be. No one knew I was here and no one cared that I knew for sure.
The message playing back was that of a woman, her voice mature, and the tone hypnotic. "Mr. Samuel’s, I understand you are seeking someone, an individual I have information concerning. My price is $5,000 and I promise that you will be pleased with what I have to say, if not, then you need not pay a single penny. I will be in the hotel's bar this evening at 10 p.m. if you are interested" and with that the message ended. Cryptic in tone, interesting in thought I spent the remainder of the day thinking about it, knowing full well I would be there come the appointed time.
You had worked over the years to perfect your craft and one of its unique abilities was to become a shape shifter. Standing in front of the mirror, willing yourself to relax, to breath slowly you pictured the vision you had in your mind and as if by magic your body began to change, to metamorphoses into an older woman, hair of silver though still beautiful, eyes of gray, dressed simply but elegantly in a black dress. Opening your eyes slowly you opened your mouth and heard a voice of wisdom saying, "We meet at last Mr. Samuel's, I promise this will be a moment you will never forget."
At the appointed time I found myself walking into the bar, my eyes slowly becoming accustomed to the dimness of the lightening. I'd almost decided my mysterious caller had decided against meeting until suddenly I felt a hand go through my arm and I turned to see a distinguished yet still beautiful older woman giving me a bit of a smile saying, "Good evening Mr. Samuel’s, shall we?" I escorted her to a table, holding the chair out for her which gave me the benefit of a second smile though I must admit by the time I was ready to sit down it had vanished from her face.
"You smell like a bowery sir, I would suggest you take a moment and use the facilities to freshen up." With that she simply turned her attention elsewhere and I trotted off like an obedient puppy. What I missed was the woman ordering a glass of white wine for herself and a mineral water for me. When the beverages came, she slipped the powdered ingredients of some type of substance into my glass and with a slight movement of her hand mixed it, dissolving the contents moments before I returned. I'd ran some water over my face, trying to straighten out the clothes I'd slept in but I fear my appearance was still not quite presentable though she said no more of it for now.
I lifted a tape recorder out from my jacket pocket, putting it on the table and turning it on. She watched me, her eyes of silver never leaving mine though I must admit I had a hard time meeting her gaze. Women, especially those who seemed as confident and were as beautiful as the one sitting across from me had always left me speechless. I did manage to mumble, "You said you had information about the woman I've been searching for?" She took a sip of her wine; her long fingernails covered in black polish in contrast to the clear beverage as she put the flute back down and said, "Indeed, she was my disciple."
My eyes must have grown wide at the sound as she laughed, the sound almost musical before saying, "You seem surprised Mr. Samuel’s, I was an attractive woman once, considered to be the finest dominatrix in the land." For the next minutes I stumbled and bumbled my way through an apology though quite frankly I hadn't said or done anything to require one. It mattered not; she simply sat there and let my words finally trail off into an incoherent mess before beginning anew. "Dominique was an exceptional talent; I knew that from the moment I first met her. What I didn't know was that she had an alternate side, one she never showed to me until the final night we were together."
Another sip of wine, another momentary pause as the man who sat across from her was transfixed on her story, reaching down to pick up his glass. I took a long swallow, the water rushing down my throat, the taste of the potion sure to be masked, never knowing that I would soon find himself a willing pawn in the game that would be played that night. Before you began to speak again, you took in the sight of me, my hair long, uncut for god knows how long, my blue eyes though red evidently from his earlier bout with the bottle still showing a bit of a spark and to her amusement you found yourself drawn to me, strange yet true.
Finally, she began to regale me once again. "She came to me under the pretense of learning the art, stating her prospective husband had a need for a dominant woman and she wished to be everything for him. She paid me handsomely and I was not above needing the funds, my retirement from the craft nearing and I took her on. She was a natural, by the time only a few days had passed she had taken three potential suitors who had come to me for services under her wing and each found themselves caught in her web. She was like a spider, a black widow that lured them to her with promises of fantasies fulfilled and how she fulfilled them. "
"What I failed to comprehend though was that after she had drawn them to her, they suddenly disappeared. I was too busy basking in my achievement as her mentor to see what was happening under my own roof. It took the morning paper, pictures of the three men who had mistakenly dropped off the face of the earth to make me realize that something was amiss. That night, when she came through the door I confronted her, showing her the paper, accusing her of wrong doing only to find her smiling, confessing all."
"She told me that she had provided them with that which they sought and in return she had taken from them that which she required, their youth. Each word was spoken as calmly as if we were discussing afternoon tea though I reacted in horror, reaching for the phone to call the authorities. I never saw her move, I only found her hand clamped over mine, the strength of her grip threatening to grind my bones into dust as I was forced to look up into her face and listen to her tell me that I should be very careful in my actions. She told me she owed me a debt for showing her the path and though my demise would not bring her pleasure, I certainly would not be allowed to cause her pain."
She reached up, taking her hands and wringing them together as if in remembrance of that meeting, her face turning worried though she could see by the look in his eyes that he was having a difficult time in focusing upon not only your words but your visage as well. "Are you alright Mr. Samuel’s, you look a bit…peaked." He managed to nod, the drug racing through his system overpowering his thoughts, leaving him pliable, easily controlled as she took a final sip of her libation before saying, "Well then, there's the matter of my fee. I would be foolish to think you would have $5,000.00, especially with the loss of your employment, correct?"
My nod was a slow one, my eyes by now glazed over, my expression slack as I shook my head in return. "Oh dear, I was afraid of that. I guess we'll have to come up with an alternative method to allow you to pay your debt. Come along my good man" and with that I stood and walked out of the bar, knowing full well I would follow her, waiting my next command. Walking through the foyer of the grand hotel, I saw her two accomplices waiting by the elevator, a key in hand and as she nodded, they opened the door and the four of us got on. The woman knew how they would react, like cats in heat, their hands reaching out to touch the helpless prey but after a look from her, they fell silent, wondering what was to happen next.
They opened the door to the suite, the night sky providing the only light as she stepped inside, I following obediently behind and with that she looked at them with a smile saying, "That will be all, I have no further need of your services this night" and as they looked on in confusion she shut the door, leaving the two of us alone. Walking over I watched as she took the bottle of wine from where it sat chilling, poured a glass and then turned around to survey her conquest as I waited patiently for my next instructions which were, "Undress for me Mr. Samuels, I desire to see your flesh.
I moved slowly, woodenly as I began to comply. It was like an out of body experience, my mind seemingly unaffected but incapable of any action except that which this woman desired. She watched me with a calm, almost detached look upon her face. Waiting until I had neatly folded all of my items, then standing again for her approval, my look like that of a victim of some kind of shock, uncomprehending, helpless.
She walked over, her steps fluid as she allowed her gaze to take in the sight of the man before her. For a second I thought I saw something, sensed something but then it disappeared as quickly as it had come. Little did I know that my senses were trying to tell me something, though even now it was too late as she came to a stop directly in front of me, a slight smile playing at the corner of her lips.
"I've made it a habit Mr. Samuels of studying your species. So frail, so vulnerable, wanting so many things out of life yet unwilling to give in order to receive. Well tonight I will offer you a chance to give and if you do so freely you will receive the greatest of gifts in return. Why don't you lie down on the bed, make yourself comfortable and I'll explain Jonathan."