Gabriella glanced at the photo in her wallet, then stared at the man at the bar. He was short, balding and overweight. His cheap blue suit accentuated his look. She had been searching for him for the past week.
As she stepped into the bar, heads turned and men ignored the women they were with. She was used to that reaction. She sat at an open spot at the bar, ten feet from Jack Williams.
Jack stared at her in his not so subtle way as she ordered her drink. She made eye contact with Jack. The man practically drooled. How classy.
She got up and sat in the open stool next to Jack. “I finished my drink. Would you like to buy me another?”
“Uh, sure. Of course. How about we sit at that table?”
Gabriella went to the table as Jack got their drinks. She engaged him in small talk, pretending she was interested in what he had to say.
“So, Jack, do you have a wife you’re hiding back home?”
“No. I’ve been searching, but I haven’t found a woman who has captured my heart.”
Gabriella smiled at his lie.
“What I need is a great gal like you.” Jack ordered another gin and tonic. “So, Gabriella, that’s a pretty exotic name. You must not be from around here.”
“I was born in Spain.”
“I have important clients in Spain. I travel around the world quite a bit with my job.”
“Is that right?” Another lie. Jack Williams told her he was a marketing manager for a pharmaceutical company. She knew he peddled insurance.
“Yeah, I fly to different countries to meet clients. I’m hoping to do more teleconferencing in the future. Still, you can’t beat those frequent flyer miles, let me tell you, and it’s a good idea to get close to the customer. So do you have a significant other?”
“I had, but he died.”
Jack recoiled, sweat beading down his forehead. The man's hygiene left much to be desired. “Well, um, sorry to hear that. You know what they say, you gotta get back on the old horse.”
She took another sip of her drink and held his hand.
“You probably get this a lot, but you’re a real looker.”
“Not really,” Gabriella said. “I don’t meet many people.”
“Well, I’m all ya need. I have a certain way with women. I treat them like angels.”
“I can tell.”
Jack looked at his fake Rolex. “I was thinking we could go somewhere more private. There’s a hotel downtown I like to go to. Maybe you and I could get to know each other better.”
“I thought you weren’t married.”
Jack smiled. “No ring on this finger. My condo's being renovated, so this'll be more cozy.”
She leaned back and crossed her legs. “I’d love to.”
He paid the bar tab, leaving no tip. They got into his beat-up Pontiac Bonneville. Gabriella held her comments that this was hardly the car a marketing manager of a multinational pharmaceutical company would drive.
During the drive, Jack bored her with false stories of major deals he had brokered in the business world.
They parked in a garage and walked toward the seedy hotel lobby. She stayed behind while he checked in, but remained close enough to listen to the conversation.
“Charlie, I picked up the most amazing babe ever,” Jack said. “I’m talking off the charts. Hook me up with my special room.”
Charlie, the beak-faced clerk, had a stupid grin. “No kidding. I gotta check her out. You’re in luck. I have a bottle of wine you can take up to the room.”
“You’re the best.”
Jack met her outside and led her up the elevator toward room 313. He took out the bottle of red wine, poured two glasses and handed her one. “You know, I don’t do this often. Most of the time, I’m flying around the world. It’s hard to find a meaningful relationship, but I think that might change.”
“Jack, I have a confession to make. I’ve been following you. It wasn’t by chance we met tonight. I thought you might be there, and I had to see you.”
Jack nearly tipped over his glass. “Really?”
“Now that we’re here, I can hardly wait.” Gabriella ripped his shirt open.
“Woh, aren’t you aggressive.” Jack put his glass down.
She kissed his chest and bit his shoulder.
“Ow, that hurt.”
“You don’t mind, do you? I like it rough.”
“I can take it.”
Before he could react, Gabriella gave him a backhand slap to the face. His head jerked back in a whip-like motion.
He touched his face and glared at her. “What the hell was that?”
Gabriella winked. “I was just getting in the mood. We can stop if you like.”
“No, I can play that way. You’re nothing like I thought you would be.”
“You can’t judge a book by its cover. For instance, by looking at you, I would never guess that you like to beat up women.”
Jack stepped back. “What are you talking about?”
“You left Katie a real mess. And you nearly killed your first wife, you sick bastard. Then there was Susie, Dianna and Alicia.” She punched him to the ribs with such hand-speed that he could not defend himself. He dropped to a knee, clutching his ribs and gasping for breath.
“You’re a real piece of work, Jack. Physically, I find you unattractive, but inside, you’re truly repulsive. I’ve been following you from afar ever since I saw the court proceedings when you pleaded no contest to beating your wife. God only knows why she still lives with you. Since the court system did not provide justice, I will.”
She grabbed a fistful of his hair and tilted up his head. “I have contacts in the police force, and through them I saw the court photos of your wife. It looked like she had been run over by a Mack truck. You tore her left retina, separated her shoulder, broke her jaw, and knocked out her teeth. As if that wasn’t bad enough, you ripped most of her hair out of her scalp, you filthy animal.
Gabriella glared at him. “I looked deeper into your background. At the time of your separation from your ex-wife, she had cigarette burns throughout her body. At the divorce proceedings, she said that if she did not leave, you’d kill her.”
Jack staggered to his feet. “You crazy bitch!” He balled his hands into fists, but before he could strike, she kicked him in the groin, causing him to crumple to the floor. She waited until he rose and then punched his face repeatedly until blood covered her hands. She licked the blood off her hands and smiled.
He yelled incoherently, spitting blood, and stepped toward her. He lunged at her, but she deftly sidestepped him. When he turned, she clawed his neck, tearing flesh. Before he could scream, she covered his mouth with her free hand. She sank her teeth into his throat and closed her eyes, relishing the taste of blood. She pulled back and snapped his neck. She wanted to give him no pleasure, only pain. He was not worthy of her seductive gift.
She crossed her arms, tilted her head back and licked her lips. Regardless of how despicable the victim was, it was still sweet, delicious, life-sustaining blood.
Gabriella had to feed, but did not kill indiscriminately, carefully choosing her prey. She went after rapists, child molesters, murderers and other dregs of society. It started when she was living in Lisbon. For weeks she hunted down and finally killed a serial rapist that had eluded the Portuguese police. Since then she had become an amateur sleuth.
After cleaning up in the bathroom, she gathered his body and wrapped it in the bed sheets. She bundled him and scanned the floor for blood. Only a few drops. She had been careful to consume most of it.
She looked for soap and a towel to clean up the blood when footsteps sounded.
“What the hell’s going on here?” the front desk clerk yelled.
Gabriella stopped moving, hoping he would go away. She listened to his fast beating heart and heavy breathing. Damn. The man wasn’t about to leave.
Gabriella’s eyes opened wide at the click of a shotgun. She had seen what happened to another of her kind who had been shot with a shotgun. It took him months of deep sleep to recover from the wound.
She dashed into the bathroom when the clerk opened the door. He walked into the room, shotgun in hand.
Before he could finish his sentence, she jumped out of the bathroom and landed a clean shot to back of the head. He crashed onto the carpeted floor. She felt for a pulse. He was still alive. She bared her fangs and was about to lower them into his neck, but pulled back, sweat dripping from her brow.
No. She just fed. She had to control her urges. Years ago she had decided to feed only on those who deserved it. Although this guy was a scumbag, he had done no wrong.
Keeping a close eye on the clerk, she waited until the streets were empty. After a few minutes, she raised the window, put Jack's body over her shoulder, jumped down three flights and landed on her feet. The street was clear of people and traffic. She moved quickly to the parking garage. Using keys from Jack’s pants pocket, she opened the trunk of his car and dumped his body.
She drove to an unused quarry near the Delaware border. She weighted his body down and threw him deep in the quarry, hoping no one would find him soon.
“Everywhere I go, I’m looking over my shoulder. I can’t do anything without thinking about him,” Andrea Golstin said in between tears. “He said he's going to kill me, and I believe him. I don’t know when, but he’s going to do it.”
“He won’t,” Gabriella said. “You can’t live in fear.”
“You don’t know Darryl. He’s real smart and he knows people. He’s meaner than a pit bull. I just want to get on with my life.” Andrea sobbed hysterically.
Gabriella hugged her. She had met Andrea two weeks ago at a shelter for battered women in Old City Philadelphia. Shortly after they had met, Andrea opened up to her and told countless stories of how her ex-husband Darryl abused her. He kept her locked in a basement for hours at a time. He made her walk around the house wearing nothing but a collar while serving him. Twice he had thrown her down the stairs. He had broken her nose, clavicle, cheekbone and knocked out three teeth.
Gabriella used to be like Andrea and knew her pain. She held Andrea’s head to her chest and rocked her like a baby. “You don’t have to worry about Darryl any longer. You’re going to move on with your life.”
“Yeah?” Andrea looked up at her.
“Yeah.” She helped Andrea to her feet. “I have to go. I have a date tonight.”
“Oh that’s great.”
Gabriella gave her another hug and licked her lips. What she didn’t tell Andrea was that the date was with her ex-husband Darryl. Tonight she would feed lustfully, and take extra pleasure when she thought about the shattered woman in front of her.
Carl went to Boston University majoring in Biomedical Engineering. Carl graduated with a BS degree, and has since worked in the pharmaceutical and medical devices industries. He later graduated from Lehigh University with an MBA degree. His debut novel “Two For Eternity” was released in 2011 by Weaving Dreams Publishing. His novel "Blood Street" will be published by True Grit Publishing in November, 2012. His short fiction has appeared in various publications such as Sinister City, Alien Skin and Glassfire Anthology. He is a member of the Horror Writers Association and has attended the Penn Writers Conference. You can visit his website at www.carlalves.com.