Our First Holiday Gathering
Today’s Brew: Woodchuck Limited Edition Winter Cider
Our First Holiday Gathering--Kristen Strassel
We closed the door behind the last of our guests to leave the party. Dylan pressed me against the closed door, kissing me deeply as we listened to the car start and back out of the driveway over the snowy gravel on their way back into town.
“You were great tonight, babe. Everyone loved you.”
“I loved them too. Your mom is great, and I love the people you work with.” I’d been seeing Dylan for two months now. I met him on the dating site The Ocean, and neither my girlfriends or I couldn’t believe someone like him was available on there. Early thirties, high powered banking job, hot as hell, no kids, no baggage. Guys like this weren’t for the taking on free dating sites.
He led me back to the living room, and he sat on the arm of the chair. I climbed into his lap and rested my forehead against his. It was slightly clammy with sweat from drinking too much brandy. He pulled me in closer, his hand running up my thigh slowly.
“Look at this place. Let me start cleaning things up.” Half empty drinks, plates of forgotten food, wrapping paper, and beer bottles littered Dylan’s usually cozy and neat country living room. The fire still roared in the fireplace, peaceful against the party carnage. I started to get up to tidy up before we continued our celebration.
“Leave it, Melanie. It can wait.” He pulled me back on to his lap, nuzzling my chest. He looked up at me and smiled wickedly. “I have something I want to show you.”
“What is it?” I played with the collar of his shirt.
“It’s a surprise.”
“Oooh, I love surprises! What did you get me?” I nipped playfully on his bottom lip in appreciation.
“Come with me,” He led me out of the living room and down the hallway towards the kitchen. He stopped halfway through, next to a doorway. He pushed me against the wall, kissing me roughly, running his hand under my skirt and wrapping his fingers around the strap of my underwear. I didn’t understand what was so special about this spot that he wanted to take me right there, but I had no complaints.
He stopped abruptly. I gasped in protest. He kissed me again. “You are so beautiful.” He pulled a key out of his pocket and unlocked the hallway door. “Go ahead.” He said softly.
I peered into the darkness. “Where’s the light?”
“It’s right here.” Dylan reached from behind me and shoved me hard in the middle of the back into the black abyss.
I bounced hard off of what felt like stairs. Hard, pointy, just tumbling into blackness. I landed in a heap. I tried to steady myself to stand up on the uneven dirt floor, but my head swam and my body screamed.
“What the fuck, Dylan! What the fuck did you just do?”
“Are you fucking drunk? This isn’t funny. Turn the fucking light on and help me up. I think something is broken.”
The light rose slow and dim in the old dirt cellar as he made his way down the stairs at me. His entire demeanor had changed. His pupils were dilated, his hair standing on end from sweat and anticipation, his mouth slack with need. Everything about him now screamed predator.
My stomach churned from fear and alcohol. He was nothing short of frightening, I peeled my eyes away and looked for the exit. When I saw the rest of the room, I couldn’t stop screaming.
Bodies in various stages of decomposure were shackled all around the room. I wasn’t even sure some of them were dead, their heads moved slightly in acknowledgement that I saw them. I screamed until my raw throat bled, and when I had no more voice, I vomited.
Dylan stood over me, smiling. “Do you like them? I only keep my favorites down here. The minute I met you—“
“No. Dylan, please.”
“You’re so fucking sexy when you beg.”
“Aren’t I?” He grabbed my hands and pulled me to my feet roughly. I wavered in and out of consciousness from the pain. He backed me up against the wall, my ankles turning in my heels as I sobbed.
Dylan kicked a pile of bones and filth out of the way. Still holding my arms over my head, he pushed me roughly against the wall by his hips. I could feel his hardness against my stomach. Pulling my arms apart, he slipped one wrist and then the other into the medieval looking cuffs bolted to the wall. He worked at my neck, biting, sucking. I squirmed under his body. He pushed me against the wall harder. He reached around me, unzipping my strapless dress and pulling it down to the floor, then peeled off my underwear. The cold air slapped my body. I gasped for putrid, stale air.
“I like these. I’m leaving them on.” He softly touched my ankles above my heels. I attempted to kick him in the face but he caught my foot and placed it in the shackle and then did the same with the other.
“There. You look like an angel, Melanie.” He stroked my thigh as I cried. “You’re going to love it here, and the rest of my angels are going to love you too, just like everyone at the party did. Right, Amy?”
Oh my God. They had names. Amy, bruised and dirty, moaned. They were alive. Some of them, anyway.
Dylan circled the room, admiring his collection. He stopped at a lump of a former lover, what was left of her body splayed out just like mine, still wearing her party shoes. He ripped a piece of her flesh off her body and shoved it in his mouth like a piece of Thanksgiving turkey. His eyes rolled back in his head in ecstasy. I screamed.
“Shhh, Melanie. It will be your turn soon enough.” He forced his tongue inside my mouth. It tasted of rotting flesh. His clammy hands groped my breasts roughly as I choked down bile, still bawling.
“Once you get to know the girls, you’ll love it here. I’ll be back. I need to go find you a new friend.”
If you’re new to Deadly Ever After, you may not know that Kristen is one of the co hosts of this blog. When she’s not writing stories and tweeting up a storm, she can be found at various television, film, and commercial sets in the Boston area keeping America beautiful as a makeup artist. Kristen is the author of paranormal romance Immortal Dilemma and is represented by Pam van Hylckama Vlieg of Larsen Pomada Literary Agency. Her work will also be included in an upcoming anthology. She loves hairbands, watching football, decorating her house, and hanging out with her awesome cockatiel, McGee.