Never cross a crow.
Take a look at the first chapter of a new erotic horror shapeshifter story:
There were three things I noticed about this strange guy who had introduced himself as Angel: he wore all black, he was charming, and he had blood underneath his fingernails.
Being a pseudo goth myself, I can’t help but notice when someone else covers themselves head to toe in black. This guy wasn’t excessively huge, but with his neat, freshly pressed black button-down and slacks and his oiled black boots, he had one hell of a presence. I wouldn’t fuck with him. He was Latino, tanned skin, closely cropped jet-black hair, and dark eyes–the kind that had seen a lot, eyes like whirlpools that could pull you in and leave you drowning and breathless. As soon as he sat down next to me on the plane, I found myself intrigued by his appearance and his bizarre cologne: leathery, a tinge of sandalwood, and a faint hint of something organic and acrid.
I noticed his charm the minute the stewardess passed and this Angel guy tapped her on the shoulder. When she turned and locked eyes on him he didn’t hesitate for a second to launch into his spiel. “Excuse me, beautiful,” he said and smiled slowly at her. “I’d ask you to help me out, but I bet you’re a strict lady who won’t bend the rules, right?” His voice was sonorous and barely audible, the kind of voice that would make you want to lean in and listen.
“Depends,” she smiled, revealing an even white smile. She stood up straight and after giving him a thorough look over, she stuck her tits out just a little bit more.
Angel propped up his elbows on his tray table and steepled his fingers. “Well, you see, I fell off my motorcycle right before this trip and to be honest with you, my leg is still bothering me.”
“Ooh,” the stewardess cooed as she batted her beautiful blue eyes. “Are you alright?”
Angel’s smile broadened, and I couldn’t help but notice some strange sort of mischievous glint in his eye. Liar, I thought to myself, but I wasn’t quite sure why. And he was playing the motorcycle cool guy card.
“I’m fine, thank you. But it would help me a lot if some arrangement could be made–you see, if I could get off this plane before everyone else, that would help me a lot. I could make my connection a lot faster.”
“I’m sure I can work something out for you,” the stewardess said. And I shit you not that she looked back over her shoulder and blushed when Angel winked at her.
I barely caught the quick motion of his hand–he brought it up to his lips as if to hide his smile, and I saw it there: red and crusting into brown, but definitely blood. I guess he saw me glancing because he snapped his hand back by his side.
“You’re into motorcycles, huh? I ride myself sometimes. Cruisers, mostly,” I offered, hoping it would get him interested enough and locked into a conversation.
I couldn’t help myself. I needed an excuse to look at him. He was so…interesting. I think it was the sheer intensity of his eyes that intrigued me most of all. I wanted to soak up every detail of him down to the pores of his skin. I caught myself doing this every so often, and if the plane hadn’t have been so cramped, I would have whipped out my sketchbook and started drawing him right there.
“I’m more of a sports bike guy,” he said. “But cool, whatever. I don’t meet many chicks who’re into bikes. I’m Angel,” he said, and he didn’t offer his hand. Nodded instead. Okay, cool guy.
“Sylvia,” I said. “Nice to meet you.” I extended my hand, but not before making sure my sleeve hid the large scar on my wrist. Angel nodded and stared at the back of the seat in front of him while keeping a straight face. I shrugged and dropped my arm. I guessed he wasn’t really into flirting with chicks he couldn’t get anything out of. I looked down at my tattered, paint splattered blue jeans, dusty Converse and faded black hoodie. Maybe he just wasn’t into slobs. Aside from the blood underneath his fingernails, his appearance was very neat.
“Where you headed?”
“Oh, uh, Europe. Just doing some business over there. I’m in sales. Nothing exciting, just a quick trip there and then back to Los Angeles. How ‘bout you? New Orleans home for you?”
Innocent enough question, I considered before answering. But he did flip the conversation right back around on me. And most flights to Europe don’t have a layover in New Orleans. I played along anyway. “It is. Most of the time. I’m an artist, so I travel for exhibits a lot.” I decided to leave out the part about going to Los Angeles for a funeral.
Angel shifted in his seat. I studied him and considered he had perhaps cut his fingers on something before he boarded the plane. But how can someone who rides sports bikes be so careless? And where was the cut?
Blood always intrigued me. I fingered the cuff of my sleeve gingerly and studied the edge of the jagged scar on my wrist. My mind flashed back to the last time I tried to kill myself. As I dragged the razor down my skin, it had not hurt. The warm bath water helped with that. I just watched it trickle down my arms and bloom like roses under the water. Hours later, when my neighbor Nico found me, parts of the slash had opened even more, flooding the bathwater like a geyser. The bright, stop sign red color was a stark contrast to the rusty hue of the blood underneath Angel’s fingernails, but I knew blood when I saw it.
The uncomfortable pause in conversation was interrupted by the captain’s announcement welcoming us to “New Orleeeeens!” God, I hated when people pronounced it wrong.
Angel smiled at the stewardess as he quickly deplaned. No noticeable limp. He didn’t take anything out from the seat in front of him and he didn’t get any luggage out of the overhead compartment, either. I quickly gathered my purse and scrambled out to see if I could catch up with him, but he only left a faint trail of cologne.
I sulked. I can’t help it. I admit spying on people who I think are interesting, and Angel was definitely interesting. As I waited for my baggage with all the other bleary-eyed passengers, I had to remind myself that I was here to recharge, spend some time at home, and catch up on my social life. I whipped out my phone to text my friend Jamie to ask for her ETA when I saw the reflection in the glare of my cell screen. And there it was again–that weird cologne. I turned around.
Angel. Connection, my ass! He carried a black briefcase and headed out the door, his strides confident, his gaze forward and focused.
Let it go, Sylv. I swear, even though Jamie hadn’t yet arrived, I could still hear her bitching at me. I had to remind myself that not everyone wants to be an artist’s model.
But I couldn’t help myself. I turned and followed him outside and had to lengthen my steps to keep up with him. He whipped out a sleek cell phone, typed frantically, and looked around. A blacked out Camaro convertible screeched to a stop in front of him. He opened the door and was immediately swallowed up by the darkness of the interior. As the car pulled away, I noted the plate number. Louisiana license plate. He was staying in New Orleans.
I stood there on the curb and watched the Camaro speed away. Did he live nearby? Why did he make up some story about going to Europe?
I almost turned away. Almost. Something else caught my eye. A single black feather on the sidewalk, looking monochromatic under the harsh fluorescent light.
To this day, I can’t tell you exactly what drew me to Angel. Sure, the blood under the fingernails thing threw me off, but couldn’t I have just chalked it up to something minor? And why did the feather seem so strange and out of place?
My intuition has a way of overcoming the logical part of me. And this run-in with Angel proved to be no different.