Chapter Six: Hunger
Palms Nightclub, Los Angeles, CA- 2020
Lights strobed an array of colors in an orchestrated fashion. Dance music blared throughout the building, the bass vibrating the floorboards below. Bodies against one another, moving like water in a river. The beat captured each person in a way that was intoxicating to them. They could not help but be engulfed with the melodies that played through the club’s sound system.
At the edge of the dance floor rested a dingy bar. The integral spot where several questionable strangers comingle with one another, seeing where the night took them. On the very last stool, alone in thought, sat an Indian woman. She had long curly black hair, her brown eyes almost as delicate as her facial features. Black nail polish gleamed with a clear coat, along with two red bracelets that hugged each of her wrists.
She played with her straw seductively, waiting for a suiter to stumble their way there. You could see her body language and what she was doing. Her perfume was luring, and her black silk dress that shaped her body was a calling card. The traps were in place, and all she needed was just one to come and take the bait.
A gentleman sat down next to her, almost out of breath. Calling the bartender over, he asked for two martinis. One went to him, but the other? For the ominous woman sitting all by herself. He checked her out thoroughly before speaking. “Sorry if my breathing is heavy; you just so happen to take my breath away.”
Chuckling at such a cheesy line, she only gave him a slight smile while continuing to play with her straw. Clearing his throat, he tried using another line. “What is a pretty thing like you sitting all by yourself?”
Turning her attention to him, her lineage showed when her accent wrapped around her words. “Staying away from men like you,” she replied casually.
Caught speechless, he tried regathering his thoughts. “And uh, what kind of man am I?’ he asked.
She smirked at the naïve stranger and said, “Trouble,” before turning away.
The bartender brought both of them their Martini and told them to enjoy it before helping other customers. Grabbing her purse, she took a small sip and put it back down. “Thanks for the drink, quite refreshing.” Giving him a seductive look, she brushed her fingers against his arm and headed to the dancefloor. Loving the chase, she provided, his animalistic instincts followed behind her without a second thought.
She made her way through the dancing crowd until reaching the middle of the dancefloor. A small space opened up, which allowed her to sink in her prey. She turned her gaze on him and only him. Her body began swaying with rhythm, and her hips were moving sensually to the beat, waiting for the gentleman to reach her. Completely mesmerized by her, she slowly wrapped her arms around him and looked deep into his eyes as they both moved together. Grinding upon him, he couldn’t help but try making conversation. He had to know more about this woman.
“What is your name?” he yelled over the music. She remained silent and continued dancing up against him. He asked her several more times, hoping she would give him the answer.
She leaned in and gently bit his bottom lip while running her hands down his chest. Ignoring his questions, she asked one of her own. “How about we venture somewhere private, and I’ll scream yours for you instead.” He mindlessly nodded, dumbfounded by her direct proposal. Taking him by the hand, they both walked outside the nightclub and stood in the middle of the sidewalk.
Grabbing his keys from his pocket, he asked, “Did you drive here?”
“As a matter of fact, I did not. Mind if I take a ride?” The gentlemen laughed nervously, being reluctant on the matter. Pressing herself up against him, she whispered, “Do not be frightened, darling. Your wife will never know I was there.” Confused, he wondered how she knew despite his ring not being on his finger. As if she read his mind, she added, “Rings leave quite an intent to the skin if left on long enough. Something that has happened to you, for example? How long have you been together?”
“Seven years,” he muttered.
“Seven years?” she repeated. Brushing his cheek with her hand, she examined his facial expressions. “How sweet. Does she know of your nightly activities?”
He slowly backed away from her and shoved his hands in his pockets. “On second thought, I think I’m just going to go home. I uh, I’ll just, yeah.” Turning his back toward her, he began walking away.
“Shyama,” she told him. Blindsided, he turned around. She walked up to him and wrapped her arms around his waist, seducing him with her eyes. “You asked for my name, darling. People call me Shyama.”
Feeling his heart beating profusely, Shyama leaned in and kissed him passionately to seal the deal. Pressing herself up against his body, he followed her lead by sliding his hands down her back. Squeezing her butt, things became heated in an instant. Before anything could continue, she pressed her index finger against his lips in a commanding way. “I think these actions are better suited for more private quarters. My place will suffice, don’t you agree?”
“Yeah … Yeah!” with a pep in his voice. “Let me just um, let me just get the car.”
He stumbled toward the parking lot in a klutzy manner anticipating a night worthy of infidelity. Smiling at him, she waited until he was out of sight. A grunt escaped her throat while her stomach grumbled. Sharp pain jabbed her abdomen as if needles were violently raddling inside of her. For Shyama, she knew what this meant. She could not contain this hunger for long, and if it isn’t dealt with, it would only grow dangerously as the night went on.
She took out her mirror and started checking her make up while trying to subside her pain. Shyama knew she had to play this little game a bit longer if she wanted this to end. It was her only way of finding release from this burden she felt. Nervously examining for any flaws to her appearance, her iris’s subtly flickered red. Cursing under her breath, she rubbed them and started doing breathing exercises that she practiced to maintain her form.
“It is okay old girl,” muttering to herself. “We will have our fill.” She reapplied the reddish hue lipstick that accentuated her lips before throwing it back in her purse.
Pulling up in a slick sports car completed with metallic trim and black lining, she began stroking his ego. “Quite a luxurious car you have here. Did you steal it?” Shyama joked.
“No, madam, all hard-earned sweat and tears.” Opening the passenger door, he directed Shayma to her seat. Complimenting his chivalry, she made her way inside. Closing the door behind her, the gentleman got in soon after and started his car. Revving his engine, he sped off into the streets, showing her the real power of his vehicle.
Taking tight turns and burning rubber on the asphalt, he looked over to Shyama, who showed no signs of excitement. All she did was sit there quietly, entertaining the idea that he believed doing such things would captivate her. He asked for her address, to which she swiped his phone from his pocket and typed it into GPS to navigate. Pumping himself up, he was excited for what was about to happen. No woman has ever called him out on being married. Especially one still willing to proceed further into adultery. It brought a new sense of exhilaration for him.
Trying to make the ride feel lively, he wanted to find out more about her. So, he began asking questions once more. “Hey, um, what do you exactly do for a living?”
“I’m a lawyer,” she answered.
Taking interest, he blurted, “A lawyer, huh? Wow, that’s serious commitment right there. I bet you love teaching those assholes a lesson.”
“Only those deserving of such lessons,” she added. “And trust me, darling, there’s quite a few. Most wolves hide in sheep’s clothing seamless to the masses.”
“I bet it is! It’s saddening, really.” Diving in further to the conversation, he said, “Are those the cases that interest you? Bringing justice to bad people?”
“No, what interests me is cases that people genuinely believe they will outsmart and walk freely. Those are the vile I pursue.” Shyama emphasized.
“Wow, ruthless, aren’t you?” he expressed funnily.
Grinning, she knew this man was about to learn just how much that phrase was accurate. “Oh, darling, you have no idea.”
Parking next to a sidewalk, they finally arrived at their destination. Examining the area, he thought it was an upscale place to live. Fancier than the place he lived in with his wife. In the back of his mind, he wondered just how much a lawyer made in order to afford something of this magnitude. Letting Shyama out of his car, she grabbed his hand and escorted him to her place.
Curious, Steven asked, “Is it okay to park there? Seems like a red zone?”
“Trust me, darling, you won’t stay long,” Shyama assured him.
Greeted by a front desk agent, he tipped his hat. “Sir, Ms. Shakti, welcome back to the White Marble. Shall I have the car valeted?”
“That won’t be necessary, Gordon, but thank you, you’re divine as always.” Slipping a twenty in his coat pocket, she left with her date inside the elevator.
Getting off at the fifth floor, they made their way to the end of the hallway, where they came upon a condo door. Turning the lock with her key, they made their way inside. Placed her purse on the kitchen table she walked toward the bedroom. “Make yourself comfortable, darling. I am going to put on something more suiting for the mood.” She smiled promiscuously at him, shutting the door behind her.
Left to wonder her house alone, he began to gather information about who she was. It was a very modern household with stylistic finishes. It was clean, polished, with no family pictures on the walls or evidence of a cozy and nurturing environment that most would call home. In his eyes, it was empty, barren, and cold. If anything, it felt like a showroom.
One item that did catch his eye while inspecting her household was a painting displayed in the living room wall above the fireplace. Walking up to it, he studied the image further. There seems to be a war raging in the background as several faces were displayed in the clouds watching from above. The focus of the picture, though, was disturbing to him. A creature with four arms had one foot on top of a man who laid still underneath puddles of blood. Decapitated heads were threaded together and hanging around this being’s neck. Severed limbs were wrapped around its waist like a skin skirt. In one hand, a sword was held up high with blood dripping down the deities topless body, and in another? What looked to be a demon’s severed head.
Horrified yet intrigued, a voice spoke from his side. “That piece of work is truly one of my favorites.”
Turning to Shyama, she was wearing black laced lingerie with a red silk robe to compliment her risky taste. Pouring a glass of single malt whiskey she kept on her living room table, she handed him his drink before serving herself. Looking up, she admired the painting before her. “Slightly misinterpreted, but a fine painting nonetheless. How well do you know Hindu culture?” she asked him.
He gave her a blank expression informing her of his lack of knowledge on the subject. “Figures,” saying in an almost hurt tone. “You westerners know nothing of such deities.” Sitting on the couch, she crossed her legs and eyed him. “What do you believe in, uh, I am truly sorry I did not get your name?”
“Steven,” he responded. “My name is Steven.”
“Steven,” she repeated. She let his name sink in her head before continuing. “What do you believe in, Steven?”
“I do not know um, Life? Death?” he replied sarcastically. “A long and--”
Shyama raised her hand up, silencing him. “I meant gods Steven. Do you have a god? Do you believe in such things?”
“I do not,” he admitted. Sitting next to her, he put his drink down. “I am an Atheist. Throughout my life, I have always believed that humans evolved naturally. Strong scientific research suggests this chain of events that not even I could disagree on.”
“Evolution? Is that what they say nowadays? Hmm, how quaint,” she gestured in a snarky tone. “Well, you may not believe in such gods, but that painting up there represents a goddess. A fierce warrior that none have ever seen.”
Looking back up at the painting, he asked, “Who is this goddess?”
Taking a sip of her whiskey, she smiled. “Different incarnations of her told throughout the ages. Many names have been made for her. Mahakali, Kalika, even Shyama.” Steve looked at her as she continued. “The story of her birth is quite intriguing as well.”
“Is it really?” he wondered. Shayma nodded her head, taking another sip of her drink. “Well, I can be quite open-minded to things. What’s her story like?”
Shyama rubbed her fingers together, contemplating on telling him. “Do you really want to know of her? Would it tamper the faith you hold to hear such a story?”
He shook his head, confidently. Holding her hand, he told her to try him. Taking his word, she put her drink down, and began telling him the story. “Long ago, the gods were at war with demons. They were vicious and vindictive creatures. They waged war, fought tooth and nail, but a predicament arose after a grueling stalemate. The gods began losing to them. The most powerful could not defeat them alone, so, one by one, they each gave a part of themselves to create a new god. A goddess capable of destroying these demons from the world’s annihilation. This goddess was fury incarnate and filled with such bloodlust. She single-handedly defeated them all with ease. Her name as it will always be in history is, Kali the Destroyer.”
“Sounds morbid, does it not?” he stated lightly. “I mean, I do not believe in such gods, but a goddess bred to just… kill? Sounds a bit psychopathic, does it not?” Nonchalantly turning her head, Shyama corrected him. “She did not know the rules of the world when created, and trust me, darling, no god is a saint. Each has weaknesses that they try to overcome even humanity itself.”
Trying to take another sip of her drink, Shyama’s hand started to shake. She blinked her eyes rapidly, feeling immense irritation. Bending down, she tried breathing again. Steve grabbed ahold of her asking if she was okay. Getting up from the couch, she walked over and leaned against the fireplace, feeling her body ache from starvation.
She looked at her left arm. It shifted erratically, almost as if something was waiting to be unleashed from beneath her skin. Knowing she had no choice, she could not prolong anymore. She breathed in deeply and tried stringing the guy along for just a bit longer.
“Are you okay?” Steve asked, concerned.
“Never better, darling. In fact, I am quite excited for tonight.” Dropping her robe to the floor, his mouth dropped, seeing her body. To him, she looked as if she was glowing from beauty. Throwing back his drink, he put the glass down on the table and began unbuttoning his shirt. Grabbing the unfaithful man by his neck, she began kissing Steve aggressively, but not because of her overwhelming infatuation. Her insatiable hunger was growing with each minute, and as it grew, it became harder to tame.
She bit his neck sexually, only for it to go too far. Blood seeped out of her mouth, staining his shirt below. He yelled, “What the fuck!” while getting up from the couch and cupping his neck. Turning her back on him, she licked the blood off her lips. Euphoria took her over. Shyama’s mouth salivated profusely with pleasure as his blood settled upon her tongue.
Moaning from the moment, she ran her hands through her hair and turned back around. “The blood of deceivers. What a delicacy it is to live in a place full of such men.”
“I do not know what your goddamn deal is, but I’m not into this kind of shit! I’m leaving!” Heading towards the door, Shyama’s impulses instinctively came into effect. With tremendous speed, her body blocked the entrance hindering him helpless. Smiling at him, she grabbed his shoulder and flung him across the living room, only to shatter the glass on her coffee table to pieces.
Shyama then pounced on him ferociously. Holding his hands down, two tusks protruded from her top gums. Her eyes flickered red with a lust of bloodshed. Her skin slowly turned blue like the temples of Jodhpur, and her arms ripped and stretched apart, showing four instead of two. With another set of hands, one covered his mouth as the other stroked his hair. Terrified, Steven could do nothing but witness the horror before him.
“Do not worry, darling. I would just like a taste.” Forcing his head to the side, she dug her tusks into his neck and began sucking his blood like a leech.