The man who sat on the sofa in the sitting room called himself Destry “Dest” Lundegard.
“My ex-wife used to say Dest is the best in bed,” he informed the woman with a lascivious grin. “And she wasn’t the only one who said that. I’ve had a few satisfied customers in my day, if you ladies get the picture.”
“Oh, I think we do, Dest,” Ellen stated with a mischievous glint in her eyes.
The only feature worth noting on Destry Lundegard’s rather insipid face was his nose, a hawkish protrusion with a hooked end. Otherwise, he possessed thin lips beneath a scrawny moustache, no chin, small beady eyes, and sparse hair, combed over his bald spot and slicked down with gel to produce a jet-black shine. For a night out on the town, he wore a purple shirt, black slacks and ankle boots, and a gold-tone neck chain with the words Sexy Dude attached.
By the time Ellen returned with Suzan in tow, the man had already made himself comfortable, his arms slung along the back of the sofa and his shirt opened to the navel, exposing a pale chest and the beginnings of a beer belly.
“So this is your lady friend!” he stated, drinking in Suzan as if she was a prized beverage, a special-occasion malt ale that beat out his otherwise pedestrian preferences in beer. “She’s sure pretty, Ellen, and so are you. I like blondes and redheads.”
“Thank you, Destry,” Ellen acknowledged. “She’s Suzan, my partner.”
“Mind if I ask a personal question?” Sitting forward he wiggled his finger at Ellen and then at Suzan. “Are you two Lesbos?”
“We’re lovers, yes, but also bisexual.”
Destry Lundegard donned a slight frown. “I’m not sure what that means, but as long as you ain’t guys in drag it’s okay...I guess.”
“Oh, we’re not drag queens,” Ellen laughed lightly, seemingly tolerate of the man’s lack of basic manners. “We’re women who go either way, male-female. Tonight, Suzan and I want a man, a real man, very real.” She stressed the last word and let it linger in the air for a moment like a tempestuous musical note.
“Oh, yeah!” Destry agreed, leaning forward again with a drooling leer. “Can I watch you two do it together? And then, do I get to do it with both you girls?”
“Hold on, big guy,” Ellen tempered. “The night is still young and we’re just getting started.”
He flopped back against the cushions, his ardor tempered for a moment. “Oh, yeah, sure...I guess.”
Suzan stood rigid next to Ellen, unable to put into words her disgust, not only for Destry Lundegard but for Ellen’s teasing, come-on attitude toward this cretin. Her heightened sense of smell took in the man’s sweat and testosterone, plus his cheap aftershave, the mix so heavy and putrid that she wanted to gag.
“Dest,” Ellen continued as she placed her arm around Suzan’s waist, “is a visitor to D.C. I met him earlier at the Iron Horse Saloon. I found out he’s all alone, no family to speak of, and only a few friends back home in Minnesota.”
“Yeah,” Dest agreed as he adopted a forlorn look. “I got no family, no relatives, and only a couple of friends at work. Of course, there’s my ex-wife but we don’t talk and I don’t send her any money. In fact, I don’t know where she’s at right now. I’m a computer tech for a prefab housing company and I’m here for a seminar on simulated 3-D imaging. Basically, I create 3-D models and virtual tours of the kind of prefab houses you buy as a kit and DIY.”
He flopped back against the sofa cushions. “But, hey, enough about work; let’s get the party going! Do you have anything to drink, like a beer?”
“We’ll get you a beer in a moment.”
“Bud Lite if you got it. Oh, boy! I’m really looking forward to getting acquainted with both of you gals.”
“And we with you, Dest, we with you.”
Suzan felt a sudden prick at the base of her spine as Ellen coaxed her forward, the prick from the special ring her lover now wore. As Ellen had revealed to her, the ring had been Charles’ special creation, a filigree thimble with a fine-tipped razor blade that popped up with just a touch of the little button on the side.
Now Ellen faced Suzan with a knowing look. “Let’s sit with Dest, shall we, and get comfy? You sit on one side of him and I’ll sit on the other.”
“Oh, yeah!” Dest agreed, patting both sides of the cushions. “I got plenty of room. I’m here to party hearty and fuck you both all night long!”
“We can’t wait!” Ellen declared with exaggerated zeal.
Suzan moved forward and stiffly took a seat on the man’s left while Ellen took the right, nestling against him and stroking his barely visible chin.
Destry’s hand grabbed her right breast and fondled it roughly. Lust and sweat steamed from his pores. “Oh, you are a fuckin’ gorgeous creature! I never had one like you before.”
Ellen laughed. “And you never will again, my darling boy.”
Having been temporarily forgotten by the amorous couple, Suzan felt glad for the reprieve and quietly inched away from the man’s disgusting body.
“Hey, hey, Ellen baby, what’s that you got there?”
Destry Lundegard stopped fondling Ellen for a minute and grabbed her hand to examine the thimble ring on her index finger, the blade extended. “It looks real cool but it feels kinda sharp whatever it is.”
Ellen’s laugh turned into a vapid giggle. “Oh, it is sharp, Dest. It’s my special cock teaser. You won’t believe what I can do with it.” For emphasis she lightly ran the tip of her ring blade across his thighs and along his bulging erection.
“Oh, fuck!” he groaned and twitched. “Give it to me, baby, everything you got!” He fumbled to undo his belt.
A quick swipe of the blade sliced his neck in one, long, even line. Blood immediately poured down Lundegard’s throat and along his chest, a bright scarlet against his white skin, his look of utter surprise forever frozen on his face, his fingers still caught up in his belt buckle.
Ellen glanced up at Suzan. “Now!” she commanded. “Now join me in this wonderful feast! He might have been a repulsive pig, but his blood is rich! So, drink, Suzan, my darling, drink while it’s still warm!”
Suzan stared at her lover in horror. Never had anything repulsed her like this. Ellen’s swift precise act of killing this man, even a vulgar creature like Destry Lundegard, made her reel with fear and loathing.
“No, I can’t!” Suzan clutched her abdomen, everything inside of her now roiling in disgust.
“What do you mean?” Ellen gazed at her lover with cool, controlled regard. “It’s not hard to do, my darling. You just drink it like you would a fine wine. Think of his blood as a superb merlot.” To demonstrate, Ellen lapped up rivulets of blood from the dead man’s chest, her tongue touching the body as she enjoyed her fill. When she finished, she lifted her head and donned a triumphant smile. Not a drop of blood had stained her chin, fingers or her hair. “See? It is like wine! Of course, you will be careful at first, just a little at a time until you build up a taste. I guarantee you will soon enjoy it like I do, an incredible feast for the senses! We shall enjoy it together, my sweet.”
“No, no...I can’t do it! I...I can’t stand it!” Clamping her fist to her mouth, Suzan sprang off the couch and headed for the door. She made it as far as the series of marble stands that displayed Ellen’s prized porcelain before her stomach erupted. At the nearest vase, a Ming Dynasty masterpiece, Suzan bent over and upchucked inside of it. Her mind had since surrendered to her body, her physical reaction wracked with violent overtures. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, Suzan felt well enough to lift her head and wipe her mouth with the sleeve of the robe.
She felt hands come around her shoulders, protective hands that responded with forgiveness and understanding. “I am so sorry, my darling!” Ellen soothed as she gently pulled Suzan into her warm embrace. “It’s too soon, too much. I should have started you off slowly with a less obnoxious and vulgar subject.”
As she spoke, she tenderly rocked Suzan who sobbed quietly against her shoulder. “I chose him because he apparently had no one who would miss him. I don’t blame you for feeling such horror. I don’t quite understand myself, even after all of these centuries, why I have such a hunger inside of me, a terrible thirst for human blood. Although the gods gave me this fantastic gift of immortality, they also put upon me this curse, perhaps because I am human after all.”
“Your vase,” Suzan noted when she pulled herself together again. “I’m so sorry.”
“It’s quite all right, dear.” Ellen gave a small, dismissive laugh. “Besides this piece is fake. I have the authentic vase in my vault.”
“Oh, yes. No matter how hard I try to avoid it, I always seem to knock the stand when I clean. So, I’d rather break a fake pot than a real one. Insurance risk, you know.”
Suzan forced a tentative smile. “I’ll help you clean up the room, and then dispose of...him.” She gave a quick glance at Destry Lundegard, or what was left of him. The gash in his throat had opened wide, letting out a rush of blood that stained the sofa cushions and the Persian rug below. “Your couch...it’s ruined...and the rug, too.”
With her arm linked to Suzan’s, Ellen walked them slowly away from the carnage. “Remember what I told you last week? I want to replace that old couch and buy something more elegant, a salon settee perhaps in French provincial. And I’ll replace the rug with a carpet of modern design.”
Suzan winced, unable to imagine the new décor Ellen envisioned. “But what will you do with those pieces? They’re both too blood-soaked to be salvaged, let alone given away.”
“Burn them. I know of a secluded place where such disposals can be done in private.”
In the meantime, they would have to get rid of Destry Lundegard’s body. Earlier in her education, as Suzan learned more about the immortal life, Ellen had told her about the furnace in that part of the cellar near the laboratory. Accessed through a hidden door, the large furnace served as a crematory for the disposal of the deceased, body and clothes. Any jewelry—like this man’s garish bling—would be stored in a secret compartment of the art vault.
Now as Ellen went to fetch some wine as a fortifier for their tasks ahead, Suzan eased down in the arm chair. She feared she would never get used to this part of her new existence, if, indeed, she had changed at all.