How to Bribe the Devil
Mae looks at me as she processes the question again. It was supposed to be a simple question, but Mae had taken it very personally.
"Why?" she asks.
"I want to set a meeting with Magenta. Is it that big of a problem?" I fold my arms, matching her stance by the entrance of her door.
"No, just suspicious."
"To apologise for last month. You never went into detail of what happened after I..." I let the sentence hang in the air hoping not to finish it.
"I'll call, and if she's free, we can go today. Is that okay?" Mae went into her room, leaving the door open as she pulled out her work phone from her bag.
"Yes, that'd be okay. Will you have to drive again...again to..." I scratch my head. Suddenly my memory of when Mae drove was hazy, as though it was covered with a dirty film. She is typing away as I try my best to finish the sentence.
"No client should know the whereabouts of the branches," Mae says, her eyes still glued to her screen. I look up at her. I give it a second for it all to make sense. I see. Enchantments.
"Magenta is there so should I go and get a car for us?" She chucked the phone onto the bed.
"Once your dressed, sure."
I watch Mae hurry to the walk-in closest deciding to pair her simple long-sleeved, turtle neck dress with a camel coloured trench coat. She picks up her bag, slinging it over her shoulder and approaches the door.
"Ready to go?" she asks me gently.
"Let's go see Magenta."
I know the place is shrouded in magic and enchantments but my curiosity of who—more specifically what—Magenta is only growing. I know of witches or those with an affinity of magic—moon witches, solitary witches, secular witches, cosmic witches. However, Magenta seems to be some and none all at the same time.
The crystals that Mae carries on her wrist are bits of her magic picked off and used to magnify the properties of her gems. I have never heard of such a skill, but Magenta seemed to have it all.
"Are you coming in, Dominic?"
I didn't notice that I am staring at the 'FolkWhore' sign, standing outside the store the new year breeze creating goosebumps across Mae's legs as she waits on me the door held open. I walk in, and there is a semblance of deja vu as I enter. I know I have been here but trying to recall the memory seems fuzzy.
"Mae, back so soon." That voice...the faery...Clinton.
"Hi Klaus, you're here again. Don't you have a job?" Mae asks as she places her elbows on the glass table. The male faery stands behind it tracing small circles on her hands.
"No, it's been quiet for me. I'm half pleased and half bored." Mae kisses the faery's cheek before nuzzling her nose into it.
"It is your holiday, spend it like Gretchin and sleep."
The New Year brought slumber for most Fae that participated, to spend the first month rejuvenating and taking time for self-love and preservation. To reconnect with the person that matters the most. Yourself.
I had been told that in doing so meant better interpersonal experiences in the future.
"Ah, not in this line of work."
Mae rolls her eyes at her friend and takes my hand, heading towards the emerald green curtains.
We walk through the hallway illuminated by small tea lights casting an eerie glow around us. Mae pushes through the other end.
The female faery was nowhere to be seen, so Mae takes me upstairs. The metal clangs as we walk up the stairs to the wooden door.
Before Mae has a chance to knock the door creaks in.
Just like the first time there sits Magenta as radiant as ever. Her hair is clipped to the side, falling into the crevice of her exposed cleavage.
She clasps her hands together, leaning on her knuckles as she watches us enter her amethyst eyes never once leaving mine.
Mae has to practically drag me in. There is a yearning as well as caution surrounding her.
"Mr Aldrek, I heard you wanted to speak to me." Magenta smiles her pearly whites catching the artificial light. I take a seat in one of the plush chairs the frilled fabric tickle my neck.
"I hear you have some new members," Mae says, easing the tension that swirls in the room. "Could I go see them?"
Magenta allows her eyes to leave mine and looks to Mae, she smiles.
"Yes, of course. They are with Martel practising."
"Martel." I notice a spike in her heart rate and peer up at Mae, who is surprisingly grinning. "I'll be there then when you are done." She turns away, leaving us quicker than I imagined is possible.
Magenta turns her gaze to me studying me like a corpse ready to be dissected, I am sure she knew what I was here for. I just don't know how to go about it.
"I came to apologise for last month. Even more so for the poor girl I killed, and well you as well." My eyes manage to glance at her neck. It didn't even have a trace of scarring, not even an indent.
Magenta waved it off, smiling.
"A superficial wound at best, Mr Aldrek. I understand that the situation must've been very distressing. Seeing Mae like that and finding out her other client is a werewolf. I understand the tension between your kind."
I wouldn't say there is tension; there's just not enough humans for both of us. We need food, they need...well, something.
"I still thought a face to face apology would be most suited, and perhaps a gesture of goodwill. A donation of some sorts."
"Are you trying to bribe me Mr Aldrek? You must've known that your contract with us is still being maintained. You don't have to worry about any suspensions."
"I understand, and I am grateful. Unfortunately, besides money, there's nothing I can think of to offer you as goodwill."
Magenta pushes out of her chair as she speaks, "your money has already gotten me into trouble Mr Aldrek."
"A detective Grier has come to see you?" I ask. Magenta rounds the table showcasing her pink coloured blouse and jeans.
"Followed by his very charming IRS partner." She opens the door, and I stand up, walking out and down the stairs.
"That is why we have procedures in place Mr Aldrek, your recklessness will be our undoing if we are not careful."
"Then what can I do to help?"
"Stay away from here if you can. I understand you are trying to make amends for December, but your goodwill might do more harm than good."
I didn't want to be indebted to Magenta or feel as though I owed her. Indirectly I was trying to bribe or at least buy my freedom. Lincoln's words floated around my head "Magenta is an opportunist if I've ever seen one."
"Surely this goodwill could be processed through your usual channels?" I ask as we reach the bottom of the stairs.
Magenta seems to be mumbling to herself, leading me down a small corridor to our right. She sighs labourously.
"Fine if you insist. We hold an annual event here in Seattle, see it sort of as a staff party and an initiation event for the new ones. If you insist on financial goodwill, you can pay towards that. I'll send you the invoice for the event which can be paid after your contract with Mae has ended, this will include the death fee."
My ears perk at the death fee.
"Death fee. I thought that was just for escorts?"
Magenta laughs, one that is deep in her belly and patronising.
"What made you think that she wasn't?" She spins around to address me, "my employees do more than just have sex with people. They need a profession to fall back on, they need to do other things, Mr Aldrek. First and foremost, I run a costume store. One that is international. I may be the owner, but I need a workforce, I need designers, I need accountants, I need customer assistants, I need an HR department, I need techies that can make the escort business run, and I need doctors who don't ask questions. Why outsource when you can fund and train your own employees? And what I can't fulfil with employees I get from clients. I do not employee one-trick ponies, I'm not their pimp."
Magenta seems to be brimming with pride. Her business for supernatural beings almost reviles mine dedicated to vampires. She has seen a market and catered to it one that was three dimensional and fully self-sufficient.
In any other circumstances, Magenta would be a worthy ally and business partner, together we'd monopolise the market, and with her international connections could begin to control the world.
"So if you aren't their pimp, what are you?"
"A smart businesswoman." Magenta pauses outside a door. "You have spent an awful lot of money on Mae." Without giving me the time to respond, she slides open a door revealing a dance studio.
Floor to ceiling mirrors to the right that makes the four whitewashed walls seem larger then they are.
Mae stands in front of a group of people, they all look human enough. No outstanding features to suggest otherwise. However, the smells that lift to the sky suggest otherwise. A few greens to indicate a nature beast it's hard to distinguish which creature whether it be an elf, Fae, or pixie as they smelt very similar. A dark blue for a djinn and silvers for a siren.
There is a rumble in my stomach as I remember the taste.
Mae and like many humans had a somewhat translucent smoke-like substance to them so hard to see until your close and by then your teeth have found their target. There is the faintest shade of red around the edges. Her time spent around me is rubbing off.
Martel, however, was something different entirely, a thick dark fog emanated from him like a warning not to engage.
I have always been fascinated by demons and their subcategories more so the lust demons. Hollywood depicted them and most demons as a red firey beast with tails and horns that end in a point, and for that, a lust demon could move around freely not having to worry about crosses and rosary beads.
You wouldn't think that a succubus or incubus skin much resembled a shattered mirror with sharp jagged edges that I heard is surprisingly smooth. That when you stared into their cloudy eyes, your desires painted itself onto them a complete reflection of your darkest and most lustful fantasy.
That a lust demon found no satisfaction from the sexual act itself but the lust and desire that emanated from their prey an intoxicating aphrodisiac that fuelled them right before giving in. Or perhaps the evil acts a lust demon could have their prey do before filling, giving them what they desired. After all, a demon thrives on evil and sin.
Martel has a pair of shades on to protect everyone around him. It is just as much as a hassle to him as it would be the victim should they become lustful.
He pulls at the waistband of his sweatpants as he speaks, "in a few months y'all will be attending the annual staff party. It's your chance to score some clients and build a portfolio. You'd be surprised by how many clients thrive off on inexperience. You'll be expected to learn the dance routine for our showcase performance aside from your usual dance practice."
The group mutters to each other, a sense of uncertainty clouds above them.
"Don't allow Martel to worry you," Mae says, her voice both calm and reassuring. "The first party is daunting, but you're there to enjoy yourself, meet some of the other guys, make money and build a portfolio. The clients will not be sampling any goods at the party, so your main objective is to be aesthetically pleasing, sell yourself for a good year ahead."
"Martel," Magenta whispers, "he's our Seattle branch dance teacher, teaches the new ones to be flexible and rhythmic. Mae is his partner when a client asks for couples. You should see him in his human form deliciously chocolatey those two, side by side."
Anyone besides Mae would instantly become as radiant as she is. There is a light in her that refuses to be extinguished, one of the things I li-
"We should get going Magenta," I say quickly, Magenta nods her head before clearing her throat catching the groups' attention.
Mae looks to me nodding her head slightly before giving Martel a side hug who in turns kisses the top of her head.
Mae waves at the group before skipping over to us.
"Everything sorted?" she asks.
"Almost," Magenta begins, "I think it's wise if Mae makes the outfits for your event Mr Aldrek. I have no doubt that the FBI and IRS will continue to keep tabs on you well after the contract has ended at least this way we have physical evidence to uphold our claims."
"FBI, IRS. This is the first I've heard of this," Mae says her voice a little higher than usual.
"No need to worry dear, me and Mr Aldrek have kept it contained, but this would help the situation greatly. At least if they catch up to you Mae you won't be blindsided."
"That is fair, I'll start preparing when we get home." Mae looks to me for confirmation.
"Yes, I think that is wise."
Magenta hums a response, and we take that as our opportunity to leave.
A.N. More supernatural creatures. I had the most fun creating my own version of what succubus' and incubus' are like. The mystery surrounding Magenta continues, she's a witch but not your typical kind.
Let me know what you guys think, and most importantly, thanks for reading :)