Peter Purdue happened to be one of the hardest working young actors in New York that summer of 2018. The guy literally had everything to live for. He was the platinum blonde that looked like a combination of Brad Pitt and Jason Mamoa if you threw them both into a blender. Those crystal blue eyes of his could undress a girl instantly. Not too bad for a guy that hailed from one of the smallest counties in Virginia. Of course this was until he met Michelle Morazzi, the Queen of Horror. Then all of that changed with snap of her fingers.
One Friday night after a film shoot for a low-budget indie thriller, Peter decided, I should surprise Michelle with some flowers.” Honestly, it wasn’t a bad idea at the time. Michelle loved spontaneous romantic gestures. Peter ran to the nearest floral shop that was still open and bought a mixed bouquet of lilies, daisies, and sunflowers. While Michelle loved flowers she made the point of telling him many times, no roses, ever. The very thought of cut roses disgusted her as she adored their fragrance. Only if she lived in the country, he’d gladly buy her a rose bush.
Michelle Morazzi- the Queen of Horror, well, she was dubbed that for a good reason. She was the latest actress to jump into the horror genre and she just soared all the way to the top. Her credits were simply too many to mention. Her and Peter met on the set of a film they were both working on called, The Jezzabelle’s Crucifix. The film unfortunately was not able to obtain theatrical release so the producers opted for straight to DVD. Michelle being the glamorous icon that she was, rolled her eyes upon hearing about it. It’s something that the greatest of actors go through.
Michelle Morazzi, the drop dead twenty-five year old beauty, straight from the streets of Venice had been in New York now for all of two years and had made a significant mark on the acting community. Her skin still remained bronzed and silky, just like the day she left Italy. Her biotin and collagen soaked black hair left you in awe of its’ thickness and virility. The curves of her heavenly body forced every man who gazed upon her to lose their inhibitions. Even the ladies caught themselves staring ever so often. As for her personality, well, that was up for debate. Not the best at relationships, she managed to snag Peter and the two of them had been together for about six months. It was enough time for most people to get to know someone before they decided to do irrational things like pop ‘the question’ or ask to move in together. Peter hadn’t been that way at all. At least she hadn’t noticed anyway. Peter Purdue, the cutie from the Upper East Side as his girl friends called him, seemed like a genuine guy who just wanted to spend time with Michelle and get to know her better. Ask and you shall receive. Isn’t that how the saying goes?
Peter arrived at the apartment building just shortly after 9:00 p.m. and was more than ready to surprise Michelle. He looked at his surroundings. The street in front of the building was quiet and desolate other than the few cars that passed by occasionally. The empty vehicles on each side that were parked slept like sleeping giants. What was the plan exactly anyway? Show up, surprise her with flowers and then invite her out to dinner? No call. No text. Just show up? Yeah, that sounded like a brilliant idea. She might be a fan of a little romance but hopefully she wouldn’t think he was a twit.
He checked himself over in the rear view mirror; his long fingers brushed at his course blonde hair in swift motions. The bouquet of flowers introduced itself to Peter’s hands and the two of them stepped out into the warm night air. Despite the heat wave earlier on in the day, the temperature had since dropped and staggered around seventy degrees. The door to his car slammed shut with a push of his foot and he locked the door. I hope she’s in a good mood, he thought for a moment. Then he turned around and headed toward the apartment building. Unbeknownst to him, someone watched from afar in a black sedan that happened to be camouflaged incredibly well.
The building itself was this a recent renovation of an old WWI munitions factory that some rich asshole thought would make primo apartments for not so rich people. It gave Peter a certain impression that if you stare at it too long it may just disappear. Like a mirage in the desert, it would just vanish before your very eyes. Its red bricks fired in kilns that had long since left this world stared back at him strangely and the many windows of the place bore into his soul seeking answers to the mysteries of time.
Just outside the glass doors, directly to the left of the entrance on the wall laid a name plate with buzzers for individual apartments. Peter walked over to it, just like he had a hundred times before and read over the names. All though they were many, his eyes quickly scanned the index until her last name jumped out at him: MORAZZI. Her apartment number was 219. His right index finger rose toward the call button next to her name like a snake about to strike its prey and then, the doors opened to the entrance. Someone else who lived in the building headed out in a bit of a hurry; a middle aged female in a gray pants suit who spoke rapidly on a cell phone in what sounded like Spanish. Peter smiled and ran for the doors. She won’t even know I’m here now, he thought to himself as he dove inside the building just as the doors shut and locked back into place. Moving fast, he found the nearest stair well and began the trip up to his final destination. The stair well was solid and strong with black steps and a white hand rail. Remnants of clove cigarettes lingered in the air from a tenant who had just come down for a quick one. The smoking policy seemed to be pretty strict here. Signs were posted on the walls every which way you glanced while going up. They read: NO SMOKING IN UNITS. QUESTIONS? SPEAK TO THE LEASING OFFICE.
Peter gently grasped the hand rail and let his fingers ride it all the way to the top. Just like he had done as a kid in school. His mind was as free as a bird. By the time he had made it to Michelle’s apartment though, that bird flew right back to the coop. Had he dressed okay? He was wearing a snazzy gray polo shirt, a pair of blue jeans and his favorite gray Avia sneakers. With the flower bouquet in one hand, he reached for the door with the other and made a hard fist as he knocked on the door. The number on the door, 219, bounced with every beat as if it were ready to run for it. No answer. He knocked again. He waited several moments and then tried again. No answer but the door swung open it by itself just a few inches. Peter tried to peek around the corner and see if anyone was there. Not that he could see.
“Hello?” he inquired curiously. “Michelle? Hey, it’s Peter. Mind if I come in?”
No sound appeared to come from within. Hell, the only thing that Peter actually heard right here in this moment was the sound of his heated breath which left his body and then re-entered it on loop. He took that free hand of his and pushed the door open gently until it came all the way open. The lights were off. Silence fell throughout the room like an empty grave. Peter walked further into the apartment and shut the door behind him. He set the flowers down on the antique secretary near the door which sat angrily along the left wall. Michelle, despite Peter’s best efforts, insisted that it stay there in terms of the aesthetic flow of the apartment as a whole. Peter didn’t agree but it’s not like they were living together so he thought it best to not push the issue.
Just as he had reached for the light switch on the wall, the lights sprang awake and a baseball bat came crashing down on the top of his spine. Peter fell to the floor hard and rolled over. What the hell happened? It was all too fast for him to process. A familiar voice came out of the darkness and into the light.
“Goddamn it Peter! I could have killed you. Do you realize that? I thought you were a prowler. I was seriously going to fuck your shit up,” Michelle Morazzi said as she threw down the bat on her nearby Louis Vitton sofa and scooped her boyfriend up off the floor.
“Sorry babe,” he said. “I was just feeling romantic and wanted to surprise you.”
She sat him on the sofa and he fell over in a slump. “Surprises are nice my love, but not when I have a 5:00am call time in Queens. God, you look awful. I royally knocked the piss out of you.” Unable to control the guilt, she pulled him up once more and kissed him on the forehead.
The apartment layout, all though not perfect in her eyes, fitted the Queen of Horror’s lifestyle perfectly. All she needed to live successfully ended up here eventually. The living room with its’ white alabaster walls contained framed film posters from some of Michelle’s favorite horror films, one of the being her all time favorite The Exorcist which hung just above the television set on the wooden entertainment center near the sofa. Various props from film sets sat as trophy items on display for visiting friends and family to drool over. An odd looking floor lamp stood nearby with several metallic arms that stretched out in different directions like a space alien searching a foreign planet. A bookcase with hundreds of titles stood upright next the lamp and showed off their respected authors with great pride: Stephen King, Dennis Lehane, Walter Mosley, Harlan Corben, James Patterson and many others. The entire place smelled like the inside of a Yankee Candle factory, delicious to the core.
Peter’s eyes which were sort of fuzzy came back into focus and a confused look drew across his face. “What in the world are you wearing?” he said.
Michelle didn’t even look at her attire. She just so happened to be wearing a very tight, very black, leather BDSM outfit. A matching mask covered the surface area around her eyes.
Rather an odd outfit to be wearing around the house, don’t you think? Peter asked.
He hadn’t been made aware of any potential sex-capades with his girlfriend either. At any rate, the question did not faze her and she answered it with a firm coolness. The eyebrows on Peter’s face stood at attention.
“This cheap ass thing? It’s for the shoot tomorrow. I’m playing a dominatrix. Before you say anything, no, it’s not a freakin’ porno, okay? So just relax.” She joined him on the sofa.
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