He left the cab with rolling gait, the swarthy sailor unused to walking upon a surface that was not in constant motion. In front of his destination, the murmurs of the pleasure-house’s patrons escaping through the open door. He smoothed out his black canvas clothes and short black hair. He was expected, and it was in his nature to esteem his host with his best appearance.
His eternal mistress, the savage sea, called to him still, even this far away from the docks. But for this moment, that call was overridden by something stronger…
He was greeted inside by the overwhelming sights and sounds of revelry. At the bar he ordered the strong coffee of the Turks; however he was not thirsty, nor craving its effect. As he cast his eyes around the crowded chamber, he saw how others were enjoying their evening. The frenzied trembling of those who partook of the rare black lotus – what they stared at so intently only existed within their own minds. The heavy-lidded gazes and aimless giggles of the friends of the hookah, languidly lolling amongst each other on soft couches. The secretive group in the back corner who surreptitiously refilled their cups from a small unmarked bottle – shady samplers of what could only be liquor.
But such attractions had not drawn him here like so many others. He was blind to their blandishments; only one thing here mattered to him. Hubbub quieting, the pleasure-house bashi held up a hand for silence. The music, which had been lurking in the background, almost out of hearing, rose up and claimed the clientele’s interest.
At the back of the pleasure-house, a mysterious silhouette hinted through the silk curtain. All awaited with baited breath as that enticing shadow moved forward. He sipped his coffee slowly; more to keep his hands busy and hide his mouth for fear of revealing far too much. A guarded and suspicious man was he, used to keeping his own counsel, his own secrets, letting no one in, letting nothing escape.
Tintinnabulation heralded her entrance, bells strewn across her voluptuous form. The unobservant eye would have only seen a woman of exquisite beauty dancing slowly down the dais. But the perceptive eye would have seen the majesty, the pride with which she carried herself as she lived the music. No trained slave or hired help was she, as her body swayed and shimmied in the rhythm of the belly-dance. She chose to dance for all within the pleasure-house, of her own accord. She was no servant to the patrons’ lust; instead, they were her audience in thrall, entranced by her power. She was a goddess, unapproachable by mortal man.
Men wanted to possess her, but no one could ever own a woman such as she. The women wished to be her, to entrance and control the male heart, yet such a divine ascension was beyond them. Yet for all their futility, they could not resent her, all could only hold her in awe. This mistress of the dance; and mistress she truly was, writhing and sliding her nubile body as if under the ardent attentions of an unseen lover. In her proud, defiant eyes, she took what she wanted, yet willing to give back pleasure in fair exchange.
As his gaze caressed her golden flesh leisurely, he felt the blood ignite within him. As she flashed a view of her face behind the veil, he knew that it was she who had called him here.
With a final jangling shake of her torso, the dance was ended, met with thunderous applause. Accepting a silken caftan from the bashi, covering the precious treasure of her form, she beckoned him slowly to a free alcove. He quickly followed her, burning with anticipation. They sat, almost touching, yet across from one another in the small alcove, only the richly adorned table separating them. In private, some of her inapproachability retreated – some of his guarded aloofness receded.
The call of the predator to the prey, helpless against those enchanting eyes as the hunter slowly moves in for the kill. The lure of darkness, the small light enfolded in consuming shadow, unable to escape such all-encompassing night.
He knew what she wanted, and in turn, she knew what he sought of her. Dark desire gleaming within their eyes, there was no need for words, their gaze expressing more than such things as speech could convey. Taking his hand boldly, she led him past the burly guards protecting private rooms. Gesturing into the dark doorway for him to enter, shutting the door quickly, enclosing them within blackness. Brushing against each other in the darkness, soon both reclining upon soft silk sheets. Sliding into an embrace, hands dancing, butterfly fingertips fluttering upon flesh. Lips moist and hungry for sensation.
He unwrapped her quickly, uncaring of the costly caftan as he tossed it to the floor. With animalistic savagery, she tore off his rough canvas clothes, raking his bare back with long, painted fingernails. Slight tinkling of bells as he crushed his body against hers, mouths locked as skin brushed upon skin setting nerves afire with the delicious feelings of exploring one another, the language of the flesh their silent tongue.
Soon enough, the beast within awakened, hearkening to the siren song of blood. The lust for life infusing every aspect as their sensation increased with intensity. The prey bared throat in surrender, succumbing to the primal majesty of the predator.
As their joined flesh rose to fever pitch, the beast’s sharp teeth penetrated the vulnerable flesh of the prey. A cry of pain hopelessly mixed with pleasure as the bite hardened, blood splurting from that savage wound. The predator grows heady on the taste of life, the swift beating heart, rich with arousal and passion. The prey, in agonized ecstasy feels what it is to be taken, to be at the beast’s mercy, to be so completely possessed, the spice of fear adding to the flame coursing through their souls. Bodies combined together in bliss as a shriek torn from their throats rends the night air. Born purely of lust, not just the lust of the raw, sexual urge, but also of something deeper and infinitely darker.
Both sink back to savour the moment, as it fades gradually into memory. The prey; drained but suffused with euphoria, the predator; reeling with the rush of stolen life.
Beyond the shuttered window comes the crow of the rooster, heralding the new day. Their shared pleasure had filled the night with such dark joy. They part; slowly, reluctantly, but both knowing their time has come to an end. At least for now. There will be other nights. There always shall be. Eternal, patient, all-knowing yet never telling, the ancient mistress Nox smiles upon her child.
Another night, while the day is mere remembrance of dark desires.
The sailor boards his ship with a spring in his step, even the most horrid tasks assigned to him cannot remove the visage of her from his mind, his soul. Too enwrapped in reliving the night, he does not notice the blood weeping slowly from the bite on his neck.
Far below the pleasure-house, the last vestige of shadow scuttles back to the basements and cellars of the city, as the painfully-bright sun kisses the horizon. She lies as if sleeping, her trusted servants carefully slide shut the ancient sarcophagus, leaving their mistress to rest within the brief sleep of Death, until she rises once again with the fall of Night.