I die at dawn every day. I fall into a slumber so deep, so devoid of life, you would not be able to pick me out from a corpse on a slab in a morgue. It is like death for me as well. No dreams. Only darkness. One moment I am conscious, and then another, only the cold grasp of oblivion. And I wake up again, as the sun surrenders to the darkness of night.
Perhaps that is good. I think some dreams are best left undreamt, some nightmarish landscapes best left unexplored. What does the owl dream of during the day? The soft flesh of the mouse in his talons? The way the rodent's flesh tears so easily at the prompting of his sharp beak? The warm spray of blood and the throws of death? Is it a pleasant dream? Or a recurring nightmare? Yes, darkness is best, comforting nothingness.
When I awake, Lez is beside me, snuggled closely. One leg over me, her head in the crook of my arm, one arm tossed over my chest. I wonder how it feels to sleep with a corpse. To lay down with something so cold and dead every day. I am not a man to her. She thinks of me as some demi-god. More a worshipper than a lover, more a pet than a companion.
I used to revel in being a loner, not needing anything. Just a highway and a Harley gave me bliss. To the devil with the rest of you. But, I understand now why the old man you see sitting on a porch has a dog. Why he pets the dog, feeds it, gives it a home. It is a simple animal, fully capable of taking care of itself, but he has taken it into his home and provides for it. It can never understand him fully, or why he does things for it. And some days he is cruel to it, kicks it, yells at it. But the dog stays. That is what Lez is to me, she fulfills that need. My pet.
Sliding from the bed, I am careful not to wake her. Quietly I walk to the full length mirror she brought here. I caught her dancing in front of it when I came home this morning. Naked, singing a song by the latest successful teen siren. Forgot her name. There have been so many. She had been running her hands over her body and had jumped, startled, maybe embarrassed. Thinking of me doing that? Then she had laughed, turned it into an erotic dance for me, trying to seduce me. Failing as always.
Now I see me in the mirror. Like a statue carved from alabaster. Pale skin, hard muscle, tall and broad. My flesh a canvas for tattoos, the largest the crow, wings spread, detailed on my chest. Many more...barbed wire on my left arm, pentagram on my right...and I try to remember them, when I got them and why. Where. The pain of the needle piercing my flesh.
I stare for a moment into my eyes, two dark, smoldering coals. My hair is long, but because I sleep so lifelessly, it is just as it was when I laid down. I ask myself...am I a god? Or a monster? Neither is very appealing. Perhaps somewhere in between.
I grab up my clothes and pull them on. Leather pants and Doc Martens. A black tee followed by a sleeveless shirt of fine metal mesh. Last, my nickel plated .45 automatic. It's grips are ivory, inlaid with an onyx crow on each one. A gift from an admirer. I don't need a gun when things get violent. I have much more effective ways of dealing with those who cross me. However, it has it's advantages, and some respond better to it than other things. I tuck it in the front of my pants. More a piece of jewelry than anything.
I walk downstairs to the garage beneath the loft. Racks of tools line the walls, and the pervasive smell of motor oil hangs in the air. My '57 Chevy, '67 Camaro and Harley road hog sit neatly in a row. The Camaro's hood is raised, and my shop bench sits in front of it. Some final tweaking to do before I leave tonight. She is a pure Detroit gas guzzling monstrosity, and tonight, the streets of LA will hear her roar.
It's easy to get lost in such work. I favor the old cars, back when a man with some mechanical skill could play with it, repair it, refine it. Before the trick of gaining more horsepower out of the engine was installing a more powerful computer chip. You can have your modern hot rods, I like my simple, lean, mean stripped down machines. I guess I am alot like them. A simple predator. An anachronism. A dinosaur. But I'm still walking, and my teeth are still sharp.
An hour passes like a minute and I am so focused on my work, even my preternatural senses don't detect Lez before her lips caress my neck. Instincts shout to turn and rip and tear and crush whomever has invaded my private space. I control them, suppress them, and reach a hand back to stroke her long black hair. She moans, her voice filled with the hoarseness of just waking up.
"What's tonight's game Krow?"
My voice is low, a harsh, menacing rasp, branded such long ago from an accident in my mortal days. "Tonight...we race." I feel her shiver against me in anticipation at my words.
The name of the strip doesn't matter. It changes; it stays the same. The people dress different, loose fitting clothes in neon colors. Hip-hop blares from the high dollar speakers of their sleek cars, a throbbing beat that penetrates your bones. Different place. Different music. But the attitude remains the same, the addiction, the desire. High on the taste of octane, hopelessly addicted to the speed, revelling in defiance of the law.
The cars have Japanese names, and the people look at me as if I just stepped off of a spaceship from another world. Klatu. Barada. Nikto. I come in peace. A shark amidst a school of unsuspecting fish. They offer me a disdainful glance and go back to their own conversations. Lez's short black skirt and bra top draw attention. She is pale, almost as pale as me. Like a china doll in S&M gear, a chain joining the piercings on her nose and ear. Her eyes are bright in the reflection of headlights, and her thin lips are twisted in a wry smile, like she is in on some inside joke the rest of the world doesn't know about. Her body seems more leg than anything else, two long, shapely legs in fishnet stockings and knee high platform boots. She stands almost six feet in them, but I am still a good five inches taller. Frankenstein and his bride come to party.
I have a target, a name I have heard, one who dares any challenge, who wagers any amount, who seeks the greatest thrill. Tanner is his name, and as we work the crowd, I ask and slowly we are pointed in his direction.
A group surrounds him, mocking him, idolizing him, worshipping him. Perhaps he is a god to them, or at least the leader of this high octane cult. He could be a surfer, dark skin, bleach blonde hair, blue eyes, features chiselled from the cover of some fitness magazine. He's laughing, and a hispanic girl leans against him, dark latino features, hair blacker than night, silver shades on her eyes even though only half a moon shines in the sky. Full bodied, not like the anorexic fake blondes populating the rest of the strip. Her half shirt reveals a smooth abdomen with a gold ring piercing her navel. She notices me and whispers something in his ear.
He glances up as his friends part before me. "You Tanner?"
He laughs, like I just told some joke. "Maybe. Who the fuck are you?"
His woman whispers something to him again, and his eyes narrow as he measures me up. Maybe she has heard of me, maybe he has as well. My races are infrequent, but my reputation still manages to precede me sometimes.
"Like I said, who the fuck are you?"
"I want to race you."
He laughs again. "You and everybody else here. What makes you any different?"
I feel Lez wrap around me from behind, and I see his eyes wander from me to her.
"What I wager."
He snorts a bit derisively. "Money means nothing to me bro."
"Me either," and then I have his attention, and all his friends stand quietly around, watching the exchange, the air taking on a different feel.
"Then what you wagering?"
I point my thumb behind me, to Lez, and I feel her grip tighten on me, hear her sigh in excitement. "Her."
I have his full attention now, and his woman slides her shades down the bridge of her nose, her coffee eyes focused sharply on mine.
"And if you win?" he says, in a knowing tone that betrays his overconfidence.
"Then I get her," I point at the latino girl beside him.
She slides her shades back up over her face, her look betraying nothing. He thinks a moment, and the crowd is so silent I can hear all their hearts beating, a staccato chorus of life, their breaths held in anticipation.
Glances pass around and I speak again, "One conditon though."
He has that look that says "Yeah, I thought so."
"And that is?"
"The loser gets to watch. Has to watch."
He laughs, "You are a real masochist aren't you man. If that's what you want."
The others laugh too, and they begin to leave, making their way to the starting line. I feel Lez back away, heading towards my Camaro, and Tanner retreats towards his own. The latino girl walks up to me, my face reflected in her shades. "Maria," she says without preamble. She grabs my crotch, "I hope you win gringo." She turns and walks away, her shapely ass tightly accented by the leather pants she wears.
Once I lived for the race. Just like all these others, it was my life's blood. The adrenaline rush as the RPMs climbed into the red were the greatest climax of my life. Now, my heart doesn't even beat, and I feel no excitement as I slam the Camaro into fourth gear and the engine howls like a hungry beast. It's a means to an end now, no more than a cheap circus ride. My opponents are no challenge. My skill, my reflexes, make me unbeatable. I don't race to win, I race to lose.
I know Lez stands at the finish line, contemplating what will happen. This is a new game for her, we haven't played it before, but she knows the outcome. Tanner's lime green Nissan struggles to pull in the lead beside me. I glance out my window and see the determined look on his face. He has never lost. Tonight will be no different.
I ease back on my stance on the gas pedal. I let him nudge ahead just as we reach the finish line. I can't make it too easy, I have to let him feel like he earned it. We blast across the finish, his car's nose nudging across first, and we slow to a halt beside each other.
When we exit, a good part of the crowd has caught up to us. The grin on his face shows he never doubted himself. "Good race bro, but you lose. You aren't going to back out on me are you? I'm looking forward to getting a piece of your bitch."
"I keep my bets."
He's smug, self-assured, arrogant. "You ready to watch? You ready to see what I have in store for her?"
I don't answer him. I see two of his friends leading Lez up, they already have her hands in cuffs. She is playing afraid, and fake tears filled with black mascara stain her face. "Krow?" she pleads.
Just before I turn my back I see Maria, and I feel her cool glance from beneath her shades. "Where to?"
I hear Tanner address his friends, "Throw her in the trunk." He turns back to me, "You just follow bro...if you can keep up."
Keeping up is not a problem, and we rendezvous at a warehouse, a chop shop where cars are turned into sleek racing machines. As we walk in, the smell of oil and grease fill the air, and a bare bulb dangling from the ceiling provides light. Tool kits, spare parts, tires, gasoline, a rack fill the room. He has brought his two friends and Maria. The two friends drag Lez from the trunk as Tanner opens an old refrigerator and pulls out a six pack of beer. "Wanna drink bro?"
"Not yet," I say.
He chuckles, "Help yourself when you are ready."
He snaps the can open, takes a long chug and looks at me. "Now, before my friends and I fuck your woman, do we need to cuff you too? Or are you gonna be able to handle it?"
Lez lets out a sincere sounding whimper, and twists in the arms of his friends. I try not to smile, finally, I can feel the excitement growing inside, my own hunger peeked as my prey falls closer within my grasp.
"I'll be fine. Just do it."
"Oh whoa, no rush. We got all night right? We gonna do her right. We gonna make so she never forgets us bro."
Lez tries to pull away and Tanner walks up to her, taking another long swig from his beer. Then he backhands her, and the slap rings out loudly in the concrete confines of the garage. Blood trickles from the side of her lip where his knuckle gashes it. Bright red blood. I feel something stir inside of me, and I can see lust fill Lez's eyes.
"Strip her boys. I get her first."
Shiney switchblades come ouf of their pockets, and they cut away her clothes, slicing away her leather skirt and top, leaving her standing there only in her stockings and boots. Her nipples are hard and erect on her pale upturned breasts, and goosebumps cover her skin. He probably thinks it is from fear, I know it is from pleasure. He reaches out and touches the small, black tattoo of a Krow above her right breast.
"So what's first bitch? You mouth? Your Pussy? Or your ass?"
Lez recoils from his touch and he steps back. "Raise the rack, hang her from it."
The hydraulic rack rises, and they loop Lez's hands over one end, raising it high enough where she has to stand on her tip toes, her arms raised above her head. Tanner tears his pants open, his belt buckle jingling loudly. He loops his arms under Lez's long legs and pulls her towards his dick, thrusting himself violently into her. Lez's back arches, and a deep moan, to them of pain, to me of pleasure, parts her lips.
"Damn Krow, your woman is all wet. I think she wanted me to fuck her."
Her pale breasts bounce with his hard thrusts, and I can hear him sliding in and out of her.
"Brad...dude, get her up the ass while I am fucking her."
Lez's head snaps up and she looks him in the eyes, "No!" she screams.
"Hey, talk to your man, tell him to race better next time."
Brad. Another dark and handsome groupie. His name isn't important. He anxiously gets behind Lez, pulling his own pants down around his hips, fully erect, trying to figure out how to get a good opening to her ass as Tanner pounds into her.
"Just a minute man," Brad says. "Hold up while I get in."
Tanner stops, and I see Brad spreading the cheeks of Lez's ass, then thrusting inside of her. She screams for real this time. I know it hurts her, but I also know she likes the pain. They set up a rythm as they rape her. Brad in, Tanner out. Tanner in, Brad out. Violate her ass, violate her pussy. Her body is rocked by their motions, her breasts bouncing to the violence. The cuffs have begun to cut into her wrists and blood runs down her arms. More bright red blood. I feel my hands clench into fists.
"What about me," says his other friend.
"Not yet Joey. You get your ass out front and make sure nobody comes to interrupt our little party. When we are done, we'll let you have a go at her."
"What the fuck?"
Venom fills Tanner's voice, "Just do it!" Joey goes, looking over his shoulder with disappointment.
"They'll kill her. And you."
It's Maria. She stands behind me and her hand runs over my crotch. "They'll kill you and dump you somewhere, strip your car down and sell it for parts."
I reach a hand behind me, finding the curve of her back, letting my hand run over the generous contour of her ass. I hear her hiss in pleasure. "I don't think so, Maria," I say simply.
"You let him win didn't you?"
"No. I won."
And I turn, looking down at her, tilting her chin up, bending to kiss her. Her tongue darts into my mouth hungrily, then she draws back. "You're cold."
I slide behind her, "Look at them. Fucking her. Is that how he fucks you? Is that how you like it?" I bend her over the table I was leaning against moments before, and her elbows slam hard into it.
My hands reach around her and unfasten her leather pants, and I slide them down, revealing her bare ass. I can smell her desire, I can hear her heart quicken at my touch. I bend over her, thrusting my middle finger into her inviting wetness. "You want to be her don't you? You want to be chained up and fucked? You want him to rape you the way he is raping her."
She groans and cries out, "Yes."
Tanner looks over, "What the fuck?" His dick slides out of Lez, but his friend continues fucking her up the ass obliviously.
"Maria? Krow? What the fuck you two doing? Brad!"
Brad pulls out of Lez's ass and I shove my thumb up Maria's. Her hands clench the edge of the table and she throws her head back with a sharp intake of breath.
"Motherfucker what are you doing to my bitch?" and he reaches into his pocket, his dick still hanging loose from his pants. Both him and Brad have their back to Lez. Lez, the broken rape victim dangling helplessly from the rack. Not exactly.
Tanner is still easily within her grasp, and with a practiced grace, Lez pulls herself up and her legs dart out to lock around Tanner's neck. He turns just as she does, surprised by the sound behind him, suddenly finding her thighs around his neck, her pussy pressed to his face. A quick motion and his neck snaps audibly, like a gunshot in the room. He falls like a puppet cut from its strings.
I shove my thumb and middle finger deeper into Maria, and I wrap my other hand in her thick black hair, pulling it back and to the side, bearing her neck, her carotid artery pulsing hard in ecstasy at my touch, beckoning me. Her heart beats rapidly, her breath ragged gasps of ecstasy.
Lez grips the rack with her hands and flips herself into the air, landing with catlike balance on the arm of the rack. She kneels, poised on it like a lioness, her nipples still hard and erect. Brad stands dumfounded, looking at the dead body of his friend and mentor, Tanner. Lez pounces.
Her outstretched arms bring the chain of the cuffs to bear on Brad's throat and they crash to the grease stained concrete floor. She pulls the chain tight around his neck, and his hands claw helplessly at it. Despite the violence they have delievered to her, she is still stronger, still faster. Pain is her drug, and she rides high on it now and the adrenaline of the kill.
I bare my fangs as Lez looks at me, her smeared makeup like warpaint on her face, and I descend to the pulsing artery in Maria's neck. My fangs pierce the soft flesh, and a warm gout of blood courses down my throat. I feel Maria convulse in orgasm beneath me, her body quaking at the twin pleasures of my fatal kiss and my fingers inside of her. Her heart pounds, full and hard at first, but then it begins to dwindle. Her body collapses on the table, slumps against me, and her heart flutters, then dies. I stand and lick the still warm blood from my lips. Lez grins as Brad falls still in her arms.
Joey crashes in, probably unable to keep himself from inspecting all the strange noises anymore. Lez rises from the second of her kills, and Joey stares at her nakedness. In a blur, I draw my .45 and fore, a startling rumble in the confines of the garage. One hollowpoint slug shatters his skull and he falls to the ground in a pool of his own blood.
"They cut my fucking clothes off me!" Lez says in protest.
"You loved it."
I holster my pistol, and toss Lez my leather jacket. She pulls it over her small shoulders, and it hangs just to her hips, barely enough to cover her pussy, and she leaves it unzipped. As she walks to the jerry cans of gasoline, it offers a glimpse of her small breasts from time to time. She pours the gasoline over the four bodies, then tosses the can into the middle of the room.
"You want the pleasure?" she asks me.
"No, you've earned it."
As we walk out the door, she lights a cigarette, pausing to take a long drag from it. Then, she throws it back into the garage, and I hear the roar of flames. We climb in the Camaro, and she scoots close to me, wrapping her arms around me. Her lips brush my ear like the wings of a butterfly, "I love you Krow."