The Books of Darkness
by Robert N. Stephenson
|Table of Contents|
Sarina lived in an apartment in the seaside suburb of Glenelg. A late night dinner at the Grande Hotel had been arranged. Posh and expensive. This time of year finding a car park wasn’t a difficulty.
The wind off the sea, bitterly cold, sliced through my thin coat and the light dinner dress I’d chosen. Tonight, looking pretty seemed important. The smell of seaweed, strong in the air, reminded me of coming to the Bay as a kid. Good and bad memories.
I checked my watch as I crossed the road, it had just gone eight thirty. The open square leading to the hotel held a few desperate young people trying to be a gang; their flimsy street wear wasn’t up to the task. I guess it was the look that mattered.
Once inside the warmth of the restaurant my anxiety, heightened by shivering, eased a little. I had my laptop, the battery fully charged, and a small pad and pen in the front pocket of the bag. I hoped it wasn’t going to be all work.
“Diana,” Sarina called from a table in the far corner. She wore an LBD, hair pulled back. A waiter took my coat and I weaved through the tables towards her.
“You look nice,” she said as I sat down opposite her.
“Why thank you.” I put the computer bag by the leg of the table.
“Forgive me, but I have already ordered wine.” Sarina’s skin looked pale under the moody lighting. Lips glittering with a metallic black gloss showed off the whiteness of her perfect teeth. The smile looked expensive.
“I’m driving, so I shouldn’t drink too much.” A waiter brought over a bottle of red, showed Sarina the label then poured a sample in the glass, waiting for her to taste. She waved him away, refusing to taste or to let him fill our glasses.
“Relax.” Her voice soft, reassuring. “Enjoy the night, you can stay with me if you drink too much.” Her tone inviting.
“We’ll see.” The idea did meet with some expectation, but I didn’t want to sound too eager. She poured two glasses, raised hers to me.
“To the start of something special.”
We clinked glasses. “To your story.” Regardless of what the story entailed, I already had a comfortable feeling with her. I decided to drink too much.
Dinner was all minimal eating and three bottle of wine, of which I drank the majority. Sarina asked about my work, how many books I had written as opposed to how many were actually published.
She expressed interest in me, and me, well the wine, her looks and my libido were keenly interested in her. She originally came from Austria, had moved around a bit over years. She owned a number of companies, though she didn’t say which ones. Sarina said she no longer had to work for a living.
I felt amazed at this young woman’s total independence, I would have expected this from a much older woman. She had had only one real relationship, stressing it had been one sided, her side. We talked about relationships, she finding it difficult being beautiful. Many women wanted to be with her. Many women just wanted her money.
I didn’t mention Samantha, the evening was working out well, I didn’t want to spoil it with tales of unrequited love. We were asked to leave so the restaurant could close, and neither of us liked drinking in bars.
With a little swaying, and Sarina carrying my computer, we braved the cold and made it to her apartment on the third floor of the nearby apartment house. The building, new and well appointed, seemed like the right place for such a successful single woman.
We laughed all the way up in the lift, her touching my shoulder now and again. I liked the contact. She used three separate keys to open the door to the apartment, and quickly bolted it once we were inside, including a large slide-bolt.
Sarina flicked a few switches by the door and the place came mutely alive with copper down lights. She led me into the large and open front room and helped me sit on the three seater, black leather sofa. The cool touch of the leather pressed through my light blue, off the shoulder dress.
It was then I noticed the walls were also black, the ceiling, the doors, the carpet, every piece of modern looking furniture, black. The copper lighting, reflecting off some of the highly polished surfaces set up not only an unusual effect, but also created a deep, oddly comfortable mood.
“I like black,” Sarina said, noticing my frown.
“Obviously.” I felt more than a little drunk. “What’s with the lights?”
“A taste thing.” She touched a switch on the wall and two more copper lights came on over the large floor to ceiling window, immediately turning it into a wall of black glass. “Just relax for a moment.” Sarina left, more copper light came on in an adjoining room.
I could smell age in the place, strange considering the newness of the furniture and the recent construction of the building. I got to my feet and ventured to the wall sized window. My reflection stared back at me. The blue looked out of place, wrong somehow, colour didn’t have a place here.
I touched a black, stone statue of a horse on a stand beside the window, one of the room’s two decorations. It felt warm, excessively warm. The smoothness of its surface said this wasn’t the work of mass production, the statue showed true craftsmanship, time learned skill. Under the smell of age, I detected a new fragrance. Sandalwood. Subtle; more a hint of perfume, a suggestion rather than the scent itself.
I took in the rest of the room, a low cabinet, doors concealed, the black sofa, two wide, square chairs. The coffee table looked to be a solid block of black stone. A tall black vase stood in one corner, black twisted sticks reaching into the light from the opening. On the walls hung three black paintings in shiny black frames. Except for the lighting the entire place was black, not a single colour.
“Diana,” Sarina called from the other room. “I need you.”
I left the window and walked into the room. Sarina lay naked on a massive bed. Her white body in stark contrast to the black sheets and pillows. This room wasn’t totally black, around the walls hung large black and white photographs of a movie star. Bella Lugosi is his Dracula pose. I knew the films, they often played them at Goth parties. What was going on?
“You a Goth?” I asked, torn between two immediate desires.
“In a way you couldn’t imagine.” Sarina said slid one hand over her modest breasts.
“You don’t happen to have “Bella Lugosi is Dead,” by Bauhaus?” I’d heard it once or twice during some of my underground sojourns. Considering the moment, it might be a shadowy twist to what I knew was about to happen.
“I don’t have it, though I have heard it.” She was anxious for me to join her on the bed.
I looked at her naked form. The evening had been perfect and I was certainly in need. I wanted to say something, question the suddenness, but the spell would have been broken, the moment could have been lost. I wanted her skin against mine.
“It has been a while,” she said. Simple statement, and one I well understood. Sarina’s black hair spread across the pillow like a high lustre shadow. Black pubic hair, in the classical V invited me to join. I undressed. She watched silently.
Despite thinking this woman might have a vampire fetish, I sat beside her on the bed. We kissed. I closed my eyes. She kissed my neck, the caress, the closeness, the intimacy I’d failed to find for so long released from me with a sigh. Yes, this is what I wanted.
After making love several times I felt exhausted. I lay beside her, letting my breathing settle. It was unusual for me to climax on a first date. I didn’t trust easily, this just felt right. Staring into one of the copper lights over the bed I savoured the letting go. I closed my eyes and let the sensations take me away for awhile.
Sarina kissed my neck, kissed my shoulder, arm, elbow and I wallowed in the pleasure. Then euphoria. My mind sparked with a high that caught my breath. A deep comfort swept through me. I surrendered to wave after wave of ever heightening euphoria. I opened my eyes and looked down at her, she was biting into my wrist, blood ran from her mouth and onto the sheets.
“What are you doing?” It was hard to speak.
“Giving you something no one could ever give you.” Blood stained her chin, flecked her lips.
Tiredness, a heavy, all pervading weariness swallowed me. I fell into a pool of darkness.
Copyright © 2009 by Robert N. Stephenson