"You may go in now," said the butler with the crooked teeth. I swallowed my soul and let it rot in my graveyard stomach as I crossed the threshold; surrounded by masked faces and Versace clad bodies in a malicious masquerade. The clack of my cane punctuated my steps and I only smiled as they stood like lions, supremely confident in themselves. I could see it, death's machinery, in their smile and hear a funeral dirge in their laughter. Drunk off of red wine and bloodlust, they watched with hungry eyes and murmured their secret incantations, "The blood child has come!" And oh how I shone with pride as they carried on their covert conversations about my initiation. My gloves of blood drip, drip, dripped a scarlet ribbon at my coattails, chasing my footsteps as I approached the altar. They watched on with a perverse curiosity as I knelt before the club king, Mister Ram, who hid behind his horned mask. "In whom do we give our trust, child?" His voice pinpricked up my spine, detached and cruel, and for a moment I was afraid to let words leap from the suicide cliff of my lips. "In ourselves. Why pray to false idols and neon gods?" And from behind the porcelain cleft of his goat's mouth I could see him smiling. "You are the wolf," his words were a black plague sonata from an asphyxiated heart, but they were the most beautiful words to hear. My mask was black, painted porcelain and beautifully crafted by hand. They cheered, the gallow gang, for my success as I stood a new woman. A wolf in the clothing of sheep, left to prowl amongst little lambs with malicious desires. It was then that I stepped aside and grasped a wine glass, "It looks like blood," I said, more to myself than anyone else. "But don't you love the taste of blood?" It was a demon in a skin suit that chimed his opinion from the far corner of the room. I adjusted my tie and breeched the crowd, passing through like a pale faced ghost to speak to the man. "Hello, I am Miss Wolf." "Yes, I know." "And who are you?" "I am the Devil, dear child. Pull up a chair! We shall drink to this night!" Who was I to refuse the Devil himself? I did as he said and dragged a chair closer to sit in. Dropped was my cane, wolf's head propped on the arm of my seat. He watched me and I could feel his stare like a cross burdened on my shoulders. His face was a tarot card stretched too wide and threatening to rip at its seams. The Death card, a new start, new opportunities."Are you afraid?" He asked, brows raised to form elegant creases along his forehead. "No. Why fear false idols?" "You say I, the Devil, am a false idol! As I sit before you!?" Far more pleased than offended, he laughed and clapped his hands together in applause. "Oh dear Miss Wolf, there is a reason indeed you are no longer a little lamb!" "Was I ever a little lamb?" I took the time to inspect my hands, stained red from the blood I spilled. "I do not think I was."It was then that a man in a serpent's mask touched my shoulder and twisted his palm in a slight of hand greeting. "Miss Wolf." "Mister Serpent." "I thought that I might speak to you this evening, if you have the time." From behind the emerald finish of his mask I could see the corners of his lips upturn and display rows of razorblade teeth. His hand crept and crawled over the engraved back of my chair and for a moment I feared that he may brush his jaundiced fingers through my hair or touch my skin. "Speak now before I am too drunk to remember it tomorrow." He laughed, but I did not. "Oh Miss Wolf what a sense of humor you have! I have come to speak with you about her!" "Her?" "Her." "Oh her!" I turned back to the Devil who was no longer where I left him, seated cross legged in a death row throne. "Oh my." said I, with raised brows before Mister Serpent snagged my attention once more. "What is it you'd like to know about her?"It was in his movements that I found the reason why he wore the serpent's mask. Where most people would strut he slithered occupying the Devil's chair in the horned lord's absence. "Did she cry? Did she beg?" His vulgar curiosity made my stomach churn with memories. I saw so much blood. "Like a lamb to the slaughterer." It was clipped, not dragged out as most of my speech was becoming. Loose lips sink ships, I reminded myself several times. "It was easy, she did not scream." He sat in silence for a long moment before, much like the devil; he clapped in applause of a deed well done. But still I felt sick. Things began whirling and twirling from then on, too many glasses of wine. Gluttonous, we all drank until we could no longer remember our real names. We danced like marionettes while the Devil's hands worked our strings from high above. Speech slurred and hands became busy with exploration as memories painted over my mind's eye in a murderous cinema of the day's events. There was so much blood. In the whirling and twirling I stumbled through the doors into the courtyard, hunched over in the overgrown garden. Again, I felt sick. I wrapped myself up in my arms until again the Devil came close and brushed my hair from my face. "They all get sick their first time."The memories kept twisting and turning inside my skull and I thought I was certainly going to die right there. I couldn't seem to remember what her face looked like but the color of her dress was brilliant sapphire. A dress turned violet when a wave of blood that ebbed ashore its silk coast. "What have I done?" I called to the heaven's who howled no solace for the wicked wolf woman that I had become. I cowered amongst the still life garden, perfect for a picture. Do not move, I told myself, do not say a thing and perhaps they will forget about my existence. "Where is Miss Wolf?" I could hear them sing their siren song, luring me, a sailorsouled fiend, toward their gallow gang. "Come drink Miss Wolf! Come drink blood child!" Their chants dragged me inside, until I was again in the presence of sharp-toothed death machines. "C'mere, C'mere death child!" They sang waving their hands like war flags high in the air while digging my grave with their smiles.

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