Clara was perusing the newspaper while sitting at a booth. She noticed the article detailing the discovery of a burnt-out car near lover’s lane. It seemed that a young couple heading home from a petting party had spotted the wreck.
A coroner’s inquest was sure to follow, but Clara suspected they would find nothing. After all, their investigations into the deaths of those girls had turned up empty and their bodies left behind valuable clues, not ash.
A waiter passed by and placed a drink on her table before he said, “Compliments of the lady at the bar.”
Clara had been offered drinks before. It came with the territory. Doubly so when she was all dolled up, but until now only men had made such overtures.
Even from here, Clara saw the impeccably dressed flapper who could make jaws drop from a hundred paces. For a moment, she even felt a twinge of envy.
The lady’s green eyes simply enhanced the overall effect, enough to overshadow her expensive jewellery. Clara assumed that lady, in this case, was most likely the correct term to use with this one.
“Long haired brunette,” Clara said in a mumble.
They had crossed paths last night. She was the one who leered at her for having that tattoo. This had to be more than a coincidence.
Clara raised her glass in salute and the lady reciprocated. They both sipped on their drinks and kept their eyes locked on one another. Clara had an inkling that the lady enjoyed the attention.
A waiter dropped something at the corner of her table. When Clara turned to investigate, she felt a cool breeze. Some might assume it had been from an open door, but she knew better.
“Beautiful work you did last night, ma chère,” the lady said.
“What do you mean,” Clara responded nonchalantly.
Clara knew full well that she should be dead. That diversion alone would have given her ample opportunity to bury a blade in Clara’s chest and escape unnoticed.
When she turned to get a better look at her guest, she let out an involuntary gasp. It was hard to believe just how stunning the lady was up close.
“What’s wrong with me,” Clara wondered.
“I love this fashion trend,” the lady said. “My body type is finally starting to turn some heads.”
Clara had studied history extensively, but such anecdotes were usually left out of the books. It was unusual to hear such a statement from someone who lived through it. Although she kept wondering why she had not been relegated to a footnote in the history books by now.
“I’m Evelyn,” the lady said.
“Clara,” she replied. “We met last night.”
Evelyn giggled. Her voice had musical overtones that bordered on being hypnotic. Clara knew she was toning it down, likely to prevent anyone else from becoming entranced.
“Yes, we did, ma chère,” Evelyn said. “We were after the same man, you and I.”
“You hunt in packs,” Clara asked.
Evelyn giggled again before she said, “I was there to stop him.”
Clara had been sipping on her drink while the words sank in and coughed up its contents. Not exactly ladylike, that statement had thrown her for a loop.
“It hasn’t been my experience—,” Clara said before coughing again.
“You deal with the dredges, those we eventually put down, ma chère,” Evelyn said. “You think we need that kind of publicity?”
In a way, it was a relief to hear that the more dangerous elements of their kind were culled. However, that implied there were a great many more than they suspected, concealing their numbers by taking out the ones who got caught.
“I suppose not,” Clara said.
Just then, a series of plates were brought in by the waiter. While the man silently deposited the food, Evelyn winked at him.
“That waiter was with you last night,” Clara asked.
“Of course, ma chère,” Evelyn said. “He and I have travelled together for four centuries now.”
Evelyn broke a bun with her hands and dipped it into the bowl of soup. Clara eyed every movement, even when she brought food to those lipstick covered lips and took a bite. It was the first time she had witnessed their kind eating food.
As soup broth ran down Evelyn’s chin, she giggled. It was so disarming to watch her do these every day actions and for a moment Clara forgot who she was dealing with.
Clara looked at the various items placed before her and opted to grab a devilled egg with anchovies. She wanted something that required one hand to eat.
“So why are we having this pleasant chat,” Clara said.
“An excellent question, ma chère,” Evelyn said while she clapped her hands in excitement.
Evelyn really seemed to be an innocent and excitable young lady. There had to be a dark side to her. They all needed to feed after all. Besides, how could she have silenced that man without a predatory nature? No, Evelyn clearly had a dark side, and it was important to keep that in mind.
“I can honestly see how you might be confused,” Evelyn added just before she bit down on another piece of bread. “I’ve admitted to my advanced age, hinted that I was associated with your latest conquest, and I know you’re not a prostitute.”
“Sounds about right,” Clara said.
“You know, I was a courtesan before my partner found me. Though not nearly as famous or in demand as the Mata Hari,” Evelyn said. “I owe him a great deal for taking me in.”
“So you two are close,” Clara asked.
“Not physically,” Evelyn said dryly. “But yes, more so than many couples will ever be.”
“If I were a prost—,” Clara managed to say.
“It may have elicited some sympathy,” Evelyn said.
Clara nodded and grabbed another egg. Fortunately they were rather scrumptious, not a bad choice for a last meal.
“That’s not why you are here. After all, we normally strive to keep your order out of our business,” Evelyn said.
“You like my eyes,” Clara said facetiously.
Evelyn gave her a good long stare as though she were expecting to find her soul. It was the grin that followed that hinted how close to the mark Clara’s comment had been.
“The fun you and I could have,” Evelyn said. “The passion and ecstasy you’d experience. I could make you question your very existence.”
Every word she said became more hypnotic. Clara had trouble staying focused. She sensed that those words were not only meant to entice but also marked Evelyn’s own loss of control.
“Oh,” Clara murmured while blood flushed through her cheeks.
“You are a very beautiful woman, Clara,” Evelyn said. “It would be fun while it lasted, but eventually you’d realise that I was really the monster you originally envisioned.”
“The hunt would be half the fun,” Clara said with a grin.
“True, ma chère,” Evelyn said and winked. She brought up her glass and said, “To the endless possibilities of life.”
“That can follow you into death,” Clara countered and finished her drink.
“Now, I must get going,” Evelyn said while getting up.
“So soon,” Clara said honestly.
“The opportunity for trouble is far too great,” Evelyn said. “You did us a favour by ridding the world of that filth, so I can in good conscience spare your life.”
“How kind,” Clara said.
Evelyn did not seem to be bothered by the reply. That did not stop Clara from cringing. She had run off her mouth at precisely the wrong moment.
“However, I am obliged to inform you that you have two days to leave this city. Others in your order would do well to leave us be… For now,” Evelyn said.
Clara nodded, the seriousness in Evelyn’s tone made it clear that she meant business.
Evelyn then did something that completely took Clara by surprise. She leaned over and kissed Clara square on the lips. The passion of this act overwhelmed Clara, so much so that she felt her inhibitions melt away.
The lady then picked up a cloth napkin and wiped the combination of their lipstick from her lips. Clara was impressed, Evelyn was aware of her fail-safe.
“You owe me one,” Evelyn said.
She walked out with an elongated gait to show off that sensual sway of her hips. Clara loved to be with men, loved their bodies and how they felt inside of her. Despite all of these points, this imp had been able to negate that factor without breaking a sweat. Clara had learned an important lesson tonight, one that every hunter should learn early in their careers.
“I always repay my debts,” Clara said.
Disclaimer: This chapter is currently in development. There are likely typos, errors, omissions, inconsistencies and so forth. Please do not treat this as a polished and completed work!
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