The wine was warm with a musky taste. Valerie McGregor finished the glass and poured another, much smaller amount, in it. From her balcony, she could see the French Quarter. It always smelled of alcohol, grease, and perfume. They were comforting smells.
She’d grown up in New Orleans, surrounded by the sights and smells of life in the South. Her parents had money and she was a beauty, making her popular from birth. Everyone had told her she would be a movie star or a model when she was growing up and she had been, for a while.
After leaving the bustling streets of New Orleans, she had gone to Los Angeles to become a model. Having a pretty face and a nice body hadn’t been enough though. Her dreams had crumbled, slowly, without her even noticing. Tired of waiting tables and working as a secretary to pay her rent, she had done the unthinkable; she had agreed to meet a man and engage in the oldest profession in the world.
Only, it hadn’t been what she thought it was to be. He didn’t want to fuck her or get a blow job, he wanted her to bleed. Bleed she did, from nineteen lacerations to her face and torso. He’d paid to cut her up and ruin her beauty. He’d paid to watch her slowly die.
When the building security guards arrived the next morning, they had found her nude body still strung up. The blood had congealed in a large puddle under her feet. The cold, tacky substance had coated her body. The hiss of air that had come from her as the paramedics had cut her down had made several people jump.
That had been ten years earlier. She still bore the scars, looking more like Frankenstein’s Monster than a woman. However, unlike The Monster, her physical scars were only pitiful to look at while her psychological scars were terrifying. The girl everyone had thought was so beautiful hadn’t dated, hadn’t even been with a man in a sexual situation, since that night. She detested them, all of them.
They had caught the man that carved her up. Her psychiatrist and the prosecutors had thrown out words like closure. They knew as much about closure as she did the farthest reaches of the universe. She had not felt better because he was behind bars. She had not felt that she had gotten justice. She had felt abandoned, because once the trial was over, there was no one there to comfort her.
She moved back home after that. She welcomed the night life of New Orleans. She blended in with the freaks and fantasizers that wandered the French Quarter. Few, if any, noticed her when she went out after dark in this city, because this was the city of mystery, ghost stories, and vampires. She was just one freak among many.
It didn’t help her anger. It didn’t help her rage. The therapists kept telling her she just needed more time, but she had had time to come to terms with the new her, it still pissed her off. As did the stupid things that rolled off the tongues of her therapists about time healing wounds and at least she had closure.
The only thing that made the monster quiet for even a moment was hunting. The streets of New Orleans at night provided her with plenty of big game. Men who were beautiful, too beautiful to be trifled by a woman like herself. Men who thought a good smile and a wad of cash gave them license to do whatever they wanted, including destroying lives.
She needed them to bleed to soothe her hatred and they did.
©Hadena James 2015