Chapter 1

The walls are dark blue; there are roughly carved wooden beams crossing the ceiling and framing the door with its heavy iron padlock. I check the chains attached to the St. Andrews cross in the corner of the room. The shackles feel cold, straining against my skin as I pull them with all the strength I have in me. The cross doesn’t budge, not one bit. My eyes rest for a moment on the ball gags and handcuffs hanging on the wall, the sight of them sending a shiver down my spine.

I kick a rat out of the way as I lock the double doors to the room. The room I need for the beast confined inside me. I cannot have anyone stumbling into it or my dark need would be revealed, the need that even my family is unaware of. It’s a secret that would bring down the whole empire I’ve built around me.

I see Taylor in the kitchen and he looks at me, the unspoken question answered by a nod. Everything is set.

I change into sweats and sneakers, notifying Taylor on my way out that I’m going for a run. He peeks out the window and turns to me lifting his brow. “It’s getting dark, Grey, are you sure about that?” “It’ll be alright, Taylor, just a quick run.” “You have to be back in an hour; you know the drill.” “I know, I know.”

His attitude pisses me off, but there’s nothing I can do about it. He knows me well, too well for both of our good. I will not find a better man for the job so I’m stuck with him, just as he is stuck with me, like a Siamese twin stuck to his dumb-ass brother, joined by the waist, sharing an asshole. Figuratively speaking, thank fuck for that.

I step out into the cool crisp air and set a fast pace from the start, trying to use all my energy to exhaust myself. Something vibrates against my thigh. Oh shit, did that rat tag along again? Ah no, it’s my phone ringing. I look at the image of Elena flashing on the screen, and smile as she looks somewhat decent in the picture, her boob job and facelift working miracles on the old witch.

“Hey, Elena.” “Christian,” she croaks before her voice breaks into sobs and a deafening snort. “What’s wrong?” “It’s the warts, they’re back with a vengeance,” she almost howls into the phone. I shudder with the mental image… Last time the warts took over her nose entirely, with long black hairs sticking out of them. She ended up paying the plastic surgeon a small fortune to build her a new nose after he cut off the old one.

“What are you going to do?” I ask her, even though I don’t really care; she’s only a friend of the family after all. “I’m on my way to your tower as we speak. Gail always has the best potions; she has to have something that can help.” Oh fuck, I can’t have her there. Not tonight. “You can’t come over, not tonight.” “Oh, come on, Christian, what are you doing tonight? You have a date?” she asks, snickering, knowing very well that I don’t date. “No, but…” “No buts, my dear, and besides I’m already here.” I hear the familiar ping of the private elevator before she drops the call.

Shit. On the sidewalk. I almost stepped in it… Luckily I didn’t, as picking it off with a stick from the bottom of my shoe is just about as appealing a thought as having Elena over tonight. I hope Taylor will get her out in time.

My jogging route crosses the cemetery and I see a brown haired woman with pearl white skin standing by a gravestone, mourning, it seems. Her being is calling out to me like a siren to the lost souls at sea. I watch her well-formed bosom rise in time with her breathing, her perfectly round breasts lit gently by the moonlight.

She’s unbelievably beautiful, although somewhat pale. She places a red rose on the stone, rises and walks away, or should I say disappears into thin air as I have no clue as to where the hell she went. I look at the rose she left; it’s dead, shriveled up and grey. What the fuck?

I pick up the rose and it breaks into dust, a sudden gust of wind blowing it away.

I turn around and see her big blue eyes staring at me, sending a cool heat through my dark, black soul. She narrows her eyes and tilts her head. “What did you do to my rose?” She asks, accusingly. “Um… I just picked it up and it vanished…” She looks like she’ll be angry, but suddenly she smiles. “Yeah, that happens…” She steps to the gravestone, picking up a fresh red rose from the basket on the ground, placing it on the stone. I watch the beautiful vibrant flower dry up and become grey as she pulls her hand away. “Don’t touch it, and it’ll be fine”

“I better continue my run. You want join me? Or could I walk with you?” I ask her, hoping it’ll not be too late. “You run, I’ll meet you at your destination,” she says, a spark lighting her eyes, heating my body, awakening my lust. Before I have time to tell her where I’m going, she has vanished again, leaving me with a longing I’ve never known burning inside me.

The way home goes by in a fog, the image of a body stretched over the cross, shackles being pulled, and the sound of ragged breathing flashing through my mind.

I reach my tower and see her waiting by the elevator; nervousness flushes over me. Will she run when she sees what I am, what my dark needs are? She’s here, tonight, so I guess we’ll find out.

We step into the elevator, her pale skin beneath her dark red dress irresistible to me. I pin her by the corner and look into her eyes. She tilts her head, exposing her beautiful neck for my greedy mouth to feast on. I kiss her, I lick her, I bite her, the heat between us setting fire to the nearby plant. But I don’t care. I’ve never felt so alive.

The door to my home is open, with green smoke gushing from within. The smell of ammonia mixed with gall fills our nostrils, but it doesn’t matter, the chemistry between us is stronger than any lethal cocktail Gail might cook up.

Suddenly there is a loud scream from inside the apartment, and her eyes widen with curiosity, not fear. “That sounded familiar…” she says as she leaves me standing, watching the hem of her skirt dragging the dust and cobwebs from the floor in her wake, my heart pounding like a steam engine on nitro.

I follow her, even though I know I shouldn’t; the beast inside me is already raising its ugly head. Visions of arms and legs strained against chains are getting more frequent; my head is starting to beat with a dull ache.

A few pots are on the stove, different colors of steam seeping through from under the lids. Gail has been busy, I see.

I watch the girl approach Elena, who is lying on the table with cabbage over her eyes as Gail mixes something in a glass bottle. Gail pours the vile looking mixture into a cup, takes a paintbrush, and says “Elena, are you ready? This will hurt.” The girl catches Gail’s hand and says “Wait! Let me do that.”

Elena lifts the cabbage from her eyes, trying to see who is talking. “Anastasia?” she asks, her voice full of anxiety. “Hello, Elena” she answers, her voice cold as ice. “Just lie down, I’ll fix you in no time,” she says, pressing the cabbage back over Elena’s eyes, pushing her down, her voice now soft as honey. I see a devilish light in her eyes; it’s something I didn’t expect in someone seemingly so innocent.

Gail gives her the cup and the brush without hesitation. Anastasia dips the brush into the liquid, then, with long slimy strands hanging from the brush, she paints over the warts on Elena’s face.

Elena’s face twists in agony, and she lets out a high pitched shriek as the acid burns through her skin, exposing the plastic frame of her newly built nose. “Was that bad, Elena? Tell me…” she says, her voice filled with contempt.

She dips the brush in the glass again and paints over Elena’s lips. Those Botox filled pouty lips sizzle and sputter as the acid burns though them, melting her mouth shut. I see the wicked pleasure in the eyes of Anastasia; this is clearly a personal mission. She continues to smear Elena with the acid, the screams turned into stifled groans as she can’t use her deformed mouth anymore. Gail just stands by, not saying anything. Her normally rosy cheeks are now pale, bordering on green.

There’s a flash of light, blinding my eyes, oh fuck, is it too late already? I hear a scream, the sound goes through my body like fire… Shit, I’m the one screaming!

Taylor comes running. In a haze I see Anastasia staring at me with an amused smile on her lips. Taylor drags me away, towards the room in the back. Anastasia blows me a kiss, before continuing to apply the acid on Elena’s body. The last thing I see before Taylor throws a sack over my head is a bloody silicone implant rolling down the side of Elena’s writhing body until it lands with a wet thump on the floor.

I’m being dragged up the stairs, the beating ache in my head getting worse by the second. My body is convulsing with the cramps ravaging my muscles. I get pinned up onto the cross, bound and gagged. My arms stretched as far as possible before I hear the tell-tale sound of the locks clicking shut. I scream, even though I can’t do it with the gag in my mouth. The convulsions strain me further, the restraints press deep into my flesh with my every movement. The inner door closes, and I hear Taylor bolting it, locking the padlock before knocking on the door twice to tell me it is shut. I know he locks the following door as well, although I can’t hear it, the pressure inside my veins so high my ears are ringing. It burns inside my skin until I think I’ll combust.

The bag flies off my head, as the lightning strikes through my body. I roar and howl, even though the gag is preventing me from doing it. I see the fur rising through my skin, my muscles changing under my fur. My nails turn black as they grow longer and sharper, along with my teeth. I crave blood, I crave an innocent body to feast on. I will do anything to feed the hunger burning in the pit of my stomach. I thrash around, trying to break free, but I can’t. My arms and legs are stuck, the strong chains holding them in their place. My breathing, ragged and heavy, is the only sound in the room.

I don’t know how long time has gone by; the beast that I am is still chained and gagged, exhausted from trying to free itself from the chains holding me in place. I lift my ear, as I hear a sound I did not expect. It’s her… She’s here. Her body is singing to me, pulling me out of the haze inside my head.

I open my eyes slowly; as I smell her scent, the hunger in me is awakened again by her presence. She stands in front of me, a pleased smile on her lips, and a picnic basket in her hand. “Are you hungry?” she asks. Her soft voice caresses me, cradling my exhausted body as it hangs off the cross. I nod, unable to speak with the gag in my mouth.

She touches my arms, and I flinch. The heat of her fingers burns like fire on my oversensitive skin as she drags them through the fur, massaging the sore muscles beneath it, reaching for the lock to the cuffs holding my arms in place. Anastasia, no! I scream inside my head, my mouth still gagged. The beast is awake, and I can’t control him. “Sh… Relax, big boy,” she whispers into my hairy ear, placing her hand over my heaving chest, and I abide, the beast following her every word.

She opens the lock, and my hand falls limply to my side. There’s not a drop of fear in her eyes, even though I know there should be. She reaches for the other lock, and opens it too. My arms are now free and my heart is rapidly beating from the excitement of finally being set free, the prospect of finally soothing the ravaging hunger within me driving me insane.

She bends down to open the cuffs around my legs, her thin dark red dress tightening around her ass, revealing a black thong disappearing between her butt cheeks. The beast in me takes note, the hunger for flesh exchanged for another kind of hunger.

“Tut, tut, tut” she scolds as she meets my stare, her pale skin almost glowing in the darkness of the room. “You must eat,” she says, removing the gag from my mouth. I sniff the air, picking up the smell of fresh blood and raw meat. I growl as she places herself on the floor, ordering me to take a seat. Oh, she looks like the best dinner I’ve ever had; it’ll be a shame if I happen to eat her today. I’d much rather do it tomorrow, when the beast is not present.

She opens the basket, taking out a plate covered with a lid. She places the plate on the floor, removing the lid… and the beast roars! I feel the drool dripping from my lips, but I can’t control it, I’m hungry. She giggles at my reaction, then places two champagne glasses filled with a blood red liquid beside the plate of brains meant for me. “Enjoy your dinner, big boy” she says and I attack the feast laid out for me like the beast that I am. I realize she doesn’t eat; she just sits there watching me devour it all. She lifts the glass, nodding towards me in a toast before she drinks up.

The beast is soothed, the plates and glasses empty. I wake up and Anastasia is gone. I hear the locks of the door being opened, and light floods though the gap, blinding me for a moment. Taylor stares at me. “How did you get loose?” he asks in shock. “Anastasia let me free,” I answer him, thinking How the hell didn’t they notice her opening the door last night? “The door was locked and sealed, there’s no way she could’ve been here,” he tells me. I’m too exhausted to fight with him; besides I want to go wash my teeth – there’s a strange taste in my mouth, a taste I’ve had only once before, the night the beast took over for the first time.

“What happened to Elena?” I ask Gail as I come back from freshening up. She points to a bucket with strange blobs and pieces of plastic and a few bones sticking out of it. “That happened… Anastasia took her brain and a bottle of blood before she left and stuck me with this sordid mess.”

I need to clear my head. I’m sure she served me the brain last night, and the thought turns my stomach, making me want to puke. I wear my sneakers and go for a run, crossing the cemetery on my way, hoping to find her there. The sun is high in the sky and there’s no sign of her. The rose that she left lying dry and shriveled on the gravestone last night is now bright red as if it was just picked. A piece of paper is blowing in the wind and I catch it. It has lipstick on it, a perfect kiss pressed onto the paper next to the words “Until another full moon, big boy.”

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