The youths at her table cleared out like scared rabbits. A voice approaching behind her brought her out of her thoughts. “Hi, Honey. Would you mind dancin’ with me?”
He sounded a bit gay, but what the hell. She turned toward the sound of the voice. Behind her stood a very young but muscular suitor. Possibly a jock, she thought.
“Sure,” she replied, “let’s go.”
Surprisingly, he was gentle when it came to being a dance partner. Something about him made her think that he was more experienced in worldly things than he let on. His hard body rippled under his neatly pressed dress shirt. Not typical for a jock. But the respect he had been given had been that which was only given to football stars.
He smiled at her, reassuringly. “What is your name?”
She smiled back. “Cindy. May I have the name of the young man who dances so divinely?”
He chuckled. “I am Devon Charles.”
Devon Charles. The all star running back for Tulane University. She began feeling the tears well up. She couldn’t take him home with her. She couldn’t break her tradition of not sleeping with jocks.
She turned away from his gaze. “I am Misty Le Grue. I-I cannot get involved with you past this dance.”
He laughed. “I knew that. I only wanted the dance. Those others want something else.”
She looked at him incredulously. “You only wanted to dance?”
He smiled at her. “Yes. My partner is over there.” He pointed over at another man.
She began laughing. “Sorry. I–”
He bowed his head. “I understand. You aren’t the first woman who mistook the desire to dance and a sweet personality as a come-on. I get it all the time. He doesn’t dance, so lets me find a lady to dance with. ”
She looked him in the eye. “So I will give you three more dances, then you will have to let all the young dudes have their turn.”
His smile returned. “OK. It’s a deal.”
Three dances later, she was seated back in her booth being lavished all the attention that each walking hormone in college could possibly give her. Three times, she had caught one of them slipping something into her drink and switched with them while they weren’t looking.
Dumb little pricks, She thought to herself, they don’t believe they can get any without drugging a girl. Oh well. They’ll either learn after I give them the doped drink, or they are too stupid to learn anything in college.
The first one slipped away, feeling ‘woozy’. The second put a finger to his lips, as if to keep something in, and ran for the restrooms. the third merely dropped off his seat, unconscious. The rest suddenly decided that it was wiser to treat her like a lady.
Each, save the ones who were either too ill from their attempts to drug her, got their chance to dance. One by one, they filed away, enchanted. But only two remained at her table. They, she determined, would be the ones she left with tonight.
Matt Serling and Paul Marcus were second year med students, and good ones too. Like so many other men, they had fallen under her spell and had been seduced by her charm. Soon, as the drug-like effects of the charisma began to combine with the hypnotic movements of her hip, they were completely hers. Two more drinks later, and they were all three on their way to the apartment Matt and Paul shared.
Michael slipped out of bed around midnight. His ulcer had flared up again. He had been diagnosed with it just after the case began. That had been five years ago, going on six. Now, even after a few years with seemingly less to worry about, it still refused to go away.
Even worse, the medicine he took had seemed to have stopped. Damn. This was the last thing he needed. Even worse, he had begun having nightmares. Bad nightmares.
Each one seemed related to the case. Almost as if he was watching things from a distance. The baiting. The hook. The reel in. The feeding frenzy. And the endgames.
But he couldn’t make out who was doing it all. All he knew was that it was a woman. Someone he was familiar with. Someone with blonde hair. But who?
After each, he got up and wrote them down in detail. Exactly as he had seen it. Tonight was no different. It had started with a nightmare, which he’d written down. Now, it was ending with his ulcer acting up.
He stood looking in the mirror in the master bath. It had been years since he’d had a decent night’s sleep. At times, he felt as if he was going mad. He looked down at his hands.
A movement in the mirror made him look back up. There, behind him in the mirror behind him, stood Lady Deveaux. He gasped in shock. How’d she get in?
Her voice was a whisper, her eyes open but blank–as if in a trance. “She has begun again, detective. She has lost the stability in her life and now the evil within has been released. You must stop her before more mothers are left without sons. Only you and I know who she is. If you should need my help, call on me. You know where to find me. Now. Go!” Her image vanished from the mirror and he turned to find himself alone.
Damn! He should have left the Swedish meatballs alone. Or at least had a single serving. No. No. It wasn’t the meatballs. This had been real! but why? What was the voodoo priestess telling him? And who did he know that might be doing these heinous crimes?
He rushed in to the dining room table and wrote down her message. Digging out the pictures of those witnesses from the Torkelsen case, he looked through them and picked out all the women. He would have to call them in one by one and see what they knew of this case.
But one stood out. Tiffany Creed. Where had he seen her before? Then it hit him. She was a server at one of the college district clubs. Could she possibly have more information than she had originally given?