Karen took a sip of her coffee and glanced at the table in the corner. He was still looking at her. He was trying to be discreet but she had been aware of him for the last fifteen minutes. She went back to reading her book. Though she made a point of not looking at him again she could feel his eyes on her. She made up her mind at last.
She put the book down, took her coffee cup in both hands and took a languid sip while batting her eyelashes in his direction. Five seconds later he was on his feet walking towards her in an unhurried manner. She looked away as though she was unaware.
He glanced at the cover of her book lying open and face down on the table. It was Books of Blood, a collection of short stories by Clive Barker.
“Do you believe in monsters?”
She looked up at him. Nice smile. He was even more handsome close up. This would be fun. “Do you?”
A short throaty chuckle and then he took a seat without asking permission. She was impressed. Her decision was good, he had potential; she felt a frisson of anticipation. He seemed to be considering his next move.
“You didn’t answer my question.”
“I like reading about them.”
“And why is that?”
She shrugged and picked up her book and looked at the cover. “I’m not sure. I suppose I like being a bit frightened from time to time.”
He couldn’t believe his luck. He felt certain this was fate. “My name is Alistair.” He held out his hand.
“Lisa.” She took his hand and he brought it to his lips and planted a delicate kiss. “Oh, how suave.” She laughed but he noticed the slight blush in her cheeks as she did.
“Do you live around here?”
“I do. You?”
“Not far away.”
She leaned across the table and whispered. “Well then, perhaps we should go to your place.”
It took all of his will to conceal his shock. This was almost too good to believe. He gave her his best winning smile and stood up and offered her his arm. She put her book into her bag and took his arm. They walked out into the warm afternoon sun and headed for his car.
As he pulled into the parking garage he considered his next move. She would make a fine addition to his collection. He imagined what he would like the headline in the papers to say. They took the elevator to the fourth floor and he led her into the sumptuous open plan space that he called home.
“Very nice. Have you lived here long?”
“A couple of years.”
She walked over the to the floor to ceiling window and looked out. “Great view. I’d kill for something like this.”
He smiled at her choice of words. “Yes, it’s quite something.”
“Would you like a glass of wine?”
“Sure. Allow me. Why don’t you make yourself comfortable?”
He showed her the wine rack and she chose a bottle and opened it while he put his jacket away and then sat down on the sofa. She came in with two glasses and handed him one.
“To something wonderful.”
“Indeed. To something wonderful.”
They drank and she sat down next to him and gazed deep into his eyes. He made his decision. He would strangle her slowly. He wanted to see the terror in her eyes as the life force ebbed slowly from her. He was fond of using blades but this one called for something crude. She was practically begging for it.
He took another sip of wine and leaned over to kiss her but she turned her face away. He registered surprise.
“But, I thought…”
His mind began to feel clouded and his face felt warm. His lips began to tingle. He tried to speak again but the words caught in his throat. As his vision began to blur he could just make out her movements. She was taking something out her purse.
His eyelids became heavy and he leaned back into the cushions and then she was hovering over him. Dull terror registered in his mind as the light from the window danced on the blade of the straight razor she was holding in front of his face but he was powerless to move.
“You…you spiked my…”
“You never did answer me about believing in monsters. How about now?”