Exotic

As I traversed the streets, I pulled my jacket closed around my neck. The cool winds of winter were definitely setting in. I looked up at the neon signs I passed, they all flashed and screamed at me; “XXX Beauties”, “Busty Women”, “Feisty Fiends”, “Love in Leather”. Their calls were lost on me, however. They had lost their allure. I’d been to them all, every strip club around; I was something of a connoisseur. I’d been with more women than I’d care to count. I was a very fortunate man; I had the looks, the body, and the money to match. Women flocked to me; it was something that I definitely did pride myself on.

I’d nearly given up and decided to head home when something caught my attention. I turned left to see the start of an alleyway that I’d never noticed before. A neon sign beckoned lazily from above the door. Its globes needed replacing for sure. The closer I got the more I noticed the derelict state of the building, I was surprised they were still allowed to operate in such a poorly kept place. I stopped at the front door and looked around, a red velvet curtain hung in the doorway not giving away any hints as to what lay behind it. There was no advertising to be seen, no sneak peak at the girls working inside. The sign above the door gave nothing away either, it simply read “Exotic”. Pretty shitty name if you asked me. 

I was about to turn and leave when a voice in the shadows stopped me.

“Leaving so soon?”

Normally I would have kept walking, but something compelled me to stop. A young man emerged from the dark; he leant against the wall and lit a cigarette. The glowing tip illuminated his face. He was younger than I would have first thought. He looked like the typical low life found hanging around these places, the kind with no money, and a chip on their shoulder. He had tattoos plastered across his chest, and a full sleeve on both arms. Two silver rings hugged the left side of his bottom lip and I could see silver ringed hole in each earlobe through his scruffy, unkempt hair. “Cigarette?”

I hesitated at first then took the offered smoke, he held up his light until the tip let off an orange glow that matched his own. I stepped back. His jeans were tight, black and missing the knees, and his black wife beater singlet didn’t look as though it offered any reprieve from the harsh coolness of the night, but he didn’t seem to care.

“Interested in Exotic?”

I gestured towards the door with a nod.

“How long has this place been here?”

He smiled, “An age.”

I started to relax; this cigarette was just what I’d needed. I held my hand out to the stranger, his handshake was strong, assured, and warm.

“I’m Alex.”

“Dorian”

I didn’t step away from Dorian this time, instead I stayed near the warmth that seemed to emanate from him.

“The girls any good?”

Trust me, you’ve never seen anything like them.”

The curiosity that had been building as a pressure in the back of my head overflowed, I was suddenly filled with a desire so strong, I had to see behind the red curtain, to see what was in there.

I stubbed my cigarette out under my boot and pulled my wallet out.

“$20”

Dorian took my crisp note and stepped aside.

“Enjoy Alex.”

I pushed through the curtain and found myself standing in a hallway lined with golden gilded mirrors. The carpet, walls and ceiling were all a rich ruby, and musky yet sweet scent permeated the air, almost the kind of smell you get wafting out of hippy shops, incense of a sort.

I slowly made my way down the hall until I reached another heavy red curtain; I brushed it aside and stepped through. It was like I’d been transported to another dimension, the inside of this club did not match the outside at all. Dim lighting left a lot to the imagination about what was happening in the shadows. Booths with red velvet lined seats, sweet scents moved through the air. Warmth made me relax and stop huddling into my jacket.

The club was over half full, a lot of men in suits taking up seats near stages, tables and the main stage. A bar was situated to the left of the doorway, taking up the back wall. A young lady tending the bar drew me to it, I was going to attempt to try my luck with her, until I saw how unimpressed she looked, I couldn’t be bothered with moody people, too much trouble. I ordered a bourbon and coke and leant against the bar taking in the scenery.

Lithe females, all with legs that reached for the heavens, twirled and gyrated around poles and men. Long hair sliding around shoulders that swayed to the beat of the music. The music was a little different from other strip clubs I had been to. It was a dark sounding song, slow, long bass beats that vibrated through the core, the women becoming so hypnotic the more that I watched them. 

I’m not sure how long I stood there just watching the ladies dancing around the club, but I was brought out of my trance by a familiar voice.

“How are you enjoying it so far?”

I looked at Dorian who had taken up position to my left, against the bar.

“It’s a lot different to majority of the strip clubs I’ve been to, that’s for sure.”

He smiled.

“You haven’t seen anything yet, things are just getting started.”

He walked away heading towards the back of the main stage and disappearing behind the thick curtains. 

A tall girl, with not much of a figure, made her entrance on to the stage, another slow song accentuating her entrance. Her long brown hair fell down to her waist in straight heavy locks, and her heels were too high making her look like a giant. She moved around the stage, using the poles on the sides for some attempt to look alluring and mysterious, but it wasn’t doing a thing for me. Some of the men down the front were hooting and cheering as she stripped of her plain, boring underwear and danced around naked for the twenty dollar bills they were throwing at her. After the song finished, she collected her clothes, the money that had been thrown at her, and left the stage the same way she came.

Girls were moving around the club, the music quite low. I had finished my drink by this stage and was beginning to get bored, thinking that maybe Dorian was just trying to get people into the club and that there wasn’t really anything exciting in here, then I heard it. A different type of music, its electronic whine drew attention to the stage, as synth keyboards started followed by a bass beat that held nothing but promise.

Three women moved like liquid from the curtain, hips swaying slowly in circles, hands moving in time to the music. They were of medium height and build. Curves that could kill, and long black hair pulled up tight to create a high ponytail which was held by a gold cuff. Their skin was bronze, they all wore matching outfits, sheer fabric that created a barely there skirt and arm warmers of the same material, they were also fastened with gold cuffs to their upper arms; their tops were made of a dark bronze leather material, which helped offset their skin. Looking at their faces, I noticed that they seemed to be triplets. This was my lucky night.

The way that they moved together was hypnotising. I was concentrating so hard on them, that I barely noticed the curtain at the back of the stage rising. As it hit the ceiling, red lights illuminated a throne like chair situated on a raised dais. I saw a person seated in the throne, the girls moved towards it and began to dance around him, it was then that I noticed who it was. Dorian.

They knelt at his feet, caressing his arms, hair, chest, and legs. They danced for him as though they couldn’t do enough for him. All the while, he was draped across the throne, smoking a cigarette like he couldn’t be more bored. He wasn’t paying any attention to the girls at all. At that moment I envied him. I hated him. I wanted to be him. It was then I decided that I would have these women. I didn’t care if it cost me my fortune or my life, I wanted them.

The girls finished their dance and the curtain came down. Other girls came out to do a fill in show, that’s all I could relate it to. They were nowhere near as fascinating as the three that were just on. I stood up when Dorian came back out into the main room. I saw him head towards the bar, so I made my way around the crowded tables after him.

He was leaning on the bar ordering a drink when I reached him. I nodded to the bartender and she filled me up another bourbon and coke. I moved closer to Dorian.

“That act was amazing; I’ve never seen anything like it.”

He smiled “I know, the girls here are much different to those you’ve seen before.”

“How much?”

He looked puzzled

“How much for what?”

“How much for those girls?”

He laughed and took a swig of his drink.

“They’re not that easily enticed. Money means nothing to them.”

“What do I have to do then? I need to be with those women. I’ll do anything it takes.”

“Sadly, I can’t really help you with that. The girls choose who they want.”

“So there’s no way that you can guarantee me some after hour entertainment with them? I can’t persuade you?”

He shook his head

“Once again, it’s not me you need to persuade; the girls make their own choices.”

He squeezed my shoulder and gave me a reassuring smile.

“They’re about to come back out, maybe you should go and take a seat near the stage. You never know, they might take a liking to you.”

I smiled, trying to hide my irritation. I was not used to being rejected and not being able to buy whatever I wanted, even if it were women. I had always been able to make women fawn over me with a flick of my money roll, but it sounded like these women would take more work than that. I didn’t like having to pursue something I wanted, but I had a feeling that these women would be worth it in the end. I nodded as he turned to leave, heading back out to behind the stage.

I sighed and took a seat at a table that was a row or so back from the front of the stage. The waitress brought me over another bourbon and coke. I looked up as I hadn’t ordered one myself. Dorian was standing near the bar. He raised his drink in a toast, I raised mine in response before taking a mouthful. I blanched at the strength – he must have noticed my disappointment and was attempting to atone for it. He’d bought me a double. The lights dimmed, the girls were coming back out. I had to blink a few times to clear my eyesight, that bourbon was strong; it was going straight to my head. The curtain rose up, the silhouettes of the three women visible in the shadows. They looked perfect even in darkness.

They stood completely still, bathed in shadow, a lone beat rang out through the club, the girl in the middle began to move her hips in circles, her hands dancing up her body to above her head. Guitars joined the drums, the two girls on either side, mirroring each other, framed the one in the middle. The moved between each other in perfect unison, spotlights dancing across each of them in turn, their movements a type of belly dancing infused with a modern twist, going from soft gyrations to sharp, almost robot like steps involving their shoulders and hips. Two of them moved to either side of the stage. The men near them throwing money, they paid no attention to it, just continued to dance. The third girl stepped off the stage. Slowly moving through the crowd of men who made no move to touch her, it was as though they were hypnotised to the point of being frozen. She moved around them, but never touching, bringing her face so close to theirs, and then moving away.

My heart leapt into my throat as she made her way towards meI had never felt this way about a woman before, I had also never had to ready myself for a challenge from one either. Maybe not always getting what you wanted wasn’t as bad as I had first thought it to be. Her eyes locked with mine, and they seemed to shine, I blinked, sure I’d seen her eyes change while she focused on me. This bourbon was really going to my head.

She sauntered towards me, hips spiralling in endless circles, hands dancing on invisible stages before her. When she reached me, I felt just like the other men, I didn’t want to touch her, I just wanted to stare at her. She danced around me, coming close but never touching. She moved behind me, hands gliding up over my shoulders, I felt her breath on my neck as she moved her face nearer to my own. Her lips just about touching my ear she whispered, “How would you like some after-hours entertainment?” Her voice holding a slight accent that I couldn’t place, it sounded a mix between Middle Eastern, British and French. It took me a moment to find my voice.

“I would love to.”

I felt her smile against my ear

“Wonderful, Dorian will escort you.”

At that she moved on to continue her way through the crowd. She doubled back around the side of the room at some point to join her counterparts on stage and finish their show. I didn’t pay much attention after that though, my mind was reeling. It was easier than I’d thought. Dorian had made it sound like an almost impossible feat to get to spend time with these ladies. 

The club cleared out shortly after three in the morning. I was asked by security to stay near the bar as they knew the arrangement that had been made with the dancers. I had a moment where this seemed weird to me. In other clubs, spending time with the dancers outside of club hours was normally prohibited, and the dancers could lose their job over it. This place really was different than anywhere else I’d been – I would be coming back here without a doubt.

The bartender kept serving me, free of charge, I was beginning to really like this place. I had just finished my umpteenth drink, I’d lost count somewhere around number seven. In the end it didn’t matter I suppose. Dorian appeared next to me, once again, the guy was a like a cat, he seemed to always be there, and then just gone. He smiled.

“So I see you got your wish?”

I smiled back.

“Seriously, I can’t thank you enough, I know you must have put in a good word for me or something, I can’t thank you enough.”

He cocked his head to the side.

“What makes you think that I said anything?”

“You must have, I don’t know why, I just believe that you did, and as I said, I can’t thank you enough.”

He laughed.

“Don’t thank me… I just ruined your life”

I laughed along with him. This guy knew how to play the game.

“Come on, this way.”

He led me out the back to where I had seen him disappear a few times over the course of the night. It was just as extravagant as the rest of the club, red velvet everywhere, chaise lounges, mirrors, a private bar, private stage, everything a man could want. I took a seat at the bar, as Dorian walked behind it to get more alcohol.

“No thanks, I think I’ve had enough.”

He looked at me through his hair as he poured out two more bourbons.

“Trust me, you’ll need it”

“Okay sure, make mine a double then.”

Why did I say that? I didn’t want alcohol, my head was already swimming. I was thinking these things, but could not for the life of me speak the words. I took the offered drink and downed half of it in one go. I cringed, so strong. Dorian leant on the counter behind the bar smiling, casually sipping his drink. I heard footsteps on carpet as the three ladies came from where ever they had been beforehand. I turned and looked at them. Beautiful. These women were the epitome of everything I loved in a woman. They were beautiful to the point of being deadly.

“Well, I’ll leave you four to get acquainted, I’ll be back shortly.”

I nodded absently as Dorian left and the three women converged on me. All rules were off apparently. Their hands brushed my body as their lips claimed mine and kissed me all over. One of them standing behind me bit me on the back of the neck, and I shivered at the welcomed pain. They were dancing around me, I couldn’t take my eyes off them, though I was finding it hard to focus. The edges of my vision were blurring, and I suddenly found it hard to keep my balance on the bar stool. They sashayed out of the way as I hit the floor. I groaned and I tried to roll over onto my back, but I had lost all strength in my body. I hadn’t drunk so much that I had lost complete control of my body had I? 

I was starting to get worried, the women hadn’t come near me since I’d hit the floor. Why weren’t they helping me? It was pretty clear that I needed help. I forced my head around to see where they were. If I could have, I would have jumped. They were kneeling next to me, staring at me. I looked at their eyes, and I saw nothing. Eyes that resembled that of a snake stared at me from human female faces, as they knelt there, swaying together, watching me, like a mouse they wanted to devour. I tried to yell out for Dorian, he had to still be in the club somewhere, but no noise came out. I had completely lost the ability to move or speak. I heard the brush of footsteps across the carpet. I wanted to turn and look, but I couldn’t anymore.

Hands clamped down on my shoulders and I was rolled over to my back. Dorian looked down at me. I moved my mouth, willing the words to come out, but they wouldn’t.

“What’s wrong, Alex? You’re not enjoying your party?”

I tried to say no, but all that came out was a clicking sound as my throat tried to work.

“Such a shame, weren’t you ever told to be careful what you wish for?”

He stood up and moved over to the bar, I rolled my eyes back to the right, the women were still kneeling where they were before, looking less and less human the more I concentrated. Their mouths were too wide for their faces now, a second eyelid brushing over their eyes as they blinked. One flicked her tongue out, tasting the air like a snake.

I rolled my eyes back to Dorian who had since lit a cigarette and was leaning against the bar strumming an acoustic guitar he’d pulled from somewhere.

“I bet your wondering what is going on. Let me explain.”

He kept fingering the guitar strings not playing anything in particular.

“You see, I told you the girls were unlike any you had ever seen. I wasn’t lying when I said that. These girls are different. They’re not entirely human you see. Their master, who isn’t me as I’ve said before, genetically engineered them. They’re now more snake than human. It took him a long time to make them, they’re his prize possessions. The only downfall being that they can get difficult to feed. They need human flesh to survive. That’s where you come in. They never take more than one human every couple of months. Solo male customers, with too much money, and an ego the size of Texas work well. No one tends to miss them.”

The snake women had moved closer to me, my heart beat racing. This was a nightmare, it was as simple as that, I was not really here, and this was not really happening, I would wake up any moment. Dorian took a drag of his cigarette and put the guitar down.

“This is not a nightmare, if that’s what you’re thinking. It is very much real. You’re probably wondering why they chose you. I pick the targets. That’s why you came in here when you were originally going to walk away. I’m also not quite human. I’m a siren. I can compel you to do whatever I want. It was because of me you came in here tonight, I persuaded you to change your mind, to relax, to have a few too many drinks. The poison works better if the person has been drinking, it works quicker. All the girls have to do is scent for me on the shoulder of the man, and they know who they’re taking. Tonight, that someone was you.”

He stubbed his cigarette out in an ashtray on the bar. He knelt down beside my head, brushing my hair with his hand.

“Be careful what you wish for Alex, you just might get it.”

With that he walked out. I wanted to scream, and thrash, I wanted to run. I heard a distinct hiss off to my right. I rolled my eyes back over. They were no longer women, they were snakes, their fangs elongated from their mouths as they moved ever closer to me. I struggled to move, but I couldn’t. All I could do was lay there.

I screamed in my head as I felt fangs latch onto my arm, as the other two sets sunk into the flesh on my legs. All I could do was lay there and scream in my head, I couldn’t vocalise my pain in anyway, I couldn’t even move away from it. The snakes shook and pulled, they were trying to tear me apart. I made the clicking sound in my throat, hoping for a miracle of some kind, someone help me, anyone. My eyes widened as one of the snakes appeared in my vision, I couldn’t see anything else it was hovering that close to me. It danced in front of my eyes watching me. Venom dripping to my cheek, it burnt like acid.

The snake lashed out and everything went black, I felt fangs sink in as I felt the other two snakes ripping me apart. I begged for it to be over, to just let me die. My body wouldn’t let me though, agonizing pain is all that I could feel as they slowly ate me alive.

As it turns out, money means nothing when you’re dead. 

Be careful what you wish for.

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