L is for Love (A Serial Killer Story)

Scarlett: Part VII

Scarlett spent the weeks before Mardi Gras plotting with Dave and learning everything she could about Viktor and Cassie. She even went to Flow and asked for her advice. Since it was Flow who had predicted the involvement of other people, Scarlett figured that Flow would be a good ally. Flow had promised to do some digging and reminded Scarlett about their upcoming appointment. She had also tried to run into Cassie and Viktor all over the quarter but they were nowhere to be found. Cassie was smarter than she seemed. Maybe Scarlett had underestimated her. She didn’t worry too much about it and concentrated on her own plan. She and Dave and closed down Aunt Tiki’s late and stayed up until after sunrise talking about how Scarlett should go about things. Depending on what she got from Flow, which they were both very curious about, Scarlett should try and utilize it to eliminate Cassie. Scarlett had also told Dave the story that Evey had told her about Elijah. Dave wasn’t surprised but it did mean that he had gravely underestimated her.
It was the eve of her appointment with Flow and Scarlett spent the hours before at Aunt Tiki’s with Dave gushing over what she was about to receive. Dave was sure it had to be some sort of poison or toxic chemical. Scarlett was hoping for some new exotic concealable weapon. She had bought a switchblade/fan from Flow last fall but it was already getting dulled. It was brilliant how the fan came out one end and the blade the other. Scarlett had loved it. Either way, they were both having trouble containing themselves. At a quarter to one Scarlett bid Dave goodnight and made her way to Flow’s. When she got there the front door was locked so she knocked three times and waited. Audrianna opened the door almost immediately and ushered her inside without a greeting. Once inside, Scarlett noticed that she wasn’t the only one there. She had never had a group meeting or sale with any of Flow’s other customers. She heard the door lock behind her.
“Audry, what’s going on?” She whispered over her shoulder.
“Mama invited a few people tonight.” She said ushering everyone into one of the back rooms. “Right this way everyone.” Audry held the red velvet curtain aside for all the guests to pass through. They entered a room lit entirely by candles. The floors were hardwood and amazing tapestries hung all over the walls in every color of the rainbow. They all took seats that had been arranged in a circle. There was a chase lounge chair made of green velvet, two blue leather lazyboy recliners with brass studs, an old red velvet Victorian style chair with wooden legs, a three seater couch of ivory suede and a bigger arm chair of black leather, at what Scarlett guessed was the head of the circle so it must be Flow’s. The others were filing into seats as singles, pairs, and groups. Scarlett chose the Victorian style arm chair with wooden legs and red velvet cushions directly across the circle from Flow’s chair, and closest to the exit. Scarlett wasn’t sure how she felt about a group of precariously self-employed people like herself meeting in so close proximity. It could end up being a huge liability, or a bloodbath.
“Ah’hem” Flow cleared her voice as she entered and took her seat. No one had seen or hear her come in. another reason she was feared. For a rather large woman, she was extremely stealthy. “Take your seats please. I have much to tell you and little time to do it in. I have a feeling that the police are going to raid me any day now, so Audry and I are going to clean up and take a vacation before they do.” Everyone sat immediately without a word. Without Flow, they would all be in a very rough situation supply wise.  “The reason I have called you all here is to make sure that you will not be without supplies while we are gone. You are all my favorites, my sons and daughters of the night, brothers and sisters in the macabre. I also know how much you all value anonymity, but for tonight we will all drop that façade. I want you all to trust each other as I have trusted you.” An uneasy feeling feel over the room, no one wanted to give up any information that could be held against them, but Flow’s word was obeyed. “I’m not saying you need to be friends, but if for some reason any of you need help I want you to go to each other. No questions asked and no other information besides first names. Take a look around you and remember these faces, for they will be the ones that you will now go to if you were in need of me.”
Scarlett looked around the room. There were four other women and five men. Two of the boys were twins, identical as they come. Scarlett could only guess what kind of treachery they committed. She bet her life that they had the exact same identification and that “legally” only one of them existed. There was an older black man, at least fifty, very tall and very thin, with tiny jet black eyes. Scarlet wouldn’t even wager a guess at to what he did. There was a handsome young man, early twenties, brown hair. He didn’t seem like anything special, until you saw his eyes. They were blue. Not any normal blue but blue that changed from ice to sapphire as he looked at each person in the room. When he looked at Scarlett she noticed that he had what appeared to be black bruising around his eyes, however, instead of looking sinister, he looked inviting. The second she realized she wasn’t looking away, she knew what he was; that young man was a modern day incubus, and a damn good one. She had never met a male version of herself and it was confusing not knowing whether she wanted to be the hunter or the hunted. She turned her eyes, forcefully, from the man to a couple sitting on the love seat. Another set of twins, but this time a boy and a girl. They looked as innocent as children considering how small they were, however their smiles revealed the menace inside. They were both remarkably adorable but something about them made Scarlett’s skin crawl. The last three women were something Scarlett had always wanted to see, a trinity. One was young like Scarlett, but drop dead gorgeous, the maiden. Five nine-ish, no more than one hundred and twenty pounds, breasts that made Scarlett want a boob job, gold hair, deep pale hazel eyes that almost looked silver, and legs that ran up to a perfect hourglass waist. She reminded Scarlett of Killian, but she was a little over the top for her own tastes. The next woman as no older than forty-five and looked just like a mother should. The last looked older than Flow actually was. She resembled the modern day image of an old hag exactly. Old, wrinkly, long messy silver hair that hid her face almost completely, long ragged cloak that matched her long ragged fingernails; the crone. Every one gazed upon the others in the circle in silence until Flow spoke again.
“Now that that is done, I have a care package for each of you. I know you all came expecting to purchase goods, but I am only going to charge you what it will cost Audrianna and I to get away for a while. Fair?” Everyone nodded in agreement. “I have also take care to put all of your things in rucksacks and you can look at them later in the safety of your own,” she paused and smiled, “homes”. Flow giggled, stood, and opened a huge wooden trunk behind her chair. “Zelda my old friend you’re first.” The old hag stood and flowed across the room. Flow handed her a pale blue rucksack that looked too heavy for the old woman to manage but she received it with ease and gratitude.
“Thank you my sister.” The old woman’s voice was like music. She retook her seat.
“Micah, my brother, this is for you.” She held out an army green sack and the older black man walked without a word and took it from her with a bow of gratitude and returned to his seat. “Michael, Coleman, these are for you,” She held out two white rucksacks and the twins took them with a smile.
“You are too kind my lady,” one of the twins said as they both bowed before returning to their seats. Then Flow held out a sapphire bag and the incubus rose and retrieved his gifts. He didn’t seem to fit in with everyone else in the room. He looked like the street children she so much enjoyed, not a murderer. Once he had a hand on the bag she pulled him towards her a little.
“You be careful now you hear?” She gave him a grave look and held on to his bag until he replied.
“Fo’ sho’” he said with a hearty laugh that made Scarlett melt. She did her best to avoid men like that, but she might have to try this one, not for sport, but for pure unadulterated fun.
“Thank you Jerm.” She smiled and shook her head. Next she held out a silver bag and the beautiful girl rose like smoke and glided across the floor to Flow. She curtsied.
“My blessings Mama.” She had a very unusual voice and Scarlet couldn’t figure out why.
“Thank you Minerva.” It was her name that made the connection click for Scarlett. Minerva’s voice was much too old for her body, much like Zelda’s was much too young. The girl took her seat and Flow continued, “Adelade, my dear friend.” She held out a pale pink rucksack for the mother. Adelade rose and retrieved her sack with a large smile and gave Flow a hug before returning to her seat without a word. Mother’s usually said the best things without using any words at all and Scarlett was sure Adelade had made it an art. “Malificus, Fortuna, you next.” The child like creatures jumped up and ran forward to receive their black bags. Fortuna giggled a girlish giggle and Malificus bowed with a sinister smile. Scarlett’s Latin was rusty but she knew that these two must be a yin and yang reincarnation; Malificus was the evil and Fortuna was the good. They wrapped their tiny arms around Flow, “Now now. None of that. You two can’t use those adorable little tricks on me” she said shooing them back to their seats. Fortuna just laughed but Malificus looked like a child who just had his favorite toy taken away. The sat and finally, Flow turned to Scarlett and held out her arms for a hug. Scarlett rose and hugged Flow happily. When she stepped back Flow was looking at her dotingly. “My dear child, your mother would be proud.” Scarlett seriously doubted that comment but didn’t say anything. Flow handed her a blood red bag. Scarlett smiled and turned to take her seat. “My dear Scarlett,” Flow said. Scarlett stopped and turned to face Flow once again. “Don’t doubt me when I say your mother would be proud, and don’t think so loud.” Scarlett smiled and Flow, Micah and Zelda all chuckled. No doubt they all had heard her thoughts too. She scowled and took her seat.
“My lady it is getting quite late” Micah had finally spoken and his voice sounded like the English teacher with the monotonous voice that made you want to shoot yourself. Scarlett could see why he was so laconic.
“That it is.” Flow said standing. “Go in peace my guests. Blessed be”. Everyone rose to leave. Michael and Coleman were out first and long gone before Scarlett even stood. Malificus and Fortuna were nearly wrestling out the door and Scarlett took a step back to let them wrestle through the curtain. She wasn’t sure how, but the trinity had simply vanished and Micah was strolling out like he had just been visiting his sister, which for all Scarlett knew, he was. The only one left in the room was Flow, Jerm, and herself. Scarlett felt the heat rise in her face as Jerm stared at her. “Jerm,” Flow’s voice was soft but stern, “please wait out in the store.” He nodded, winked at Scarlett and walked out.
“Flow, what is going on?” Scarlett was finally relieved to be alone with Flow so she could get some answers.  Flow simply sighed.
“My child, I said all I can, although, I do have one more thing for you.” Flow reached behind her chair and pulled out a document sized manila folder filled to the hilt with documents. She handed it to Scarlett. “I think you will find all your answers in here.” She handed Scarlett the folder. “What you read and see is going to shock you. Oh and apparently Jerm has taken a liking to you. He would like to escort you home. Should I tell him to go or?” Flow stopped short. Scarlett was glaring at her but half smiling.
“You tell me.” Scarlett said sitting back down as if she was going to stay the night.
“Jerm is a nice boy. A bit different, but he is good at what he does, and he has as much interest in revealing his whole craft to you as much as you want to reveal yours to him. It could be a good release.” Flow giggled at her own pun. Scarlett figured if Flow was making jokes that she shouldn’t be too worried about the situation.
“He is irresistibly attractive to me.” Scarlett said blushing.
“As he should be. He wouldn’t be much of an incubus if he wasn’t. His taste is different but he seems to fancy you quite a bit.” She put her hand on Scarlett’s shoulder. “You’ll be in no danger and it might be a good idea to have someone to stay with right now.”
Scarlett knew she was right and smiled. Flow was very good at rationalizing things against Scarlett and since Scarlett always had to rationalize, Flow became better at it to get her own way. Not that Flow was twisting her arm, Jerm was captivating and as much as she didn’t want to admit it, she wanted him. She could get back to Viktor later, but for now, while things were simmering, she would make a new friend in Jerm.
The next day, after her incubus had left her in total bliss, Scarlett rose, showered and went to see Dave at his place and go through her goody bag. He answered the door with a cup of coffee for her and took a seat on his ripped and sagging couch.     
“What have we got Aphy?” He said leaning back as if he were uninterested.
“I don’t know yet.” She said sitting down.
“Wait,” Dave said sitting up, “you mean you’ve had all this stuff all night long and didn’t even look at it? What were you doing that was more important than?” he trailed off as Scarlett blushed. Damn skin tone. Dave stared at her and then burst out laughing. “You got laid! Way to go Aphy! It’s about time.” He was still laughing and Scarlett hit him in the diaphragm, hard enough to make him stop laughing and gasp for air.
“Bring it up again and I use what Flow gave me on you.” Scarlett didn’t get angry often but when she did it was best to not be the one she’s mad at. Dave came to and sat back without a word. Secretly Scarlett scared him just a little bit.
“Sorry Scarlett.” She knew it was sincere since he used her real name and not one of his stupid nicknames. She smiled and kissed him and he pretended to gag. She laughed and poured the bag out on the table. There was some super industrial scar and tattoo covering makeup, Five pairs of gloves, ten pair of disposable multicolored contacts, a gold wooden box that contained twenty eight, one ounce vials of a variety of poisons all labeled accordingly, some candles, and a bunch of incents and essential oils. Inside the front pocket was something that Scarlett couldn’t even have dreamed of. It was a switchblade that had a small hole drilled through it lengthwise.  You could load a vial of poison in the base of the knife with the small funnel provided, place the stopper and cover back over the base and blade bathed in poison in a completely enclosed environment safe to the carrier. When provoked, one could pull the knife, release the blade and a poison coated and filled blade would penetrate your enemy. Scarlett had no clue where Flow found something like that but she was overwhelmed by her benefactor’s contributions to her crafts. Dave smiled as Scarlett leaned back into the couch.
“Mardi Gras starts in two weeks.” Dave said leaning back looking at disbelief at Scarlett’s haul. It was much more than either of them expected. Scarlett looked at him and raised her left eyebrow.  Dave smiled and asked, “test subjects?”
“At least five no more than seven.” Scarlett said lighting up a cigarette with a smile. She was too happy about the upcoming events that she had forgotten about the manila folder. She pushed it to the back of her head and relaxed as Dave went to get ready for the day.
“What about Cassie?” he yelled from the bathroom.
“Oh I’m sure she won’t be around too much longer.” Scarlett giggled as she handled her poison box with the greatest care. Once she knew Dave was in the shower she added, “Three weeks and her time is up.”

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