Jezi strolled down the hallway, four youngsters in tow. The corridor was stuffy, and cobwebs dangled from much of the molding. The walls were lined with large portraits in ornate gilded frames.
Tonya held up her phone to illuminate the nameplate on the first portrait. “Ma-Matthias The Fox Higgins…” she read. “Who the hell is that?”
Jezi continued walking as if she hadn’t spoke.
Jenna followed suit, peering at the next painting. “T.J. Jordano.” She wrinkled her nose. “Never heard of him,” she said with a shrug.
“Ay, yo. This one looks like ol girl downstairs…!” Chase declared. “Raven B.B. Caruso.”
“Who are these people?” Dave asked.
Jezi smiled. “Their stories are best kept for another time, I fear.”
Tonya rolled her eyes. “Worst tour guide ever,” she grumbled.
Dave ran to catch up to Jezi. “And what about your story?” he asked. “How did you get stuck with the name Jezebel?”
“I expect the same way as you,” she replied. “… My mother gave it to me.”
“What kind of mother would name her child Jezebel?”
Jezi stopped in her tracks. “I can’t imagine… Chase.”
“Didn’t Jezebel get eaten by dogs or something?” Jenna scoffed.
Jezi seemed to smile faintly at a distant memory. “Indeed she did.”
Tonya grabbed Dave’s arm “Every woman has been eaten by a dog at least once.” she giggled.
Chase whispered something in Jenna’s ear, causing her to giggle as well. “Jezi….” She said in an all too sweet voice, “where’s the bathroom?”
“Yeah,” Chase added. “I have to pee.”
Jezi sent a skeptical look to the couple, and then indicated a side hallway. First door on the left is the men’s room, the second door is the ladies’ room.” She gave them each a very pointed look. “One at a time in the bathroom, please.”
Chase and Jenna ambled down the hall, laughing hand in hand.
“Fucking tour sucked, anyway,” Chase mumbled.
“… But so do I, “ Jenna whispered with a smile.
Jezi continued, her last two charges following in her wake. They came to a door at the end of the corridor. Jezi pulled a key from her bodice and slipped it into the lock with a click.
“What room is this?” Dave asked.
Jezi turned the knob. “The dungeon,” she replied.
She swung the door open and they were met with nothing but darkness.
“Aren’t dungeons supposed to be in the basement or something?” Tonya asked as she peeked in.
Standing behind them Jezi smiled, reaching around to switch on the light. “Indeed they are.”
Before the young couple could marvel at the large gaping hole in the floor, Jezi pushed them both into the abyss. They fell a story below with a sickening crack of broken bones.
A single chandelier barely illuminated the room, as Jezi stared down into the pit. She waited for a moment, until she saw slight stirring. "Oh good," she said, "I was hoping you would survive the fall.”
Tonya groaned as she struggled to sit up, she looked over at Dave's twisted body and vacant eyes. "Oh my god. Dave!”
"Yes... that is a shame," Jezi sighed, "although, I don't think he would've handled this next part as well as you. She moved out of sight, but Tonya could still hear her voice.
"After all, every woman has been eaten by a dog... at least once.”
The light switched off and Tonya was left in stifling blackness, hearing the low growl that came from a far corner, where a pair of red eyes seemed to glow.
Chase and Jenna stood in the hallway, kissing passionately. Chase looked down the hallway, and began to pull Jenna towards the bathroom.
"Ugh, there's no way in hell I'm screwing in a guy's bathroom," she said.
"Fine, let's go in the ladies..." Chase pushed her towards the door.
Jenna pressed against his chest. "And what if our hostess decides to come back and check on us?”
Chase looked past her and smiled. "There's a third door... let's go in there!”
Jenna glanced behind her, and walked backwards towards the door. She tested the knob and the door creaked open. Chase found the light switch and turned on bright fluorescent lights.
"What the hell IS this place?" Jenna asked, disgusted.
The walls and floors were covered in gleaming white tile, and a narrow padded table was bolted to the middle of the floor, straps hanging down from either side.
Chase laughed. "Looks like someplace perfect!”
"That's not funny, Chase. This place is weird!”
"Where's your sense of adventure? You can be the one girl to do what no other girl has in The Black Flower," he suggested.
Jenna smiled, liking the idea of how envious her friends would be. She slowly entered the room running her hand over the cold wall. She turned to Chase with a flick of her hair.
"Doctor, there seems to be something terribly wrong with me," she whispered dramatically.
Chase closed the door behind him and turned the lock. "Well, then. You'd better get your ass up on that table.”
Jenna squealed, then hopped up on the table. She laid back, raising her arms above her head, her fingers glancing against something cold. She laughed, pulling the object up over her head.
"Oh... my god. There are cuffs!”
Chase's eyes flashed, and he ran to the head of the table, fitting the cuffs around each of her wrists, fastening the buckles. "I wonder what those two do in this room..." He leaned over to kiss Jenna, when a distant scream echoed through the floor.
"What the hell was that?!" Chase asked. He slowly walked towards the door, when Jenna screamed behind him.
"Shit! Spider! Right there... Chase, kill it!" she screamed.
Chase looked at the tiny spider on the wall and rolled his eyes.
Jenna began tugging against her restraints. "Chase, let me out of here, I wanna go now!”
"Calm down. It's just a little spider. I'm gonna kill it, then we can pick up where we left off.”
He turned and didn't see the spider anymore, until a slight movement on the floor made him jump. "Fuck!" he yelled. He chased the spider into a crack in the corner, then heard a sharp gasp and a squish. Chase spun around, to see a giant spider, with her fangs deeply embedded in Jenna's chest.
Chase fell against the wall as the spider crawled over Jenna's limp body towards him.
"Tsk tsk tsk... naughty children," Jezi said from the doorway.
Chase looked at her, with tears streaming down his face, not able to form the words to beg for her help.
Jezi tossed the $300 on the floor. "Tour's on the house.”
Chase tried to inch towards her, towards the door, but the spider pounced on him, wrapping him up in her web as he screamed. A tiny body slowly exited the crack in the corner and stopped at Jezi's feet.
"Go on, little one," she encouraged, "... dinner time."
"Well, everyone's fed, except us," Jezi sighed.
Desi smiled. "So shall we soon enough.”
Jezi looked at Bryan and Britney side by side at the bar. "Aww, sweet little lambs.”
Desi clapped. "I was thinking they'd make a lovely soup! It is Monday, after all.”
Desi went over to the wall and rang the bell. Seconds later, a tall imposing figure filled the doorway.
"Ah, Biggun, there you are!" Desi pointed to Bryan and Britney. "These two are for the pot.”
"Yes, Mistress," Biggun replied.
"Do you need help with them, Dear?" Jezi asked.
Biggun shook his head, slightly offended. "No, Mistress.”
He tossed Bryan over his shoulder, and hefted Britney in his other hand, like a piece of luggage.
"Very good, " Jezi praised. "Do tell Liam there is a mess to clean up in the dungeon, and possibly in the operating room.”
Biggun nodded as he lumbered out of the parlor. "Yes, Mistress.”
Desi watched him as he left. "We did a good job with him, you can hardly see the bolts.”
Jezi winked at her.
Shuffling and a squeaky wheel, with the usual chorus of grumbling heralded Liam's approach.
"Go clean the dungeon, Liam... leave the bones for the dogs, Liam... I'm like a bloody slave…"
"Something on your mind, Liam?" Jezi said loudly.
".... hmph.... no maaaaa'aaaam," Liam said sarcastically.
"Good to hear," Jezi replied with a smile.
Desi leaned over and whispered, "Let me turn him into something Jezi…"
Jezi shook her head. "Another time, Love. All Hallows Eve is less than three weeks away and we have much to prepare.”
Desi sighed. "Fiiiiine. I'll get started on the soup."