A glitzy cloth was draped over the table. Atop the spotless fabric were a pair of plates, packed with delicious, and locally famous food. A bottle of wine, and two full glasses sat near each plate. The room was lit with warm, and romantic colors. The atmosphere was calm and yet, filled with an alluring tension that could have been sliced with the dullest knife.
Lauren was seated across from her mysterious handsome man. She had been overjoyed when he asked her on a second date. She spent all day picking out the perfect dress. It had to be low cut enough to urge his mind to wander, but not too long cut to give away all of her secrets. It was hard to find such a dress, according Lauren. Betty had no interest in such things, even though Lauren assured her this was essential to her strategy. She ended up with a classic: a snug, short black dress. Alluring and smart, Lauren had told Betty earlier in the day.
“I’m pretty hungry,” Steven said after the waiter left. “I haven’t eaten all day.”
“I haven’t either,” Lauren said. “I was saving all my calories for this meal.”
“You don’t have to count them, you look great,” Steven said taking a bite. “This is wonderful!”
“Oh yes,” Lauren cooed, taking her first bite. “Well worth the wait.”
“Yes,” Steven said sipping his wine and glancing over Lauren’s body. Her dress was indeed low cut, but not too low. She knows how to dress, Steven thought. She’s a master of seduction.
“Did you hear about the murders last night?” Lauren asked, forking a piece of meat on her plate.
“I did! Horrible, just horrible!” Steven grimaced. He shook his head and took a gulp of wine. “What a terrible way to die.”
“It would be bad to go like that,” Lauren nodded. “Which one are you talking about?”
“Both of them died in such violent ways,” Steven said with excitement.
“I think the girl died in a worse way,” Lauren admitted. “It seemed…ritualistic.”
“Yeah, that was most tragic,” Steven said too distraught to continue eating. “Those animals broke her wrists and tore into her throat like that.”
“Yes,” Lauren nodded. “It was so brutal, and to do it with their teeth! Who could bite into someone else’s throat and tear pieces out?”
“Someone that is truly mad,” Steven affirmed. “Ritualistic, you said?”
“They hauled her away, broke both of her wrists and then ate her throat out,” Lauren offered. “It seems like a specific way to die.”
“I suppose,” Steven commented, thinking about the reports he had read. “And they never found the pieces of her throat. Those people actually ate her throat.”
“That’s another reason it seems like a ritual,” Lauren said. “I’d guess they’re Satanists.”
“Could be,” Steven said staring at his food. He enjoyed the restaurant they were in, but he couldn’t bring himself to eat.
“That man, Tom I believe was his name,” Steven continued. “He died quick at least.”
“They stomped on his head,” Lauren said, her voice wavered as her stomach grew uneasy. “His eyes popped out.”
“They did? I hadn’t heard that,” Steven shook his head again and stole more from his drink. “They must be evil.”
“Perhaps,” Lauren agreed, still eating. “His death looked accidental.”
“What do you mean?” Steven asked, obviously perplexed by her comment.
“They stepped on his head, and crushed it,” Lauren said, motioning with her hands. “It was quick, and efficient. He had no defensive wounds. They took him down quietly and tossed away his gun. Now, Debbie on the other hand, she was killed slowly.”
“Because they broke her wrists and then let her bleed to death?” Steven asked.
“Of course,” Lauren answered. “You’re catching on.”
“So, this is the kind of stuff you teach?” Steven asked, watching Lauren take another bite. He winced as she swallowed the food.
“Yeah,” Lauren nodded. “Online, of course.”
“How can you eat?” Steven blurted out.
“I’m hungry,” Lauren answered, shrugging her shoulders.
“But how? With the bloody crime we were discussing?” Steven questioned.
“It didn’t happen to me, and I didn’t see it,” Lauren sipped her wine and looked Steven. “Not even pictures.”
“That’s cold,” Steven shook his head. She didn’t seem so removed before, he thought. How can she be like this? “Is it because you’re used to looking at murders?”
“Yes,” Lauren agreed with a slight nod. She slowly took another bite, making sure Steven watched her movements as she consumed her food. You are a peculiar girl. Dashing, and gorgeous, but totally strange. Creepy, strange and lovely, Steven pondered as he picked at his food.
“I’m sorry I’m not as accustomed to blood and murder,” Steven smiled with embarrassment.
“Well, we can remedy that,” Lauren said.
“How so?” Steven asked, not wanting to know the answer. He wasn’t sure, but he feared her words would frighten him.
“Come back to my place,” Lauren grinned. Steven sat up a little straighter at these words. “I have some stuff you can look through.”
“Oh, if you insist,” Steven smiled back.
“Betty is working tonight, so it’ll be just you and I,” Lauren said in a soft, seductive voice.
“Let’s go,” Steven said in his most relaxed and charming tone. Finally, I get to be alone with her.