Kell stood near the entrance to the room waiting for his eyes to adjust to the dimness. Not for the first time he wondered to himself how he had gotten mixed up in all of this. Scanning the room he had to suppress the shiver running down his spine. These were not your typical let’s hang out Friday night kind of people these were the “walk into my parlor said the spider to the fly” types. He chose to believe that these were all willing flies, but if he was honest more than not the people had those dead eyes that would suggest otherwise.

The guy in a black slim fit tee with bulging rope-like neck muscles nodded him over to the bar. Kell walked with a feigned nonchalance trying not to notice what was happening in the booths he passed.

“Hey Nico, am I on…or?”

“Kidding me? You were on an hour ago. Not that I see how your dance card keeps filling up so fast, but it sure does,” Nico said with his version of a coy smile. “Don’t stray far kid, it’s going to be a long night.”

Kell moved slowly past the man mountain, doing his best not to run, so it took a long time for the beat neck’s laughter to die away under the thump of techno music. He ran a hand through his dirty blonde hair as he walked back to his booth taking soothing deep breaths the whole way.

Even in the smokey semi-dark he could make out the gleam of the lacquered black 43 that marked his booth. Kell closed his eyes in the millisecond of silence during the song change before disappearing into 43. There sat a man who had visited 43 before thick and clumsy he played with the candle in the center of the table, Kell leaned against the door frame waiting to be noticed.

“Forty-three, you startled me,” the man said trying to right the over turned pillar candle. “Sorry for being early, do I need to step out?”

“No, I’m no fuss remember, besides it’s your dime I’m the one should have been early.” Kell smiled and the man stopped fiddling with his hands. “So did you wanna chat a little, or…?” The question hung in the air while he sat down on the opposite side of the booth. The man immediately went back to wringing his hands.

“So, you look different, what have you been up to,” Kell asked. Nico didn’t get it but this was why 43 never sat empty for long, it was the soft smiles and friendly chitchat that made this all seem less like the freak show it was. He didn’t even really have to listen if he didn’t want to just laugh at the right moments and slap his shoulder encouragingly and the man would feel like he had a friend. Though Kell was never completely sure what the person across the table would want this one was easy because he never asked for what he came for.

It hadn’t even been 15 minutes since thick and clumsy left before the next one sat down this one was new. All thin sharp lines Kell disliked the woman instantly. Even more so when he realized her type, controlling.

Her demands didn’t stop till Nico hit the knocker, at which point Miss Obey Me Now packed up her little bag of tricks as prim and tight laced as she arrived, other than the slight flush in the apples of her pale cheeks. Nico must have hit the buzzer too as an iced bottle of still water arrived just seconds after the woman left.

“Ever think about changing it,” he asked while pretending to care more about the dance floor than what Kell’s eyes said in that moment. Such a vague question anywhere else could only mean one thing here, your wills and won’ts.

“No, not ever.” Kell watched as Nico left as baffled as always. He understood why, as most booths had specialties and regulars, but not 43. Here nearly anything was possible with only one item in the won’t column. If he had any question as to what had spurred the brief Q and A the next person cleared it up completely.

“Good evening, Kellan. I hope you don’t mind I just find the numbers to be so impersonal and it wasn’t in your wont’s.” The smile slid off his face like ice.

There was no doubt that Kell was well over his head with this one, but he had left no room for wiggling out. So he settled into his friendly, though blank, mask of a face and waited guard completely up.

With a slight inclination of his head one of the less than willing flies entered, her hair falling past her down turned face to the number 5 which hung on a cord around her neck. None of the others had ever entered his booth and Kell found himself both curious and repulsed.

“Elodie here regularly sees to my needs, and well I must add, but recently I have been hungering for something more.” He paused for effect Kell was sure, but it had the desired effect, his interest was piqued. “None of the other specialists wish to branch out leaving me to ask the anythings to participate. Which brings me to you.”

Kell opted for bravo, “How exactly can I be of help?” It had all sounded to easy and even as jaded as he was he had been too naive to catch on to this guys nuances. So, he played his part touching, caressing, and generally getting number five all worked up. The whole time the man watched and waited, and with only a slight lift of his index finger the game changed.

The girl had moved from Kell’s side to the man’s. He was holding her hand close to his face breathing her in deeply. He moved closer in along her neck line, then suddenly a line of crimson welled up along her clavicle. Even as Kell’s hand moved toward the panic button the thought crystallized that this must be hematolagnia. Just then the man locked eyes with him as he slowly ran his tongue across five’s neck. The process was repeated numerous times and each time Kellan felt more of his soul tear way countered only by the rising gleam of passion in the man’s eyes. At the end of their time the girl wobbled from the both but the man remained.

Silent they stared at one another, till satiated on whatever else he had come for the man rose. “Till next time,” he said with such hunger in his eyes that Kell looked away.

Terrible images flashed through his mind making him question his only won’t, and again making him think about how he had gotten caught in this web of his own devising.

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