I watch as he makes his way to the bar, his gaze roving the room.  I can feel his excitement and his satisfaction. He is wanting to celebrate. He is looking far from home, unsure of why he picked this place, but was drawn here.  A compulsion that he can neither understand nor deny. He orders, retrieves his drink, and then makes himself comfortable at a table. My set ends and I slip into the back, feeling the touch of his gaze linger.  I freshen up my makeup and smooth back my hair before making my way towards the front, shifting among the patrons with a touch here and a brush of my body against another there, each touch eliciting a response of some sort.  A jerk of their body as an emotion is triggered, guilt or pain or fear wrapping them up tight. A drink flying from their hand, almost as if they have thrown it. Small justices for deeds done. Some leave to encounter more misfortune on their way home, some sink further into their drink, their shoulders slumping.  The wake of my progress through the crowd is pronounced tonight, my power roused and nipping at those around me.

Settling into the seat across from this man, I force the flirtatious smile to stay in place on my lips.  Everything in me is recoiling at the proximity to him. I would not describe myself as “good”, and I am so far past pure or innocent that I am aware that I have never claimed either.  But the evil that exists within this human is so pronounced that I so very badly want to attribute it to something beyond my scope, something that is alien and not of this world. I have encountered this before in my existence, but it is becoming more and more pervasive within the human world. Like a disease, it is spreading, becoming immune and growing stronger. Infecting those that are already weak, prone or compromised.

I am a being that understands balance and honor; revenge and justice are my creed.  It makes sense to me that with all the beautiful and amazing emotions and acts that humans are capable of, there would have to be the flip side to that. An equal capacity for the ugly and depraved.  I am worried though, as much as a primordial can worry, that things have swung out of balance. And not for the better.

I smile coyly at him across the table as his gaze meets mine, my lower lip catching between my teeth in a nervous flirtation. His excitement flares like a mantle around him, reaching towards me as it senses and hungers for prey.  I am not his preferred prey, I am too old even at my apparent age of around 24, but he is just looking to take the edge off. My voice is soft, sweet and a bit unsure as I lean closer to whisper, “Dr. Crockett, I am surprised to see you here.”

He startles and looks at me a bit more closely in the dim, flashing light of the club.  He will not recognize me, not truly, but then there are many many students that filter through his days on campus.  His Chemistry class at the college is busy and he sees hundreds of students throughout the day. His voice is low and even, not displaying his nerves or his discomfort at being recognized. “Do I know you?”

I can almost hear his thoughts as he processes through his unease, pushing it aside in his arrogance, believing that no one would take the word of a stripper over his own if he was ever found out. My voice is low and secretive as I lean closer. “I was in your class last year,” I rush on, seeming nervous, “Dr. Crockett, I would really appreciate it if you did not mention this around school. If my parents found out, they would kill me.”

His smile turns predatory and dark, his voice smooth and cultured, but with an edge to it that makes everything female in me react, I fight back the urge to destroy this man, to cure the world of at least this one blight. I allow my eyes to go wider and my lips to part as he speaks, “I am sure that we can figure out an…arrangement, my dear.”  I resist the urge to roll my eyes. At least evil is predictable in this case. I instead smile my gratitude and reach out to touch his hand. I can almost see that dark mantle around him snap eagerly towards my touch, and then recoil in near panic as it gets a taste of my power. He pulls back instinctively and his eyes narrow as he stands. But it is already too late for him. The power I wield is older than time and I have been refining it and making it more my own since the beginning. It will never let him go.  Not until he is gone.

Two weeks later, there is a write up in the local paper about a well-known and beloved chemistry professor at the local college that experienced an accident late at night in his classroom. He was helping one of his students with some extra credit work and he apparently mixed the wrong chemicals. The reaction was violent and he was very badly burned over most of his body. Miraculously, the student was unharmed.  He lived for twenty days in pain and torment.


Nemesis (Aisling MacKay)
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