The last thing I remember, I was driving in the desert. It was a cool night, and I had the top down, enjoying the colitas with the rest of the band. I had my left arm out the side, feeling the wind.
I didn’t see the truck coming. It must’ve seen me. Maybe I was too high, or had my eyes closed…I don’t know. I heard someone yell then there were headlights, a semi truck horn, and a brilliant flash of white.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen a woman like the one who stood in the doorway. Raven hair, ruby lips, and it I swear sparks flew from her fingertips as she slowly beckoned me in, come in, please come in. Somewhere off in the distance I heard a bell, but it was a deep, ominous toll that sounded…final.
I knew then something wasn’t quite right. How did I get here? Was I in Heaven? Hell? My head was fuzzy, diffuse; the raven-haired woman held up a candle, leading me further into the old mission. As I walked own the hallway, I heard voices, dim and distant, softly singing. I couldn’t make out their words, but it was lovely. I felt myself wanting to be here.
She led me into a courtyard. As we stepped out, men encircled her. They were dandys, pretty boys, all fawning over her. They pulled her into the middle and, as music played, they began to dance. Slowly at first, but then more energetically, until they were all covered in a sheen of sweet summer sweat. I stood transfixed.
As I watched, a man approached me. He seemed to ask me a question, but I couldn’t hear. I was suddenly struck with thirst and begged him for some wine, but he shook his head sadly, and somehow I seemed to know that there had been no wine here for a very long time. The dance continued.
Then, the man beckoned me away from the courtyard to another hallway. I followed him, still fuzzy-headed, and again I heard the soft voices singing far away. ‘Welcome’, they seemed to be singing. ‘Welcome’.
We approached a door, and it grew quiet. The man suddenly handed me a long knife, pointing to the door. ‘This is the Master’s chamber’, he said. ‘Enter, and enjoy the feast.’ I reach out to push open the door, and then I heard the raven-haired woman’s voice whispering from behind me: ‘We are all just prisoners here. But we chose it.’ I turned, but she was gone. I pushed open the door, and walked in, holding the knife.
It was a nightmarish sight. The room was decked in red velvet, and as I looked up, I saw the entire ceiling was covered in mirrors. There was pink champagne sitting on a table, iced but untouched. I saw them then–a large group of people, wearing hooded robes and gathered around a table, all holding a knife like I was. I couldn’t see what was on the table, but in an instant the they suddenly raised their steely knives and rushed the table, stabbing. I heard the most horrible screams, and despite the repeated stabbing, the screams continued. Whatever it was, they seemed unable to kill it.
Terrified, I turned and ran through the open door past the man who led me there. Somehow, I had to the find the passage to where I entered the mission before. As I ran, I heard the man behind me, always a step behind. I ran through the halls lost. Exhausted, I finally collapsed to the floor, slumping against the wall, and slowly looked up at the man.
He smiled at me, offering me his hand. ‘Relax’, he said, slowly dragging me to me feet with surprising strength, his hand a vise on my wrist.
‘Relax’, he said again, his smile wider, I saw the razor-sharp teeth then, and the horns. His smile became almost a grimace, a snarl. ‘Relax’, he growled, but this time there was no warmth in his voice. ‘You need not stay here’, he said, bringing his face closer to mine, the sharpened teeth dripping with I know not what. ‘No, you need not stay here. ‘But’, he said finally, reaching a hand to my face and stroking it, ‘you can never, ever leave.’
I screamed then, but the man laughed, and that laugh grew ever louder, echoing through the hall.
And I knew then where I was. And where I would be for the rest of eternity.