The Devil’s Reprieve
The full moon shed little light through thick, gnarled branches still full of leaves. Goosebumps pimpled her arms, her nose twitched at the familiar scent wafting on the breeze. Petal stepped closer to the cave’s dark, gaping entrance and took another draft of air filling her lungs with the delicious odor.
She moved through the mouth of the cave mindful not to make even the slightest sound. Petal drew only tiny puffs of air through open lips, just enough to breathe, not enough to alert what hid in the dank cavern. The scent grew stronger and her nostrils almost pinched shut cutting off what little air she sucked in. Careful, quiet steps took her deeper and deeper down a rutted tunnel until a sharp sound of scraping metal jerked her to a halt. Did it hear her? Too late now.
Hugging her small body close to the wall, she took a few more steps toward the faint light shimmering further down the passageway until spine-chilling laughter caused Petal to squeal. Something evil lived in the dark hole and it would catch her now. Loud, heavy steps thundered in her direction, the earthen floor shuddered beneath her tiny feet with each heavy footfall in her direction. Petal’s heart thumped, almost banged through her rib cage. She gulped air as her body trembled uncontrollably.
A shadow bearing horns grew larger with each step closer to where Petal was plastered to the craggy wall unable to budge an inch.
“I waited for you.” The beast loomed over her. “Come in.”
Sweat glistened on the perfectly muscled back Petal followed into a brightly lit room filled with the spicy smell that initially attracted her to the cave. Déjà vu.
Her mouth watered even as she murmured, “I can’t stay.”
“You’ll always come back.” White teeth glinted through hard, sensuous lips.
Fear melted away as it did each time she entered this place, each time she saw him. Petal turned toward a huge fire where blazing embers danced up the chimney. The cauldron’s furiously bubbling ingredients caused the cast iron pot to slowly move from side-to-side occasionally grinding against the heavy stone lining the fireplace. The concoction boiled over sending showers of sparks upward. It was him, his essence that roiled over the flames.
Would the intoxicating odor ever lure another into his dark lair as it had her?
His hand caressed her cheek. “Tonight is yours.” Red eyes engulfed her. “Just like last time.” The tips of his fingers blazed a path down her neck, stopping to rest above her heart. His mouth curved into a crooked smile. “And exactly like the next time…I’ll be here waiting.”
Hope you enjoyed this quick read. I couldn’t resist dragging the devil out to play and giving him a short reprieve before Halloween.
Growl and roar-it’s okay to let the beast out.-J. Hali Steele