I wandered through the scenes, taking only a quick note of each. The familiar mixed with the extreme, giving anyone unaccustomed to the lifestyle a sampling of where things began and where they could go.
The man strapped down to the pommel horse cried out as a cane connected with his thighs. His ass cheeks already glowed red. His black hair glistened as sweat trickled through. What caught my eye, however, was the red rope securing his wrists behind his back. It was a fine blend of silk and elastic, perfect for tightening as he strained without ever cutting into his skin. His wrists would be unblemished. Sadly, his backside could not claim the same.
A woman was chained to a spreader bar, her wrists secured above her head while her Master used toy after toy to make her come. A puddle already gleamed beneath her. And I could almost make out my reflection in it. My dark hair was there, but the rest was hazy. Again, rather than pay attention to the vibrating wand or the selection of dildos, I looked to the man wielding them. There was a softness in his eyes that no new-comer would spot. His expression was hard, unyielding. His grimace made the chained woman cringe and blubber, although again, I found something in her eyes — trust. She was afraid of disappointing him, not afraid of him. He was afraid of pushing her too hard, of her need to stop before he had visited everything they both desired on her body. I understood both very well. I had been doing this longer than either of them, longer than anyone in this room. Longer than most of them put together.
This was still the front of the house: lighter bondage, easier discipline. As I moved farther, I found more pain, more tortuous ties and chains. These were not my preference, although I was always prepared to provide what my prey…my client needed.
That was a mistake I hadn’t made in a long time. They were my sustenance, but I never killed any longer. Not prey. Toward the back, I found Will. With a small sigh, I couldn’t even feign surprise. Torture had always been his specialty. I remembered when his eyes wouldn’t have that glint of concern. His partner, Justin, was also familiar to me. Nothing short of piercing, throbbing, mind-numbing pain could bring Justin to his edge. Will had invited me one night, so proud of his partner. It wasn’t his first. Everytime he found a man or woman like Justin he would long to show them off to the rest of us. This type of gathering gave him the opportunity to showcase Blue Moon House and what limits we pushed. The knife danced on Justin’s pink skin, tracing old white scars, crossing them.
How strange to watch him indulge here, in front of everyone. I shuddered and pulled my useless robe tighter around my shoulders. It was so dangerous, drinking in front of everyone, but he made a production of lapping it, looking very human as he did. The shattering of obsidian that formed his eyes set him apart, but didn’t make him unworldly. I could wish mine were so subtle. The splintering of sapphire, however, drew much more attention.
“Amazing,” the man next to me murmured, lifting his camera to his eye again. “Beautiful, black, white and red.” He wasn’t speaking to me, only himself.
The hairs on the back of my neck rose. Bad enough drinking in public, but if people started photographing us. Worse, he wasn’t alone. Several others trained their cameras on various scenes. I stalked away, looking for Siobhan. This was her establishment.
“Sophia,” she said with a smile. “So glad you came. Will is making quite the splash.” She looked toward where he and Justin continued to indulge.
“Yes. Did you invite photographers?” I asked, knowing the answer.
“Yes! Aren’t they fabulous? They’re doing a documentary on the lifestyle.” She tapped her cheek. “I keep wondering when one of them is going to misstep. They all seem in need of training.”
I ground my teeth. “I wish you had told me.”
“Oh? You don’t approve? You know, you are just the person for them to interview.” Siobhan raised her hand and waved before I could stop her.
“No!” I shouted, but it was too late. That’s when all the cameras turned toward me. Thankfully, at least two returned to other scenes, but that still left one video camera and another still pointed directly into my face.
“This is Sophia. She is the Head Mistress of Blue Moon House.”
“Blue Moon House,” one of the photographers whispered. Their House really was legend.
“I don’t photograph well. You shouldn’t expect to be able to use any footage, but I’ll answer your questions.”
The men scoffed. “You photograph beautifully,” he said, believing what his eyes told him. The reflection, however, would lie. He would find me, ever so slightly, out of focus in every shot. Light misbehaved on my skin and eyes. Jocelyn suspected it was that fact that made sunlight so dangerous for us.
They had few questions, of the most basic variety and I happily left their company, finding Siobhan again. “I dislike being photographed,” I told her. Not giving her time to answer, I showed her how much I disliked it by leaving her party.
The walk home was soothing, even in my impractical boots. My extra grace and strength made it possible if not easy. Standing on the porch, I looked up at my house. My house. Even a century after building it, no, two, it was beautiful to behold. It held all my hopes, all my dreams. All my love went into this place and people who came here.
I worried again about the photographers. Would Will be found out? Would we meet the fiery end I had protected myself and the rest of us from for so long?
No. No one would really believe we were vampires.
I opened the door and stepped inside.