A chill lingered in the early March evening, the warm light of day having given way to the pale glow of the moon and the twinkling stars. Katie looked up at the pale pinpricks of light above and suppressed a shiver which crept up her spine. The cold sensation seemed to travel through her despite the warm jacket she wore. Somehow, she couldn’t quite tell how, she felt tonight would be special.
The sound of Katie’s boots seemed to echo in the night as she walked up the paved walkway, between the lush, well-goomer greenery which grew tall on both sides, partien occasionally to grant her glimpses of the garden. She walked past a pair of stone fountains, which stood still and silent, waiting for summer. Katie paused when she reached the terrace and the massive wooden door at the end of the walkway. The wooden structure was a lavish extension to an equally lavish two-storey mansion. Katie had been here before, but never at night and never like this.
The door of the mansion opened soundlessly and Katie’s heart skipped a beat when she saw the warm smile on John’s face as he greeted her.
“Heyy! Come on in, Katie, before you freeze to death.” John was all smiles as Katie walked up to him. KAtie stretched out her arms and stepped up to the terrace to embrace John. She could sense the scent of cologne, which clung to the boy's sweater and short black hair. He had clearly shaved and showered just moments ago. Smart boy. John planted a gentle kiss on Katie’s cheek, sending even more chills down her spine. The door slid to a close behind Katie's back.
“So, can I come in or not?” -Katie asked, wrapping her arms around her body, trying to look like she was freezing and shivering.
“Sure, sure, here, let me get your coat.”
John stepped back, allowing Katie to step away from the door, and reached out to remove Katie’s coat, placing it on a wall-mounted hook, which resembled a lion’s paw. Katie could almost feel John’s eyes wandering as she turned her back to him and bent over to untie her boots. She was wearing a pair of tight blue jeans and a loose woolen top to keep her warm, and nothing underneath. John took Katie’s hand and guided her into the sitting room.
The TV was on, as if John had been watching the news, though the sound was muted. A crackling fire flickered in the fireplace, casting orange light into the room, sending long shadows dancing on the wood-panelled walls. In the middle of the room, facing the fireplace, stood a large couch which could easily seat five or six people. Katie noticed a bottle of wine on the glass coffee table in the middle of the room, with two glasses waiting to be filled. She smiled at John, and allowed him to guide her to the couch. Katie sat down while John poured them wine.
“Did you buy that?” -Katie asked, eyeing the expensive-looking bottle as John placed it back down.
“I will have to be honest and say ‘no’. I did get my dad’s permission, though, and he assured me it was the best we had.” John smiled, took the two glasses, handed one of them over to Katie and then sat next to her. Katie couldn’t get enough of that smile, it was one of those things about John that just stood out. She could smell the fruity scent of the wine and carefully sipped the crimson liquid. She was no expert when it came to fine wines, but it did taste different than anything she had ever drank before.
“Dad said he had it imported from France. One of his work-buddies knew some people who make it.”
Katie looked around the room. She’d been there before, the main sitting room of John’s parent’s mansion, but always with the lights on or the curtains open, and always with more people around. Now, with just her and John, the place felt smaller, more intimate. A large portrait of a man in a military uniform glared down from the back wall.
“Is that him?” Katie asked, slightly creeped out by the way the fireplace cast a shadow over the portrait, causing the mustachioed face of the man to appear and disappear at random.
“Yeah.” John answered, pausing for a moment before continuing: “Oh! I just realized you two have never met!”
Katie nodded. She had visited, but in addition to John she had only met the two housekeepers, John’s mother, and some of John’s friends.
“He looks important...” -Katie said, taking another small sip of wine.
“Yeah. Military man all his life, deployed in Iraq twice and then in Greece back in 2015. He was injured there, but ‘rose to the occasion, leading his unit out of a reformer ambush’. Or so I was told. In any case they’re saying he’ll make the rank of General soon.” There was a hint of pride and wonder in John’s voice. Katie could tell John was proud of his father and even though John hadn’t served in the military, he did carry himself like a soldier: always straight, always tough, always ready for anything. Except now...
Katie placed the wine glass on the coffee table and leaned towards John. She rested her head on his shoulder and wrapped her arm around the young man’s waist, pulling him in. John, about to finish his glass, was caught by surprise and almost spilled his drink.
“Will you be my soldier-boy?” -Katie asked, smiling playfully as John placed his glass on the table as well. His face was red, possibly because of the wine, but more likely because of something else. Katie raised her face and planted a gentle kiss on John’s cheek. John was a year younger than she was, barely seventeen, and his lack of experience showed. Katie enjoyed, in an odd, twisted way, how she could crack John’s shell like this, revealing the scared little boy underneath the hardened mask he put up in public.
John’s hand moved, brushing against the denim cloth wrapped around Katie’s knee.
“You didn’t answer my question.” -She purred. John froze in place, searching for words. Katie could see his mind wandering, his eyes darting around like those of a caged animal searching for a way to escape. Then he paused, his eyes focused on something behind her. Katie glanced over her shoulder and realized the TV was still on, playing some ‘breaking news’ story about a massive missing person’s case in Washington. Katie turned back to John and frowned.
“Can’t we turn that off?” -she asked. It wasn’t really a question, but an order. Like a good little soldier, John snapped up the remote, turned off the TV, then dropped the remote somewhere between the couch cushions.
“Good boy...” Katie purred, pushing herself tight against John’s body, the fabrics of their clothes pressing together, “...now where were we?” John’s hand was resting on Katie’s thigh. She realized it was shaking slightly as he hesitated. He must have thought she was angry at him for looking at the TV like that, poor boy.
Katie pressed her own hand on John’s, guiding his palm and his fingers up to her waist, helping them slide under the soft, loose fabric of her shirt. John’s fingers felt cool as they touched Katie’s skin. She felt the excitement building, and could feel John was starting to get in with the program as well. Katie released her grip on John’s hand, wrapping her left arm loosely around John’s neck, while her right hand pressed against high thigh, just inches away from his waist. The boy’s hand was slowly creeping up, each millimeter of movement sending a very distinct chill up Katie’s spine. Then he reached the point of no return, his fingers caressing the soft skin of Katie’s breast. He paused for a second, waiting to see how she would react. She smiled as John looked up into her eyes, and could see the realization dawning on the boy’s face.
“I felt one layer of clothes was enough for tonight. Will you keep me warm?”
Katie lifted her head, her lips meeting John’s halfway between the distance that had separated them. The boy’s hand massaged her gently, a wholly exhilarating sensation, and Katie’s own hands slowly began to move on their own, down John’s shoulders and back, reaching for his belt. John moved his hand to the side, wrapping his arm around Katie’s chest, his muscular arm lifting the hem of the loose shirt she wore. Katie giggled and retreated, breaking the kiss, then raised her arms above her head. John wasted no time and helped her out of her shirt. Katie could feel John’s eyes feasting on the sight on offer.
The woolen shirt fell to the floor without a sound. Katie leaned in and kissed John. His lips felt warm and soft and tasted like wine. Suddenly, John’s body jerked violently. Katie kissed him more deeply, trying to calm him down, but he grabbed at her hair, pulling on it painfully.
Katie opened her eyes, not having realized she had closed them, and looked on as something incomprehensible began to happen right before her eyes. John’s eyes were bleeding, his nose was trickling with fresh blood. Something squirmed in Katie’s mouth, something she had thought was her tongue, but wasn’t. She tried to scream, she needed to scream, but instead she could only feel herself wrapping around John more tightly. The boy strained in Katie’s grasp, but was no match for her superhuman strength. More blood trickled from his eyes and red bubbles frothed below his nose.
John thrashed about, throwing his weight to his side, causing the couple to fall off the couch and crash into the coffee table. The glass surface shattered, sending a shower of tiny fragments flying towards the fireplace. Spilled wine mixed with John’s blood. Katie was crying, howling with fear at the horror unfolding in front of her eyes, but no matter how hard she tried, she could not stop herself. She tried to turn her head but her neck muscles were locked up, she tried to bite down on the thing that squirmed between her lips, but her jaw was locked. John’s hand was reaching for a larger glass fragment, his fingers brushing against the sharp edge.
Suddenly there was a sickening crunch, and John went limp, his eyes rolling up in their sockets. Katie simply lay over his body, her tears flowing over his bloodstained face. She tried to push with her hands, wanted to get away, but she couldn’t control her body. Instead she could only wait and feel the thing in her mouth squirming and stretching.
For several agonizing minutes she lay there, unable to close her eyes, unable to escape, before suddenly realizing she was free. Katie raised herself up and came to sit on the floor next to John. She could see something black and slimy squirming in John’s mouth, disappearing with a sickening wet noise as it slid deeper into his skull. His eyes were moving underneath their lids and his breathing was shallow. Katie felt light-headed and weak. She realized she had to call for help. There was a phone near the door! She stood up and took a step, only to fall flat on her face as her knees gave way underneath her. Something was moving inside her head, pulsating behind her eyeballs. Then the blackness came, and she felt terribly, terribly cold.