Wednesday Writing Prompt: Begin a story with an upbeat sentence. End the story with the same sentence, only now it’s terrifying.
She walked down the corridor, excitement and anticipation pulsed through her veins.
It had been days since Widow was onstage, so she was itching to play. The slow, deliberate clicking of her high-heeled boots against the floor echoed like an ominous warning. She exited the darkened hallway and stood just offstage. Widow ran her slender fingers through long, jet-black hair, while she waited for her introduction.
The ringmaster stood under the spotlight wearing a black top hat over long, dark hair, and a black cloak that hung to the floor. His sharp, handsome features captivated the crowd almost as much as his truly hypnotic voice. A natural gift that was of great benefit in their particular line of work. His smile grew wide enough to reveal fangs as he introduced Widow’s act.
“Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, here at the Paranatural Circus we have an act so daringly unique, you can only witness it here! A balancing act that combines graceful acrobatics with gravity defying stunts! The most risqué, engaging, compelling tightrope act in the entire world! Or as some would claim, in any of the worlds.” His piercing green eyes scanned the crowd. These insignificant, oblivious mortals had no idea. “Without further ado, I present to you…The Black Widow!”
The crowd erupted into applause as Widow stepped into the spotlight. The music roared to life as she moved across the stage. Widow lifted her blood-red lips in a tantalizing smile while she slithered into the crowd. The beat of the music was vibrating everyone into the next level of anticipation. Widow lived for this part of her act. The hunt. Eager spectators held their breath either wishing to be invisible or hoping for a chance to be part of the show. There was no method to Widow’s choices. Her tastes varied based on the day and her current mood. Sometimes she chose men, sometimes women, but never…ever…children. Not for any moral reason. After all, Widow didn’t have any morals. Just raw, unapologetic instinct.
She twirled around the crowd searching for her volunteer the same way a person might search for a perfectly ripened peach, briefly touching and feeling her options, waiting for one to stand out above the rest. Then she sensed him. His heart was beating harder than the others, so hard in fact, she could hear it even above the music. Widow opened her mind, searching him out across the crowd until her eyes connected with his. Poor guy didn’t stand a chance.
Widow licked her lips and appeared to teleport over to him. The crowd applauded her magic and she reveled in her devious secret. Clueless mortals. She straddled him in his seat and lowered her mouth to his ear just as the spotlight found them.
“Well don’t you smell delicious?” she purred, inhaling his scent. “What’s your name?”
“Bryan,” he answered. He was unsure of where to put his hands as his date looked on from the seat next to him.
Running a blood-red, long nail gently down his cheek and under his chin, Widow guided him to stand and follow her. Bryan’s pretty little date reached out to grab him, but it was already too late. He belonged to Widow now.
He followed her onstage, and she shoved him down into a seat facing the audience. Twenty-five feet above them, Widow’s elaborate spiderweb-themed tightrope course hung securely. Glancing out at the audience, Widow lifted her long, slender leg, placing her high-heeled boot in Bryan’s lap. With her inner thigh just a foot away from his face, she made a show of unzipping it, all the way from the middle of her thigh down to her ankles. She removed her boot and threw it off to the side of the stage.
Widow twirled and shifted around Bryan to the rhythm of the music, before seductively settling her other boot intimately into his lap. This time, she instructed him to remove it. Bryan hesitated briefly, then his face contorted in confusion as his hands began working Widow’s zipper. The harder he tried to resist the stronger Widow compelled him to obey. His fingers slid slowly down the inside of her leg, gently guiding her out of the boot. Widow found his date in the audience. She had just gathered her coat and was currently headed for the exit. Pity she couldn’t stay for the show.
Widow smiled, flashing perfectly white teeth. The crew helped Bryan to his feet and removed the chair from the stage while Widow discreetly put on her leather slippers. Widow approached Bryan, sliding around to stand next to him. She opened her hands, palms facing and fingers spread wide apart. A subtle, red glow began to form between her hands as the music rose to a crescendo. The audience cheered her magic on as silky webs that seemed to come from her hands began to cocoon the volunteer, starting at his feet. Widow shivered in anticipation. Let the show begin.
This was supposed to be a fun night. A first date at the circus seemed like a romantic idea, but now his date was gone, and he was getting wrapped up in a prop that felt far too constricting. Who was supposed to be regulating this? He wasn’t even sure what he did to get up on the damned stage, or what the hell he was thinking practically undressing this stranger. How embarrassing. Bryan was never one to volunteer, crowds made him self-conscious. But still, she had picked him. Had sought him out among the crowd. What rotten luck. He tried to reassure himself that it would all be over with shortly, and then he could go try to salvage what was left of his date night. If he could even find his date.
The silken web crawled up his thighs and seemed to be coming directly from Widow’s hands. Being this close, he would think he’d see some sort of contraption or device assisting this performer with her magic, but he only saw the red glow and silk thread.
The web was around his midsection when he started to worry. He wasn’t sure how this magic trick worked, or where it was headed, but Bryan didn’t feel like being a guinea pig. How would it look if he left the stage? Would he ruin the show?
He was in up to his chest, with his arms pinned tightly to his sides, as the silk spun higher and higher squeezing the air out of his lungs. Bryan was on the brink of panic. He decided he had enough and tried to leave, but he couldn’t move. It was like his body wasn’t his anymore, and he realized it might be more than stage fright that gripped him. Inside his head he was screaming wildly, but in reality, no sound came forth. In his mind’s eye, he was violently thrashing around trying to fight his way out of this cocoon, but on stage, he was paralyzed. The silk strangled his throat before covering his useless mouth, then his nose, and then everything went dark.
Bryan could still hear and breathe, but just barely. He’d never been claustrophobic, but damn if he didn’t feel like the world was closing in on him. His skin crawled and his muscles itched to move. His lungs burned for oxygen but only got the crushing weight of terror and defeat. His heart hammered in his throat as he felt hands on his entombed body, laying him flat on the stage. Bryan was aware of being hoisted into the air by whatever was tied around his ankles. Probably more of that god-awful silk. How high up was he dangling? Did anyone sense he didn’t want to be there, or did they all continue to think this was an entertaining show?
The horrifying thought suddenly occurred to Bryan that he might not make it out of there alive. His silent scream was only heard in the confines of his own mind.
From up on her web of ropes, the audience looked so small to Widow. She was untouchable as she placed her feet comfortably on the lines. The song switched to a slower, haunting tune. The music filled her with power as she twisted and contorted in a graceful display of choreographed movement. Her body danced seductively over the ropes, her long legs and sculpted arms flowing with the rhythm of the sensual music.
This. This is what Widow lived for. Sex, death, and feeding. It was her instinct, hardwired into the very core of her being. She couldn’t be blamed for who she was any more than the lion could be blamed for eating the gazelle.
Sex, death, and feeding. She continued to dance, gliding over the ropes, making use of the entire web. Her body, the music, and the lights were all in perfect harmony, captivating the audience below.
Sex, death, and feeding. Her next thrill hung cocooned just below her, helplessly dangling and at her mercy. She wet her lips.
Widow slid headfirst down the line of silk that connected Bryan to her ropes. The audience gasped and sat on the edge of their seats as she slid further down the silk and closer to the human-shaped cocoon. When she reached him, she ignited a powerful flash of smoke, concealing the two of them from the audience.
She wrapped herself around Bryan, gripping him tightly between her thighs, and teleported offstage, cocoon and all. The smoke cleared revealing their absence. The last thing Widow heard was the thunderous roar of an entertained crowd.
Backstage, it was time to retreat to her dressing room. Widow said “goodnight” to the crew and began dragging her cocooned volunteer by his ankles.
Sex, death, and feeding. Widow was starving.
She walked down the corridor, excitement and anticipation pulsed through her veins.