Back in Torx’s apartment, he kneels on the floor at the edge of the shadows between worlds. Torx still looks out of it, but he doesn’t want to startle the young man into full awareness. Whispering hints about vampire acid and pretty women, he reads the memories flowing from the man mixing with the information of the world. It’s like drinking memories. Like a vampire consumes blood, he ingests Torx’s memories. And they taste delicious, like sweet candy.
A shiver races down his back, and tingles erupt on the back of his neck.
Selecting a morsel tasting like peppermint, he dives in. Shadows eat the floor, the walls, and the violet storm rages overhead.
Dark shapes appear within purple haze. They appear like smoke, their swooning motions leave trails, dancing. More of them, a mass of smoky forms gather around. They wave their arms building smoky clouds above their heads.
The ghosts dance, their pale forms turning and moving on a wood floor. Dark columns holding purple rods rise up into a white fog where lights spin splashing red like blood dripping from the mist.
Thunder erupts, pounding into the floor. Another dull boom, and another, the increasing beat becoming alive, sharpening. The dancers stomp to the beat, their movements increasing in speed. A chorus of guitars join in, music explodes, drums crashing.
White shirts and waving colored bracelets glow in the black light. Some of the eyes glow as well like phosphorous disc floating on white orbs. The discs bounce and weave. The floor shakes to the beat of the drums and dancing feet.
Standing on a stage, a woman with deep crimson hair screams into a microphone. Her voice, harsh and demonic, shouts about blood and death. Behind her, the band shakes their heads and stomp. A bald man pounds drums splashing sweat glistening into the spotlight flooding his bare chest decorated with a dark dragon.
The familiarity of it all sends a wave of nausea splashing over. Necropolis. The same, all over again, a nightmare playing from a different angle. Steve spots Torx entering the dance floor. The sea opens up, bodies grooving, surrounding the young man. Grinning like a kid in a candy store, the man approaches a woman dressed in a long black skirt.
The woman spins around, her hips throw her skirt swaying and shifting about her leather boots tapping the floor in time with the beat. Her body flows, twisting, her arms climbing up over her head like snakes swooning about each other. Her dark hair bounces on her shoulders.
Steve recognizes her pale face, her cute dimples, her slender nose. Kandy. Like before, at the beginning, but now he watches like an out-of-body experience of a memory.
Torx says something lost to the music. Steve searches the information, diving into the quiet place. He slips around the ghosts, afraid touching them might break the spell, and steps back into the world.
Kandy smiles, her glossy red lips curl deepening her dimples. “Nice to meet you, Steve Reynolds.”
Her eyes are on Torx. She speaks to him.
A wave of nausea rushes over, and he concentrates on Kandy’s face, focusing on her glossy lips trying to read them. He watches her tongue slide sideways licking her upper lip. Smile growing, her mouth opens wider exposing glistening teeth. A red spotlight flashes over her fangs, red like blood.
“I’m sweet like candy,” she says. Spinning around, she gazes over her shoulder. Her thin eyebrows bounce. “With a kay.”
“Kandy Fangs,” says Torx. He grins like the devil. “I like.”
The world spins, and Steve grasps the sides of his head trying to hold the dizziness inside. The floor tips, sending him skittering around ghosts and towards the shadows eating away at the world. Deep reds break through the crevices of the wasteland, and purple clouds churn overhead.
Torx’s memory, meeting Kandy in Necropolis as it always has been. And the name. Steve Reynolds. The origin. From the apartment to Necropolis, he feeds like a vampire. Instead of blood, he devours memories tasting them for his own.
Climbing out of the shadows, he finds his way back into Necropolis, climbing ethereal stairs. Above, Kandy’s ghost pushes Torx’s ghost into a room, and the door shuts behind them. Racing up the steel steps, he passes through the door finding an empty hall. Recognizing the recently painted walls, he glides towards the door to the room where he first met Yasmine dressed in the chain mail dress, and he passes through the door.
Arms folded, one foot crossed behind the other, Kandy stands with her back facing the leather sofa beneath the window overlooking the dance floor. Her eyes nearly glow in the dim light, and the scowl on her face could melt a heart. Arm rising in slow motion, Torx holds up a fan of money. From the quiet place, the words are lost to the silence. From behind, Steve cannot read his lips.
Whatever Torx says, it turns the burning scowl on Kandy’s face up a notch. A blur of motion, Kandy strikes grasping Torx by the arm. She opens her jaw, fangs dripping saliva. Diving in, she bites into the arm sending blood squishing out from her lips. Slipping from the man’s grasp, dollars flutter to the floor.
Rivers of red flow over his hand, beading around fingers, drops breaking free. Three globs stretch and snap back, red swirling surfaces, the spherical drops meet the glossy floor, one after another, compressing, an exploding ring of drops fly out of each one arcing into a rain of blood.
Body heaving, Kandy clenches the man. The victim’s body spasms, dangling hand throwing a rain of blood. Over the blood-soaked arm, her gaze climbs. She pulls free, blood shooting against her cheek, and her tongue laps the plasma. Her eyes grow large.
Meeting her gaze, Steve watches her eyes flash through shock then into fear. Her face collapses, jaw slacking, blood rains down from her fangs. Pushing her dinner aside, she pulls her face together, determination burning like fire.
The carnal feeding, the money on the floor, Kandy and her fangs, venomous, it all comes together. Torx, original Steve Reynolds, crumples on the floor. Dazed, lost to the venom, he stares at the ceiling. Venom causes memory loss, and the man may not remember the details, but somewhere within, the greasy young man knows exactly what he came for: intoxicating Kandy Fangs.
Standing there, blood soaking her dark dress, Kandy considers Steve Reynolds the memory thief a moment. She licks blood from her chin. Arm flying up, she raises a pistol. The barrel is a black square around a circle of darkness. Gun oil tickles the nose. A good killer always keeps her tools clean, and this gun looks and smells like a very clean tool.
He steps into the quiet place.
The trigger moves back in slow motion. Behind the gun, the killer glares back. There is no anger on her face. No hatred. Determination fills her smoldering eyes, and red breaks through the hazel iris like cracks of molten lava breaking through rock. Her eyes nearly glow in the dim light.
Someone once said that right before death a man sees his life flash before his eyes. The statement is nearly true. Life is a memory, and this one belongs to someone else, or his former self, or wherever memories are born. Quicker than a flash of gunpowder, a lifetime of experiences explodes imprinting memories onto the very fabric of the cosmos like blood spraying the floor. It can take a while to read it all, the memories, and sometimes only pieces make any sense.
Kandy is a killer, and he is her target. It’s right there in her eyes. She has known where the name, Steve Reynolds, comes from. She likely knows him by another name, maybe his true name or some other name stolen from a memory. Never a mention.
The hammer pops, thunder swallowed by silence. Darkness eats the walls, the floor, and Kandy lunges backward, a ghost passing through the sofa, the window, and she falls.
Leaping over the sofa, Steve dives through the glass down towards the waving sea of ghosts churning white smoke into a stew. He reaches out for Kandy, fingers coming short of the gun in her hand. She fires the weapon, flicker of light eaten by the shadows, bullet streaks out stinging his hand as it melts away into the memory of the club.
Kandy fades into a ghost, slowing in time, and Steve grasps at her, arms passing through her midsection sending frozen tingles racing up his arms. Her ghost strikes another ghost, a dancer, knocking the woman over. The pedestal explodes, etherial boards shooting out. Hands over his face, he braces against the crashing ghost debris.
The ground knocks the wind out of him.