The Serpent Wore Cute Earrings


Alys seems to float over to me, passing by the other coffee shop patrons and leaving a wake of incredulous stares behind her. Her pentagram clinks gently against its chain as she settles into the overstuffed chair across from me, covering the pink and green floral print with the mass of her black ceremonial robes.
“You have questions for me?” She asks before I can even formally begin the interview.
I tell her that is why I am here, after all, and she merely steeples her fingers in response. For almost a full minute, she says nothing at all. Stuttering, I begin with the toughest question:
“People seem to believe you’re the head of a secret society that engages in blood sacrifice, orgies, dark magic, and… hmm… watching Jon Waters’ Pink Flamingos at dinner parties on weekends. What do you have to say about these vicious rumors?”
“All true.” She nods and leans back, her robe shifting slightly to reveal a blindingly pale ankle. “Except for the bit about the movie. Last weekend we watched Groundhog Day. It was a delightful romp of a film.”
“I see.” I don’t, actually, but it seems like the thing to say.
“So there is, in fact, blood sacrifice?”
“Of course. Just before refreshments and canap├ęs.”
I feel my eyes go wide. “You begin the night with a death?”
“It’s only proper. Haven’t you ever read Melinda Blackhearth’s Guide to Hosting an Illuminati Gathering? It’s my bible.” She scowls for a moment, backpedaling. “If I had a bible that is. Down with the Bible. Boo, hiss, etcetera.”
Toying with her earrings (upside-down crosses, of course) as she thinks, I find I am horrified by her blatant disregard for that thing most of us do called Not Killing People During Secret Society Parties. She must have noticed my alarmed shudder as she looks up then and speaks again.
“You should come to one of my galas.” She says, glaring at me in a fashion that suggests that this is not so much an invitation as it is an order. I am strangely unsure if my curiosity will win out over my common sense and desire to live.
“That would be…” I hesitate, chanting to myself that I must refuse her invitation somehow. “…would be… lovely. Thank you.”
What have I done? I chug some burning hot coffee to try and hide my shock but only end up scalding my tongue and tearing up in both eyes for my trouble.
Alys Grimm leans back and smiles. It is cold and reptilian and I am strangely drawn to it.
“I think you will like this gathering. It will be special,” She winds a strand of her hair slowly, tightly, around her forefinger, “I am to be honored with the new role of High Priestess, after all. It will be such a celebration! People will just die to be a part of the ceremony.”
Dear god. What have I gotten myself into?