Alexandra Melmoth has surfaced again, and this time I came close to stopping her. But I suppose close doesn’t count. Bottom line: she’s escaped, and disappeared without a trace. I suspect– Well, what I suspect can wait. First, I should make the report.
The whole thing started with a call from Josie’s. Josie’s is the local gentleman’s club. A strip joint, in other words. Josie used to be a dancer at the Fat Beaver. Stepped into the void left when Gladys got religion and changed the Fat Beaver’s business model. Josie stopped dancing ages ago, kind of let herself go. Now she tends bar and keeps the peace in her place. Her, and Mathilda. That’s Josie’s wife and bouncer, a six-foot-two Amazon with a buzz cut and shoulders broader than mine. Both of them are what Sheriff Patton has termed “great old broads.” Friendly, genuine, magnanimous, and tough as nails.
That’s why they were so surprised when the two of them together couldn’t stop Alexandra from barging in, mounting the stage, and putting on a show. But I should let them tell the story:
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MATHILDA: I almost didn’t let her in the door. Wasn’t sure she was legal.
X-23: Did you know who she was?
JOSIE: Of course she knew who she was! Bitch was the damn prom queen! Nobody in town who wouldn’t have recognized her.
PATTON: She’s right on that one, Matthews. Alexandra’s a pretty well-known face around here. Makes me wonder how she’s hiding at all. Now, Matilda, last report we’ve got on this girl, she was covered in blood. I assume she’d cleaned up before she showed up here?
MATHILDA: Yeah. Yeah, she looked fresh as a daisy. Wasn’t wearing much, but you know… Kids these days… “Ass hangin’ out” might just be the new look.
JOSIE: You never were much on fashion, honey.
MATHILDA: *grunts* You got enough of that for the both of us. Anyway, Sheriff… She didn’t have ID on her – don’t know where she’d have put it – but she wanted in, so I tried to remember when she was prom queen, did some mental math, and figured she was probably at least 21. So…
PATTON: On a different night, I’d give you a hard time on that. But considering… Go on.
MATHILDA: Well… I let her in, and she went over to the bar.
JOSIE: And that’s where I took her up. “Ass hangin’ out” doesn’t begin to cover it. That girl was prancin’ around here in nothing but a tube top and some Daisy Dukes cut up so high they might as well have been a thong. Trashy, even for this joint.
MATHILDA: Looked good on her, though.
JOSIE: No denyin’ that. Might be why I didn’t kick her out right away. I knew she was gonna be trouble, but something made me want to talk to her.
MATHILDA: That ass.
JOSIE: You be quiet. It was her eyes, actually. Something in her eyes… Anyway. She asked for a cum shot, and–
X-23: Excuse me?
JOSIE (rolls eyes): Vodka and a raw oyster. One of our regulars came up with it. Said it helped him get it up. Old Joe McIntyre, you remember him, Sheriff? Joe wasn’t the classiest guy, but the other barflies worshiped at his altar. Got so we had to put it on the menu. Kind of an institution now.
Anyway. Like I was saying. The girl ordered a cum shot, and I made it for her. Made some kinda joke about how she was slumming it tonight. She just kinda smiled and said she was looking for a man. Figured this place would prime the pump for her. Then she started eyeballin’ Duke Reynolds.
PATTON (to X-23): That’s Possum’s brother.
JOSIE: Yeah. Possum’s a sweetheart compared to Duke, though. Duke likes it rough. The girls– I run a clean establishment here, of course, but the girls do sometimes work out arrangements on the side.
JOSIE: What? I’ve got no control over what they do outside working hours. Anyway. Girls who’ve made the mistake of accepting Duke Reynolds’ company for the evening tell me that it’s not a mistake they’ll make again. Sometimes they can’t dance for a few days afterward. He’s a belligerent drunk, too. Mathilda’s had to strong-arm him out of here a few times.
MATHILDA: *grunts* Think he liked it, too.
JOSIE: That tent he had in his pants says he did. Anyway, the girl was eyeballin’ Duke, and I tried to warn her off. She just said he sounded perfect, and took her shot over to his table. Watched her knock it back, wipe a little off the corner of her mouth, and proceed to plant herself in the man’s lap.
MATHILDA: Duke wasn’t havin’ any of it, though. Shoved her off. Said he knew what she did to his brother, and wondered if maybe he hadn’t oughtta teach her a lesson right here. Bad scene. Loud. That’s when I got involved. I ran over and got Duke in an arm bar, then the girl rared back and punched him right in the mouth. Broke his damn jaw. Duke went limp, so I dropped him. Then the girl laughed and went to hop up on the stage. I grabbed her, and she turned on me.
JOSIE: Bitch broke Mattie’s arm, Sheriff! Hundred pounds soakin’ wet, and she broke that tree trunk like it was nothin’!
MATHILDA: S’okay, baby. Chicks dig casts.
[SOMNAMBULIST TRANSCRIPTION ENDS.]
That’s when Josie called the police. In the meantime, Alexandra mounted the stage and started to dance. Which is where I found her when we arrived fifteen minutes later. I asked Sheriff Patton to let me go in alone. Not knowing how far things had gone inside, I didn’t want to expose him and his men to something they don’t have the training for. He gave me five minutes. So in I went. I hit the door expecting chaos. I found anything but.
The room was silent, the air thick. Humid and hot, but somehow electrified. Like a brothel. Or a church. The crowd hadn’t scattered, in spite of the violence. Quite the opposite, in fact. I found them rooted to their chairs, motionless, their faces masks of lust, their eyes locked on Alexandra. She was on the stage, clothes long since peeled off, her skin shimmering under the spotlight, fluid seeping steadily, prodigiously, from between her legs. The stage was slick with it, and so was she, sliding sinuous and slow as she danced, weaving her spell over the crowd. The stench was overwhelming, a deep tidal flow of musk and sweat. The smell of sex.
But it wasn’t the smell. Or at least, not the smell alone. There was something more. She was something more. Engorged. Larger than life. Too big for the stage, the room, her own body. There were depths within her, space, an endless wet pulsating void, at once alluring and utterly terrifying. I could sense it, feel it, pushing against the walls, her flesh, my flesh, the pressure building as it tried to uncoil itself, her every step, every motion, part of an equation, a formula, a key. Or not a key. A rod. A bar. A lever. Something to insert into the void, pry it open, widen the gap, let it out. But it had nowhere to go. The walls were sweating along with her, along with the crowd, along with me, and their sweat stank of smoke and beer and semen. They rippled in time with the dance, the formula, the bar, in time with my pulse and hers, my blood flowing like the wet between her legs and the long slow orgasmic trickle staining the jeans of every redneck and over-sexed frat boy in the place, locked in a single desperate spasm, straining against stillness, slaves to their sex, slaves to her, slaves to the thing within her.
But it was me she wanted, me, I could see it in her lips, her tongue, her black black eyes. I could see it in the angle of her hips as she went into slow gyrations, sticky and slick, the void gaping wider and wider with each new rotation, open, inviting, swirling, drawing me in with a pull as inexorable, as inescapable, as gravity itself. The pressure redoubled, inside and out, the pulse coming strong now, in my chest, my groin, my head.
My head. Something pulsed and spasmed in my head. There was a sharpness, a pinch, and then it was over. I found myself standing almost at the stage, over the still-unconscious form of Duke Reynolds, lying where he had fallen, not a finger raised to help him. Mathilda was there too, kneeling, cradling her broken arm and staring intently at Alexandra.
Alexandra. She’d stopped dancing now, and was staring a hole in me. “Here,” she said. “Now.” Her voice was strained, her every muscle tensed. I didn’t move. I couldn’t. I felt weak, drained. Barely able to keep myself upright.
“HERE,” she said again. “NOW.” I shook my head, not quite daring to do much else.
“HERE! NOW!” Screaming this time.
“No,” I said, my own voice a croak. “Why don’t you come down here instead? Down where I can see you? I have something for you. A gift.”
She screamed again, an ear-splitting howl that shook the walls. The men in the crowd behind me started to convulse. I nearly collapsed myself, but grit my teeth and held on. With effort, I reached into my jacket to pull forth the Wanageeska hot dog.
But she never saw it, because that was when the shot rang out. Sheriff Patton. That scream had been the last straw. He kicked the door open and took his shot, putting a bullet cleanly through Alexandra’s chest. She recoiled, hissed, her mouth a sudden ring of fangs, blood staining her breast. Then she retreated, legs elongating with each stride, scales sprouting down her naked spine as she went.
I finally fell to the floor, feeling a trickle of blood oozing out my nose. I was vaguely aware of the Sheriff rushing past, in pursuit, firing more shots. Even more vaguely, I heard the screams of his men as they confronted Alexandra coming out the back of the club. We don’t think all of them are going to make it.
The Sheriff himself just got a nasty blow to the head. He saw stars for a few seconds, and when his vision cleared, Alexandra was gone. Disappeared once again into the night. We’re canvassing the area now, asking questions. But no one’s seen a seven-foot-tall snake woman. Or Alexandra Melmoth, for that matter.
One detail from a homeless man I questioned concerns me, however, even though he was inebriated, and undoubtedly a bit mad. He reported seeing a large truck nearby around the time of our confrontation. “Looked like some kinda circus wagon,” he said.
Which brings me back to my suspicions. I fear that Alexandra may have fallen into the clutches of Jackson Curry. In which case, the situation has become very dire, indeed.
– Agent X-23, signing off.