It seemed like a nice date at first. She cooked you an elaborate meal, she shared such interesting stories, and the way she looked at you with those arresting eyes made you squirm in your seat.

Then she told you that the pie had been poisoned and all the doors were locked.

You laughed it off as a joke at first, but it wasn’t long until your head was swimming and you became unsteady on your feet.

You hadn’t even touched the wine. She really did poison you, didn’t she?

You didn’t have a chance to test the locks.

She sat and sipped her wine with a satisfied curl to her lips as she watched you try to move to the front door, then fail to steady yourself on the couch halfway there before collapsing onto its cushions.

Once it was clear you had lost the ability to stand under your own power, she brought her wine with her, sitting down in a comfortable chair across from you, tilting the glass delicately to her mouth while piercing eyes peered over the edge to watch your labored breathing.

Your muscles lost strength. Pins and needles ran through your nerves. Tears fell from your eyes. The hand not cradling her glass slipped between her legs.

You could almost see the poisonous thoughts swirling behind those captivating eyes that drank deeply of your suffering.

All that could fill your mind was pleading disbelief.

“But you ate the pie too,” you whined.

She smiled like a viper and gestured with the hand coiled around the stem of her wine glass. “The antidote,” she said simply, drawing your attention to the last sip remaining.

Before your mouth could form the word “please,” she sent your momentary glimmer of hope sliding past her lips.

Your chest hurt. You felt numbness creeping in at your extremities. She was as cruel as she was beautiful, and you were her entertainment this evening.

But perhaps it was mercy she decided to show you when she set the glass down and approached. Her mouth met yours in a kiss, and you tasted the wine lingering on her tongue.

She was killing you, but you kissed her more deeply than you had ever kissed anyone before.

She welcomed the desperate way your tongue swirled around her mouth, straining for the taste of wine and what lingering traces of antidote you might claim from her.

You whimpered when she broke the kiss, though you knew you had already stolen all the hope you could from it.

“There we go,” she breathed with satisfaction in her voice. “We were moving a little too fast, but I think that’ll slow things down a little. I don’t want you slipping away from me so quickly.”

“More…” you begged, a pitiful quaver in your voice matching your helplessness.

“No more,” she responded. “All the rest is in me, dear.”

You couldn’t give up. “Please, I’ll do a-anything…”

As if she had been waiting for you to say those precise words, her eyes lit up with excitement and she stood, moving to a drawer on the far side of the room.

Truthfully, you no longer cared what she might pull out of there. She could do anything she wanted to your failing body, use it in any way she pleased, and you would thank her for it as long as she gave you the medicine you needed to survive the night.

When she returned, taking a seat on the other side of the same couch you remained collapsed on, you were not expecting the long, elegant knife she set between the two of you on the low coffee table.

She did not explain, only looked at you expectantly with those dark eyes.

With your remaining strength you pushed yourself into sitting upright. You reached for the knife, but your fingers—numbness crawling up each digit—fumbled and struggled to grasp at it. It took both hands to scoop it up by the handle, and you squeezed it tightly between them.

No matter that you didn’t understand what she wanted of you. Even if she asked you to cut a finger off, well… the numbness would make that easier than it otherwise would be, right? You gripped the blade, knowing that your life depended on it, and you met her gaze again.

“Alcohol and antidote,” your date said, face betraying only her excitement, “find their way from the drink into my veins. How much do you want to take it from me?”

Her words laid out your task. At last you knew what you had to do.

You could not so much crawl as slump toward her. Those perfect eyes continued to hold you, gleaming with excitement and feeding you the strength to continue.

With one hand, she unbuttoned her top to reveal more of herself to you.

Moment by agonizing moment you closed the distance until you were face to face again. Her face was flushed from more than just the wine, and her breathing quickened with your approach.

As your shaking hands pressed the knife’s tip to her bare chest, her lips parted slightly.

But your hands betrayed you. They lacked the strength and the coordination to push the knife through her chest, and when you leaned into the effort, they slipped.

The knife twisted at an awkward angle and it tumbled to the floor, out of reach.

It made a mark, however. There was no great gush of blood, but the knife did leave a big slice below her collarbone roughly a hand’s width in length.

You collapsed onto her, pressing your face into the cut, lapping eagerly at the wound you managed to leave.

You pushed your tongue into her firmly enough to make her cry out, doing your best to widen the gash, hoping to take as much as you could. The hot, metallic tang of her blood tasted like life itself, and your awareness narrowed to only the sensation of drinking from her.

You had no room left in your mind to focus on how she slid her hand up your skirt or how her hips moved against you.

She bled. You drank. And the taste meant more to you than any other meal anyone had ever fed you.

Eventually, you passed out.

You woke up the next day.

Somehow, you did wake up.

The couch was a mess, but not nearly as much as the clothes the two of you were—barely—still wearing.

You stood. Your legs were still shaky, but they held. Your fingers tingled, but there was sensation in them still.

Your movement caused your date to stir. When she opened her eyes, somehow the smile she gave you made your heart skip a beat in just the same way it did at dinner last night.

She yawned, stretched, and said, “Would you like to spend the day here? I’ll make you dinner again.”

If you valued your life, you’d find a way to leave and never return.

But you didn’t. The response you gave instead caught even you off guard.

“I would be happy to.” You met her smile with one of your own. “As long as I can have some more of that pie.”