The ancient tables, now covered with more presentable linens than before, were now full of guests, all as disturbing to lay eyes upon as her killer. At least thirty to forty of the foul creatures sat in the hall, chatting and laughing among themselves, though not all were as frightening as the Maestro. Some wore their hair in long curtains down their backs, elegant ebony cocktail dresses hugging their pale flesh in all of the right places, blazing red eyes highlighted by equally bright lipstick, made only terrifying when they spoke or smiled, revealing rows of needle-like teeth. Squat men in tuxedo suits sat with long handled cigarettes, chatting with bearded men in robes, while several children ran about the floor chasing a yipping dog, their eyes telling of oild souls trapped within a youthful frame.
The children’s wide mouths and flaring eyes almost made Sara weep for the fate of the dog, but she choked back the sob that struggled to come forth. Eve placed a frozen hand on her forearm to draw her attention, and it was only when she turned did she meet the eyes of her maker.
“There is my little diamond!” Maestro crowed, dressed in skintight black silk suit, towering above her with eyes a dull glow. “How is she, dear Eve? Is she ready you think?”
“As ready as one in her position can be Maestro, but I know that I am ready. Please, let us move on with the show.” Eve creaked, moving to take Maestro’s offered elbow. As strange as it may be, the gesture seemed to give the specter float alongside him as he walked to the edge of the stage they stood upon. The crowd fell silent as the pale-skinned giant waved for their attention.
“Ladies and gentlemen, I invite you here for my dear Eve’s two-hundred and fiftieth performance with utmost pride and never-ending sorrow. This performance, a piece I have favored for untold years, shall be her last.” Maestro announced, a deep sense of loss somehow being sent through his words that the crowd easily seemed to pick up upon as a collective groan rose from them.
“Now, let us not taint this marvelous event with such sadness, but instead embrace the new era of my latest talent!” Maestro said, waving the crowds disgruntled cries away before holding out a spidery hand to Sara, drawing her close to him. “Tonight shall be her debut upon the stage, and as is custom, let us aid her in her artistic endeavors!”
Sara didn’t even have time to think about what perverted custom he could be thinking of before a sudden whooshing of air, followed by a sharp and loud crack broke through the following silence. Dangling, some ten feet from the stage and from the rafters high above by a single length of thick piano wire, was her Uncle Mortimer, twitching in a macabre form of dance as the last vestiges of life ebbed from his body, blood spilling from the sliced flesh of his neck and dripping through his fake Vampire costume. A loud cry rent the air from above, and in horror Sara watched as her mother and father were pushed from the same rafter by a grim faced Angela, their screams not screams of mercy for themselves, but for of their children lined up for the next drop.
Sara’s mouth opened to scream and to beg, but all that came out were the words to that damn song that had been stuck in her head, a solid stream of richly sung French that held all of Sara’s anguish and fear. The song grew louder and louder as she watched her cousins pushed over the ledge, followed by her brother, watching their bodies writhe and struggle at the end of a long length of wire as they struggled for breath, as the cord cut through their slender necks, and as their blood fell from their bodies and into the hungering mouths of the Maestro’s guests.
The song reached its crescendo as Sara caught sight of the Maestro walking up onto the stage, cradling the sleeping form of her baby sister. Watching in horror as his mouth grew wider and wider, a veritable bear trap of blackened needles and bleeding gums. The high point came and crashed like a thousand waves upon the sand as he closed his mouth with an audible snap, her sister no longer sleeping and no longer there, now just a bulge in the Maestro’s throat as it expanded and forced the body of her struggling sibling down into his body.
With the song done and her family now swinging softly in an unseen breeze, Sara could do nothing but stand there as she was given a round of applause by the blood-drenched demons around her, forced to bow to them with blank eyes at the Maestro’s perverted whim, and to begin the song anew with the images of her family dying flashing before her eyes in a way she could not control nor stop. The only thing she knew to be her own within her head was the single phrase she had heard Eve say to her, in what Sara could now tell was in an apologetic tone.
“Just know that we’ve all gone through it, and it gets easier with time.”