Pig heart. Drunk cherry. Fairytale eggplant, slivered, fermented. Squid, raw. Kyoko Samurai. Laguiole, rainbow. Bleed, baby, bleed. The tablecloths all white and bathed in candlelight and red neon.
Daemon takes another sip of saké, I eat the pig’s heart.
“You don’t know what you’re asking for, girl,” he says. His voice is like sand on skin, and his long hair, shiny, untamed, is the kind of hair that belongs to a man with such a voice.
“I’m pretty sure I do,” I say and bite my lip because a man like Daemon calls for vulnerability. Some men need vulnerability. The more rape and murder in him, the more he needs. Somehow, I must have always known he was like that. But, at the time, he was everything I was looking for in the world that I hadn’t been able to find.
I finger the rim of my saké-tini (orange blossom, jasmine), I look up to him through my eyelashes.
Daemon laughs, I laugh. I let him touch me beneath the table.
Why would I join a cult, knowing it was a cult? Why would I go about trying to convince this cult leader to fall in love with me? These are the kind of questions people might ask who are too content with a surface way of doing life. That’s one of the things Daemon taught me: don’t accept the status quo.
Why does a groupie trail a rockstar? Why does she sleep with all bandmates, when she only really wants the one?
Freedom. Alternative lifestyle. Nirvana. Acceptance, belonging. Love, even.
Daemon called us his goddesses. That’s what we were, who he crafted us into, who he already saw in us. Goddesses.
There were six of us: Claire, Juniper, Lex, Venus, Lily, and me, Angel. We lived together in a dilapidated house on Rossmore in Los Angeles. I met Claire first. She was the one who taught me everything about Daemon in the first place, introduced me, opened my world. She told me what I needed to know.
I met Claire in a Food Studies course I was enrolled in at UCLA. Food: Nurture, Seduction, Delusion.
“You know what they say about Daemon,” she said one day after class when I was ready, ready for all of it. Claire’s smile was haunted and exotic, the skin beneath her eyes veinous. “He likes to eat,” she said, “So go, eat.”
There is a Venus flytrap in a black lacquered pot on the table beside a candle. It is small and almost purple in the restaurant’s lighting, red on natural green. It has thick, magenta tongues. Was Daemon the Venus flytrap, or was I? Some people are made for each other, is the conclusion I have come to believe.
“Reality is illusion,” Daemon says to me. I know this already. I smile like I don’t. Daemon fascinates me because he more than knows, he lives.
“Do you believe this?” He asks me.
I lift the pig’s heart to my lips and taste it with the tip of my tongue. I smile, “Of course,” I say. His eyes glitter, black, pupils dilated. He has dark hair, unshaven face. Black cargo, a hoodie.
My chakras are in alignment, yin & yang in balance; my sun is in Aquarius, my moon in Pisces. Three of swords. Heart of pigs.
“Show me,” he says, and I swallow the heart whole.
Elle Reed lives in Michigan with her husband, Austin, and her electric guitar, Polly. When she’s not writing she’s either making love or music. Her work has appeared in The Mountain Goat and Metonym.