It all happened the night of my bachelor party. I was out with my two best friends, Todd and Neil. We started the night out at my favorite steakhouse in the city, Jose’s Prime. Neil, being a larger man than Todd and I combined, put away two thirty-two ounce steaks in a time that would surprise any bulk eater. I had managed to finish a single thirty-two even while my appetite had taken quite a blow at the sight of Neil eating whole animal sized portions of food. Todd, my best man, had a sixteen-ounce porterhouse that he barely finished. He was a tall, lanky sort of guy; kind of the physical opposite of Neil. He and Neil often joked that between the two of them, they could make two regularly sized people.
We finished up at the steakhouse and headed over to Colja, a high-end cigar bar on the other side of town. There, we sat and smoked as we watched the last half of the Eagles/Jets game. I had no previous knowledge of Todd’s itinerary for the evening. He and Neil planned it all out months in advance and went to great measures to assure that I would know nothing of what he had in mind. Up until that point, the night was going great. I had never been one who needed extravagance in his agenda to have a good time. I had always preferred to keep things simple and with a few good friends. Up until then, the night had been just that.
I did my best to allow my friend the element of surprise, but it did bother me when I asked Todd where we would be going after the cigar bar, and he and Neil remained silent. Granting my friend the surprise effect was more of a gift to him than it was for my own benefit, for I had always grown especially anxious at the awareness of impending surprises. However, I gritted my teeth and remained off topic. I stared out of the passenger side window trying to guess where we might have been heading, but to my friend’s credit, I had no idea of where the night would be heading. This was only made completely evident when we finally pulled into the parking lot of what appeared to be a strip club called Red Fantasy. I thought it was a prank at first and laughed it off. The laughing stopped, however, when I noticed that Todd was pulling into a parking spot. Never having been to a strip club before, nor ever showing any interests in going to one at all, I interjected. Todd and Neil, though, were set on taking me in with promises of "it won’t be that bad" and "we don’t have to stay long." Eventually, I gave in.
The building was a relatively small one. It was dark, as if it had all been painted black on the outside. There were no windows and only a single glass door that was too foggy to see anything through. I would not have even known what the club was called if not for a small neon pink sign that hung above the door. I would have liked to think that if my friends were going to take me to one of these places, they would have picked a nice one to go to. Instead, we had found ourselves at one of the seediest little nooks I had ever seen of any kind of establishment. Walking into the club, my friends and I were hit with a strong wind smelling of sweat and dime store perfume. My friends paid my twenty dollar cover charge to a scantily clad woman behind a small booth at the front before taking me into the action. I had only a brief window of time to formulate an expectation based on what I had seen in movies and television shows, but what I saw was much different than anything I could have imagined. Beautiful women, easily twenty or thirty of them, all strutting around with little or no clothes on. There did not seem to be any other male patrons, or even men working at the club, but this was not nearly as surprising as the obvious. All of the women working that evening were some of the most gorgeous women I had ever seen. Some of them were relaxing and talking among themselves in the house seats while others were completely naked and casually dancing on stage. The song playing was a catchy, melodic number that I failed to recognize. As I came around on the idea of enjoying my time at the club, I remember turning to Neil on my left and telling him that my fiancee was never to find out about this part of the night.
After we walked in, it seemed that all of the women turned their attention to us. What with not having any other customers to attend to, my friends and I became the center of attention. Though the music was too loud to hear what he was saying, I witnessed Todd pull a waitress aside, talk into her ear, hold up three fingers, pointed at me, and handed the girl some cash. The waitress looked over at me and smiled before walking away. Todd came up to me and told me that he had ordered us all drinks. I was still on edge from being well beyond my comfort zone, but as I sat back in my chair and watched the girls up on the stage dance to the rhythm of the music, I found myself becoming more and more relaxed. Within seconds after our beers had reached us, two dancers came over to me dressed in minimal amounts of clothing. Todd had evidently paid for my lap dance. When the girls began dancing around me, I felt my face glow bright red. I didn’t know whether to laugh, leave, or give my best man a good throat punch for subjecting me to all that. I noticed that my anxiety had begun to rise once more, of which I tried to quell with my drink. The beer helped ease my general discomfort, but only to a point where I could bear the show.
After the dance, I told my friends that I wanted to leave. They groaned, actually managing to enjoy themselves, but obliged my request. As we got up to leave, several of the girls came over and objected. They told us that we had been their only customers all night, leading me to believe that the place must have just opened, for these women were far too attractive to not warrant plenty of traffic. They told us that, if we stayed, they would give us all complimentary private shows. Todd and Neil looked over to me like children pleading with their parent to buy them a new toy. I sighed and agreed, both for their sake and for my own damning curiosity. A girl, a redhead in her early twenties who called herself Lilith, led me to a room to the side of the main theater. As she showed me in, I saw that other dancers were escorting Todd and Neil to their own private rooms. The woman closed the door behind me. The room was small. The walls were padded and bright red. A single light hung above a black lounge chair in the center of the room. Lilith instructed me to lay on the chair and relax. Only one of those commands I was actually able to follow through on. As I sat back in the chair and tried to force comfort into myself for I knew this opportunity may never come again, I watched as the girl danced around me. She wore a tight black top and matching short skirt and heels. I was slowly easing into the situation before I found a place of comfort.
Lilith relayed a quick set of ground rules for private room conduct, none of which I believed I would have trouble abiding by. Sensing my tension, the girl started off slowly dancing around where I sat. She circled around the chair, gently grazed against my arms and legs, and even emitted low moans of pleasure. Before long, the girl became more intense in her showcase. Dancing turned into groping against my chest and legs. I felt her fingers aggressively scanning all over my body. I wanted to leave more than anything in the world at that moment, but my body would not let me. Soon after, Lilith began taking off her clothes, stripping down to her lace and nearly transparent intimates. It was clear to see just why my body was not letting me leave, however this still did not change my mind telling me to do so. The girl continued her groping, straddling me around the waist, caressing my chest and shoulders. A tidal wave of conflicting feelings and thoughts raced through my mind as the treatment continued.
Lilith then began lifting my shirt up over my head before unbuckling my belt. Trapped within a hypnotic, anxiety-induced state of paralysis, I involuntarily allowed the girl to remove my clothes down to my boxers. She continued to dance on top of me, making flattering, if invasive comments about my body. I knew that I was no longer enjoying myself, but my body remained still in that chair. The dance continued until the dancer removed what was left of her clothing. My eyes, enchanted by her figure, remained on the woman. That performer was one of the most beautiful creatures that I had never encountered before. Lilith then walked around the back of the chair and brought my arms up behind me. She began tying me to the chair by my wrists. She came up right by my ear and shushed, trying to calm my nerves as she had me firmly tied into place. I pulled at the binds, but to my horror, I was effectively strapped to that chair. The dancer smiled and giggled as she watched me fruitlessly pull against the restraint. Up until that point, I was completely in the dark about the customs of private strip shows, but I knew that this was crossing the line. My body had finally caught up to where my mind had been from the start. I pulled at the bindings behind me to no success. I screamed and screamed, but no one came.
Lilith looked down at me and commented how the real strip show was just beginning. Before I could venture a guess as to what she meant, the dancer climbed on top of my waist. I looked up to see a blank, apathetic expression washed across her face. Staring down at me, however, were eyes, dark and brimming with sinister intent. Lilith inserted her long-nailed fingers into the side of her breast. She took a handful of pale skin in her fist. I watched as Lilith ripped a considerable strip of flesh from her body as effortlessly as she removed her clothes. Blood rained down on my body as it coursed from her opened chest. The sight of the streaming blood was only as haunting as the sound of her skin as it tore from her body like paper. I sat, face drained of warmth and eyes wide with shock at the spectacle before me. I screamed and screamed into the cloth, but once again, no one else came to see what I was forced to see. Lilith, then in a similar fashion, began tearing off the skin around her face. I remember brief glances of two eyeballs staring back at me out of a bloody mound of bone and torn muscle. Strip by strip, I witnessed the girl peel away at her skin without a single pause or cringe from the pain. Her whole scalp peeled away in one piece. With her hair still attached, the whitened cap splashed onto the bloody ground below in a limp plop. Blood poured onto the floor in a constant stream. Lilith did not appear to be in any sort of agony from her self-mutilation. Instead, she relished in the experience as one would a hot bath after a long day. Underneath her skin was a gruesome display of pulsing muscle tissue. Blood began pooling on the floor; more of it than I would have imagined a single human body could hold, and yet the girl continued dancing and shedding her skin.
When she finished, a bloody figure of exposed muscle straddled across me. Not an inch of skin left on her dripping body. My voice had begun to fade from the amount of screaming I had done. I felt her blood splashed onto my body as I laid trapped underneath the girl. Wide eyes stared down at me above two full rows of teeth. I wanted to wake up. I wanted it all to be just a really bad nightmare and wake up, but alas, what the creature did next was beyond real. I felt her bony fingers begin digging into my own bare chest. I let out a cry of anguish and pulled as hard as I could at the cords which held my arms up. My eyes shut from the horror. I felt the warm, slithery muscle tissue of its skinless legs pressed against my sides. I could feel my skin breaking and bleeding as the demon dug like a rabid animal in my chest. Pulling harder and harder against my bindings, I eventually broke myself free. In one red blur, I pushed the figure aside and ran out of the room. I did not know the extent to which she had bore into me, but at that point I did not care. My main goal was to find my friends and get out as soon as I could. However, when I left the room and walked out into the main theater, that was when I saw it; the single image that stood out above all others that night and the one memory that I know I will always see when I close my eyes.
The room was dead silent. The booming music which once blared over any possible conversation was replaced by near perfect silence. I tried to call out to my friends, but my voice was nearly completely gone. A dense blackness surrounded almost every side of me, save for a single, blinding spotlight shined in my direction from the main stage. I looked over to it; my eyes squinted as they adjusted to the brightness. Through the light, I saw two dark shadows gently swaying back and forth to no music. As I continued to look into the light, the shadows on top of the stage became clearer figures. Two familiar silhouettes danced slowly, one tall and the other wide. Neither of them spoke, but both appeared to be looking in my direction. The stench of copper filled my lungs. They swayed their twitching dance as they dripped thick droplets onto the stage below. In the audience sat the remaining women of the club, cheering the performers on, cackling, and throwing back the cash that they had been presented with earlier.
I scrambled for the door in the pitch black room and only by the grace of God did I find it. After I was hit by that first blast of fresh, cool night air, I ran. I ran as far as my legs would let me. I did not want to even go home; I wanted to get as far away from the club as I possibly could. I knew I probably should have gone to the hospital or the police, but at that point, my only priority was distance. I have not seen my friends again after that night. As of right now, it’s still a missing person’s case. I have repeatedly told the police where I last saw them and I stand by my testimony. I know what I saw that night. I don’t care what their investigations report. The strip club, Red Fantasy, does exist. I know it does.