LADY MAITLAND'S SECRET

The moral of this short story is shockingly simple. If something looks too good to be true, it probably is. Please comment nicely!

"I love my husband very much, Mr. Tibbets. Lord Maitland is a great man, and I respect him. But I have needs, needs that a man my husband's age can no longer satisfy. Do we understand each other, Simon?"

"Yes, my lady. I understand completely!" Simon Tibbets could scarcely believe his good fortune. Only a few weeks ago he'd been a complete nobody, a scholarship student at one of London's great universities. Being hired as Lord Maitland's personal secretary was such an unexpected honor, and Simon truly meant to be as loyal and hard-working as he could be. But now Lady Maitland was calling on him to serve her as well.

"You're quite experienced in the arts of love-making?" Lady Maitland hadn't moved since Simon first came into the parlor. She was still lying on the long red velvet sofa, with a red and gold embroidered pillow tucked under her shoulders. Her dress was made of ivory silk and it was studded with thousands of tiny seed pearls. Simon could see her whole body through the flimsy fabric.

"Well, no, my lady! That is, not really. I've always been keen on girls, really keen, but being an orphan, and not having any money . . ."

"Come here," Lady Maitland commanded. Her face was so perfectly made up and her skin was so pale that she looked a bit like a statue, just lying there on the sofa. But when Simon came to her she sat up at once, her ancient silver bracelets jingling on her wrists.

"Today's lesson will begin with a kiss," she announced, her cool gray-blue eyes looking deep into Simon's startled brown ones. "Have you ever kissed a girl, Mr. Tibbets?"

"Not on the lips, my lady, only on the cheek! Will that do to start?"

"No, it won't." Lady Maitland slowly shook her head, smiling for the first time since Simon entered the room. "Here." She touched a slim white finger to her very red lips. "X marks the spot."

Simon leaned over and kissed Lady Maitland on the lips, smelling her perfume and feeling all at once as though he wanted to crush her in his arms. The tall, blonde, elegant older woman was like a marble statue come to life, her coldness only making her seem more excitingly alive as she wrapped her slim white arms around his neck and swiftly devoured young Simon with her kisses.

"Oh," Simon cried, feeling a piercing pain that filled him with fear. "Please stop, you're hurting me!" He touched his throat, and his fingers came away wet with blood. Simon screamed.

"There, there, darling." Lady Maitland had fangs, and when she smiled they showed sharp and white against blood-red lips. "Mummy kiss baby again? Yes, mummy make baby all better."

Simon screamed once again as she kissed him, draining his strong young body of life. This time his wild struggles lasted only a moment or two. As Simon's life faded his body went quite limp.

"I say, old girl," said Lord Maitland's voice from the doorway. "Save a drop or two for me."

But Lady Maitland went right on feeding.