Tinder Sacrifices is part of a series by Vanessa Levin-Pompetzki; a amazingly majical and weird look into the lives of a coven of witches living in modern times. And, it fits our restitution quite nicely — remember, in the world of online dating, you get what you pay for, and buyer better beware.
After he’d swiped right on the app, he talked to her for a week. She surprised him when she suggested that they meet up, but he jumped on the opportunity. If her picture was actually her in real life, she was way out of his league.
They met up at Five Guys for a burger—he was happy to see her order a full side of fries with hers, used to his dates ordering salads and safe-date-food. He kept glancing at her, unable to believe his luck. Her name was Stephanie, and she looked just like her picture, with black shiny hair and high cheekbones.
Afterward, they went out to a movie, and she reached into his lap and intertwined her fingers with his. His heart beat a fast, scary rhythm in his throat.
“Want to come inside?” she asked when they pulled up to her house. She lived out in the country, in an old farmhouse surrounded by thick forest. All of her lights were off.
He nodded, afraid if he spoke his voice would be too eager.
The inside was dark and cold. She turned on one small light. It turned her eyes into black pools.
“Come on,” she said, and she lifted her gauzy shirt up over her head. He couldn’t believe it, couldn’t make sense of the night’s events, but he followed excitedly, watching her hands deftly unclip her bra, toss it to the side. She turned her face, just enough that he could see her profile in the dim light.
“Undress,” she said.
He unbuttoned his top, fingers fumbling. She slipped out of her skirt, revealing that she hadn’t been wearing any panties. His pulse skyrocketed, the back of his knees started to sweat.
She struck a match and turned to smile at him — the flame illuminated naked flesh, soft breasts and large, hard nipples. The candle let him see into the room a bit. The couch was pushed back, the floor empty but for a pentagram burned into the wood, unlit candles surrounding it. There was a tinkle behind him and he turned, concerned for the first time about what kind of kinky shit he’d gotten himself into, when a hand clamped over his mouth. Words chanted in his ear, foreign and guttural. He let out a gasp as his vision winked into black.
He dreamt of snakes with glowing yellow eyes and rats skittering around his feet. When he woke up it was with a jerk, his body trying to yank up but slamming back down onto the ground. A giggle reached his ears.
“He’s awake, let’s begin.” This voice was different from the giggle, serious and hard.
He blinked, eyes adjusting—naked women surrounded him, their hair swinging down. Stephanie was there, and she was holding a long, double bladed knife.
He tried to get up, but ropes cut into his wrists, rubbing away his skin. Fear stabbed at his insides. He opened his mouth to say something but one of the other women spoke.
“Shut it up,” she said, her thick eyebrows lowering in a glare.
Stephanie said something. He didn’t recognize it—low, rasping, dark, the words hurt. No—his lips hurt. He tried to open his mouth, couldn’t. Panic filled his lungs like water. He ran his tongue along the back of his lips. They were sewn shut.
He said her name through his mouth, mumbling in the back of his throat. Her eyes looked deeper than they had before, like holes he couldn’t find the bottom of.
The other women, he counted four, clasped their hands, but Stephanie stepped forward. His eyes fell to the knife—she gripped it harder. He could taste bile in his mouth, his stomach rolling.
They began to chant.
Her knife stabbed down in the middle of his stomach—he screamed but the scream stayed in his throat, ripping it raw.
The knife began to move.
Stephanie, whose name wasn’t Stephanie, licked a splatter of blood from her arm. She picked up her iPhone, blinking to notify her that she had a missed call. She ignored it and opened up Tinder.
“He was a good one, Rowena,” Selene said, flashing her a grin, mouth still dark with blood. The others lay sprawled around the room, skin spotted with crimson, eyes heavy with sleep. They flipped through their phones along with Rowena—swiping right again, again, and again.
Vanessa Levin-Pompetzki’s favorite thing to do is weave together imaginary worlds (often with magic), but she also frequents used bookstores and enjoys a good cup of tea. She lives in South Carolina with her husband and a very inconsiderate cat. You can find her on Twitter at @vanessalevpom
Here’s a list of all the excerpts in the series Tinder Sacrifices now in sequential order, for your reading pleasure