Taylor Swift’s Reputation Review


I know I’m seriously late to the T-Swift first listen party, but I’ve been waiting to get to purchase a physical copy of the album, and today I got my butt to Target and finally did!

For starters the packaging is beautiful. I love the black and white, newspaper vibe. If you’ve noticed I’m a big fan of using the color scheme black, white, and red when I write my short stories. So I think the packaging is really sleek and chic. When you open the CD, there is a autographed double sided poster of Taylor, and then the CD booklet has LYRICS! I love when they put the lyrics in. I’m such a lyric junkie and this just makes life easier, having them right there in front of me.

**My current favorites include- End Game, Delicate, King Of My Heart, Dancing With Our Hands Tied, and Dress**

The first thing you see in the CD booklet is a note from Taylor herself the headline reads- “Here’s something I’ve learned about people.” In it she talks about how people have many different sides, angles, and feelings. As humans we can’t “simplify” ourselves into just one thing. When we feel emotion it comes in few. She also talks about how you have different relationships in life, and each of those relationships holds something different within you- your lover knows you differently than your best friend. And vice versa. Your mom knows you differently than your roommate, and so on. She also touches upon, how in this generation technology has made it easy for your every move to be documented, but that “we think we know someone, but the truth is that we only know the version of them they have chosen to show us.” And I think all of this is completely on point. And there is a sure relatability to her words. She also concludes with stating how fame has been both beautiful and used against her. How she knows gossip blogs will take her lyrics and run with them, but that “There will be no further explanation. There will just be reputation.” In other words, I think she’ll let the music do the talking. 

Notes Upon Listening: Girl knows how to write a damn chorus! She has this way of using colors, metaphors, and vivid images and displaying them through her words. I definitely saw a lot of gold, blue, red, black, grey colors mentioned to describe a certain feeling. With a 15 song set list, this is one sick body of work. Taylor Swift, as usual,  honey you never disappoint. And can I just say that she sounds AMAZING in this record! She hits some notes, tho! 😉

…Ready for it? 

*End Game [Feat. Future & Ed Sheeran] *A Favorite!

I have to say when I first saw Future and Ed were both featured, I was like what, huh? How’s this going to work? But then I remembered Ed can rap too. And it’s DOPE! I love the theme of the song, I wanna be your end game. End game, your “it”, your “the one.” The one you start and end all your days with. Your forever. 

Fav Lyrics:

[Taylor Swift & Future:]
I don’t wanna touch you, I don’t wanna be
Just another ex-love you don’t wanna see
I don’t wanna miss you (I don’t wanna miss you)
Like the other girls do
I don’t wanna hurt you, I just wanna be
Drinking on a beach with you all over me
I know what they all say (I know what they all say)
But I ain’t tryna play

[Taylor Swift:]
I wanna be your end game
I wanna be your first string
I wanna be your A-Team
I wanna be your end game, end game

I hit you like bang
We tried to forget it, but we just couldn’t
And I bury hatchets, but I keep maps of where I put ’em
Reputation precedes me, they told you I’m crazy
I swear I don’t love the drama, it loves me

And I can’t let you go, your hand prints on my soul
It’s like your eyes are liquor, it’s like your body is gold
You’ve been calling my bluff on all my usual tricks
So here’s a truth from my red lips

I Did Something Bad

I love the rumble right before the chorus. And that weird chant-like thing. So cool. This song is kind of an in your face, song. (Many on this record are, but I dig it!) I feel like she’s kind of just like I did this bad thing, it felt good, because your ass deserved it. Bye Boy! 😉  

Fav Lyrics:

I can feel the flames on my skin
Crimson red paint on my lips
If a man talks shit, then I owe him nothing
I don’t regret it one bit, ’cause he had it coming

They’re burning all the witches, even if you aren’t one
They got their pitchforks and proof, their receipts and reasons
They’re burning all the witches, even if you aren’t one
So light me up (light me up), light me up (light me up)
Light me up, go ahead and light me up (light me up)
Light me up (light me up), light me up (light me up)
Light me up (light me up), light me up

Don’t Blame Me

Girl hints some notes in this track! (@3:07)

Fav Lyrics:

Don’t blame me, love made me crazy
If it doesn’t, you ain’t doing it right
Lord, save me, my drug is my baby
I’ll be using for the rest of my life

My name is whatever you decide
And I’m just gonna call you mine
I’m insane, but I’m your baby (your baby)
Echoes of your name inside my mind
Halo, hiding my obsession
I once was poison ivy, but now I’m your daisy

And baby, for you, I would fall from grace
Just to touch your face
If you walk away
I’d beg you on my knees to stay

*Delicate *An Absolute Favorite!

Getting some Imogen Heap vibes, and I am here for it!

Fav Lyrics:

I can’t even decide. I love every lyric in this song! But I’ll try… 😉

This ain’t for the best
My reputation’s never been worse, so
You must like me for me…
We can’t make
Any promises now, can we, babe?
But you can make me a drink…

Dive bar on the east side, where you at?
Phone lights up my nightstand in the black
Come here, you can meet me in the back
Dark jeans and your Nikes, look at you
Oh damn, never seen that color blue
Just think of the fun things we could do

Third floor on the west side, me and you
Handsome, you’re a mansion with a view
Do the girls back home touch you like I do?
Long night, with your hands up in my hair
Echoes of your footsteps on the stairs
Stay here, honey, I don’t wanna share

Sometimes I wonder when you sleep
Are you ever dreaming of me?
Sometimes when I look into your eyes
I pretend you’re mine, all the damn time
‘Cause I like you

Look What You Made Me Do

So It Goes…

Fav Lyrics:

Gold cage, hostage to my feelings
Back against the wall
Trippin’, trip, trippin’ when you’re gone

And our pieces fall
Right into place
Get caught up in the moments
Lipstick on your face
So it goes…
I’m yours to keep
And I’m yours to lose
You know I’m not a bad girl, but I
Do bad things with you
So it goes…

Met you in a bar
All eyes on me, your illusionist
All eyes on us
I make all your grey days clear and
Wear you like a necklace
I’m so chill, but you make me jealous
But I got your heart
Skippin’, skip, skippin’ when I’m gone

You did a number on me
But, honestly, baby, who’s counting?
I did a number on you
But, honestly, baby, who’s counting?


Whisky on ice, Sunset and Vine
You’ve ruined my life, by not being mine

You’re so gorgeous
I can’t say anything to your face
‘Cause look at your face
And I’m so furious
At you for making me feel this way
But what can I say?
You’re gorgeous

Ocean blue eyes looking in mine
I feel like I might sink and drown and die

Getaway Car (Yes I peeped that Hilary Duff Lyric, but I love both queens, so #NOHATE)

Fav Lyrics:

It was the best of times, the worst of crimes
I struck a match and blew your mind
But I didn’t mean it
And you didn’t see it
The ties were black, the lies were white
In shades of gray in candlelight
I wanted to leave him
I needed a reason

*King Of My Heart  *A Favorite!

YESSS with them tribal drum beats, this song has some serious soul!

Fav Lyrics:

Now you try on calling me, baby, like trying on clothes

Salute to me I’m your American Queen
And you move to me like I’m a Motown beat
And we rule the kingdom inside my room
‘Cause all the boys and their expensive cars
With their Range Rovers and their Jaguars
Never took me quite where you do

And all at once, you are the one I have been waiting for
King of my heart, body and soul, ooh whoa
And all at once, you are all I want, I’ll never let you go
King of my heart, body and soul, ooh whoa

*Dancing With Our Hands Tied  *An Absolute Favorite!

This song is a dance anthem. If I make it to one of her concerts, I can just see myself dancing my ass off to this song, singing my lungs out! That beep drop! 

Fav Lyrics:

I, I loved you in secret
First sight, yeah, we love without reason
Oh, 25 years old
Oh, how were you to know and

My, my love had been frozen
Deep blue, but you painted me golden
Oh, and you held me close
Oh, how was I to know what

I could’ve spent forever with your hands in my pockets
Picture of your face in an invisible locket
You said there was nothing in the world that could stop it
I had a bad feeling
And darling, you had turned my bed into a sacred oasis
People started talking, putting us through our paces
I knew there was no one in the world who could take it
I had a bad feeling

But we were dancing
Dancing with our hands tied, hands tied
Yeah, we were dancing
Like it was the first time, first time
Yeah, we were dancing
Dancing with our hands tied, hands tied
Yeah, we were dancing
And I had a bad feeling
But we were dancing

I’m a mess, but I’m the mess that you wanted
Oh, ’cause it’s gravity
Oh, keeping you with me

(^Michelle why don’t you just post the whole damn song!… haha)

*Dress  *A Favorite!

Sexyyyy!!! Such a great song. 

Fav Lyrics:

There is an indentation
In the shape of you
Made your mark on me
A golden tattoo
All of this silence and patience, pining and anticipation
My hands are shaking from holding back from you (ah, ah, ah)
All of this silence and patience, pining and desperately waiting
My hands are shaking from all this (ha, ha, ha, ha)

Say my name and everything just stops
I don’t want you like a best friend
Only bought this dress so you could take it off, take it off (ha, ha, ha)
Carve your name into my bedpost
Cause I don’t want you like a best friend
Only bought this dress so you could take it off, take it off (ha, ha, ha)

This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things 

Getting a bit of a Lorde vibe here! #Royalssss This song is a toast to ex- friends. That laugh tho!

Fav Lyrics:

Here’s a toast to my real friends
They don’t care about that he said, she said
And here’s to my baby
He ain’t reading what they call me lately
And here’s to my momma
Had to listen to all this drama
And here’s to you
‘Cause forgiveness is a nice thing to do
Haha, I can’t even say it with a straight face

Call It What You Want

This song is beautiful. She talks about falling in love with someone who knows her for her and loves her as she is.

Fav Lyrics:

All my flowers grew back as thorns
Windows boarded up after the storm
He built a fire just to keep me warm
All the drama queens taking swings
All the jokers dressing up as kings
They fade to nothing when I look at him
And I know I make the same mistakes every time
Bridges burn, I never learn
At least I did one thing right
I did one thing right
I’m laughing with my lover
Making forts under covers
Trust him like a brother
Yeah, you know I did one thing right
Starry eyes sparking up my darkest night

I want to wear his initial on a chain round my neck
Chain round my neck
Not because he owns me
But ’cause he really knows me
Which is more than they can say, I
I recall late November, holding my breath
Slowly I said, “You don’t need to save me
But would you run away with me?”

New Year’s Day

This is the perfect song to end her album with. A look at the year gone by, full of heart, and full of hope. 

Fav Lyrics:

Don’t read the last page
But I stay when it’s hard, or it’s wrong
Or we’re making mistakes
I want your midnights
But I’ll be cleaning up bottles with you on New Year’s Day

Hold on to the memories, they will hold on to you
Hold on to the memories, they will hold on to you
Hold on to the memories, they will hold on to you
And I will hold on to you

Please don’t ever become a stranger
Whose laugh I could recognize anywhere
Please don’t ever become a stranger
Whose laugh I could recognize anywhere

**Read all full lyrics HERE!

Bravo T-Swift! Taylor Swift is an incredible song writer, yes- but she is also a smart business woman. Her marketing strategy- I don’t give a f- attitude has placed this album in a new league. However she still has her true Taylor heart, writing songs about true emotion, and creating her own world for you to live in for an hour. A Taylor Town if you will. She comes at us with a range of sounds, emotions, and life lessons. Anger, Betrayal, Love, Lust, the list goes on.

As I make reference back to her opening statement in her booklet, she says, “We are never just good or just bad. We are mosaics of our worst selves and our best selves.”  We aren’t meant to be boxed in. And this album shows that Taylor Swift can be anything, and do anything she puts her mind to. Just like you. In many ways she’s quite the role model. Not because she writes vengeful tracks about ex- lovers and ex-friends, or because she has choppy layers now, and wears black eyeliner, and dark red lips, but because she seems to be highly aware of her humanity, and she is highly self- aware as a human being. It can be a scary thing, reflecting on your reputation, and yet she managed to take the good, the bad, and the ugly, and wrap it all up into one big ass blockbuster bow.  

Looking forward to all the new things! Get it girl!

*I do not take credit for the image used.*



Move- Chapter 11

I know it’s been forever but…We’re back! Aria and Liam’s love story continues…

MOVE poster

Previously on Move– Read Chapter 10 HERE

Catch up from the beginning HERE

Aria’s eyes flutter open, as her mind adjusts to where she is. Liam’s.

The sun light shining through crisp, light gray curtains as they blow, flowing in the gentle breeze rustling through the cracked window.

She smiles seeing him sleeping peacefully beside her on the couch. His arms wrapped around her waist.

Turning in his arms, she faces him as she places a kiss on the corner of his lips.
Liam stirs and opening his eyes, he smiles brightly.

“So it wasn’t a dream,” he says.
“Nope,” she replies laughing.
“God, I like waking up to you,” he says pulling her to him, as he kisses her again.
Aria smiles against his lips, her hand resting on his chest, she pushes him away gently.
“And I like waking up to you just as much, but-”
“Mm mm, no buts,” he says shaking his head and covering her lips with his, his arms tightening their grip around her pulling her closer to him. 
“You’re going to make it impossible for me to leave aren’t you?” she says with a laugh, kissing him back.
“That’s the plan, love,” he whispers in between kisses that just keep getting more intense by the second.

Aria’s body wraps around Liam, as her hands gently fall upon the muscles in his arms.
Each of their hearts beating rapidly, Liam’s hands firmly staying in their place on Aria’s waist.
Aria pulls away to come up for air, as she exhales, she locks eyes with Liam and they both laugh.
Aria takes Liam’s hand and places it on her chest- over her heart.
“Feel that- my heart is beating like crazy fast,” she says laughing.
Liam smiles, and taking her same hand, he places in over his heart, “We’re one in the same, love,” he says.
Aria looks up at him, and swiftly cups his face, pulling him to her, she kisses him passionately.
Liam responds quickly leaning into her kiss, as Aria falls back onto the couch.
After what feels like an eternity, Liam pulls away, sitting up.
“Liam.” She says mimicking him as she lays beside him, reaching for his hand, he looks down at them and lacing his fingers through hers, he lets out a frustrated sigh.
“I don’t want to mess this up with you.”
“You’re not. You won’t.”
“If you keep kissing me like that, I’m going to lose any will power I have. And things could escalate quicker for us, then we planned. As it is, I’ve already seen you in your lingerie and I swear it is killing me, I can’t get it out of my mind,” he says a crimson blush crawling up his neck and cheeks.
Aria looks away and laughs.
“I’m serious, love, you are quite radiant and I just know that soon all the good manners I’ve practiced all these years, are going to fall straight out of my head. If I can be frank…(Aria nods her permission) I think you are incredibly sexy and every time I see you, I just want to rip your clothes off.”
Aria’s eyes shoot up and lock on Liam’s.
“Well then, we’ll have to set that dinner date up rather quickly won’t we?” she says smiling. “Although you did cook for me last night, so technically-“
Liam swiftly leans in and kisses her deeply, the urgency evident, as his hands finally slide along her body, cupping her bottom half.
Aria kissing him back, she wraps her arms around his neck.
Liam’s hands tug on the bottom of her hoodie, she lifts her arms up as he removes it tossing it to the side. Liam shifts her to a sitting position as she straddles him.
Aria breaking their kiss briefly she tugs Liam’s t-shirt off him. Smiling at him as her hands fall to his chest.
Liam smirks, cupping her face and pulling her to his lips, his hands ending up in her hair.
Aria looks at Liam as his breathing is quickened and raspy.
She reaches for the draw string on Liam’s pants, untying it, Liam’s lips moving to Aria’s neck.
“Where’s your bed room?” Aria whispers in a breathless tone.
Liam looks at her and he stills. Aria stares back, waiting.

Liam swiftly grips her legs and lifts her up, as he walks toward his bedroom.
Setting her on his bed, Aria slides her leggings off as Liam tosses his pants to the side, walking over to her, she kneels at the side of the bed in a similar black lingerie from earlier, reaching for him.
Taking her hands, he looks at her, “We’re really gonna do this?” he asks.
Aria looks up at him.




* I do not take credit for the images used in my edits or otherwise.*





Life Update

Hello friends!

I know it’s been quite a minute since I posted last. I just have had so much going on, and to think about sticking to my regular posting routine was exhausting, and yet impossible at times. But today, is a nice quiet Sunday that I am finally able to get to all the things I’ve been having to put off. So productive! And I am super happy! 

Between the holiday season, planning for the weddings I am in, work, and my beautiful baby niece being born- my usual day to day has been thrown off course and this blog has been- neglected, sad to say.

I had big plans for October/November! I had posts I wanted to write and I was even thinking about editing a potential Fall themed vlog of all the clips I took checking off things from my Fall Bucket List. But it just hasn’t been feasible.

And on top of all of that, I just realized I’m having some technical issues with my computer battery and my WordPress account in general, which have really hindered my posting options as well. I have some updates to do regarding the site, since I have run out of my image memory on here. So I need to do a bit of research and decide what my next step will be regarding the michelle leigh writes update plan. 

So in the mean time,  I am going to still try to post on here when I can. Just been dealing with a lot of changes and need to get my life back on track, lol. I know many of you can definitely relate! 😉 Just know that I am not going anywhere. I still have a lot to say!  

Stay Tuned!

xo Michelle

Found Poetry

As a “teacher” I am always trying to find new and creative ways to encourage students to write. At my job one of the activities I teach is Creative Writing. This past week, I took a suggestion from one of my colleagues, and tried found poetry with them.

Found Poetry is a type of poetry created by taking words, phrases, and sometimes whole passages from other sources and reframing them as poetry by making changes in spacing and lines, or by adding or deleting text, thus imparting new meaning.

I did a listening version of this with them, as I read aloud-Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart” students were asked make a list of all the words they heard that jumped out to them. From that list, students then wrote their own “found poems,” and we shared them. 

After seeing how well it worked, I decided to give it a try myself. It was interesting to see how some students kept in the same darker theme of the story, while others went a whole different almost uplifting route. It’s amazing where the mind can go, and how simple things can spark creativity.

Here is a link to Edgar Allan Poe’s The Tell-Tale Heart


My list of words I gathered included; Heart, ill, control, mad, powerful, heaven, hell, sounds, Listen!, reason, loved, hurt, money, vulture, terrible, dies, animal, cold, blood, warm, friendly, evil, clock, careful, door, success, afraid, dreaming, blue, ice, strong, louder, painful, silence, dark, anger, fear, beating, stone, trouble, quiet, hear, stop, suffering, playing, game, smiles. [47 words chosen]

My Found Poem: [32 words used]

Clocks ticking everywhere

You can hear

We give time so much power

It’s a mad little game we play

that steals away our smiles


to the sounds of dreaming


to your heart-beating

Reason deep within and strong

Terrible fear takes away control

Quiet trouble no one knows



Fear of failure

Dreamful heaven turning ice blue

Has hell frozen over

Money Money 

Ill like a vulture

Closed door

Careful not to forget

Open windows instead

Stone heart

thaw away

Smile your way to success



*I do not take credit for the concept of found poetry, nor Mr. Poe’s literary work I used as inspiration, nor the image used.*




Due to sexual content.



red thirstClara smiles as she catches her reflection in her vanity mirror. Smoothing out her fitted black velvet dress. She presses her bright red lips together making a smacking sound.
“Tonight, is definitely going to be a night to remember,” she says glancing at her clock which reads 12:30 AM in bright bold red. 

**3 HOURS LATER 3:30 AM**

Her eyes flutter open and instantly Clara is met with Black. Darkness. Small Space.
As Clara’s eyes are trying to adjust to her surroundings, she tries to move and realizes she can’t.
Both her hands and feet are bound by thick tape. She makes a move to scream but soon she feels tape is also plastered across her mouth.
Humming. Clara now hears humming. Moving. She’s moving.
Where am I? She thinks.
Her heart begins to pound quicker and quicker as the panic sets in. Beads of sweat pooling at the nape of her neck as goosebumps form.
She finally comes to the terrifying conclusion that she is in the trunk of a car, going God knows where, with God knows who.

**1:30 AM**

Clara hops out of a red taxi cab and spots the big red electric sign illuminating her destination- THIRST it reads. She smirks as she rushes over to grab a space on the long line, her spiky gold studded red heels clacking along on the sidewalk- a missing person’s poster plastered to the grown as she walks over it unknowingly.
As Clara takes her place in line, she takes a look around. Another missing person’s poster. This one she notices. Young men and women crowd the line, dressed all in black, the women all sporting bright red lipstick. Clara feels satisfied with her choice in wardrobe for the night. Suddenly Clara feels the eyes of those around her all shifting toward her. It feels like everyone is watching her. Do I smell or something? She thinks.
Clara steps up to the bouncer, and hands him her ID. Taking it he glances at her, then back at the ID.
“You’re a newbie, huh? he asks, his voice husky, his dark eyes staring into her with a fierce fire.
“I’ve never been here before, so, yea I guess,” she says skeptically.
“Are you here alone?” he asks his eyes flickering a deep dark brown as they wander over her.
“No I’m meeting up with some friends, not that it’s any of your business,” Clara answers getting annoyed.
The bouncer laughs, as a smirk is put in place.
“You and your friends are in for a real treat, Enjoy!” He says handing her back her ID and unclipping the red velvet entry rope-letting her in.
Clara takes her ID quickly and rushes into the bar, to escape not only the brisk fall breeze, but also the creepy bouncer.
The minute Clara steps foot into the bar, she realizes its standing room only, the lights flicker and suddenly her stomach flips. It’s just your nerves Clara. You always get a little wigged out when you’re in big crowds. The gang should be here any minute.
In the midst of her rambling thoughts a face comes into view. “Hi, I’m Ivy, are you here for the ceremony?” the pale, red headed girl with bright fire red lipstick asks. Her face invading her personal space a little too much.
Clara steps back instantaneously, as her brow furrows, “Ceremony…what ceremony?”
Ivy notices her confusion and laughs a laugh that kind of made Clara’s hair stand up on her arms.
“You must be a newbie… I mean new.” Ivy says her eyes scanning over Clara.
What is with this place, she thinks as she gives a small forced smile before making her way through the crowd towards the bar.
As she pushes through the sea of darkness, the red lights strung above flicker once again. As it seems all eyes turn to make Clara their focus, once again.
Clara suddenly feels very uncomfortable. She scans the room for her friends, but there is no sign of them anywhere. 
She checks her cell phone quickly. No sign of any messages.
I guess they’re running late, she thinks. You’re being paranoid Clara, relax. Have a drink. 
The bartender comes over. “Who needs a drink?” he yells over the crowd.
Clara raises her hand pushing her way closer.
“What’ll it be?” he asks his dark brown eyes locking onto hers.
“Um, I’ll have a Bloody Mary,” She says her eyes taking in his handsome chiseled features.
“Ok, do you want- O, A, B, AB, I may be able to scrounge up some O negative in the freezer if you prefer that?”
“I’m sorry?” Clara says her confusion growing along with her nerves.
The bartender’s gorgeous, tanned face falls.
“Have you ever been here before?” he asks.
“No.” Clara says uneasily.
The bartender leans in closer to her and whispers.
“Do you know what this place is?”
“A bar?” Clara asks with a small flirtatious laugh as she flips her hair behind her shoulder, leaning closer to the cute bartender.
“You should really get out of here. It’s not the place for someone like you,” he says his voice hoarse yet heightened, his brown eyes stern.
“You don’t even know me,” Clara bites back getting frustrated.
“Maybe not, but I can tell you’re a newbie and if I can so can the rest of them. I’m just saying you’ve been warned.”
Clara looks at him, her nerves spiking up again. She checks her phone. Nothing.
The bartender notices. “Oh that’s another thing, no cell service.”
Clara’s stomach knots, “What?” she says her eyes looking up into his.
“Oh what, you think they’d make it easy for you to call for help?” he asks. Clara’s eyes fill with fear.
And as if on cue. The lights go out and Clara suddenly feels hands wrap around her mouth and waist and pull her off into darkness.
She tries to fight it, but the strength of her opponent was overpowering, her nerves distracting her causing her to drive herself into a panic.

**4:00 AM**

Clara is wiggling and moaning in the trunk of a car as she feels the car suddenly come to a short stop.
Clara begins to panic as she hears the driver’s door creak open, feet shuffling through what sounds like gravel.
A hand pulls on the latch of the trunk, it opens and her panic begins to kick into full drive.
As the trunk opens fully the bartender’s face is backlit by a nearby street lamp.
Clara’s eyes go wide as her chest begins to tighten, her vision blurring. She’s about to faint again.
“Hey, hey, hey,” he says seeing her starting to go, as he lifts her out of the trunk.
He places her in the passenger’s seat, sitting her upright, he reaches for a water bottle in the back seat. He pours some on her face, gently slapping her cheeks.
“Hey, hey, wake up,” he says, pulling the tape off her lips carefully.
Clara comes to and sees his concerned face, and begins to scream, “HELP! SOMEONE HELP ME!”
“Shh, Shhh, they may hear you!” He says nervously checking his surroundings.
“Who? What are you talking about? Where am I? Why did you take me?” she says hysterically.
“If I didn’t they would have bled you dry,” he says reaching into his back pocket and pulling out a pocket knife.
Clara sees it and her body stiffens, her breath catching in her throat.
He flips it open and making eye contact with her, he kneels down and cuts the tape on her feet and then her hands.
Clara breathes a sigh of relief momentarily, as she rubs her wrists.
“I’m not going to hurt you, I just wanted to help you.”
“Why the hell did you tape me up and throw me in a trunk then!” she says looking at him, fire in her eyes.
“I had to make it look convincing. Otherwise they would know and they would still come after you.”
“Who? What is that place?”
The bartender takes out his phone and hands it to her.
“Play the video,” he says.
Clara looks up at him, confused. She gets out of the car and hits play. Her first reaction is one of pure horror as she covers her mouth.
On the screen you see people in hooded red velvet cloaks, in a candlelit room, chanting. As a line of blindfolded people stand, waiting for instructions. All dressed in black. The main countess, removes her hood as Clara sees her face, “Ivy,” she whispers.
“I saw her set her sights on you the minute you walked in. I knew after that, we didn’t have much time before the lights went out.”
Clara’s eyes meet his for a brief moment, and she could see the worry in his eyes. Her nerves begin to fade just slightly. She continues watching the video.
“Welcome, to our weekly induction ceremony. We trust you’ll have a bloody good time,” she says cackling, as she glances at her fellow cloaked servants, with a small smirk, they take it as their signal. Each rushing toward a blindfolded member and sinking their fangs into their necks as their chosen prey scream. Others pulling their blindfolds off and running for dear life.
“No one will hear you,” the Countess sings, cackling loudly, watching them scatter like cockroaches. She rushes toward her newest victim.
Red. Red everywhere.
Clara stops the video and covers her mouth, her eyes welling up.
“Is this, is this real?” she asks staring into his eyes willing some answers.
“So what, they’re vampires?” She asks.
“No. It’s a cult. They’re a group of psychos who are obsessed with  the idea of vampires and do everything to simulate the vampire life. Including sucking other people’s blood.”
“And what… it’s just allowed. I mean why hasn’t anyone ever reported this place?” She asks completely overwhelmed.
“There hasn’t been anyone who survived long enough to do so.”
“What about you, are you like them?”
“NO. I just bartend. I’m completely human. And I like it that way.”
“So then why haven’t you reported them!”
“Because we have an agreement, I keep my mouth shut, pour the drinks, get paid, and they let me live.”
“Why would you take this job knowing what this place was all about?”
“When I came to interview for the job, I didn’t know what it was going to be. I took the job under false pretenses. And once I got here and found out what this was, there was no way out for me.”
“So after all this time, why help me?”
“I don’t know. I just felt like I needed to. I’ve been so scared to do anything before. But tonight I could see that you were scared and I wanted to help.”
“Well, I’m really glad you did, thank you.”
He gives her a small smile.
“How did you get this video?”
“Ivy sent it to me, to show me what could happen to me if I don’t obey by her rules.”
“But this is proof. Right here. We need to take this to the police.”
“They’ll call it a prank and not give two shits. And even if they did try to do anything, there’s so many followers, it would just regroup and start over, somewhere else. It won’t be long before they find out it was me who leaked the video, and they’ll come after me. And I won’t be able to protect you. They’ve sought you out already. You’ve been targeted.”
“She expects you as her prey, in her mind you’re a done deal. Precious blood.”
“Won’t they know you’re gone?”
“They think I’m bringing you to the red cottage.”
“What’s that?” Clara says her eyes scanning her surroundings. Not a cottage in sight, just an empty gravel parking lot, dimly lit by a few scattered street lights.
“It’s this secret place she reserves for her sacred prey.”
“Ivy, she’s pure poison. She’s the countess, she’s the one who started this whole thing. And she loves newbie blood. By newbie- they mean someone who is completely unaware of the true meaning behind this facade of a bar.”
“Newbie. So that’s why everyone was calling me that. I felt like everyone’s eyes were following me. I thought I was going crazy.”
“You’re not crazy, they were all watching you, waiting, sniffing you out, luring you into their trap.”
“Oh yea, newbies carry a certain scent, apparently.”
“They really believe this shit?”
“That’s a cult for you.”
“This is insane.” *Clara feels her vision starting to blur.* “I I I feel like I’m gonna faint again,” she says reaching for him.
“Ok, hey, ok, you’re ok, take a seat,” he says grabbing her hands and guiding her back to the car. “Just breathe ok, nice and slow. In, and out. Look at me, Focus.” He says.
In that moment Clara was so grateful for this man she’s never met before. He saved her life and she didn’t even know his name.
“I’m sorry, I tend to faint when my nerves are set into over drive.”
“It’s ok, I figured that when you passed out before I put you in the trunk. Sorry about that by the way, I had to make it look believable. It’s been my job to take care of the chosen one and unfortunately that includes duct tape and a trunk.”
“I’d gladly take the trunk any day, if it means staying the hell away from those freaks. I’m Clara, by the way.” She says steadying her breathing.
“Nice to meet you Clara, I’m Christian,” he says smiling, his teeth perfectly pearly white, he extends his muscular arm, as she shakes his hand. His grip firm. His palms soft, but clammy.
“So you’ve done this before, this red cottage thing?”
“I’ve only worked here for a month. So, I’ve only had to do it twice. And both times, the chosen have proven worthy to join the cult, so they are now members, and no longer hunted prey. That’s the whole game. Kind of cat and mouse. Somehow they can sniff out the special ones. The rest just get used as blood bags, like you saw in the video. The chosen get taken to the red cottage, where Ivy preps them. She decides if they are worthy to join or be bled dry. Even though her senses are usually spot on, when it comes to true newbies, she says it can go either way and she needs to be sure if they are really ready for the vampire life.”
“And how does she decide that?”
“She gives you this test. Asks bizarre questions, tastes your blood. If it’s sweet you die because she knows she’ll enjoy taking your blood, if it’s bitter you get to live. So any precious prey that end up here, they better prey their blood is bitter.”
“Does that even surprise you at this point, after everything you’ve seen?”
“This is inhumane. I have no words. These people are demented. I’m completely confused. I don’t know what the hell any of this really means.”
“Join the club. It’s not something anyone should ever have to know.”
“So what do we do now? What happens when they find out you didn’t bring me to the red cottage?”
“I don’t know. I didn’t think that far ahead.”
“So they can be coming after us, any minute!”
“We’re a few miles out, that’ll buy us time.”
“My friends, oh my god, I was supposed to meet my friends! What if they’re still there? I have to go back!”
“Are you insane!? Have you not been listening to me? Ivy will kill you,” he says grabbing her shoulders.
“Not if I play along.”
“You can’t fake bitter blood Clara.”
“No, but I can lure her away from her followers. Think about it without them, she’s just some red head with fake fangs and a cloak. I can take her.”
“You think so, you faint at every sign of danger.”
“I can do this, I have to. We have to put a stop to these freaks.”
“I don’t like this Clara. I don’t want you alone with her.”
“I won’t be, you’ll be with me, right? Ya know just in case I need back up,” she says with a nervous laugh.
“This is not funny.”
“I have to try. My friends are newbies too. I can’t let her hurt them. And you shouldn’t either. Now I know you saved my life. And I am so grateful to you. I am. But you’ve sat on this job, knowing about their world for a month. Knowing people have died.”
“I’m not proud of it Clara, believe me,” he says looking away in shame.
“I do believe you,” she says taking his hand in hers. Christian’s eyes flick up instantly to meet Clara’s. “Before you didn’t have someone willing to help you. It’s different now. I’m here and together, we can take this whole freak show down. But I can’t do it alone.” Christian stares at her for a beat, he sighs. 
“Ok…here’s what we can do…” 

**5:00 AM**

Christian stands above a seated, tied up Clara. Her legs taped together, her hands taped in front of her, resting in her lap. Candles lit amongst red silk curtains, and red velvet carpet.
Christian bends down to grab more tape, as he hears a car pull up, the headlights beaming past the small window in the corner of the dimly lit small cottage.
“She’s here,” he says turning to Clara as he rips another piece of tape holding up to her mouth. “I’m sorry but, I have to make her think you’ve been this way since I took you.”
Clara nods. Panic setting in.
Christian notices, he leans in and kisses her bright red lips, his free hand cupping her face, as Clara’s mind spins her lips follow his, her heart beat quickening.
“I won’t let her hurt you,” he says kissing her once more, before placing the tape across her mouth.
Christian stands as the door to the cottage flies open revealing a blood stained Ivy.
“Well well, we meet again,” she says walking in, her cloak draping across the floor as she saunters around Clara, breathing her in.
She leans down, placing her hands upon Clara’s shoulders, whispering in her ear, “My you smell good.”
Clara winces, pulling away.
“Did you tell her the rules Christian?”
“Yes Countess,” he says bowing and taking a knee.
Clara’s eyes widen at his obedience to this woman of hell.
Suddenly Clara begins to feel dizzy, her mind begins turning, thoughts flying through her head.
Did I just get played? Was this the plan all along, to lure me here and gain my trust? What do I really know about this Christian guy? Why the hell did I believe him? Why because he’s gorgeous? I just made the biggest mistake of my life. Clara begins to fade.
“Good, now, shall we get started,” Ivy says cackling as she turns to get the materials to start her personal ceremony,” Christian makes a swift move and reaches behind his back, he pulls out a gun and shoots Ivy in the back, the ringing pierces through Clara’s ears as she jolts. Ivy’s body goes limp, falling to the ground, blood pooling out of her.
Christian leans down, and feels for a pulse. He pulls out a walkie and speaks into it, “This is agent Christian Clark. I’m requesting an ambulance for a deceased female, and immediate back up at the old broken down parking lot in Fort Falcon. Also send units to the bar THIRST- address 166 6th street. Proceed with caution, subjects are armed, and dangerous.”
Christian rushes over to Clara’s side, her eyes are wide, her mind foggy.
“Hey, I’m sorry, I’m sorry you had to see that. Are you ok?” he says peeling the tape off her mouth and cutting her free. She sits there in a state of shock.
“Clara? Clara, hey, can you hear me?” he says holstering his gun and grabbing her face in his hands.
“You’re not blinking at all. Clara. Clara. Hey. You can hear me, I know you can. Hey come on back Clara. Come back to me. Clara. Clara, blink for me. Clara.”
Clara blinks and focuses her vision on Christian.
“You’re a cop?” she says completely confused.
“Why didn’t you tell me?”
“I was under cover. I couldn’t risk it. I didn’t know if you were a part of it, or just a ploy to draw me out. I had to be sure you were telling the truth too.”
“So you lied, when you said that the police wouldn’t care.”
“Yes. I had to.”
“What about the two other newbies who joined the cult? The ones that you said you had to take here?”
“Also undercover agents. They’re working from the inside too. See I was only able to see certain aspects of the cult, they do things I had no clue about, we needed people to really infiltrate. The three of us had to really pull some major cons in this whole thing.”
“I can only imagine. So why have you waited so long to do this? Why not just bring Ivy in when she brought the first agent back here?”
“We had to gather more evidence.”
“That video wasn’t evidence enough.”
“Unfortunately no, with all the technology available online, kids these days can alter anything. They would have dismissed that video as a prank. We needed a witness. We needed you.”
“Well we didn’t seek you out personally, you just kind of happened to be in the right place at the right time. And you were actually someone who agreed that this place was a total freak show and needed to be destroyed. A few months ago, we started noticing a lot of people were going missing in the area. No sign, nothing. Other than the link that THIRST was the last place they were known to be. So we started investigating. When I got wind of what this place was. I knew I had to play it smart, give it time, build a case, and get inside the minds of these freaks. As much as I hated it, I wanted justice for all the lives they stole.”
“Did you find any of the missing people?”
“A few, unfortunately it was a little too late for some- they were killed, but many had joined the cult. I don’t know if it was because they wanted to or if it was strictly out of fear. That’s why we put two agents on the inside.”
“I feel like I’m going to throw up,” Clara says pacing as she grabs her stomach.
“I need to call my friends. I lost my phone, can I-”
“Of course,” he says reaching into his pocket and handing it to her.
Their hands graze each other’s and Clara ignores it turning away as she dials. Christian’s eyes flicker to her, his eyes wondering her curvy body in her fitted black velvet dress. Her toned legs pace the cottage carpet, as her red spike heels scuff it up.
Christian coughs and looks away, giving her some privacy.
“Hello? Betty? Betty oh my god, where are you, are you ok?” Clara says frantically.
A blonde girl and some friends are being escorted by police out of the bar, “Clara, oh my god, are you ok? I’ve been trying to call you!”
“Yes, I’m ok, I’ve been trying to call you, are you with everyone else? Is everyone ok?”
“Yes, we’re all here, we’re ok too, but I swear you wouldn’t believe what just happened.”
“Trust me, I think I know a little more than you think, I’m on my way.”
“Can you take me back to my friends, they’re at the bar.”
“I really think you should go to the hospital.”
“She didn’t get the chance to hurt me. I’m fine, thanks to you.”
“Clara, I’ve lost track of how many times you’ve suffered panic attacks and fainted tonight.”
“Well excuse me, I’ve been scared out of my mind, what with getting tied and thrown into a trunk and brought to a vampire’s lair.”
“You’ve been through one hell of a mess, all the more reason to get checked out.”
“I will, after I meet up with my friends. Please. I just need to get out of here,” she says looking at Ivy’s lifeless body sitting in a crimson pool.
Christian hears sirens in the distance, they make their way closer. Soon the door opens to reveal paramedics and other police officers.
“Agent Clark, I’m Officer Megan Mullins, we’ll take it from here, why don’t you get this girl home.”
“Thank you,” Christian reaches out to shake her hand. “Come on let’s get you out of this hell hole,” he says taking Clara by the hand, and leading her out.

The ride went on silently, until Christian finally spoke.
“Are you okay?” he asks.
“I don’t really know how to answer that question,” she answers her eyes watching the streets pass by as she stares out the window.
“Fair enough,” he says pulling up to the bar, ambulances, officers in blue, detectives, witnesses, suspects hauled off in cuffs, create a scene of madness.
It all moves in slow motion before Clara’s eyes. Christian parks his car and hops out, slapping a police light on his hood. Walking around he opens Clara’s door as she sits in shock.
“Clara. Clara?”
“CLARA!” Betty looks from the inside of a nearby ambulance, she comes running.
Clara is kicked out of her haunting memories when she hears her friend’s voice.
“Betty!” she yells, hopping up, and rushing over to hug her.


Clara enters her apartment, setting her keys and purse down on her side table, as she flips through the mail she just brought up.
Her cell phone rings, and she glances at the unfamiliar number, “Hello?”
“Who’s calling?”
“Clara, this is agent Christian Clark. I’m afraid it’s that time, we’re going to need you to testify in court on the THIRST case.”
“I can’t say I haven’t been expecting your call.”
“Would you be free for a cup of coffee one day, I can prep you on what to say?”
“I think that would be very helpful, thank you. I’m free now, I can come meet you.”
“Um sure, yea that works, just text me the place,” he says sitting at his desk at the police station. He looks at his cup of coffee and drops it into the trash.
“Ok, will do. See you soon.”
“See you then,” he says smiling.


Christian sits in a small cozy coffee shop, as he waits for the beautiful brunette to saunter back into his life.
Clara walks into the shop and scans the room, her eyes clocking on Christian’s. He smiles waving her over, she makes her way toward him.
“Agent Clark,” she says with a sweet smile.
“Clara, hey, how are you?” he asks, standing to hug her.
Clara hugs him tightly, as they both linger for a beat, taking each other in.
“I’m ok, I’m really good actually,” she says they both take their seats opposite each other.
“Good. I’m glad. You look great.”
“Thank you, so do you,” she says smiling.
“So I know that I haven’t checked in much since-”
“Stop, Christian. Please. You saved my life. God knows what could have happened if you weren’t there. I know you’re an agent, out there busy saving the world,” she says smiling brightly at the gorgeous man before her.
God he is still so gorgeous, she thinks.
Christian smiles back, God she is still breathtaking, he thinks.
“You wanna take a walk?” Clara says.
“Sure, I’ll grab us some coffee and meet you out front.”
“Thanks,” she says heading towards the exit.


“So full disclosure?” Clara asks.
“Of course.” Christian says as they walk along the streets.
“I’m really happy you called.”
“Yea, I haven’t really been able to stop thinking about you and that kiss,” she says staring at the coffee in her hands.
Christian stops in his tracks and looks at her.
“Full disclosure?” he asks.
“Of course.” She says stopping and facing him.
“I didn’t check in sooner, because I felt like I couldn’t. When I kissed you, I knew I felt something for you. I knew I wanted to know you the minute I saw you. I knew I wanted you in ways that would be unprofessional for an agent to want his lead witness in his case, so I kept my distance.”
“So what changed your mind?”
“It’s no longer, my case.”

“Officer Megan Mullins, did me a favor, and took it off my hands.”
“So you saying you needed me to testify and that you can prep me were all what- just excuses to see me again?” she says her eyes narrowing, a smirk playing on her lips.
“Not exactly, I mean, kind of. Yes I wanted to see you again and I saw this as my in. But I don’t need you to testify, Megan does. But yes I can still help prep you, if you’d like.”
“Sure, my place is just a few blocks from here, we can go there.”
“Ok, lead the way,” Christian says gesturing.

Clara unlocks her apartment door and steps aside, letting Christian in.
“Nice place,” he says walking in.
“Thank you, here let me take your coat,” she says hanging hers up on a nearby coat rack, as he hands her his.
“So I was thinking we can just go over the details of that night and write them down, then from there come up with a statement of some kind. Then I’ll just put you through the ringer, asking you all the questions I think they’ll ask you-”
“Christian.” She says her voice cutting through his last few words.
“Do you honestly think, I brought you here, for legal advice?”
“I-” he stops and looks at her, a smile forming on both of their lips, as she walks toward him.
He quickly pulls her by the waist, letting his lips crash onto hers.
Clara’s hands cup his face, as she walks them backward forward her bed room.
Unbuttoning and tossing each other’s shirts.
They fall back onto her white cotton bed spread, as Christian’s kissing becomes deeper and deeper each time, an urgency playing on his lips.
He pulls away and looks at her, his eyes flickering with a deep desire.
She smiles pulling him to her and kissing him forcefully as he grips her hips. Kissing her once more, he playfully bites her lower lip, a little blood escaping.
Clara winces, with a slight laugh, Christian pulls away from her, “Sorry about that love, let me get that for you,” he says kissing her again, as he licks the blood off her lower lip.
Clara’s brow furrows for a bit, but she is soon enough distracted by his lips traveling to her neck. Christian’s lips dance along her jugular vein. His kissing becoming quicker, more forceful, harder, the sucking beginning to hurt. Bruise.
Clara starts to stir uncomfortably.
“Christian, Christian, Stop.” But he doesn’t.
She pushes him off her and screams, as his fangs come into clear view, in one swift move he sinks them into her neck, her blood covering her crisp white bed sheets.


Clara jolts awake, and looks to see a concerned Christian in bed beside her.
“Don’t tell me- the nightmare, where I turn into a vampire during sex?”
“Ugh, yes,” she laughs covering her face, a large diamond ring shining in the moonlight on her left hand.
Christian starts to laugh.
“It’s been nearly two years. I’ve testified. We won. Everything is back to normal. It should be over. Why am I still having bizarre dreams, and more importantly why is it always you killing me? I don’t understand it, your the only person who makes me feel 100% safe. It just doesn’t make any sense.”
“Babe, you know what your therapist said, you went through a bizarre traumatic experience. The details are all mangled in your mind, it’s going to take time to work through all that. You can’t rush it. And remember your fears may be unrealistic, but they are valid. You once said there was a point where you wondered if you could trust me. I mean that’s understandable, we barely knew each other. You didn’t really have reason to believe me.”
“Well I’m so glad that I did,” she says smiling over at him.
“Yea?” he says smiling.
“Yea, because then I wouldn’t be engaged to the sexiest, smartest agent New York has ever seen,” she says pulling the blankets over as she climbs on top of him, straddling him.
“Oh really?” he says his hands sliding up her sides, causing her sexy red lingerie night gown to lift ever so slightly.
“Mm Hmm.” She says smiling, as his hands slide further around her waist.
Smirking, Christian sits up and kisses her.
He flips her over hovering on top of her, “I love you so much, and I can’t wait to make you my wife,” he says, placing a passionate kiss on her lips, her arms circling around his back. Christian adjusts meeting Clara’s body, moving her closer to him. Then as she lets out a breathy sigh, he places a kiss on her lips, his hands gripping her thighs.
Christian pulls away looking at Clara.
“What?” she asks.
“I vant to suck your blood,” he says in an exaggerated count Dracula cartoon voice as he jokingly bites her neck between fits of laughter.
Clara starts to laugh and shoo him off.
“I hate you,” she says giggling, as he stops and starts placing sweet kisses along her neck.
“You love me,” he says looking down at her, as he kisses her lips once more, sweetly.
Clara kisses him back.
“I do love you, you fool” she says in between all the many kisses that followed.              

“So are you gonna put on those spiky red heels you know I like so much?” he asks with a smirk.                                                                                                                                                      

“I think that could be arranged,” she says smiling.
Christian’s hands glide across her body, as Clara’s hands circle the nape of his neck, her ring glistening into the night and the rest of their lives.


*I do not take credit for any images used in my edits or otherwise.*


Happy Belated Halloween!