PRINCELESS by Cam Jace Storykiller
Copyright©by Cameron Jace
January 15 2019
Creme Alan Cream Indoors, Colmar, France
Alan Drax welcomed Venus inside and offered her his delicious crepe, and said:
“My creme-ALAN-creme crepe, if you know what I mean?” He winked at her and placed the plate in front of her.
“Thank you,” Venus said, watching the couple at the next table whisper in each other’s ears, pointing at her and Alan. “Looks delicious.”
Alan wet his finger and touched his brow, “You have no idea, mademoiselle.”
Venus picked up the fork and knife to taste, but then stopped. What if the crepe was poisoned, a sedative like her mother’s shot earlier?
She put the fork and knife down. “Would you mind helping take off my coat, Monsieur Drax.”
“But of course,” he waved his welcoming hands and slowly undressed her. Was he sniffing her, she couldn’t see, but saw the couple suppress their sneaky laughs. “And please call me Alan.”
“But of course,” she sat down, uncomfortable and confused.
Alan hung the coat which he treated with extra care and then went to have a little talk with the couple at the table.
Venus had to consider the couple were part of his defense. What if she would have to combat three people, not one, in this sardine-sized indoor cafe?
Her eyes scanned the claustrophobic place. Four small tables next to each other. Pans and knives and plates hung on the wall. Wooden parquet floors. A small chandelier hanging too low. A small opening to the kitchen in the back. This reminded her of her solitary confinement in the camp. Remembering that dark year in her life gave her goosebumps.
To her surprise the couple patted Alan on the back and left the space, going outside, briefly smiling at Venus.
This. Wasn’t. Good.
She watched Alan lock the door behind them. Venus grabbed her knife as Alan came trotting back, putting his mojo on.
“You don't mind me closing the door until clean up the place, Miss…?” He tilted his head quizzically.
Venus resisted clearing her throat. She was no stranger to the way Alan put words together. He had just disarmed her worrying about his unusual action by mentioning the elephant in the room. A common method of deceit used by con men all over the world, Sailor had taught her.
Alan had also phrased in a way that would imply asking her permission to close the door, though he had already closed it. An example she remembered from her training was a man telling his wife that she looks like she was hungry while she wasn't while he was already ordering food. A technique commonly used by Narcissists.
As for cleaning up the dishes, there were no dishes to clean up. The only dish on the table was the Cherry Clafoutis with slivered almonds and vanilla extract lightly dusted with powdered sugar–yeah she couldn't get enough of delicious food outside Maiden Island. A False statement which he camouflaged with ending the sentence by suggesting his desire to know her name.
Hadn't Venus been trained, she would have not understood any of this. Widowmaker, her teenage bad boy fling, used to compare their training to swallowing the red pill in the Matrix movies. They now knew too much and there was no going back.
Alan still tilted his head when she said, “Vanessa. My name is Vanessa Williams.”
Alan rose an eyebrow and straightened his head. Slowly he approached the table and sat in front of her. She dreaded his proximity but boy did know how to charm a girl with his smile and salt and pepper hair.
“What a beautiful name,Vanessa.” He rested both his palms on the table leaned slightly forward. Sneakily closer with every move. “I assume you’re not French.”
Although she has never been told her nationality — black hair, blue eyes, and pale skin didn't tell her much — Venus said, “Polish.”
She locked eyes with him, trying to intimidate him. Polish wasn't a Nazi welcomed nationality. He didn't flinch though.
“Well, part Polish,” she lowered her eyes submissively, checking out his hand. It was her turn to use techniques she had learned. The submissiveness was a distraction so she could check out the size and strength of his hands. Was he a choker? A puncher? Or a slapper? Did cooking leave him with tender hands or were these hands of a man repeatedly using a shovel to bury his victims.
His hands were old, but morbidly gummy with strength. Big. He could choke but would hardly slap. Trying hand to hand combat with him would be futile in such a claustrophobic place. He was also taller, she could feel his sneaky knees under the table touching hers.
“Jew?” he pulled back one hand and used it to partially lean back on his chair. “Huh.”
She wasn't sure if she wanted the conversation going this way. She felt like she talked to much. The tension filled every molecule in the air, but Alan had the upper hand.
“But you have beautiful skin,” he followed, staring at her as woman now.
She let him touch her with the hand he hadn't lifted off of the table. She didn’t like it. She was testing him. Something inside her couldn’t fathom how people presented themselves as jolly and can be ruthless racists and killers inside. His touch made his skin crawl. She didn't show it, but she cleaned her throat this time.
“Is your father still alive?” Alan looked in her eyes, probably they way he had been used to lure his victims. In truth, he was an attractive man with a French accent and with an appetite of a twenty year old — appetite for food and women.
“I never met him.” She said. Were they talking about her real father. Did Alan know her real father?
“Poor girl,” he squeezed her arm. “I didn't know my father, too.”
Venus hadn’t had such an experience before. Was Alan hitting on her, mocking her, testing her? She didn’t know. Did he know who she was? Did see her as another fish in the pond? Lines were too blurry and she could not think straight.
All she knew was that she needed to see it in his eyes. That evil. That darkness she remembered from the men who hunted her mother the day she was born. Evil had this tinge to it. An invisible stain that dark souls aren't aware of. It's when Widowmaker used to smoke pot and pretend he wasn't high when it glaringly showed.
“You see, Mr. Alan,” she touched the tip of her fork, “When I was a child, Nazis came to my town.”
Alan’s face twitched but his composure didn’t change. She had momentarily gotten under its skin. He knew that forks can be used a weapon. She wonder if had killed someone with it. Meticousely he hadn't served a knife next to it earlier.
“They killed my mother, father and the rest of my family,” Venus leaned forward, pulled her hand from under his touch and rested it under her chin, eye to eye, teasing him. She was surprised at him swallowing hard, enticed by her flirty vibe, even though she was talking Nazis.
Silence hung too strong in the air she could hear the clutter of people outside. Oh how he she had forgotten she was a beautiful town in France talking to this man.
Alan collected himself. He didn't know where she was going with this. She wasn't sure she was playing her cards right.
But she sensed something. Not only that evil she was looking for. In a wicked way, and for the first time, she sensed she wanted to kill him.
Venus said in her salty voice, “And since then I vowed to kill every fucking one of them.”
Alan was still torn between her young beauty and the words she spat into his face. But just for a moment. His face twitched again, and then a smirk surfaced.
“Vanessa,” he said. “Or whatever the fuck your real name is…”
Venus felt a twitch in her lips.
“When I was a child my father was a Nazi,” he didn’t lose his smirk. “And I watched him kill people like you. And you know what, he sometimes cooked them and I made them into crepes and that served to people to eat.”
Tension was as understatement of a word now. Sooner or later someone was going to start. Sailor had taught her it should be the enemy who started in such confrontations, because the first hit was usually the sloppiest and he who starts, has leverage but eventually loses momentum.
The disgust Venus felt toward Alan made her forget what she had been taught. She stabbed Alan in his neck with the fork, too quick for him to react.
He only spat back blood, trying to call her bitch.