Out on the town

by MW Cook

Date night. Ariel was excited as could be. She didn’t get out on dates much these days. It seemed that she was only able to hang with her boyfriends on Mondays and Fridays. Then again, last week she was out Thursday and Tuesday as well. And she just remembered she had another rendezvous scheduled for Wednesday. And the weekend, of course. Except for Sunday. She tried to meet her husband for at least an hour on Sunday. She smiled to herself as she put on her makeup. What a wonderful husband she had. He gave her so much freedom. Very different from the rules and regulations her mother’s husband had to submit to. That proved that Ariel’s husband loved her more than her mother’s. Ariel, of course, loved him just as much in return. Sure, she didn’t show it in traditional ways, but her husband was far from a traditional man. If her husband gave her freedom to roam around, then the best way to show her love was to use that freedom whenever possible, right?

So there she was, getting ready for her big date night. The only date she’d had for days. Except, of course, the drinks she had that afternoon or the dinner date the night before. She slipped into a seductive scarlet dress that was given to her by one of her boyfriends. She spent the better part of an hour applying makeup, jewelry, perfumes and other things designed to call her lovers to herself. After her energy was spent she examined herself in the mirror. “Perfect.” She grabbed her purse and strolled out the door, careful not to attract the attention of her husband, who she assumed was asleep. She hopped into his car and sped away to the fancy place she clubbed at.

Beelzebub’s Brothel. The finest eatery in town. Ariel didn’t understand what the name meant. But that didn’t matter. It was certainly the best place for her on a date night. The staff was friendly and courteous, she got discount on her food, usually had a private room and even got weekly pay cheques for some reason. She never quite understood that one, but she had been taught not to question her blessings. She assumed it was her husband, showing his approval of her dates. What a wonderful man! Heads turned at she walked through the front door. She didn’t overhear the conversation of two dark men sitting at the bar.

“I thought she’d never come.” Said one to the other.
“The stupid wench will be worth the wait.” His companion replied.
“I’ve never had her before.”
“I have. She’s a fool and annoying, to be sure, but she’s also one of the cheapest whores in the whole joint. There’s something strange bout her. I get the impression that she doesn’t realize who she is. She thinks that we actually come here for a relationship.”
“Not a chance. That’s just an act they use to get us going.”
“Well, it works.” The man, whose name was transgression, stood and paid his tab.
“So who gets her then?” Said indulgence, his friend.
“A whore like this? We can share.”
“Excellent.” Both men watched as Ariel greeted her employer, whom she thought was actually a dear friend, and was showed to her room. She walked up the long, dark staircase alone, knowing that all was well in such a familiar place. As she climbed the stair she walked by a window. Out on the street she thought she saw someone. Someone standing in the rain outside. A strong, sad man with his arms waving in the air. Was he speaking?

O desolate one! What do you mean that you dress in scarlet, that you adorn yourself with ornaments of gold, that you enlarge your eyes with paint? In vain do you beautify yourself.

He looked strangely familiar…

Don’t you understand? Your lovers hate you; they seek your life!

Ariel’s master, who had been watching from his video camera, quickly pumped music through all the speakers in the house, breaking the connection between Ariel and the man outside.
“Rock on,” she said to herself, “my favorite song.” She bounced up the rest of the stairs to her room and waited for her lovers to come.

And so they came and they did what they paid to do. As Ariel slept they mocked her and cut her wrists and arms. She was so drunk she didn’t notice. They laughed and scoffed and called her a skillful piece of meat. Before they left they wrote her a note in her own blood. Telling her how much they loved her and how they’d be delighted to see her again. And they would. They always knew where to find her. She was always available.

Outside, amid the rain and thoroughly out of earshot the Man still stood. He looked at the house in bitter anger. He saw through the window in desperate sorrow. He saw his sleeping wife. Bleeding, dying, deceived. He called out, knowing full well that she was too drunk, drugged and delusional to hear a word he was saying. Nevertheless he called out.

Long ago I broke your yoke
and burst your bonds;
but you said, ‘I will not serve.’
Yes, on every high hill
And under every green tree
you bowed like a whore.
Surely, as a treacherous wife leaves her husband,
so you have been treacherous to me,
O Ariel! You fool! You go to so much trouble and effort to bed your sins and lusts, never realizing that they hate you and will kill you. Indeed they kill you every time you meet them! Return, faithless bride, I will not look on you in anger, for I am merciful. I will not be angry forever. Do you even know that I am angry? Or have you forgotten that the soul that sins shall die.
Return, faithless one. Let me heal your faithlessness.