The bar was nearly empty, which was unusual for a weekend. The few customers inside were stuck exclusively to their respective barstools, the dance floor empty and music turned down at the request of one of the patrons.
Behind the bar, Maisie was washing glasses and taking the occasional order from the patrons. Most sat quietly, sipping their drinks and contemplating their decisions. A few talked in lowered voices, and would try to talk to her while she worked.
The door opened, a sudden rush of cold air filled the space. Maisie glanced up at the man coming through the door and gestured to an empty seat for him. He grinned at her and sat down, watching her every move as she walked over to serve him.
“What can I get for you tonight?”
“Whatever you’ll drink with me.” he said with a wink. She rolled her eyes, moving to walk away from him. “Whatever you recommend then.”
She nodded to herself and wrote down a drink order, pushing it towards him. He grabbed her wrist and stared at her.
“Sir, I’m going to ask you to let go, or this will get ugly.”
“What’s a pretty thing like you doing working so late?”
“Sir, let go now or-“
“What do I have to pay you to leave with me tonight?”
She slapped him, hard. All the other patrons looked over at him, and many stood to defend Maisie. She gestured for them to sit, before smiling at the man. A few chuckled at the man, knowing he was in deep.
“I am going to ask you to leave now, sir. I am not for sale, and I will go home to my husband tonight without seeing you again. Do I make myself clear?”
Her eyes held a fire that had not been present before. The man looked around at the other patrons, some still standing and staring at him. He felt a grip on his wrist, glancing down to see nothing there. He looked back at Maisie, before standing and rushing out of the bar. She smirked and went back to tending her other customers.
As the other patrons left, she began to close the bar. Wiping down counters and tables. Glancing at the clock, she sighed and looked at the mess behind the bar. Moving to the windows, making sure no one was outside, she flicked her hand towards the bar. The glasses cleaned themselves, the floor was spotless, and the barstools moved back where they were supposed to be. A faint glow surrounded Maisie’s fingers, slowly fading as the tasks completed themselves.
She smiled to herself and finished wiping down the tables. After turning the lights off, she exited the building at the back door and made her way down the alley. A figure in the shadows followed her, keeping a fair distance as she made her way towards an old apartment building.
It was fenced in, no lights shone through the broken windows. A foreclosure sign decorated the fence, and the shadowy figure watched as Maisie made her way to a small opening in the fence. The figure raced after her, grabbing her before she could climb through.
She struggled and fought, trying to scream as the figure pinned her against the fence, a hand covering her mouth.
“Scream and you won’t make it back to the bar tomorrow.”
Her eyes widened as she recognized the voice of the man from earlier that evening, and the dim glow from the streetlight confirmed her suspicions. He removed his hand from her mouth, moving to his pocket to draw a blade.
“You thought I’d let a beauty like you escape me so easily? I don’t care if you’re married sweetheart, you’re coming with me.”
Her eyes stared back into his, and she let out a soft chuckle. His grip tightened on her wrists as he pinned them to the fence. Her chuckling turned into laughter as she tried to contain it, but she couldn’t help herself.
“What’s so funny?” his voice began to raise. Her laughter began drowning out his angry screams. “What’s so funny? Tell me!”
He shook her body, throwing her on and off the fence.
“You…you think you’re taking me anywhere?” She huffed out through her laughter, as he moved to place the blade on her cheek.
“Yes, and you’ll cooperate if you know what’s good for you.”
She finally composed herself, breathing deeply as the cool metal touched her face.
“That’s so cute. You think you’re scary. But mister, I’ve seen scary…” she pulled her wrists free and knocked the blade from his hand, “and you ain’t got his smile.”
She grabbed his wrists, and he felt the same burning feeling he had felt earlier. But this time it was stronger, a heat which curled through his whole body and made him writhe in agony.
“Maisie, what’s going on out here?” boomed a deep baritone voice from behind the pair.
She pulled the man close to her, the pain intensifying as she tugged him towards the voice. “Want to see the smile for yourself?”
He gasped and struggled as she pulled him through the fence, and turned him to face the owner of the voice. It was a tall man, his eyes hidden behind red-tinted glasses, and body encased in a black overcoat. Maisie stood and moved next to the dark figure, but her attacker could not move. Not out of fear, he felt restraints hold his wrists and ankles together, a weight around his legs forced him to kneel on the gravel below him.
“This man followed me here, attacked me with a blade.” Maisie held out the weapon to the cloaked figure, who held it between gloved fingers.
“Why did you not call for help dear?”
She looked back at the man kneeling pathetically in the gravel. “He said if I screamed he would hurt me.”
The figure turned back to the attacker, who tried to struggle and escape. The weight on his legs increased, pulling him down further into the dirt and rock.
“Well my dear, we can’t have that now can we? Bring him inside, I think our guest should learn some respect.” Maisie grinned and flicked her hand at the man, who was lifted from the ground and followed floating behind the pair as they moved to the entrance of the building.
A week later, Maisie once again returned home from her shift at the bar. As she entered the building, the true splendor of her home shone in her eyes as her handmaidens took her coat and escorted her to the dining room where her husband waited, his tinted glasses resting on his nose.
“How was it tonight? No issues?”
“A small one. Police came looking for a man today. Apparently he was last seen at the bar a week ago.”
“Ah well, did you see him then?”
“No I don’t think so. All I remember a week ago was bringing this darling home.” Maisie said, gesturing to the server waiting with wine at the side of the room.
He looked much different from the night he tried to attack her. His wardrobe was neat, hair clean and combed, and the newly attached collar around his neck.
“Do you like working here?” she asked him, and he looked at her with hazy eyes, a smile gracing his lips.
“Yes, thank you for such an opportunity ma’am.” He said, his voice nearly monotone as the collar around his neck glowed momentarily. Maisie’s fingers twitched, making her turn and look at the collar.
“Oh dear, still cleaning out those thoughts in your head?” Maisie hummed, turning back to eat her dinner.
“No ma’am. Just thankful to serve you.” She chuckled to herself, and let her hand rest, the glow fading from his neck.
“Good, I hope you’ll be in our service for a long time.”