Libby stood outside the shabby house and though this is not
what I really want. For a few weeks now she had been searching a studio for her masks.
"One more place, and that is it", she decided as she dejectedly
went back to the car and shook her head yet again.
They turned the corner just around from Punt Road and drove
down past the school to the roundabout, and a few doors down was the house. It was rather beautiful, and did not look like
the type, that would even want a starving Art student as a tenant, let alone a resident artist.
The door was opened by a very harassed young man who was also
just leaving, as he bowed her in with the words, 'My Master awaits You' and he fled unceremoniously down the long drive, after
bowing her in so gallantly, or so she thought smiling at his quick retreat.
Rather puzzled, Libby peered down the passage, leading down
to a beautiful sweeping staircase carpeted in silver carpet that Libby longed to put her toes into. On either side of the
polished banisters were two sets of Armour, in a pale pink sheen, polished to
a buff. The two figures were holding shields and swords, but did not look too frightening. In fact they seemed to be inviting
her to walk between them so they could call out, "Halt!!!"
"Up Here Please, and Take off those Damned Shoes..." came a
call from above, and hesitantly leaving her shoes at the foot of the entrance stairway, she started her memorable walk, to
meet David with whom she was about to begin a relationship she would never forget..
The entire floor of the huge Edwardian Building had been gutted,
sand blasted, and lacquered. It was one huge working area, and it was obvious David was a Musician. One area was devoted to
a stage where somebody dressed in black appeared to be fixing a very ornate silver and black set of drums. A silver Grand
Piano stood near and the opposite area was devoted to a full recording studio.
Lights were changing, and Libby's eyes moved around as she
considered this scene.
"Well, are you here for the studio or just for a look around?"
the voice continued.
Slowly she turned around and saw a shorter than her, dark haired
man, dressed completely in white, a wave of hair falling over one eye that he kept brushing back. Libby wondered why he just
didn't have his hair cut or tie it back, and whether this was for real or simply an act. She was not too sure about this first
meeting, and stood there hesitantly, moving her weight from one foot to the other, trying to take it all in, and more importantly,
understand what she was seeing.
"Well! Hellooooo!!!" continued the voice, "Who, and What, are
"The door was open and I was told to enter," explained Libby,
and watched him take a full appraising look at her from her curled bare toes, to her long dark hair tied back with a simple
ribbon. Her eyes were wide and questioning, and lips were verged on the start of a smile.
"Well...," and she smiled, and her eyes lit into instant lights
and crinkled with merriment, “I am looking for a studio, but I was after an art studio not a music one..." she trailed
off, as he studied her even more intently.
"You can have whatever studio you want," he continued, "There
is a pergola behind here that I enclosed as a small retreat, and it would be idea for any sort of studio. It also overlooks
a small pond. You would suit it perfectly. Come, and I will show it to you"
"But you don't even know me," she started to say, and thinking
what the heck, she followed him.
The studio was exactly as he said it was, and as she said,
she loved it. She agreed to move in immediately.
Outside across the road, the boys were having an almighty argument.
"This is the final time you will do this to me," roared Flick,
"I have ridden the same route for eleven years and no nincompooping
puppy is ever going to usurp me. I say we do it one more time and then quit. It’s getting too dangerous."
The others leaned a bit closer, and the Flick crossed his heavily
muscled arms, across his heavily padded girth, and flexing so the others could see the enormous strength he had, and in reserve,
he sat back as far as his small chair would let him, and glared at the group.
“The team want to change the routine and take the chicks,"
said the young one again. "The studio can handle the extras and we want a bit of fun on the side."
Flick shook his head. His deal with the Master, was that they
follow his instructions blindly, and there is nothing more frightening on a dark night to a lady walking home alone, than
a gang of bikies in formation riding up and around her, and when she was totally terrified, taking her along with them. Master
did not mind in what condition they were brought, and sometimes the gang had created their own variations on a theme.
He liked them scared, and he liked them completely powerless.
Fear has the ability to take the strongest person and shake them apart, and that is what they gang were doing. Only once were
they beaten, and then four bikies each grabbed a part and they drove in four directions. Like Flick said, Master really did
not mind the condition they were delivered in.
Their next job was coming up soon, and they were all set to
do the chase, They had no idea what the Master wanted this time, but they would find out soon enough.
Flick thumbed the boys and off they rode to the local for a
beer and a bit.
Libby was ecstatic,
with her find. The studio, while not large enough for her to move into completely, was perfect for her needs as an artist.
It would be the perfect place to work in solitude, and the price . . . the price was more than right. Libby couldn’t
believe how inexpensive the rent was. Not only would there be enough money to pay the rent on both her apartment and the studio,
but as long as Norm kept his word, and kept the checks coming regularly, there would be some left over each month.
"Greetings" growled a voice suddenly, making her jump. She
looked around and saw no-one. 'Here!!!' I am here..." and Libby turned in the direction of the voice.
The voice turned into a face, as a seemingly middle aged man
appeared from inside the sound booth. He was tall, lean, tanned and handsome, with dark hair, just beginning to grey at the
temples. While his hair suggested middle age, his musculature indicated a man in his prime. His shirt hung open to reveal
a perfect six pack, and perfectly developed pectoral muscles. As he approached, Libby couldn’t help wondering if the
grey was added into his hair for effect.
“My name is Karl, with a K,” he announced, offering
Libby his hand.
“Pleased to meet you, Karl with a K,” she said,
grasping the hand he offered, “My name is Libby.”
“My mother’s name was Elizabeth,” remarked
Karl. “My father always called her Libby. The rest of the world called her Liz though.”
“Wow, what a coincidence,” laughed Libby, “I
had a cat named Karl.”
“Oh no, that’s not coincidence. It’s a sign,”
said Karl. “David and I, run Star Studios which is located in Toorak. This property is our 'extra' studio, and we also
have some private rooms. It would suit us perfectly, to have someone in the Pergola House."
"I was married to a musician, and I have a little boy at home.
He will come here sometimes with me. Pleased to meet you Karl and I want you to know that I’m not about to get into
a relationship with another musician . . . “
”Do you want to see the studio?”
“Yes, please. . . “
”..and, I’m not looking for a girlfriend,”
said Karl, “I’m much too busy with my music studio, and by the way, we're not
musicians. I’m a Producer, and David is the Camera. Follow me.”
“Do you produce anyone I’ve heard of?” asked
Libby, as she followed Karl to the Studio.
“Probably not as I don’t actually have anybody
signed to my label yet.”
“Oh. Then it’s a new label?”
“Well, not exactly, I’ve had the studio for about
ten years now. I just don’t have any musicians yet. It’s really more of a hobby. I’ll tell you a little
secret. I don’t really need the money.”
Libby was at a loss for an answer to that statement, so she
was relieved that they were at the door to the little studio. Karl produced a key from his pocket and opened the door. Libby
fell in love with the space the second she stepped over the threshold. It was small, but more than big enough for her needs,
and when Karl told her how low the rent was, she couldn’t sign the lease fast enough. Libby didn’t even feel the
ground under her feet, as she walked back to her car.
Karl stood in the doorway of his mansion, and watched Libby
leave. He took her check, for first and last month’s rent, out of his shirt pocket and looked at it. “Well, well,
Miss Elizabeth,” he said quietly. “We’re going to have some fun.”
It was seldom that a woman fell right into his lap, so to speak.
He occasionally lured one in with his music studio, but usually it was Flick and the boys who satisfied his needs. The women
they brought him were fun, but he preferred the ones he found for himself. There was certainly something to be said for an
Over the years it had become much harder to find his subjects.
In the beginning he bought women from poor husbands and fathers, then later he took women who were sentenced to die, often
on trumped up charges, many of them came willingly, unaware that they were being taken to a fate worse than the death that
awaited them, at the hands of their executioners. There was also a time, when he would simply grab them in dark alleys, or
outside of saloons. Often the women he chose were never missed, but with the advent of street lights his advantage of darkness
was greatly diminished. In the decades that followed, it became harder and harder to simply make women disappear. Today it
had become a challenge, requiring not only his attention, but that of a small gang of drug addicts, who he employed.
Flick and his gang didn’t know what Karl did with the
women they brought him. They didn’t care what fate awaited each one. Karl paid them well for their services, with money
and drugs, mostly drugs. Once he hooked them on their addictive drug of choice, it was an easy matter to get them to do his
bidding. It was even easier to keep them from talking, since they were in drunken, drug induced stupors most of the time.
Even if one of them did come forth with a story of disappearing women and a rich music mogul, living in a huge mansion, on
the edge of the ghetto, no one would believe them.
How, thought the evil Karl, could some of his nearly immortal
species, actually find fulfilment in helping these lesser humans. He wondered about the women who went around, creating stars,
and making them rich as an example. He wondered what Marilee and Gretchen were calling them these days. It didn’t matter,
he thought, the humans here are no more than fodder for our desires. Those two are fools.
Through the ages of man, he had watched the barbarism, and
the wars fought in the name of religion. He marvelled at how quickly men would abandon their principles, when it suited their
needs. He, on the other hand, never had any scruples, so he could never be accused of hypocrisy, or of abandoning his principles.
He was simply
evil from the start, and to the core. He always had been and always would be.
Karl was a producer and dealer of Snuff Films. He had a very
lucrative clientele who paid handsomely to watch the producing, and then buy the film, It was a very private and highly specialised
business, and Karl had no concern or feelings for his subjects. They were simply unwanted girls that Flick found somewhere,
and Karl frankly did not care to know where they came from.
The girl or girls would come hesitantly into the apartment
he kept specially for this filming. In this instance he did the filming. He could not handle the risk of anyone else finding
out, or even knowing what he did, so there was no chance of blackmail or any retribution. He had friends who were partners,
and when they broke up, one went sour and destroyed the other with bitterness. Karl was making sure this did not happen to
David was the artist and the camera man and he handled the
legal filming, and spent more time in his darkroom and computer handling film. He dressed like a star; he presented himself
with confidence and had pride in what he did. It would be a shame if he ever discovered his worthwhile, admired partner was
a common pornographer, but with a specialty that made normal porn look tame, which indeed it was.
The heavy breathing of women recorded behind scenes, and the
yelling to get those studs to keep active, was not his line. He specialized in his women rolling terrified eyes and begging
for their lives in the most amazing ways, as he sliced them and watched their life drain down the tiles in the most amazing
patterns. His skill as a photographer would have astonished David, who knew him as a behind the scenes organiser, but Karl,
liked getting his hands dirty.
The camera was often on timer, when so needed, and the viewer’s
seldom even saw Karl. They kept their eyes glued on the subjects. Karl sometimes thought a video of his client’s faces
would have made a more profitable movie, but he realised the value of privacy, and minded his own business. If these freaks
wanted to pay, who was he to refuse? Over the years, he had developed many angles that made his videos collector’s pieces,
and he knew the black-market value far exceeded whatever he made. He knew he was Ok and he produced the goods every two months,
and six videos a year kept him in the style of living he expected. It was true when he told that artist Libby that he did
not need the money.
Both David and he had invested extremely well in property,
and their investments were doing fine with that Agent he had met at one of Marilee's parties. Colin was a tall Adonis with
closely cropped blonde hair with a disconcerting habit of always licking his lips and tossing his non-existent mane.
He wondered how they met, and Colin was supposedly happily
married, and his wife did cling rather tightly, never suspecting her husband's infidelities. Karl let his mind linger slightly
on Colin, and veered off back to the new tenant.
"I suppose we have to charge her rent,' he said to David, who
had his head in a magazine, and his hand protectively over his martini.
"Why? Are you going to suggest free rent?" asked David.
“We could, but that may make her wonder what we wanted,
so maybe leave it as is." He laughed, 'She's a cute thing with those huge eyes and her bare toes."
"She only had bare toes because we made her take off her shoes'
was David’s mild retort as he went back into his magazine.
Karl sighed, poured himself a Martini out of the freshly prepared
jug, and thoughtfully walked out onto the balcony.
“She could do us some paintings..." was his parting remark
as he went outside.