Amanda stood outside the two story building in a small Ohio town. The marquis identified it as "Benson's House of Wax". She sighed heavily as a flood of memories and conflicting emotions hit her at once.
The grandfather who raised her since she was twelve had recently died leaving her the business that she stood in front of now. She remembered her grandfather's patience, care and love that he showered upon his granddaughter. She also remembered his wax creations he sculpted in the building's basement. Both bloomed to a radiant perfection under his guiding hands. The John Wayne and Marilyn Monroe figures still bring people in from all over the country. Furthermore, Amanda became a beautiful young woman.
The two lived in the apartment in the upper story. It was not large but it was comfortable and it was home. These were two things she really needed right now. For not only was Amanda dealing with the loss of her closest and last surviving relative, but she had finally divorced the abusive man that had been her husband and captor for the last three years.
Bruce initially was a charming and loving man. However, shortly after Amanda moved back to New York with him to take up their new life, Bruce underwent a dramatic change. Prince Charming suddenly became Mr. Hyde. The mental and verbal abuse was one thing, but the physical beatings and the ‘rough sex' were another.
Once away from family and friends, Bruce isolated Amanda from the outside world. She had become a prisoner holed up in a penthouse apartment in New York City. Like a whipped dog she obeyed Bruce's every order and cautiously moved around for fear of bringing his uncontrollable wrath upon herself.
What changed everything was when she answered the phone while Bruce was away on a business trip. Amanda would never have dared answer the phone while Bruce was in town. He screened his calls religiously and if Amanda ever answered the phone, he would yell at her and beat her relentlessly.
Why Amanda answered the phone, she could not say. Maybe she felt compelled to by some higher power. Or more likely, she was rebelling against the torment she faced every day. In any event, it turned out to be for her. An old friend had been trying to reach her for weeks. But Bruce would screen all the phone calls and the mail. Further, there was not a computer in the house for Amanda to send or read email.
At first, Amanda was devastated at the news that Grandpa Benson had been gravely ill and finally had died two weeks earlier. Amanda spent the rest of the day crying and lamenting the fact she did not even get to pay her grandfather a last visit. She did not get to say ‘I love you' one last time.
As these lost moments ran through her head, a fire began to burn inside her. Bruce did this to her. He had denied her access to her family. Even now he was trying to keep her grandfather's death a secret. It was all part of his scheme to hold dominion over her.
A long repressed rage began to build. Eventually, it consumed her. By the time, Bruce returned home three days later, Amanda had moved out and had filed for divorce. Getting a restraining order was not too difficult especially after medical doctors identified several healed fractures and broken bones. In fact, the city was bringing charges against Bruce.
Amanda cared little for that now. She had business to attend to in her home town. She had to get Grandpa's things in order and she had to begin to pick up the remaining shreds of her life. She had everything she needed to begin anew.
The museum could still bring in a modest means of income. Amanda did not immediately know if she would continue to run it or try to find a buyer. However once she entered the doors, she felt compelled to do everything she needed to keep it going.
The corridors already had several new exhibits on display. Grandpa Benson had been preparing for Halloween. It was the biggest time of year for the business. The waxen characters representing historical and fictional villains and monsters greeted Amanda.
There was Jack the Ripper in his top hat and long coat with a bloody scalpel raised in a gloved fist. Next to it was Frankenstein's Monster his black stitches contrasting starkly against his cadaver gray skin. The beautiful, pale skinned woman with long raven black hair and ruby lips slightly parted to reveal two sharp white fangs was new. Amanda went over and looked at the plate describing her grandfather's latest creation.
Lillith exiled to the Land of Nod, birthplace of the vampires:
"Adam's wife, his first. Beware of her.
Her beauty's one boast is her dangerous hair.
When Lilith winds it tight around young men
She doesn't soon let go of them again."
Quoted by Mephistopheles from Goethe's Faust
Amanda smiled for the first time in a very long time. She had finally come home. These wax characters were as much family to her as her own grandfather. Maybe because in a sense they too were his children. Given the same care and love he had freely dispensed upon his granddaughter.
Amanda spent the remainder of the day moving in her scant possessions and cleaning up the small apartment. At first it was hard looking at everything her grandfather had in the apartment. But somehow, she felt his presence was close by and she continued the tasks at hand.
By night fall Amanda decided to take in a late movie. The theater down the road was playing a double creature feature for the Halloween season. The 31st was just a week away and the museum would be too busy for Amanda to enjoy herself until afterwards.
Amanda grabbed her coat and exited the museum locking the door behind her. The air was cool and crisp as the autumn leaves danced down the street in the slight breeze. She excitedly jogged down the sidewalk to the ticket office of the theater.
Unbeknownst to her, a dark figure moved out of the shadows and ducked down an alley. The figure found a low window leading to the museum's basement. A few quick jerks of a crowbar had the window open and the figure slid inside the building.
"I'll teach that bitch a lesson," Bruce thought betterly as he moved around the various equipment and boxes in the basement.
Bruce soon found his way up the staircase to the main gallery of the museum. His small flashlight instantly lit upon someone holding a gun on him. Bruce's blood momentarily froze in his veins before he realized he was looking at the figure of John Wayne in typical cowboy attire.
"Stupid dolls," Bruce sniffed aloud. He wound his way through the gallery and entered upon another. Bruce at first tried to navigate his way through as quickly as possible. He was intent on getting to Amanda's apartment. He would hide in a closet, and when she returned home, he would introduce her to his knife. He planned to take it slow -- letting her experience true agony.
However the craftmanship of the wax images soon had Bruce slowing down to study them more closely. It was uncanning how realistic they looked. Genghis Khan sneared with a saber raised high in the air. Marilyn Monroe stood in her classic pose over an air duct.
Occasionally Bruce would be startled by a figure holding a pistol or rifle. He had to do double takes to make sure they were made of wax and not flesh. Sometimes he had to reach out and touch a figure to reassure himself.
"I have to admit the old man was an artist," Bruce said to the wax image of Helen of Troy. Her long slender arms held out beckoning to the observer. Helen's blond hair curled around her delicate pale face. "I can see why a thousand ships were launched in your favor, my lady," Bruce said with a mock bow.
Soon Bruce was taking up a conversation with many of the exhibits as he worked his way through the gallery. He had the impulse, a couple of times, to break off an arm or to carve an obsenity into to the wax. However, he could not bring himself to do it.
"I thought you were working at a chicken joint in Colorado," Bruce joked to an image of Elvis Presley. "Hey, King you may want to lay off the Big Mac's! They'll be the end of you."
The museum appeared larger on the inside than it did on the outside. Bruce still could not find his way to the stairs leading to the apartment. He had only been in the Benson's place once, and that was over three years ago. At that time, he had entered through the front door. He had never taken the time to look at the exhibits.
He was making up for that oversight now. Bruce knew that Amanda would be at the movie theater all night watching the horror movies she liked so much. It was ironic that she found escape from the horrors that he inflicted on her by watching others have a worse fate enacted upon them. Worse -- that is -- until she returned home tonight.
"Ayyy!!!" Bruce cried as he ran into a tall woman with long red hair in a black gown. Her face was struck with fear as she glared at her hands. What she was looking at Bruce could not tell. He moved the beam of his flashlight down to the placard.
"‘Out damn'd spot' Lady MacBeth's conscious plagues her." The placard read.
"Hmm...I don't have that problem," laughed Bruce as he lifted the flashlight's beam back up to the face of Lady MacBeth. The dark woman's face now appeared to be scowling down at Bruce.
"What the hell?" Bruce shouted in fear as the flashlight fell from his hand. He quickly dropped on all fours and grabbed the rolling flashlight. He rapidly shone the beam on MacBeth's face again. She again appeared to be looking at her hands.
"Calm down, man. You are letting your imagination get away with you," Bruce said to the empty air around him.
"Maybe I can help you," a woman's voice said behind him.
Bruce spun around and flashed the beam into the eyes of strange woman. She squinted through the light at Bruce. Her beauty left Bruce stunned. He noticed her milky white skin, cherry red full lips and midnight black hair. She was wearing a light diaphonous gown that was nearly see through which accentuated her perfect curves. Bruce felt his passion rise as he assessed her full breasts heaving underneath the thin fabric.
"Who...who are you?" Bruce's mind was at a loss.
"I can be who ever you want," the woman said as she slid out of her gown.
Bruce stood frozen as one of the wax exhibits. The woman completely nude slowly approached Bruce. "There is no need to fear. Relax the night is ours," she said in a sultry voice.
"I...I must be dreaming," Bruce stammered as she began to unbutton his shirt.
"Enjoy the dream then," the woman whispered in his ear.
Bruce needing no further prodding passionately started to kiss the woman on the face and neck.
"Yes," the woman sighed as she slid Bruce's shirt off so she could run her hands down his back.
"How did you get in here?," Bruce panted as he pulled the woman down with him onto the floor.
"I know my way around," the woman panted back as she returned Bruce's kisses. Bruce had to agree with her.
"What's your name?" Bruce said as the intensity of the situation began to escalate.
"My name is Lillith," the woman replied as her dark black hair started to entangle itself around Bruce's head.
Bruce started to massage Lillith's full silky breast. Their hot bodies were pressed together tightly. Lillith's hair began to tightly wind itself around Bruce's neck. Bruce continued to passionately kiss the woman who straddled him.
It was only when Bruce was having a hard time breathing that he began to become concerned. He tried to speak but the words would not come out. He then tried to pull the hair from his throat. However it would not loosen its hold. In desperation he grabbed the abandoned flashlight and shined its beam at the woman gyrating her warm body on top of him. In the flashlight's beam he noticed Lillith begin to smile. A smile that produced two sharp fangs moments before they plunged themselves deep into his neck.
Amanda returned from the theater around 2 A.M. She flipped on the light of the museum so that she could navigate around the museum. She walked down her grandfather's rogue gallery of monsters when she noticed Lillith again. Amanda did not remember there being blood on her fangs last time.
Amanda reached up and felt the teeth of the smiling woman. The blood was so realistic looking she could have sworn the vampire had just eaten. However, it was just a little wax and paint. Amanda began to walk away when she noticed a figure behind Lillith.
Strange she never noticed it before. She knelt down and looked at it closer. It was a man his shirt was off and his pants were partly undone. His face was turned away so she could not see it. However there were two red holes in his neck.
Amanda could not understand why, but she had to look at the face. She walked around and looked at the horror stricken face of her exhusband. At first, Amanda stiffled a scream then she reached out and touched it. Wax, he was made of wax.
Amanda relaxed and laughed out loud. Grandpa never did like Bruce.