Short Fiction - 'Creatures of the Night'
She paced back and forth, from door to window, passing by the foot of her bed. Each time she reached the window, she paused, pulling the fluttering curtains aside to peer out – though, she could make out little in the dark. A nervous tension had settled in her stomach – she felt sick, yet excited. An uncomfortable, yet oddly exhilarating, sensation.
He had promised he would come tonight, and she had no reason to doubt him.
It had only been a few weeks since they had met, and already she thought herself in love, though she had not dared, yet, to speak the words. She still held to the secret hope that he would say them, first.
She had met him in the evening, making her way through the darkened streets. She found him standing silently – standing in the shadows. She was afraid, at first, though he had simply smiled and offered to see her safely home.
And that was only the first of many meetings, many stolen moments, until tonight when she found herself waiting. He had promised to come... 'leave the window open for me', he had whispered, 'and I will come... I have so much to tell you'.
Low hanging branches slapped against his face as he ran, weaving through the trees – though, he did all he could to avoid them. There was no sound of pursuit behind him. No sign that there was anyone in these woods other than himself.
He wished that there were.
He had been a fool, he thought, cursing himself as he ran. Everything had fit together so perfectly. The missing girls, the mysterious stranger. Movement in an abandoned house on the edge of town – though, only ever at night. He had put the pieces together, and thought that they all seemed to fit so well. So, he had chosen to investigate. What he had learned was that all of his theories, and all of his fears, were absolutely right. He was a fool.
He tripped, then – something catching hold of his foot sent him sprawling forward into the dried dead leaves. He paused, there, on hands and knees. Listening out for any sign of movement behind him, or ahead of him - or, anywhere around him. Anything that would indicate pursuit. There was nothing, though. Just silence. Which was, somehow, so much worse.
She had settled herself onto her bed - laying back and watching the fluttering curtains. In spite of herself, she had begun to doze - only to wake some time later to find him seated on the edge of her bed. A young man, perhaps a few years older than her - his handsome face perhaps a touch too pale, framed by dark hair. His fingers were cold against her skin as he stroked her cheek. She smiled, and he offered a smile of his own in return.
He didn't have time for this, he thought. It was night. He was alone. It wasn't safe.
He pushed himself upward, moving to stand. But, froze a moment later. Suddenly, unexpectedly, he found himself staring down at a pair of expensive leather shoes. The figure that loomed over him reached down, and he felt a hand gripping his throat. His feet left the ground as he was lifted, and he found himself pressed against the rough bark of a nearby tree. Staring into the face of what seemed to be an ordinary elderly man - dressed in a fine, and well-kept suit.
But, he knew the truth, now. He wished that he didn't.
"There has not been a hunter of our kind worthy of the name for over a hundred years", the creature said. A hand gripped his hair, wrenching his head back to leave his throat exposed, "all there are now are foolish boys and girls who watch too much television".
The creature moved slowly as it leaned in – enjoying his fear, or daring him to try to fight back. Fear had left him paralyzed, though, and he could do little more than stare at the swaying tree branches far above.
He felt the creature's teeth tear at the soft skin of his throat, and he let out a gurgling gasp – struggling to draw a breath. He tried to push against the creature, then, to force it away – though, he found his own movements weak and sluggish as the creature fed.
It took too long – far too long – but, in the end, he was able to escape into peaceful darkness.
The young man pulled the passenger side door open and slid into the car. The elderly man seated behind the steering wheel started turned the key to start up the engine, though the car remained motionless. Instead, the elderly man turned to regard his young friend.
"What?", the younger man said, after a moment's silence.
"Seat-belt", the elder responded.
The younger of the two gave his older friend a bemused look - but, shrugged a moment later. "Fine", he said, reaching for the seat-belt.
"Safety first", the older man said. Then, a moment later, "So? How did it go?"
The younger smiled, "It went great! She barely even struggled".
The elder of the two chuckled, "I will never understand why you play those absurd games".
The younger could only snicker in response, "said by the man who likes to let them have a head-start. So? Did you get him?"
"On to the next town, then?"
The car had begun to move by then, making its way down the dark and quiet street. "Of course", the elder said, "Oh, by the way. You have a little something...", he made a motion with one hand, "...on your chin".
"Hmm", the younger rubbed at his chin, raising a hand to see fingers stained red, "ah... thank you", he sighed as he licked his fingers clean.
© 2014 Dallas Matier
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