tagNonHumanStalked

Stalked

byKindofHere©

Pure Fiction

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Marcus Wolfe

"I am Marcus Wolfe."

The reflection in the mirror was not his own. His mind saw a different creature, a thing he didn't recognize. It was him, but not him. The face staring back was sharper, wilder—animal.

He folded his straight razor, setting it down on a white cloth and ignored the ever-present five o'clock shadow tinting his lean jaw. It never grew into a full beard, but even using his razor twice a day his whiskers were a constant reminder of what lurked beneath the surface of his skin.

"I am Marcus Wolfe." His predatory green eyes shined in the light. They didn't believe him.

"Telling yourself who you are, won't stop what's coming," his grandfather had told him long ago while gazing into the night.

"You shouldn't have bitten me."

"The beast bit you. Embrace the gift he's given you."

"Will it hurt?"

"It doesn't matter. The man never remembers."


"The beast better remember," Marcus told his reflection.

He entered his shower, turning the knobs until the water created a rolling cloud of steam. He soaped his sun-gold skin, running his hands through his fine black hairs to touch the only scars marring his lean body. They were puncture scars, and their wounds ran deep.

He left his shower once clean, toweling his body as he entered his bedroom. He looked out his windows that overlooked Industry Park. It was a vast expanse of wilderness cut with manmade pathways, streams, and a large lake, but thankfully no zoo.

"Sometimes the beast needs to hunt," he said. They weren't his words, but he repeated them often to remind himself why he let it happen.

The sun was beginning its descent over the western horizon. He could feel the night and the moon, its power and promise of vitality in a world he could never remember entering or leaving. His only reminders of that time were the lingering gifts that made him more than the man he was, but less than a beast he became.

He took a deep breath, smelling everything in his room and filtering all but the scents of lavender, vanilla, hints of lilac and cloves and other botanicals of a particular choice. Hidden among them was the faintest scent of something unique to the world. The aroma was pure and embracing, rolling through him like a mist and reminding him of warmth and love and eternity.

On his bed was a pink card and he picked it up, holding it under his nose to breathe in the perfume coating it. He let the fragrance linger in his nostrils while his stomach muscles rippled under the impact of his breathing.

The moon was close. He had to hurry. He put the card down next to the duffle bag he packed earlier. He would have preferred to stay indoors tonight, like he usually would, hooked to an IV drip with enough carfentanil to kill an elephant, but only enough to put him in a daze. Two days before the full moon and two days after he slept through his change, but on the full moon he allowed the beast to hunt.

Marcus changed into throwaway clothes he had bought at a second-hand store. The pants, the shirt, and long coat were a few sizes too large to accommodate his size after the change. His shoes were his own, and he'd take them off and throw them in the duffle bag before it was time. The last part of his ensemble was a black baseball cap he would never see again.

Grabbing the card and the duffle bag, he left his room and his high rise apartment, casually bringing the card to his nose for a long whiff of its perfume. As always when he left for his hunt, the dread feeling of making a mistake taunted him.

Redonna Washington

"I'm running late," Red said. Her fingers were milk chocolate blurs as she turned the dial to her lock right and then left and then right again. "Late."

"Why the hurry," Sandra asked.

Red gave her a cringed looked and ran to the showers with her body wash in hand. She didn't have time to go home, but she always planned for that contingency. A doctor's life was one of hurrying up to wait, and that always threw her off schedule.

She showered quickly, cursing her need to work out instead of going straight home after work. She lathered her dark skin, using her hands to push the soap over her toned and muscular curves, wiping away sweat and the old grime of her hospital's cold corridors. She was back at her locker in less than two minutes.

"So, what's that hurry?" Sandra asked again.

Red tapped her left ring finger with the same-handed thumb.

"Oh, the fiancée," Sandra said. "The one nobody has met."

"That's the one."

"Does he exist or is he a book, a cat, and a bottle of wine?" Sandra laughed. "No one believes your fiancée is human."

Red's full, thick lips pulled into an amused crescent that showed her perfect white teeth. Her smile was infectious and radiated warmth. "He's real, and we're going out tonight."

"Mm-hmm," Sandra said. "What is he? A bookish professor? Everyone is betting he's something boring and twice your age."

"I have a wild side," Red said. "I can't leave my bag at the gym. Can you take it for me and drop it off at the hospital tomorrow? I'll pick it up on Monday."

Sandra's eyes did a clockwise roll before she said in an overacted, sullen voice, "I guess since I'm not lucky enough to get the weekends off. Is your man tall, dark and handsome at least? Mysterious?"

"Very."

She opened her bag and slipped on the clothes she brought from home. They were simple, a white buttoned top, a fifties style pleated red skirt that fastened around her waist; ankle socks, tennis shoes and a red hoodie completed her outfit.

"Dressing a little down, aren't you?" Sandra asked. "Where'd you get those clothes: the salvation army?"

"He's bringing my clothes." Red felt a little blush that didn't color her brown cheeks. She felt Sandra's eyes studying her—thinking. Red shrugged and shook her head, smiling. "What are you staring at?"

"Oh! I got it. You look like that girl from the 'Thriller' video. Your clothes are more modern but close enough."

"I love that video," Red said. Her eyes sparkled. "The darkness. The woods. The moon. The monster. It's all very; I don't know." She shivered.

"Okay. What's the girl's name? You look like her."

"Ola Ray," Red said. "I have to go. I can't be late."

She handed Sandra her gym bag, keeping her handbag that held her wallet, phone, perfume and a few items for protection.

"Stay out of the woods," Sandra called after her, laughing. "That's how Michael got Ola."

Will It Hurt

Night had come by the time he strolled through the park. He felt anxious—energetic; he needed to run. He wanted to, but he kept his steps even as he strode along the curving cobblestone pathway under his feet.

Industry Park at night was not a safe place, and the people he crossed under the lamplights were the kind of people decent folk avoided. They eyed him from a distance, trying to judge if he was predator or prey. Those who met his eyes nodded as if acknowledging they were on even footing and hurried to get away from him.

Marcus hoped he would not cross their paths again as the walkway curved toward the park's lake.

He veered off the pathway, away from the lamps dropping their coned rings of light. He walked across the damp grass, the smell earthy and continued toward a thicket of dense wood only the determined would attempt to walk through. It opened onto a small clearing, bordered by brush and the lake and it was where he dropped his duffle bag and removed his socks and shoes.

"Will it hurt?"

"It doesn't matter. The man never remembers."


Marcus stared over the lake. He could see lamplights across the broad expanse of its black, glass-like surface. The small rolling waves of the waters echoed in his ears. He could hear laughter in the distance. People's steps. A bird's cry. A squirrel's chitter. He could smell the night. He could smell the rain in the air. The wolf was coming, and his senses sharpened like a knife's blade sliding against a stone.

"Will it hurt?" he asked, looking upward.

Coal-black rain clouds smudged the night sky, but he could sense the moon. It called to him like a Siren seducing him toward the double-edged sword of paradise.

The weather was bringing a fog, and it drifted over the waters like misty snakes curving and coiling about as they slithered toward the shore. Fog and rain; maybe people would go home, making his hunt simpler.

He pulled the pink card from his coat pocket and smelled it again, memorizing the divine scent that clung to its paper surface.

Overhead the clouds broke, allowing the silver light of the moon to stream upon him with thin white beams. A shock of lightning erupted, bringing the sharp chlorine scent of ozone. Thunder rumbled through the night like clattering sheets of aluminum.

Soon.

He took a deep breath. He skin prickled. His breathing deepened. His legs wanted to move. His clothes felt constricting despite their size. He wanted to rip them off his body and stand naked, surrounded by nature and all that was wild and without masters. He took a calming breath.

Lightning cracked. More thunder. More lightning. More thunder.

His heart began to race.

It was time.

Marcus looked at the moon. His eyes gleamed underneath the light. The moon was beautiful and bright, enormous and crooning to him in a soft, languid chant: Change, change, change.

He could feel it.

The beast was coming.

"Will it—"

Red's Cab Ride

"Taxi," Red called, standing in the bike lane and leaning outward with her spirit fingers wide and waving to the passing cabs.

The sun had made its final descent beyond the horizon. The soft shades of pink and purple were gone, buried beneath a new darkness that the city's lights struggled to keep at bay.

"Taxi," she called again with frantic motions. "I'll fuck for a ride!" A taxi stopped as the last syllable left her mouth. "Nah," she said under her breath, disbelieving the driver could have heard her.

Thunder rumbled, fighting the city's noise for dominance. A sheet-flash of blue brightened the night and then more thunder. The rain was coming.

Red entered the taxi, taking the middle of the back seat. The cabbie looked at her briefly before pulling back into traffic. He looked grizzled, maybe twenty years her senior with silver whiskers and thick lines crossing his dark forehead.

"Where to?" His voice was friendly and a bit rough.

Red gave him the address, adding, "Drive by Industry Park's northwest gate. I'm cutting through it if the traffic is bad."

"You don't want to do that," the cabbie warned. "Lots of muggings and rapings and the occasional dog mauling. What kind of city allows wild dogs to maul people?"

"Don't know," Red said. "A beast needs to hunt, so they don't forget who they are."

"If you say so."

She looked out the window and saw more flashes of blue through the breaks in the high rises. More thunder rumbled, louder than before, but dulled by the confines of the taxi.

"Music?" the cabbie asked. "I'm turning on some music."

Red smiled into the rearview mirror, saying nothing. Melodic sounds filled the cab, deep, soulful sounds that reminded her of a warm couch and a small, dancing fire. She looked through the window, then back to the front and caught the cabbie eyeing her before looking away.

They turned, and the moon was in full view through her right rear window. She leaned down, looking up at the bright orb with hints of blue and black around its edges. A wild chill ran through her body. She pressed her thighs together, looked into the rearview mirror and then looked back at the moon, opening her knees.

"Do you like the moon?" Red asked, leaning further down to take it all in. "It's beautiful. It's hope in the darkness."

"I suppose."

Red heard the catch in the cabbie's voice as she spread her legs further apart, fluttering them and giving him a view of her firm thighs, but the tastier scenery lay hidden in shadow by the covering of her pleated skirt.

Red sat straight, leaning back and rubbed her fingers over her thighs. She spread her legs again, a little wider and she pulled her fingertips spider-like against the fabric of her skirt, inching the hem upward.

"It's impossible to hide under the moonlight," Red said. Her thick chocolate nipples had grown hard under her shirt, pushing against the fabric of her bra. Lightning flashed, thunder roared. Sam Cooke starting singing You Send Me. The pitter-patter of rain tapped the roof of the cab.

Red pulled her skirt higher, but not too high. She looked at the moon, opening and closing her legs, listening to Sam and thinking of her fiancée. They would dance under the moonlight tonight. How would he touch her? How would he hold her? Would he kiss her? Would there be hunger in his eyes? Would he be rough?

They hit traffic near the park. There was always traffic near the park on the weekend. Fog was rolling through the city, reminding her of old Victorian London in the black and white horror movies. To her right was Industry Park and its ornate iron lamps lighting a clear pathway across the grassy fields.

"How much?" Red asked.

"Excuse me?" the cabbie asked.

"I'm going to walk through the park," Red said. "How much do I owe?"

"Lady, you don't want to do that," the cabbie said. His concern sounded sincere. "It's dangerous and raining. It's no good out there."

"The moon will keep me safe." She smiled at his baffled stare. She took a twenty from her handbag. "Keep it."

"How about you keep it if you let me take you home safely," the cabbie said. "Industry City is dangerous. The park can be worse."

Red dropped the twenty on the center console. She got out, looking up at the moon as the clouds gathered around it. Sam sang, "Whoa, you-oo-oo send me, honest you do."

She reached into her handbag, closing her fingers around a small sprayer of mace. She showed it to the cabbie and said, "I've got protection." She was smiling at the moon as the clouds swallowed its light. She didn't bother to show the cabbie her SIG Sauer P238 pocket pistol that fired six rounds of lethality when she pulled the trigger.

"But that's not—" his voice cut away when Red closed the cab's rear door.

The rain settled to a steady trickle. It beaded her hoodie with a light sheen of wet as she walked into the park. The air was the strange mix of nature and the industry of man, and she pulled her perfume from her handbag. The pinkish fragrance was custom made, swimming with unseen crimson specks within its depths. She sprayed her neck and her wrists and continued walking.

Stalked

Tap. Tap. Tap.

Her tennis shoes hitting the cement sounded unnaturally loud to her ears. She hopped down a flight of stairs, looking to her right and under a crescent bridge, she spied people gathered beneath a keystone light. They judged her and let her be.

The fog had turned into a blanket of mist, doming her surroundings and moving with her as she walked. The light from the lamps reflected about the mist, making everything bright in a dulled way. Her steps were loud. Tap. Tap. Tap. She took a deep breath and caught the smell of something animal on the wind.

Red looked at the fog covering, thinner above than it was around. She wanted the moonlight to shine down on her and sprinkle her skin with its mystical touch. There was power in the moon; a wildness that infused her with the desire to shed her clothes and—

There were eyes on her. She stopped, turned in a circle and clutched her handbag tightly as bumps rose along the length of her skin. There was a shadow beyond the fog's rim. It was tall and dark and it sunk back into the dense whiteness when her eyes fell upon it.

Lightning cracked. Thunder roared. Rain fell.

Red walked faster. She had to move faster.

It was watching her and following her, its movements unheard and unseen, but she knew it was out there. Her body felt light and ready for flight. She quickened her pace and deepened her breathing, trying to control her excitement with airflow.

Something snarled and the sound lost in the fog. It was almost as if it—he—wanted her to turn and look for him.

"Keep moving," she told herself.

Red's legs stretched into a skipping run down a pathway she knew by heart. She had taken every step a hundred times before and she knew where she was even in the fog. She also knew a man was circling her at an impossible speed and no amount of knowledge of her surroundings was going to let her escape him when he decided to do more than circle her.

Someone laughed beyond the edge of the fog. Someone broke a bottle. More laughter followed. The misty barrier moved with Red, and a curved iron lamp came into view with three men standing beneath it.

"Fuck," Red whispered. She stopped, but they saw her and took an interest.

Her stalker's eyes were still on her, penetrating her and eager to see what she did next. She turned her head by instinct and caught a pair of twin emerald eyes glinting in what light the fog managed to capture and then they were gone.

Her mouth went dry, and a strange, excited thrill rushed through her. Those eyes made her feel small, and they were hungry, and she was what they craved.

"Hey, pretty girl," a man said.

Red turned her head. The three men were approaching her. They were young, neither clean nor dirty and their clothes were passable for a trendy bar or a gastropub. Their eyes were bloodshot; their steps wobbled by liquor.

"Excuse me," Red said, holding her handbag close.

She tried to walk along the edge of the pathway, but one of the men with a scarf around his neck and a rooster wave haircut jumped in front of her. He spread both his hands and smiled with pretty boy teeth. He wet his lips with a long tongue.

"What's your hurry, pretty girl?"

His friends laughed.

Red heard a low growl beyond the fog. The strangers didn't seem to notice. Red's eyes darted around.

"She's in a hurry to give me a kiss," one of them said. He smacked his lips together. "Wanna kiss me, pretty girl? I wanna kiss you."

Red took a step back onto the grass, opening her handbag and slipping her fingers inside.

"Whatcha got in there?" the guy with the scarf asked. "We don't want your money—yet. We want to get to know you, pretty girl."

They laughed, but there was no humor in it. Their laughter was sick, mocking.

Red jumped as a horrible, heart-stopping roar ripped through the night. It was harsher than the thunder, raising the small hairs on the back of her neck. The strangers followed her eyes, and they saw a shadow through the mist. His green eyes glinted like specks of alien embers. Her stalker loped forward with smooth, ethereal strides.

"Run you assholes," Red hissed. She followed her advice and ran, pulling her perfume from her purse and spraying the air. "Run!" she yelled, her feet stamping on the grass while her long, coltish legs propelled her forward ground-covering strides. She entered a thicket, cursing as she half stumbled through the brush and shrubbery. "Fuck. Shit. Damn it."

Thunder roared and swallowed most of the howl she heard from behind her. Lightning shot a jagged line somewhere overhead and screams died away before she truly heard them.

She stumbled into a small clearing that edged right against the park's lake. She spun, staring into to woods around her as the snapping of branches and the crunching of leaves announced she wasn't alone. She saw the emerald eyes first before her stalker's large body materialized from the brush.

Red dropped her perfume. She dropped her purse. Her heart thundered.

"Oh boy," she whispered.

The Beast

The beast didn't think like a man. Its vision swam in deep, vivid colors and its mind acted on instinct alone. The woman was electric in her brightness and her scent, her lovely, lovely scent, flared his nostrils and drove his need. She was all he could see. All he could smell. And she did something no other prey he had known could ever do: she met his eyes without fear.

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