The loud sound of gunfire exploded just feet away from my head causing my eyes to pop wide open. Panic stricken, I immediately jumped to my feet.
“Ma’am, are you ok?” The rifle toting man frantically asked.
“Huh? What?!” I spat the words out as my heart raced with fear. “What the hell’s goin’ on?”
“You were being attacked.” He continued while oddly looking my body over as if he was checking for something.
I shrugged him off with a harsh, scowled expression. “Get off me!”
“Hey, I was only tryin’ to help!” He abruptly growled back.
“Huh?” The confusion was still running rampant through my brain, but then a brief second of clarity began to occur. The night was pitch black, so black that even the moonlight couldn’t be seen through the thick cover of trees. I honestly couldn’t even see me waving my own hand in front of my eyes.
Then suddenly, my estranged hero started snapping his fingers in a rude attempt to get my attention. “Hey!” He exclaimed.
“What?” I shouted back.
“Look around you!” He yelled while shining his flashlight throughout the woods like a deranged lunatic.
“What the hell are you…….” My voice trailed off with a weakened tone as I started to see what he was referring to.
In my stunned state I had become paralyzed with fear. For what I had seen before me, in the flashed glimpses of his light, was the vanishing of ravenous creatures scurrying away. Their bellowed groans diminished into the air along with the foul stench that wreaked of rotting flesh from their bones.
I freaked, “What are those??!!”
“Calm down.” The hunter said.
“How can you tell me to calm down?” The tears welled my eyes and rushed down my cheeks like a busted dam had given way.
“Take a breath. Are you all right?” He added.
“I dunno, I guess so.” I began to feel my body, checking to make sure that everything was still intact. However, I did feel some soreness, maybe bruising in my lower back on the right side, but I wasn’t about to tell him about it. There was absolutely no way I was going to let some creeper lift up my shirt, even if it was to help me. His rough, unkempt appearance made me feel uncomfortable enough as it was. So, I casually lowered the bottom of my shirt and pretended that everything was ok.
“What’s a girl like you doing out here?” He asked, twitching around towards every little sound amongst the trees. His trigger happy self was armed and ready to fire again.
With a shameful tone I answered, “I’m homeless.”
“Homeless?” His annoying questions continued as he finally took notice of my make-shift campsite not far behind me.
“Yeah, had it out with my folks. Haven’t seen them in months. I guess with all the sleepless nights I’ve been having, that I finally passed out hard enough and didn’t even realize I was being attacked. Or maybe it was the drunk induced coma…. who knows? Or better yet…. who cares?” I spewed the words out with pure sarcasm. The harsh taste of last night’s whiskey still lingered on my lips.
“Ya know, you’re pretty nosy for an old man.” I snapped.
“Whatever, I gotcha. None of my business.” He backed off with his hands waving in the air.
Then, it was my turn to quiz him like he did me. “What’s your story? Why ya out here in the middle of the night carrying around a gun? Who goes huntin’ this late?”
“I’m a hunter.” He boastfully replied.
“Well, duh… I can see that.” I scoffed.
“Uh huh…..” He paused, looking around, guarded as if waiting for those vile creatures to return. “Those damned things. Whatever the hell they are. I hunt them.”
“Zombies?” The word blurted from my lips before I had a chance to even rationally think about what I was about to say. Suddenly, I felt a wave of embarrassment sweep over me because I knew that mentioning anything so bizarre was completely and totally insane.
“Yeah, something’ like that.” He quickly answered, still looking around, paranoid with every twitching sound. His trigger happy finger on his gun continued to be ready and waiting upon command.
“Wait! No way!! Zombies don’t exist.” I joked, but then was quickly reminded of the sharp pain in my back as it throbbed like that of a nagging toothache. And then, a disturbing thought popped into my head. One so horrifying that I wouldn’t dare speak about it to the hunter. The nightmarish possibility that what if when I was being attacked, I was actually bitten by one of those gruesome things? It was at that moment that I discovered the intensity of the wound on my back. As discreet as I was trying to be, the hunter took notice of my sudden behavior.
“Somethin’ wrong?” He glared.
“Nah, I’m good. Just an itch.” Quickly I brushed it off.
“Uh huh… don’t be such a lady and let me take a look then.” The old man stepped towards me, shining his flashlight at my waistline.
“I sure as hell ain’t no lady, and I swear if you take one step closer, I’m gonna take you out at the knee. Trust me, old man, I know how to take care of myself.” Moving three to four steps back, I stiffened up, ready for my defense.
“Ok, whatever. I don’t give a damn anyway.” He said as he backed away. And as he stepped back, a stick snapped under his foot. Somehow he lost his balance and fell to the ground. When he did, he caught himself, but while landing he scraped his hand, exposing the raw flesh just beneath the skin’s surface.
“Son of a…..” He mumbled.
Then, all of a sudden, I caught the sweet scent of something. It was something I had never smelled before, something sweet like nectar. I raised my head, sniffing the air around me trying to catch wind of it again. But the higher my nose got, the more faint the desirable smell became. Confused, I began to look around for its origin. My mood was changing and the feeling of emptiness started to take over in my stomach. Hunger was beginning to consume me at an exceedingly rapid pace. My stomach growled with a pain that was so intense that it needed immediate satisfaction. It was growling extremely uncontrollably and the need of fulfillment was urgent. My senses were sharpening, my vision and hearing, and my movements twitched. Something was happening, something terrifying!
“Hey, you all right?” The fallen hunter asked. He looked up at me with a puzzled look on his face, well aware of my odd behavior.
“Yeah, I feel just fine.” A malicious grin slowly formed across my face. As I spoke those words, I began to feel a nefarious sense engulf me. It permeated from the spot on my back and grew stronger as it coursed through my veins. Was it happening? Did those creatures pierce my skin with their razor-like teeth? I felt as if I was changing into one of them. The sense of being predator was exhilarating and the sudden urge to hunt was dire. I needed to feed.
And that was when it hit me. I looked down at the injured man on the ground. His scraped hand was bleeding….. ahhhh…. the sweet smell of nectar!
Our eyes locked and we both knew of the imminent danger that he was in. Obviously, his mounted years of being an experienced hunter paid off because he knew with whom he was dealing. The fierce change had been rapid for me. I had just been born into this ravenous world where rage devoured my soul and hunger had taken over. My nostrils flared and my heart raced, pulsating with every beat. I was ready to pounce him and tear him flesh from bone.
“Now, Miss…. ya ain’t gotta do this….” The rough man pleaded. He tried scurrying back while reaching for the long handled blade that was tucked away in his boot, but wasn’t quick enough for my unbridled advance.
In an instant, I was straddling on top of him, pinning his arms down with my legs. He struggled as hard as he could, even spat in my face and called me some “not so kind” names, but he still couldn’t break free. I suppose that with this new change of mine, came an insurmountable strength that I would have to get use to. Whatever it was, I liked it!
“Now, now, now…. I thought you were big, bad and tough.” I playfully teased, leaning in just inches from his face, so close that our breath intertwined. Anger filled his eyes as he gritted his teeth. Tension thickened between us as the heavy moment in time felt like an eternity. I was waiting for the right moment, almost like toying with my prey. It felt so good, almost orgasmic. Then, without warning, the bastard head butted me, busting my nose. The blood automatically started to flow down into my mouth.
“Mmmmm……” I licked it from my top lip. Tasting my own nectar caused the rage to intensify as it surged throughout my entire body. I reared back and bellowed out a wicked howl, then glared into the frightened eyes of my weakened victim. Terror covered him like a fear filled blanket. His lips trembled and his eyes welled while he cried out, “NOOOO!!!!”
I quickly lunged into him with razor-sharp teeth, piercing the warm, soft flesh of his neck like a hot knife cutting into butter. His blood flowed so sweetly into my mouth like the finest glass of merlot. From there, I began to nibble, then taking full bites to satisfy my insatiable hunger. I could feel his dying body convulse between my legs as I devoured him down to the last fiber of his being.
Finally, the hunter had become the hunted…..
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