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Blood in the Water



 
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Theodora Hawthorne

Theo’s urges had always been manageable. Perhaps skirting occasionally into troublesome, but in any given week, she had a plan in mind to keep herself fed. Normally it would require approximately one full grown male of average size to keep her freezer stocked for one week, perhaps slightly more if she paced herself. Men tended to be the most appropriate targets, as they were, more often than not, quite easy to lure, and tended to yield the most food per kill.

The planning and organization that had gone into keeping herself fed was the main line of defense between life and death. Truly. If she ever got caught and thrown behind bars, she would waste away from starvation. Theo was wholly unable to survive on anything save human flesh - an important footnote of her curse.

In the past few years, Theo had slowly become heavily burdened with the task of keeping fed. Her hunger was becoming unmanageable to the point of putting herself in an unacceptable amount of danger, not just once per week, but several nights out of the week. She had no way of securing a steady supply of food, and it had created something of a stir in New Orleans, the city in which she resided. She was beginning to fear that she may have to adopt an entirely nomadic lifestyle to keep the heat off her back.

Things hadn’t gotten to that point yet, but it was the sole purpose for her visit to Los Angeles. Theo needed to let things cool down a bit back home, so she booked a flight and a cheap hotel for a few weeks in LA - a city big enough that a few random murders wouldn’t cause undue concern.

It was evening, and the sun had disappeared beyond the horizon, darkening the sky with deep blue and purple streaks. Theo had spent much of the day simply milling around the city, taking in the sights and doing the usual touristy things; the Hollywood walk of fame, took a stroll down Sunset Boulevard, wandered through Little Tokyo. A crumpled plastic zip lock filled with what only appeared to be beef jerky kept her going, but it did little to calm the restlessness that grew inside her.

She decided eventually to return to her hotel, and found herself walking through a farmer’s market on the route back. The sight and smell of the various fresh foods did nothing to catch her interest, although she did pause briefly at a stall that had a beautiful array of homespun clothing before moving on down the road.

She’d gone about five minutes down the road when she spotted a little girl in a dress that matched the same distinctive homespun clothing from the market. She was alone, standing in front of a pet shop with several bouncy puppies in the window. It appeared that she’d realized she didn’t know quite how to get back to where she’d come from, and was looking anxiously up and down the sidewalk as though she were waiting for someone to find her.

Theo swallowed thickly.

Hands fisting inside her pockets, she slowly approached the tiny brunette. The girl couldn’t have been more than five or six, with huge blue eyes that seemed to swallow up the rest of her pretty face.

“Hi there, pretty girl.” Theo stopped next to the child and bent down beside her, offering a kind smile. “You know, you look a little lost.” Her Southern tones were warm, intentionally comforting.

The child reached up to play with her hair self-consciously. “...I was just looking at the puppies. My daddy won’t let me have one.” Her quiet voice was ashamed.

Amber eyes looked the child up and down, taking in the handwoven clothing. “Did you come from down there, where they were selling all that food?” She pointed with her thumb over her shoulder, and was met with a nod from the little girl.

“Would you like me to walk you back down there? It’s not too far.”

Another nod, and Theo’s smile widened. She straightened and offered her hand to the child. “Okay, come on! I’m Theo. What’s your name?”

Entirely trusting, the tiny hand grasped her own. “I’m Delilah!”

A kind little coo about how such a pretty name fit such a pretty girl, and Theo began to steer them back toward the direction of the market.

She really did intend to return her to her family.

At first.

Her thoughts betrayed her slowly, triggered by the warm, trusting little fingers that clutched at her own. It was just… it was too easy. Too tempting. Images began to form in her mind, and her already frayed self control just couldn’t get a foothold.

“Ow, your hand is really tight…”

“Oh. Sorry.” Her hand didn’t loosen.

Theo’s stomach began to do thrilled little flips inside her, and it was just too much. Without thinking much at all, she steered the girl down a narrow side path along the street.

“Um, Miss Theo? I don’t remember coming this way..”

“No, this is definitely the right way.” Theo’s voice was distracted as her eyes swept the narrow path, looking for the right spot. Something out of sight.

Theo pulled her behind a building, where eyes couldn’t easily find them. Night had fallen fully, and the only light was a distant security lamp. Theo’s breath started to come faster as the beast inside her thrilled at the prospect of a meal. Pulling the girl close, she grasped her tightly by her upper arms.

“Ow! Miss Theo, you’re hurting me! Let go!”

Amber eyes burned as she stared at the girl’s tiny, frightened face. It stirred no emotion, not single drop of empathy. Instead, the child’s feeble struggles awakened something ugly and calamitous inside Theo. All rationale swept aside, the child was roughly brought to the ground by an unyielding hand about the throat. Too tight for even a whimper to escape, the girl began to struggle harder, kicking and clawing at any part of Theo she could reach.

Swallowing hard at the rush of saliva that had begun to pool, she grabbed the first limb that came close and held it steady as her mouth descended, teeth ripping into the soft flesh of the child’s thigh. Skin, muscle, and arteries tore as she savagely ripped a tantalizing mouthful of gore, arterial blood spraying across her face and shirt as the girl’s femoral artery was severed.

Unable to scream, the girl slowly suffocated in silence as she was eaten alive.
July 21, 2018 09:48 pm

Gideon Abernathy

“Shepherd?”

A particularly heavy tote had him grunting lightly as he lifted it into the back of the van. The sun was setting, and they were already behind on getting back to the commune, so his attitude was a little less than welcoming. Still, he turned wordlessly to meet the watery gaze of a woman that he couldn’t remember the name of for the life of him. Subconsciously, his teeth clenched.

“What’s wrong?”

The woman visibly steadied herself with a hand placed over her heart and a few deep breaths before finally managing a response. “It’s Delilah... she’s run off, and I can’t find her, and it’s getting so dark and I don’t know my way around...”

Gideon stood motionless as he considered the options. There was not a single part of his being that really cared about this woman or her child, and he was already heavily annoyed that he wasn’t back home with his wife. This was just going to set them back even further. Unfortunately for him, however, he was these people’s leader, thus it was his responsibility to watch their children.

Or so it seemed.

Without responding, he waved Ryan over and explained the situation. “Get everyone home, I’ll get myself and the child back when I find her.” Nodding, Ryan guided the woman to a van, offering up soft reassurances and generally handling the emotional side much better than Gideon ever could.

Setting off by himself, he let out a dark sigh of contempt. There was no telling where this child had gotten to, and Gideon hadn’t the faintest idea what she even looked like. So, more than likely, this would be a feigned attempt at searching, and he’d go home empty-handed and have a talk about the woman’s lack of parenting skills.

Again, he really wasn’t one for emotional aptitude.

It was when he was passing by a dark alley - naturally, where one could only expect bad things to be happening - that the girl fell completely from his train of thought. Sounds that were far to animalistic to be in the middle of Los Angeles permeated his senses, and the more carnal side of him was drawn forward. In the dim light of the security lantern, he witnessed a woman hunched over a small form, clearly gorging herself.

“What the fvck...”

It was a near silent breath, his hand finding the switchblade in his pocket and palming it securely as he closed the distance. Black hues roved over the dying child and he immediately placed her as the one he was looking for.

Under cover of the gruesome sounds coming from the feast, he managed to place himself directly behind the woman. With a quick hand, he tangled his fingers in her loose hair and pulled back, exposing her tender neck and blood-covered face, gristle still hanging from her clenched teeth.

“I could kill you right now,” he breathed into her ear, the blade pressing into soft skin beneath her jawline, “and no one would have any qualms with a cannibal being off the streets. Would you like to beg for your life, or should I just get on with it?”
July 22, 2018 01:32 pm

Theodora Hawthorne

Blood pooled slowly upon the ground where Theo knelt, hunched over the dying child as she revelled in the mindless thrill of tearing flesh from bone. Delilah had grown still and pale with the uncontrolled hemorrhaging, though she still twitched with anguish at each merciless sinking of teeth into muscle. She wasn’t long for this world, no matter what happened.

Theo, entirely gone with the unbridled need to consume, could think of nothing except the next mouthful. It hadn’t begun to occur to her how she would get back to her hotel with the dark red stains of the child’s life upon her face and clothes. Nor had she considered what she would do with the body once she was satisfied.

The long necklace that lay tucked carefully beneath her shirt afforded her some options, although it was meant only for emergencies. The long, sharp claw that dangled at the end of the chain hadn’t even been a consideration when she’d made her snap decision.

Entirely absorbed in her still-breathing meal, Theo didn’t notice the man that had discovered her until she was forcibly pulled from the bloody mess by her hair. A vocal snarl of fury ripped from her chest, and her bloodied hands reached back to grab the arm that had secured her head. Her brief struggle stopped instantly as a blade pressed intimately against her jugular.

“Would you like to beg for your life, or should I just get on with it?”

The voice, so close that she could feel his breath hot against her ear, was entirely too calm for the scene that lay before him. Chest heaving both from the feeding frenzy and from the shock of adrenaline from being caught red handed, literally, she forcefully spat the mouthful of dripping flesh to the ground.

Mind reeling as she tried to come back to herself, she quickly tried to take stock of her options. Struggling would be useless with the blade pressed to her neck; any purposeful movement from her and he would kill her. The talisman around her neck was a last resort, although useless for the same reason. Her throat would be opened before she could complete the shift.

Quickly coming to the realization that she was about to die, a winded, breathy string of laughter forced its way past the knife. “I’ll do it again. I can’t stop.” Her head shook minutely, earning a tightening of the tangled fingers in her dark hair. She grunted quietly. “I won’t beg. I’ve been getting away with this for too long.” A tiny trickle of her own blood slid down her neck as she swallowed against the blade’s pressure.

“A quick death is probably more than I deserve, but I’ll take it. Do your worst, a$shole.”
July 22, 2018 02:23 pm

Gideon Abernathy

People like Gideon could find a certain enjoyment in watching someone struggle within their grasp. It was the thrill of the fight, as the saying went. He waited, nigh breathless, as she processed her situation and weighed all possible outcomes. The upperhand was his, there was no denying it by either party. It was just a matter of how she wanted to go out, really…

So, when she laughed in the face of such danger, he was a bit taken aback, to say the least. Yes, he’d found her chewing on a still-living child, but that didn’t mean death was inherently appealing. Even he was meticulous in his clean-up process; he didn’t want to die.

A throaty laugh choked him for a moment, causing his fingers to tighten slightly in her hair to keep his grip steady. There was something humorous about what she said, I’ve been getting away with this for too long. A base sort of camaraderie came with being the ‘bad guy,’ and this, apparently, was no exception.

Perhaps an agreement could be reached.

“I’ll tell you what,” he began, his pressure on the blade lightening ever so slightly, “I’ll let you out of this somewhat unfortunate predicament you’re in, and in return, you’ll hear me out. Take it or leave it, no questions asked, we both move along with our evening.” The words came out in a quick succession, as the man wasn’t one for wasting time.

“However,” he continued, that pressure in her neck returning as the blade cut just a bit further into the flesh, “I would like to remind you that not only would I be sparing your life, but you also happen to be feeding on one of my people, so really, you’ll be indebted to me twice over. I guess what I’m trying to say is… Don’t try anything funny.”

There was a moment’s pause, allowing her to consider the position they were both in, before he relinquished contact - and proximity - all at once. When she spun around to find him, he would be leaned against the opposite wall, making a show of stowing the knife in his pocket before folding his arms over his chest.

“You could agree that people like you and I need allies, yes?” He wouldn’t give away their similarities, preferring to let her wonder to his meaning. “It just so happens that I have a lot of warm bodies, and the need to do some… natural selection, from time to time. I’d say, arguably, that such an end could justify both of our means. This is, of course, should you be wanting to keep getting away with it, as you said.” A hint of a smirk pulled at the corner of his lips, and his black eyes offered a pointed stare.
July 22, 2018 09:57 pm
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