Another scream shattered the silence of the night. The shrill peaks and gasping valleys of the wail twined through the darkness. The sounds of pain and terror filled the night winds. The cry echoed from everywhere and nowhere. Walden Park held its trembling breath between the agonizing screams that echoed through its wooded depths.
Nathan Laurent swiveled his head side to side to pinpoint the direction of the cries, as his legs pistoned him onward. This motion gave his silhouette a predatory cast as he ran. He liked that, it felt right. He focused and the nights sounds came alive for him. He sorted through the symphony, tracking the desperate screams and sound of pursuit.
He drew in a deep breath and allowed the park’s smorgasbord of scents to settle across his palate. He could taste the cold and bitter fear. The pain was sharp and acrid.
The taste of the hunter, a twisted feral presence filled with lust, hunger, and bliss, stalked along the edges of the terror. A shadow that drove the terror to even greater pitches. A wisp of decay wove itself through the night and Nathan was unable to tell who it belonged to; hunter or prey.
The cries and the scent on the wind painted a clear trail for Nathan as he bolted down the gravel hiking path. He moved confidently down the trail like it was a bright July day instead of a chill November midnight.
Nathan moved with feline grace. The rush of power that coursed through his body excited him. He felt a bestial joy spring up, momentarily driving away any thought but the fierce seduction of the hunt.
He reveled in the strength of his limbs and the graceful agility of his new body. His mind was focused, actively cataloguing the scents, sounds and sights of the glorious night surrounding him. He moved off the trail to cut a more direct path to his quarry. Nathan danced through the trees and underbrush. He was a ghost drifting on the breeze. His mind was at one with his body in a way it had never been before. He felt powerful; he felt free.
He was lost in sensation and gained swiftly on his quarry, until another scream pierced the night and shattered his focus. The reality of his actions crashed back into Nathan’s thoughts. He was running, blithely, into certain danger unprepared and unarmed.
He had no reliable information on the situation. What information he did have was provided by freakishly sensitive senses. Senses that baffled him. They were mutations his father had forced on him; side effects of the extreme methods his father had employed to keep him alive. Methods that turned him into a monster and a tool for his family to exploit.
Nathan realized he had no idea what he was going to do once he caught up. He had only some vague need driving him on; a need to do something, to stop the screaming, to stop the evil that haunted the park. He stumbled and slowed in his flight through the forest.
What the hell was he thinking?