I’m going to die. Please don’t let me die.
Those two sentences echoed through her head as she ran blindly through the woods. Her terror drove her on. The pain from the branches and twigs that scored her naked body was a lash that spurred her into higher states of terror. The blackness of the night tugged at her sanity. She was lost, and running on instinct alone, expecting to feel the cold hand of death clutch her tightly at any minute.
Maggie Mahoney ran. She ran because she could do nothing else to avoid the doom prophesied by her thoughts. The one hope of survival, the single dimly glowing thread that tried in vain to hold back the dark was her tormentor’s words. ‘If you elude me until dawn, you can live.’ The glint of insanity in his eyes and the malicious grin told Maggie all she needed to know about what would happen if she failed.
She didn’t even know where she was. The darkness hid everything but the trees and bushes she ran through. The pounding of her heart and ragged rasp of her breath drowned all but the closest of sounds. The cold sapped her strength and slowed her thoughts. Her terror stole away any rational processing of her environment.
So she ran from death and prayed for daylight.
Tommy smiled as he counted silently in his head. This one was the one. This one would stop the need to hunt. He knew it.
She was perfect. Long blond hair, large doe brown eyes, china white skin and a body that made his ache in need for it.
Yes. This time he would finally satisfy the beast that raged inside him. The ravening need to hunt, rend and tear would finally be silenced.
She had fought when he’d taken her. They all did, but this one had fought harder than the rest, and had nearly escaped him at the start.
Tommy waited until his count hit a thousand before moving. He could no longer hear her crashing through the woods, but that would change shortly. He reached into his jacket pocket and pulled out a small vial, its content glowing a sickly purple in the darkness.
This allowed the beast physical form, and for this hunt, he needed to release the beast inside fully if he had any hope of satiating it. The power it gave him was exhilarating, nearly as addicting as the hunt itself. With long practiced ease, Tommy slipped the vial into a small gun-like device, and pressed it against his neck. His body trembled with need but he held the tip of the air injector steady, steeling himself against the sharp pain to come.
When he could no longer restrain himself, could no longer refuse the hunger, Tommy triggered the injector. A sharp gasp of anticipation escaped before the burning pain of the drug tore his breath from his body. Fire raced through his veins, as his heart pumped the drug into his system. That pain was a small discomfort compared to what followed.
His nervous system burst into life, each neuron a blazing inferno, from his spinal cord to the finest ganglia and nerve fiber. His muscles twisted, his bones lengthened and bulged, and a blood curdling scream of agony and ecstasy burst from his throat as the drug transformed his very DNA.
What stood in the deserted clearing bore little resemblance to Tommy Carruthers or a human for that matter. Long twisted fingers tore at the clothes that were now a prison to its hulking form. Razor sharp claws sliced easily through the thread and within minutes the gnarled and monstrous body was free of its confining shroud and the night air caressed its skin like a lover.
Slitted pupils searched the night, while an elongated snout sniffed for spoor and tufted ears swiveled to catch the sound of it’s fleeing prey. All three senses locked on the trail and the beast lurched into motion, cable thick muscles and tendons propelled the body through the night like a bullet.
The hunt was on and the beast was hungry.