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Part One

Everyone in the city will sleep a little easier tonight after the 10 o’clock news. The serial killer who has been terrorising the streets for weeks has finally been apprehended, according to the reports. 


They found him in an abandoned building with various souvenirs from the crime scene, things much too disgusting to itemise, even on the later newscast. He looked like a killer, according to everyone who had an opinion on the matter. His deep-set eyes were ringed with the bruises of a man who had not slept in weeks. His hair, grown out and matted, was almost as dirty as his face. He was covered in blood when they found him. The videos circulating online show him manically laughing as he strains against the handcuffs behind his back. He shouted something as they pushed his head down into the police cruiser. Everyone assumes it was some sort of satanic curse. 


As I walk the streets, I can feel the tension release, dissipating into the crisp night air. The ground vibrates with the deep bass of parties that have every intention of going until morning. Yet, no one complains. This isn’t a typical night, after all. The curfews have officially been lifted, the door-to-doors have ceased, and everyone finally feels safe. The monster has been captured. Those who choose to sleep tonight do so soundly, even with the relentless thud of dance music threatening to break their slumber.


It almost makes me want to take the night off. To give my fellow city-dwellers a night of peace. I owe them that, don’t I? I do. But then I owe the monsters of this city so much more…


Part Two

Despite the newly gained freedoms afforded to the population, the streets are oddly quiet. Perhaps trepidation is still lurking in everyone’s mind. I cruise my usual pathways around the city, seeking out someone worth my time, and come up short. It’s oddly frustrating to find there are fewer people to hunt now that the curfew has lifted, but not in the least surprising. People break rules. And that’s OK because that’s why I’m here. To break them.


Everyone rejoiced when they found the killer, including me. They rejoiced because they finally felt safe. I rejoiced because the city now thought it was safe. Don’t feel too bad for him. He is a murderer, too. He just isn’t THE murderer. But there must only be one so depraved. Disturbed. Evil. More than one would be too much for the delicate disposition of the populus. I’m sorry to tell you there is more than one. There’s more than two. Look around a crowded room. At least one of them is thinking about the things you only see in your worst nightmares. The nature of humanity. Dark at its core.


With a furious sigh, I give up my beat and head towards the nearest sound of heavy bass. Like I said, at least one person there will deserve to see my teeth.


To my delight, I am not wrong. The party had descended into chaos long before I joined it. The room reeks of the sweat of hundreds of bodies crammed into a flat made for two. My giant feet struggle to push forward as they stick to the cheap lino glazed with beer. I sniff the stale air, my keen sense of smell digging beyond the sweat, the alcohol, the lust. Down, down, down until I reach that primal scent. One woman has an overpowering, sickly sweet smell. I avoid her. Not that she wouldn’t be tempting. There is a hint of a sour apple underlayer, which would be enough on a slow day. Another person has the top note of an overwatered cactus. No undertones, though. They are what they are, and they aren’t enough tonight either. I need more. Deeper. Darker. Delicious.


There, that’s it—the smell of rotting fruit. Death-soaked sourness poorly veiled with over-priced, trendy aftershave. I follow the scent around the room, drinking it in as it gets stronger. I pull my nostrils until I am giddy with their scent. Finally, I stop toe-to-toe with the source—a tree trunk of a man with biceps the size of my head. I have to crane my neck up to look at his face - stern, cold eyes but an alluring smile. He’s perfect. Big. Strong. Bit of charm. I do like a challenge.


Part Three

I have to admit it’s tempting to go for him right here. The party has already whipped up one Hell of a frenzy - one punch will inevitably change the tide of the jubilations. I do love a riot. But, it would be a waste to expose myself here so soon after someone else has been accused of my crimes. I should take advantage of the cloak his sacrifice has given while I can.


I stand before him, appearing to him as a woman very much like the one he loved and lost. I can see him panic at the sight of me, and a jab of anxiety pierces through my calm demeanour. I may have over-calibrated and look too much like her. His gaze suddenly softens as he realises I am just a poor copy of her. My nose is a little bigger, my eyes are darker blue, and I’m about an inch shorter than she was. Lust emanates from him, intricately tied with something darker. I’m a little disappointed; this will be easier than I thought. 


I move to whisper in his ear. He nods, takes my outstretched hand, and follows without a word. The crowd is still pushed tightly together and getting rowdier by the minute, but people naturally part for us. His grip is getting tighter as we weave toward the front door. Anyone else would find it painful at this point. They’d try to pull away. Turn and tell him to let go. Terror would rise in their chest when he refused to. But I’m not anyone else.


The alleyway between the block of flats seemed as good a place as any. This man doesn’t deserve a better place to die. He doesn’t even deserve to know why. But it’s all part of the ritual. He has to know.


He stands before me in the alley, ensuring I am positioned between him and the wall. The predator setting up his prey, not knowing he is the hunted. Before he can lean into me, I whisper her name. 




The name is enough. He pulls away, tripping over his own feet. He stammers for words that fall away in a jumble. 


“Oh good. You remember her.”


He is still reeling from the name. From the memories of her. He is trying to figure out who I am, how I know Clara, and if I know anymore than that she’s been missing for five years.


“I’ll save your little brain some effort. Yes I know what you did. So, now you have two options which is one more than you gave her. You can run or you can fight. I don’t mind which, I find joy in both.”


I get a lick of shame in his scent as his processes the memories of Clara. I’d like to say it’s refreshing to sense remorse but it’s somehow worse to know that someone with a soul could do such terrible thing. The feeling passes quick enough, giving way to panic and anger. He wants to end me. I look forward to seeing him try. 


Part Four


This guy doesn’t deserve a chance to save himself, but I’m feeling generous tonight. Perhaps the mood of the city is sinking into my bones, sparking the barest hint of compassion. No. It’s not that. I do have compassion. I wouldn’t hunt who I do if I didn’t have that. I am just craving a fight.


He swings first. His slow, over-muscular arm reaches back and then pushes forward toward my face. I duck at the last second, giving him the impression that I am just as sluggish. It works. He gives me a toothy grin as his confidence grows; I will be an easy bug to squash.


The fact that this man is throwing fists at a woman less than half his size should give you a good indication of his character. I might be a killer, but he is the bad guy. He swings again, and misses. The smile starts to falter as he picks up the pace, his fists coming in wilder with every unsuccessful punch. Sweat beads on his forehead as he begins to pant with the exertion. The punches are getting sloppy, dropping down as they swing toward me. Barely five minutes in, and he is spent. How disappointing. 


Finally, his entire torso droops forward, and he collapses to his knees. I haven’t even given him as much as a pointed glare at him yet. He lets out a scream of frustration. A deep growl of a scream that echoes along the alleyway. If it weren’t for the party still going strong above us, someone might have heard him.


“What do you want?” he asks me, heaving for breath with every word. 


I stand above him, my hands outstretched and hovering on either side of his head. “I want you to feel what she felt. And then I want your soul.”


Before he responds, my hands grasp onto his skull. They squeeze as my fingers dig into the flesh and scrape the bone beneath. I won’t allow him to scream, but I know I am doing my job by his eyes. The telltale glisten of terror is there, of course, as is the bulge of the eyeballs that comes from the pain of having your brain liquified. But there is something else: a tiny spark of acceptance. He knew I was coming for him. He knew this was deserved. 


I’m so engrossed in my mission, on watching him suffer, that the world else drops away. This is when I am my most vulnerable. I can barely see or hear what is going on around me in the midst of a kill. But I can smell. And the distinct, sickly-sweet stench of one of the party guests begins to fill my nostrils. 


I'm nearly done. I can make the process of death last as little or as long as I like. For him, I'd like to take it slow. In all honestly, I take my time with all my prey. They deserve it. I might have a righteous cause, but I'm still a demon. But I need to finish him off now and get away before I'm caught.

I mute him with my mind. He is almost unconscious, but this part usually pulls them out of their deliquium with guttural sounds, screams, cries, and occasionally a bit of begging. Joyful as that sounds, I need to draw as little attention to us as possible. The alleyway is still dark - the intruder may not have spotted us. Yet.


His body convulses as I push all the terror and pain that his victim suffered into him. All of it, all at once. When I feel his eyeballs near bursting point from the agony, I rip out his light. It's as dim as I expected it to be, but a soul is a soul. It'll feed the fires for some time, and with him gone, the world will be ever so slightly brighter. 

The woman lurking gets a little too close as he drops to the floor. I pull at my magic, willing my body to blink out of existence. I close my eyes hard as the world around me folds in on itself. I learned the hard way that trying to see the process of apparition gets messy fast. But the stretch, fold, and wrench doesn't happen. The alley stretches out but then pings back like a rubber band. She's close enough to feel her breath now. I try again, but nothing happens.

I hear a faint whisper in my ear. "You're wasting your energy. You can only go when I will it."


My eyes pop open at the voice. I know it somehow, and yet I don't. A garbled, half-truth of the sound of someone that I knew once. Someone who couldn't be here. Not anymore. It's impossible.

"Who are you?" I ask, praying for an answer other than the one I am expecting.

"Who am I? Oh Kit, I am a little disappointed. You know who I am."

I heave a breath in, determined not to let my voice falter. "I know who you are trying to imitate. Poorly."


Her eyes glow red as they bore into me, as she cackles in my face. "I can assure you, I am no imitation. This is what real work, real dedication to the art of soul harvesting, does to the likes of us. You'd know if you'd continued on the path you set on all those centuries ago."

My eyes pull away from the glow of hers, outlining the shape of her face. The angles of her cheekbones - the ones I caressed so many times, so long ago. She looked just as she did then, but with an undertone of centuries of torment - both inflicted by her and on her.  It wasn't possible. But then, neither was I. I should have recognised her at the party. She was exquisite, after all. How could I have not noticed her. But then... Of course.

"All this time?"

"Yes, all this time. Lurking, watching, waiting. With you until I became part of you. I could have shouted in your face, and you would not have seen me."

In that moment, I knew it to be true. Of course she was with me. I deserved to be haunted by her. 

"Why are you here now?"

Her smile widens. It was not the sweet smile that I remembered, the one etched into my mind. The one that comforted me in my darkest days, and tortured me too.

"I am here to collect you," she sneers. 

"You can't. I'm a..."

"A disappointment is what you are, Kit. All these years, and you drag those to Hell that already have a one-way ticket there? It's pointless, and the higher powers are tired of it. You are mine now. My puppet. You will do as I say, take who I command."

As if needing to prove her point, she waves her hand, and I fall to my knees. A phantom fist buries itself into my stomach, and I fall backwards. 

"No. Cait. Please, no."

"Let's start with that brute. His victim has a sister. Sweet girl. She's done a lot of good in this town campaigning for safer streets. She even teaches free self-defence every Saturday. Perfect candidate."

"No. I won't." I scramble to my feet to face her. The woman I once loved. Who I lost. Who I left for dead. What? None of us are perfect.

"You will. You will do everything I say until you become what you are supposed to be."

I move forward involuntarily, her at my back. I fight her with every step, but it's useless. She's caught me. I am hers. I am hers until I become the monsters I have hunted all this time. I whisper sorry over and over to all those that I will hurt. As we move towards the apartment of my first undeserving victim, I pray Cait lets me take her soul painlessly. I don't know who I am praying to, yet I pray, knowing it will go unanswered. 

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