Embracing the Beast (Excerpt)
by: Mel L Kinder
The breeze from the heavy liquor store door blew past my face as I fumbled with a fresh pack of smokes. It was going to be another sleepless night. Was it withdrawals from the medications? Maybe. Regardless, I was becoming a night-owl. This will not serve me once I return to work—if I return to work. Battling a terminal disease gave me the confidence to walk fearless in the shadow of night. I hadn't realized how reckless I'd been. Walking the streets alone late at night, leaving the windows open, leaving the doors unlocked. Was I tempting fate? Have I given up on life after coming so far in my treatment? I hardly sleep, eat or drink, yet I feel stronger than ever—almost manic. I have nothing left to lose but my life and if that were my destiny the treatment would fail.
The subtle sound of footsteps came out of nowhere. The two men dressed in black stood taller than I even if I were wearing my tallest heels. My arms and legs went cold. I never encountered a situation of immediate danger before—not like this.
One of the men yanked the cigarettes from my hands. “Don't you know these are bad for you?” he said condescending as he shoved them in his back pocket. The other man laughed a deep congested cackle. “You know what else is dangerous?” he antagonized. “Dumb little bitches walking alone at night.” The both laughed.
Time stood still as I felt the change within me. It wasn't the fear and anxiety I expected but the adrenaline everyone talks about. I felt like I was about to do something hasty. I couldn't move. I didn't know what I planned to do. Run, scream, fight back? I
knew no one would hear me and even if they did, they would pretend that they didn't. My mouth was trembling as if to say something but no words came. My mind was blank as if I had no language database to pull from. There would be no reasoning with these guys. They weren't the type to take your money and leave. Somehow I could sense that.
The congested burly man shoved me against the wall and dug into my pockets. His breath smelled of whiskey, sweat and cold cuts. I couldn't believe I was still conscious. I should be more afraid but I was something else. I was anticipating something. Not sure what it was, I continued to stand there defenselessly as my brain
remained a blank canvass. Finding nothing in my front pockets, he reached around back. He caressed my ass before working his way up to the flap of the pocket. Now I could hear my heartbeat inside my ears which began to burn.
He pulled my wallet out and threw it to his accomplice without so much as a glance in his direction. He caught the wallet like some practiced routine. These guys were regulars. How many defenseless women have they assaulted in this alley? Though my mind was as black as night, I knew where this was headed. I felt tension in my bones as I anticipated the man's next move. His cold fat fingers crept up my shirt. I felt them on my abdomen which made me shiver. Why wasn't I doing anything to stop this? I didn't want his grubby hands
on me and yet I let it go on for far too long. Perhaps I wanted to feel justified in the actions that would follow. As if subconsciously I knew what I would do next. I felt no warning within me when it tookover. The secret beast within me waited until the man was distracted by his confidence and anticipation of his next moves—easily brutalizing another woman. One so helpless she didn't so much as fight
His eyes turned wide on me, body paralyzed and silent. His friend didn't know anything was amiss as he waited patiently, smoking my cigarettes. Asshole! The adrenaline pulsed within every cell of my body. There was a need to quench something deep in my soul. The longer my left fingers were inside of him—between the ribs—the more delicious the smell seeping from his pours. The sweat leaking down his face became an appetizing sight, like the juices of a sweet citrus fruit. I felt compelled to lick it from his face but fought the urge. I didn't understand what was coming over me. Like I were outside of myself watching it all unfold. Finally, my right fingers mirrored that of my left as they pierced his skin like butter and slid between the man's ribs. The siphoning of his life began and I felt it pour into me through up my arms and spreading throughout as it reached my shoulder. His life force tickled my senses and quenched the empty pit of my soul. It was better than a good night sleep, better than a fantasy and euphoria barely captured the essence of what it was to drain him of his undeserving life. It was over in seconds but in the heat of the moment it felt l I had escaped to my own paradise island. It was better sex and cigarettes.
I released my fingers from his weightless corpse, drained of all moisture. Thin leathery skin pulled tightly over his bones like a drum. It fell to the ground as quiet as a handful of sand. His buddy was still smoking my cigarette facing away from the action. Conscious thought would slow my actions. Animal instinct fueled me now. I drained this man as I did the last but I had to drag things out because killing him wasn't the same. It was less satisfying. Perhaps his death was less justified.
Dropping the corpse reality set in. What have I done? It was self-defense June. They would have killed you. The air was silent and brisk. No witnesses. What do I do with the bodies? I searched in all directions frantically, unable to think straight. As I reached for the corpse lying before me I noticed a symbol etched in the forehead of my victim. I yanked the skeletal wrist close to position the symbol into moonlight. With the sound of crumbling rock the torso detached from the man's waist and crushed into ash-like dust. Before the remainder collapsed I managed to get a better glimpse at the symbol etched in his leathery skull. It looked like some kind of arrow pointing downward. I hadn't noticed it before the man became meat. I searched the wall where the assault took place but the man was gone. Well, I guess that solves one problem. I looked to the hand which held the wrists of the bastard who stole my cigarettes. Nothing but dust remained. Ash-textured dust.