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In Another Vein

October 30, 2021 by in category Quill and Moss by Dianna Sinovic tagged as , , , ,
Photo by Garth Manthe on Unsplash

The full moon is my favorite lunar phase. Not because it helps me see better in the darkness—that’s never been a problem. It’s because moonlight infuses the evening with a special glow. It makes me swagger, and maybe take more chances than I should.

On this particular full moon, I am out and about by twelve-thirty; leggings, gray tunic, sensible shoes, my hair knotted atop my head. I think I look sleek like a cat without the whiskers or tail. Some accuse me of walking the streets, but that’s not why I’m out here. It’s hunger, really.

Nostalgia makes me head up Rush Avenue this night. I have memories of sweet drafts, sparkling with life. Ripe pickings, with little danger of getting caught. Part of me says to walk on by and follow my usual routine: Never the same place twice. With the full moon lighting the way, I am more visible than on other nights.

“Hey, girl,” a late stroller shouts from the other side of the deserted street. I ignore him. That is my first mistake. I’m not the only one dressed for inconspicuousness this night. 

Another man materializes on my right. A big, muscular fellow, dressed in black. 

“Why such a hurry?” he says, but softly, intently. He drifts closer to me, and during that action, I am aware that the late stroller has moved across the street toward me. I am flanked. 

I should run—I could easily leave them behind—but the hunger emerges, as it always does when beating hearts are within range. I decide to see what happens if I stay. That is my second mistake.

“The place three doors up has a broken latch on a rear window,” I say. “Easy to enter and look around, if that’s why you’re out here.”

“Maybe,” the big guy says. “And maybe we’re here because we’re looking for someone like you.” His hand grabs my arm, and I can smell tobacco and sweat on him. 

The late stroller takes my other arm, but his grip is lighter. He’s shorter, slimmer than the big guy. And his breath as he leans in tells me he’s been drinking. Maybe this duo isn’t out to make a quick buck on stolen goods.

“Nice night for a drive, Matt, don’t you think?” the late stroller says to the big guy as he leers at me. “Especially with the little lady here?” 

Matt, the big guy, agrees by laughing, more of a guffaw, and grips my arm more tightly, as though I’ve made any move to get away. 

Their car could be any parked along this quiet city block. I have a few seconds to decide on a plan, but I’m distracted by their closeness. Their pulses beat against my arms; even through the tunic’s sleeves I feel them and my hunger surfaces again.

I could sink my teeth into Matt’s hand, but his friend might be strong enough to pull me off. 

Unless. 

I know how to avoid a third mistake. Moving swiftly, I bite deep, and the reaction is predictable. Matt yelps, letting go of me. I turn just as fast to the other man and draw blood. 

“Fuck,” he cries. And I am free once more. 

Just as predictable is their rage. No longer am I a target for their lust: They must hurt me because I have hurt them. But I am quick, and did I tell you that I think just as quickly? 

Matt rushes me, but I sidestep, and his momentum barrels himself into his friend. They both go down, the friend striking his head on a concrete trash receptacle. He twitches a few times and lies still. 

Pushing back to his feet, Matt readies for another assault and then slows. He stares at me. I nod. The venom in my bite has flushed through him.

“What are you?” he says, but the anger that drove him to action a moment ago has dissipated. 

I smile. “Give me your hand.” Without hesitation, he complies, and I drink. I’ve had better, but this will do. He watches me, his eyes blinking languidly. “That’s enough for now,” I say. Placing my palm on his wound, the bite seals immediately.

“That was . . . nice,” he says. 

“That’s what they all say.” I reach up and gently touch his cheek, his lips. “Sorry about your friend.”

He shakes his head. “Not really a friend. More of a jerk.” He seems unsure of what to do next. “Will I see you again?”

“I should think so,” I say. And then, because I’m fast, I’m gone before he sees where I’m headed, even under a full moon.

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