"She is beautiful, irresistibly so. He wants her. Or believes he does."

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"C'mon," she said, smiling. Her lips were red on her pale face. In the darkness of night, she looked almost dead, like a well sculpted wax parody of a living human being.

"I'm not sure I should," I replied.

"Oh," she whined. "Why not?"

Her hand was on mine, tugging me along. I looked back at the car, at the stars shining in the still air, at the lights of a distant city, glowing on the horizon miles away. I looked at the woods gathered around the road, the shadows between the trees reminiscent of werewolves and Frankenstein's monster. Where in hell were we? How had I let her talk me into coming this far?

"I think I should be getting back," I mumbled half heartedly. "I have to go to work in the morning."

"Not any more," she laughed. Still I hesitated, reluctant to dance into the trees and shed my clothing. So she reached down to that secret spot in my pants, that spot of hard resistance. "How can you say no?" She pulled closer, whispering in my ear, her breath sending chills down my spine, "I'll be really good to you . . . really gooooood."

And I knew she would be. That's the trouble with hormones, they're one of the few things in the world that can override the better judgment of a human mind. I relented. And she dragged me away into the forest, giggling and pinching me so that my blood flowed hot and ready.

"We're going to live forever," she said. "Forever."

The weeds whispered at my boots, the dew soaked my slacks and dripped from the branches of the mesquite and oaks. Her hand was cool and soft, it felt of more delicate days, days of antebellum summers and spring rainfalls. And her eyes, though now hidden in the night, were a piercing blue, the color of icebergs or winter skies, they were a color I could never forget.

There was a smell of wild flowers and crystal clear country air. The car was long forgotten, left behind like the cast off shell of a cicada, waiting patiently to be refilled with flesh upon our return from lovers' struggles.

"Have you ever done it in the woods before?" she questioned, looking slyly over her shoulder as she pushed a branch out of her way.

"No," I replied innocently, "Never." I was uncomfortable. There were too many eyes in the forest, there were too many shadows.

The branch whipped back unexpectedly. Thorns of the mesquite tree neatly cut my cheek. I hissed in surprise and slapped my hand to my face, feeling for the hot touch of freshly spilled blood. In the heavy moonlight, my fingers turned crimson.

"I cut you!" She stopped hiking and turned to pull my hand away from my face. "Darling, it's such a nasty little scratch. Come here, mommy will kiss it and make it all better," she purred.

I leaned closer, latched my arms around her trim waist. She kissed the scratch on my face, once then twice. My temptress started licking at the blood trickling down my cheek, her tongue warm and wet. She started actually sucking on the wound, forcing fresh blood onto her eager lips.

Pushing her away, I wiped at my face, revolted. "What do you think you're doing?"

"I'm feeding, honey." She smiled, stepping closer once again. "We're going to live forever."

"What are you talking about?"

Avoiding my question, she answered, "Hurry. It's getting late."

Suddenly I wasn't so sure I wanted to be in such a dark, lonely place with such an odd, raven haired woman. There was something in her eyes, now, something that wasn't the glow of the moon or the shine of the stars. There was something of the predator in the way she looked at me, and I felt like a snared rabbit, dangling from her jaws.

She hooked her arms around my neck and once more attacked the scratch. I could feel the force of her suck, I could feel the heat and tingle of capillaries bursting just beneath my skin. How was I going to explain a hickey on my face tomorrow at work?

I decided I'd had enough. I tried to push her away.

But she clung to me. The harder I pushed, the tighter she cinched her grip. It was impossible to break free, the woman was surprisingly strong.

"What ARE you doing?" I repeated. She said nothing, for her mouth was tightly fastened, feeding still.

At last she broke her hold and whispered fiercely, "Relax. Relax, darling, we're going to live forever, you and I."

My head started to swim. A slow, dull tingling sensation spread out around her touch, as if narcotics had been injected into my veins. My knees felt weak, my heartbeat slowed. I discovered my arms and legs would no longer respond to signals from my brain. Helplessly, I felt my body relax in her grasp.

All was still. The night was perfectly quiet, perfectly beautiful. I felt as if I were on the surface of an alien planet. The stars beat down on me full force, suffocated me until my eyes rolled back into my head. I slumped to the ground and could only watch her stand over me. Her lips were running red, a tiny rivulet of blood trickled down her chin.

She wiped it away with the back of her hand. "How does it feel, darling? How does it feel?"

I couldn't answer. I had no feeling in my entire body, I was numb.

"How does it feel to be beaten, having never been aware of the fight?" She was smiling evilly, slowly dropping to her knees beside my stricken body. I could only move my eyes to watch. "Do you feel like a fly caught in a spider's web? Do you feel like you've been paralyzed and wrapped up in a cocoon to await a slow death?"

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