Twigs cracked underneath my feet, I could swear I was going fast enough to fly. My heartbeat swelled in my head and drowned out my heavy breathing. If I gasped any more, my chest would explode. My pants ripped on the underbrush. I could smell him, he was getting closer. Fuck.
I pulled a branch back and snapped it behind me. I heard some indistinct yelling so close, but it felt so far away. He really was that close to me. The lake house was about a half a mile away. I had no idea if my body was going to let me continue at this pace, but I had to try. I had to get there.
The wind had picked up and my eyes started watering down my cheeks. I didn’t have time in my frantic haze to tell if I was actually crying, or if it really was just the wind. My shoe got caught on something and flipped off into the dark. The next step down had my leg jolt with a searing pain, something had lodged itself in between my toes. I looked down just long enough to see blood pooling around the stick that was protruding out. I wanted to vomit, but shook the image out of my head. I continued to run, as fast as my limp filled run would take me.
“Just freaking stop!”
I looked behind me to see if I could make him out. He might even be up in the trees, I had no idea. I just wanted to get out of the forest. My head was pounding from the last two mile run, I could barely make out anything in the dark. I saw the lake house up ahead, it wasn’t that much farther.
“Erica, don’t you dare!”
“Just stay away from me!”
The pain was getting increasingly worse, and the limp was ruining my pace even more. He was going to catch me, this much I was sure of. Though, every time I looked for him, he wasn’t anywhere. It seemed like his voice was coming from all over the woods, and I couldn’t pinpoint the sound. I couldn’t shake the picture out of my head. Those dark eyes, the deafening silence after he changed. The anger the loomed behind every sense of his being. The romantic side of me thought that maybe this was just the mysterious part that ever girl dreamed of. But I quickly reminded myself that this wasn’t a blockbuster movie, this was my life – and this wasn’t a mystery. It was as clear as day, but as dark as night.
I pounded my feet up the porch steps and reached to open the door – we never kept the porch door locked, but now there was good reason to. I gasped as gnarled hands curled around mine and I was face to face with Victor.
“Get. Your. Hands. Off. Me.” I tried to shake him off, but it was useless.
“It took you long enough to get here.”
“Well, if you don’t mind, you can just go home, okay? Just get out.”
“You know,” he leaned into me. I could smell that musky smell, the smell I never was able to place before now. “I’m not like them, I don’t need an invitation inside.” I shifted under him.
“Look,” he released my hand. “Can we just talk?” I shook my head, speechless. I couldn’t take my eyes off of his. The darkness, the emptiness, all of it I had never seen in true color before tonight. His quickness to get angry with me, I thought we were just going to another one of those semi-abusive couples that really do love each other. But no, nope. I had to go and fall in love with a stupid freaking… do I dare even say it? Do I dare even admit to myself how deeply in danger I am?
I winced. The pain in my foot was finally catching up to me and I leaned on the glass door for support.
“Erica…” He looked at my foot and to the look at my face. His hands melded back into their regular form, the still rough looking, but ever so much more pleasant to look at hands that I had held many nights before. I started crying. He lifted my foot up, and I bit my lip, instinctively pulling away from him. “What on earth did you do?”
“I don’t…” I lost my footing and slumped over on Vincent. “This doesn’t mean…”
“I know, love, I know.” He lifted me up and carried me into the lake house. “But right now, we need to get this stick out of your toe. I mean, this is really disgusting.”
“Says the guy that looks gross thirty percent of his life.”
“More like twenty, and I don’t think it’s that gross. Is it?”
“It’s fowl.” I nuzzled my head into his shoulder. “It’s disgusting, it’s horrific, it’s horrible, and I can’t believe I’m still in love with you.” This was me, and my boyfriend. My disgusting werewolf of a boyfriend. Oh, I know that you’ve seen on those movies – the nice fur, the warmth. But no, this was some horrible half-man, lanky kind of creature with gnarled, worn limps that looked so ferocious that you wanted to run the opposite direction. There was nothing romantic about his shape shifting. It was scary. And that’s why I ran blindly into the night – I was terrified of him. And I wasn’t sure that anything would be the same, but I was sure happy to not be stepping on my foot anymore.
I don't typically write science fiction - I always find that most of those stories fall flat after a point. Not other authors, I think some people have done a great job at creative fantasy works - but I don't have that kind of skill in my writer's box. But it's fun to experiment with shorts every once and awhile. If you're looking for a great Science Fiction read, check out Brom's The Child Thief. It is the evil side of Peter Pan - and yes, it's wicked cool.