My first instinct is to shrink away and hide, pretend the man next to my bed can’t see me. But I know he can… why else would he turn the lights off.
The very second I shift under the blankets, a rough hand smothers me and I feel the weight of the man as he kneels over me in the bed. I gag at the strong odor of sickly sweet mud on the hand I claw and pull at. He doesn’t flinch or move. I can’t draw enough air in to sustain my panicking body. The sensation of tears running down my face, spurs me to fight. I won’t go out crying and cowering in the dark. But all I have to defend myself is a three hundred page hardback and a blanket. Both suck at being good weapons. I am no Jackie Chan.
Kicking my legs against the wall for leverage, I throw my right fist at his face, desperate to inflict pain. Mid-punch my hand is caught in razor-sharp teeth. I don’t pull away, it would create too much damage. My attacker punishes me by cutting off all my air. I double my efforts to remove his grip. My one-handed attempt is pitiful so I change tactics and stop all movement in the hopes he will loosen his hold on my face. My lungs burn with the need for air.
He gives me a small gift of breath, then clamps down again. His left hand wraps around the wrist of my bitten hand and gingerly removes it from his gruesome mouth. Stinging warmth and the tickle of something running down my arm, tells me the skin is broken. I am bleeding.
“Yummy, Pennelope..” he says with reverence. An involuntary gasp sucks at his hand when I feel a warm tongue lap at my palm. Dread washes cold over me.
“Shhh…now. If you are a good girl I will let you breathe. Don’t bother with screaming. We both know it won’t do any good.” It’s the truth and I nod to accept his deal. His hand is removed and blessed air fills my lungs. I am not giving up the war, just seceding the battle. He continues to lick my hand with disgusting relish. I’d better not catch whatever the hell this guy has.
“What..what are you doing? Stop licking me!” I yell at him. Immediately his hand is back over my mouth. This time he leaves my nose free, I can breathe. I just can’t talk.
“Wouldn’t want to waste it now would we.” he laughs uproariously, like it’s the most hilarious thing ever said, then finishes cleaning my arm. The smell of his saliva is strong in my small room. I fight not to throw up.
He lays my arm over my stomach and leans in to whisper his hot putrid breath into my ear, “I like you. So I’ll let you live, little Pennelope. Yes, I know your name..” He licks the edge of my lobe. I cringe away and he follows, “I know everything about you. Gerard is to thank for that. If not for him, I wouldn’t have noticed what a tasty treat you are.” I can feel his smooth face pressed to mine, it is cool against my heated tear streaked cheek.
“Mmm” He moans at our closeness, gripping my face harder to keep me in place as I pull away and whimper. “You can inform your friend that we know he killed James Thursday night. Leaving him tied to meet the sun, very cruel indeed. Tell him.. there will be consequences.” I shake my head in denial, and he notices, letting me speak.
“We didn’t kill anyone, the police were called. They probably have him at the jail.” I try to convince him, even though I don’t entirely believe it myself. Something was off about that whole night.
He clutches my head with both hands and speaks right up against my lips, so close they brush mine as he talks. “The Slayer knew. He left James tied to burn in dawn’s light. He knew there would be retribution, I wonder at him leaving you unprotected. Maybe you’re free to take…Mmm…Free to keep?” I shudder, and manage to breath out “No”.
“We will see, Penelope Redlin. Until next time, Love.” He says and kisses me with his cool, dry lips. I firmly keep my mouth closed and don’t breath in his revolting scent. The weight lifts from my bed and I keep dead still, listening for movement. The smell has faded slightly, and I figure he has really left. I reach for the bedside lamp and fill my studio apartment with glorious light.
I leap from the bed and run to the bathroom to wash. I wash again. Then again. So many times. I brush my teeth until the gums bleed. The sight of the blood brings on a flash of what it felt like as he licked my wounded hand. I study my hands, there are no bites, scratches or marks. Nothing.
Maybe I’m mistaken about the blood. Maybe he wasn’t actually swallowing my blood. I can’t find any traces on my skin. I dash back into my room and stare down at my bed. There. By the pillow. There’s a large spot of red. I efficiently strip the bed and throw the bundle by my door. Still thinking of the fact that I had bled, but there are no marks. I can’t deal with the anomaly right now. I just can’t.
Opening my windows, I let the icy wind blow in. I must get the smell of the man out of my home. It’s like a stain in my nose. I need to move. I have to get out of here. It’s not safe.
I have the horrid thought of “Will I ever be safe anywhere?”
The monster, whatever the hell he was, said it was due to Gerard that he was paying me a visit. “Fucking Gerry!” I yell, and proceed to scream at the top of my lungs. It makes me feel better to let out the anger and frustration I felt while I was made helpless. It is my most hated emotion. Helplessness. The intruder was right, no one knocks to investigate.
I dress, pull on my jacket and sit on my bed cocooned in a fresh blanket. Waiting for the sun to rise leaves me with nothing but time to think on “What the fuck just happened?”. So many questions arise that I don’t have answers for. Gerard might have those answers but I couldn’t muster the courage to walk to his house in the dark. From what I remember of our lovely conversation, the guy couldn’t go out in the daytime. At least there’s that silver lining.
My brain throws out ideas on what kind of mythical monster I might be dealing with. Vampire. Werewolf. Zombie man. He smelled like it. Or there is the chance I have gone absolutely batshit crazy. It would be my best case scenario. It’s a dark day when the idea of insanity is better than the possibility your reality is that frighteningly twisted.
“Damn you Gerry!” I yell again. It helps.
More to come…..