Into the WoodsMature

Xenia had once accidentally overheard Marcus mention an address. It was in a bad area of town, one of those places she really knew she shouldn't go. Especially alone. It sounded as though it was perhaps a place Marcus frequented, however, so it was the best she could do as a starting place to find him.

Once the decision had been made it took only moments for her to tug on a pair of dark jeans, a black sweater, and brush her hair back into a ponytail. Thinking about it, she had to laugh a bit at herself. How very cliched to dress herself in black, but she felt better doing it. It seemed appropriate, like the first step towards finding out just what Marcus had been hiding from her, just what he thought he had been protecting her from.

Tugging on a pair of boots, flat, sensible ones, she also grabbed her bag. She admitted that it was not particularly appropriate for this outing, but it was all she had. A beat-up backpack into which she had shoved her wallet, some water, bandages, her keys and a bottle of pepper spray. Anything more than that could get her in serious trouble, and she wouldn't know how to use it anyway. She also grabbed her cell phone, although she wasn't sure who exactly she thought she would call. She knew Marcus was not going to answer. She had tried before over the past week.

Looking down at her cell she considered for a moment. Maybe she should leave him a message. It was always possible that he would check it and come for her. It was equally possible he would send one of his friends. Someone to get her, take her home, and tell her to keep being a good girl and accept things.

She was tired of accepting things. Tired of letting Marcus dictate her life to her, protect her like she was a child. He was involved in something dangerous and she thought it was about time she knew what.

Without him the apartment seemed empty.

"It's for your own good, Xennie. I have to go. It's time. You'll be fine, just get a new roommate. Don't try to find me. You won't."

The memory of that particular part of their argument spurred her forth when she froze at the door. Perhaps what he had tried to protect her from was worth being protected from. Maybe he was right. Then again.... She wouldn't find him? Well, they would see about that, wouldn't they?

Yanking the door open, she pulled it closed behind her, locked it, and headed down the hallway. Down the stairs, and out the front door.

The rain had ended at some point, leaving the world painted in glass. The street glistened in the streetlights, shadows and light even more strongly differentiated. The world was one very much of stark contrast and she felt a shiver of trepidation. Drawing in a deep breath she took the first step forward on the cement leading to the sidewalk. She would need a cab as it was too far to walk.

There was the noise of footsteps, but that was nothing too surprising. It was hardly an unpopulated area. She was just nervous because of what she imagined could happen.

That was when she heard the first growl. Her head snapped around, trying to figure out where the dog was. It sounded big and if it was loose maybe she should go back inside, just in case. Big dogs had always made her a little nervous.

Just as she was starting to back towards the door, another growl rumbled through the air. From a different direction.

Every hair on the back of her neck stood up and she felt fear speed her heart. It could be the same dog, but that was pretty unlikely. If it wasn't the same dog though...

She was ready to turn, to run into the building. She was fumbling for her keys when the glint of eyes caught her gaze. In that instant she could not move, could not run. Fear had its grip on her and she fully expected that she was in very deep trouble. Time froze for just a second. Then it began to move too fast to follow.

The first body slammed into her, and she was on her back on the ground. The scent of meat filled her nose and she whimpered. The weight pressed her down and she could not breathe. Terror as another muzzle pressed into her face. She felt saliva drip and she closed her eyes, wishing it would all just go away. Of course it was not going to work, but there was nothing else she could do. Could not move, could not breathe.

The bodies above her shifted and she was aware of claws digging into her shoulders. Not the claws of an ordinary dog, something sharper. In disjointed fashion she realized that these were too big to be any dog she had ever heard of. What that meant, however, was more than she could come up with.

She was going to die. That thought hit her and she felt tears well. The simple fact that she was not already dead was, in some ways, worse than it having happened. The anticipation was not a benefit. Instead she had moments in which to think of Marcus, to wish that he was there protecting her. What he could do she wasn't sure, but she just wished he was there to save her.

Hot breath hit her neck and she tried to hunch her shoulders, but she couldn't move, couldn't protect herself. The slick feel of saliva dripping over her skin made her shudder.

Time jerked and she suddenly heard screaming. Her throat was raw. Her shoulder burned.

The smell of blood was around her, mixing with the smell of meat. She didn't understand, only knew that there was no way she was getting out of this. This... thing had already bitten her. It actually bit her. It was going to eat her.


The End

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