And then I left.
The staccato of teeth crunching on bones and gnawing on intestines covered the sounds of my footsteps out of the forest. The poor child gorged like she had starved for blood all her life.
As I was halfway out of the forest, I heard howling. Child screams mixed with something that sounded inhuman. It was Annie. She didn't want me to leave her. A flock of vultures flew overhead as her piercing cries ripped through the foliage.
I picked up my pace as I realized that I was afraid of her in my own right.
She had been back then a girl of nine, wandering off from fairgrounds on a summer night. All lost and forlorn, she cried out for parents that could not hear her. Scratches on her knees from ambling about for hours sparkled like coagulated rubies. The sweet scent of her fresh tears and fresher blood prompted me to offer her some help that fateful night.
I would have left her in one of the unmarked graves I trampled as I bolted out of the forest. But Annie proved to be a valuable companion.
On the nights that the cravings struck me, like a thousand needles of inertia prying into my back, she would start up that old crying business. Unsuspecting Samaritans would pause to help the fragile girl wandering on the freeway. And I would swoop in and feast to my fill.
Yes, Annie was a lovely partner.
Until she developed a taste for blood herself.