Her gaze slid across the room restlessly. To him, the calm of her storm blue eyes had been replaced by a look of haunting. He noticed her suppressed flinches as people drew too near. Then, he saw it. The widening of her eyes, her lips parting for a sharp intake of breath. He followed her gaze to a man, heavily muscled, far too much for her to resist, despite her strength. He was laughing, arrogance mixing with the alcohol that oozed from his pores. He was as repellant as she was perfection. She was frozen for a second, paralysed like a mouse before a viper. Then, with a murmured excuse, she vanished. 

He let her go then, his business tonight was with a lesser beauty. Her habits had not been disturbed, he could find her again.

Sliding his hand into his bag, he slid his grip around the hilt of the dagger he carried. A hard thing to find in the modern country, this was a weapon designed for beauty and pain. The simple hilt carried the design of a rose, entwined in thorns, set in silver on the pommel. The blade rose from it, sharp enough to split a hair, with an elegant design of vines that caught the light when it was released from the plain leather sheath it was housed in. And he knew how to use it, yes. He had learned his anatomy and his pressure points and his butchery. He knew exactly how to use this thing of beauty and pain. 

He knew that tonight, the mound of flesh and oozing alcohol would understand that too. He knew that the disgusting creature calling itself a man would understand pain in its purest form. He knew that it would understand the consequences of disturbing those storm blue eyes. He would take the arrogance from the fetid brown of his eyes. He would take the strength from the overly-honed, gym toned lumps of flesh that it called muscles. He would bring understanding to the creature, and pain. Yes, this creature was to understand pain, as intimately as a lover. 

His eyes shone with a new purpose. He noted the brand of piss that the creature before moving through the crowd, silently and fluidly. He jolted the thing's arm, causing his drink to spill over his fake designer jeans. Stupid anger flaring, it turned to him with a mouthful of profanity. 

"So sorry, I didn't see you there. What was that? Come with me, I'll buy you another one, I insist." 

In its drink-addled state, the creature agreed. Two drinks were purchased. Into one, a dose of a strong sedative was placed, unknown to the beast next to him. As it began to take effect, he guided the dumb beast out into a back alley. Its eyes glazed over and he sagged on the filthy wall. The blade glittered, gathering the dim light in the alley to itself, sending it dancing across the beast's face. The sludgy eyes widened. 

"I will now teach you why you should never fuck with me." The murmur was as soft as the knife's caress down the beast's cheek. It didn't even feel the first cuts, so finely was the blade honed. It was too drugged to scream once the pain penetrated the fog, unleashing the full horror of the drug and the beautiful pain being inflicted. When morning light gave way to noon and still no one disturbed them, the beast gave himself over to darkness, only to be awoken. 

"One last thing, then you're free to go." It was a horrific parody of a doctor or some other trusted professional, with the addition of a glimmer of madness in his eyes. 

He tilted the blade, laying it against the tender skin of the beast's face. A thin river of blood spilled down the silver. 

"Never forget"

Silver lightening flashed and still the beast couldn't howl. A deep, raw ravine opened across the meat of its face, obscuring one eye and laying the cheek open entirely. Teeth gleamed, startlingly white in the raw meat of the inside of its face. Writhing weakly on the ground, its one remaining eye was blank with fear, a spark of understanding now there.

"Hurt her or any woman again and I will ensure you stop breathing. I guarantee that I will not make it a swift exit."

He left, flicking the few droplets of blood from his cuff. At the end of the street, he picked up the payphone and dialled for the ambulance. Feigning a panicked tone, he claimed to have found the beast in the alley. As sirens filled the street, he secured the two empty drinks and the knife in his bag, secure in the knowledge that she would be safe. For now.  

The End

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