There’s an old expression, careful what you wish for.
Against the darkened background of the city in early evening, a light from the window of a small boutique sparks interest in the newly awakened.
The scent was being carried towards the creature like smoke in the wind. The scent of despair, longing for a rest from the trials of humanity, of life.
For this is how they hunted, the creature and its kind, modern myth carried its own variance of how they hunt, why they kill.
For some they were prayer answerers, others, murderers, too their own kind, they were an ancient race, proud and strong and almost exstinct
But on nights like this, the rare ones when food was there to be taken, they were strong.
It would begin soon, the hunt, the game, the preys realisation that they, themselves, had called this creature to them and then the blessed relief from life, and the end to its hunger
She pulled the blind down over the pane glass window, scattered bill’s lying at her feet yet to be sorted through, gas, electric and water bill’s telling her what she already knew, that her business was under, the bank was foreclosing and she would soon be homeless as well as penniless.
Did that mean she should stop trying? Stop turning up every morning on the off chance one of her customers would come back? Or then there was the new estate of flats close by, the new community would be using the arcade of shops she was part of, ok the florist had gone bust a week earlier, the off licence had been ram raided so many times the owner was looking at new sites and the news agents just scraped by on cigarette and paper sales but that didn’t mean there wouldn’t be women looking for new nails and the latest hair cut’s, a place to drink tea and coffee and chat to their friends about the latest gossip on the block!
Oh who was she trying to kid, the arcade and her were finished, no one could afford the prices she needed to charge, stay in profit, hell, they couldn’t afford the specials she been reduced to offering and lowering every week! Sometimes she wondered if a new direction was what she needed, but now it was too late, no capital left no funds. It was over.
She finished turning the single lamp in the front office off and locked the door, not completly sure why, there was nothing but unpaid bills to steal and quite frankly she wouldn’t mind never seeing them again. She bent over to turn the coffee machine off then remembered she hadn’t even bothered turning it on. Reaching the door, she turned back to glance around the darkened salon, then opened the door and let herself out, into the night.
The wind took her dark brown hair and whipped it across her thin pale face. She tucked it back behind her ear then pulled the heavy metal gate down over the salons window and door, locking it down securely with a heavy padlock. A sudden rustling behind her made her spin on her heels around as fast as she could,
“Over there!” her brain told her,
“In the dark by the rubbish bags!”
A pointed snout, deep set yellow eyes, they shone in the street light reflecting off the bags, its ear twitched as it watched her,
“Is its growling??” her mind was playing tricks on her,
A long nose, dripping fangs, pointed ears and a furry coat emerged from the rubbish bags piled high against the disused video shop, it moved forward slowly, as if to test her next move. It was completly revealed, she noticed quickly the strength in its limbs as it slowly took steps forward towards her,
“Just go away” she thought as quietly as she could managed, “please just go away”
It stopped, moved its head from side to side, listening to sounds she could never hear, then, with one final stare into her pale blue eyes, the Fox turned and ran.
“Oh my god!” she half inhaled and giggled in the same semi terrified second as the huge orange Fox ran into the darkness across the arcade, had she seriously expected a Fox to attack her?! In retrospect probably not, but then there was that moment, the last time it had looked right into her eyes, that tiniest moment when, when she hadn’t cared?
Trying to shake it out of her head she turned back towards the shop and double checked the lock, fine. The arcades street lights were temperamental at best, only half of them worked and then only half of the time, as soon as the pub across the road opens its doors to let the tangled mass of drunk, sick or both out for the night, the street lights will instantly think its morning and....
“There they go” she said out loud to herself as the door swung open the street filled with light and the street lights went out.
A group of lads obviously just finished watching the football and were heading up the High Street for a dance, kebab and of course a drunken mess that four hours earlier had been a pretty girl! She was desperately trying to get that final moment with the Fox out of her head, it wasn’t the first time she’s felt that way, she could ignore it all she wanted, but what do you do when it won’t ignore you?
It had only been a couple of days ago, standing in the mass of rush hour commuters all heading home for the day on the Underground, she’d been standing right at the front of the throng when someone trying to move down the platform pushed into her, for a few seconds, she was balancing on the platforms edge, her feet were threatening to slide forwards at any moment and no one had noticed, she tried to raise her arms and level out but something was stopping her, something willing her not to balance herself but to just let it happen, it was her, she was willing herself not to save herself, but just let it happen.
It was over in an instant, she thrust her arms out and just managed to stop slipping off the edge. Another woman behind her had just seen her last minute rescue and shot out an arm to help,
“Thank you” she said half heartedly, then thinking, “do i really want to die? Are things THAT bad?”, the train arrived and the sudden shifting of a hundred people brought her back to earth.