He’s probably right. Tank’s blood is all over me. I look like a serial killer. The night air blows over me, blowing my scent all over the city. The parasites will find me soon. To them, I smell like an all-you-can-eat buffet.
“Hileen,” I whisper, hoping I mask the smell correctly. I can fix it better when I get home.
Home at the moment is a loft downtown. It’s nice, clean, and the place that I lay my head. I can’t stand it, I prefer the forest. But I need a place where no one will ask questions, the loft works.
“Solice,” I whispered. I continued walking, thankful that no one turned to stare. They would see nothing if they did anyway. But it was draining to walk like this, so I picked it up to a run. I needed to get home before I passed out.
I walked in the door with my downstairs neighbor, Luke. He’s cute, nice, my age, and single. He’s just on the wrong side of the war. He doesn’t know it exists.
I knew dating was a futile endeavor. Luke would die easily; such was the problem with being human. So I kept my head down and ignored the little smile that sat on my lips when he ran his hand through his hair, waiting for the lift to reach his floor. He was just so breakable.
I waited until he got off at his floor before pressing the button for mine. I rode it up to my floor and walked in. “Malix,” I said, letting the magic that concealed me dissipate. My stomach wanted to empty itself. I hadn’t realized how badly I smelled.
I jumped into the shower, rinsing the blood and sweat off my body and out of my hair. The rose tinted water swirled around my feet before disappearing down the drain. Tank’s blood and my sweat would be recycled for some unlucky patron of the city to drink. The warm water hits my wounds, digging out the dirt, washing it clean. The golden hues of my hair hit my shoulders, clean now of the dirt and grime of the club. I scrub at my fingernails, ridding them of the flesh of old enemies.
I can almost fool myself into seeing the beautiful Southern Belle that Dan had seen my first night in the ring. He hadn’t seen me unleash the beast, that hidden side of me that was tougher than Black Bear, more ruthless than Tank. I was innocent and sweet, until I entered the ring.
I had earned respect there. The only guys fool enough to mess with me now were new or drunk. The regulars knew that I could break their noses and then smile like I had just won a beauty pageant.
When I was finally clean, I exited the shower and dressed quickly into some pajamas, an oversized t-shirt and some running shorts. The empty room is filled with the sounds of the city. Thumping music blares from some dance club down the street. Blinding lights from the theater infiltrate my room though the wide windows that overlook the street. I detest this place. I miss the sounds of the creek flowing and the crickets chirping. The moonlight can’t dance on my face through the leaves, not here. I fall asleep to the sound of the taxis honking.